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From The Merchant's Tale, lines 99-124:
God made Adam a wife
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Merchant's Tale
lines 125-149: Men should thank God for their wives


125        A wyf! a, Seinte Marie, benedicite!
How myghte man han any adversitee
That hath a wyf? certes, I kan nat seye.
The blisse which that is bitwixe hem tweye
Ther may no tonge telle, or herte thynke.
130If he be povre, she helpeth hym to swynke;
She kepeth his good, and wasteth never a deel;
Al that hire housbonde lust, hire liketh weel;
She seith nat ones "nay", whan he seith "ye".
"Do this," seith he; "Al redy, sire," seith she.
135O blisful ordre of wedlok precious,
Thou art so murye, and eek so vertuous,
And so commended and appreved eek
That every man that halt hym worth a leek,
Upon his bare knees oughte al his lyf
140Thanken his God that hym hath sent a wyf,
Or elles preye to God hym for to sende
A wyf, to laste unto his lyves ende.
For thanne his lyf is set in sikernesse;
He may nat be deceyved, as I gesse,
145So that he werke after his wyves reed.
Thanne may he boldely beren up his heed,
They been so trewe, and therwithal so wyse;
For which, if thou wolt werken as the wyse,
Do alwey so as wommen wol thee rede.
125       A wife! Ah, Holy Mary, ben'cite!
How may a man have any adversity
Who has a wife? Truly, I cannot say.
The bliss that is between such two, for aye,
No tongue can tell, nor any heart can think.
130If he be poor, why, she helps him to swink;
She keeps his money and never wastes a deal;
All that her husband wishes she likes well;
She never once says "nay" when he says "yea."
"Do this," says he; "All ready, sir," she'll say.
135O blissful state of wedlock, prized and dear,
So pleasant and so full of virtue clear,
So much approved and praised as fortune's peak,
That every man who holds him worth a leek
Upon his bare knees ought, through all his life,
140To give God thanks, who's sent to him a wife;
Or else he should pray God that he will send
A wife to him, to last till his life's end.
For then his life is set in certainness;
He cannot be deceived, as I may guess,
145So that he act according as she's said;
Then may he boldly carry high his head,
They are so true and therewithal so wise;
Wherefore, if you will do as do the wise,
Then aye as women counsel be your deed.




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From The Merchant's Tale, lines 150-162:
Biblical examples about good wives
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