Canterbury Tales, Wife of Bath's Prologue [Excerpt]

Geoffrey Chaucer

 
     But now, sire,—lat me se—what I shal seyn?
A ha! by God, I have my tale ageyn.
     Whan that my fourthe housbonde was on beere,
I weep algate, and made sory cheere,
As wyves mooten, for it is usage,
And with my coverchief covered my visage;
But for that I was purveyed of a make,
I wepte but smal, and that I undertake!
     To chirche was myn housbonde born a morwe
With neighebores, that for hym maden sorwe,
And Jankyn, oure clerk, was oon of tho.
As help me God, whan that I saugh hym go
After the beere, me thoughte he hadde a paire
Of legges and of feet so clene and faire
That al myn herte I gaf unto his hoold.
He was, I trowe, a twenty wynter oold,
And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth;
But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth.
Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel,
I hadde the prente of seïnte Venus seel.
As help me God, I was a lusty oon,
And faire and riche, and yong, and wel bigon,
And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me,
I hadde the beste quonyam myghte be.
For certes, I am al Venerien
In feelynge, and myn herte is Marcien;
Venus me gaf my lust, my likerousnesse,
And Mars gaf me my sturdy hardynesse.
Myn áscendent was Taur, and Mars therinne;
Allas, allas! that evere love was synne!
I folwed ay myn inclinacioun
By vertu of my constellacioun,
That made me I koude noght withdrawe
My chambre of Venus from a good felawe.
Yet have I Martes mark upon my face,
And also in another, privee, place.
For God so wys be my savacioun,
I ne loved nevere by no discrecioun,
But evere folwede myn appetit,—
Al were he short, or long, or blak, or whit;
I took no kep, so that he liked me,
How poore he was, ne eek of what degree.
 

Poems by This Author

Canterbury Tales, The Nun's Priest's Tale [Excerpt] by Geoffrey Chaucer
This Chanticleer stood high upon his toes
Canterbury Tales, General Prologue by Geoffrey Chaucer
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote
Canterbury Tales, The Knight's Tale, Book I [Excerpt] by Geoffrey Chaucer
In days of old there lived, of mighty fame
An ABC (The Prayer of Our Lady) by Geoffrey Chaucer
Almighty and al merciable queene
Merciles Beaute by Geoffrey Chaucer
Your yn two wol sle me sodenly
The Love Unfeigned by Geoffrey Chaucer
O Yonge fresshe folkes, he or she
To Rosemounde by Geoffrey Chaucer
Ma dame, ye ben of al beaute shryne


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