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- The Canterbury Tales - 10/183 -


A Manciple, and myself, there were no mo'.

The MILLER was a stout carle for the nones, Full big he was of brawn, and eke of bones; That proved well, for *ov'r all where* he came, *wheresoever* At wrestling he would bear away the ram.<43> He was short-shouldered, broad, a thicke gnarr*, *stump of wood There was no door, that he n'old* heave off bar, *could not Or break it at a running with his head. His beard as any sow or fox was red, And thereto broad, as though it were a spade. Upon the cop* right of his nose he had *head <44> A wart, and thereon stood a tuft of hairs Red as the bristles of a sowe's ears. His nose-thirles* blacke were and wide. *nostrils <45> A sword and buckler bare he by his side. His mouth as wide was as a furnace. He was a jangler, and a goliardais*, *buffoon <46> And that was most of sin and harlotries. Well could he steale corn, and tolle thrice And yet he had a thumb of gold, pardie.<47> A white coat and a blue hood weared he A baggepipe well could he blow and soun', And therewithal he brought us out of town.

A gentle MANCIPLE <48> was there of a temple, Of which achatours* mighte take ensample *buyers For to be wise in buying of vitaille*. *victuals For whether that he paid, or took *by taile*, *on credit Algate* he waited so in his achate**, *always **purchase That he was aye before in good estate. Now is not that of God a full fair grace That such a lewed* mannes wit shall pace** *unlearned **surpass The wisdom of an heap of learned men? Of masters had he more than thries ten, That were of law expert and curious: Of which there was a dozen in that house, Worthy to be stewards of rent and land Of any lord that is in Engleland, To make him live by his proper good, In honour debtless, *but if he were wood*, *unless he were mad* Or live as scarcely as him list desire; And able for to helpen all a shire In any case that mighte fall or hap; And yet this Manciple *set their aller cap* *outwitted them all*

The REEVE <49> was a slender choleric man His beard was shav'd as nigh as ever he can. His hair was by his eares round y-shorn; His top was docked like a priest beforn Full longe were his legges, and full lean Y-like a staff, there was no calf y-seen Well could he keep a garner* and a bin* *storeplaces for grain There was no auditor could on him win Well wist he by the drought, and by the rain, The yielding of his seed and of his grain His lorde's sheep, his neat*, and his dairy *cattle His swine, his horse, his store, and his poultry, Were wholly in this Reeve's governing, And by his cov'nant gave he reckoning, Since that his lord was twenty year of age; There could no man bring him in arrearage There was no bailiff, herd, nor other hine* *servant That he ne knew his *sleight and his covine* *tricks and cheating* They were adrad* of him, as of the death *in dread His wonning* was full fair upon an heath *abode With greene trees y-shadow'd was his place. He coulde better than his lord purchase Full rich he was y-stored privily His lord well could he please subtilly, To give and lend him of his owen good, And have a thank, and yet* a coat and hood. *also In youth he learned had a good mistere* *trade He was a well good wright, a carpentere This Reeve sate upon a right good stot*, *steed That was all pomely* gray, and highte** Scot. *dappled **called A long surcoat of perse* upon he had, *sky-blue And by his side he bare a rusty blade. Of Norfolk was this Reeve, of which I tell, Beside a town men clepen* Baldeswell, *call Tucked he was, as is a friar, about, And ever rode the *hinderest of the rout*. *hindmost of the group*

A SOMPNOUR* was there with us in that place, *summoner <50> That had a fire-red cherubinnes face, For sausefleme* he was, with eyen narrow. *red or pimply As hot he was and lecherous as a sparrow, With scalled browes black, and pilled* beard: *scanty Of his visage children were sore afeard. There n'as quicksilver, litharge, nor brimstone, Boras, ceruse, nor oil of tartar none, Nor ointement that woulde cleanse or bite, That him might helpen of his whelkes* white, *pustules Nor of the knobbes* sitting on his cheeks. *buttons Well lov'd he garlic, onions, and leeks, And for to drink strong wine as red as blood. Then would he speak, and cry as he were wood; And when that he well drunken had the wine, Then would he speake no word but Latin. A fewe termes knew he, two or three, That he had learned out of some decree; No wonder is, he heard it all the day. And eke ye knowen well, how that a jay Can clepen* "Wat," as well as can the Pope. *call But whoso would in other thing him grope*, *search Then had he spent all his philosophy, Aye, Questio quid juris,<51> would he cry.

He was a gentle harlot* and a kind; *a low fellow<52> A better fellow should a man not find. He woulde suffer, for a quart of wine, A good fellow to have his concubine A twelvemonth, and excuse him at the full. Full privily a *finch eke could he pull*. *"fleece" a man* And if he found owhere* a good fellaw, *anywhere He woulde teache him to have none awe In such a case of the archdeacon's curse; *But if* a manne's soul were in his purse; *unless* For in his purse he should y-punished be. "Purse is the archedeacon's hell," said he. But well I wot, he lied right indeed: Of cursing ought each guilty man to dread, For curse will slay right as assoiling* saveth; *absolving And also 'ware him of a significavit<53>. In danger had he at his owen guise The younge girles of the diocese, <54> And knew their counsel, and was of their rede*. *counsel A garland had he set upon his head, As great as it were for an alestake*: *The post of an alehouse sign A buckler had he made him of a cake.

With him there rode a gentle PARDONERE <55> Of Ronceval, his friend and his compere, That straight was comen from the court of Rome. Full loud he sang, "Come hither, love, to me" This Sompnour *bare to him a stiff burdoun*, *sang the bass* Was never trump of half so great a soun'. This Pardoner had hair as yellow as wax, But smooth it hung, as doth a strike* of flax: *strip By ounces hung his lockes that he had, And therewith he his shoulders oversprad. Full thin it lay, by culpons* one and one, *locks, shreds But hood for jollity, he weared none, For it was trussed up in his wallet. Him thought he rode all of the *newe get*, *latest fashion*<56> Dishevel, save his cap, he rode all bare. Such glaring eyen had he, as an hare. A vernicle* had he sew'd upon his cap. *image of Christ <57> His wallet lay before him in his lap, Bretful* of pardon come from Rome all hot. *brimful A voice he had as small as hath a goat. No beard had he, nor ever one should have. As smooth it was as it were new y-shave; I trow he were a gelding or a mare. But of his craft, from Berwick unto Ware, Ne was there such another pardonere. For in his mail* he had a pillowbere**, *bag <58> **pillowcase Which, as he saide, was our Lady's veil: He said, he had a gobbet* of the sail *piece That Sainte Peter had, when that he went Upon the sea, till Jesus Christ him hent*. *took hold of He had a cross of latoun* full of stones, *copper And in a glass he hadde pigge's bones. But with these relics, whenne that he fond A poore parson dwelling upon lond, Upon a day he got him more money Than that the parson got in moneths tway; And thus with feigned flattering and japes*, *jests He made the parson and the people his apes. But truely to tellen at the last, He was in church a noble ecclesiast. Well could he read a lesson or a story, But alderbest* he sang an offertory: *best of all For well he wiste, when that song was sung, He muste preach, and well afile* his tongue, *polish To winne silver, as he right well could: Therefore he sang full merrily and loud.

Now have I told you shortly in a clause Th' estate, th' array, the number, and eke the cause Why that assembled was this company In Southwark at this gentle hostelry, That highte the Tabard, fast by the Bell.<59> But now is time to you for to tell *How that we baren us that ilke night*, *what we did that same night* When we were in that hostelry alight. And after will I tell of our voyage, And all the remnant of our pilgrimage. But first I pray you of your courtesy, That ye *arette it not my villainy*, *count it not rudeness in me* Though that I plainly speak in this mattere. To tellen you their wordes and their cheer; Not though I speak their wordes properly. For this ye knowen all so well as I, Whoso shall tell a tale after a man, He must rehearse, as nigh as ever he can, Every word, if it be in his charge, *All speak he* ne'er so rudely and so large; *let him speak* Or elles he must tell his tale untrue, Or feigne things, or finde wordes new.


The Canterbury Tales - 10/183

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