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From General Prologue, lines 589-624:
The Reeve
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From The Canterbury Tales:
General Prologue
lines 625-670: The Summoner


625        A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place,
That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,
For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe.
As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe,
With scalled browes blake, and piled berd,
630Of his visage children were aferd.
Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, ne brymstoon,
Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,
Ne oynement, that wolde clense and byte,
That hym myghte helpen of his whelkes white,
635Nor of the knobbes sittynge on his chekes.
Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,
And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood;
Thanne wolde he speke and crie as he were wood.
And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
640Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,
That he had lerned out of som decree-
No wonder is, he herde it al the day,
And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay
645Kan clepen "Watte" as wel as kan the pope.
But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope,
Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie;
Ay "Questio quid iuris" wolde he crie.
He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;
650A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde;
He wolde suffre, for a quart of wyn,
A good felawe to have his concubyn
A twelf-monthe, and excuse hym atte fulle;
Ful prively a fynch eek koude he pulle.
655And if he foond owher a good felawe,
He wolde techen him to have noon awe,
In swich caas, of the ercedekenes curs,
But if a mannes soule were in his purs;
For in his purs he sholde ypunysshed be.
660"Purs is the erchedekenes helle," seyde he.
But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;
Of cursyng oghte ech gilty man him drede,
For curs wol slee, right as assoillyng savith,
And also war him of a Significavit.
665In daunger hadde he at his owene gise
The yonge girles of the diocise,
And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
A gerland hadde he set upon his heed
As greet as it were for an ale-stake;
670A bokeleer hadde he maad him of a cake.
625        A SUMMONER was with us in that place,
Who had a fiery-red, cherubic face,
All pimpled it was; his eyes were narrow
As hot he was, and lecherous, as a sparrow;
With black and scabby brows and scanty beard;
630He had a face that little children feared.
There was no mercury, sulphur, or litharge,
No borax, ceruse, tartar, could discharge,
Nor ointment that could cleanse enough, or bite,
To free him of his boils and pimples white,
635Nor of the knobs located on his cheeks.
Well loved he garlic, onions, and also leeks,
And drink strong blood red wine untill dizzy.
Then would he talk and shout as if he's crazy.
And when a deal of wine he'd taken in,
640Then would he utter no word except Latin.
Some phrases had he learned, say two or three,
Which he had learned out of some decree;
No wonder, he had heard it all the day;
And all you know right well that even a jay
645Can call out "Walter" better than the Pope.
But if, to try his wits in him you'd grope,
'Twas found he'd spent his whole philosophy;
Always "Questio quid juris" would he cry.
He was a noble rascal, and a kind;
650A better comrade would be hard to find.
Why, he would suffer, for a quart of wine,
Some good fellow to have his concubine
A twelve-month, and excuse him to the full
(Secretly, though he knew how a trick to pull).
655And if he found somewhere a good fellow,
He would instruct him never to have awe,
In such a case, of the archdeacon's curse,
Unless a man's soul were within his purse;
For in his purse the man should punished be.
660"The purse is the archdeacon's hell," said he.
But well I know he lied in what he said;
A curse ought every guilty man to dread
(For curse can kill, as absolution save),
And also be aware of Significavit.
665In his own power had he, and at ease,
Young people of the entire diocese,
And knew their secrets, they did what he said.
A garland had he set upon his head,
Large as a tavern's road sign on a stake;
670He'd made himself a buckler from a cake.




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From General Prologue, lines 671-716:
The Pardoner
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