Previous Previous:
From The Reeve's Tale, lines 314-344:
Alain and the miler's daughter
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Reeve's Tale
lines 345-379: John and the miller's wife

345       This John lith stille a furlong wey or two,
And to hymself he maketh routhe and wo.
"Allas!" quod he, "this is a wikked jape;
Now may I seyn that I is but an ape.
Yet has my felawe somwhat for his harm;
350He has the milleres doghter in his arm.
He auntred hym, and has his nedes sped,
And I lye as a draf-sak in my bed;
And when this jape is tald another day,
I sal been halde a daf, a cokenay!
355I wil arise and auntre it, by my fayth!
'Unhardy is unseely,' thus men sayth."
And up he roos, and softely he wente
Unto the cradel, and in his hand it hente,
And baar it softe unto his beddes feet.
345       This John lay still for a short time, or so,
Pitied himself and lamented for all his woe.
"Alas," said he, "this is a wicked jape!
Now may I say that I am but an ape.
Yet has my friend, there, something for his harms;
350He has the miller's daughter in his arms.
He ventured, and his pains are now all fled,
While I lie like a sack of rubbish in bed;
And when this joke is told, another day,
I shall be held an ass, a softie, yea!
355I will arise and chance it, by my fay!
'Unhardy is unhappy,' as they say."
And up he rose, and softly then he went
Unto the cradle, he took it in his hand,
And bore it over to his own foot-board.
360        Soon after this the wyf hir rowtyng leet,
And gan awake, and wente hire out to pisse,
And cam agayn, and gan hir cradel mysse
And groped heer and ther, but she found noon.
"Allas!" quod she, "I hadde almoost mysgoon;
365I hadde almoost goon to the clerkes bed.
Ey, benedicite! thanne hadde I foule ysped."
And forth she gooth til she the cradel fond.
She gropeth alwey forther with hir hond,
And foond the bed, and thoghte noght but good,
370By cause that the cradel by it stood,
And nyste wher she was, for it was derk;
But faire and wel she creep in to the clerk,
And lith ful stille, and wolde han caught a sleep.
Withinne a while this John the clerk up leep,
375And on this goode wyf he leith on soore.
So myrie a fit ne hadde she nat ful yoore;
He priketh harde and depe as he were mad.
This joly lyf han thise two clerkes lad
Til that the thriddle cok bigan to synge.
360       Soon after this the wife no longer snored,
But woke and rose and went outside to piss,
And came again and did the cradle miss,
And groped round, here and there, but found it not.
"Alas!" thought she, "my way I have forgot.
365I nearly found myself in the clerks' bed.
Eh, bless me, but that were wrong!" she said.
And on, until by cradle she did stand.
And, groping a bit farther with her hand,
She found the bed, and thought of nothing but good,
370Because her baby's cradle by it stood;
And knew not where she was, for it was dark;
But calmly then she crept in by the clerk,
And lay right still, and would have gone to sleep.
But within a moment this John the clerk did leap,
375And on this good wife did he vigorously lie.
No such merry time she'd known in years gone by.
He pierces her hard and deep, like one gone mad.
And so a jolly life these two clerks had
Till the third cock began to crow and sing.

Next Next:
From The Reeve's Tale, lines 380-413:
The morning at the miller's house