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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Introduction to the Pardoner's Tale
lines 1-33: The Host comments on The Physician's tale


The Wordes of the Hoost to the Phisicien and the Pardoner


       Oure Hooste gan to swere as he were wood;
"Harrow!" quod he, "by nayles and by blood!
This was a fals cherl and a fals justice!
As shameful deeth as herte may devyse
5Come to thise juges and hire advocatz!
Algate this sely mayde is slayn, allas!
Allas, to deere boughte she beautee!
Wherfore I seye al day, as men may see
That yiftes of Fortune and of Nature
10Been cause of deeth to many a creature.
(Hir beautee was hir deeth, I dar wel sayn;
Allas, so pitously as she was slayn!)
Of bothe yiftes that I speke of now
Men han ful ofte moore harm than prow.
15But trewely, myn owene maister deere,
This is a pitous tale for to heere.
But nathelees, passe over is no fors;
I pray to God so save thy gentil cors,
And eek thyne urynals and thy jurdanes,
20Thyn ypocras and eek thy galiones
And every boyste ful of thy letuarie,
God blesse hem, and oure lady Seinte Marie!
So moot I theen, thou art a propre man,
And lyk a prelat, by Seint Ronyan!
25Seyde I nat wel? I kan nat speke in terme;
But wel I woot thou doost myn herte to erme,
That I almoost have caught a cardyacle.
By corpus bones, but I have triacle,
Or elles a draughte of moyste and corny ale,
30Or but I heere anon a myrie tale,
Myn herte is lost, for pitee of this mayde!
Thou beelamy, thou Pardoner," he sayde,
"Telle us som myrthe or japes right anon."
       Our Host began to swear as madman would:
"Help!" he said, "now by Christ's nails and blood!
This was a false man and a false judge!
A shameful death as reward for his fudge,
5Come to this judge and his lawyers' snake pit!
And so this hapless girl is killed, that's it!
Alas, too dearly paid she for beauty!
Wherefore I always say, as men may see,
That Fortune's gifts, or those of Dame Nature,
10Are cause of death to many a good creature.
Her beauty was her death, I say again;
Alas, so pitiably she there was slain!
From both the kinds of gift I speak of now
Men often take more harm than help, I vow.
15But truly, my own master lief and dear,
This is a very pitiful tale to hear,
Yet let us pass it by as of no force.
I pray to God to save your gentle corse,
Your urinals and all your chamberpots,
20Your hippocras and medicines and tots
And every boxful of electuary;
God bless them, and Our Lady, holy Mary!
So may I prosper, you're a proper man,
And like a prelate too, by Saint Ronan!
25Said I not well? I can't speak in set terms;
But well I know my heart with grief so warms
That almost I have caught a cardiac pain.
Body and Bones! Save I some remedy gain,
Or else a draught of fresh-drawn, malty ale,
30Or except I hear, at once, a merry tale,
My heart is lost for pity of this maid.
You, bon ami, you pardoner," he said,
"Tell us some pleasant tale or jest, anon."




Next Next:
From The Introduction to the Pardoner's Tale, lines 34-42:
The Pardoner shows some reluctance when asked to tell a tale
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