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From The Pardoner's Tale, lines 406-424:
The three men decide to stop and kill Death
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Pardoner's Tale
lines 425-463: The three men meet a strange old man


425       Whan they han goon nat fully half a mile,
Right as they wolde han troden over a stile,
An oold man and a povre with hem mette.
This olde man ful mekely hem grette,
And seyde thus, "Now, lordes, God yow see!"
430       The proudeste of thise riotoures three
Answerde agayn, "What, carl, with sory grace,
Why artow al forwrapped save thy face?
Why lyvestow so longe in so greet age?"
This olde man gan looke in his visage,
435And seyde thus: "For I ne kan nat fynde
A man, though that I walked into Ynde,
Neither in citee nor in no village,
That wolde chaunge his youthe for myn age;
And therfore mooth I han myn age stille,
440As longe tyme as it is Goddes wille.
Ne Deeth, allas, ne wol nat han my lyf.
Thus walke I lyk a restelees kaityf,
And on the ground, which is my moodres gate,
I knokke with my staf bothe erly and late,
445And seye, "Leeve mooder, leet me in!
Lo, how I vanysshe, flessh and blood and skyn!
Allas, whan shul my bones been at reste?
Mooder, with yow wolde I chaunge my cheste,
That in my chambre longe tyme hath be,
450Ye, for an heyre-clowt to wrappe me."
But yet to me she wol nat do that grace,
For which ful pale and welked is my face.
425       When they had gone not fully half a mile,
Just as they would have trodden over a stile,
An old man, and a poor, with them did meet.
This ancient man full meekly them did greet,
And said thus: "Now, lords, God keep you and see!'
430       The one that was most insolent of these three
Replied to him: "What? Churl of evil grace,
Why are you all wrapped up, except your face?
Why do you live so long in so great age?"
This ancient man looked upon his visage
435And thus replied: "Because I cannot find
A man, nay, though I walked from here to Ind,
Either in town or country who'll engage
To give his youth in barter for my age;
And therefore must I keep my old age still,
440As long a time as it shall be God's will.
Not even Death, alas! my life will take;
Thus restless I my wretched way must make,
And on the ground, which is my mother's gate,
I knock with my staff early, aye, and late,
445And cry: 'O my dear mother, let me in!
Lo, how I'm wasted, flesh and blood and skin!
Alas! When shall my bones come to their rest?
Mother, with you fain would I change my chest,
That in my chamber so long time has been,
450Aye! For a haircloth rag to wrap me in!'
But yet to me she will not show that grace,
And thus all pale and withered is my face.
       But, sires, to yow it is no curteisye
To speken to an old man vileynye,
455But he trespasse in word, or elles in dede.
In Hooly Writ ye may yourself wel rede,
'Agayns an oold man, hoor upon his heed,
Ye sholde arise;' wherfore I yeve yow reed,
Ne dooth unto an oold man noon harm now,
460Namoore than that ye wolde men did to yow
In age, if that ye so longe abyde.
And God be with yow where ye go or ryde.
I moote go thider, as I have to go."
       But, sirs, in you it is no courtesy
To speak to an old man despitefully,
455Unless in word he trespass or in deed.
In holy writ you may, yourselves, well read
'Before an old man, hoar upon the head,
You should arise.' Which I advise you read,
Nor to an old man any injury do
460More than you would that men should do to you
In age, if you so long time shall abide;
And God be with you, whether you walk or ride.
I must pass on now where I have to go."




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From The Pardoner's Tale, lines 464-473:
The three men urge the old man to tell where to find Death
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