The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Merchant’s Prologue.

The Prologe of the Marchantes Tale.

‘Weping and wayling, care, and other sorwe

I know y-nogh, on even and a-morwe,’


Quod the Marchaunt, ‘and so don othere mo

That wedded been, I trowe that it be so.

For, wel I woot, it fareth so with me.

I have a wyf, the worste that may be;

For thogh the feend to hir y-coupled were,


She wolde him overmacche, I dar wel swere.

What sholde I yow reherce in special


Hir hye malice? she is a shrewe at al.

Ther is a long and large difference

Bitwix Grisildis grete pacience


And of my wyf the passing crueltee.

Were I unbounden, al-so moot I thee!

I wolde never eft comen in the snare.

We wedded men live in sorwe and care;

Assaye who-so wol, and he shal finde


I seye sooth, by seint Thomas of Inde,

As for the more part, I sey nat alle.


God shilde that it sholde so bifalle!

 A! good sir hoost! I have y-wedded be

Thise monthes two, and more nat, pardee;


And yet, I trowe, he that all his lyve

Wyflees hath been, though that men wolde him ryve

Un-to the herte, ne coude in no manere

Tellen so muchel sorwe, as I now here

Coude tellen of my wyves cursednesse!’


 ‘Now,’ quod our hoost, ‘Marchaunt, so god yow blesse,

Sin ye so muchel knowen of that art,


Ful hertely I pray yow telle us part.’

 ‘Gladly,’ quod he, ‘but of myn owene sore,

For sory herte, I telle may na-more.’

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