7.2 The Shipman-Prioress Link

Behoold the murie wordes of the Hoost to the Shipman and to the lady Prioresse.

435         "Wel seyd, by corpus dominus," quod oure Hoost,
                    "Well said, by the body of our Lord," said our Host,
436         "Now longe moote thou saille by the cost,
                    "Now long may thou sail by the coast,
437         Sire gentil maister, gentil maryneer!
                    Sir gentle master, gentle mariner!
438         God yeve the monk a thousand last quade yeer!
                    God give the monk a thousand cartloads of bad years!
439         A ha! Felawes, beth ware of swich a jape!
                    A ha! Fellows, beware of such a trick!
440         The monk putte in the mannes hood an ape,
                    The monk made a monkey of the man,
441         And in his wyves eek, by Seint Austyn!
                    And of his wife as well, by Saint Augustine!
442         Draweth no monkes moore unto youre in.
                    Invite no more monks into your dwelling.
443         "But now passe over, and lat us seke aboute,
                    "But now pass over that, and let us look around to see
444         Who shal now telle first of al this route
                    Who shall now, first of all this company, tell
445         Another tale;" and with that word he sayde,
                    Another tale;" and with that word he said,
446         As curteisly as it had been a mayde,
                    As courteously as if he had been a maiden,
447         "My lady Prioresse, by youre leve,
                    "My Lady Prioress, by your leave,
448         So that I wiste I sholde yow nat greve,
                    If I knew I should not grieve you,
449         I wolde demen that ye tellen sholde
                    I would judge that you should tell
450         A tale next, if so were that ye wolde.
                    A tale next, if it so were that you would.
451         Now wol ye vouche sauf, my lady deere?"
                    Now will you grant this, my lady dear?"
452         "Gladly," quod she, and seyde as ye shal heere.
                    "Gladly," said she, and said as you shall hear.