Previous Previous:
From The Shipman's Tale, lines 143-157:
Dan John reveals he is not really the merchant's cousin
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Shipman's Tale
lines 158-194: The wife needs hundred franks and asks the monk to lend it to her

       "My deere love," quod she, "O my dayn John,
Ful lief were me this conseil for to hyde,
160But oot it moot, I may namoore abyde.
Myn housbonde is to me the worste man
That evere was sith that the world bigan.
Buth sith I am a wyf, it sit nat me
To tellen no wight of oure privetee,
165Neither abedde, ne in noon oother place;
God shilde I sholde it tellen, for his grace!
A wyf ne shal nat seyn of hir housbonde
But al honour, as I kan understonde;
Save unto yow thus muche I tellen shal:
170As helpe me God, he is noght worth at al
In no degree the value of a flye.
But yet me greveth moost his nygardye.
And wel ye woot that wommen naturelly
Desiren thynges sixe as wel as I:
175They wolde that hir housbondes sholde be
Hardy, and wise, and riche, and therto free,
And buxom unto his wyf, and fressh abedde.
But by that ilke Lord that for us bledde,
For his honour, myself for to arraye,
180A Sonday next I moste nedes paye
An hundred frankes, or ellis I am lorn.
Yet were me levere that I were unborn
Than me were doon a sclaundre or vileynye;
And if myn housbonde eek it myghte espye,
185I nere but lost; and therfore I yow preye,
Lene me this somme, or ellis moot I deye.
Daun John, I seye, lene me thise hundred frankes.
Pardee, I wol nat faille yow my thankes,
If that yow list to doon that I yow praye.
190For at a certeyn day I wol yow paye,
And doon to yow what plesance and service
That I may doon, right as yow list devise.
And but I do, God take on me vengeance,
As foul as evere hadde Genylon of France."
       "My dearest love," said she, "O my Dan John,
Right glad I were this counsel for to hide,
160But it must out, I can't it more abide.
To me my husband is the poorest man
That ever was, since first the world began.
But since I am a wife, becomes not me
To tell a living soul our privity,
165Either abed or in some other place;
God guard that I should tell it, of His grace!
For wife must never talk of her husband,
Except to his honour, as I understand.
But now to you thus much I can and shall:
170So help me God, he is not worth, at all,
In any wise, the value of a fly.
But yet this grieves me most- he's niggardly;
And well you know that women naturally
Desire six things, and even so do I.
175For women all would have their husbands be
Hardy, and wise, and rich, and therewith free,
Obedient to the wife, and fresh in bed.
But by that very Lord who for us bled,
Though in his honour, myself to array
180On Sunday next, I must yet go and pay
A hundred francs, or else be but forlorn.
Yet would I rather never have been born
Than have a scandal or disgrace, say I.
And if my husband such a thing should spy,
185I were but lost, and therefore do I pray,
Lend me this sum, or else I perish, yea!
Dan John, I say, lend me these hundred francs;
By gad, I will not fail to give you thanks,
If only you will do the thing I pray.
190For on a certain day I will repay,
And give to you what pleasure and service
I can give, aye, just as you may devise.
And if I don't, God take on me vengeance
As foul as once on Ganelon of France!"

Next Next:
From The Shipman's Tale, lines 195-207:
Dan John promises to bring her money secretly