The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Miller’s Prologue.

Here folwen the wordes bitwene the Host and the Millere.

Whan that the Knight had thus his tale y-told,

3110

In al the route nas ther yong ne old

That he ne seyde it was a noble storie,

And worthy for to drawen to memorie;

And namely the gentils everichoon.

Our Hoste lough and swoor, ‘so moot I goon,

3115

This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male;

Lat see now who shal telle another tale:

For trewely, the game is wel bigonne.

(10)

Now telleth ye, sir Monk, if that ye conne,

Sumwhat, to quyte with the Knightes tale.’

3120

The Miller, that for-dronken was al pale,

So that unnethe up-on his hors he sat,

He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,

Ne abyde no man for his curteisye,

But in Pilates vois he gan to crye,

3125

And swoor by armes and by blood and bones,

‘I can a noble tale for the nones,

With which I wol now quyte the Knightes tale.’

Heading. From E. Heere; hoost.   3118. E. on; rest ye.

(20)

 Our Hoste saugh that he was dronke of ale,

And seyde: ‘abyd, Robin, my leve brother,

3130

Som bettre man shal telle us first another:

Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily.’

3128. Ln. oste; E. hoost; Hl. has — Oure hoost saugh wel how.

 ‘By goddes soul,’ quod he, ‘that wol nat I;

For I wol speke, or elles go my wey.’

Our Hoste answerde: ‘tel on, a devel wey!

3135

Thou art a fool, thy wit is overcome.’

3134. Pt. hooste; Ln. oste; E. hoost.

 ‘Now herkneth,’ quod the Miller, ‘alle and some!

But first I make a protestacioun

(30)

That I am dronke, I knowe it by my soun;

And therfore, if that I misspeke or seye,

3140

Wyte it the ale of Southwerk, I yow preye;

For I wol telle a legende and a lyf

Bothe of a Carpenter, and of his wyf,

How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe.’

3140. E. Hn. Cm. om. yow.

 The Reve answerde and seyde, ‘stint thy clappe,

3145

Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye.

It is a sinne and eek a greet folye

To apeiren any man, or him diffame,

(40)

And eek to bringen wyves in swich fame.

Thou mayst y-nogh of othere thinges seyn.’

3147. E. Ln. Hl. defame; rest diffame.

3150

 This dronken Miller spak ful sone ageyn,

And seyde, ‘leve brother Osewold,

Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.

But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon;

3154

Ther been ful gode wyves many oon,

[T. om.

And ever a thousand gode ayeyns oon badde,

[T. om.

That knowestow wel thy-self, but-if thou madde.

Why artow angry with my tale now?

(50)

I have a wyf, pardee, as well as thou,

Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plogh,

3160

Taken up-on me more than y-nogh,

As demen of my-self that I were oon;

I wol beleve wel that I am noon.

An housbond shal nat been inquisitif

Of goddes privetee, nor of his wyf.

3165

So he may finde goddes foyson there,

Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere.’

3150. E. dronke; Cm. dronkyn; rest dronken.   3155, 6. These two lines are in E. Cm. Hl. only.   3160. Cm. Takyn; rest Take, Tak.   3166. enquere] Cp. Pt. Ln. to enquere.

 What sholde I more seyn, but this Millere

(60)

He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,

But tolde his cherles tale in his manere;

3170

Me thinketh that I shal reherce it here.

And ther-fore every gentil wight I preye,

For goddes love, demeth nat that I seye

Of evel entente, but that I moot reherce

Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,

3175

Or elles falsen som of my matere.

And therfore, who-so list it nat y-here,

Turne over the leef, and chese another tale;

(70)

For he shal finde y-nowe, grete and smale,

Of storial thing that toucheth gentillesse,

3180

And eek moralitee and holinesse;

Blameth nat me if that ye chese amis.

The Miller is a cherl, ye knowe wel this;

So was the Reve, and othere many mo,

And harlotrye they tolden bothe two.

3185

Avyseth yow and putte me out of blame;

And eek men shal nat make ernest of game.

Here endeth the prologe.

3170. E. Mathynketh; Hn. Cp. Ln. Hl. Me athynketh; Cm. Me thynkyth.   3172. demeth] Hl. as deme.   3173. E. yuel; Cm. euyl.   3177. Cp. chees; Cm. ches; rest chese.   3185. E. Cm. om. and.   E. Cp. putteth; rest putte, put.   3186. E. Hn. Cm. maken; rest make.   Colophon. From Cm.; Pt. Thus endeth the prologe; Ln. Explicit prologus; Hl. Here endeth the prologe of the Miller.

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37