Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Cook's Prologue

The Prologe of the Cokes Tale

       The COOK of Londoun, whil the Reve spak,
For joye him thoughte, he clawed him on the bak.
"Ha! ha!" quod he, "for Criste passioun,
This miller hadde a sharp conclusioun
5Upon his argument of herbergage.
Wel seyde Salomon in his langage,
`Ne bryng nat every man into thyn hous,'
For herberwynge by nyghte is perilous.
Wel oghte a man avysed for to be,
10Whom that be broghte into his pryvetee.
I pray to God so yeve me sorwe and care,
If evere sitthe I highte Hogge of Ware,
Herde I a millere bettre yset awerk.
He hadde a jape of malice in the derk.
15But God forbede that we stynte heere,
And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to heere
A tale of me that am a povre man,
I wol yow telle, as wel as evere I kan,
A litel jape that fil in oure citee."
20       Oure Hoost answerde and seide, "I graunte it thee,
Now telle on, Roger, looke that it be good,
For many a pastee hastow laten blood,
And many a Jakke of Dovere hastow soold
That hath been twies hoot and twies coold.
25Of many a pilgrim hastow Cristes curs,
For of thy percely yet they fare the wors,
That they han eten with thy stubbel goos,
For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.
Now telle on, gentil Roger, by thy name,
30But yet I pray thee, be nat wroth for game;
A man may seye ful sooth in game and pley."
       "Thou seist ful sooth," quod Roger, "by my fey;
But `sooth pley quaad pley,' as the Flemyng seith.
And therfore, Herry Bailly, by thy feith,
35Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,
Though that my tale be of an hostileer.
But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit,
But er we parte, ywis, thou shalt be quit."
And ther-with-al he lough and made cheere,
40And seyde his tale, as ye shul after heere.




Next:
The Cook's Tale (ll. 41-98)