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But as she saw a white thing in hire eye.
And whan she gan this white thing espie,
She wend the clerk had wered a volupere;
And with the staf she drow ay nere and nere,
And wend han hit this Alein atte full,
And smote the miller on the pilled skull,
That doun he goth, and cried, harow! I die.
Thise clerkes bete him wel, and let him lie,
And greithen hem, and take hir hors anon,
And eke hir mele, and on hir way they gon:
And at the mille dore eke they toke hir cake
Of half a bushel flour, ful wel ybake.
Thus is the proude miller wel ybete,
And hath ylost the grinding of the whete,
And paied for the souper every del
Of Alein and of John, that bete him wel;
His wif is swived, and his doughter als;
Lo, swiche it is a miller to be fals.
And therfore this proverbe is sayd ful soth,
Him thar not winnen wel that evil doth;
A gilour shal himself begiled be:
And God that siteth hie in magestee
Save all this compagnie, gret and smale,
Thus have I quit the miller in tale.
THE COKES PROLOGUE. The Coke of London, while the Reve spake, For joye (him thought) he clawed him on the bak: A ha (quod he) for Cristes passion,' This miller had a sharpe conclusion, Upon this argument of herbergage. Wel sayde Salomon in his langage,
Ne bring not every man into thin hous,
For herberwing by night is perilous.
Wel ought a man avised for to be
Whom that he brought into his privetee.
I pray to God so yeve me sorwe and care,
If ever, sithen I highte Hodge of Ware,
Herd I a miller bet ysette a-werk;
He had a jape of malice in the derk.
But God forbede that we stinten here,
And therfore if ye vouchen sauf to here
A tale of me that am a poure man,
I wol you tell as wel as ever I can
A litel jape that fell in our citee. [thee:
Our Hoste answerd and sayde; I grant it Now tell on, Roger, and loke that it be good, For many a pastee hast thou letten blood, And many a Jacke of Dover hast thou sold, That hath been twies hot and twies cold. Of many a pilgrim hast thou Cristes curse, For of thy perselee yet fare they the werse, That they han eten in thy stoble goos: For in thy shop goth many a fie loos. Now tell on, gentil Roger by thy name, But yet I pray thee be not wroth for
game; A man may say ful soth in game and play.
Thou sayst ful soth, quod Roger, by my fay; But soth play quade spel, as the Fleming saith: And therfore, Herry Bailly, by thy faith, Be thou not wroth, or we departen here, Though that my tale be of an hostelere. But natheles, I wol not telle it yet, But er we part, ywis thou shalt be quit. And therwithal he lough and made chere, And sayd his tale, as ye shul after here.
A PRENTIS whilom dwelt in our citee,
And of a craft of vitaillers was he:
Gaillard he was, as goldfinch in the shawe,
Broune as a bery, a propre short felawe:
With lokkes blake, kembed ful fetisly.
Dancen he coude so wel and jolily,
That he was cleped Perkin Revelour.
He was as ful of love and paramour,
As is the hive ful of hony swete;
Wel was the wenche with him mighte mete.
At every bridale would he sing and hoppe;
He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe.
For whan ther any riding was in Chepe,
Out of the shoppe thider wold he lepe,
And til that he had all the sight ysein,
And danced wel, he wold not come agein;
And gadred him a meinie of his sort,
To hoppe and sing, and maken swiche disport:
And ther they setten steven for to mete
To plaien at the dis in swiche a strete.
For in the toun ne was ther no prentis,
That fairer coude caste a pair of dis
Than Per coude, and therto he was fre
Of his dispence, in place of privetee.
That fond his maister wel in his chaffare,
For often time he fond his box ful bare.
For sothly, a prentis, a revelour, That hanteth dis, riot and paramour, His maister shal it in his shoppe abie, Al have he no part of the minstralcie.
For theft and riot they ben convertible,
Al can they play on giterne or ribible.
Revel and trouth, as in a low degree,
They ben ful wroth all day, as men may see.
This joly prentis with his maister abode,
Til he was neigh out of his prentishode,
Al were he snibbed bothe erly and late,
And somtime lad with revel to Newgate.
But at the last his maister him bethought
Upon a day, when he his paper sought,
Of a proverbe, that saith this same word;
Wel bet is roten appel out of hord,
Than that it rote alle the remenant:
So fareth it by a riotous servant;
It is wel lasse harm to let him pace,
Than he shende all the servants in the place.
Therfore his maister yaf him a quitance,
And bad him go, with sorwe and with meschance.
And thus this joly prentis had his leve:
Now let him riot all the night or leve.
And for ther n'is no thefe without a louke,
That helpeth him to wasten and to souke
Of that he briben can, or borwe may,
Anon he sent his bed and his array
Unto a compere of his owen sort,
That loved dis, and riot, and disport;
And had a wif, that held for contenance
A shoppe, and swived for hire sustenance.
THE MAN OF LAW ES PROLOGUE.
Our Hoste saw wel, that the brighte sonne
The ark of his artificial day had ronne
The fourthe part, and half an houre and more;
And though he were not depe expert in lore,
He wiste it was the eighte and twenty day
Of April, that is messager to May;
And saw wel that the shadow of every tree
Was as in lengthe of the same quantitee
That was the body erect, that caused it;
And therfore by the shadow he toke his wit,
That Phebus, which that shone so clere and bright,
Degrees was five and fourty clombe on hight;
And for that day, as in that latitude,
It was ten of the clok, he gan conclude;
And sodenly he plight his hors aboute.
Lordings, quod he, I warne you all this route,
The fourthe partie of this day is gon,
Now for the love of God and of Seint John
Leseth no time, as ferforth as ye may.
Lordings, the time it wasteth night and day,
And steleth from us, what prively sleping,
And what thurgh negligence in our waking,
As doth the streme, that turneth never again,
Descending fro the montagne into a plain.
Wel can Senek and many a philosophre
Bewailen time, more than gold in coffre.
For losse of catel may recovered be,
But losse of time shendeth us, quod he.
It wol not come again withouten drede,
No more than wol Malkins maidenhede,