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From The Reeve's Tale, lines 380-413:
The morning at the miller's house
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Reeve's Tale
lines 414-470: The fight at the miller's house


       "Ye, false harlot," quod the millere, "hast?
415A, false traitor! false clerk!" quod he,
Tow shalt be deed, by Goddes dignitee!
Who dorste be so boold to disparage
My doghter, that is come of swich lynage?'
And by the throte-bolle he caughte Alayn,
420And he hente hym despitously agayn,
And on the nose he smoot hym with his fest.
Doun ran the blody streem upon his brest;
And in the floor, with nose and mouth tobroke,
They walwe as doon two pigges in a poke;
425And up they goon, and doun agayn anon,
Til that the millere sporned at a stoon,
And doun he fil bakward upon his wyf,
That wiste no thyng of this nyce stryf;
For she was falle aslepe a lite wight
430With John the clerk, that waked hadde al nyght,
And with the fal out of hir sleep she breyde.
"Help! hooly croys of Bromeholm," she seyde,
'In manus tuas! Lord, to thee I calle!
Awak, Symond! The feend is on me falle.
435Myn herte is broken; help! I nam but deed
Ther lyth oon upon my wombe and on myn heed.
Help. Symkyn, for the false clerkes fighte!"
       This John stirte up as faste as ever he myghte,
And graspeth by the walles to and fro,
440To fynde a staf; and she stirte up also,
And knew the estres bet than dide this John,
And by the wal a staf she foond anon,
And saugh a litel shymeryng of a light,
For at an hole in shoon the moone bright;
445And by that light she saugh hem bothe two,
But sikerly she nyste who was who,
But as she saugh a whit thyng in hir ye.
And whan she gan this white espye,
She wende the clerk hadde wered a volupeer,
450And with the staf she drow ay neer and neer,
And wende han hit this Aleyn at the fulle,
And smoot the millere on the pyled skulle,
That doun he gooth, and cride, "Harrow! I dye!"
Thise clerkes beete hym weel and lete hym lye;
455And greythen hem, and tooke hir hors anon,
And eek hire mele, and on hir wey they gon.
And at the mille yet they tooke hir cake
Of half a busshel flour, ful wel ybake.
       Thus is the proude millere wel ybete,
460And hath ylost the gryndynge of the whete,
And payed for the soper everideel
Of Aleyn and of John, that bette hym weel.
His wyf is swyved, and his doghter als.
Lo, swich it is a millere to be fals!
465And therfore this proverbe is seyd ful sooth,
'Hym thar nat wene wel that yvele dooth';
A gylour shal hymself bigyled be.
And God, that sitteth heighte in magestee,
Save al this compaignye, grete and smale!
470Thus have I quyt the Millere in my tale.
       "You scoundrel, you did what?" the miller cried,
415Ah, false traitor and treacherous clerk!" raged he,
"You shall be killed, by God's own dignity!
Who dares be bold enough to bring to shame
My daughter, who is born of such a name?"
And by the throat, then, he caught Alain.
420And pitilessly he handled this hapless man,
And on the nose he smashed him with his fist.
Down ran the bloody stream upon his breast;
With broken mouth and nose on the floor,
They moved as pigs in a bag, searching for a door.
425And up they came, and down they both went, prone,
Until the miller stumbled on a stone,
And staggered and fell down backwards on his wife,
Who nothing knew of all this silly strife;
For she had fallen asleep with John the clerk
430Tired of all their labour in the dark.
But at the fall, from sleep she started out.
"Help, holy Cross of Bromholm!" did she shout,
"In manus tuas, Lord, to You I call!
Simon, awake, the Fiend is on us all
435My heart is broken, help, I'm almost dead!
There lies one on my womb, one on my head!
Help, Simpkin, for these treacherous clerks do fight!"
       John started up, as fast as well he might,
And searched along the wall, and to and fro,
440To find a staff; and she arose also,
And knowing the room better than did John,
She found a staff against the wall, thereupon;
And then she saw a little ray of light,
For through a hole the moon was shining bright;
445And by that light she saw the struggling two,
But certainly she knew not who was who,
Except she saw a white thing with her eye.
And when she did this same white thing espy,
She thought the clerk had worn a nightcap here.
450And with the staff she nearer drew, and near,
And, thinking to hit Alain on his poll,
She fetched the miller on his bald white skull,
And down he went, crying out, "Help, help, I die!"
The two clerks beat him well and let him lie;
455And clothed themselves, and took their horse straightway,
And got their flour, and were gone on their way.
And at the mill they found the well-made cake
Which of their meal the miller's wife did bake.
       Thus soundly beaten is the haughty miller,
460And received no pay for putting wheat in the grinder,
And paid for the two suppers, completely,
Of Alain, and of John, who've tricked him fairly.
His wife is screwed, also his daughter sweet;
Thus it befalls a miller who's a cheat.
465And therefore is this proverb said with truth,
"An evil end to evil man, forsooth."
The cheater shall himself well cheated be.
And God, who sits on high in majesty,
Except all this company, both strong and frail!
470Thus have I repaid this miller with my tale.



Heere is ended the Reves Tale




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