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From The Shipman's Tale, lines 195-207:
Dan John promises to bring her money secretly
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Shipman's Tale
lines 208-238: The importance of the merchant's administration


       "Now elles God forbede, sire," quod she;
And forth she gooth as jolif as a pye,
210And bad the cookes that they sholde hem hye,
So that men myghte dyne, and that anon.
Up to hir housbonde is this wyf ygon,
And knokketh at his countour boldely.
       "Quy la?" quod he. "Peter! it am I,"
215Quod she, "what,sire, how longe wol ye faste?
How longe tyme wol ye rekene and caste
Youre sommes, and youre bookes, and youre thynges?
The devel have part on alle swiche rekenynges!
Ye have ynough, pardee, of Goddes sonde;
220Com doun to-day, and lat youre bagges stonde.
Ne be ye nat ashamed that daun John
Shal fasting al this day alenge goon?
What! lat us heere a messe, and go we dyne."
       "Now all else God forbid, sir," then said she.
And in she went as jolly as a pie,
210And bade the cooks that they to kitchen hie,
So that her men might dine, and that anon.
Up to her husband is this wife then gone,
And knocked upon his counting-room boldly.
       "Qui est la?" asked he. "Peter! It is I,"
215Said she; "What, sir, and how long will you fast?
How long time will you reckon up and cast
Your sums and books and other tiresome things?
The devil take away such reckonings!
You have enough, indeed, of God's mercy;
220Come down today, and let your gold-bags be.
Why, are you not ashamed that our Dan John
Has fasted miserably all morning gone?
What! Let us hear a mass and then go dine."
       "Wyf," quod this man, "litel kanstow devyne
225The curious bisynesse that we have.
For of us chapman, also God me save,
And by that lord that cleped is Seint Yve,
Scarsly amonges twelve tweye shul thryve
Continuelly, lastynge unto oure age.
230We may wel make chiere and good visage,
And dryve forth the world as it may be,
And kepen oure estaat in pryvetee,
Til we be deed, or elles that we pleye
A pilgrymage, or goon out of the weye.
235And therfore have I greet necessitee
Upon this queynte world t'avyse me;
For everemoore we moote stonde in drede
Of hap and fortune in oure chapmanhede.
       "Wife," said this man, "little can you divine
225The curious businesses that merchants have.
As for us traders, as may God me save,
And by that lord that all we call Saint Yve,
Among twelve merchants scarcely two shall thrive
Continually, and lasting into age.
230We must keep open house and blithe visage,
While goes the world as it may chance to be,
And hold all our affairs in secrecy
Till we are dead; or else we must go play
At pilgrimage, or else go clean away.
235And therefore have I great necessity
That on this curious world advised I be;
For evermore we merchants stand in dread
Of chance and mishap as our ways we tread.




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From The Shipman's Tale, lines 239-254:
The merchant announces a business trip to Flanders
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