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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 385-400:
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Wife of Bath's Prologue
lines 401-436: Envy, payment and ...


       Yet tikled it his herte, for that he!
Wende that I hadde of hym so greet chiertee.
I swoor that al my walkynge out by nyghte
Was for t'espye wenches that he dighte.
405Under that colour hadde I many a myrthe;
For al swich wit is yeven us in oure byrthe,
Deceite, wepyng, spynnyng, God hath yive
To wommen kyndely whil they may lyve.
And thus of o thyng I avaunte me,
410Atte ende I hadde the bettre in ech degree,
By sleighte, or force, or by som maner thyng,
As by continueel murmur or grucchyng.
Namely a bedde hadden they meschaunce;
Ther wolde I chide and do hem no plesaunce,
415I wolde no lenger in the bed abyde,
If that I felte his arm over my syde
Til he had maad his raunsoun unto me;
Thanne wolde I suffre hym do his nycetee.
And therfore every man this tale I telle,
420Wynne who so may, for al is for to selle;
With empty hand men may none haukes lure.
For wynnyng wolde I al his lust endure
And make me a feyned appetit;
And yet in bacon hadde I nevere delit;
425That made me that evere I wolde hem chide.
For thogh the pope hadde seten hem biside,
I wolde nat spare hem at hir owene bord,
For by my trouthe I quitte hem word for word.
As help me verray God omnipotent,
430Though I right now sholde make my testament,
I ne owe hem nat a word, that it nys quit.
I broghte it so aboute by my wit,
That they moste yeve it up as for the beste,
Or elles hadde we nevere been in reste.
435For thogh he looked as a wood leon,
Yet sholde he faille of his conclusioun.
      Yet tickled this the heart of him, for he
Deemed it was love produced such jealousy.
I swore that all my walking out at night
Was but to spy on girls he kept outright;
405And under cover of that I had much mirth.
For all such wit is given us at birth;
Deceit, weeping, and spinning, does God give
To women, naturally, the while they live.
And thus of one thing I speak boastfully,
410I got the best of each one, finally,
By trick, or force, or by some kind of thing,
As by continual growls or murmuring;
Especially in bed had they mischance,
There would I chide and give them no pleasance;
415I would no longer in the bed abide
If I but felt his arm across my side,
Till he had paid his ransom unto me;
Then would I let him do his nicety.
And therefore to all men this tale I tell,
420Let gain who may, for everything's to sell.
With empty hand men may no falcons lure;
For profit would I all his lust endure,
And make for him a well-feigned appetite;
Yet I in bacon never had delight;
425And that is why I used so much to chide.
For if the pope were seated there beside
I'd not have spared them, no, at their own board.
For by my truth, I paid them, word for word.
So help me the True God Omnipotent,
430Though I right now should make my testament,
I owe them not a word that was not quit.
I brought it so about, and by my wit,
That they must give it up, as for the best,
Or otherwise we'd never have had rest.
435For though he glared and scowled like lion mad,
Yet failed he of the end he wished he had.




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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 437-456:
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