Poems » gilbert white » the cook s prologue and tale in the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales


¶The prologe of the Cookes tale

 The Cook / of Londo|un| / whil the Reue spak/
 ffor ioye hym thoughte / he clawed hym on the bak/
 Haha quod he / for Cri{s}tes pa{ss}io|un|
 This Millere / hadde a sharp conclu{s}io|un|
 Vp on his argument/ of herbergage
 Wel seyde Salomon / in his langage
 Ne bryng nat euery man / in to thyn hous
 ffor herberwyng/ by nyghte is |per|ilous
 Wel oghte a man / auy{s}ed for to be
 Whom |þt| he broghte / in to his |pri|uetee
 I pray to god / so yeue me sorwe and care
 If euer sith / I highte hogge of ware
 Herde I a Millere / bettre y{s}et awerk /
 He hadde a iape of malice / in the derk/
 But god forbede / that we stynten heere


 ffor if ye / vouche {s}auf to heere


 A tale of me / that am a poure man
 I wol yow telle / as wel as e|uer|e I kan
 A litel iape / that fil in oure Citee
 ¶Oure hoo{s}t an{s}werde / and seyde I graunte it thee
 Now tel on Roger / looke that it be good
 ffor many a pa{s}tee / ha{s}tow laten blood
 And many a Iakke of Douere / ha{s}tow soold
 That hath been twies hoot/ and twies coold
 Of many a pilgrym / ha{s}tow Cri{s}tes curs
 ffor of thy |per|{s}le / yet they fare the wors
 That they han eten / with thy stubbul goos
 ffor in thy shoppe / is many a flye loos
 Now tel on / gentil Roger / by thy name
 But yet I praye thee / be nat wrooth for game
 A man may seye ful {s}ooth / in game and pley
 ¶Thow sei{s}t ful sooth / quod Roger by my fey

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 But sooth pley quade pley / as the fflemyng seith
 And therfore herry Bailly / by thy feith
 Be thou nat wrooth / er we departen heer
 Thogh |þt| my tale / be of an ho{s}tiler
 But nathelees / I wol nat telle it yit
 But er we parte / ywis thow shalt be quyt/
 And ther with al / he lough / and made cheere
 And seyde his tale / as ye shal after heere

¶Here bigynneth the Cook/ his tale

 A Prentis / whilom dwelled in oure Citee
 And of a craft/ of vitaillers was he
 Gaillard he was / as goldfynch in the shawe
 Broun as a berye / a |prop|re short/ felawe
 With lokkes blake / ykembd ful feti{s}ly
 Dauncen he koude / so wel and iolily
 That he / was clepyd Perkyn Reuelour
 He was / as ful / of loue and |per|amour
 As is the hyue / ful of hony swete
 Wel was the wenche / |þt| |with| hym myghte meete

 At euery bridale / wolde he synge |&| hoppe
 he loued bet the Tauerne / than the shoppe
 ffor / whan ther any ridyng/ was in Chepe
 Out of the {s}hoppe / thider wolde he lepe
 Til |þt| he hadde / al the sighte y{s}eyn
 And daunced wel / he wolde noght come ageyn
 And gadred hym / a meynee of his sort/
 To hoppe and synge / and maken swich di{s}port/
 And ther / they setten steuene / for to meete
 To pleyen at the dees / in swich a Streete
 ffor in the town / nas ther no Prentys
 That fairer / koude ca{s}te a paire of dys
 Than Perkyn koude / and ther to he was free
 Of his di{s}pen{s}e / in place of pryuetee
 That foond his mai{s}ter wel / in his chaffare
 ffor ofte tyme / he foond his box ful bare
 ffor sikerly / a prentys reuelour
 That haunteth dees / ryot/ or |per|amour

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 His mai{s}ter / shal it in his shoppe abye
 Al haue he / no part of the Min{s}tralcye
 ffor thefte and riot / they been con|uer|tible
 Al konne he pleye / on Giterne / or Rubible
 Reuel and trouthe / as in a lowe degree
 They been ful wrothe al day / as men may see
 ¶This ioly Prentys / with his Mai{s}ter bood
 Til he were neigh / out of his |pre|nti{s}hood
 Al were he snybbed / bothe erly and late
 And som tyme / lad with reuel to Newgate
 But atte la{s}te / his mai{s}ter hym bithoghte
 Vp on a day / whan he his papir soghte
 Of a |pro|uerbe / that seith this same word
 Wel bet is roten Appul / out of hoord
 Than |þt| it rotte / al the remenaunt/
 So fareth it/ by a riotous seruaunt/
 It is ful la{ss}e harm / to lete hym pace
 Than he shende / alle the {s}eruantz in the place
 Ther fore / his mai{s}ter gaf hym acquitaunce
 And bad hym go / with sorw / and |with| me{s}chaunce
 And thus this ioly |pre|ntys / hadde his leeue
 Now lat hym riote / al the nyght/ or leeue
 And for ther nys no theef/ with oute a lowke
 That helpeth hym / to wa{s}ten and to sowke
 Of that he brybe kan / or borwe may
 Anon / he {s}ente his bed / and his array
 Vn to a compeer / of his owene sort/
 That loued dees / and reuel / and di{s}port/
 And hadde a wyf / that heeld for contenaunce
 A shoppe / and swyued for hir su{s}tenaunce

Of this Cokes tale
maked Chaucer na