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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 263-290:
A shrewe's proverb
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Wife of Bath's Prologue
lines 291-308: A wife is no horse and cannot be tested


       Thou seist, that oxen, asses, hors, and houndes,
They been assayd at diverse stoundes;
Bacyns, lavours, er that men hem bye,
Spoones and stooles, and al swich housbondrye,
295And so been pottes, clothes, and array;
But folk of wyves maken noon assay
Til they be wedded, olde dotard shrewe!
And thanne, seistow, we wol oure vices shewe.
       Thou seist also, that it displeseth me
300But if that thou wolt preyse my beautee,
And but thou poure alwey upon my face,
And clepe me "faire dame" in every place,
And but thou make a feeste on thilke day
That I was born, and make me fressh and gay,
305And but thou do to my norice honour,
And to my chamberere withinne my bour,
And to my fadres folk and hise allyes-
Thus seistow, olde barel-ful of lyes!
       You say that oxen, asses, horses, hounds
Are tried out variously, and on good grounds;
Basins and bowls, before men will them buy,
And spoons and stools and all such goods you try.
295And so with pots and clothes and all array;
But of their wives men get no test, you say,
Till they are married, base old dotard you!
And then we show what evil we can do.
       You say also that it displeases me
300Unless you praise and flatter my beauty,
And save you gaze always upon my face
And call me "lovely lady" every place;
And save you make a feast upon that day
When I was born, and give me garments gay;
305And save due honour to my nurse is paid
As well as to my faithful chambermaid,
And to my father's folk and his allies-
Thus you go on, old barrel full of lies!




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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 309-329:
Envy and the power of gold
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