Previous Previous:
From General Prologue, lines 569-588:
The Manciple
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
General Prologue
lines 589-624: The Reeve

       The REVE was a sclendre colerik man.
590His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
His heer was by his erys ful round yshorn;
His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
Ful longe were his legges, and ful lene,
Ylyk a staf, ther was no calf ysene.
595Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
Wel wiste he by the droghte and by the reyn,
The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn.
His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
600His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye,
Was hoolly in this Reves governynge,
And by his covenant yaf the rekenynge,
Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age,
Ther koude no man brynge hym in arrerage.
605Ther nas baillif, ne hierde, nor oother hyne,
That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
They were adrad of hym as of the deeth.
His wonyng was ful faire upon an heeth;
With grene trees shadwed was his place.
610He koude bettre than his lord purchace.
Ful riche he was astored pryvely:
His lord wel koude he plesen subtilly,
To yeve and lene hym of his owene good,
And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
615In youthe he hadde lerned a good myster;
He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
This Reve sat upon a ful good stot,
That was al pomely grey, and highte Scot.
A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
620And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.
Of Northfolk was this Reve, of which I telle,
Bisyde a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.
Tukked he was as is a frere aboute,
And evere he rood the hyndreste of oure route.
       The REEVE was a slender choleric man
590Who shaved his beard as close as ever he can.
His hair was closely cropped around his ears;
His head, the top was cut alike a pulpiteer's.
Long were his legs, and they were very lean,
And like a staff, with no calf to be seen.
595Well could he manage granary and bin;
No auditor could ever find anything.
He could foretell, by drought and by the rain,
The yielding of his seed and of his grain.
His lord's sheep and his cattle and his dairy cows,
600His swine and horses, his stores, his poultry house,
Were wholly in the Reve his managing;
And, by agreement, he'd gave reckoning
Since his young lord of age was twenty years;
Yet no man ever found him in arrears.
605There was no agent, herd, or servant who'd cheat;
He knew too well their cunning and deceit;
They were afraid of him as of the death.
His cottage was a good one, on a heath;
By green trees shaded was his dwelling-place.
610Much better than his lord could he purchase.
Very rich and well he was provided all secretly,
He knew well how to please his lord subtly,
By giving him, or lending, of his own goods,
And so got thanked - but yet got coats and hoods.
615In youth he'd learned a good trade, and had been
A carpenter, good skillful and keen.
This Reve sat on a horse that could well trot,
And was all dapple grey, and was named Scot.
A long surcoat of blue did he parade,
620And at his side he bore a rusty blade.
Of Norfolk was this Reeve of whom I tell,
From near a town that men call Badeswell.
His coat was like a friar's tightly closed,
From our company he rode always hindmost.

Next Next:
From General Prologue, lines 625-670:
The Summoner