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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 531-548:
The Wife of Bath's gossib
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Wife of Bath's Prologue
lines 549-592: The Wife of Bath tells how she has enchanted her servant


       And so bifel that ones, in a Lente -
550So often tymes I to my gossyb wente,
For evere yet I loved to be gay,
And for to walke in March, Averill, and May,
Fro hous to hous to heere sondry talys -
That Jankyn Clerk and my gossyb, dame Alys,
555And I myself into the feeldes wente.
Myn housbonde was at London al that Lente;
I hadde the bettre leyser for to pleye,
And for to se, and eek for to be seye
Of lusty folk; what wiste I, wher my grace
560Was shapen for to be, or in what place?
Therfore I made my visitaciouns
To vigilies and to processiouns,
To prechyng eek, and to thise pilgrimages,
To pleyes of myracles, and to mariages;
565And wered upon my gaye scarlet gytes.
Thise wormes ne thise motthes, ne thise mytes,
Upon my peril, frete hem never a deel;
And wostow why? for they were used weel!
      So it happened that on a time, in Lent
550For oftentimes I to my gossip went,
Since I loved always to be glad and gay
And to walk out, in March, April, and May,
From house to house, to hear the latest malice,
Jenkin the clerk, and my gossip Dame Alis,
555And I myself into the meadows went.
My husband was in London all that Lent;
I had the greater leisure, then, to play,
And to observe, and to be seen, I say,
By pleasant folk; what knew I where my face
560Was destined to be loved, or in what place?
Therefore I made my visits round about
To vigils and processions of devout,
To preaching too, and shrines of pilgrimage,
To miracle plays, and always to each marriage,
565And wore my scarlet skirt before all wights.
These worms and all these moths and all these mites,
I say it at my peril, never ate;
And know you why? I wore it early and late.
       Now wol I tellen forth what happed me.
570I seye, that in the feeldes walked we,
Til trewely we hadde swich daliance,
This clerk and I, that of my purveiance
I spak to hym, and seyde hym, how that he,
If I were wydwe, sholde wedde me.
575For certeinly, I sey for no bobance,
Yet was I nevere withouten purveiance
Of mariage, n'of othere thynges eek.
I holde a mouses herte nat worth a leek
That hath but oon hole for to sterte to,
580And if that faille, thanne is al ydo.
       I bar hym on honde, he hadde enchanted me, -
My dame taughte me that soutiltee.
And eek I seyde, I mette of hym al nyght,
He wolde han slayn me as I lay upright,
585And al my bed was ful of verray blood;
But yet I hope that he shal do me good,
For blood bitokeneth gold, as me was taught-
And al was fals, I dremed of it right naught,
But as I folwed ay my dames loore
590As wel of this, as of othere thynges moore.
       But now sir, lat me se, what I shal seyn?
A ha, by God, I have my tale ageyn.
      Now will I tell you what befell to me.
570I say that in the meadows walked we three
Till, truly, we had come to such dalliance,
This clerk and I, that, of my vigilance,
I spoke to him and told him how that he,
Were I a widow, might well marry me.
575For certainly I say it not to brag,
But I was never quite without a bag
Full of the needs of marriage that I seek.
I hold a mouse's heart not worth a leek
That has but one hole into which to run,
580And if it fail of that, then all is done.
      I made him think he had enchanted me;
My mother taught me all that subtlety.
And then I said I'd dreamed of him all night,
He would have slain me as I lay upright,
585And all my bed was full of very blood;
But yet I hoped that he would do me good,
For blood betokens gold, as I was taught.
And all was false, I dreamed of him just- naught,
Save as I acted on my mother's lore,
590As well in this thing as in many more.
      But now, let's see, what was I going to say?
Aha, by God, I know! It goes this way.




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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 593-632:
The funeral of the fourth husband
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