The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer

Words of the Host.

The wordes of the Host to the Phisicien and the Pardoner.

Our Hoste gan to swere as he were wood,

‘Harrow!’ quod he, ‘by nayles and by blood!.

This was a fals cherl and a fals Iustyse!


As shamful deeth as herte may devyse

Come to thise Iuges and hir advocats!

Algate this sely mayde is slayn, allas!

Allas! to dere boghte she beautee!

Wherfore I seye al day, as men may see,


That yiftes of fortune or of nature


Ben cause of deeth to many a creature.

Hir beautee was hir deeth, I dar wel sayn;

Allas! so pitously as she was slayn!

Of bothe yiftes that I speke of now


Men han ful ofte more harm than prow.

But trewely, myn owene mayster dere,

This is a pitous tale for to here.

But natheles, passe over, is no fors;

I prey to god, so save thy gentil cors,


And eek thyne urinals and thy Iordanes,


Thyn Ypocras, and eek thy Galianes,

And every boist ful of thy letuarie;

God blesse hem, and our lady seinte Marie!

So mot I theen, thou art a propre man,


And lyk a prelat, by seint Ronyan!

Seyde I nat wel? I can nat speke in terme;

But wel I woot, thou doost my herte to erme,

That I almost have caught a cardiacle.

By corpus bones! but I have triacle,


Or elles a draught of moyste and corny ale,


Or but I here anon a mery tale,

Myn herte is lost for pitee of this mayde.

Thou bel amy, thou Pardoner,’ he seyde,

‘Tel us som mirthe or Iapes right anon.’


‘It shall be doon,’ quod he, ‘by seint Ronyon!

But first,’ quod he, ‘heer at this ale-stake

I wol both drinke, and eten of a cake.’

Heading. So E.   E. Hoost.   287. Ln. oste; rest hoost, ost.   290. E. shameful.   291, 292. So E. Hn. Pt.; but Cp. has — So falle vpon his body and his bones The deuyl I bekenne him al at ones; so also Ln. Hl.   291. E. (alone) ins. false before Iuges.   E. Hn. Aduocatz; Pt. aduocas.   295. E. Hn. and; rest or.   296. E. Hn. to; rest of.   297, 298. So Cp. Ln. Hl.; rest omit these lines.   300. E. Hn. for harm; rest om. for.   303. Hl. this is; the rest omit this.   305. Ln. Iordanes; Cp. Iurdanes; E. Hn. Iurdones.   306. Cp. Galianes; E. Hn. Galiones.   307. Hl. boist; E. Hn. boyste; Cp. Pt. Ln. box.   313. E. Hn. cardynacle(!).   322. eten of] Hl. byt on.

 But right anon thise gentils gonne to crye,

‘Nay! lat him telle us of no ribaudye;


Tel us som moral thing, that we may lere


Som wit, and thanne wol we gladly here.’

‘I graunte, y-wis,’ quod he, ‘but I mot thinke

Up-on som honest thing, whyl that I drinke.

323. E. Hn. And; the rest But.   324. E. Hn. Cp. Hl. ribaudye; Ln. rebaudie; Pt. rybaudrye.   327. For ll. 326, 327, Hl. has — Gladly, quod he, and sayde as ye schal heere: But in the cuppe wil I me bethinke.

Last updated Tuesday, August 25, 2015 at 14:06