Previous Previous:
From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 35-82:
The Wife of Bath's opinion about marriage and virginity
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Wife of Bath's Prologue
lines 83-100: About St. Paul's virginity


       But this word is nat taken of every wight,
But ther as God lust gyve it of his myght.
85I woot wel, th'apostel was a mayde;
But nathelees, thogh that he wroot and sayde
He wolde that every wight were swich as he,
Al nys but conseil to virginitee;
And for to been a wyf, he yaf me leve
90Of indulgence, so it is no repreve
To wedde me, if that my make dye,
Withouten excepcioun of bigamye.
Al were it good no womman for to touche,
He mente, as in his bed or in his couche;
95For peril is bothe fyr and tow t'assemble;
Ye knowe what this ensample may resemble.
This is al and som, he heeld virginitee
Moore parfit than weddyng in freletee.
Freletee clepe I, but if that he and she
100Wolde leden al hir lyf in chastitee.
      But this word is not meant for every wight,
But where God wills to give it, of His might.
85I know well that the apostle was a virgin;
Nevertheless, and though he wrote and urged in,
He would that everyone were such as he,
All is not counsel to virginity;
And so to be a wife he gave me leave
90Out of permission; there's no shame should grieve
In marrying me, if that my mate should die,
Without exception, too, of bigamy.
And though 'twere good no woman flesh to touch,
He meant, in his own bed or on his couch;
95For peril 'tis fire and tow to assemble;
You know what this example may resemble.
This is the sum: he held virginity
Nearer perfection than marriage for frailty.
And frailty's all, I say, save he and she
100Would lead their lives throughout in chastity.




Next Next:
From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 101-120:
About virginity in general
Next