Poems » gilbert white » the miller s prologue and tale from the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales


{{Folio 41r}}

¶The prologe of the Milleres tale

WHan that the knyght/ hadde thus his tale ytoold
In al the compaignie / nas ther yong ne oold
That he ne seyde / it was a noble Storie
And worthy / for to drawen to memorie
And namely / the gentils euerichon
¶Oure hoo{s}t lough / and swoor / {s}o moot I gon
This gooth aright/ vnbokeled is the male
Lat se now / who shal telle another tale
ffor trewely / the game is wel bigonne
Now telleth ye sire Monk / if |þt| ye konne
Som what / to quite with the knyghtes tale
¶The Millere / that for dronken was a pale
So that vnnethe / vp on his hors he sat
He nolde aualen / neither hood ne hat
Ne abiden no man / for his curtei{s}ye
But in Pilates voys / he gan to crye
And swoor by armes / and by blood and bones
I kan a noble tale / for the nones
With which / I wol now quite the knyghtes tale
¶Oure hoo{s}t saugh / |þt| he was dronke of ale

{{Folio 41v}}

¶And seyde / abyde / Robyn leeue brother
Som bettre man / shal telle vs fir{s}t another
Abyde / and lat vs werken thriftily
¶By goddes soule quod he / that wol nat/ I
ffor I wol speke / or ellis go my wey
¶Oure hoo{s}t an{s}werde / tel on a deuelewey
Thow art a fool / thy wit is ouercome
¶Now herkneth quod the Millere / alle and some
But fir{s}t/ I make a prote{s}tacioun
That I am dronke / I knowe it by my sown
And therfore / if |þt| I my{ss}peke / or seye
Wite it/ / the ale of Southwerk/ I preye
ffor I wol telle / a legende and a lyf
Bothe of a Carpenter / and of his wyf
How |þt| a clerk/ hath set the wrightes cappe
¶The Reue an{s}werde / and seyde stynt thy clappe
Lat be / thy lewed dronken harlotrye
It is a synne / and eek a greet folye
To apeyren any man / or hym diffame
And eek to bryngen wyues / in swich fame
Thow may{s}t ynow / of othere thynges seyn
¶This dronken Mille|re| / spak ful soone ageyn
And seyde / leeue brother O{s}ewold
Who hath no wyf / he is no Cokewold
But I seye nat therfore / |þt| thow art oon
Ther been ful goode wyues many oon
Why artow angry / wit my tale now
I haue a wyf |per|dee / as wel as thow
Yet nolde I / for the oxen in my plough
Take vp on me / moore than ynough
As demen of my self / |þt| I were oon
I wol bileeue wel / |þt| I am noon
An hou{s}bonde / shal noght been Inqui{s}ityf /
Of goddes pryuetee / nor of his wyf/
So he may fynde / goddes foy{s}on there
Of the remenant/ nedeth noght/ enquere
¶What sholde I moore seyn / but this Millere
He nolde his wordes / for no man forbere
But tolde his cherles tale / in his manere
Me athynketh / that I shal reherce it heere

{{Folio 42r}}

And therfore / euery gentil wight I preye
Demeth noght/ for goddes loue / |þt| I seye
Of yuel entente / but for I moot reher{s}e
Hir tales alle / be they bet or wer{s}e
Or ellis fal{s}en / som of my matere
And therfore / who {s}o li{s}t it noght yhere
Turne ouer the leef / and che{s}e another tale
ffor he shal fynde ynowe / grete and smale
Of storial thyng/ that toucheth gentile{ss}e
And eek moralitee / and holyne{ss}e
Blameth noght me / if |þt| ye che{s}e amys
The Millere is a cherl / ye knowe wel this
So was the Reue eek/ and othere mo
And harlotrye / they tolden bothe two
Auy{s}eth yow / and put me out of blame
And eek / men shal noght/ maken erne{s}t of game

¶Here bigynneth / the Millerys tale

Whilom / ther was dwellyng in Oxenford
A riche gnof/ that ge{s}tes heeld to bord
And of his craft/ he was a Carpenter
With hym ther was dwellynge a poure Scoler
Hadde lerned Art/ but al his fanta{s}ie
Was turned / for to leere A{s}trologie
And koude / a certeyn of conclu{s}ions
To demen / by interrogacions
If |þt| men axed hym / in |cer|tein houres
Whan |þt| men sholde haue droghte / or ellis shoures
Or if men axed hym / what shal bifalle
Of euery thyng / I may nat rekene hem alle
¶This clerk / was clepyd Hende Nicholas
Of derne loue he koude / and of solas
And ther to he was sleigh / and ful pryuee
And lyk a mayde meke / for to see
A chambre hadde he / in that ho{s}telrie
Allone / with outen any compaignye
fful feti{s}ly dight / with herbes swoote
And he hym self/ as sweete as is the roote

{{Folio 42v}}

Of lycorys / or any Cetuale
His Almage{s}te / and bookes grete and smale
His A{s}trelabye / longynge for his Art/
His Augrym stones / layen faire a part/
On shelues couched / at his beddes heed
His Pre{ss}e / ycouered with a ffaldyng reed
And al aboue / ther lay a gay Sautrye
On which / he made a nyghtes melodye
So swetely / |þt| al the chambre roong/
And Angelus ad Virginem / he soong/
And after that/ he soong the kynges note
fful often / bli{ss}ed was / his murye throte
And thus this swete clerk / his tyme spente
After his freendes fyndyng/ and his rente
¶This Carpenter / hadde wedded newe a wyf
Which |þt| he louede / moore than his lyf
Of .xviij. yeer / she was of age
Ialous he was / and heeld hi|re| narwe in Cage
ffor she was wilde and yong / and he was old
And demed hym self / been lyk a Cokewold
He knew nat Cato|un| / for his wit was rude
That bad / men sholde wedde his similitude
Men sholde wedden / after hir e{s}taat
ffor youthe and Elde / is often at debaat
But sith |þt| he / was fallen in the snare
He mo{s}te endure / as oother folk/ his care
¶ffair was this yonge wyf / and ther with al
As any we{s}ele / hir body gent and smal
A ceynt she werde / barred al of sylk /
A barmclooth / as whit as morne Mylk/
Vp on hir lendes / ful of many a goore
Whit was hir smok/ and broyden al bifoore
And eek bihynde / on hir coler aboute
Of col blak silk / with Inne and eek |with| oute
The tapes / of hir white voluper
Were of the same sute / of hir coler
Hir filet brood of sylk/ and set ful hye
And sikerly / she hadde a likerous Iye
fful smale ypulled / were hir browes two
And tho were bent/ and blake as is a slo

{{Folio 43r}}

She was ful moore / bli{s}ful on to see
Than is the newe / Pereionette tree
And softer / than the wolle is of a wether
And by hir girdel / heeng a purs of lether
Ta{ss}eled with silk / and perled with latoun
In al this world / to seken vp and doun
Ther nys no man so wys / |þt| koude thenche
So gay a Popelote / or swich a wenche
fful brighter was / the shynyng of hir hewe
Than in the Tour / the noble yforged newe
But of hir soong/ it was as loude and yerne
As any swalwe / sittyng on a Berne
Ther to / she koude skippe / and make game
As any kyde / or Calf / folwynge his dame
Hir mouth was sweete / as Bragot/ or the meeth
Or hoord of Apples / leyd in hey or heeth
Wyn{s}ynge she was / as is a ioly Colt/
Loong as a Ma{s}t/ and vp righte as a bolt/
A brooch she baar / vp on hir loue coler
As brood / as is the boos of a Bokeler
Hir shoes were laced / on hir legges hye
She was a Prymerole / a pigge{s}nye
ffor any lord / to leggen in his bedde
Or yet/ for any good yeman to wedde
¶Now sire and eft sire / so bifel the cas
That on a day / this hende Nicholas
ffil with this yonge wyf / to rage |&| pleye
Whil |þt| hir hou{s}bonde / was at O{s}neye
As clerkes been / ful subtil and ful queynte
And pryuely / he caughte hi|re| by the queynte
And seyde ywys / but if ich haue my wille
ffor derne loue / of thee lemman I spille
And heeld hi|re| harde / by the haunche bones
And seyde lemman / loue me al atones
Or I wol dyen / al {s}o god me saue
And she sproong/ as a Colt dooth in the Traue
And with hir heed / she wryed fa{s}te awey
She seyde I wol nat ki{ss}e thee by my fey
Wy lat be quod ich / lat be Nicholas
Or I wol crye / out harrow and allas

{{Folio 43v}}

Do wey youre handes / for youre curtei{s}ye
¶This Nicholas / gan mercy for to crye
And spak so faire / and profred hym so fa{s}te
That she hir loue / hym graunted atte la{s}te
And swoor hir ooth / by Seint Thomas of Kent/
That she wolde been / at his comaundement
Whan |þt| she may / hir ley{s}er wel e{s}pie
Myn hou{s}bonde / is so ful of Ialou{s}ie
That but ye waite wel / and been pryuee
I woot right wel / I nam but deed quod she
Ye mo{s}te been ful derne / as in this cas
¶Nay ther of / care thee noght quod Nicholas
A clerc/ hadde lutherly / bi{s}et his while
But if he koude / a Carpenter bigyle
And thus they been / acorded and y{s}worn
To waite a tyme / as I haue told biforn
Whan Nicholas / hadde doon thus euerydel
And thakked hire / vp on the lendes wel
He ki{s}te hir sweete / and taketh his sautrye
And pleyeth fa{s}te / and maketh melodye
¶Thanne fil it thus / |þt| to the pari{ss}h chirche
Cri{s}tes owene werkes / for to wirche
This goode wyf / wente on an haliday
Hir forheed shoon / as bright as any day
So was it wa{ss}hen / whan she leet hir werk/
¶Now was ther of that chirche a pari{ss}h clerk/
The which / |þt| was yclepid Ab{s}olon
Crul was his heer / and as the gold it shoon
And strouted as a ffanne / large and brode
fful streight and euene / lay his ioly shode
His rode was reed / hi{s}e eyen greye as goos
With Poules wyndow / coruen on his shoos
In ho{s}es red / he wente feti{s}ly
Yclad he was / ful smal and |prop|rely
Al in a kirtel / of a light waget {{set}}
fful faire and thikke / been the pointes
And ther vp on / he hadde a gay surplys
As whit/ as is the blo{s}me vp on the rys
A murye child he was / {s}o god me saue
Wel koude he laten blood / and clippe and shaue

{{Folio 44r}}

And maken a chartre of lond / or Aquitaunce
On twenty manere / koude he trippe and daunce
After the scole / of Oxenford tho
And with his legges / ca{s}ten to and fro
And pleyen songes / on a smal Rubible
Ther to he soong {s}om tyme / a loud quynyble
And as wel / koude he pleye on a gyterne
In al the town / nas Brewhous ne Ta|uer|ne
That he ne vi{s}ited / with his solas
Ther any / gaylard tappe{s}tere was
But {s}ooth to seyn / he was {s}om del squaymous
Of fartyng / and of speche daungerous
¶This Ab{s}olon / |þt| ioly was and gay
Gooth with a sencer / on the haliday
Sen{s}ynge the wyues / of the pari{ss}he fa{s}te
And many a louely look / on hem he ca{s}te
And namely / on this Carpenters wyf
To looke on hire / hym thoughte a murye lyf
She was {s}o |prop|re and sweete and likerous
I dar wel seyn / if she hadde been a Mous
And he a cat/ he wolde hir hente anon
This pari{ss}he clerk/ this ioly Ab{s}olon
Hath in his herte / swich a loue longynge
That of no wyf / ne took he noon offrynge
ffor curtei{s}ye / he seyde he wolde noon
The Moone / whan it was nyght/ ful brighte shoon
And Ab{s}olon / his gyterne / hath ytake
ffor |per|amours / he thoghte for to wake
And forth he gooth / iolyf and amorous
Til he cam / to the Carpenters hous
A litel / after cokkes hadde ycrowe
And dre{ss}ed hym vp / by a shot wyndowe
That was / vp on / the Carpenters wal
He syngeth / in his voys / gentil and smal
Now deere lady / if thy wille be
I prey yow / |þt| ye wol rewe on me
fful wel acordant/ to his giternynge
This Carpenter awook/ and herde hym synge
And spak/ vn to his wyf / and seyde anon
What Ali{s}on / here{s}tow noght Ab{s}olon

{{Folio 44v}}

That chaunteth thus / vnder oure boures wal
¶And she / an{s}werde hir hou{s}bonde / ther with al
Yis god woot Io{_hn} / I here it euerydel
This pa{ss}eth forth / what wol ye bet than wel
ffro day to day / this ioly Ab{s}olon
So woweth hi|re| / |þt| hym is wo bigon
He waketh al the nyght/ and al the day
He kembed his lokkes brode / and made hym gay
He woweth hi|re| / by meenes / and brocage
And swoor / he wolde been hir owene page
He syngeth brokkyng/ as a nyghtyngale
He sente hir pyment/ Meeth / and spiced Ale
And wafres pipyng hoot/ out of the gleede
And for she was of towne / he |pro|fred meede
ffor som folk / wol be wonnen for riche{ss}e
And som for strokes / and som for gentile{ss}e

Vnde Ouidi|us| Ictib|us| Agrestis

Som tyme to shewe / his lightne{ss}e and mai{s}trye
He pleyeth Herodes / vp on a Scaffold hye
But what auailleth hym / as in this cas
She loueth so / this hende Nicholas
That Ab{s}olon / may blowe the Bukkes horn
He ne hadde for his labour / but a scorn
And thus she maketh / Ab{s}olon hir Ape
And al his erne{s}t/ turneth til a Iape
fful sooth is this |pro||uer|be / it is no lye
Men seith right thus / alwey the neighe slye
Maketh / the ferre leeue to be looth
ffor thogh |þt| Ab{s}olon / be wood or wrooth
By cau{s}e / |þt| he fer was from hir sighte
This neighe Nicholas / stood in his lighte
¶Now bere thee wel / thow hende Nicholas
ffor Ab{s}olon / may waille / and synge allas
¶And so bifel it/ on a Saterday
This Carpenter / was goon til O{s}enay
And Hende Nicholas / and Ali{s}o|un|
Acorded been / to this conclu{s}io|un|
That Nicholas / shal shapen hem a wile
This sely Ialous hou{s}bonde / to bigile
And if so be / the game wente aright/
She sholde slepen / in his arm al nyght/

{{Folio 45r}}

ffor this was hir de{s}ir / and his al{s}o
And right anoon / with outen wordes mo
This Nicholas / no lenger wolde tarie
But dooth ful {s}ofte / vn to his chambre carie
Bothe mete and drynke / for a day or tweye
And to hir hou{s}bonde / bad hire for to seye
If |þt| he axed / after Nicholas
She sholde seye / she ny{s}te wher he was
Of al that day / she seigh hym noght |with| Iye
She trowed / |þt| he was in maladye
ffor / for no cry / hir mayde koude hym calle
He nolde an{s}were / for no thyng |þt| myghte falle
¶This pa{ss}eth forth / al thilke Saterday
That Nicholas / stille in his chambre lay
And eet/ and sleep / or dide what hym le{s}te
Til Sonday / |þt| sonne gooth to re{s}te
¶This sely Carpenter / hath greet |mer|uaille
Of Nicholas / or what thyng myghte hym aille
And seyde / I am adrad / by Seint Thomas
It stondeth nat aright/ with Nicholas
God shilde / |þt| he deyde sodeynly
This world is now / ful tikel sikerly
I seigh to day a corps / born to chirche
That now a monday la{s}t/ I seigh hym wirche
Clepe at his dore / or knokke with a stoon
Go vp quod he / vn to his knaue anoon
Looke how it is / and tel me boldely
¶This knaue gooth hym vp / ful sturdily
And at the chambre dore / whil |þt| he {s}tood
He cryde and knokked / as |þt| he were wood
What how / what do ye mai{s}ter Nicholay
How may ye slepen / al the longe day
But al for noght/ he herde nat a word
An hole he foond / ful lowe vp on a bord
Ther as the Cat / was wont In for to crepe
And at that hole / he looked In ful depe
And atte la{s}te / he hadde of hym a sighte
¶This Nicholas / sat euere capyng vp righte
As he hadde kiked / on the newe moone
Adown he gooth / and tolde his mai{s}ter soone

{{Folio 45v}}

In what array / he saw this ilke man
¶This Carpenter / to ble{ss}en hym bigan
And seyde / help vs seinte ffride{s}wyde
A man woot litel / what hym shal bityde
This man is falle / with his A{s}tromye
In {s}om woodne{ss}e / or in som Agonye
I thoghte ay wel / how |þt| it sholde be
Men sholde noght knowe / of goddes |pri|uetee
Ye bli{ss}ed be alwey / a lewed man
That noght/ but oonly his bileue kan
So ferde another clerk/ with A{s}tromye
He walked in the feeldes / for to prye
Vp on the {s}terres / what ther sholde bifalle
Til he was / in a Marlepit yfalle
He saw nat that/ but yet by Seint Thomas
Me reweth sore / of hende Nicholas
He shal be rated / of his studiyng/
If |þt| I may / by |Iesus| heuene kyng/
Get me a staf / |þt| I may vnder{s}pore
Whil |þt| thow Robyn / heue{s}t vp the dore
He shal out of his {s}tudyyng/ as I ge{ss}e
And to the chambre dore / he gan hym dre{ss}e
His knaue / was a {s}trong carl / for the nones
And by the ha{s}pe / he haaf it vp atones
In to the floor / the dore fil anoon
This Nicholas / sat ay as stille as {s}toon
And euere caped vp / in to the Eyr
This Carpenter / wende he were in de{s}peyr
And hente hym / by the sholdres myghtily
And shook hym harde / and cryde spitou{s}ly
What Nicholay / what how looke adoun
Awake / and thenk on Cri{s}tes pa{ss}ioun
I crouche thee / from Elues / and fro wightes
Ther with the nyght spel / seyde he anon rightes
On foure halues / of the hous aboute
And on the thre{ss}hfold / on the dore with oute
|Iesu| cri{s}t/ and Seint/ Benedight/
Ble{ss}e this hous / from euery wikked wight/
ffor the nyghte{s}uerye / the white Pater no{s}ter
Where wente{s}tow / seinte Petres su{s}ter

{{Folio 46r}}

And at the la{s}te / this hende Nicholas
Gan for to sike soore / and seyde allas
Shal al the world / be lo{s}t eft {s}oones now
¶This Carpenter an{s}werde / what sei{s}tow
What thenk / on god / as we doon men |þt| swynke
¶This Nicholas an{s}werde / fecche me drynke
And after / wol I speke in pryuetee
Of |cer|tein thyng / |þt| toucheth me and thee
I wol telle it / noon oother man |cer|tayn
¶This Carpenter gooth doun / and comth agayn
And broghte of myghty ale / a large quart/
And whan |þt| eech of hem / hadde dronke his part/
This Nicholas / his dore fa{s}te shette
And doun the Carpenter / by hym he sette
And seyde / |Iohan| / myn hoo{s}t/ lief and deere
Thou shalt vp on thy trouthe / swere me heere
That to no wight/ thou shalt this con{s}eil wreye
ffor it is cri{s}tes con{s}eil / that I seye
And if thou telle it/ man thou art forlore
ffor this vengeaunce / thow shalt haue therfore
That if thow wreye me / thow shalt be wood
¶Nay Cri{s}t forbede it/ for his holy blood
Quod tho this sely man / I nam no labbe
And thogh I seye / I nam nat lief to gabbe
Sey what thow wolt/ I shal it neuere telle
To child ne wyf/ by hym that harwed helle
¶Now |Iohan| quod Nicholas / I wol noght lye
I haue yfounde / in myn A{s}trologye
As I haue looked / in the moone bright/
That now a monday next/ at quarter nyght/
Shal falle a reyn / and that so wilde and wood
That half so greet/ was ne|uer|e Nowels flood
This world he seyde / in la{ss}e than in an hour
Shal al be dreynt/ so hidous is the shour
Thus shal man kynde drenche / and le{s}e hir lyf
¶This Carpenter an{s}werde / allas my wyf/
And shal she drenche / allas myn Ali{s}oun
ffor sorwe of this / he fil almoo{s}t adoun
And seyde / is ther no remedie in this cas
¶Why yis for gode / quod Hende Nicholas

{{Folio 46v}}

If thow wolt werken / after loore and reed
Thow may{s}t noght werken / after thyn owene heed
ffor thus seith Salomon / |þt| was ful trewe
Werk al by con{s}eil / and thow shalt noght rewe
And if thow werken wolt/ by good con{s}ayl
I vndertake / with outen ma{s}t/ or Sayl
Yit shal I saue hi|re| / and thee and me
Ha{s}tow nat herd / how saued was Noe
Whan |þt| oure lord / hadde warned hym biforn
That al the world / with water sholde be lorn
¶Yis quod this Carpenter/ ful yore ago
¶Ha{s}tow nat herd / quod Nicholas al{s}o
The sorwe of Noe / with his felawe{s}hipe
Er |þt| he myghte / gete his wyf to shipe
Hym hadde leuere / I dar wel vndertake
At thilke tyme / than alle hi{s}e wetheres blake
That she hadde had a ship / hir self allone
And therfore / wo{s}tow what is be{s}t to done
This axeth ha{s}te / and of an ha{s}tyf thyng/
Men may noght |pre|che / or maken tariyng/
Anoon go gete vs fa{s}te / in to this In
A knedyng trogh / or ellis a kymelyn
ffor eech of vs / but looke |þt| they be large
In whiche we mowen swymme / as in a barge
And han ther Inne / vitaille suffi{s}aunt/
But for a day / fy on the remenaunt/
The water shal a{s}lake / and goon away
Aboute pryme / vp on the nexte day
But Robyn / may nat wite of this / thy knaue
Ne eek/ thy mayde Gille / I may nat saue
Axe noght why / for thogh thou axe me
I wol noght/ tellen goddes pryuetee
Suffi{s}eth thee / but if thy wittes madde
To han as greet a grace / as Noe hadde
Thy wif shal I wel sauen / out of doute
Go now thy wey / and speed thee heer aboute
But whan thou ha{s}t / for hi|re| and thee and me
Ygeten vs / thi{s}e knedyng/ tubbes thre
Thanne shaltow hangen hem / in the roof ful hye
That no man / of oure purueiance e{s}pye

{{Folio 47r}}

And whan thow thus ha{s}t doon / as I haue seyd
And ha{s}t oure vitaille / faire in hem yleyd
And eek an Ax / to smyte the corde atwo
Whan |þt| the water cometh / |þt| we may go
And breke an hole / an heigh vp on the gable
Vn to the gardynward / ouer the stable
That we may frely / pa{ss}en forth oure wey
Whan |þt| the grete shour / is goon awey
Thanne shaltow swymme / as murye I vndertake
As dooth the white doke / after his drake
Thanne woltow clepe / how Ali{s}on / how |Iohan|
Be murye / for the flood wol pa{ss}e anon
And thou wolt seyn / hail mai{s}ter Nicholay
Good morwe / I see thee wel / for it is day
And thanne shal we be lordes al oure lyf/
Of al the world / as Noe and his wyf/
But of o thyng / I. warne thee ful right
Be wel auy{s}ed / on that ilke nyght/
That we been entred / in to shippes bord
That noon of vs / ne speke noght a word
Ne clepe ne crye / but been in his prayere
ffor it is / goddes owene he{s}te deere
Thy wyf and thow / mote hange fer atwynne
ffor |þt| bitwix yow / shal be no synne
Namoore in lookyng/ than ther shal in dede
This ordinaunce is seyd / go god thee spede
Tomorwe at nyght/ whan men been alle a{s}lepe
In to oure knedyng/ tubbes / wol we crepe
And sitten there / abidyng goddes grace
Go now thy wey / I haue no lenger space
To make of this / no lenger sermonyng/
Men seyn thus / seend the wi{s}e and sey no thyng/
Thow art so wys / it nedeth thee nat teche
Go saue oure lyf/ and that I thee bi{s}eche
¶This sely Carpenter / gooth forth his wey
fful ofte he seyde / allas and weylawey
And to his wyf / he tolde his |pri|uetee
And she was war / and knew it bet than he
What al this queynte ca{s}t/ was for to seye
But nathelees / she ferde as she wolde deye

{{Folio 47v}}

And seyde allas / go forth thy wey anon
Help vs to scape / or we been dede echon
I am thy trewe / verray wedded wyf/
Go deere spou{s}e / and help to saue oure lyf/
¶Lo which a greet thyng / is affeccio|un|
Men may dyen / of ymaginacio|un|
So depe / may im|pre|{ss}io|un| be take
This sely Carpenter / bigynneth quake
Hym thynketh verrailiche / |þt| he may se
Noes flood / come walwyng as the see
To drenchen Ali{s}o|un| / his hony deere
He wepeth / waileth / maketh sory cheere
He siketh / |with| ful many a sory swogh
And gooth / and geteth hym a knedyng/ trogh
And after / a tubbe and a kymelyn
And pryuely / he sente hem to his In
And heeng hem / in the roof in |pri|uetee
His owene hand / he made laddres thre
To clymben / by the ronges and the stalkes
Vn to the tubbes / hangyng/ in the balkes
And hem vitailed / bothe trogh and tubbe
With breed and che{s}e / and good ale in a Iubbe
Suffi{s}ynge right ynogh / as for a day
But er |þt| he hadde maad / al this array
He sente his knaue / and eek his wenche al{s}o
Vp on his nede / to londo|un| for to go
And on the monday / whan it drogh to nyght/
He shette his dore / with outen candel lyght/
And dre{ss}ed alle thyng/ as it sholde be
And shortly / vp they clomben alle thre
They seten stille / wel a furlong way
Now Pater no{s}ter / clom seyde Nicholay
And clum quod |Iohan| / and clum seyde Ali{s}o|un|
This Carpenter / seyde his deuocio|un|
And stille he sit/ and biddeth his prayere
Awaitynge on the reyn / if he it heere
¶The dede sleep / for wery bi{s}yne{ss}e
ffil on this Carpenter / right as I ge{ss}e
Aboute corfew tyme / or litel moore
ffor trauaillyng of his goo{s}t/ he groneth soore

{{Folio 48r}}

And eft he routeth / for his heed my{s}lay
¶Doun of the laddre / stalketh Nicholay
And Ali{s}o|un| / ful softe adoun she spedde
With outen wordes mo / they goon to bedde
Ther as the Carpenter / is wont to lye
Ther was the reuel / and the melodye
And thus lyth Ali{s}o|un| / and Nicholas
In.bu{s}yne{ss}e of myrthe / and in solas
Til that the belle of laudees / gan to rynge
And freres in the chauncel / gonne synge
¶This pari{ss}h clerk/ this amorous Ab{s}olo|n_|
That is for loue / alwey so wo bigon
Vp on the monday / was at O{s}neye
With compaignye / hym to di{s}porte and pleye
And axed vp on caas / a Cloi{s}trer
fful pryuely / after |Iohan| the Carpenter
And he drogh hym a part/ out of the cherche
And seyde I noot/ I saugh hym here noght werche
Sith Saterday / I trowe |þt| he be went
ffor tymber / ther oure Abbot hath hym sent/
ffor he is wont/ for tymber for to go
And dwellen atte graunge / a day or two
Or ellis / he is at his hous |cer|teyn
Where |þt| he be / I kan noght soothly seyn
¶This Ab{s}olon / ful iolyf was and lyght/
And thoghte / now is tyme to wake al nyght/
ffor sikerly / I saugh hym noght stirynge
Aboute his dore / syn day bigan to sprynge
So mote I thryue / I shal at Cokkes crowe
fful |pri|uely / knokken at his wyndowe
That stant ful lowe / vp on his boures wal
To Ali{s}on / now wol I tellen al
My loue longyng/. for yit I shal nat my{ss}e
That at the lee{s}te wey / I shal hir ki{ss}e
Som manere confort/ / shal I haue parfay
My mouth hath icched / al this longe day
That is a signe of ki{ss}yng/ at/ the lee{s}te
Al nyght me mette eek / I was at a fee{s}te
Ther fore I wol go slepe / an houre or tweye
And al the nyght/ than wol I wake and pleye

{{Folio 48v}}

¶Whan |þt| the fir{s}te cok/ hath crowe anon
Vp ri{s}t / this ioly louere Ab{s}olon
And hym arrayeth gay / at point deuys
But fir{s}t / he cheweth grayn and likorys
To smellen swete / er he hadde kembd his heer
Vnder his tonge / a trewe loue he beer
ffor ther by / wende he to be gracious
He rometh / to the Carpenters hous
And stille he stant/ vnder the shot wyndowe
Vn to his bre{s}t/ it raughte / it was so lowe
And ofte he cogheth / with a semy sown
What do ye hony comb / swete Ali{s}oun
My faire bryd / my swete cynamome
Awaketh lemman myn / and speketh to me
Wel litel thynken ye / vp on my wo
That for youre loue / I swete ther I go
No wonder is / thogh |þt| I swelte and swete
I moorne / as dooth a lamb / after the tete
Ywis lemman / I haue swich loue longyng/
That lyk a turtle trewe / is my moornyng/
I may nat ete / namoore than a mayde
¶Go fro the wyndow / Iakke fool she sayde
As help me god / it wol nat be com pa me
I loue another / and ellis I were to blame
Wel bet than thee / by Ihu Ab{s}olon
Go forth thy wey / or I wol ca{s}te a {s}toon
And lat me slepe / a twenty deuelewey
¶Allas quod Ab{s}olon / and weilawey
That trewe loue / was euere {s}o yuel bi{s}et/
Thanne kys me / syn |þt| it may be no bet/
ffor |Iesus| loue / and for the loue of me
¶Woltow thanne / go thy wey ther with quod she
¶Ye certes lemman / quod this Ab{s}olon
¶Thanne make thee redy quod she / I come anon
¶This Ab{s}olon / doun sette hym on his knees
And seyde / I am a lord / at alle degrees
ffor after this / I hope ther cometh moore
Lemman thy grace / and swete bryd thyn oore
¶The wyndow she vndooth / and that in ha{s}te
Haue do quod she / com of and speed thee fa{s}te

{{Folio 49r}}

Le{s}t |þt| oure neghebores / thee e{s}pye
¶This Ab{s}olon / gan wipe his mouth ful drye
Derk was the nyght/ as pych / or as the cole
And at the wyndow / out she putte hir hole
And Ab{s}olon / hym fil no bet ne wers
But with his mouth / he ki{s}te hir naked ers

No|ta| mal|um| quid

fful sauourly / er he were war of this
Abak he {s}terte / and thoghte it was amys
ffor wel he wi{s}te / a womman hath no berd
He felte a thyng al rogh / and longe yherd
And seyde / fy allas / what haue I do
¶Te hee quod she / and clapte the wyndow to
And Ab{s}olon / gooth forth a sory paas
¶A berd / a berd / quod hende Nicholas
By goddes corpus / this gooth faire and wel
¶This sely{:}Ab{s}olon / herde euery del
And on his lippe / he gan for anger byte
And to hym self/ he seyde I shal thee quyte
¶Who rubbeth now / who froteth now his lippes
With du{s}t/ |with| sond / |with| straw / |with| clooth |with| chippes
But Ab{s}olon / |þt| seith ful ofte allas
My soule / bitake vn to Sathanas
But me were leuere / than al this town quod he
Of this de{s}pit/ awreken for to be
Allas quod he / allas I ne hadde ybleynt/
His hote loue was coold / and al yqueynt
ffor fro that tyme / |þt| he hadde ki{s}t hir ers
Of |per|amours / he {s}ette noght a kers
ffor he was heelyd / of his maladye
fful ofte |per|amours / he gan defye
And weep / as dooth a child |þt| is ybete
A softe paas / he wente ouer the strete
Vn til a smyth / men clepen daun Gerueys
That in his forge / smythed plogh harneys
He sharpeth shaar / and cultour bi{s}ily
This Ab{s}olon / knokketh al e{s}ily
And seyde / vndo Gerueys and that anon
¶What who artow|?| / it/ am I Ab{s}olon
What Ab{s}olon / what Cri{s}tes swete tree
Why ri{s}e ye {s}o rathe / ey benedicitee

{{Folio 49v}}

What eyleth yow / som gay gerl / god it woot/
Hath broght yow thus / vp on the viritoot/
By Seinte note / ye woot wel what I mene
¶This Ab{s}olon / ne roghte nat a bene
Of al his pley / no word agayn he yaf/
He hadde moore tow / on his dy{s}taf/
Than Gerueys knew / and seyde freend so deere
That hoote cultour / in the chymenee heere
As lene it me / I haue ther with to doone
I wol brynge it thee / agayn ful {s}oone
¶Gerueys an{s}werde / certes were it gold
Or in a poke / nobles al vntold
Thow sholde{s}t haue / as I am trewe Smyth
Ey Cri{s}tes foo / what wol ye do ther with
¶Ther of quod Ab{s}olon / be as be may
I shal wel telle it thee / another day
And caughte the cultour / by the colde stele
fful softe / out at the dore he gan to stele
And wente / vn to the Carpenters wal
He cogheth fir{s}t/ and knokketh ther with al
Vp on the wyndow / right as he dide er
¶This Ali{s}on an{s}werde / who is ther|?|
That knokketh so / I warante it a theef/
¶Wy nay quod he god woot/ my swete lief/
I am thyn Ab{s}olon / my derelyng/
Of gold quod he / I haue thee broght a ryng/
My moder yaf it me / so god me saue
fful fyn it is / and ther to wel ygraue
This wol I yeuen thee / if thow me ki{ss}e
¶This Nicholas / was ri{s}en for to pi{ss}e
And thoghte / he wolde amenden al the Iape
He sholde ki{ss}e his ers / er |þt|/ he scape
And vp the wyndow / dide he ha{s}tely
And out his ers / he putteth pryuely
Ouer the buttok / to the haunche bon
¶And ther with / spak/ this clerk/ this Ab{s}olon
Spek swete herte / I noot noght wher thow art/
This Nicholas / anoon leet fle a fart/
As greet/ as it hadde been a thonder dent/
That with the strook/ he was almoo{s}t yblent/

{{Folio 50r}}

And he was redy / with his Iren hoot/
And Nicholas / in the ers he smoot/
Of gooth the skyn / an handbrede aboute
The hoote cultour / brende so his toute
That for the smert/ he wende for to dye
As he were wood / for wo he gan to crye
Help water / water / help for goddes herte
¶This Carpenter / out of his slomber sterte
And herde oon cryen water / as he were wood
And thoghte allas / now cometh Nowelys flood
He sette hym vp / with oute wordes mo
And with his Ax / he smoot the corde atwo
And down gooth al / he foond neither to selle
Ne breed ne ale / til he cam to the Celle
Vp on the floor / and the|re| a{s}wowne he lay
¶Vp {s}tirte hi|re| / Ali{s}on and Nicholay
And cryden out and harrow / in the Strete
The neghebores / bothe smale and grete
In ronnen / for to gauren on this man
That a{s}wowne lay / bothe pale and wan
ffor with the fal / he bro{s}ten hadde his arm
But stonde he mo{s}te / vn to his owene harm
ffor whan he spak / he was anon bore doun
With hende Nicholas and Ali{s}oun
They tolden euery man / |þt| he was wood
He was aga{s}t so / of Nowelys flood
Thurgh fanta{s}ie / |þt| of his vanytee
He hadde yboght hym / knedyng tubbes thre
And hadde hem hanged / in the roof aboue
And |þt| he preyde hem / for goddes loue
To sitten in the roof / |per| compaignye
¶The folk gan laughen / at his fanta{s}ye
In to the roof / they kiken and they cape
And turned al his harm / vn to a Iape
ffor what {s}o / |þt| this Carpenter an{s}werde
It was for noght/ no man his re{s}on herde
With othes grete / he was {s}o sworn adoun
That he was holden wood / in al the toun
ffor euery clerk / anon right heeld with oother
They seyde / the man was wood / my leeue brother

{{Folio 50v}}

And e|uer|y wight/ gan laughen at this stryf/
Thus swyued / was the Carpenters wyf/
ffor al his kepyng/ and his Ialou{s}ye
And Ab{s}olon / hath ki{s}t hir nether Iye
And Nicholas / is scalded in the toute
This tale is doon / and god saue al the route

¶Here is ended / the Millerys tale