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From The Merchant's Tale, lines 150-162:
Biblical examples about good wives
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Merchant's Tale
lines 163-186: January the knight decides to marry


       Ther nys no thyng in gree superlatyf,
As seith Senek, above and humble wyf.
165       Suffre thy wyves tonge, as Catoun bit;
She shal comande, and thou shalt suffren it,
And yet she wole obeye of curteisye.
A wyf is kepere of thyn housbondrye;
Wel may the sike man biwaille and wepe,
170Ther as ther nys no wyf the hous to kepe.
I warne thee, if wisely thou wolt wirche,
Love wel thy wyf, as Crist loved his chirche.
If thou lovest thyself, thou lovest thy wyf;
No man hateth his flessh, but in his lyf
175He fostreth it, and therfore bidde I thee,
Cherisse thy wyf, or thou shalt nevere thee.
Housbonde and wyf, what so men jape or pleye,
Of worldly folk holden the siker weye;
They been so knyt ther may noon harm bityde,
180And namely upon the wyves syde.
For which this Januarie, of whom I tolde,
Considered hath, inwith his dayes olde,
The lusty lyf, the vertuous quyete,
That is in mariage hony-sweete;
185And for his freendes on a day he sente,
To tellen hem th'effect of his entente.
       There is no pleasure so superlative
Says Seneca, as a humble wife can give.
165Suffer your wife's tongue, Cato bids, as fit;
She shall command, and you shall suffer it;
And yet she will obey, of courtesy.
A wife is keeper of your husbandry;
Well may the sick man wail and even weep
170Who has no wife the house to clean and keep.
I warn you now, if wisely you would work,
Love well your wife, as Jesus loves his church.
For if you love yourself, you love your wife;
No man hates his own flesh, but through his life
175He fosters it, and so I bid you strive
To cherish her, or you shall never thrive.
Husband and wife, despite men's jape or play,
Of all the world's folk hold the safest way;
They are so knit there may no harm betide,
180Especially upon the good wife's side.
For which this January, of whom I told,
Did well consider in his days grown old,
The pleasant life, the virtuous rest complete
That are in marriage, always honey-sweet;
185And for his friends upon a day he sent
To tell them the effect of his intent.




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From The Merchant's Tale, lines 187-202:
January tells his friends he wants to marry
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