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From The Monk's Prologue, lines 1-35:
The Host comments on the tale of Melibee
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Prologue
lines 36-76: The Host asks the Monk to tell a tale


       "My lord the Monk," quod he, "be myrie of cheere,
For ye shul telle a tale, trewely.
Loo, Rouchestre stant heer faste by.
Ryde forth, myn owene lord, brek nat oure game.
40But, by my trouthe, I knowe nat youre name;
Wher shal I calle yow my lord daun John,
Or daun Thomas, or elles daun Albon?
Of what hous be ye, by youre fader kyn?
I vowe to God, thou hast a ful fair skyn,
45It is a gentil pasture ther thow goost.
Thou art nat lyk a penant or a goost.
Upon my feith, thou art som officer,
Som worthy sexteyn, or som celerer,
For by my fader soule, as to my doom,
50Thou art a maister whan thou art at hoom,
No povre cloysterer, ne no novys,
But a governour, wily and wys;
And therwithal of brawnes and of bones
A wel-farynge persone, for the nones.
55I pray to God, yeve hym confusioun
That first thee broghte unto religioun.
Thou woldest han been a tredefowel aright;
Haddestow as greet a leeve as thou hast myght
To parfourne al thy lust in engendrure,
60Thou haddest bigeten ful many a creature.
Allas, why werestow so wyd a cope?
God yeve me sorwe, but, and I were a pope,
Nat oonly thou but every myghty man
Though he were shorn ful hye upon his pan,
65Sholde have a wyf, for al the world is lorn.
Religioun hath take up al the corn
Of tredyng, and we borel men been shrympes.
Of fieble trees ther comen wrecched ympes.
This maketh that our heyres ben so sclendre
70And feble, that they may nat wel engendre;
This maketh that oure wyves wole assaye
Religious folk, for ye mowe bettre paye
Of Venus paiementz than mowe we;
God woot no lussheburghes payen ye.
75But be nat wrooth, my lord, for that I pleye,
Ful ofte in game a sooth I have herd seye."
       "My lord the monk," said he, "be of good cheer
For you shall tell a tale, and verily.
Lo, Rochester is standing there hard by!
Ride up, my own liege lord, break not our game,
40But, by my truth, I do not know your name,
Whether I ought to call you lord Don John,
Or Don Thomas, or else Don Albion?
Of what house are you, by your father's kin?
I vow to God you have a right fair skin;
45It is a noble pasture where you're most;
You are not like a penitent or ghost.
Upon my faith, you are some officer,
Some worthy sexton, or a cellarer,
For by my father's soul, I guess, in sum,
50You are a master when you are at home.
No cloisterer or novice can you be:
A wily governor you seem to me,
And therewithal a man of brawn and bone.
A person of some consequence you've grown.
55I pray that God confound the silly fool
That put you first in a religious school;
You would have been a hen-hopper, all right!
Had you as good a chance as you have might
To work your lust in good engendering;
60Why, you'd beget full many a mighty thing.
Alas! Why do you wear so wide a cope?
God give me sorrow but, if I were pope,
Not only you, but every mighty man,
Though he were shorn full high upon the pan,
65Should have a wife. For all the world's forlorn!
Religion, why it's gathered all the corn
Of treading, and we laymen are but shrimps!
From feeble trees there come but wretched imps.
That's why our heirs are all so very slender
70And feeble that they may not well engender.
That's why out goodwives always will essay
Religious folk, for you may better pay
With Venus' payments than we others do;
God knows, in no light weight of coin pay you!
75But be not wroth, my lord, because I play;
Full oft in jest have I heard truth, I say."




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From The Monk's Prologue, lines 77-102:
The Monk assents and preludes the subjects of his tale
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