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From The Wife of Bath's Tale, lines 1037-1051:
What women want most of all
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Wife of Bath's Tale
lines 1052-1078: The fulfilment of the knight's promise


And with that word up stirte the olde wyf,
Which that the knyght saugh sittynge in the grene.
"Mercy," quod she, "my sovereyn lady queene,
1055Er that youre court departe, do me right.
I taughte this answere unto the knyght,
For which he plighte me his trouthe there,
The firste thyng I wolde of hym requere,
He wolde it do, if it lay in his myght.
1060Bifor the court thanne preye I thee, sir knyght,"
Quod she, "that thou me take unto thy wyf,
For wel thou woost that I have kept thy lyf.
If I seye fals, sey nay, upon thy fey!"
This knyght answerde, "Allas and weylawey!
1065I woot right wel that swich was my biheste!
For Goddes love, as chees a newe requeste!
Taak al my good, and lat my body go!"
       "Nay, thanne," quod she, "I shrewe us bothe two!
For thogh that I be foul, and oold, and poore,
1070I nolde for al the metal, ne for oore,
That under erthe is grave, or lith above,
But if thy wyf I were, and eek thy love."
And with that word up started the old wife
Whom he had seen a-sitting on the green.
"Mercy," cried she, "my sovereign lady queen!
1055Before the court's dismissed, give me my right.
'Twas I who taught the answer to this knight;
For which he did gave his word to me, out there,
That the first thing I should of him require
He would do that, if it lay in his might.
1060Before the court, now, pray I you, sir knight,"
Said she, "that you will take me for your wife;
For well you know that I have saved your life.
If this be false, say nay, upon your fay!"
This knight replied: "Alas and welaway!
1065That I so promised I will not protest.
But for God's love pray make a new request.
Take all my wealth and let my body go."
       "Nay then," said she, "beshrew us if I do!
For though I may be foul and old and poor,
1070I will not, for all metal and all ore
That from the earth is dug or lies above,
Be aught except your wife and your true love."
       "My love?" quod he, "nay, my dampnacioun!
Allas, that any of my nacioun
1075Sholde evere so foule disparaged be!"
But al for noght, the ende is this, that he
Constreyned was, he nedes moste hir wedde;
And taketh his olde wyf, and gooth to bedde.
       "My love?" cried he, "nay, rather my damnation!
Alas! that any of my race and station
1075Should ever so dishonoured foully be!"
But all for naught; the end was this, that he
Was so constrained he needs must go and wed,
And take his ancient wife and go to bed.




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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 1079-1109:
A frugal wedding
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