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From The Wife of Bath's Tale, lines 919-957:
The knight searches the land
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Wife of Bath's Tale
lines 958-988: Ovid's tale about Midas: a women cannot keep a secret


       Ovyde, amonges othere thynges smale,
Seyde, Myda hadde under his longe heres
960Growynge upon his heed two asses eres,
The whiche vice he hydde, as he best myghte,
Ful subtilly from every mannes sighte,
That, save his wyf, ther wiste of it namo.
He loved hire moost and trusted hir also;
965He preyede hire, that to no creature
She sholde tellen of his disfigure.
       She swoor him nay, for al this world to wynne,
She nolde do that vileynye or synne,
To make hir housbonde han so foul a name.
970She nolde nat telle it for hir owene shame.
But nathelees, hir thoughte that she dyde,
That she so longe sholde a conseil hyde;
Hir thoughte it swal so soore aboute hir herte
That nedely som word hir moste asterte;
975And sith she dorste telle it to no man,
Doun to a mareys faste by she ran,
Til she cam there, hir herte was a fyre,
And as a bitore bombleth in the myre,
She leyde hir mouth unto the water doun:
980"Biwreye me nat, thou water, with thy soun,"
Quod she, "to thee I telle it and namo,
Myn housbonde hath longe asses erys two!
Now is myn herte al hool, now is it oute.
I myghte no lenger kepe it, out of doute."
985Heere may ye se, thogh we a tyme abyde,
Yet out it moot, we kan no conseil hyde.
The remenant of the tale, if ye wol heere,
Redeth Ovyde, and ther ye may it leere.
       Ovid, among some other matters small,
Said Midas had beneath his long curled hair,
960Two ass's ears that grew in secret there,
The which defect he hid, as best he might,
Full cunningly from every person's sight,
And, save his wife, no one knew of it, no.
He loved her most, and trusted her also;
965And he prayed of her that to no creature
She'd tell of his disfigurement impure.
       She swore him: Nay, for all this world to win
She would do no such villainy or sin
And cause her husband have so foul a name;
970Nor would she tell it for her own deep shame.
Nevertheless, she thought she would have died
Because so long the secret must she hide;
It seemed to swell so big about her heart
That some word from her mouth must surely start;
975And since she dared to tell it to no man,
Down to a marsh, that lay hard by, she ran;
Till she came there her heart was all afire,
And as a bittern booms in the quagmire,
She laid her mouth low to the water down:
980"Betray me not, you sounding water blown,"
Said she, "I tell it to none else but you:
Long ears like asses' has my husband two!
Now is my heart at ease, since that is out;
I could no longer keep it, there's no doubt."
985Here may you see, though for a while we bide,
Yet out it must; no secret can we hide.
The rest of all this tale, if you would hear,
Read Ovid: in his book does it appear.




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From The Wife of Bath's Prologue, lines 989-1014:
The knight's last chance
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