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Survey of Literatures in English I: Chaucer to 1700 Univ.Prof. Dr. Ewald Mengel.

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Presentation on theme: "Survey of Literatures in English I: Chaucer to 1700 Univ.Prof. Dr. Ewald Mengel."— Presentation transcript:

1 Survey of Literatures in English I: Chaucer to 1700 Univ.Prof. Dr. Ewald Mengel

2 Obligatory texts to be bought William Shakespeare, Richard II William Shakespeare, Hamlet William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream Christopher Marlowe, Dr Faustus William Wycherley, The Country Wife

3 Obligatory texts from the Reader G. Chaucer, "General Prologue" "The Miller's Tale" (source: E. Spenser, The Faerie Queene (Book Two: "The Bower of Bliss") W. Shakespeare, Sonnets XII, XVIII J. Donne,"The Flea"; "The Bait" A. Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress" G. Herbert, "Easter Wings" J. Milton, Paradise Lost (excerpt)

4 Old English/Anglo-Saxon period (~450–1066) 5 th to 6 th century: Angles, Saxons and Jutes emigrate from the Continent and invade England. Earliest longer literary document: OE Beowulf, heroic epic of 3182 long lines – from 8 th century, but only later manuscripts esp. from 10 th century. Latin literature: saints' legends, chronicles, prayers etc.

5 Middle English period (1066–1485) 1066: Battle of Hastings, Norman Conquest – Norman rule for 300 years. 14 th century: change from Latin and Norman French to English in terms of status and use. William Langland: ME allegory Piers Plowman, written

6 Geoffrey Chaucer's times 1300 Dante's Divine Comedy Hundred Years War begins (ends 1453) Birth of Chaucer The Black Death Chaucer serves in the war in France, is captured and ransomed Peace with France (lull in Hundred Years War; resumes in 1369) Severe recurrence of the Plague Edward III dies; Richard II becomes king The "Great Schism"; rival Popes in Rome and Avignon (ends 1409) The Bible is translated into English (The "Wyclifite Bible") Chaucer begins The Canterbury Tales Writing of The Canterbury Tales (most tales written before 1396) Richard II is deposed; Henry IV becomes king Chaucer's death (on 25 October, according to tradition). Timeline courtesy of The Geoffrey Chaucer Page, Harvard University

7 Geoffrey Chaucer (~1340–1400) – 1 Married to the sister of the 3 rd wife of John of Gaunt, son of Edward III. King's envoy in Italy (meets Petrarca and Bocaccio); secret mission in France, tax-collector in the port of London. Important French and Italian sources: –Roman de la Rose, Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, written 1225/ – characteristic split in medieval thought: idealising, romantic vs. realistic, satiric –Latin epics in the original

8 Le Roman de la Rose Guillaume de Lorris & Jean de Meun (1225 & )  an influence on Chaucer's early work and on part of his Canterbury Tales. Courtly love, relating of a dream, May atmosphere, songs, allegory "The god of love, a benedicite! How myghty and how greet a lord is he! Ayeyns his myght ther gayneth none obstacles. He may be cleped a god for his myracles." (Knight's Tale, I ) Illustration courtesy of The Geoffrey Chaucer Page, Harvard University

9 Geoffrey Chaucer – 2 Important French and Italian sources (ctd.): –French translations esp. of Greek epics – transformed into long courtly romances: romanticised and translated into a Christian medieval context –Ovid Works: French influence esp. on early works – The Book of the Duchess, The Parliament of Fowles, The House of Fame and The Legend of Good Women have the form of the Roman de la Rose: dream vision beginning, conventions of courtly love, May atmosphere, birds, songs and allegory.

10 Geoffrey Chaucer – 3 The Book of the Duchess: Memorises the death of Duchess Blanche, wife of John of Gaunt  consolation (rhetorical forms of planctus and consolatio). Source of all human suffering is "false Fortune"  the pagan episteme translated into a Christian medieval context: accident, fatum, aventure are enforced by the growing distance from the centre of God (at the hub of fortune's wheel).

11 The Wheel of Fortune Fortuna (Latin)  Goddess of Fate; "false Fortune" The Wheel of Fortune is a pagan episteme (insight, lore), translated into the Christian context. The Wheel of Fortune  a metaphor for Time The centre of the quickly turning wheel is God. Accidents and fatum (Fate) are enforced by the growing distance from God (centrifugal forces). "Fortune turning her wheel", National Library of the Netherlands

12 Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales – 1 Mixture of knightly romances, saints' legends, French fabliaux, prayers, animals' allegories and other forms of narrative. Frame narrative (pilgrimage to Canterbury, Harry Bailey), 23 embedded tales by different narrators (The Knight's Tale, The Miller's Tale etc.; a man called Chaucer tells a tale too).  Tales interrupted and also motivated dramatically by frame action.  Pilgrimage as a social event: impression of all social classes of English 14 th -century society.

13 Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales – 2 French fabliaux? "A fabliau is a brief comic tale in verse, usually scurrilous and often scatological or obscene. The style is simple, vigorous, and straightforward; the time is the present, and the settings real, familiar places; the characters are ordinary sorts -- tradesmen, peasants, priests, students, restless wives; the plots are realistically motivated tricks and ruses. The fabliaux thus present a lively image of everyday life among the middle and lower classes." (The Riverside Chaucer, p.7)

14 Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales The General Prologue Bifel that in that seson on a day In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage To Caunterbury with ful devout corage At nyght was come into that hostelrye Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle, That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde. GP I Illustration courtesy of The Geoffrey Chaucer Page, Harvard University

15 Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales The General Prologue QU 1 – lines 1-42: Introduction Here bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury 1Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote 1 When in April the sweet showers fall 2The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote, 2 That pierce March's drought to the root and all 3And bathed every veyne in swich licour, 3 And bathed every vein in liquor that has power 4Of which vertu engendred is the flour; 4 To generated therein and sire the flower; 5Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth 5 When Zephyr also has with his sweet breath, 6Inspired hath in every holt and heeth 6 Filled again, in every holt and heath, 7The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne 7 The tender shoots and leaves, and the young sun 8Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne, 8 His half-course in the sign of the Ram has run, 9And smale fowles maken melodye, 9 And many little birds make melody 10That slepen al the night with open yÎ, 10 That sleep through all the night with open eye 11(So priketh hem nature in hir corages): 11 (So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage) 12Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages 12 Then folk do long to go on pilgrimage, 13(And palmers for to seken straunge strondes) 13 And palmers to go seeking out strange strands, 14To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes; 14 To distant shrines well known in distant lands. 15And specially, from every shires ende 15 And specially from every shire's end 16Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende, 16 Of England they to Canterbury went, 17The holy blisful martir for to seke, 17 The holy blessed martyr there to seek 18That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.18 Who helped them when they lay so ill and weak.

16 The General Prologue (ctd.) 19Bifil that in that seson, on a day19 It happened that, in that season, on a day 20In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay 20 In Southwark, at the Tabard, as I lay 21Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage21 Ready to go on pilgrimage and start 22To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,22 To Canterbury, full devout at heart, 23At nyght was come into that hostelrye23 There came at nightfall to the hostelry 24Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye24 Some nine and twenty in a company 25Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle25 Of sundry persons who had chanced to fall 26In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,26 In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all 27That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.27 That toward Canterbury town would ride. 28The chambres and the stables weren wyde,28 The rooms and stables spacious were and wide, 29And wel we weren esed atte beste;29 And well we there were eased, and of the best. 30And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,30 And briefly, when the sun had gone to rest, 31So hadde I spoken with hem everichon 31 So had I spoken with them, every one, 32That I was of hir felaweshipe anon, 32 That I was of their fellowship anon, 33And made forward erly for to ryse33 And made agreement that we'd early rise 34To take our wey, ther as I yow devyse.34 To take the road, as I will to you apprise. 35But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,35 But none the less, whilst I have time and space, 36Er that I ferther in this tale pace,36 Before yet further in this tale I pace, 37Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun37 It seems to me in accord with reason 38To telle yow al the condicioun38 To describe to you the state of every one 39Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,39 Of each of them, as it appeared to me, 40 And whiche they weren, and of what degree,40 And who they were, and what was their degree 41And eek in what array that they were inne;41 And even what clothes they were dressed in; 42And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.42 And with a knight thus will I first begin.

17 Canterbury Tales – 1 Natureingang: convention of medieval poetry The narrator wants to describe the pilgrims "acordaunt to resoun" (reason) in terms of: –"al the condicioun" (their physical appearances) –"whiche they weren" (character qualities) –"degree" (social standing and class) –"array" (clothes)

18 Canterbury Tales – 2 Character description by way of temperament (choleric, sanguineous, melancholic, phlegmatic; = medieval psychology)  The Reeve (choleric) by way of the philosophy they adhere to  The Franklin (Epicurean) by way of the physiognomy  The Summoner (ugly features betray an ugly soul) by way of profession  corn-stealing millers, corrupt merchants; satire of the estates by way of astrology  The Wife of Bath women's satire (The Wife of Bath) vs. saints' legends (Patient Griselda) by way of realistic description  the Cook's open sore

19 Canterbury Tales – 3 Variation and conflict between idealising and realistic traditions. E.g. Miller's Tale: combines two French fabliaux: misdirected kiss, second flood. Subverts the traditions of descriptio (describing somebody from head to foot) and of amour courtois (knightly service to a married lady without consummating this love)

20 Canterbury Tales – 4 Parson, Knight and Plowman: idealised characters, close to medieval allegory – norm of satire: –Parson: unity of vita activa and vita contemplativa –Plowman: "parfit charité" (perfect charity) –Knight: Christian crusader, Christian virtues Narrator Chaucer: naïve, unreliable – involves, activates us: we have to form our own opinion  anti-didactic: we have to judge the reality presented ourselves (untypical of medieval writing)

21 Canterbury Tales – 5 Value system as the groundwork of Chaucer's tales: –some middle-class values (e.g., bourgeois perspective on the world of knights) –the aristocratic world –the Christian world –some antique pagan values (e.g., Stoic philosophy)

22 Canterbury Tales – 6 Narrative art: –conventions from different traditions –dramatic plot with a lot of dramatic action: speed and precipitation –'double surprise ending' –smoothly flowing verse End of Canterbury Tales: retractio revokes fabliau parts – characteristically ambivalent

23 The General Prologue, "The Knight" lines A Knyght ther was, and that a worthy man,43 A Knight there was, and what a gentleman, 44That fro the tyme that he first bigan44 Who, from the moment that he first began 45To riden out, he loved chivalrie,45 To ride about the world, loved chivalry, 46Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.46 Truth, honour, freedom and all courtesy. 47Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,47 Full worthy was he in his sovereign's war, 48And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,48 And therein had he ridden, no man more, 49As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,49 As well in Christendom as heathenesse, 50And evere honoured for his worthynesse.50 And honoured everywhere for worthiness. 51At Alisaundre he was, whan it was wonne.51 At Alexandria, in the winning battle he was there; 52Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne52 Often put in the place of hnoour, a chair. 53Aboven alle nacions in Pruce;53 Above all nations' knights in Prussia. 54In Lettow hadde he reysed, and in Ruce54 In Latvia raided he, and Russia, 55No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.55 No christened man so oft of his degree. 56In Gernade at the seege eek hadde he be56 In far Granada at the siege was he 57Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.57 Of Algeciras, and in Belmarie. 58At Lyeys was he and at Satalye,58 At Ayas was he and at Satalye 59Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete See59 When they were won; and on the Middle Sea 60At many a noble armee hadde he be.60 At many a noble meeting chanced to be.

24 The General Prologue, "The Knight" (ctd.) 61At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,61 Of mortal battles had he fought fifteen, 62And foughten for oure feith at Tramyssene62 And he'd fought for our faith at Tramissene 63 In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.63 Three times in duels, always killed his foe. 64This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also64 This self-same worthy knight had been also 65Somtyme with the lord of Palatye65 At one time with the lord of Palatye 66Agayn another hethen in Turkye.66 Against another heathen in Turkey: 67And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys;67 And always won he widespread fame for prize. 68And though that he were worthy, he was wys,68 Though so strong and brave, he was very wise 69And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.69 And of temper as meekly as a maid. 70He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde70 He never yet had any vileness said, 71In al his lyf unto no maner wight.71 In all his life, to whatsoever wight. 72He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.72 He was a truly perfect, noble knight. 73But, for to tellen yow of his array,73 But now, to tell you all of his array, 74His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.74 His steeds were good, but he was not gaily dressed. 75Of fustian he wered a gypon75 A tunic of simple cloth he possessed 76Al bismotered with his habergeoun, 76 Discoloured and stained by his habergeon; 77For he was late ycome from his viage,77 For he had lately returned from his voyage 78And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.78 And now was going on this pilgrimage.

25 The General Prologue, "The Squire" lines With hym ther was his sone, a yong Squier,79 With him there was his son, a young Squire, 80A lovyere and a lusty bacheler;80 A lover and a lively bachelor, 81With lokkes crulle, as they were leyd in presse.81 With locks well curled, as if they'd laid in press. 82Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.82 Some twenty years of age he was, I guess. 83Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,83 In stature he was of average length, 84And wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe.84 Wondrously active, agile, and great of strength. 85And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie85 He'd ridden sometime with the cavalry 86In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Pycardie,86 In Flanders, in Artois, and Picardy, 87And born hym weel, as of so litel space,87 And conducted well within that little space 88In hope to stonden in his lady grace.88 In hope to win thereby his lady's grace. 89Embrouded was he, as it were a meede,89 Embroidered he was, as if he were a meadow bright, 90Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede;90 All full of fresh-cut flowers red and white. 91Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day,91 Singing he was, or whistling, all the day; 92He was as fressh as is the monthe of May.92 He was as fresh as is the month of May. 93Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde.93 Short was his gown, with sleeves both long and wide. 94Wel koude he sitte on hors, and faire ryde.94 Well could he sit on horse, and fairly ride. 95He koude songes make, and wel endite95 He could make songs and words thereto indite, 96Juste, and eek daunce, and weel purtreye and write.96 Joust, and dance too, as well as sketch and write. 97So hoote he lovede, that by nyghtertale97 So hot he loved that, while night told her tale, 98He slepte namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale.98 He slept no more than does a nightingale. 99Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable,99 Courteous he, and humble, willing and able, 100And carf biforn his fader at the table.100 And carved before his father at the table.

26 The General Prologue, "The Yeoman" lines A yeman hadde he and servantz namo 101 A Yeoman had he at his side, 102At that tyme, for hym liste ride soo; 102 No more servants, for he chose so to ride; 103And he was clad in cote and hood of grene. 103 And he was clothed in coat and hood of green. 104A sheef of pecok arwes, bright and kene 104 A sheaf of peacock arrows bright and keen 105Under his belt he bar ful thriftily, 105 Under his belt he bore very carefully 106(Wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly: 106 (Wel could he keep his gear yeomanly: 107Hise arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe) 107 His arrows had no drooped feathers low), 108And in his hand he baar a myghty bowe. 108 And in his hand he bore a mighty bow. 109A not heed hadde he, with a broun visage, 109 A cropped head had he and a sun-browned face. 110Of woodecraft wel koude he al the usage. 110 Of woodcraft he knew all the useful ways. 111Upon his arm he baar a gay bracer, 111 Upon his arm he bore a bright bracer, 112And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler, 112 And at one side a sword and a buckler, 113And on that oother syde a gay daggere 113 And at the other side a dagger bright, 114Harneised wel and sharpe as point of spere. 114 Well sheathed and sharp as a spear's point in the light; 115A Cristopher on his brest of silver sheene. 115 A Christopher medal on his breast of silver sheen. 116An horn he bar, the bawdryk was of grene; 116 He bore a horn, the baldric all of green; 117A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse. 117 A forester he truly was, I guess.

27 The General Prologue, "The Prioress" lines Ther was also a Nonne, a Prioresse,118 There was also a nun, a Prioress, 119That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;119 Who, in her smiling, modest was and coy; 120Hir gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy;120 Her greatest oath was but "By Saint Eloy!" 121And she was cleped Madame Eglentyne.121 And she was called Madam Eglantine. 122Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,122 Very well she sang the service divine, 123Entuned in hir nose ful semely,123 Intoning through her nose, becomingly; 124And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,124 And she spoke French fairly and fluently, 125After the scole of Stratford-atte-Bowe,125 After the school of Stratford-at-the-Bow, 126For Frenssh of Parys was to hir unknowe.126 For French of Paris style she didn't know. 127At mete wel ytaught was she with alle:127 At table her manners were well taught withall, 128She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,128 And never let morsels from her lips fall, 129Ne wette hir fyngres in hir sauce depe;129 Nor dipped her fingers deep in sauce, but ate 130Wel koude she carie a morsel, and wel kepe130 With so much care the food upon her plate 131That no drope ne fille upon hir brist.131 That no drop could fall upon her breast. 132In curteisie was set ful muche hir list.132 In courtesy she had delight and zest. 133Hire over-lippe wyped she so clene133 Her upper lip was always wiped so clean 134That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene134 That on her cup no speck or spot was seen 135 Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.135 Of grease, when she had drunk her draught of wine. 136 Ful semely after hir mete she raughte.136 Graciously she reached for food to dine. 137And sikerly, she was of greet desport,137 And certainly delighting in good sport, 138And ful plesaunt, and amyable of port,138 She was very pleasant, amiable – in short. 139And peyned hir to countrefete cheere139 She was in pains to imitate the cheer

28 The General Prologue, "The Prioress" (ctd.) 140Of court, and been estatlich of manere, 140 Of courtliness, and stately manners here, 141And to ben holden digne of reverence. 141 And would be held worthy of reverence. 142But, for to speken of hir conscience, 142 But, to speak about her moral sense, 143She was so charitable and so pitous 143 She was so charitable and solicitous 144She wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous 144 That she would weep if she but saw a mouse 145Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde. 145 Caught in a trap, whether it were dead or bled. 146Of smale houndes hadde she, that she fedde 146 She had some little dogs, that she fed 147With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed. 147 On roasted flesh, or milk and fine white bread. 148But soore weep she if oon of hem were deed, 148 But sorely she wept if one of them were dead, 149Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte; 149 Or if men smote it with a stick to smart: 150And al was conscience, and tendre herte. 150 Then pity ruled her, and her tender heart. 151Ful semyly hir wympul pynched was, 151 Very seemly her pleated wimple was; 152Hire nose tretys, hir eyen greye as glas, 152 Her nose was fine; her eyes were grey as glass; 153Hir mouth ful smal, and therto softe and reed; 153 Her mouth was small and therewith soft and red; 154But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed; 154 But certainly her forehead was fairly spread; 155 It was almoost a spanne brood, I trowe; 155 It was almost a full span broad, I own, 156 For hardily, she was nat undergrowe. 156 To tell the truth, she was not undergrown. 157Ful fetys was hir cloke, as I was war; 157 Her cloak, as I was well aware, had a graceful charm 158Of smal coral aboute hir arm she bar 158 She wore a small coral trinket on her arm 159A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene, 159 A string of beads and gauded all with green; 160 And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene, 160 And therefrom hung a brooch of golden sheen 161 On which ther was first write a crowned A, 161 Whereon there was engraved a crowned "A," 162And after Amor vincit omnia. 162 And under, Amor vincit omnia.

29 The General Prologue, "The Wife of Bath" lines A good Wif was ther, of biside Bathe, 447 There was a Wife of Bath, or a near city, 448But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe. 448 Who was somewhat deaf, it is a pity. 449Of clooth-makying she hadde swich an haunt, 449 At making clothes she had a skilful hand 450She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt. 450 She bettered those of Ypres and of Ghent. 451In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon 451 In all the parish there was no wife to go 452That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon; 452 And proceed her in offering, it is so; 453And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she, 453 And if one did, indeed, so angry was she 454That she was out of alle charitee. 454 It put her out of all her charity. 455Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground; 455 Her head-dresses were of finest weave and ground; 456I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound 456 I dare swear that they weighed about ten pound 457That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed. 457 Which, on a Sunday, she wore on her head. 458Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed, 458 Her stockings were of the finest scarlet red, 459Ful streite yteyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe.459 Tightly fastened, and her shoes were soft and new. 460Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.460 Bold was her face, and fair, and red of hue. 461She was a worthy womman al hir lyve:461 She'd been respectable throughout her life, 462 Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,462 Married in church, husbands she had five, 463 Withouthen oother compaignye in youthe, -463 Not counting other company in youth; 464But therof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.464 But thereof there's no need to speak, in truth. 465And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;465 Three times she'd travelled to Jerusalem;

30 The General Prologue, "The Wife of Bath" (ctd.) 466She hadde passed many a straunge strem;466 And many a foreign stream she'd had to stem; 467At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne 467 At Rome she'd been, and she'd been in Boulogne, 468In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne. 468 In Spain at Santiago, and at Cologne. 469She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.469 She could tell much of wandering by the way: 470Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.470 Gap-toothed was she, it is the truth I say. 471Upon an amblere esily she sat,471 Upon a pacing horse easily she sat, 472Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat472 Wearing a large wimple, and over all a hat 473As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;473 As broad as is a buckler or a targe; 474A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,474 An overskirt was tucked around her buttocks large, 475And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.475 And her feet spurred sharply under that. 476In felawshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe.476 In company well could she laugh and chat. 477Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,477 The remedies of love she knew, perchance, 478For she koude of that art the olde daunce.478 For of that art she'd learned the old, old dance. General Prologue, "The Miller" 544Ther was also a Reve and a Millere,544 A Reeve and a Miller were also there; 545A Somnour and a Pardoner also,545 A Summoner, Manciple and Pardoner, 546A Maunciple, and myself – ther were namo.546 All these, beside myself, there were no more.

31 General Prologue, "The Miller" lines The Millere was a stout carl for the nones;547 The Miller was a strong fellow, be it known, 548Ful byg he was of brawn and eek of bones-548 Hardy, big of brawn and big of bone; 549That proved wel, for over al ther he cam 549 Which was well proved, for wherever a festive day 550At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram. 550 At wrestling, he always took the prize away. 551He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre, 551 He was stoutly built, broad and heavy; 552Ther was no dore that he nolde heve of harre, 552 He lifted each door from its hinges, that easy, 553Or breke it at a rennyng with his heed. 553 Or break it through, by running, with his head. 554His berd as any sowe or fox was reed, 554 His beard, as any sow or fox, was red, 555And therto brood, as though it were a spade. 555 And broad it was as if it were a spade. 556Upon the cop right of his nose he hade 556 Upon his nose right on the top he had 557A werte, and theron stood a toft of herys, 557 A wart, and thereon stood a tuft of hairs, 558Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys; 558 Red as the bristles in an old sow's ears; 559Hise nosethirles blake were and wyde. 559 His nostrils they were black and wide. 560A swerd and bokeler bar he by his syde. 560 A sword and buckler he carried by his side. 561His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys. 561 His mouth was like a furnace door for size. 562He was a janglere and a goliardeys, 562 He was a jester and knew some poetry, 563And that was moost of synne and harlotries. 563 But mostly all of sin and obscenity. 564Wel koude he stelen corn, and tollen thries; 564 He could steal corn and three times charge his fee; 565And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee. 565 And yet indeed he had a thumb of gold. 566A whit cote and a blew hood wered he. 566 A blue hood he wore and a white coat; 567A baggepipe wel koude he blowe and sowne, 567 A bagpipe he could blow well, up and down, 568And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.568 And with that same he brought us out of town.

32 The Miller's Tale The Miller's Tale is Chaucer's finest fabliau; indeed, it is the best of all the fabliaux in English or French. It embodies two widespread motifs – "The Misdirected Kiss." and the "Second Flood." (The Geoffrey Chaucer Page, Harvard University) The Miller, illustration courtesy of The Geoffrey Chaucer Page, Harvard University

33 "The Miller's Tale" lines : John the carpenter and his lodger Nicholas Heere bigynneth the Millere his Tale 79Whilom ther was dwellynge at Oxenford79 Once on a time was dwelling in Oxford 80A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to bord,80 A wealthy man who took in guests to board, 81And of his craft he was a carpenter.81 And of his craft he was a carpenter. 82With hym ther was dwellynge a poure scoler,82 A poor scholar was lodging with him there, 83Hadde lerned art, but al his fantasye83 Who'd learned the arts, but all his phantasy 84Was turned for to lerne astrologye,84 Was turned to study of astrology; 85And koude a certeyn of conclusions,85 And knew a certain set of theorems 86To demen by interrogaciouns,86 And could find out by various stratagems, 87If that men asked hym in certain houres87 If men but asked of him in certain hours 88 Whan that men sholde have droghte or elles 88 When they should have a drought or else shoures, have showers, 89Or if men asked hym what sholde bifalle89 Or if men asked of him what should befall 90Of every thyng; I may nat rekene hem alle.90 To anything; I cannot reckon them all. 91This clerk was cleped hende Nicholas.91 This clerk was called the clever Nicholas; 92Of deeme love he koude and of solas;92 Of secret loves he knew and their solace; 93And therto he was sleigh and ful privee,93 And he kept counsel, too, for he was sly 94And lyk a mayden meke for to see.94 And meek as any virgin passing by.

34 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 95A chambre hadde he in that hostelrye 95 He had a chamber in that hostelry, 96Allone, withouten any compaignye, 96 And lived alone there, without company, 97Ful fetisly ydight with herbes swoote; 97 All garnished with sweet herbs of good repute; 98And he hymself as sweete as is the roote 98 And he himself sweet-smelling as the root 99Of lycorys, or any cetewale. 99 Of licorice, valerian, or setwall. 100His Almageste, and bookes grete and smale, 100 His Almagest, and books both great and small, 101His astrelabie, longynge for his art, 101 His astrolabe, belonging to his art, 102His augrym stones layen faire apart, 102 His algorism stones – all laid apart 103On shelves couched at his beddes heed; 103 On shelves that ranged beside his lone bed's head; 104His presse ycovered with a faldyng reed 104 His press was covered with a cloth of red. 105And al above ther lay a gay sautrie. 105 And over all there lay a psaltery 106On which he made a-nyghtes melodie 106 Whereon he made an evening's melody, 107So swetely that all the chambre rong; 107 Playing so sweetly that the chamber rang; 108And Angelus ad virginem he song; 108 And Angelus ad virginem he sang; 109And after that he song the Kynges Noote. 109 And after that he warbled the King's Note: 110Ful often blessed was his myrie throte. 110 Often in good voice was his merry throat. 111And thus this sweete clerk his tyme spente 111 And thus this gentle clerk his leisure spends 112After his freendes fyndyng and his rente. 112 Supported by some income and his friends.

35 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) lines : The carpenter's marriage 113This carpenter hadde newe a wyf, 113 This carpenter had recently married a wife 114Which that he lovede moore than his lyf; 114 Whom he loved more than he loved his life; 115Of eighteteene yeer she was of age. 115 And she had become eighteen years of age. 116Jalous he was, and heeld hire narwe in cage, 116 Jealous he was and held her close in cage. 117For she was wylde and yong, and he was old, 117 For she was wild and young, and he was old, 118And demed hymself, been lik a cokewold. 118 And deemed himself as like to be cuckold. 119He knew nat Catoun, for his wit was rude, 119 He knew not Cato, for his lore was rude: 120That bad man sholde wedde his simylitude. 120 That vulgar man should wed similitude. 121Men sholde wedden after hire estaat, 121 A man should wed according to estate, 122For youth and elde is often at debaat. 122 For youth and age are often in debate. 123But sith that he was fallen in the snare, 123 But now, since he had fallen in the snare, 124Her moste endure, as oother folk, his care. 124 He must endure, like other folk, his care.

36 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) QU 2 – lines : Alison, the carpenter's wife 125Fair was this yonge wyf, and therwithal125 Fair was this youthful wife, and therewithal 126As any wezele hir body gent and smal.126As weasel's was her body slim and small. 127A ceynt she werede, barred al of silk,127A girdle wore she, barred and striped, of silk. 128A barmclooth as whit as morne milk128An apron, too, as white as morning milk 129Upon her lendes, ful of many a goore.129About her loins, and full of many a gore; 130Whit was hir smok, and broyden al bifoore130White was her smock, embroidered all before 131And eek bihynde, on hir coler aboute,131And even behind, her collar round about, 132Of col-blak silk, withinne and eek withoute.132Of coal-black silk, on both sides, in and out; 133The tapes of hir white voluper133The strings of the white cap upon her head 134Were of the same suyte of his coler;134Were, like her collar, black silk worked with thread, 135Hir filet brood of silk, and set ful hye.135Her fillet was of wide silk worn full high: 136And sikerly she hadde a likerous ye;136And certainly she had a lickerish eye. 137Ful smale ypulled were hire browes two,137She'd thinned out carefully her eyebrows two, 138And tho were bent and blake as any sloo.138And they were arched and black as any sloe. 139She was ful moore blisful on to see139She was a far more pleasant thing to see 140 Than is the newe pere-jonette tree,140Than is the newly budded young pear-tree; 141And softer than the wolle is of a wether.141And softer than the wool is on a wether. 142And by hir girdel heeng a purs of lether,142Down from her girdle hung a purse of leather,

37 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 143Tasseled with silk, and perled with latoun. 143 Tasselled with silk, with latten beading sown. 144In al this world, to seken up and doun, 144 In all this world, searching it up and down. 145There nys no man so wys that koude thenche 145 So gay a little doll, I well believe, 146So gay a popelote or swich a wenche. 146 Or such a wench, there's no man can conceive. 147Ful brighter was the shynyng of hir hewe 147 Far brighter was the brilliance of her hue 148Than in the Tour the noble yforged newe. 148 Than in the Tower the gold coins minted new. 149But of hir song, it was as loude and yerne 149 And songs came shrilling from her pretty head 150As any swalwe sittynge on a berne. 150 As from a swallow's sitting on a shed. 151Therto she koude skippe and make game, 151 Therewith she'd dance too, and could play and sham 152As any kyde or calf folwynge his dame. 152 Like any kid or calf about its dam. 153Hir mouth was sweete as bragot or the meeth, 153 Her mouth was sweet as bragget or as mead. 154Or hoord of apples leyd in hey or heeth. 154 Or hoard of apples laid in hay or weed. 155Wynsynge she was, as is a joly colt, 155 Skittish she was as is a pretty colt, 156Long as a mast, and upright as a bolt. 156 Tall as a staff and straight as a cross-bow bolt. 157A brooch she baar upon hir lowe coler, 157 A brooch she wore upon her collar low, 158As brood as is the boos of a bokeler. 158 As broad as boss of buckler did it show; 159Hir shoes were laced on hir legges hye. 159 Her shoes laced up to where a girl's legs thicken. 160She was a prymerole, a piggesnye, 160 She was a primrose, and a tender chicken 161For any lord to leggen in his bedde, 161 For any lord to lay upon his bed, 162Or yet for any good yeman to wedde. 162 Or yet for any good yeoman to wed.

38 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) lines : Nicholas courts Alison 163Now sire, and eft, sire, so bifel the cas,163Now sir, and then, sir, so befell the case, 164That on a day this hende Nicholas164That on a day this clever Nicholas 165Fil with this yonge wyf to rage and pleye,165Fell in with this young wife to toy and play, 166Whil that her housbonde was at Oseneye,166The while her husband was down Osney way, 167As clerkes ben ful subtile and ful queynte;167Clerks being as crafty as the best of us; 168And prively he caughte hire by the queynte,168And unperceived he caught her by the puss, 169And seyde, "Ywis, but if ich have my wille,169Saying: "Indeed, unless I have my will, 170For deerne love of thee, lemman, I spille."170For secret love of you, sweetheart, I'll spill." 171And heeld hire harde by the haunchebones,171And held her hard about the hips, and how! 172And seyde, "Lemman, love me al atones,172And said: "O darling, love me, love me now, 173Or I wol dyen, also God me save!"173Or I shall die, and pray you God may save!" 174And she sproong as a colt dooth in the trave,174And she leaped as a colt does in the trave, 175And with hir heed she wryed faste awey,175And with her head she twisted far away, 176And seyde, "I wol nat kisse thee, by my fey!176And said: "I will not kiss you, by my fay! 177Why, lat be," quod she, "lat be, Nicholas,177Why, let go," cried she, "let go, Nicholas! 178 Or I wol crie 'out harrow' and 'allas!'178Or I will call for help and cry 'alas!' 179Do wey youre handes, for youre curteisye!"179Do take your hands away, for courtesy!" 180This Nicholas gan mercy for to crye,180This Nicholas for mercy then did cry,

39 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 181And spak so faire, and profred him so faste, 181 And spoke so well, importuned her so fast 182That she hir love hym graunted atte laste, 182 That she her love did grant him at the last, 183And swoor hir ooth, by seint Thomas of Kent, 183 And swore her oath, by Saint Thomas of Kent, 184That she wol been at his comandement, 184 That she would be at his command, content, 185Whan that she may hir leyser wel espie. 185 As soon as opportunity she could spy. 186"Myn housbonde is so ful of jalousie 186 "My husband is so full of jealousy, 187That but ye wayte wel and been privee, 187 Unless you will await me secretly, 188I woot right wel I nam but deed," quod she. 188 I know I'm just as good as dead," said she. 189"Ye moste been ful deerne, as in this cas." 189 "You must keep all quite hidden in this case." 190"Nay, therof care thee noght," quod Nicholas. 190 "Nay, thereof worry not," said Nicholas, 191"A clerk hadde litherly biset his whyle, 191 "A clerk has lazily employed his while 192But if he koude a carpenter bigyle." 192 If he cannot a carpenter beguile." 193And thus they been accorded and ysworn 193 And thus they were agreed, and then they swore 194To wayte a tyme, as I have told biforn. 194 To wait a while, as I have said before. 195Whan Nicholas had doon thus everideel, 195 When Nicholas had done thus every whit 196And thakked hire about the lendes weel, 196 And patted her about the loins a bit, 197He kiste hire sweete and taketh his sawtrie, 197 He kissed her sweetly, took his psaltery, 198And pleyeth faste, and maketh melodie. 198 And played it fast and made a melody.

40 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) lines : Absalom, the parish clerk 199Thanne fil it thus, that to the paryssh chirche,199 Then fell it thus, that to the parish church, 200Cristes owene werkes for to wirche,200 The Lord Christ Jesus' own works for to work, 201This goode wyf went on a haliday.201 This good wife went, upon a holy day; 202Hir forheed shoon as bright as any day,202 Her forehead shone as bright as does the May, 203So was it wasshen whan she leet hir werk.203 So well she'd washed it when she left off work. 204Now was ther of that chirche a parissh clerk,204 Now there was of that church a parish clerk 205The which that was ycleped Absolon.205 Whose name was (as folk called him) Absalom. 206Crul was his heer, and as the gold it shoon,206 Curled was his hair, shining like gold, and from 207And strouted as a fanne large and brode;207 His head spread fanwise in a thick bright mop; 208Ful streight and evene lay his joly shode;208 'Twas parted straight and even on the top; 209His rode was reed, his eyen greye as goos.209 His cheek was red, his eyes grey as a goose; 210With Poules wyndow corven on his shoos,210 With Saint Paul's windows cut upon his shoes, 211In hoses rede he wente fetisly.211 He stood in red hose fitting famously. 212Yclad he was ful smal and proprely212 And he was clothed full well and properly 213Al in a kirtel of a lyght waget;213 All in a coat of blue, in which were let 214Ful faire and thikke been the poyntes set.214 Holes for the lacings, which were fairly set. 215And therupon he hadde a gay surplys215 And over all he wore a finde surplice 216As whit as is the blosme upon the rys.216 As white as ever hawthorn spray, and nice.

41 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 217As myrie child he was, so God me save.217 A merry lad he was, so God me save, 218Wel koude he laten blood and clippe and shave, 218 And well could he let blood, cut hair, and shave, 219And maken a chartre of lond or acquitaunce.219 And draw a deed or quitclaim, as might chance. 220In twenty manere koude he trippe and daunce220 In twenty manners could he trip and dance, 221After the scole of Oxenforde tho,221 After the school that reigned Oxford, though, 222 And with his legges casten to and fro,222 And with his two legs swinging to and fro; 223And pleyen songes on a smal rubible;223 And he could play upon a violin; 224Therto he song som tyme a loud quynyble;224 Thereto he sang in treble voice and thin; 225And as wel koude he pleye on a giterne.225 And as well could he play on his guitar. 226In al the toun nas brewhous ne taverne226 In all the town no inn was, and no bar, 227That he ne visited with his solas,227 That he'd not visited to make good cheer, 228Ther any gaylard tappestere was.228 Especially were lively barmaids there. 229But sooth to seyn, he was somdeel squaymous229 But, truth to tell, he was a bit squeamish 230Of fartyng, and of speche daungerous.230 Of farting and of arrogant language. lines : Absalom's affection for Alison 231This Absolon, that jolif was and gay,231 This Absalom, who was so light and gay, 232Gooth with a sencer on the haliday,232 Went with a censer on the holy day, 233Sensynge the wyves of the parisshe faste;233 Censing the wives like an enthusiast. 234And many a lovely look on hem caste,234 And on them many a loving look he cast,

42 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 235And namely on this carpenteris wyf.235 Especially on this carpenter's goodwife. 236To looke on hire hym thoughte a myrie lyf,236 To look at her he thought a merry life, 237She was so propre and sweete and likerous.237 She was so pretty, sweet, and lickerous. 238I dar wel seyn, if she hadde been a mous,238 I dare well say, if she had been a mouse 239And he the cat, he wolde hire hente anon.239 And he a cat, he would have mauled her some. 240This parissh clerk, this joly Absolon,240 This parish clerk, this lively Absalom 241Hath in his herte swich a love-longynge241 Had in his heart, now, such a love-longing 242That of no wyf took he noon offrynge;242 That from no wife took he an offering; 243For curteisie, he seyde, he wolde noon.243 For courtesy, he said, he would take none. 244The moone, whan it was nyght, ful brighte shoon,244 The moon, when it was night, full brightly shone, 245And Absolon his gyterne hath ytake,245 And his guitar did Absalom then take, 246For paramours he thoghte for to wake.246 For in love-watching he'd intent to wake. 247And forth he gooth, jolif and amorous,247 And forth he went, jolly and amorous, 248 Til he cam to the carpenters hous248 Until he came unto the carpenter's house 249A litel after cokkes hadde ycrowe,249 A little after cocks began to crow; 250And dressed hym up by a shot-wyndowe250 And took his stand beneath a shot-window 251That was upon the carpenteris wall.251 That was let into the good wood-wright's wall. 252He syngeth in his voys gentil and smal,252 He sang then, in his pleasant voice and small, 253"Now, deere lady, if thy wille be,253 "Oh now, dear lady, if your will it be, 254I praye yow that ye wole rewe on me,"254 I pray that you will have some ruth on me,"

43 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 255Ful wel acordaunt to his gyternynge.255 The words in harmony with his string-plucking. 256This carpenter awook, and herde him synge,256 This carpenter awoke and heard him sing, 257And spak unto his wyf, and seyde anon,257 And called unto his wife and said, in sum: 258"What! Alison! Herestow nat Absolon,258 "What, Alison! Do you hear Absalom, 259That chaunteth thus under oure boures wal?"259 Who plays and sings beneath our bedroom wall?" 260Ans she answerde hir housbonde therwithal,260 And she said to her husband, therewithal: 261"Yis, God woot, John, I heere it every deel."261 "Yes, God knows, John, I hear it, truth to tell." 262This passeth forth; what wol ye bet than weel?262 So this went on; what is there better than well? 263Fro day to day this july Absolon263 From day to day this pretty Absalom 264So woweth hire that hym is wo bigon.264 So wooed her he was woebegone therefrom. 265He waketh al the nyght and al the day;265 He lay awake all night and all the day; 266He kembeth his lokkes brode, and made hym gay;266 He combed his spreading hair and dressed him gay; 267He woweth hire by meenes and brocage,267 By go-betweens and agents, too, wooed he, 268And swoor he wolde been hir owene page;268 And swore her loyal page he'd ever be. 269He syngeth, brokkynge as a nyghtyngale;269 He sang as tremulously as nightingale; 270He sente hire pyment, meeth, and spiced ale,270 He sent her sweetened wine and well-spiced ale 271And wafres, pipying hoot out of the gleede;271 And waffles piping hot out of the fire, 272And, for she was of towne, he profred meede.272 And, she being town-bred, mead for her desire. 273For som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse,273 For some a won by means of money spent, 274And somme for strokes, and somme for gentilesse 274 And some by tricks, and some by long descent.

44 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 275Somtyme, to shewe his lightnesse and maistrye,275 Once, to display his versatility, 276He pleyeth Herodes upon a scaffold hye.276 He acted Herod on a scaffold high. 277But what availleth hym as in the cas?277 But what availed it him in any case? 278She loveth so this hende Nicholas278 She was enamoured so of Nicholas 279That Absolon may blowe the bukkes horn;279 That Absalom might go and blow his horn; 280He ne hadde for his labour but a scorn.280 He got naught for his labour but her scorn. 281And thus she maketh Absolon hire ape,281 And thus she made of Absalom her ape, 282And al his ernest turneth til a jape.282 And all his earnestness she made a jape. 283Ful sooth is this proverbe, it is no lye,283 For truth is in this proverb, and no lie, 284Men seyn right thus, 'Alwey the nye slye284 Men say well thus: It's always he that's nigh 285Maketh the ferre leeve to be looth.'285 That makes the absent lover seem a sloth. 286For though that Absolon be wood or wrooth,286 For now, though Absalom be wildly wroth, 287By cause that he fer was from hire sight,287 Because he is so far out of her sight, 288This nye Nicholas stood in his light.288 This handy Nicholas stands in his light. lines : Nicholas locks himself up 289Now ber thee wel, thou hende Nicholas,289 Now bear you well, you clever Nicholas! 290For Absolon may waille and synge 'allas.'290 For Absalom may wail and sing 'Alas!' 291And so bifel it on a Saturday,291 And so it chanced that on a Saturday

45 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 292This carpenter was goon til Osenay; 292 This carpenter departed to Osney; 293And hende Nicholas and Alison 293 And clever Nicholas and Alison 294Acorded been to this conclusioun, 294 Were well agreed to this effect: anon 295That Nicholas shal shapen hym a wyle 295 This Nicholas should put in play a while 296This sely jalous housbonde to bigyle; 296 The simple, jealous husband to beguile; 297And if so be the game wente aright, 297 And if it chanced the game should go a-right, 298She sholde slepen in his arm al nyght, 298 She was to sleep within his arms all night, 299For this was his desir and hire also. 299 For this was his desire, and hers also. 300And right anon, withouten wordes mo, 300 Presently then, and without more ado, 301This Nicholas no lenger wolde tarie, 301 This Nicholas, no longer did he tarry, 302But dooth ful softe unto his chambre carie 302 But softly to his chamber did he carry 303Bothe mete and drynke for a day or tweye, 303 Both food and drink to last at least a day, 304And to hire housbonde bad hire for to seye, 304 Saying that to her husband she should say - 305If that he axed after Nicholas, 305 If he should come to ask for Nicholas - 306She sholde seye she nyste where he was, 306 Why, she should say she knew not where he was, 307Of al that day she saugh hym nat with ye; 307 For all day she'd not seen him, far or nigh; 308She trowed that he was in maladye, 308 She thought he must have got some malady, 309For for no cry hir mayde koude hym calle, 309 Because in vain her maid would knock and call; 310He nolde answere for thyng that myghte falle. 310 He'd answer not, whatever might befall.

46 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 311This passeth forth al thilke Saterday 311 And so it was that all that Saturday 312That Nicholas stille in his chamber lay, 312 This Nicholas quietly in chamber lay, 313And eet and sleep, or dide what hym leste, 313 And ate and slept, or did what pleased him best, 314Til Sonday, that the sonne gooth to reste. 314 Till Sunday when the sun had gone to rest. 315This sely carpenter hath greet merveyle 315 This simple man with wonder heard the tale, 316Of Nicholas, or what thyng myghte hym eyle, 316 And marvelled what their Nicholas might ail, 317And seyde, "I am adrad, by Seint Thomas, 317 And said: "I am afraid, by Saint Thomas, 318It stondeth nat aright with Nicholas. 318 That everything's not well with Nicholas. 319God shilde that he deyde sodeynly! 319 God send he be not dead so suddenly! 320This world is now ful tikel, sikerly. 320 This world is most unstable, certainly; 321I saugh today a cors yborn to chirche 321 I saw, today, the corpse being carried to church 322That now, on Monday last, I saugh hym wirche. 322 Of one who, but last Monday, was at work. 323"Go up," quod he unto his knave anoon, 323 "Go up," said he unto his boy anon, 324"Clepe at his dore, or knokke with a stoon. 324 "Call at his door, or knock there with a stone, 325Looke how it is, and tel me boldely." 325 Learn how it is and boldly come tell me." 326This knave gooth hym up ful sturdily, 326 The servant went up, then, right sturdily, 327And at the chambre dore whil that he stood, 327 And at the chamber door, the while he stood, 328He cride and knokked as that he were wood, 328 He cried and knocked as any madman would - 329"What! how! what do ye, maister Nicholay? 329 "What! How! What do you, Master Nicholay? 330How may ye slepen al the longe day?" 330 How can you sleep through all the livelong day?"

47 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) lines : John the carpenter finds Nicholas and questions him 331But al for noghte, he herde nat a word. 331 But all for naught, he never heard a word; 332An hole he foond, ful lowe upon a bord, 332 A hole he found, low down upon a board, 333Ther as the cat was wont in for to crepe, 333 Through which the house cat had been wont to creep; 334And at that hole he looked in ful depe, 334 And to that hole he stooped, and through did peep, 335And at the laste he hadde of hym a sight. 335 And finally he ranged him in his sight. 336This Nicholas sat evere capyng upright, 336 This Nicholas sat gaping there, upright, 337As he had kiked on the newe moone. 337 As if he'd looked to long at the new moon. 338A doun he gooth, and tolde his maister soone 338 Downstairs he went and told his master soon 339In what array he saugh this ilke man. 339 In what array he'd found this self-same man. 340This carpenter to blessen hym bigan, 340 This carpenter to cross himself began, 341And seyde, "Help us, seinte Frydeswyde! 341 And said: "Now help us, holy Frideswide! 342A man woot litel what hym shal bityde. 342 Little a man can know what shall betide. 343This man is falle, with his astromye, 343 This man is fallen, with his astromy, 344In som woodnesse or in som agonye, 344 Into some madness of some agony; 345I thoghte ay wel how that it sholde be! 345 I always feared that somehow this would be! 346Men sholde nat knowe of Goddes pryvetee. 346 Men should not meddle in God's privity. 347Ye, blessed be alwey a lewed man 347 Aye, blessed always be the ignorant man, 348That noght but oonly his bileve kan! 348 Whose creed is all he ever has to scan!

48 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 349So ferde another clerk with astromye;349 So fared another clerk with astromy; 350He walked in the feeldes, for to prye350 He walked into the meadows for to pry 351Upon the sterres, what ther sholde bifalle,351 Into the stars, to learn what should befall, 352Til he was in a marle-pit yfalle;352 Until into a clay-pit he did fall; 353He saugh nat that. But yet, by seint Thomas,353 He saw not that. But yet, by Saint Thomas, 354Me reweth soore of hende Nicholas.354 I'm sorry for this clever Nicholas. 355He shal be rated of his studiyng,355 He shall be scolded for his studying, 356If that I may, Jhesus, hevene kyng!356 If not too late, by Jesus, Heaven's King! 357Get me a staf, that I may underspore,357 Get me a staff, that I may pry before, 358Whil that thou, Robyn, hevest up the dore.358 The while you, Robin, heave against the door. 359He shal out of his studiyng, as I gesse."359 We'll take him from his studying, I guess." 360And to the chambre dore he gan hym dresse.360 And on the chamber door, then, he did press. 361His knave was a strong carl for the nones,361 His servant was a stout lad, if a dunce, 362And by the haspe he haaf it of atones;362 And by the hasp he heaved it up at once; 363Into the floor the dore fil anon.363 Upon the floor that portal fell anon. 364This Nicholas sat ay as stille as stoon,364 This Nicholas sat there as still as stone, 365And evere caped upward into the eir.365 Gazing, with gaping mouth, straight up in air. 366This carpenter wende he were in despeir,366 This carpenter thought he was in despair, 367And hente hym by the sholdres myghtily367 And took him by the shoulders, mightily, 368And shook him harde, and cride spitously,368 And shook him hard, and cried out, vigorously:

49 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 369"What! Nicholay! what, how! what, looke adoun! 369 "What! Nicholay" Why how now! Come, look down! 370Awak, and thenk on Christes passioun!370 Awake, and think on Jesus' death and crown! 371I crouche thee from elves and fro wightes."371 I cross you from all elves and magic wights!" 372Therwith the nyght-spel seyde he anon-rightes372 And then the night-spell said he out, by rights, 373On foure halves of the hous aboute,373 At the four corners of the house about, 374And on the tresshfold of the dore withoute:374 And at the threshold of the door, without: - 375"Jhesu Crist and seinte Benedight,375 "O Jesus Christ and good Saint Benedict, 376Blesse this hous from every wikked wight,376 Protect this house from all that may afflict, 377For nyghtes verye, the white pater-noster!377 For the night hag the white Paternoster! - 378Where wentestow, seinte Petres soster?"378 Where hast thou gone, Saint Peter's sister?" 379And atte laste this hende Nicholas379 And at the last this clever Nicholas 380Gan for to sike soore, and seyde, "Allas!380 Began to sigh full sore, and said: "Alas! 381Shal al the world be lost eftsoones now?"381 Shall all the world be lost so soon again?" 382This carpenter answerde, "What seystow?382 This carpenter replied: "What say you, then? 383What! Thynk on God, as we doon, men that swynke." 383 What! Think on God, as we do, men that swink." 384This Nicholas answerde, "Fecche me drynke,384 This Nicholas replied: "Go fetch me drink; 385And after wol I speke in pryvetee385 And afterward I'll tell you privately 386Of certeyn thyng that toucheth me and thee.386 A certain thing concerning you and me; 387I wol telle it noon oother man, certeyn."387 I'll tell it to no other man or men."

50 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) lines : Nicholas' story about Noah's flood 388This carpenter gooth doun, and comth ageyn,388 This carpenter went down and came again, 389And broghte of myghty ale a large quart;389 And brought of potent ale a brimming quart; 390And whan that ech of hem had dronke his part,390 And when each one of them had drunk his part, 391This Nicholas his dore faste shette,391 Nicholas shut the door fast, and with that 392And doun the carpenter by hym he sette.392 He drew a seat and near the carpenter sat. 393He seyde "John, myn hooste, lief and deere,393 He said: "Now, John, my good host, lief and dear, 394Thou shalt upon thy trouthe swere me heere394 You must upon your true faith swear, right here, 395That to no wight thou shalt this conseil wreye;395 That to no man will you this word betray; 396For it is Cristes conseil that I seye,396 For it is Christ's own word that I will say, 397And if thou telle it man, thou art forlore;397 And if you tell a man, you're ruined quite; 398For this vengeaunce thou shalt han therfore,398 This punishment shall come to you, of right, 399That if thou wreye me, thou shalt be wood."399 That if you're traitor you'll go mad – and should!" 400"Nay, Crist forbede it, for his hooly blood!"400 "Nay, Christ forbid it, for His holy blood!" 401Quod tho this sely man, "I nam no labbe;401 Said then this simple man: "I am no blab, 402Ne, though I seye, I nam nat lief to gabbe.402 Nor, though I say it, am I fond of gab. 403Sey what thou wolt, I shal it nevere telle403 Say what you will, I never will it tell 404To child ne wyf, by hym that harwed helle!"404 To child or wife, by Him that harried Hell!" 405"Now John," quod Nicholas, "I wol nat lye;405 "Now, John," said Nicholas, "I will not lie;

51 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 406I have yfounde in myn astrologye,406 But I've found out, from my astrology, 407As I have looked in the moone bright,407 As I have looked upon the moon so bright, 408That now a Monday next, at quarter nyght,408 That now, come Monday next, at nine of night, 409Shal falle a reyn, and that so wilde and wood,409 Shall fall a rain so wildly mad as would 410That half so greet was nevere Noes flood.410 Have been, by half, greater than Noah's flood. 411This world," he seyde, "in lasse than an hour411 This world," he said, "in less time than an hour, 412Shal al be dreynt, so hidous is the shour.412 Shall all be drowned, so terrible is this shower; 413Thus shal mankynde drenche, and lese hir lyf."413 Thus shall all mankind drown and lose all life." 414This carpenter answerde, "Allas, my wif!414 This carpenter replied: "Alas, my wife! 415And shal she drenche? Allas, myn Alisoun!"415 And shall she drown? Alas, my Alison!" 416For sorwe of this fil almoost adoun,416 For grief of this he almost fell. Anon 417And seyde, "Is ther no remedie in this cas?"417 He said: "Is there no remedy in this case?" 418"Why, yis, for Gode," quod hende Nicholas,418 "Why yes, good luck," said clever Nicholas, 419"If thou wolt werken after loore and reed.419 "If you will work by counsel of the wise; 420Thou mayst nat werken after thyn owene heed;420 You must not act on what your wits advise. 421For thus seith Salomon, that was ful trewe,421 For so says Solomon, and it's all true, 422'Werk al by conseil, and thou shalt not rewe.'422 'Work by advice and thou shalt never rue.' 423And if thou werken wolt by good conseil,423 And if you'll act as counselled and not fail, 424I undertake, withouten mast and seyl,424 I undertake, without a mast or sail,

52 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 425Yet shal I saven hire and thee and me. 425 To save us all, aye you and her and me. 426Hastow nat herd hou saved was Noe, 426 Haven't you heard of, Noah, how saved was he, 427Whan that oure Lord hadde warned hym biforn 427 Because Our Lord had warned him how to keep 428That al the world with water sholde be lorn?" 428 Out of the flood that covered earth so deep?" 429"Yis," quod this Carpenter, "ful yoore ago." 429 "Yes," said this carpenter, "long years ago." 430"Hastou nat herd," quod Nicholas, "also 430 "Have you not heard," asked Nicholas, "also 431The sorwe of Noe with his felawshipe, 431 The sorrows of Noah and his fellowship 432Er that he myghte gete his wyf to shipe? 432 In getting his wife to go aboard the ship? 433Hym hadde be levere, I dar wel undertake, 433 He would have rather, I dare undertake, 434At thilke tyme, than alle wetheres blake 434 At that time, and for all the weather black, 435That she hadde had a ship hirself allone. 435 That she had one ship for herself alone. 436And therfore, woostou what is best to doone? 436 Therefore, do you know what would best be done? 437This asketh haste, and of an hastif thyng 437 This thing needs hast, and of a hasty thing 438Men may nat preche or maken tariyng. 438 Men must not preach nor do long tarrying. lines : Nicholas advises the carpenter to prepare for the flood 439"Anon go gete us faste into this in 439 "Presently go, and fetch here to this inn 440A knedyng-trogh, or ellis a kymelyn, 440 A kneading-tub, or brewing vat, and win 441For ech of us, but looke that they be large, 441 One each for us, but see that they are large,

53 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 442In which we mowe swymme as in a barge,442 Wherein we may swim out as in a barge, 443And han therinne vitaille suffisant443 And have therein sufficient food and drink 444But for a day – fy on the remenant!444 For one day only; that's enough, I think. 445The water shal aslake und goon away445 That water will dry up and flow away 446About pryme upon the nexte day.446 About the prime of the succeeding day. 447But Robyn may nat wite of this, thy knave,447 But Robin must not know of this, your knave, 448Ne eek thy mayde Gille I may nat save;448 And even Jill, your maid, I may not save; 449Axe nat why, for though thou aske me,449 Ask me not why, for though you do ask me, 450I wol nat tellen Goddes pryvetee.450 I will not tell you of God's privity. 451Suffiseth thee, but if thy wittes madde,451 Suffice you, then, unless your wits are mad, 452To han as greet a grace as Noe hadde.452 To have as great a grace as Noah had. 453Thy wyf shal I wel saven, out of doute.453 Your wife I shall not lose, there is no doubt, 454Go now thy wey, and speed thee heer-aboute.454 Go, now, your way, and speedily about, 455"But whan thou hast, for hire and thee and me,455 But when you have, for you and her and me, 456Ygeten us thise knedyng-tubbes three,456 Procured these kneading-tubs, or beer-vats, three, 457Thanne shaltow hange hem in the roof ful hye,457 Then you shall hang them near the roof-tree high, 458 That no man of oure purveiaunce espye.458 That no man our purveyance may espy. 459And whan thou thus hast doon, as I have seyd,459 And when you thus have done, as I have said, 460And hast oure vitaille faire in hem yleyd460 And have put in our drink and meat and bread,

54 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 461And eek an ax, to smyte the corde atwo,461 Also an axe to cut the ropes in two 462Whan that the water comth, that we may go,462 When the flood comes, that we may float and go, 463And breke an hole an heigh, upon the gable,463 And cut a hole, high up, upon the gable, 464Unto the gardyn-ward, over the stable,464 Upon the garden side, over the stable, 465That we may frely passen forth oure way,465 That we may freely pass forth on our way 466Whan that the grete shour is goon away,466 When the great rain and flood are gone that day - 467Thanne shaltou swymme as myrie, I undertake,467 Then shall you float as merrily, I'll stake, 468As dooth the white doke after hire drake.468 As does the white duck after the white drake. 469Thanne wol I clepe, 'How, Alison! how, John469 Then I will call, 'Ho, Alison! Ho, John! 470Be myrie, for the flood wol passe anon.'470 Be cheery, for the flood will pass anon.' 471And thou wolt seyn, 'Hayl, maister Nicholay!471 And you will say, 'Hail. Master Nicholay! 472Good morwe, I see thee wel, for it is day.'472 Good morrow, I see you well, for it is day!' 473And thanne shul we be lordes al oure lyf473 And then shall we be barons all our life 474Of al the world, as Noe and his wyf.474 Of all the world, like Noah and his wife. 475But of o thyng I warne thee ful right:475 But of one thing I warn you now, outright. 476Be wel avysed on that ilke nyght476 Be well advised, that on that very night 477 That we ben entred into shippes bord,477 When we have reached our ships and got aboard, 478That noon of us ne speke nat a word,478 Not one of us must speak or whisper word, 479Ne clepe, ne crie, but be in his preyere;479 Nor call, nor cry, but sit in silent prayer;

55 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 480For it is Goddes owene heeste deere.480 For this is God's own bidding, hence – don't dare! 481"Thy wyf and thou moote hange fer atwynne;481 "Your wife and you must hang apart, that in 482For that bitwixe yow shal be no synne,482 The night shall come no chance for you to sin 483Namoore in lookyng than ther shal in deede,483 Either in looking or in carnal deed. 484This ordinance is seyd. Go, God thee speede!484 These orders I have told you, go, God speed! 485Tomorwe at nyght, whan men ben alle aslepe,485 Tomorrow night, when all men are asleep, 486Into oure knedyng-tubbes wol we crepe,486 Into our kneading-tubs will we three creep 487And sitten there, abidyng Goddes grace.487 And sit there, still, awaiting God's high grace. 488Go now thy wey, I have no lenger space488 Go, now, your way, I have no longer space 489To make of this no lenger sermonyng.489 Of time to make a longer sermoning. 490Men seyn thus, 'sende the wise, and sey no thyng.' 490 Men say thus: 'Send the wise and say no thing.' 491Thou art so wys, it needeth thee nat teche.491 You are so wise it needs not that I teach; 492Go, save oure lyf, and that I the biseche."492 Go, save our lives, and that I do beseech." lines : The carpenter prepares for the flood 493This sely carpenter goth forth his wey.493 This foolish carpenter went on his way. 494Ful ofte he seide "Allas" and "weylawey,"494 Often he cried "Alas!" and "Welaway!" 495And to his wyf he tolde his pryvetee,495 And to his wife he told all, privately; 496And she was war, and knew it bet than he,496 But she was better taught thereof than he

56 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 497What als his queynte cast was for to seye.497 How all this rigmarole was to apply. 498But natheless she ferde as she wolde deye,498 Nevertheless she acted as she'd die, 499And seyde, "Allas! go forth thy wey anon,499 And said: "Alas! Go on your way anon, 500Help us to scape, or we been dede echon!500 Help us escape, or we are lost, each one; 501I am thy trewe, verray wedded wyf;501 I am your true and lawfully wedded wife; 502Go, deere spouse, and help to save oure lyf."502 Go, my dear spouse, and help to save our life." 503Lo, with a greet thyng is affeccioun!503 Lo, what a great thing is affection found! 504Men may dyen of ymaginacioun,504 Men die of imagination, I'll be bound, 505So depe may impressioun be take.505 So deep an imprint may the spirit take. 506This sely carpenter bigynneth quake;506 This hapless carpenter began to quake; 507Hym thynketh verraily that he may see507 He thought now, verily, that he could see 508Noees flood come walwynge as the see508 Old Noah's flood come wallowing like the sea 509To drenchen Alisoun, his hony deere.509 To drown his Alison, his honey dear. 510He wepeth, weyleth, maketh sory cheere;510 He wept, he wailed, he made but sorry cheer, 511He siketh with ful many a sory swogh;511 He sighed and made full many a sob and sough. 512He gooth and geteth hym a knedyng-trogh,512 He went and got himself a kneading-trough 513 And after that a tubbe and a kymelyn,513 And, after that, two tubs he somewhere found 514And pryvely he sente hem to his in,514 And to his dwelling privately sent round, 515And heng hem in the roof in pryvetee.515 And hung them near the roof, all secretly.

57 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 516His owene hand he made laddres thre, 516 With his own hand, then, made he ladders three, 517To clymben by the ronges and the stalkes 517 To climb up by the rungs thereof, it seems, 518Unto the tubbes hangynge in the balkes, 518 And reach the tubs left hanging to the beams; 519And hem vitailled, bothe trogh and tubbe, 519 And those he victualled, tubs and kneading-trough, 520With breed and chese, and good ale in a jubbe, 520 With bread and cheese and good jugged ale, enough 521Suffisynge right ynogh as for a day. 521 To satisfy the needs of one full day. 522But er that he hadde maad al this array, 522 But ere he'd put all this in such array, 523He sente his knave, and eek his wenche also, 523 He sent his servants, boy and maid, right down 524Upon his nede to London for to go. 524 Upon some errand into London town. 525And on the Monday, whan it drow to nyght, 525 And on the Monday, when it came on night, 526He shette his dore withoute candel-lyght, 526 He shut his door, without a candle-light, 527And dressed alle thyng as it sholde be. 527 And ordered everything as it should be. 528And shortly, up they clomben alle thre; 528 And shortly after up they climbed, all three; 529They seten stille wel a furlong way. 529 They sat while one might plow a furlong-way. lines : Nicholas and Alison go to bed 530 "Now, Pater-noster, clom!" seyde Nicholay, 530 "Now, by Our Father, hush!" said Nicholay, 531And "Clom," quod John, and "clom," seyde 531 And "Hush!" said John, and "Hush!" said Alison. Alisoun.

58 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 532This carpenter seyde his devocioun,532 This carpenter, his loud devotions done, 533And stille he sit, and biddeth his preyere,533 Sat silent, saying mentally a preyer, 534Awaitynge on the reyn, if he it heere.534 And waiting for the rain, to hear it there. 535The dede sleep, for wery bisynesse,535 The deathlike sleep of utter weariness 536Fil on this carpenter right, as I gesse,536 Fell on this wood-wright even, as I guess 537Aboute corfew-tyme, or litel moore;537 About the curfew time, or little more; 538For travaille of his goost he groneth soore538 For travail of his spirit he groaned sore, 539And eft he routeth, for his heed myslay.539 And soon he snored, for badly his head lay. 540Doun of the laddre stalketh Nicholay,540 Down by the ladder crept this Nicholay, 541And Alisoun ful softe adoun she spedde;541 And Alison, right softly down she sped. 542Withouten wordes mo they goon to bedde,542 Without more words they went and got in bed 543Ther as the carpenter is wont to lye.543 Even where the carpenter was wont to lie. 544Ther was the revel and the melodye;544 There was the revel and the melody! 545And thus lith Alison and Nicholas,545 And thus lie Alison and Nicholas, 546In bisynesse of myrthe and of solas,546 In joy that goes by many an alias, 547Til that the belle of laudes gan to rynge,547 Until the bells for lauds began to ring 548 And freres in the chauncel gonne synge.548 And friars to the chancel went to sing.

59 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) lines : Absalom's plan to court Alison 549This parissh clerk, this amorous Absolon, 549 This parish clerk, this amorous Absalom, 550That is for love alwey so wo bigon, 550 Whom love has made so woebegone and dumb, 551Upon the Monday was at Oseneye 551 Upon the Monday was down Osney way, 552With compaignye, hym to disporte and pleye, 552 With company, to find some sport and play; 553And axed upon cas a cloisterer 553 And there he chanced to ask a cloisterer, 554Ful prively after John the carpenter; 554 Privately, after John the carpenter. 555And he drough hym apart out of the chirche, 555 This monk drew him apart, out of the kirk, 556And seyde, "I noot, I saugh hym heere nat wirche 556 And said: "I have not seen him here at work. 557Syn Saterday; I trowe that he be went 557 Since Saturday; I think well that he went 558For tymber, ther oure abott hath hym sent; 558 For timber, that the abbot has him sent; 559For he is wont for tymber for to go, 559 For he is wont for timber thus to go, 560And dwellen at the grange a day or two; 560 Remaining at the grange a day or so; 561Or elles he is at his hous, certeyn. 561 Or else he's surely at his house today; 562Where that he be, I kann nat soothly seyn." 562 But which it is I cannot truly say." 563This Absolon ful joly was and light, 563 This Absalom right happy was and light, 564And thoghte, "Now is tyme to wake al nyght; 564 And thought: "Now is the time to wake all night; 565 For sikirly I saugh hym nat stirynge 565 For certainly I saw him not stirring 566Aboute his dore, syn day bigan to sprynge. 566 About his door since day began to spring.

60 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 567So moot I thryve, I shal, at cokkes crowe,567 So may I thrive, as I shall, at cock's crow, 568Ful pryvely knokken at his wyndowe568 Knock cautiously upon that window low 569That stant ful lowe upon his boures wal.569 Which is so placed upon his bedroom wall. 570To Alison now wol I tellen al570 To Alison then will I tell of all 571My love-longynge, for yet I shal nat mysse571 My love-longing, and thus I shall not miss 572That at the leeste wey I shal hire kisse.572 That at the least I'll have her lips to kiss. 573Som maner confort shal I have, parfay.573 Some sort of comfort shall I have, I say. 574My mouth hath icched al this longe day;574 My mouth's been itching all this livelong day; 575That is a signe of kissyng atte leeste.575 That is a sign of kissing at the least. 576Al nyght me mette eek I was at a feeste.576 All night I dreamed, too, I was at a feast. 577Therfore I wol go slepe an houre or tweye,577 Therefore I'll go and sleep two hours away 578And al the nyght thanne wol I wake and pleye."578 And all this night then will I wake and play." lines : Absalom attracts Alison's attention 579Whan that the firste cok hathe crowe, anon579 And so when time of first cock-crow was come, 580Up rist this joly lovere Absolon,580 Up rose this merry lover, Absalom, 581And hym arraieth gay, at poynt-devys.581 And dressed him gay and all at point-device, 582But first he cheweth greyn and lycorys,582 But first he chewed some licorice and spice 583 To smellen sweete, er he hadde kembd his heer.583 So he'd smell sweet, ere he had combed his hair.

61 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 584Under his tonge a trewe-love he beer,584 Under his tongue some bits of true-love rar, 585For therby wende he to ben gracious.585 For thereby thought he to be more gracious. 586He rometh to the carpenteres hous,586 He went, then, to the carpenter's dark house. 587And stille he stant under the shot-wyndowe And silent stood beneath the shot-window; 588Unto his brest it raughte, it was so lowe Unto his breast it reached, it was so low; 589And softe he cougheth with a semy soun:589 And he coughed softly, in a low half tone: 590"What do ye, hony-comb, sweete Alisoun,590 "What do you, honeycomb, sweet Alison? 591My faire bryd, my sweete cynamome?591 My cinnamon, my fair bird, my sweetie, 592Awaketh, lemman myn, and speketh to me!592 Awake, O darling mine, and speak to me! 593Wel lithel thynken ye upon me wo,593 It's little thought you give me and my woe, 594That for youre love I swete ther I go.594 Who for your love do sweat where'er I go. 595No wonder is thogh that I swelte and swete;595 Yet it's no wonder that I faint and sweat; 596I moorne as dooth a lamb after the tete.596 I long as does the lamb for mother's teat. 597Ywis, lemman, I have swich love-longynge,597 Truly, sweetheart, I have such love-longing 598That lik a turtel trewe is my moornynge.598 That like a turtle-dove's my true yearning; 599I may nat ete na moore than a mayde."599 And I can eat no more than can a maid."

62 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) QU 3 – lines : Absalom asks for a goodbye kiss 600"Go fro the wyndow, Jakke fool," she sayde; 600 "Go from the window, Jack-a-napes," she said, 601"As help me God, it wol not be 'com pa me.' 601 "For, s'help me God, it is not 'come kiss me.' 602I love another – and elles I were to blame I love another, or to blame I'd be, 603Wel bet than thee, by Jhesu, Absolon. 603 Better than you, by Jesus, Absalom! 604Go forth thy wey, or I wol caste a ston, 604 Go on your way, or I'll stone you therefrom, 605And lat me slepe, a twenty devel wey!" 605 And let me sleep, the fiends take you away!" 606"Allas," quod Absolon, "and weylawey, 606 "Alas," quoth Absalom, "and welaway! 607That trewe love was evere so yvel biset! 607 That true love ever was so ill beset! 608Thanne kysse me, syn it may be no bet, 608 But kiss me, since you'll do no more, my pet, 609For Jhesus love, and for the love of me." 609 For Jesus' love and for the love of me." 610"Wiltow thanne go thy wey therwith?" 610 "And will you go, then, on your way?" asked she, quod she. 611"Ye, certes, lemman," quod Absolon. 611 "Yes truly, darling," said this Absalom. 612 "Thanne make thee redy," quoth she, 612 "Then make you ready," said she, "and I'll come!" "I come anon." 613And unto Nicholas she seyde stille, 613 And unto Nicholas said she, low and still: 614 "Now hust, and thou shalt laughen al thy fille." 614 "Be silent now, and you shall laugh your fill."

63 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) lines : The kissing of bare arse 615This Absolon doun sette hym on his knees 615 This Absalom plumped down upon his knees, 616And seyde, "I am a lord at alle degrees; 616 And said: "I am a lord in all degrees; 617For after this I hope ther cometh moore. 617 For after this there may be better still 618Lemman, thy grace, and sweete bryd, thyn oore!" 618 Darling, my sweetest bird, I wait your will." 619The wyndow she undoth, and that in haste. 619 The window she unbarred, and that in haste. 620"Have do," quod she, "com of, and speed the faste, 620 "Have done," said she, "come on, and do it fast, 621Lest that oure neighebores thee espie." 621 Before we're seen by any neighbour's eye." 622This Absolon gan wype his mouth ful drie. 622 This Absalom did wipe his mouth all dry; 623Derk was the nyght as pich, or as a cole, 623 Dark was the night as pitch, aye dark as coal, 624And at the wyndow out she putte hir hole, 624 And through the window she put out her hole. 625And Absolon, hym fil no bet ne wers, 625 And Absalom no better felt nor worse, 626But with his mouth he kiste hir naked ers 626 But with his mouth he kissed her naked arse 627Ful savorly, er he were war of this. 627 Right greedily, before he knew of this. 628Abak he stirte, and thoughte it was amys, 628 Aback he leapt – it seemed somehow amiss, 629For wel he wiste a womman hath no berd. 629 For well he knew a woman has no beard; 630He felte a thyng al rough and long yherd, 630 He'd felt a thing all rough and longish haired, 631And seyde, "Fy! allas! what have I do?" 631 And said, "Oh fie, alas! What did I do?" 632"Tehee!" quod she, and clapte de wyndow to, 632 "Teehee!" she laughed, and clapped the window to;

64 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 633And Absolon gooth forth a sory pas. 633 And Absalom went forth a sorry pace. 634"A berd! a berd!" quod hende Nicholas, 634 "A beard! A beard!" cried clever Nicholas, 635"By Goddes corpus, this goth faire and weel." 635 "Now by God's corpus, this goes fair and well!" lines : Absalom searches for revenge 636This sely Absolon herde every deel, 636 This hapless Absalom, he heard that yell, 637And on his lippe he gan for anger byte, 637 And on his lip, for anger, he did bite; 638And to hymself he seyde, "I shall thee quyte." 638 And to himself he said, "I will requite!" 639Who rubbeth now, who froteth now his lippes 639 Who vigorously rubbed and scrubbed his lips 640With dust, with sond, with straw, with clooth, 640 With dust, with sand, with straw, with cloth, with chippes,with chips, 641But Absolon, that seith ful ofte, "Allas!" 641 But Absalom, and often cried "Alas! 642My soule bitake I unto Sathanas, 642 My soul I give now unto Sathanas, 643But me were levere than al this toun," quod he, 643 For rather far than own this town," said he, 644"Of this despit awroken for to be. 644 "For this despite, it's well revenged I'd be. 645Allas," quod he, "allas, I ne hadde ybleynt!" 645 Alas," said he, "from her I never blenched!" 646His hoote love was coold and al yqueynt, 646 His hot love was grown cold, aye and all quenched; 647For fro that tyme that he hadde kist her ers, 647 For, from the moment that he'd kissed her arse, 648Of paramours he sette nat a kers; 648 For paramours he didn't care a curse, 649For he was heeled of his maladie. 649 For he was healed of all his malady;

65 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 650Ful ofte paramours he gan deffie,650 Indeed all paramours he did defy, 651And weep as dooth a child that is ybete.651 And wept as does a child that has been beat. 652A softe paas he wente over the strete652 With silent step he went across the street 653Until a smyth men cleped daun Gerveys,653 Unto a smith whom men called Dan Jarvis, 654That in his forge smythed plough harneys;654 Who in his smithy forged plow parts, that is 655He sharpeth shaar and kultour bisily.655 He sharpened shares and coulters busily. 656This Absolon knokketh al esily,656 This Absalom he knocked all easily, 657And seyde, "Undo, Gerveys, and that anon."657 And said: "Unbar here, Jarvis, for I come." 658"What, who artow?" "It am I, Absolon."658 "What! Who are you?" "It's I, it's Absalom." 659"What! Absolon! For Cristes sweete tree,659 "What! Absalom! For Jesus Christ's sweet tree, 660Why rise ye so rathe? Ey, benedicitee!660 Why are you up so early? Ben'cite! 661What eyleth yow? Som gay gerl, God it woot, 661 What ails you now, man? Some gay girl, God knows, 662Hath broght yow thus upon the viritoot.662 Has brought you on the jump to my bellows; 663By seinte Note, ye woot wel what I mene."663 By Saint Neot, you know well what I mean." 664The Absolon ne roghte nat a bene664 This Absalom cared not a single bean 665Of all his pley; no word agayn he yaf;665 For all this play, nor one word back he gave; 666He hadde moore tow on his distaf666 He'd more tow on his distaff, had this knave, 667Than Gerveys knew, and seyde, "Freend so deere, 667 Than Jarvis knew, and said he: "Friend so dear, 668That hoote kultour in the chymenee heere,668 This red-hot coulter in the fireplace here,

66 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 669As lene it me, I have therwith to doone,669 Lend it to me, I have a need for it, 670And I wol brynge it thee agayn ful soone."670 And I'll return it after just a bit." 671Gerveys answerde, "Certes, were it gold,671 Jarvis replied: "Certainly, were it gold 672Or in a poke nobles alle untold,672 Or a purse filled with yellow coins untold, 673Thou shouldest have, as I am trewe smyth.673 Yet should you have it, as I am true smith; 674Ey, Cristes foo! What wol ye do therwith?"674 But eh, Christ's foe! What will you do therewith?" 675"Therof," quod Absolon, "be as be may.675 "Let that," said Absalom, "be as it may; 676I shal wel telle it thee to-morwe day" I'll tell you all tomorrow, when it's day" - 677And caughte the kultour by the colde stele,677 And caught the coulter then by the cold steel 678Ful softe out at the dore he gan to stele,678 And softly from the smithy door did steal 679And wente unto the carpenteris wal.679 And went again up to the wood-wright's wall. 680He cogheth first, and knokketh therwithal680 He coughed at first, and then he knocked withal 681Upon the wyndowe, right as he dide er.681 Upon the window, as before, with care. lines : Absalom returns to Alison's house 682This Alison answerde, "Who is ther682 This Alison replied: "Now who is there? 683That knokketh so? I warante it a theef."683 And who knocks so? I'll warrant it's a thief." 684"Why, nay," quod he, "God woot, my sweete 684 "Why no," quoth he, "God knows, my sweet leef,roseleaf,

67 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 685I am thyn Absolon, my deerelyng.685 I am your Absalom, my own darling! 686Of gold," quod he, "I have thee broght a ryng.686 Of gold," quoth he, "I have brought you a ring; 687My mooder yaf it me, so God me save;687 My mother gave it me, as I'll be saved; 688Ful fyn it is, and therto wel ygrave.688 Fine gold it is, and it is well engraved; 689This wol I yeve thee, if thou me kisse."689 This will I give you for another kiss." 690This Nicholas was risen for to pisse,690 This Nicholas had risen for a piss, 691And thoughte he wolde amenden al the jape;691 And thought that it would carry on the jape 692He sholde kisse his ers er that he scape.692 To have his arse kissed by this jack-a-nape. 693And up the wyndowe dide he hastily,693 And so he opened window hastily, 694And out his ers he putteth pryvely694 And put his arse out thereat, quietly, 695Over the buttok, to the haunche-bon;695 Over the buttocks, showing the whole bum; 696And therwith spak this clerk, this Absolon,696 And thereto said this clerk, this Absalom, 697"Spek, sweete bryd, I noot nat where thou art."697 "O speak, sweet bird, I know not where thou art." lines : Absalom's revenge 698This Nicholas anon leet fle a fart,698 This Nicholas just then let fly a fart 699As greet as it had been a thonder-dent,699 As loud as it had been a thunder-clap, 700That with the strook he was almoost yblent;700 And well-nigh blinded Absalom, poor chap; 701And he was redy with his iren hoot,701 But he was ready with his iron hot

68 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 702And Nicholas amydde the ers he smoot,702 And Nicholas right in the arse he got. 703Of gooth the skyn an hande brede about,703 Off went the skin a hand's-breadth broad, about, 704The hoote kultour brende so his toute,704 The coulter burned his bottom so, throughout, 705And for the smert he wende for to dye.705 That for the pain he thought that he should die. 706As he were wood, for wo he gan to crye,706 And like one mad he started in to cry, 707"Help! Water! Water! Help for Goddes herte!"707 "Help! Water! Water! For God's dear heart!" lines : The awakening of the carpenter 708This carpenter out of his slomber sterte,708 This carpenter out of his sleep did start, 709And herde oon crien 'water' as he were wood,709 Hearing that 'Water!' cried as madman would, 710And thoughte, "Allas, now comth Nowelis 710 And thought, "Alas, now comes down Noel's flood!" flood!" 711He sit hym up withouten wordes mo,711 He struggled up without another word 712And with his ax he smoot the corde atwo,712 And with his axe he cut in two the cord, 713And doun gooth al; he foond neither to selle,713 And down went all; he did not stop to trade 714Ne breed ne ale, til he cam to the celle714 In bread or ale till he'd the journey made, 715Upon the floor, and ther aswowne he lay.715 And there upon the floor he swooning lay. 716Up stirte hire Alison and Nicholay,716 Up started Alison and Nicholay 717And criden "Out" and "Harrow" in the strete.717 And shouted "Help!" and "Hello!" down the street.

69 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 718The neighebores, bothe smale and grete, 718 The neighbours, great and small, with hastening feet 719In ronnen for to gauren on this man, 719 Swarmed in the house to stare upon this man, 720That yet aswowne lay, bothe pale and wan, 720 Who lay yet swooning, and all pale and wan; 721For with the fal he brosten hadde his arm. 721 For in the falling he had smashed his arm. 722But stonde he moste unto his owene harm; 722 He had to suffer, too, another harm, 723For when he spak, he was anon bore doun 723 For when he spoke he was at once borne down 724With hende Nicholas and Alisoun. 724 By clever Nicholas and Alison. 725They tolden every man that he was wood, 725 For they told everyone that he was odd; 726He was agast so of Nowelis flood 726 He was so much afraid of "Noel's" flood, 727Thurgh fantasie, that of his vanytee 727 Through fantasy, that out of vanity 728He hadde yboght hym knedyng-tubbes thre, 728 He'd gone and bought these kneading-tubs, all three, 729 And hadde hem hanged in the roof above; 729 And that he'd hung them near the roof above; 730And that he preyed them, for Goddes love, 730 And that he had prayed them, for God's dear love, 731To sitten in the roof, par compaignye. 731 To sit with him and bear him company. 732The folk gan laughen at his fantasye; 732 The people laughed at all this fantasy; 733Into the roof they kiken and they cape; 733 Up to the roof they looked, and there did gape, 734And turned al his harm unto a jape. 734 And so turned all his injury to a jape. 735For what so that this carpenter answerde, 735 For when this carpenter got in a word, 736It was for noght, no man his reson herde. 736 'Twas all in vain, no man his reasons heard;

70 "The Miller's Tale" (ctd.) 737With othes grete he was so sworn adoun 737 With oaths imprenive he was so sworn down, 738That he was holde wood in al the toun; 738 That he was held for mad by all the town; 739For every clerk anonright heeld with oother. 739 For every clerk did side with every other. 740They seyde, "The man is wood, my leeve brother"; 740 They said: "The man is crazy, my dear brother." 741And every wight gan laughen at this stryf. 741 And everyone did laugh at all this strife. 742Thus swyved was this carpenteris wyf, 742 Thus screwed was the carpenter's goodwife, 743For al his kepyng and his jalousye; 743 For all his watching and his jealousy; 744And Absolon hath kist hir nether ye; 744 And Absalom has kissed her lower eye; 745And Nicholas is scalded in the towte. 745 And Nicholas has burned his butt painfully. 746This tale is doon, and God save al the rowte! 746 This tale is done, and God save all the company! Heere endeth the Millere his Tale.


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