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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 835-862:
The dialogue between the Summoner and the Friar
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Wife of Bath's Tale
lines 863-887: Introduction


Heere bigynneth the Tale of the Wyf of Bathe.

       In th'olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour,
Of which that Britons speken greet honour,
865All was this land fulfild of fayerye.
The elf-queene, with hir joly compaignye,
Daunced ful ofte in many a grene mede.
This was the olde opinion, as I rede;
I speke of manye hundred yeres ago.
870But now kan no man se none elves mo,
For now the grete charitee and prayeres
Of lymytours and othere hooly freres,
That serchen every lond and every streem,
As thikke as motes in the sonne-beem,
875Blessynge halles, chambres, kichenes, boures,
Citees, burghes, castels, hye toures,
Thropes, bernes, shipnes, dayeryes,
This maketh that ther been no fayeryes.
For ther as wont to walken was an elf,
880Ther walketh now the lymytour hymself
In undermeles and in morwenynges,
And seyth his matyns and his hooly thynges
As he gooth in his lymytacioun.
Wommen may go saufly up and doun.
885In every bussh or under every tree
Ther is noon oother incubus but he,
And he ne wol doon hem but dishonour.
       Now in the olden days of King Arthur,
Of whom the Britons speak with great honour,
865All this wide land was land of faery.
The elf-queen, with her jolly company,
Danced oftentimes on many a green mead;
This was the old opinion, as I read.
I speak of many hundred years ago;
870But now no man can see the elves, you know.
For now the so-great charity and prayers
Of limiters and other holy friars
That do infest each land and every stream
As thick as motes are in a bright sunbeam,
875Blessing halls, chambers, kitchens, ladies' bowers,
Cities and towns and castles and high towers,
Manors and barns and stables, aye and dairies -
This causes it that there are now no fairies.
For where was wont to walk full many an elf,
880Right there walks now the limiter himself
In noons and afternoons and in mornings,
Saying his matins and such holy things,
As he goes round his district in his gown.
Women may now go safely up and down,
885In every copse or under every tree;
There is no other incubus, than he,
And would do them nothing but dishonour.




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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 888-904:
A rape, a penalty, the queen judge
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