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From The Physician's Tale, lines 1-29:
About a knight called Virginius and his wife and daughter
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Physician's Tale
lines 30-71: The beauty of the knight's daughter


30        This mayde of age twelf yeer was and tweye,
In which that Nature hadde swich delit.
For right as she kan peynte a lilie whit,
And reed a rose, right with swich peynture
She peynted hath this noble creature,
35Er she were born, upon hir lymes fre,
Where as by right swiche colours sholde be.
And Phebus dyed hath hir tresses grete,
Lyk to the stremes of his burned heete;
And if that excellent was hir beautee,
40A thousand foold moore vertuous was she.
In hire ne lakked no condicioun
That is to preyse, as by discrecioun;
As wel in goost as body chast was she,
For which she floured in virginitee
45With alle humylitee and abstinence,
With alle attemperaunce and pacience,
With mesure eek of beryng and array.
Discreet she was in answeryng alway,
Though she were wise Pallas, dar I seyn,
50Hir facound eek ful wommanly and pleyn,
No countrefeted termes hadde she
To seme wys, but after hir degree
She spak, and alle hir wordes, moore and lesse,
Sownynge in vertu and in gentillesse.
55Shamefast she was in maydens shamefastnesse,
Constant in herte, and evere in bisynesse
To dryve hir out of ydel slogardye.
Bacus hadde of hire mouth right no maistrie;
For wyn and youthe dooth Venus encresse,
60As man in fyr wol casten oille or greesse.
And of hir owene vertu unconstreyned,
She hath ful ofte tyme syk hir feyned,
For that she wolde fleen the compaignye
Where likly was to treten of folye,
65As is at feestes, revels, and at daunces
That been occasions of daliaunces.
Swich thynges maken children for to be
To soone rype and boold, as men may se,
Which is ful perilous, and hath been yoore;
70For al to soone may they lerne loore
Of booldnesse, whan she woxen is a wyf.
30        This virgin was fourteen years of age, this may
In whom Dame Nature had so great delight.
For just as she can paint a lily white
Or redden rose, even with such a stroke
She did this creature by her art evoke
35Before she was born, painting her sweet limbs free
In such true colours as they'd come to be;
And Phoebus dyed her long hair with such gold
As have his burning streamers manifold.
But if right excellent was her beauty,
40A thousand-fold more virtuous was she.
In her there lacked not one condition known
That's praiseworthy when by discretion shown.
As well in soul as body chaste was she;
For which she flowered in virginity
45With all humility and abstinence,
And with all temperance and with patience,
And with a modest bearing and array.
Discreet in her replies she was alway;
Though she was wise as Pallas, and not vain,
50Her speech was always womanly and plain,
No highfalutin pretty words had she
To ape deep knowledge; after her degree
She spoke, and all her words, greater and less,
Tended to virtue and to gentleness.
55Modest she was, with maiden bashfulness,
Constant of heart, and full of busyness
To keep her from all idle sluggardry.
Bacchus had of her mouth no mastery;
For wine and youth help Venus to increase,
60As when on fire is scattered oil or grease.
And of her virtue, free and unconstrained,
She had ofttimes some little illness feigned
In order to avoid a company
Which likely was to do some great folly,
65As people do at revels and at dances,
Which are occasions when young folk take chances.
Such things but make young men and maidens be
Too ripe and bold, as everyone may see,
Which is right dangerous, as 'twas of yore.
70For all too soon a virgin learns the lore
Of wantonness when she becomes a wife.




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From The Physician's Tale, lines 72-104:
A note on how to raise children
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