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But specially I pray thee, hoste dere,
This miller to the toun his doughter send
Wel hath this miller vernished his hed, Ful pale he was, for-dronken, and nought red. He yoxeth, and he speketh thurgh the nose, As he were on the quakke, or on the pose. To bed he goth, and with him goth his wif; As any jay she light was and jolif, So was hire joly whistle wel ywette. The cradel at hire beddes feet was sette, To rocken, and to yeve the child to souke. And whan that dronken was all in the crouke To bedde went the doughter right anon, To bedde goth Alein, and also John. Ther n'as no more; nedeth hem no dwale, This miller hath so wisly bibbed ale, That as an hors he snorteth in his slepe, Ne of his tail behind he toke no kepe.
His wif bare him a burdon a ful strong;
Alein the clerk that herd this melodie,
ther is a lawe that saieth thus,
This John answered; Alein, avise thee:
This John lith still a furlong way or two,
that I is but an ape.
he rose, and softely he went Unto the cradel, and in his hand it hent, And bare it soft unto his beddes fete. Sone after this the wif hire routing lete, And gan awake, and went hire out to pisse, And came again, and gan the cradel misse, And groped here and ther, but she fond non. Alas! (quod she) I had almost misgon. I had almost gon to the clerkes bedde. Ey benedicite, than had I foule yspedde. And forth she goth, til she the cradel fond. She gropeth alway forther with hire hond, And fond the bed, and thoughte nat but good, Because that the cradel by it stood, And n’iste wher she was, for it was derk, But faire and wel she crept in by the clerk, And lith ful still, and wold han caught a slepe. Within a while this John the clerk up lepe, And on this goode wif he laieth on sore; So mery a fit ne had she nat ful
yore. He priketh hard and depe, as he were mad.
This joly lif han these two clerkes lad,
Til that the thridde cok began to sing.
Alein uprist and thought, er that it daw
While thou hast as a coward ben agast.
Ye, false harlot, quod the miller, hast? A, false traitour, false clerk, (quod he) Thou shalt be ded by Goddes dignitee, Who dorste be so bold to disparage My doughter, that is come of swiche linage. And by the throte-bolle he caught Alein, And he him hent despitously again, And on the nose he smote him with his fist; Doun ran the blody streme upon his brest: And in the flore with nose and mouth to-broke They walwe, as don two pigges in a poke. And up they gon, and doun again anon, Til that the miller sporned at a ston, And doun he fell backward upon his wif, That wiste nothing of this pice strif: For she was fall aslepe a litel wight With John the clerk, that waked had all night: And with the fall out of hire slepe she braide. Helpe, holy crois of Bromeholme, (she sayde) In manus tuas, Lord, to thee I call. Awake, Simond, the fend is on me fall; Myn herte is broken; helpe; I n’am but ded; Ther lith on up my wombe and up myn
hed. Helpe, Simkin, for the false clerkes fight. This John stert up as fast as ever he might, And graspeth by the walles to and fro To find a staf, and she stert up also, And knew the estres bet than did this John, And by the wall she toke a staf anon: And saw a litel shemering of a light, For at an hole in shone the mone bright, And by that light she saw hem bothe two, But sikerly she n'iste who was who,