holy chirche blood that is descendid.
Therfore he wolde his joly blood honoure,
Though that he schulde holy chirche devoure.

Gret soken hadde this meller, oute of doute,
With whete and malt, of al the londe aboute;
And namely ther was a gret collegge,
Men clepe it the Soler-halle of Cantebregge,
Ther was here whete and eek here malt i-grounde.
And on a day it happed on a stounde,
Syk lay the mauncyple on a maledye,
Men wenden wisly that he schulde dye;
For which this meller stal both mele and corn
A thousend part more than byforn.
For ther biforn he stal but curteysly;
But now he is a theef outrageously.
For which the wardeyn chidde and made fare,
But therof sette the meller not a tare;
He crakkede boost, and swor it was nat so.
Thanne weren there poore scoleres tuo,
That dwelten in the halle of which I seye;
Testyf they were, and lusty for to pleye;
And, oonly for here mirthe and revelrye,
Uppon the wardeyn bysily they crye,
To yeve hem leve but a litel stounde
To go to melle and see here corn i-grounde;
And hardily they dursten ley here nekke,
The meller schulde nat stel hem half a pekke
Of corn by sleighte, ne by force hem reve.
And atte last the wardeyn yaf hem leve.
Johan hight that oon, and Alayn hight that other;
Of o toun were they born that highte Strothir,
Fer in the North, I can nat telle where.
This Aleyn maketh redy al his gere,
And on an hors the sak he cast anoon:
Forth goth Aleyn the clerk, and also Jon,
With good swerd and with bocler by her side.
Johan knew the way, that hem needith no gyde;
And at the mylle the sak adoun he layth.
Alayn spak first: “Al heil! Symond, in faith
How fares thy faire doughter and thy wyf?”
“Alayn, welcome,” quod Symond, “by my lyf!
And Johan also; how now! what do ye here?”
“By God!” quod Johan, “Symond, neede has na peere.
Him falles serve himself that has na swayn,
Or elles he is a fon, as clerkes sayn.
Our mancyple, as I hope, wil be deed,
Swa werkes ay the wanges in his heed.
And therfore I is come, and eek Aleyn,
To grynde oure corn, and carie it ham ageyn.
I prey you speed us in al that ye may.”
“It schal be doon,” quod Symkyn, “by my fay!
What wol ye do whil that it is in hande?”
“By God! right by the hope wol I stande,”
Quod Johan, “and se how that the corn gas inne.
Yet sawh I never, by my fader kynne!
How that the hoper waggis to and fra.”
Aleyn answered, “Johan, and wiltow swa?
Than wol I be bynethe, by my croun!
And se how that the mele fallys doun
Into the trough, that schal be my desport;
For Jon, in faith, I may be of youre sort,
I is as ille a meller as ere ye.”
This mellere smyleth for here nyceté,
And thought, “Al this is doon but for a wyle,
They wenen that no man may hem bigile.
But, by my thrift, yet schal I blere here ye,
For al here sleight and al here philosophie;
The more queynte knakkes that they make,
The more wol I stele whan I take.
In stede of mele, yet wol I yeve hem bren.
The grettest clerkes beth not wisest men,
As whilom to the wolf thus spak the mare;
Of al here art ne counte I nat a tare.”
Out at the dore he goth ful pryvyly,
Whan that he saugh his tyme sotyly;
He loketh up and doun, til he hath founde
The clerkes hors, ther as it stood i-bounde
Behynde the mylle, under a levesel;
And to the hors he goth him faire and wel.
He strepeth of the bridel right anoon.
And whan the hors was loos, he gan to goon
Toward the fen there wilde mares renne,
Forth with “wi-he!” thurgh thikke and eek thurgh thenne.
This meller goth agayn, and no word seyde,
But doth his note, and with the clerkes pleyde,
Til that here corn was fair and wel i-grounde.
And whan the mele was sakked and i-bounde,

This Johan goth out, and fynt his hors away,
And gan to crye, “Harrow and weylaway!
Oure hors is loste! Aleyn, for Goddes banes,
Step on thy feet, cum on, man, al at anes.
Allas! our wardeyn hath his palfray lorn!”
This Aleyn al forgeteth mele and corn,
Al was out of his mynd his housbondrye;
“What, whilke way is he gan?” gan he crye.
The wyf cam lepyng in-ward with a ren,
Sche seyde, “Allas! your hors goth to the fen
With wylde mares, as fast as he may go;
Unthank come on his heed that band him so,
And he that bettir schuld han knyt the reyne!”
“Allas!” quod Johan, “Aleyn, for Cristes peyne!
Leg doun thi swerd, and I sal myn alswa;
I is ful wight, God wat, as is a ra;
By Goddes hart! he sal nat scape us bathe.
Why and thou put the capil in the lathe?
Il hail, Aleyn, by God! thou is a fon!”
This sely clerkes speeden hem anoon
Toward the fen, bothe Aleyn and eek Jon.
And when the myller sawh that they were gon,
He half a busshel of the flour hath take,
And bad his wyf go knede it in a cake.
He seyde, “I trowe the clerkes ben aferd!
Yet can a miller make a clerkes berd,
For al his art; ye, lat hem go here waye!
Lo wher they goon! ye, lat the children playe;
They get hym nat so lightly, by my croun!”
This seely clerkes ronnen up and doun,
With “Keep! keep! stand! stand! jossa, ware derere!
Ga wightly thou, and I sal keep him heere.”
But schortly, til that it was verray night,
They cowde nat, though they did al here might,
Here capil cacche, it ran away so faste,
Til in a diche they caught him atte laste.
Wery and wete as bestys in the reyn,
Comth sely Johan, and with him comth Aleyn.
“Allas!” quod Johan, “that day that I was born!

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