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From The Reeve's Tale, lines 133-169:
The two clerks go to the miller
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Reeve's Tale
lines 170-212: The release of the clerks' horse


170       "Aleyn, welcome," quod Symkyn, "by my lyf!
And John also, how now, what do ye heer?"
       "Symond," quod John, "by God, nede has na peer.
Hym boes serve hymself that has na swayn,
Or elles he is a fool, as clerkes sayn.
175Oure manciple, I hope he wil be deed,
Swa werkes ay the wanges in his heed;
And forthy is I come, and eek Alayn,
To grynde oure corn and carie it ham agayn;
I pray yow spede us heythen that ye may."
180       "It shal be doon," quod Symkyn, "by my fay!
What wol ye doon whil that is in hande?"
       "By God, right by the hopur wil I stande,"
Quod John, "and se howgates the corn gas in.
Yet saugh I nevere, by my fader kyn,
185How that the hopur wagges til and fra."
       Aleyn answerde, "John, and wiltow swa?
Thanne wil I be bynethe, by my croun,
And se how that the mele falles doun
Into the trough; that sal be my disport.
190For John, y-faith, I may been of youre sort;
I is as ille a millere as ar ye."
       This millere smyled of hir nycetee,
And thoghte, "Al this nys doon but for a wyle.
They wene that no man may hem bigyle,
195But by my thrift, yet shal I blere hir ye,
For al the sleighte in hir philosophye.
The moore queynte crekes that they make,
The moore wol I stele whan I take.
In stide of flour yet wol I yeve hem bren.
200'The gretteste clerkes been noght wisest men,'
As whilom to the wolf thus spak the mare.
Of al hir art ne counte I noght a tare."
       Out at the dore he gooth ful pryvely,
Whan that he saugh his tyme, softely.
205He looketh up and doun til he hath founde
The clerkes hors, ther as it stood ybounde
Bihynde the mille, under a levesel;
And to the hors he goth hym faire and wel;
He strepeth of the brydel right anon.
210And whan the hors was laus, he gynneth gon
Toward the fen, ther wilde mares renne,
And forth with 'wehee,' thurgh thikke and thurgh thenne
170       "Alain! Welcome," said Simpkin, "by my life,
And John also. Now? What do you do here?"
       "Simon," said John, "by God, need makes no peer;
He must himself serve who's no servant, eh?
Or else he's but a fool, as all clerks say.
175Our manciple - I hope he'll soon be dead,
So aching are the grinders in his head -
And therefore am I come here with Alain
To grind our corn and carry it home again;
I pray you speed us much as you can and may."
180       "It shall be done," said Simpkin, "by my fay.
What will you do the while it is in hand?"
       "By God, right by the hopper will I stand,"
Said John, "and see just how the corn goes in;
I never have seen, by my father's kin,
185Just how the hopper waggles to and fro."
       Alain replied: "Well, John, and will you so?
Then will I get beneath it, by my crown,
To see there how the meal comes sifting down
Into the trough; and that shall be my sport.
190For, John, in faith, I must be of your sort;
I am as bad a miller as you be."
       The miller smiled at this, their simplicity,
And thought: "All this is done but for a wile;
They think there is no man may them beguile;
195But, by my skill, I will yet blur their eyes,
For all the tricks in their philosophies.
The more odd tricks and stratagems they make,
The more I'll steal when I begin to take.
In place of flour I'll give them only bran.
200'The greatest clerk is not the wisest man,'
As once unto the grey wolf said the mare.
But all their arts - I rate them not a tare."
       Out of the door he went, then, secretly,
When he saw his chance, and quietly;
205He looked up and looked down, until he found
The students' horse where it stood, securely bound.
Behind the mill, under an arbour green;
And to the horse he went, then, still unseen;
He took the bridle off him and at once,
210When the said horse was free and saw his chance,
Toward the fen, for wild mares ran therein,
And with a 'whinny' he went, through thick and thin.




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From The Reeve's Tale, lines 213-252:
The chase after the horse
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