in her nose ful seemely;
And Frensh she spake ful faire and sweetely,
After the scole of Stratford-atte-
For Frensh of Parys was to her unknowe.
At mete wel i-taught was she in all;
She let no morsel
from her lippes falle,
Nor wet her fyngres in her sauce deepe.
Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel
That never drope upon her brest should be.
For al her thoughte was sett on curtesie.
wypèd she so clene,
That in her cuppe was no ferthing sene
Of greese, when she dronken hadde withinne.
semely to ete she did beginne.
And certeynly she was of gret disport,
And ful plesánt, and amyable of
And peynèd her to counterfete cheere
Of court, and to be stately of manére,
And to be holden digne of
But for to speken of her conscience,
She was so charitable and so piteous,
She wolde weepe
if that she saw a mous
Caught in a trappe, if it were ded or bledde.
Of smale houndes had she, that she
With rosted flessh, and mylk, and wastel breed.
But sore wepte she if one of them were ded,
if men smote it with a stikke smerte:
And al was conscience and tendre herte.
Ful semely her cloke i-
Her nose streight; her eyen grey as glas;
Her mouth ful smal, and therto soft and red;
certeynly she hadde a fair forheed.
It was almost a spanne broad, I trowe:
For verrily she was not undergrowe.
faire was her robe, as I was war.
Of smal corál aboute her arme she bare
A paire of bedes, the greatest
were of grene;
And theron hung a broch of gold ful shene,
On which was first i-writ a crownèd A,
Amor vincit omnia.
Another Nonne also with her had she,
That was her chapelleyn, and Prestes three.
A Monk ther was, wel fit for sovereyntee,
An out-rydere, that lovèd venerye;
A manly man, to be an abbot
Ful many a dainty hors had he in stable:
And whan he rode, men might his bridel here
Jyngle in a
whistlyng wynd so cleere,
And eek as loude as doththe chapel belle.
Where that this lord was keper of
The rule of seynt Maure or of seint Beneyt,
Bycause that it was old and somwhat streyt,
monk let pass the olde day,
And helde after the newe time alway.
He gaf nat for that text a pullèd hen,
seith, that hunters be no holy men;
Nor that a monk, when he is cloysterless,
Is likened to a fisshe that is
This is to sey, a monk out of his cloystre.
But that same text held he not worth an oystre.
seide his opinioun was good.
Why! shulde he studie, and make himselve wood,
Uppon a book in cloystre
alway to pore,
Or diggen with his handes, and laboúre,
As Austyn bad? How shal the world be served?
Austyn have his toil to him reserved.
Therefore a horsman ever he was aright;
Greyhoundes he had as
swifte as fowl in flight;
Of prickyng and of huntyng for the hare
Was his delight, for no cost wolde he spare.
saw his sleves rounded at the hand
With fur, and that the fynest in the land.
And for to fastne his hood
under his chyn
He hadde of gold y-wrought a curious pyn:
A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
heed was bald, and shon as eny glas,
And eek his face as he had been anoynt.
He was a lord ful fat and
in good poynt;
His eyen bright, and rollyng in his heed,
That stemèd al as doth a furnace red;
souple, his hors in gret estate.
Now certeinly he was a fair prelate;
He was not pale as a for-pynèd ghost.
fat swan loved he best of eny roast.
His palfray was as broun as is a berye.
A Frere ther was, a wanton and a merye,
A prechour, and a ful solemne man.
In alle the ordres foure is
non that can
So moche of daliaunce and fair langáge.
He had i-made many a mariáge
Of yonge wymmen,
at his owne cost.
Unto his ordre he was a noble post.
Ful wel biloved and familiar was he
everywhere in his cuntree,
And eek with worthi wommen of the toun:
For he hadde power of confessioún,
seyde himself, more than a curáte,
For of his ordre he was licenciat.
Ful sweetly herde he their confessioún,
plesaunt was his absolucioún;
He was an esy man to geve penance
When that he thought to have a good
For unto a poore ordre for to give
Is signe that a man is wel i-shrive.
For if he gaf, he dorste make
He wiste that a man was répentaúnt.
For many a man so hard is of his herte,
He may not wepe
though he sore smerte.
Therefore in-stede of wepyng and prayéres,
Men may give silver to the pore freres.
typet was ay stuffèd ful of knyfes
And pynnes, for to give to faire wyfes.
And certaynly he hadde a mery
Wel coude he synge and pleyen on a flute.
Of songes he bar utterly the price.
His nekke whit was
as the fluer-de-lys.
Therto he strong was as a champioún.
He knew the tavernes wel in every toun,
every ostiller or gay tapstere,
Better than lazars or the pore beggere,
For unto such a worthi man as he
was not right, as by his facultee,
To have with such sick lazars áqueyntaúnce.
It is not honest, it may not
For a good Frere to dele with such poraile,
But al with riche and sellers of vitaille,
when profyt shulde arise.
Curteous he was, and gentil of servyse.
Ther was no man nowher so vertuous.
was the beste begger in al his hous,
For though a widewe hadde but one shoe,
So plesaunt was his In
Yet wolde he have a ferthing ere he wente.
His begging was far better than his rente.
he coude and pleye right as a whelpe,
In love-dayes coude he people helpe.
For then was he not like a