The Mylleres Tale

Whan that the Knight hadde thus his tale i-told,
In al the route nas ther yong ne old,
That he ne seyde it was a noble story,
And worthi to be drawen in memory;
And namely the gentils everichoon.
Oure Host then lowh and swoor, “So moot I goon,
This goth right wel; unbokeled is the male;
Let se now who schal telle another tale;
For trewely this game is wel bygonne.
Now telleth now, sir Monk, if that ye konne
Somwhat, to quyte with the knightes tale.”
The Myller that for drunken was al pale,
So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
He wold avale nowther hood ne hat,
Ne abyde no man for his curtesye,
But in Pilates voys he gan to crye,
And swor by armes and by blood and bones,
“I can a noble tale for the noones,
With which I wol now quyte the knightes tale.”
Oure Hoost saugh wel how dronke he was of ale,
And seyde, “Robyn, abyde, my leve brother,
Som bettre man schal telle us first another;
Abyd, and let us worken thriftyly.”
“By Goddes soule!” quod he, “that wol nat I,
For I wol speke, or elles go my way.”
Oure Host answerede, “Tel on, a devel way!
Thou art a fool; thy witt is overcome.”

“Now herkneth,” quod this Myller, “al and some;
But first I make a protestacioun,
That I am dronke, I knowe wel by my soun;
And therfore if that I mys-speke or seye,
Wyte it the ale of Southwerk, I you preye;
For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,
How that the clerk hath set the wrightes cappe.”

The Reve answered and seyde, “Stynt thi clappe.
Let be thy lewede drunken harlottrye.
It is a synne, and eek a great folye
To apeyren eny man, or him defame,
And eek to brynge wyves in ylle name.
Thou mayst ynowgh of other thinges seyn.”
This dronken Miller spak ful sone ageyn,
And seyde, “Leeve brother Osewold,
Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
But I seye not therfore that thou art oon,
Ther been ful goode wyves many oon.
And ever a thousand goode agayns oon badde;
That knowest thou wel thyself, but if thou madde.
Why art thou angry with my tale now?
I have a wyf, pardé! as wel as thow,
Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plough,
Take upon me more than ynough;
Though that thou deme thiself that thou be oon,
I wol bileeve wel that I am noon.
An housbond schal not be inquisityf
Of Goddes pryveté, ne of his wyf.
So that he fynde Goddes foysoun there,
Of the remenaunt needeth nought enquere.”
What schuld I seye, but that this proude Myllere
He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,
But told his cherlisch tale in his manere.
Me athinketh, that I schal reherce it heere;
And therfor every gentil wight I preye,
For Goddes love, as deme nat that I seye,
Of yvel entent, but for I moot reherse
Here wordes alle, al be they better or werse,
Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
And therfor who-so list it nat to heere,
Turne over the leef, and cheese another tale;
For he schal fynde ynowe bothe gret and smale,
Of storial thing that toucheth gentilesse,
And eek moralité, and holynesse.
Blameth nat me, if that ye cheese amys.
The Miller is a cherl, ye knowe wel this;
So was the Reeve, and othir many mo,
And harlotry they tolden bothe two.
Avyseth you, and put me out of blame;
And men schulde nat make ernest of game.

Whilom ther was dwellyng at Oxenford
A riche gnof, that gestes heeld to boorde,
And of his craft he was a carpenter.
With him ther was dwellyng a pore scoler,
Hadde lerned art, but al his fantasye
Was torned for to lerne astrologye,
And cowde a certeyn of conclusiouns
To deme by interrogaciouns,
If that men axed him in certeyn houres,
Whan that men schuld han drought or ellys schoures,
Or if men axed him what schulde bifalle
Of everything, I may nought reken hem alle.
This clerk was cleped heende Nicholas;
Of derne love he cowde and of solas;
And therwith he was sleigh and ful privé,
And lik to a mayden meke for to se.
A chambir had he in that hostillerye
Alone, withouten eny compaignye,
Ful fetisly i-dight with herbes soote,
And he himself as swete as is the roote
Of lokorys, or eny cetewale.
His almagest, and bookes gret and smale,
His astrylabe, longyng to his art,
His augrym stoones, leyen faire apart
On schelves couched at his beddes heed,
His presse i-covered with a faldyng reed.
And al above ther lay a gay sawtrye,
On which he made a-nightes melodye,
So swetely, that al the chambur rang;
And Angelus ad virginem he sang.
And after that he sang the kynges note;
Ful often blissed was his mery throte,
And thus this sweete clerk his tyme spente,
After his frendes fyndyng and his rente.

This carpenter hadde weddid newe a wyf,
Which that he lovede more than his lyf;
Of eyghteteene yeer sche was of age,
Gelous he was, and heeld hir narwe in cage,
For sche was wilde and yong, and he was old,
And demed himself belik a cokewold,
He knew not Catoun, for his wit was rude,
That bad man schulde wedde his similitude.
Men schulde wedde aftir here astaat,
For eelde and youthe ben often at debaat.
But syn that he was brought into the snare,
He moste endure, as othere doon, his care.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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