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  • 8/10/2019 Fragment III


    Fragment III (Group D)

    h e Wife of Bath's ale


    "Experience, though no authorityWere in this world, would be enough for e!o spea of woe that arried life affords#$or since % was twel&e years of age, y lords,!han s be to God eternally ali&e, 'Of husbands at the church door %(&e had fi&e)%f % ha&e wed that often legally*,+nd all were worthy en in their degree-ut % was told not &ery long ago!hat as but once did .esus e&er go /0!o a wedding )in 1ana, Galilee*,-y that exa ple he was teaching e!hat only once in life should % be wed+nd listen what a sharp word, too, was said-eside a well by .esus, God and an, /'%n a reproof of the 2a aritan3(4ow you ha&e had fi&e husbands,( .esus said,(-ut he who has you now, % say instead,%s not your husband ( !hat he said, no doubt,-ut what he eant % ha&en(t figured out# 50$or % ust as , why is it the fifth anWasn(t husband to the 2a aritan6

    7ow any en was she allowed to wed6%n all y years %(&e ne&er heard it saidExactly how this nu ber is defined# 5'8en ay sur ise and gloss how it(s di&ined,-ut % expressly now it(s not a lieGod bade us to increase and ultiply99!hat noble text % well appreciate% also now the Lord said that y ate :02hould lea&e for e his father and his other,-ut entioned not one nu ber or another,

    4ot biga y nor yet octoga y

    Why should en spea , then, disappro&ingly6 "Loo , here(s the wise ing, lordly 2olo on3 :'% do belie&e his wi&es were ore than oneWould that the Lord per itted e to beRefreshed as half as often as was he+ gift fro God he had for all his wi&es,

    4o an will e&er ha&e such in our li&es ;0God nows, this noble ing, if % a right,

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    7ad any a erry bout on that first nightWith each of the , he was so uch ali&e+nd God be blest that % ha&e arried fi&e,Of which % ha&e pic ed out the &ery best, ;;+-oth for their hanging purse and for their chest +s any different schools a e perfectclerks ,2o practice that(s di&erse in sundry wor s

    Will a e a perfect wor an certainly#$i&e9husband schooling(s done the sa e for e ;;$!he sixth is welco e when he co es along# ;'% won(t be eeping yself chaste for long,$or when one husband fro this world is gone2o e 1hristian an will wed e early on99 $or as the Apostle says, then % a free!o wed in God(s na e when it pleases e '0%t(s no sin to be arried, he has said,$or if you(re burning, better to be wedWhat do % care if fol s spea e&illyOf curs d La ech and his biga y6

    + holy an was +braha , % now, ''+nd .acob, too, as far as that ay go,

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    Without the (biga y( that so e would cry(%t(s best a an should not a wo an touch(#7e eant in bed or on the couch or such%n ixing fire and tinder danger lies#What this exa ple eans you [email protected] B0+nd that(s the su 3 he held &irginityWas better than to wed in frailty

    )% call it (frailty( unless the twoWould chaste re ain till both their li&es were through * "% grant it well, but en&y % do not, B'!hat aidenhood ay be the better lot%n soul and body so e li e being clean,+nd % can a e no boasts -ut ha&e you seen+ ong possessions that the nobles hold%f each and e&ery &essel is of gold6 /002o e are of ser&ice though they be of wood%n sundry ways God calls us to his good,Each by his own God9gi&en gift sustained,

    2o e this, so e that, as hea&en has ordained "+ great perfection is &irginity, /0'+nd continence aintained de&otedly#-ut 1hrist, who of perfection is the well,Cid not bid e&eryone to go and sell+ll that he had and gi&e it to the poor +nd thereby follow hi # no, this was for //0!he ones desiring to li&e perfectly99+nd by your lea&e, y lords, that isn(t e$or %(ll bestow the flower of y life%n all the acts and fruits of being wife

    "+nd tell e for what reason, if you can, //'Were organs ade for reproducing anWho(s ade in such a wise and perfect way6!hey were not ade for nothing, safe to sayGloss o&er whoso will, tell all creationOur little things both are for urination, /50+nd that they(re ade so different in detail2o we can now the fe ale fro the ale+nd for no other reason99you say (4o(6Experience nows well it isn(t so!hat learned en % not pro&o e to oath, /5'

    % ean to say that they were ade for both99!hat is, both for relief and for our ease!o procreate, so God we not displeaseWhy else should en into their ledgers set!hat e&ery an yield to his wife her debt6 /:0+nd how can he pay this e olu entUnless he use his si ple instru ent6!hat(s why upon all creatures these are set,

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    !o urinate and also to beget "-ut % don(t say that e&eryone possessing /:'EDuip ent such as this as % was stressing8ust go and use it for engendering,Lest chastity be held a worthless thing1hrist was a &irgin though shaped as a an,+nd any a saint since this world first began /;0

    7as also li&ed in perfect chastity% don(t begrudge the their &irginity#!hey(re bread fro finest wheat, so be it said,+nd let us wi&es be nown as barley bread+nd yet with barley bread, as 8ar can tell, /;'Was any a an by .esus nourished well%n such estate as God calls each of us%(ll perse&ere %( not fastidious,%n wifehood % will use y instru ent+s freely as y 8a er has it sent /'0%f % hold bac , God bring e isery

    8y spouse shall ha&e it day and night, when heCesires he ay co e forth and pay his debt%(ll ha&e a husband99%( not Duitting yet99+nd he will be y debtor and y sla&e, /''+nd in the flesh his troubles will be gra&e+s long as % continue as his wife#$or % will ha&e the power all y lifeO&er his body, % and ne&er he %t(s >ust as the +postle said to e /=0

    +nd bade the lo&e us well, which % ust say+re teachings to y li ing all the way " !he Pardoner spo e up i ediately

    "4ow da e, by God and by 2aint .ohn," said he,"+s a noble preacher on the case you(ll pass /='% al ost wed a wife, but then, alas,Why buy it with y flesh, a price so dear6%(d rather not get arried, not this year " "+bide," she said, " y tale is not begun

    4o, you(ll be drin ing fro another tun, /?0-efore %( through, that tastes uch worse than ale+nd when %( finished telling you y taleOf tribulation nown to an and wife99Of which %(&e been an expert all y life

    )!hat is to say, of which %(&e been the whip*99 /?'!hen a e your choice whether you would sip$ro this sa e tun that %( about to broach-e wary lest too near it you approach%(ll tell you good exa ples, ore than ten(Whoso would not be warned by other en, /A0-y hi shall other en corrected be (!hese words were written by Ptolemy ,

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    "Ca e, if you will, % prayerfully reDuest,"!he Pardoner said, "that >ust as you began /A'!ell us your tale and do not spare a an+nd of your practice teach us younger en " "%f you desire, %(ll do so gladly, then,"2he said "-ut first % pray this co pany,%f % should spea as it ay fancy e, /B0

    Will not be too upset by what % say,$or y intent is nothing but to play "8y lords, % now will offer you y tale%f e&er % ay drin of wine or ale,%(ll tell the truth on husbands that %(&e had, /B'+s three of the were good and two were bad!he three en who were good were rich and old,%ndeed were scarcely able to uphold!he contract binding the -y God abo&e,

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    +nd call as witness her assenting aid 4ow listen to y typical tirade3 "(Old sluggard, you would ha&e e dress this way6 5:'Why does y neighbor(s wife ha&e fine array62he is so honored e&erywhere she goes#% sit at ho e, % ha&e no nifty clothesWhat are you up to at y neighbor(s house6

    %s she so fair6 2o a orous are you, spouse6 5;0What do you whisper with our aid6 +h, bless e2ir Lecher, will you stop your treachery

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    What ails such an old fellow so to chide6 "(

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    7ow errily so e other people fare6 ::0$or by your lea&e, old dotard, of y stuff !onight you surely will ha&e Duite enough7ow great a niggard is he who refuses+ candlelight fro the lantern that he uses#7e(d ha&e no less light than he did before ::'ewelryLi e pearls and gold, nor other rich array " :;'+bout your text and rubric, let e say%(d follow the as uch as would a gnat


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    "8y lords, >ust so, as you now understand,% accused all y old husbands out of hand :A0Of saying such while they were drun +nd allWas false, but as y witnesses %(d callOn .en in and y niece to say, (%t(s so (O Lord, the pain % ga&e the and the woe!heir guilt6 -y God(s sweet grief, they hadn(t any# :A'

    +nd yet >ust li e a horse %(d bite and whinny,1o plaining well when % yself had guilt,$or they(d ha&e illed e had the beans been spiltWho co es first to the ill is first to grind#%(d be first to co plain, and always find :B0Our war was Duic ly o&er99gladly theyRepented things they didn(t do or sayOn wenches % would gi&e the repri andWhen they were so sic they could hardly stand "

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    2o that they had to gi&e up and be bestedOr else we ne&er would ha&e finally rested!hough li e a raging lion he would loo ,ollity, ;?0%t war s the coc les of y heart !oday%t still does y heart good that % can say%(&e had the world, what ti e(s been ine to pass-ut age that poisons e&erything, alas,-ereft e of y beauty and y pith ;?'
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    Well, let it go, the de&il go therewith!he flour is gone, there is no ore to tell#!he bran as best % can % now ust sell+nd stri&e to be as erry as before+nd now %(ll tell of husband nu ber four ;A0 "% had within y heart a great despite!hat he in any other too delight

    % paid hi bac , by God and by 2aint .oyce,With a hard staff fro wood of his own choice#

    4ot with y body, not by sinful eans, ;A'-ut entertaining fol s in erry scenes,% ade hi fry in his own grease till heWas Duite consu ed with angry >ealousy-y God, on earth % was his purgatory,$or which % hope his soul is now in glory ;B0God nows how often he would sit and singWhile his shoe pinched hi , such a painful thing#$or there was none sa&e God and e who new

    !he any tor ents that % put hi through7e died when % ca e fro .erusale # ;B'-eneath the rood9bea where we buried hi ,7is to b was surely not as finely done+s was great Fing Carius(s, the one-uilt by +pelles with such s ill and taste+ costly burial would ha&e been a waste '008ay he fare well and God gi&e his soul rest,$or he(s now in his gra&e, his wooden chest "Of husband nu ber fi&e % now will tellGod grant his soul ay ne&er go to hell

    +nd yet he was to e the &ery worst# '0'% feel it in y ribs fro last to first+nd always will until the day % die -ut in our bed he was so fresh and spry,!o gloss away so able, hea&en nows,Whene&er he was wanting y belle chose , '/0!hat though each bone he(d beaten was in pain,+t once he(d win bac all y lo&e again% swear % lo&ed hi best of all, for heWas always playing hard to get with eWe wo en ha&e99the truth, so help e God99 '/'%n this regard a fancy that is odd#

    !hat which we can(t get in an easy way%s what we(ll cra&e and cry for all the day$orbid us so ething and then we(ll desire it,-ut press it on us and we(ll not reDuire it '50With coyness we trade in our affairs#Great ar et crowds a e ore expensi&e wares+nd what(s too cheap will not be held a [email protected]!his e&ery wo an nows if she is wise

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    "8y husband nu ber fi&e, God bless his soul, '5'% too for lo&e, no riches were y goal 7e once had been an Oxford cler , but then7ad left school and gone ho e, and boarded inOur town with a good friend of ine, the one,God bless her soul, whose na e was +lison ':02he new y heart, each of y secrets well,8uch better than the parish priest %(d tell

    7er e&erything, disclosing to her all#$or had y husband pissed upon a wallOr done so ething that could ha&e cost his life, ':'!o her and to another worthy wife99+nd also to y niece, who % lo&ed well997is e&ery secret % would fully tellGod nows, % did this so uch, to his dread,%t often ade his face get hot and red ';07e felt asha ed, but bla ed hi self that he7ad told to e so great a pri&ity "%t so befell that one ti e during Lent,

    +s often to this close friend(s house % went)+nd % so lo&ed to dress up anyway ';'+nd ta e y wal s in 8arch, +pril, and 8ay$ro house to house, to hear what tales were spun*,!his cler na ed .en in, y friend +lison,+nd % yself into the eadows went8y husband was in London all that Lent, ''02o % had uch ore leisure ti e to play,!o see and to be seen along the way-y lusty fol s 7ow could % now when thereWould co e good fortune eant for e, or where6

    +nd so % ade y &isits, %(d attend '''Religious &igils and processions, wendWith pilgri s, hear the ser ons preached# also!o iracle plays and weddings % would go!he clothes that % would wear were scarlet bright#!here ne&er was a wor or oth or ite, '=0+s % ay li&e, could bring to the abuseCo you now why6 !hey always were in use "%(ll tell you now what happened next to e%(&e said we wal ed into the fields, we three#+nd there we really had a chance to flirt, '='

    !his cler and % 8y foresight to assert,While we were tal ing % suggested he,%f % wound up a widow, arry e$or certainly99% say it not to boast99Of good pur&eyance % ha&e ade the ost '?0%n arriages and other things as well+ ouse(s heart(s not worth a lee in hell%f he has >ust one hole for which to run,

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    $or if that one hole fails then all is done "% ade pretense that he enchanted e '?')8y other taught to e this subtlety*#% drea t of hi all night, % also said,+nd drea t he slew e as % lay in bed,8y bed as full of blood as it could be(-ut still % hope that you(ll bring good to e, 'A0

    $or blood beto ens gold, or so %( taught (+nd all was false, for %(d been drea ing naught,% only followed all y other(s lore)On that as well as on a few things ore* "+nd now, sirs99let e see, what was % saying6 'A'+ha by God, % ha&e it, no ore straying "When y fourth husband lay upon the bier,% wept, of course, grief9stric en to appear,+s wi&es ust do )the custo of the land*,+nd hid y face with the erchief in y hand 'B0-ut as %(d be pro&ided with a ate,

    % wept but little, % can truly state "4ow as y husband to the church was borne!hat orning, neighbors went along to ourn,With our cler .en in being one +s God 'B'8ay help e, when % saw hi trod-ehind the bier, % thought that he had feet+nd legs as fair as e&er % could eet,+nd all y heart was then in his dear hold7e was, % thin , then twenty winters old, =00+nd % was forty, telling you the truth#-ut % ha&e always had a coltish tooth

    Gap9toothed % was, and that was for the best#!he birth ar of 2aint enus % possessed2o help e God, % was a lusty one =0'+nd fair and rich and young and full of fun#+nd truly, as y husbands said to e,% had the finest what(s9it there could be 8y feelings co e fro enus and y heart%s full of 8ars# for enus did i part =/0!o e all of y lecherousness and lust,+nd 8ars ga&e e a hard and sturdy crust8y ascendant sign was !aurus, 8ars therein+las, alas, that e&er lo&e was sin$or % ha&e always followed inclination =/'

    -y &irtue of y taurine constellation#!hat ade e so that % could not deny+ good fellow y enus cha ber %2till ha&e the ar of 8ars upon y face)+nd also in another, pri&ate place* =50+s truly as the Lord is y sal&ation,8y lo&e was ne&er by discri ination#% always catered to y appetite,!hough he be short or long or blac or white

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    % didn(t care, >ust so he pleasured e, =5'7ow poor he was or what was his degree "What shall % say except, when that onth ended,!his >olly .en in who % thought so splendid7ad arried e idst great sole nity% ga&e hi all the land and property =:0!hat e&er had been gi&en e +nd yet

    %t was thereafter uch to y regret#Of nothing that % wanted he would hear-y God, he struc e so once on the ear )-ecause % tore a page out of his boo * =:'!hat it went deaf fro that one blow it too-ut % was stubborn li e a lioness+nd lashed hi with y tongue without redress+nd %(d go wal ing as %(d done before$ro house to house )though % would not, he swore*, =;0$or which he oftenti es would start to preach!o e Old Ro an stories he would teach,

    Li e how 2i plicius Gallus left his wife,$orsa ing her the re ainder of his life,-ecause he caught her loo ing out the door =;'One day bareheaded99that and nothing ore "+ Ro an, too, he told e of by na eWhose wife had gone out to a su er(s ga eWithout his nowledge# he forsoo her too+nd then he(d go and search his -ible through ='0$or a pro&erb ofEcclesiasticusWherein he gi&es a fir co and to us3

    4o an should let his wife go roa about

    +nd after that he(d Duote without a doubt3(Whoe&er builds his house by using sallows =''+nd goes and pric s his blind horse o&er fallows+nd lets his wife see any shrine one hallows%s worthy to be hung upon the gallows (-ut all for naught, for % cared not a straw$or all his pro&erbs or for his old saw ==0%(d not correct yself by his ad&ices% hate a an who tells e of y &ices,+nd so do ore of us, God nows, than %2o ad with e this ade hi he could die,

    -ut % would not forbear in any case ==' "%(ll tell you, by 2aint !ho as, face9to9face!he reason % tore fro his boo a page,Why he ga&e e a deaf ear in his rage "7e had a boo that he read night and day$or his a use ent 7e would laugh away =?0+t this boo , which he called ( alerius+nd !heophrastus,( with its &arious

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    2elections3 there was once a cler in Ro e,+ cardinal whose na e was 2aint .ero e,Who wrote a boo against .o&inian# =?'!his boo also contained !ertullian,1hrysippus, !rotula, and 7eloise,+n abbess who once li&ed near Paris# these+long with parables of 2olo on+nd "#id (s Art 99the boo s were any a one, =A0

    +nd all of the in this one &olu e bound+nd day and night he always could be found,When he had leisure or was on &acation$ro any sort of worldly occupation,Reading so e passage about wic ed wi&es =A'Of the he new ore legends and ore li&es!han of the best of wi&es in 7oly Writ%t is i possible, no doubting it,$or any cler to spea so e good of wi&esUnless it deals with saints, their holy li&es# =B0

    4o wo an not a saint he(s indly to

    Who painted, though, the lion, tell e who6-y God, if wo en e&er wrote so e stories+s cler s ha&e done in all their oratories,!hey would ha&e told of en ore wic edness =B'!han all the sons of +da could redress 1hildren of enus and of $ercury7a&e always wor ed in great polarity#$or 8ercury lo&es wisdo , science pure,While enus lo&es good ti es, expenditure ?00-ecause their dispositions are di&ergent,One(s descendant, the other one e ergent#2o 8ercury, God nows, has desolationWhen enus has in Pisces exaltation,

    +nd enus falls when 8ercury is raised ?0'2o by no cler is wo an e&er praised!he cler , when he is old and cannot do$or enus any wor worth his old shoe,Will in his dotage sit and write of how+ wo an cannot eep her arriage &ow ?/0 "4ow let e tell the reason why % say!hat % was beaten for a boo , % prayOne night this .en in, who was y fifth sire,Was reading in his boo beside the fire7e read of E&e, who by her wic edness ?/'

    7ad brought all of an ind to wretchedness,!he reason .esus 1hrist hi self was slain!o bring us bac with his heart(s blood again(Of wo en here expressly you ay find!hat wo an was the ruin of all an ind ( ?50 "7e read to e how 2a son lost his hair,2heared by his istress, sleeping unaware,+nd how by this he lost both of his eyes
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    "7e read then to e99% will tell no lies99Of Ce>anira, she who was to bla e ?5'!hat 7ercules had set hi self afla e "7e left out not a whit about the woe!hat 2ocrates( two wi&es caused hi to now#When Hantippe poured piss upon his head,!he hapless an sat there as still as dead, ?:0

    !hen wiped his head and dared not to co plain,-ut said, (Ere thunder stops, there co es a rain ( "!he tale of Pasipha % , the Dueen of 1rete,$or cursedness he thought was really sweet$ie on it %(ll not spea in any easure ?:'+bout her horrid lust, her grisly pleasure "Of 1lyte nestra, who for lechery-rought to her husband death by treachery,With greatest fer&or then to e he read "7e told e, too, the circu stance that led ?;0+ phiaraus at !hebes to lose his life#

    8y husband had a legend of his wifeEriphyle, who for a brooch of gold7ad gone in secret to the Gree s and toldOf where her husband had his hiding place, ?;'$or which he et at !hebes with sorry grace "7e told of Li&ia, Lucilia too,Who ade their husbands die, albeit trueOne was for lo&e, the other was for hate$or Li&ia, one e&ening &ery late, ?'0Ga&e poison to her husband as a foe#-ut lecherous Lucilia lo&ed hers so

    !hat, so he ight fore&er of her thin ,2he ga&e hi such a lo&e potion to drin !hat he was dead before the orning sun ?''+nd therefore husbands always are undone "7e told e then how one Latu ius1o plained one day to his friend +rrius!hat growing in his garden was a treeOn which, he said, his wi&es )who nu bered three* ?=07ad hung the sel&es out of their hearts( despite2aid +rrius, (Cear brother, if you ight,Gi&e e a cutting fro that blessed tree,

    +nd in y garden planted shall it be ( "Of later date, of wi&es to e he read ?='Who so eti es slew their husbands while in bed,!hen with their lechers screwed the night awayWhile flat upon the floor the bodies lay2o e others would dri&e nails into the brainWhile they were sleeping, that(s how they were slain ??02till others ga&e the poison in their drin

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    Of e&il ore than any heart can thin +bout he read, and he new ore pro&erbs!han in this world there(s growth of grass or herbs(%t(s better that your dwelling place,( said he, ??'(With a foul dragon or a lion be!han with a wo an who is wont to chide7igh on the roof it(s better to abide

    !han with an angry wife down in the houseEach wic ed and contrary to her spouse, ?A0!hey hate all that their husbands lo&e ( 7e(d say,(+ wo an casts all of her sha e awayWhen she casts off her s oc ( 7e(d further tell,(+ wo an fair, if she(s not chaste as well,%s li e a golden ring in a sow(s nose ( ?A'Who could ha&e thought, whoe&er would suppose!he woe and tor ent that was in y heart6 "+nd when % saw that he would ne&er partWith reading in this curs d boo all night,

    !hree lea&es all of a sudden % tore right ?B0Out of his boo while he was reading it,!hen with y fist % ga&e his chee a hit+nd he fell bac wards right into the fire7e >u ped up li e a lion full of ire+nd with his fist he hit e in the head, ?B'+nd % lay on the floor then as if dead+nd when he saw how stilly there % lay,7e was aghast and would ha&e run away,-ut then at last out of y swoon % wo e(O false thief, ha&e you slain e6( then % spo e A00


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    -ut now such el&es no one is seeing 4o,$or now the prayers and charitable desiresA='Of limiters and other holy friarsWho wander all the land, by e&ery strea ,+s thic as spec s of dust in a sunbea ,!o bless our halls, cha bers, itchens, bowers,-oroughs, cities, castles, lofty towers, A?0

    illages, granaries, stables, dairies,7a&e ade sure that no longer are there fairies$or where there once was wont to wal an elf !here(s wal ing now the li iter hi self,Early and late, to gi&e his auspices, A?'2ay atins and his other offices,Go all about the li it where he(s found

    4ow wo en ay go safely all around#%n e&ery bush and under e&ery tree7e is the only incubus , and he AA0Won(t do a thing except dishonor the %t happened that Fing +rthur had with hi

    + bachelor in his house# this lusty li&er,While riding fro his haw ing by the ri&er,Once chanced upon, alone as she was born, AA'+ aiden who was wal ing99soon forlorn,$or he, despite all that she did or said,-y force depri&ed her of her aidenhead-ecause of this, there was such cla oring+nd such de and for >ustice to the ing, AB0!his night was all but nu bered with the dead-y course of law, and should ha&e lost his head)Which ay ha&e been the law in that ilieu*

    -ut then the Dueen and other ladies tooPrayed so long that the ing ight grant hi grace, AB'Fing +rthur spared hi for at least a space#7e left hi to the Dueen to do her will,!o choose to sa&e or order the to ill !he Dueen then than ed the ing with all her ight,+nd after this the Dueen spo e with the night B00When she saw opportunity one day"$or you," she said, "things stand in such a way

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    !his night with sorrow sighed, was full of woeWhat could he do6 4ot as he pleased, and so!o go away was what he finally chose, B/'!o co e bac when his year was at its closeWith such an answer as God ight pro&ide7e too his lea&e and forth he went to ride 7e sought in e&ery house and e&ery place

    %n hopes he could secure the pro ised grace B50-y learning that which wo en lo&e the ost-ut he did not arri&e at any coastWhere he could find two people on the atter Who ight agree, if >udging by their chatter2o e said that wo en all lo&e riches best, B5'While so e said honor, others >olly @est,2o e rich array# so e said delights in bed,+nd any said to be a widow wed#2o e others said that our hearts are ost easedWhen we are flattered and when we are pleased99 B:0

    +nd he was nigh the truth, if you as e+ an shall win us best with flattery#With uch attendance, char , and application1an we be caught, whate&er be our station 2o e said our lo&e to which we all aspire B:'%s to be free to do as we desire,With no reproof of &ice but with the rule!hat en should say we(re wise, not one a fool$or truly there is none a ong us allWho, if a an should claw us on the gall, B;0Won(t ic for being told the truth# he who

    Coes an assay will find out that it(s true-ut though we ay ha&e &ices ept within,We li e to be called wise and clean of sin +nd so e say that we ta e the ost delight B;'%n eeping secrets, eeping our lips tight,!o >ust one purpose stri&ing to adhere3

    4ot to betray one thing that we ay hear!hat tale(s not worth the handle of a ra eWe wo en can(t eep secrets, hea&en(s sa e B'0.ust loo at 8idas99would youhear the tale6 "#id , a ong the trifles he(d detail,

    2aid 8idas had long hair, for it appears!hat on his head had grown two ass(s ears!his defect he had tried as best he ight B''!o eep well as he could fro others( sight,+nd sa&e his wife there was none who could tell7e lo&ed her uch and trusted her as well+nd prayed that not one li&ing creature sheWould e&er tell of his defor ity B=0
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    2he swore she(d not, though all the world to win,-e guilty of such &illainy and sin+nd a e her husband ha&e so foul a na e!o tell it would as well bring her to sha e-ut nonetheless she all but nearly died, B='2o long to ha&e a secret she ust hide2he thought it swelled so sorely in her heart

    2o e word fro out of her was bound to start#+nd since she dared to tell it to no an,Cown close beside a arsh the lady ran99 B?02he had to rush, her heart was so afire!hen li e a bittern boo ing in the ire,2he put her outh down to the water, saying,"Water, a e no sound, don(t be betraying,$or % will tell this to no one but you B?'8y husband has long ass(s ears99it(s true "2he thought, "8y heart is cured now, it is out#% couldn(t eep it longer, there(s no doubt "

    2o as you see, we ay awhile abide-ut it ust out, no secret we can hide BA0)+s for the tale, if you would hear the rest,Read O&id, for that(s where you(ll learn it best * !his night of who y tale is all about,When seeing that he couldn(t find it out99!hat is to say, what wo en lo&e the ost99 BA'$elt in his breast already li e a ghost#$or ho e he headed, he could not so>ourn,!he day had co e when ho eward he ust turn+nd in this woeful state he chanced to ride

    While on his way along a forest side, BB0+nd there he saw upon the forest floor 2o e ladies dancing, twenty9four or ore!oward these dancers he was Duic to turn%n hope that of so e wisdo he ight learn#-ut all at once, before he(d gotten there, BB'!he dancers disappeared, he new not where7e didn(t see one creature bearing life,2a&e sitting on the green one single wife+n uglier creature no ind could de&ise!o eet hi this old wife was to arise, /000

    +nd said, "

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    "Gi&e e your word here in y hand," said she,"!he next thing % reDuest you(ll do for e /0/0%f it(s a thing that lies within your ight,+nd % will tell you then before it(s night "!he night said, "7ere(s y oath, % guarantee " "!hen certainly % dare to boast," said she,"ustice in her guise+ll these had been asse bled there to hear,+nd then the night was su oned to appear /0:0 $ull silence was co anded in the court2o that the night ight openly report!he thing that worldly wo en lo&e the best7e stood not li e a beast at one(s behest-ut Duic ly ga&e his answer loud and clear, /0:'With anly &oice that all the court ight hear "8y liege and lady, generally," said he,

    "What wo en ost desire is so&ereigntyO&er their husbands or the ones they lo&e,!o ha&e the astery, to be abo&e /0;0!his is your ost desire, though you ay ill8e if you wish %( here, do as you will "

    4o wife or aid or widow in the court2aw fit to contradict the night(s report#!hey all agreed, "7e(s worthy of his life " /0;'+nd with that word up started the old wife,!he one the night had seen upon the green"8ercy," she said, " y so&ereign lady Dueen

    -efore your court departs, grant e y right%t(s % who taught this answer to the night, /0'0$or which he ga&e a sole n oath to e3!he first thing % reDuest he(d do for e%f it(s a thing that lies within his ight-efore the court % therefore pray, 2ir Fnight,"2he said, "that you will ta e e as your wife# /0''$or well you now that % ha&e sa&ed your life

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    %f % spea falsely, by your faith accuse e " !he night replied, "+las, how woes abuse e% now % ade the pro ise you(&e expressed$or lo&e of God, please choose a new reDuest /0=0!a e all y goods and let y body go " "4o, da n us both then " she replied "$or though% ay be ugly, elderly, and poor,

    %(d gi&e all of the etal and the ore!hat lies beneath the earth and lies abo&e /0='%f only % could be your wife and lo&e " "8y lo&e6" he said "4o, rather y da nation+las that there is any of y nationWho e&er could so foully be disgraced "-ut all for naught, the end was that he faced /0?01onstrain ent, for he now would ha&e to wed+nd ta e his gray old wife with hi to bed 4ow there are so e en who ight say perhaps!hat it(s y negligence or else a lapse

    !hat % don(t tell you of the >oyous way /0?'%n which the feast too place that &ery day%(ll answer briefly should the Duestion fall3!here wasn(t any >oy or feast at all,.ust lots of sorrow, things went grie&ously7e arried her that orning pri&ately, /0A0!hen all that day he hid >ust li e an owl,2o woeful, for his wife loo ed really foul Great was the woe the night had in his headWhen with his wife he(d been brought to the bed#7e tossed and then he turned both to and fro /0A'

    7is old wife lay there s iling at hi , though,+nd said, "Cear husband, benedicite+cts e&ery night toward his wife this way6%s this the law of great Fing +rthur(s house6%s e&ery night of his so distant6 2pouse, /0B0% a your own true lo&e and %( your wife+nd %( the one as well who sa&ed your life,+nd % ha&e ne&er done you wrong or spiteWhy do you treat e so on our first night6ust li e a an who(s lost his wit /0B'What is y guilt6 $or God(s lo&e, tell e it,+nd it shall be a ended if % ay "

    "+ ended6" as ed the night "Whate&er way6!here(s no way it could e&er be a ended

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    2he said, "% could a end the stress you(re under,%f you desire, within the next three days,%f you(ll treat e ore indly in your ways "-ut when you tal about gentilityLi e old wealth handed down a fa ily tree, ///0!hat this is what a es of you gentle en,2uch arrogance % >udge not worth a hen

    !a e hi who(s always &irtuous in his acts%n public and in pri&ate, who exactsOf hi self all the noble deeds he can, ///'+nd there you(ll find the greatest gentle an1hrist wills we clai nobility fro hi ,

    4ot fro our elders or the wealth of the #$or though they gi&e us all their heritage+nd we clai noble birth by parentage, //50!hey can(t beDueath99all else theirs for the gi&ing99!o one of us the &irtuous way of li&ing!hat ade the nobles they were nown to be,

    !he way they bade us li&e in li e degree "7ow well the poet wise, the $lorentine //5'

    4a ed Cante, spea s about >ust what % ean,+nd this is how he rhy es it in his story3(Of en who cli b their fa ily trees for glory,$ew will excel, for it is by God(s graceWe gain nobility and not by race ( //:0

    4o, fro our elders all that we can clai+re te poral things such as ay hurt and ai "+ll now as %, that if gentilityWere so ething that was planted naturally

    !hrough all a certain lineage down the line, //:'%n pri&ate and in public they(d be fine+nd noble people doing what is nice,1o pletely free of &illainy and &ice "!a e fire into the dar est house or hut-etween here and 8ount 1aucasus, then shut //;0!he doors, and all en lea&e and not return#!hat fire will still re ain as if the burnWere being watched by twenty thousand souls%ts function will not cease, its nature holds,On peril of y life, until it dies //;'

    "Gentility, you then should [email protected],%s not a in to things li e property#$or people act with uch &ariety,

    4ot li e the fire that always is the sa eGod nows that en ay often find, for sha e, //'0+ lord(s son who(s in&ol&ed in &illainyWho prides hi self to ha&e gentility-ecause it happens he(s of noble birth,

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    With elders &irtuous, of noble worth,-ut ne&er tries to do a noble deed //''

    4or follow in his dead ancestors( lead,%s not a noble, be he du e or earl#$or bad and sinful deeds >ust a e a churl2ir, your gentility is but the fa eOf your ancestors, who earned their good na e //=0

    With Dualities Duite foreign to your ownGentility can co e fro God alone,2o true gentility(s a thing of grace,

    4ot so ething that(s beDueathed by ran or place "$or nobleness, as says alerius, //='1onsider !ullius 7ostilius3!hough poor, he rose to noble heights Loo in Boethius or&eneca , and when

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    % bring no har at all to you, therefore /50'Co not repro&e e, sire, for being poor "$or being old you(&e also fussed at e#

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    7is heart was bathing in a bath of bliss,+ thousand isses he began to iss,+nd she obeyed in each and e&ery way, /5''Whate&er was his pleasure or his play +nd so they li&ed, till their li&es( &ery end,%n perfect >oy +nd ay 1hrist .esus sendUs husbands ee and young and fresh abed,

    +nd then the grace to outli&e those we wed# /5=0% also pray that .esus shorten li&esOf those who won(t be go&erned by their wi&es#+s for old niggards angered by expense,God send the soon a ighty pestilence