Sin that his lord was twenty yere


Ther coude no man bring him in arerage.
Ther n'as baillif, ne herde, ne other hine,
That he ne knew his sleight and his covine:
They were adradde of him, as of the deth.
His wonning was ful fayre upon an heth,
With grene trees yshadewed was his place.
He coude better than his lord pourchace.
Ful riche he was ystored privily.
His lord wel coude he plesen subtilly,

and lene him of his owen good,
And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
In youthe he lerned hadde a good mistere.
He was a wel good wright, a carpentere.
This reve sate upon a right good stot,
That was all pomelee grey, and highte Scot.
A long surcote of perse upon he hade,
And by his side he bare a rusty blade.
Of Norfolk was this reve, of which I tell,
Beside a toun, men clepen Baldeswell.
Tucked he was, as is a frere, aboute,
And ever he rode the hinderest of the route.


A SOMPNOUR was ther with us in that place, That hadde a fire-red cherubinnes face, For sausefleme he was, with eyen narwe. As hote he was, and likerous as a sparwe, With scalled browes blake, and pilled berd: Of his visage children were sore aferd. Ther n'as quiksilver, litarge, ne brimston, Boras, ceruse, ne oile of tartre non, Ne oinement that wolde clense or bite, That him might helpen of his whelkes white,

Ne of the knobbes sitting on his chekes.
Wel loved he garlike, onions, and lekes,
And for to drinke strong win as rede as blood.
Than wolde he speke, and crie as he were wood.
And whan that he wel dronken had the win,
Than wold he speken no word but Latin.
A fewe termes coude he, two or three,
That he had lerned out of som decree;
No wonder is, he herd it all the day.
And eke ye knowen wel, how that a jay
Can clepen watte, as wel as can the pope.
But who so wolde in other thing him grope,
Than hadde he spent all his philosophie,
Ay, Questio quid juris, wolde he crie.

He was a gentil harlot and a kind;
A better felaw shulde a man not find.
He wolde suifre for a quart of wine,
A good felaw to have his concubine
A twelve month, and excuse him at the full.
Ful prively a finch eke coude he pull.
And if he found owhere a good felawe,
He wolde techen him to have non awe
In swiche a cas of the archedekenes curse;
But if a mannes soule were in his purse;
For in his purse he shulde ypunished be.
Purse is the archedekens helle, said he.
But wel I wote, he lied right in dede:
Of cursing ought eche gilty man him drede.
For curse wol sle right as assoiling saveth,
And also ware him of a significavit.

In danger hadde he at his owen gise
The yonge girles of the diocise,
And knew hir conseil, and was of hir rede.
A gerlond hadde he sette upon his hede,

As gret as it were for an alestake:
A bokeler hadde he made him of a cake.

With him ther rode a gentil PARDONERE
Of Rouncevall, his frend and his compere,
That streit was comen from the court of Rome.
Ful loude he sang, Come hither, love, to me.

sompnour bare to him a stiff burdoun,
Was never trompe of half so gret a soun.
This pardoner had here as yelwe as wax,
But smoth it heng, as doth a strike of flax:
By unces heng his lokkes that he hadde,
And therwith he his shulders overspradde.
Ful thinne it lay, by culpons on and on,
But hode, for jolite, ne wered he non,
For it was trussed up in his wallet.
Him thought he rode al of the newe get,
Dishevele, sauf his cappe, he rode all bare.
Swiche glaring eyen hadde he, as an hare.
A vernicle hadde he sewed upon

his cappe.
His wallet lay beforne him in his lappe,
Bret-ful of pardon come from Rome al hote.
A vois he hadde, as smale as hath a gote.
No berd hadde he, ne never non shulde have,
As smothe it was as it were newe shave;
I trowe he were a gelding or a mare.

But of his craft, fro Berwike unto Ware,
Ne was ther swiche an other pardonere.
For in his male he hadde a pilwebere,
Which, as he saide, was oure ladies veil:
He saide, he hadde a gobbet of the seyl
Thatte seint Peter had, whan that he went
Upon the see, till Jesu Crist him hent.

He had a crois of laton ful of stones,
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
But with these relikes, whanne that he fond
A poure persone dwelling up on lond,
Upon a day he gat him more moneie
Than that the persone gat in monethes tweie.
And thus with fained flattering and japes,

, He made the persone, and the peple, his apes.

But trewely to tellen atte last, He was in chirche a noble ecclesiast. Wel coude he rede a lesson or a storie, But alderbest he sang an offertorie: For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe, He muste preche, and wel afile his tonge, To winne silver, as he right wel coude: Therfore he


the merier and loude.

Now have I told you shortly in a clause,
Th’estat, th’araie, the nombre, and eke the cause
Why that assembled was this compagnie
In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrie,
That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
But now is time to you for to telle,
How that we baren us that ilke night,
Whan we were in that hostelrie alight.
And after wol I telle of our viage,
And all the remenant of our pilgrimage.

But firste I praie you of your curtesie,
That ye ne arette it not my vilanie,
Though that I plainly speke in this matere,
To tellen you hir wordes and hir chere;
Ne though I speke hir wordes proprely.
For this ye knowen al so wel as I,

Who so shall telle a tale after a man,

a He moste reherse, as neighe as ever he can, Everich word, if it be in his charge, All speke he never so rudely and so large; Or elles he moste tellen his tale untrewe, Or feinen thinges, or finden wordes newe. He may not spare, although he were his brother. He moste as wel sayn o word, as an other. Crist spake himself ful brode in holy writ, And wel ye wote no vilanie is it. Eke Plato sayeth, who so can him rede, The wordes moste ben cosin to the dede.

Also I praie you to forgive it me, All have I not sette folk in hir degree, Here in this tale, as that they shulden stonde. My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.

Gret chere made oure hoste us everich on, And to the souper sette he us anon: And served us with vitaille of the beste. Strong was the win, and wel to drinke us leste, A semely man our hoste was with alle For to han ben a marshal in an halle. A large man he was with eyen stepe, A fairer burgeis is ther non in Chepe: Bold of his speche, and wise and wel ytaught, And of manhood him lacked righte naught. Eke therto was he right a mery man, And after souper plaien he began, And spake of mirthe amonges other thinges, Whan that we hadden made our rekeninges; And saide thus; Now, lordinges, trewely Ye ben to me welcome right hertily:

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