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From The Wife of Bath's Tale, lines 1079-1109:
A frugal wedding
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Wife of Bath's Tale
lines 1110-1130: Jesus on the origin of gentility


1110        "Is this," quod she, "the cause of youre unreste?"
       "Ye certeinly," quod he, "no wonder is!"
       "Now, sire," quod she, "I koude amende al this,
If that me liste, er it were dayes thre,
So wel ye myghte bere yow unto me.
1115       But for ye speken of swich gentillesse
As is descended out of old richesse,
That therfore sholden ye be gentil men,
Swich arrogance nis nat worth an hen.
Looke who that is moost vertuous alway,
1120Pryvee and apert, and moost entendeth ay
To do the gentil dedes that he kan,
Taak hym for the grettest gentil man.
Crist wole we clayme of hym oure gentillesse,
Nat of oure eldres for hire old richesse.
1125For thogh they yeve us al hir heritage,
For which we clayme to been of heigh parage,
Yet may they nat biquethe, for no thyng
To noon of us hir vertuous lyvyng,
That made hem gentil men ycalled be,
1130And bad us folwen hem in swich degree.
1110        "Is this," asked she, "the cause of your unrest?"
       "Yes, truly," said he, "and no wonder 'tis."
       "Now, sir," said she, "I could amend all this,
If I but would, and that within days three,
If you would bear yourself well towards me.
1115       "But since you speak of such gentility
As is descended from old wealth, till ye
Claim that for that you should be gentlemen,
I hold such arrogance not worth a hen.
Find him who is most virtuous alway,
1120Alone or publicly, and most tries aye
To do whatever noble deeds he can,
And take him for the greatest gentleman.
Christ wills we claim from him gentility,
Not from ancestors of landocracy.
1125For though they give us all their heritage,
For which we claim to be of high lineage,
Yet can they not bequeath, in anything,
To any of us, their virtuous living,
That made men say they had gentility,
1130And bade us follow them in like degree.




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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 1131-1170:
Dante on the origin of gentility
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