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Til that the thridde cok began to sing.
Alein wex werie in the morwening,
For he had swonken all the longe night,
And sayd; Farewel, Malkin, my swete wight.
The day is come, I may no longer bide,
But evermo, wher so I go or ride,
I is thin awen clerk, so have I hele.
Now, dere lemman, quod she, go farewele:
But or thou go, o thing I wol thee tell.
Whan that thou wendest homeward by the mell.
Right at the entree of the dore behind
Thou shalt a cake of half a bushel find,
That was ymaked of thin owen mele,
Which that I halpe my fader for to stele.
And goode lemman, God thee save and kepe.
And with that word she gan almost to wepe.
Alein uprist and thought, er that it daw
I wol go crepen in by my felaw:
And fond the cradel at his hand anon.
By God, thought he, all wrang I have misgon:
My hed is tottie of my swink to night,
That maketh me that I go nat aright.
I wot wel by the cradel I have misgo;
Here lith the miller and his wif also.
And forth he goth a twenty divel way
Unto the bed, ther as the miller lay.
He wend have cropen by his felaw John,
And by the miller in he crept anon,
And caught him by the nekke, and gan him shake,
And sayd; Thou John, thou swineshed awake,
For Cristes saule, and here a noble game:
For by that lord that called is Seint Jame,
As I have thries as in this short night
Swived the millers doughter bolt-upright,
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 nice 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,
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 my 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.
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 flie loos. Now tell on, gentil Roger by thy name, But yet I 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
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 Perkin 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.