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From The Clerk's Tale, lines 1142-1176:
The moral of the Clerk's tale
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Clerk's Tale
lines 1177-1212: Lenvoy de Chaucer



Lenvoy de Chaucer

       Grisilde is deed, and eek hire pacience,
And bothe atones buryed in Ytaille,
For which I crie in open audience
1180No wedded man so hardy be t'assaille
His wyves pacience, in hope to fynde
Grisildis, for in certein he shal faille.
       Griselda's dead, and dead is her patience,
In Italy both lie buried, says the tale;
For which I cry in open audience,
1180That no man be so hardy as to assail
His own wife's patience, in a hope to find
Griselda, for 'tis certain he shall fail!

       O noble wyves, ful of heigh prudence,
Lat noon humylitee youre tonge naille,
1185Ne lat no clerk have cause or diligence
To write of yow a storie of swich mervaille
As of Grisildis, pacient and kynde,
Lest Chichivache yow swelwe in hire entraille!
       O noble wives, full of a high prudence,
Let not humility your free tongue nail,
1185Nor let some clerk have cause for diligence
To write of you, such marvelous detail
As of Griselda, patient and so kind;
Lest Chichevache swallow you in her entrail!

       Folweth Ekko, that holdeth no silence,
1190But evere answereth at the countretaille;
Beth nat bidaffed for youre innocence,
But sharply taak on yow the governaille.
Emprenteth wel this lessoun in youre mynde
For commune profit, sith it may availle.
       Nay, follow Echo, that holds no silence,
1190But answers always like a countervail;
Be not befooled, for all your innocence,
But take the upper hand and you'll prevail.
And well impress this lesson on your mind,
For common profit, since it may avail.

1195        Ye archiwyves, stondeth at defense,
Syn ye be strong as is a greet camaille.
Ne suffreth nat that men yow doon offense,
And sklendre wyves, fieble as in bataille,
Beth egre as is a tygre yond in Ynde,
1200Ay clappeth as a mille, I yow consaille.
1195        Strong-minded women, stand at your defence,
Since you are strong as camel and don't ail,
Suffer no man to do to you offence;
And slender women in a contest frail,
Be savage as a tiger there in Ind;
1200Clatter like mill, say I, to beat the male.

       Ne dreed hem nat, doth hem no reverence,
For though thyn housbonde armed be in maille,
The arwes of thy crabbed eloquence
Shal perce his brest and eek his aventaille.
1205In jalousie I rede eek thou hym bynde,
And thou shalt make hym couche as doth a quaille.
       Nay, fear them not, nor do them reverence;
For though your husband be all armed in mail,
The arrows of your shrewish eloquence
Shall pierce his breast and pierce his aventail.
1205In jealousy I counsel that you bind,
And you shall make him cower as does a quail.

       If thou be fair, ther folk been in presence
Shewe thou thy visage and thyn apparaille;
If thou be foul, be fre of thy dispence,
1210To gete thee freendes ay do thy travaille,
Be ay of chiere as light as leef on lynde,
And lat hym care, and wepe, and wryng, and waille.
       If you are fair to see, in folks' presence,
Show them your face and with your clothes regale;
If you are foul, be lavish of expense,
1210To gain friends never cease to do travail;
Be lightsome as a linden leaf in wind,
And let him worry, weep and wring and wail!





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