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From The Manciple's Prologue, lines 1-19:
The Host asks the Cook to tell a tale
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Manciple's Prologue
lines 20-56: The Manciple says the Cook is too drunk to tell a tale


20        This Cook that was ful pale, and no thyng reed,
Seyde to oure Hoost, "So God my soule blesse,
As ther is falle on me swich hevynesse,
Noot I nat why, that me were levere slepe
Than the beste galon wyn in Chepe."
25       "Wel," quod the Maunciple, "if it may doon ese
To thee, sire Cook, and to no wight displese
Which that heere rideth in this compaignye,
And that oure Hoost wole of his curteisye,
I wol as now excuse thee of thy tale,
30For, in good feith, thy visage is ful pale.
Thyne eyen daswen eek, as that me thynketh,
And wel I woot, thy breeth ful soure stynketh.
That sheweth wel thou art nat wel disposed,
Of me, certeyn, thou shalt nat been yglosed.
35See how he ganeth, lo, this dronken wight!
As though he wolde swolwe us anonright.
Hoold cloos thy mouth, man, by thy fader kyn,
The devel of helle sette his foot therin.
Thy cursed breeth infecte wole us alle,
40Fy, stynkyng swyn! Fy, foule moothe thou falle!
A, taketh heede, sires, of this lusty man!
Now, sweete sire, wol ye justen atte fan?
Therto me thynketh ye been wel yshape,
I trowe that ye dronken han wyn ape,
45And that is, whan men pleyen with a straw."
And with this speche the Cook wax wrooth and wraw,
And on the Manciple he gan nodde faste,
For lakke of speche, and doun the hors hym caste,
Where as he lay til that men up hym took;
50This was a fair chyvachee of a Cook!
Allas, he nadde holde hym by his ladel!
And er that he agayn were in his sadel
Ther was greet showvyng bothe to and fro,
To lifte hym up, and muchel care and wo,
55So unweeldy was this sory palled goost.
And to the Manciple thanne spak oure hoost,
20        The cook, who was all pale and nothing red,
Said to our host: "So may God my soul bless,
As there is on me such a drowsiness,
I know not why, that I would rather sleep
Than drink a gallon of best wine in Cheap."
25       "Well," said the manciple, "if 'twill give ease
To you, sir cook, and in no way displease
The folk that ride here in this company,
And if our host will, of his courtesy,
I will, for now, excuse you from your tale.
30For in good faith, your visage is full pale,
Your eyes are bleary also, as I think,
And I know well your breath right sour does stink,
All of which shows that you are far from well;
No flattering lies about you will I tell.
35See how he yawns. Just look, the drunken wight,
As if he'd swallow all of us outright.
Now close your mouth, man, by your father's kin;
Ah, may hell's devil set his foot therein!
Your cursed breath will soon infect us all;
40Fie, stinking swine, fie! Evil you befall!
Ah, take you heed, sirs, of this lusty man.
Now, sweet sir, would you like to ride at fan?
It seems to me you're in the proper shape!
You've drunk the wine that makes a man an ape,
45And that is when a man plays with a straw."
The cook grew wroth, for this had touched the raw,
And at the manciple he nodded fast
For lack of speech, and him his horse did cast,
And there he lay till up the rest him took,
50Which was a feat of riding for a cook!
Alas! That he had kept not to his ladle!
For before he was again within his saddle,
There was a mighty shoving to and fro
To lift him up, and hugeous care and woe,
55So all unwieldy was this sorry ghost.
And to the manciple then spoke our host:




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From The Manciple's Prologue, lines 57-75:
The Host asks the Manciple to tell a tale and urges him not to make jokes about the drunk Cook
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