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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Prologue
lines 1-35: The Host comments on the tale of Melibee


       Whan ended was my tale of Melibee,
And of Prudence, and hir benignytee,
Oure Hooste seyde, "As I am feithful man,
And by that precious corpus Madrian,
5I hadde levere than a barel ale
That Goodelief my wyf hadde herd this tale!
For she nys nothyng of swich pacience
As was this Melibeus wyf Prudence.
By Goddes bones, whan I bete my knaves
10She bryngeth me forth the grete clobbed staves,
And crieth, `Slee the dogges, everichoon,
And brek hem, bothe bak and every boon.'
       When ended was my tale of Melibee
And of Prudence and her benignity,
Our host remarked: "As I am faithful man,
And by the precious corpus Madrian,
5I'd rather than a barrel of good ale
That my wife Goodlief could have heard this tale!
For she has no such patience, I'll avow,
As had this Melibeus' Prudence, now.
By God's own bones! When I do beat my knaves
10She fetches forth the stoutest gnarly staves
And cries out: 'Slay the damned dogs, every one!
And break their bones, backbone and every bone!'
       And if that any neighebore of myne
Wol nat in chirche to my wyf enclyne,
15Or be so hardy to hir to trespace,
Whan she comth hoom she rampeth in my face,
And crieth, `False coward, wrek thy wyf!
By corpus bones, I wol have thy knyf,
And thou shalt have my distaf and go spynne
20Fro day to nyght!' Right thus she wol bigynne.
`Allas,' she seith, `that evere I was shape
To wedden a milksop or a coward ape,
That wol been overlad with every wight;
Thou darst nat stonden by thy wyves right!'
       And if but any neighbour, aye, of mine
Will not, in church, bow to her and incline,
15Or happens to usurp her cherished place,
Why, she comes home and ramps right in my face,
Crying, 'False coward, go avenge your wife!
By corpus bones! Come, let me have your knife,
And you shall take my distaff and go spin!'
20From day to day like this will she begin:
'Alas!' she cries, 'that ever fate should shape
My marriage with a milksop coward ape
That may be overborne by every wight!
You dare not stand up for your own wife's right!'
25        This is my lif, but if that I wol fighte,
And out at dore anon I moot me dighte,
Or elles I am but lost, but if that I
Be lik a wilde leoun fool-hardy.
I woot wel she wol do me slee som day
30Som neighebor, and thanne go my way.
For I am perilous with knyf in honde,
Al be it that I dar hir nat withstonde.
For she is byg in armes, by my feith,
That shal he fynde that hir mysdooth or seith-
35But lat us passe awey fro this mateere.
25        This is my life, unless I choose to fight;
And through the door anon I must take flight,
Or else I'm lost, unless, indeed, that I
Be like a young wild lion, foolhardy.
I know well she will make me kill, one day,
30Some neighbour man and have to run away.
For I am dangerous with a knife in hand,
Albeit that I dare not her withstand;
For she's big of arm, and wickedly inclined,
As anyone who crosses her will find.
35But let us leave that doleful subject here.




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From The Monk's Prologue, lines 36-76:
The Host asks the Monk to tell a tale
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