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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Manciple's Prologue
lines 1-19: The Host asks the Cook to tell a tale


       Woot ye nat where ther stant a litel toun,
Which that ycleped is Bobbe-up-and-doun
Under the Blee, in Caunterbury weye?
Ther gan oure Hooste for to jape and pleye,
5And seyde, "Sires, what, Dun is in the myre!
Is ther no man for preyere ne for hyre,
That wole awake oure felawe al bihynde?
A theef myghte hym ful lightly robbe and bynde.
See how he nappeth, see how for cokkes bones,
10That he wol falle fro his hors atones.
Is that a Cook of London, with meschaunce?
Do hym com forth, he knoweth his penaunce,
For he shal telle a tale, by my fey,
Although it be nat worth a botel hey.
15Awake, thou Cook," quod he, "God yeve thee sorwe,
What eyleth thee, to slepe by the morwe?
Hastow had fleen al nyght, or artow dronke?
Or hastow with som quene al nyght yswonke
So that thow mayst nat holden up thyn heed?"
       Do you not know where stands a little town
That's called by all about Bob-up-and-down,
Under the Blean, down Canterbury way?
There did our host begin to jape and play,
5And he said: "Sirs, what! Dun is in the mire!
Is there no man, then, who, for prayer or hire,
Will wake our comrade who's so far behind?
A thief might easily rob him and bind.
See how he's nodding, see, now by cock's bones,
10As if he'd fall down from his horse at once.
Is that a cook of London, with mischance?
Make him come forward, he knows his penance,
For he shall tell a tale here, by my fay,
Although it be not worth a bunch of hay.
15Awake, you cook," cried he, "God give you sorrow!
What ails you that you sleep thus? It's good morrow!
Have you had fleas all night, or are you drunk?
Or did you toil all night in some quean's bunk?
So that you cannot now hold up your head?"




Next Next:
From The Manciple's Prologue, lines 20-56:
The Manciple says the Cook is too drunk to tell a tale
Next