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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Cook's Prologue
lines 1-19: The Cook comments on the Reeve's tale


The Prologe of the Cokes Tale

       The COOK of Londoun, whil the Reve spak,
For joye him thoughte, he clawed him on the bak.
"Ha! ha!" quod he, "for Criste passioun,
This miller hadde a sharp conclusioun
5Upon his argument of herbergage.
Wel seyde Salomon in his langage,
`Ne bryng nat every man into thyn hous,'
For herberwynge by nyghte is perilous.
Wel oghte a man avysed for to be,
10Whom that be broghte into his pryvetee.
I pray to God so yeve me sorwe and care,
If evere sitthe I highte Hogge of Ware,
Herde I a millere bettre yset awerk.
He hadde a jape of malice in the derk.
15But God forbede that we stynte heere,
And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to heere
A tale of me that am a povre man,
I wol yow telle, as wel as evere I kan,
A litel jape that fil in oure citee."
       The cook from London, while the reeve yet spoke,
Patted his back with pleasure at the joke.
"Ha, ha!" laughed he, "by Christ's great suffering,
This miller had a mighty sharp ending
5Upon his argument of harbourage!
For well says Solomon, in his language,
'Bring thou not every man into thine house;'
For harbouring by night is dangerous.
Well ought a man to know the man that he
10Has brought into his own security.
I pray God give me sorrow and much care
If ever, since I have been Hodge of Ware,
Heard I of miller better brought to mark.
A wicked jest was played him in the dark.
15But God forbid that we should leave off here;
And therefore, if you'll lend me now an ear,
From what I know, who am but a poor man,
I will relate, as well as ever I can,
A little trick was played in our city."




Next Next:
From The Cook's Prologue, lines 20-40:
The host asks the Cook to tell the next tale
Next