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And stripeth of the bridel right anon.
And whan the hors was laus, he gan to gon
Toward the fen, ther wilde mares renne,
And forth, with wehee, thurgh thick and thinne.
This miller goth again, no word he said,
But doth his note, and with these clerkes plaid,
Till that hir corn was faire and wel yground.
And whan the mele is sacked and ybound,
This John goth out, and fint his hors away,
And gan to crie, harow and wala wa!
Our hors is lost: Alein, for Goddes banes,
Step on thy feet; come of, man, al at anes:
Alas! our wardein has his palfrey lorn.
This Alein al forgat both mele and corn;
Al was out of his mind his husbandrie:
What, whilke way is he gon? he gan to crie.
The wif came leping inward at a renne, She sayd; Alas! youre hors goth to the fenne With wilde mares, as fast as he may go. Unthank come on his hand that bond him so, And he that better shuld have knit the rein.
Alas! (quod John) Alein, for Cristes pein Lay doun thy swerd, and I shal min alswa. I is ful wight, God wate, as is a ra. By Goddes saule he shal not scape us bathe. Why ne had thou put the capel in the lathe? Ill haile, Alein, by God thou is a fonne.
These sely clerkes han ful fast yronne Toward the fen, bothe Alein and eke John: And whan the miller saw that they were gon, He half a bushel of hir flour hath take, And bad his wif go knede it in a cake. He sayd; I trow, the clerkes were aferde. Yet can a miller make a clerkes berde,
For all his art. Ye, let hem gon hir way.
Lo wher they gon. Ye, let the children play:
They get him not so lightly by my croun.
These sely clerkes rennen up and doun
With kepe, kepe; stand, stand; jossa, warderere.
Ga whistle thou, and I shal kepe him here.
But shortly, til that it was veray night
They coude not, though they did all hir might,
Hir capel catch, he ran alway so fast:
Til in a diche they caught him at the last.
Wery and wet, as bestes in the rain,
Cometh sely John, and with him cometh Alein.
Alas (quod John) the day that I was borne!
Now are we driven til hething and til scorne.
Our corn is stolne, men wol us fonnes calle,
Both the wardein, and eke our felawes alle,
And namely the miller, wala wa!
Thus plaineth John, as he goth by the way Toward the mille, and bayard in his hond. The miller sitting by the fire he fond,
For it was night, and forther might they nought,
But for the love of God they him besought
Of herberwe and of ese, as for hir peny.
The miller saide agen, if ther be any,
Swiche as it is, yet shull ye have your part.
Myn hous is streit, but ye have lerned art;
Ye can by arguments maken a place
A mile brode, of twenty foot of space.
Let see now if this place may suffice,
Or make it roume with speche, as is your gise.
Now, Simond, (said this John) by Seint Cuthberd
Ay is thou mery, and that is faire answerd.
I have herd say, man sal take of twa thinges,
Slike as he findes, or slike as he bringes.
But specially I pray thee, hoste dere,
Gar us have mete and drinke, and make us chere,
And we sal paien trewely at the full:
With empty hand, men may na haukes tull.
Lo here our silver redy for to spend.
This miller to the toun his doughter send
For ale and bred, and rosted hem a goos,
And bond hir hors, he shuld no more go loos:
And in his owen chambre hem made a bedde,
With shetes and with chalons faire yspredde,
Nat from his owen bed ten foot or twelve:
His doughter had a bed all by hireselve,
Right in the same chambre by and by:
It mighte be no bet, and cause why,
Ther was no roumer herberwe in the place.
They soupen, and they speken of solace,
And drinken ever strong ale at the best.
Abouten midnight wente they to rest.
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;
Men might hir routing heren a furlong.
The wenche routeth eke par compagnie.
Alein the clerk that herd this melodie,
He poketh John, and sayde: Slepest thou?
Herdest thou ever slike a song er now?
Lo whilke a complin is ymell hem alle.
A wilde fire upon hir bodies falle,
Wha herkned ever slike a ferly thing?
Ye, they shall have the flour of yvel ending.
This lange night ther tides me no reste.
But yet na force, all shal be for the beste.
For, John, (sayd he) as ever mote I thrive,
If that I may, yon wenche wol I swive.
Som esement has lawe yshapen us.
For, John, ther is a lawe that saieth thus,
That if a man in o point be agreved,
That in another he shal be releved.
Our corn is stolne, sothly it is na nay,
And we han had an yvel fit to-day.
And sin I shal have nan amendement
Again my losse, I wol have an esement:
By Goddes saule, it shal nan other be.
This John answered; Alein, avise thee:
The miller is a perilous man, he sayde.
And if that he out of his slepe abraide,
He mighte don us bathe a vilanie.
Alein answered; I count him nat a flie.
And up he rist, and by the wenche he crept.
This wenche lay upright, and faste slept,
Til he so nigh was, er she might espie,
That it had ben to late for to crie:
And shortly for to say, they were at on.
Now play, Alein, for I wol speke of John.
This John lith still a furlong way or two, And to himself he maketh routh and wo. Alas! (quod he) this is a wicked jape; Now may I say, that I is but an ape. Yet has my felaw somwhat for his harme; He has the millers doughter in his arme: He auntred him, and hath his nedes spedde, And I lie as a draf-sak in my bedde; And whan this jape is tald another day, I shal be halden a daffe or a cokenay: I wol arise, and auntre it by my fay: Unhardy is unsely, thus men say.
And up 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
He priketh hard and depe, as he were mad.
This joly lif han these two clerkes lad,