The prologe of the Cokes Tale.
The Cook of London, whil the Reve spak,
For joye him thoughte, he clawed him on the bak.
“Ha! ha!” quod he, “for Criste passioun,
This miller hadde a sharp conclusioun
Upon his argument of herbergage.
Wel seyde Salomon in his langage,
‘Ne brynge nat every man into thyn hous,’
For herberwynge by nyghte is perilous.
Wel oghte a man avysed for to be,
Whom that be broghte into his pryvetee.
I pray to God so yeve me sorwe and care,
If evere sitthe I highte Hogge of Ware,
Herde I a millere bettre yset awerk.
He hadde a jape of malice in the derk.
But God forbede that we stynte heere,
And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to heere
A tale of me that am a povre man,
I wol yow telle, as wel as evere I kan,
A litel jape that fil in oure citee.”
Oure Hoost answerde and seide, “I graunte it thee,
Now telle on, Roger, looke that it be good,
For many a pastee hastow laten blood,
And many a Jakke of Dovere hastow soold
That hath been twies hoot and twies cold.
Of many a pilgrim hastow Cristes curs,
For of thy percely yet they fare the wors,
That they han eten with thy stubbel-goos,
For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.
Now telle on, gentil Roger, by thy name,
But yet I pray thee, be nat wroth for game,
A man may seye ful sooth in game and pley.”
“Thou seist ful sooth,” quod Roger, “by my fey;
But ‘sooth pley quaad pley,’ as the Flemyng seith.
And ther-fore, Herry Bailly, by thy feith,
Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,
Though that my tale be of an hostileer.
But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit,
But er we parte, ywis, thou shalt be quit.”
And ther-with-al he lough and made cheere,
And seyde his tale, as ye shul after heere.
(Perkin, a London apprentice, being dismissed by his master, seeks his companions in dice, revel and disport.)
Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 11:52