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From The Merchant's Tale, lines 257-306:
January's brother Placebo agrees with him
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Merchant's Tale
lines 307-353: January's brother Justinus advises a wise wife


       Justinus, that ay stille sat and herde,
Right in this wise he to Placebo answerde:
"Now, brother myn, be pacient, I preye,
310Syn ye han seyd, and herkneth what I seye.
Senek, amonges othere wordes wyse,
Seith that a man oghte hym right wel avyse
To whom he yeveth his lond or his catel.
And syn I oghte avyse me right wel
315To whom I yeve my good awey from me,
Wel muchel moore I oghte avysed be
To whom I yeve my body for alwey.
I warne yow wel, it is no childes pley
To take a wyf withouten avysement.
320Men moste enquere, this is myn assent,
Wher she be wys, or sobre, or dronkelewe,
Or proud, or elles ootherweys a shrewe,
A chidestere, or wastour of thy good,
Or riche, or poore, or elles mannyssh wood.
325Al be it so that no man fynden shal
Noon in this world that trotteth hool in al,
Ne man, ne beest, swich as men koude devyse;
But nathelees it oghte ynough suffise
With any wyf, if so were that she hadde
330Mo goode thewes than hire vices badde;
And al this axeth leyser for t'enquere.
For, God it woot, I have wept many a teere
Ful pryvely, syn I have had a wyf.
Preyse whoso wole a wedded mannes lyf,
335Certein I fynde in it but cost and care
And observances, of alle blisses bare.
And yet, God woot, my neighebores aboute,
And namely of wommen many a route,
Seyn that I have the mooste stedefast wyf,
340And eek the mekeste oon that bereth lyf;
But I woot best where wryngeth me my sho.
Ye mowe, for me, right as yow liketh do;
Avyseth yow - ye been a man of age -
How that ye entren into mariage,
345And namely with a yong wyf and a fair.
By hym that made water, erthe, and air,
The yongeste man that is in al this route
Is bisy ynough to bryngen it aboute
To han his wyf allone. Trusteth me,
350Ye shul nat plesen hire fully yeres thre, -
This is to seyn, to doon hire ful plesaunce.
A wyf axeth ful many an observaunce.
I prey yow that ye be nat yvele apayd."
       Justinus, who sat still and calm, and heard,
Right in this wise Placebo he answered:
"Now, brother mine, be patient, so I pray;
310Since you have spoken, hear what I shall say.
For Seneca, among his words so wise,
Says that a man ought well himself advise
To whom he'll give his chattels or his land.
And since I ought to know just where I stand
315Before I give my wealth away from me,
How much more well advised I ought to be
To whom I give my body; for alway
I warn you well, that it is not child's play
To take a wife without much advisement.
320Men must inquire, and this is my intent,
Whether she's wise, or sober, or drunkard,
Or proud, or else in other things froward,
Or shrewish, or a waster of what's had,
Or rich, or poor, or whether she's man-mad.
325And be it true that no man finds, or shall,
One in this world that perfect is in all,
Of man or beast, such as men could devise;
Nevertheless, it ought enough suffice
With any wife, if so were that she had
330More traits of virtue that her vices bad;
And all this leisure asks to see and hear.
For God knows I have wept full many a tear
In privity, since I have had a wife.
Praise whoso will a wedded man's good life,
335Truly I find in it, but cost and care
And many duties, of all blisses bare.
And yet, God knows, my neighbours round about,
Especially the women, many a rout,
Say that I've married the most steadfast wife,
340Aye, and the meekest one there is in life.
But I know best where pinches me my shoe.
You may, for me, do as you please to do;
But take good heed, since you're a man of age,
How you shall enter into a marriage,
345Especially with a young wife and a fair.
By him ho made the water, earth, and air,
The youngest man there is in all this rout
Is busy enough to bring the thing about
That he alone shall have his wife, trust me.
350You'll not be able to please her through years three,
That is to say, to give all she desires.
A wife attention all the while requires.
I pray you that you be not offended."




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From The Merchant's Tale, lines 354-364:
The purpose of January
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