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From The Reeve's Prologue, lines 045-066:
The Host's intervention
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Reeve's Tale
lines 67-132: The miller and his family


Heere bigynneth the Reves Tale


       At TRUMPYNGTOUN, nat fer fro Cantebrigge,
Ther gooth a brook, and over that a brigge,
Upon the whiche brook ther stant a melle;
70And this is verray sooth that I yow telle.
A millere was ther dwellynge many a day;
As any pecok he was proud and gay.
Pipen he koude and fisshe, and nettes beete,
And turne coppes, and wel wrastle and sheete;
75Ay by his belt he baar a long panade,
And of a swerd ful trenchant was the blade.
A joly poppere baar he in his pouche;
Ther was no man, for peril, dorste hym touche.
A Sheffeld thwitel baar he in his hose.
80Round was his face, and camus was his nose;
As piled as an ape was his skulle.
He was a market-betere atte fulle.
Ther dorste no wight hand upon hym legge,
That he ne swoor he sholde anon abegge.
85A theef he was for sothe of corn and mele,
And that a sly, and usaunt for to stele.
His name was hoote deynous Symkyn.
A wyf he hadde, ycomen of noble kyn;
The person of the toun hir fader was.
90With hire he yaf ful many a panne of bras,
For that Symkyn sholde in his blood allye.
She was yfostred in a nonnerye;
For Symkyn wolde no wyf, as he sayde,
But she were wel ynorissed and a mayde,
95To saven his estaat of yomanrye.
And she was proud, and peert as is a pye.
A ful fair sighte was it upon hem two;
On halydayes biforn hire wolde he go
With his typet wound aboute his heed,
100And she cam after in a gyte of reed;
And Symkyn hadde hosen of the same.
Ther dorste no wight clepen hire but 'dame';
Was noon so hardy that went by the weye
That with hire dorste rage or ones pleye,
105But if he wolde be slayn of Symkyn
With panade, or with knyf, or boidekyn.
For jalous folk ben perilous everemo;
Algate they wolde hire wyves wenden so.
And eek, for she was somdel smoterlich,
110She was as digne as water in a dich,
And ful of hoker and of bisemare.
Hir thoughte that a lady sholde hire spare,
What for hire kynrede and hir nortelrie
That she hadde lerned in the nonnerie.
       At Trumpington, not far away from Cambridge,
There goes a brook, and over that a bridge,
Upon the side of which brook stands a mill as well;
70And this is very truth that I to you tell.
A miller was there dwelling, many and many a day;
As any peacock he was proud and gay.
He could mend nets, and he could fish, and flute,
Drink and turn cups, and wrestle well, and shoot;
75Always in his leathern belt he did parade
A sword with a long trenchant blade.
In his pocket he carried a pretty knife;
No man who dared to touch him, on loss of life.
A long knife from Sheffield he carried in his hose;
80Round was his face and turned-up was his nose.
As bald as any ape's head was his skull;
He was a quarrelsome swaggerer to the full.
No man dared a hand on him to lay,
Because he swore he'd make the beggar pay.
85A thief he was, it's true, of corn and meal,
And sly at that, accustomed well to steal.
His name was known as arrogant Simpkin.
A wife he had who came of gentle kin;
The parson of the town her father was.
90With her he gave very many a pan of brass,
To insure that Simpkin became his family.
She had been bred up in a nunnery;
For Simpkin would not have a wife, he said,
Unless she were a virgin and well-bred
95To preserve his estate of yeoman stock.
And she was proud and bold as a magpie cock.
A handsome sight it was to see those two;
On holy days before her he would go
With a broad tippet bound about his head;
100And she came after in a skirt of red,
Simpkin's stockings were dyed to match that same.
No man dared to call her aught but 'dame';
Nor was there one so hardy, in the way,
That dared flirt with her or attempt to play,
105Unless he wanted to be slain by Simpkin the Swagger
With cutlass or with knife or with a dagger.
For jealous folk are dangerous, you know,
At least they'd have their wives to think them so.
Besides, because she was a dirty bitch,
110She was as high as water in a ditch;
And full of disdain and full of sneering.
She thought a lady should be quite willing
To greet her for her kin and family
Having been brought up in that nunnery.
115        A doghter hadde they bitwixe hem two
Of twenty yeer, withouten any mo,
Savynge a child that was of half yeer age;
In cradel it lay and was a propre page.
This wenche thikke and wel ygrowen was,
120With kamus nose, and eyen greye as glas,
With buttokes brode, and brestes rounde and hye;
But right fair was hire heer, I wol nat lye.
115       A daughter had they got between the two,
Of twenty years, and no more children, no,
Except a boy baby that was six months old;
It lay in cradle and was strong and bold.
This girl rather thick and well developed was,
120With nose tip-tilted and eyes blue as glass,
With buttocks broad, and breasts round and high,
But right fair was her hair, I will not lie.
       This person of the toun, for she was feir,
In purpos was to maken hire his heir,
125Bothe of his catel and his mesuage,
And straunge he made it of hir mariage.
His purpos was for to bistowe hire hye
Into som worthy blood of auncetrye;
For hooly chirches good moot been despended
130On hooly chirches blood, that is descended.
Therfore he wolde his hooly blood honoure
Though that he hooly chirche sholde devoure.
       The parson of the town, since she was fair,
Who intended to make of her his heir,
125Both of his possessions and of his estate,
But all this hinged upon a proper mate.
He was resolved that he'd bestow her fully
Into some blood of worthy ancestry;
For Holy Church's goods must be expended
130On Holy Church's blood, as it's descended.
Therefore he'd honour thus his holy blood,
Though Holy Church itself became his food.




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From The Reeve's Tale, lines 133-169:
The two clerks go to the miller
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