The Miller's Prologue and Tale from the Hengwrt Manuscript of the Canterbury Tales

Original Text: 
Nat. Lib. Wales Peniarth 392. From Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales: A Facsimile and Transcription of the Hengwrt Manuscript, with Variants from the Ellesmere Manuscript, ed. Paul G. Ruggiers, introduction by Donald C. Baker, A. I. Doyle, and M. B. Parkes. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979. PR 1866 .R8 1979 Robarts Library
{{Folio 41r}}
¶The prologe of the Milleres tale
2In al the compaignie / nas ther yong ne oold
3That he ne seyde / it was a noble Storie
4And worthy / for to drawen to memorie
5And namely / the gentils euerichon
6¶Oure hoo{s}t lough / and swoor / {s}o moot I gon
7This gooth aright/ vnbokeled is the male
8Lat se now / who shal telle another tale
9ffor trewely / the game is wel bigonne
10Now telleth ye sire Monk / if |þt| ye konne
11Som what / to quite with the knyghtes tale
12¶The Millere / that for dronken was a pale
13So that vnnethe / vp on his hors he sat
14He nolde aualen / neither hood ne hat
15Ne abiden no man / for his curtei{s}ye
16But in Pilates voys / he gan to crye
17And swoor by armes / and by blood and bones
18I kan a noble tale / for the nones
19With which / I wol now quite the knyghtes tale
20¶Oure hoo{s}t saugh / |þt| he was dronke of ale
{{Folio 41v}}
21¶And seyde / abyde / Robyn leeue brother
22Som bettre man / shal telle vs fir{s}t another
23Abyde / and lat vs werken thriftily
24¶By goddes soule quod he / that wol nat/ I
25ffor I wol speke / or ellis go my wey
26¶Oure hoo{s}t an{s}werde / tel on a deuelewey
27Thow art a fool / thy wit is ouercome
28¶Now herkneth quod the Millere / alle and some
29But fir{s}t/ I make a prote{s}tacioun
30That I am dronke / I knowe it by my sown
31And therfore / if |þt| I my{ss}peke / or seye
32Wite it/ / the ale of Southwerk/ I preye
33ffor I wol telle / a legende and a lyf
34Bothe of a Carpenter / and of his wyf
35How |þt| a clerk/ hath set the wrightes cappe
36¶The Reue an{s}werde / and seyde stynt thy clappe
37Lat be / thy lewed dronken harlotrye
38It is a synne / and eek a greet folye
39To apeyren any man / or hym diffame
40And eek to bryngen wyues / in swich fame
41Thow may{s}t ynow / of othere thynges seyn
42¶This dronken Mille|re| / spak ful soone ageyn
43And seyde / leeue brother O{s}ewold
44Who hath no wyf / he is no Cokewold
45But I seye nat therfore / |þt| thow art oon
46Ther been ful goode wyues many oon
47Why artow angry / wit my tale now
48I haue a wyf |per|dee / as wel as thow
49Yet nolde I / for the oxen in my plough
50Take vp on me / moore than ynough
51As demen of my self / |þt| I were oon
52I wol bileeue wel / |þt| I am noon
53An hou{s}bonde / shal noght been Inqui{s}ityf /
54Of goddes pryuetee / nor of his wyf/
55So he may fynde / goddes foy{s}on there
56Of the remenant/ nedeth noght/ enquere
57¶What sholde I moore seyn / but this Millere
58He nolde his wordes / for no man forbere
59But tolde his cherles tale / in his manere
60Me athynketh / that I shal reherce it heere
{{Folio 42r}}
61And therfore / euery gentil wight I preye
62Demeth noght/ for goddes loue / |þt| I seye
63Of yuel entente / but for I moot reher{s}e
64Hir tales alle / be they bet or wer{s}e
65Or ellis fal{s}en / som of my matere
66And therfore / who {s}o li{s}t it noght yhere
67Turne ouer the leef / and che{s}e another tale
68ffor he shal fynde ynowe / grete and smale
69Of storial thyng/ that toucheth gentile{ss}e
70And eek moralitee / and holyne{ss}e
71Blameth noght me / if |þt| ye che{s}e amys
72The Millere is a cherl / ye knowe wel this
73So was the Reue eek/ and othere mo
74And harlotrye / they tolden bothe two
75Auy{s}eth yow / and put me out of blame
76And eek / men shal noght/ maken erne{s}t of game
¶Here bigynneth / the Millerys tale
1Whilom / ther was dwellyng in Oxenford
2A riche gnof/ that ge{s}tes heeld to bord
3And of his craft/ he was a Carpenter
4With hym ther was dwellynge a poure Scoler
5Hadde lerned Art/ but al his fanta{s}ie
6Was turned / for to leere A{s}trologie
7And koude / a certeyn of conclu{s}ions
8To demen / by interrogacions
9If |þt| men axed hym / in |cer|tein houres
10Whan |þt| men sholde haue droghte / or ellis shoures
11Or if men axed hym / what shal bifalle
12Of euery thyng / I may nat rekene hem alle
13¶This clerk / was clepyd Hende Nicholas
14Of derne loue he koude / and of solas
15And ther to he was sleigh / and ful pryuee
16And lyk a mayde meke / for to see
17A chambre hadde he / in that ho{s}telrie
18Allone / with outen any compaignye
19fful feti{s}ly dight / with herbes swoote
20And he hym self/ as sweete as is the roote
{{Folio 42v}}
21Of lycorys / or any Cetuale
22His Almage{s}te / and bookes grete and smale
23His A{s}trelabye / longynge for his Art/
24His Augrym stones / layen faire a part/
25On shelues couched / at his beddes heed
26His Pre{ss}e / ycouered with a ffaldyng reed
27And al aboue / ther lay a gay Sautrye
28On which / he made a nyghtes melodye
29So swetely / |þt| al the chambre roong/
30And Angelus ad Virginem / he soong/
31And after that/ he soong the kynges note
32fful often / bli{ss}ed was / his murye throte
33And thus this swete clerk / his tyme spente
34After his freendes fyndyng/ and his rente
35¶This Carpenter / hadde wedded newe a wyf
36Which |þt| he louede / moore than his lyf
37Of .xviij. yeer / she was of age
38Ialous he was / and heeld hi|re| narwe in Cage
39ffor she was wilde and yong / and he was old
40And demed hym self / been lyk a Cokewold
41He knew nat Cato|un| / for his wit was rude
42That bad / men sholde wedde his similitude
43Men sholde wedden / after hir e{s}taat
44ffor youthe and Elde / is often at debaat
45But sith |þt| he / was fallen in the snare
46He mo{s}te endure / as oother folk/ his care
47¶ffair was this yonge wyf / and ther with al
48As any we{s}ele / hir body gent and smal
49A ceynt she werde / barred al of sylk /
50A barmclooth / as whit as morne Mylk/
51Vp on hir lendes / ful of many a goore
52Whit was hir smok/ and broyden al bifoore
53And eek bihynde / on hir coler aboute
54Of col blak silk / with Inne and eek |with| oute
55The tapes / of hir white voluper
56Were of the same sute / of hir coler
57Hir filet brood of sylk/ and set ful hye
58And sikerly / she hadde a likerous Iye
59fful smale ypulled / were hir browes two
60And tho were bent/ and blake as is a slo
{{Folio 43r}}
61She was ful moore / bli{s}ful on to see
62Than is the newe / Pereionette tree
63And softer / than the wolle is of a wether
64And by hir girdel / heeng a purs of lether
65Ta{ss}eled with silk / and perled with latoun
66In al this world / to seken vp and doun
67Ther nys no man so wys / |þt| koude thenche
68So gay a Popelote / or swich a wenche
69fful brighter was / the shynyng of hir hewe
70Than in the Tour / the noble yforged newe
71But of hir soong/ it was as loude and yerne
72As any swalwe / sittyng on a Berne
73Ther to / she koude skippe / and make game
74As any kyde / or Calf / folwynge his dame
75Hir mouth was sweete / as Bragot/ or the meeth
76Or hoord of Apples / leyd in hey or heeth
77Wyn{s}ynge she was / as is a ioly Colt/
78Loong as a Ma{s}t/ and vp righte as a bolt/
79A brooch she baar / vp on hir loue coler
80As brood / as is the boos of a Bokeler
81Hir shoes were laced / on hir legges hye
82She was a Prymerole / a pigge{s}nye
83ffor any lord / to leggen in his bedde
84Or yet/ for any good yeman to wedde
85¶Now sire and eft sire / so bifel the cas
86That on a day / this hende Nicholas
87ffil with this yonge wyf / to rage |&| pleye
88Whil |þt| hir hou{s}bonde / was at O{s}neye
89As clerkes been / ful subtil and ful queynte
90And pryuely / he caughte hi|re| by the queynte
91And seyde ywys / but if ich haue my wille
92ffor derne loue / of thee lemman I spille
93And heeld hi|re| harde / by the haunche bones
94And seyde lemman / loue me al atones
95Or I wol dyen / al {s}o god me saue
96And she sproong/ as a Colt dooth in the Traue
97And with hir heed / she wryed fa{s}te awey
98She seyde I wol nat ki{ss}e thee by my fey
99Wy lat be quod ich / lat be Nicholas
100Or I wol crye / out harrow and allas
{{Folio 43v}}
101Do wey youre handes / for youre curtei{s}ye
102¶This Nicholas / gan mercy for to crye
103And spak so faire / and profred hym so fa{s}te
104That she hir loue / hym graunted atte la{s}te
105And swoor hir ooth / by Seint Thomas of Kent/
106That she wolde been / at his comaundement
107Whan |þt| she may / hir ley{s}er wel e{s}pie
108Myn hou{s}bonde / is so ful of Ialou{s}ie
109That but ye waite wel / and been pryuee
110I woot right wel / I nam but deed quod she
111Ye mo{s}te been ful derne / as in this cas
112¶Nay ther of / care thee noght quod Nicholas
113A clerc/ hadde lutherly / bi{s}et his while
114But if he koude / a Carpenter bigyle
115And thus they been / acorded and y{s}worn
116To waite a tyme / as I haue told biforn
117Whan Nicholas / hadde doon thus euerydel
118And thakked hire / vp on the lendes wel
119He ki{s}te hir sweete / and taketh his sautrye
120And pleyeth fa{s}te / and maketh melodye
121¶Thanne fil it thus / |þt| to the pari{ss}h chirche
122Cri{s}tes owene werkes / for to wirche
123This goode wyf / wente on an haliday
124Hir forheed shoon / as bright as any day
125So was it wa{ss}hen / whan she leet hir werk/
126¶Now was ther of that chirche a pari{ss}h clerk/
127The which / |þt| was yclepid Ab{s}olon
128Crul was his heer / and as the gold it shoon
129And strouted as a ffanne / large and brode
130fful streight and euene / lay his ioly shode
131His rode was reed / hi{s}e eyen greye as goos
132With Poules wyndow / coruen on his shoos
133In ho{s}es red / he wente feti{s}ly
134Yclad he was / ful smal and |prop|rely
135Al in a kirtel / of a light waget {{set}}
136fful faire and thikke / been the pointes
137And ther vp on / he hadde a gay surplys
138As whit/ as is the blo{s}me vp on the rys
139A murye child he was / {s}o god me saue
140Wel koude he laten blood / and clippe and shaue
{{Folio 44r}}
141And maken a chartre of lond / or Aquitaunce
142On twenty manere / koude he trippe and daunce
143After the scole / of Oxenford tho
144And with his legges / ca{s}ten to and fro
145And pleyen songes / on a smal Rubible
146Ther to he soong {s}om tyme / a loud quynyble
147And as wel / koude he pleye on a gyterne
148In al the town / nas Brewhous ne Ta|uer|ne
149That he ne vi{s}ited / with his solas
150Ther any / gaylard tappe{s}tere was
151But {s}ooth to seyn / he was {s}om del squaymous
152Of fartyng / and of speche daungerous
153¶This Ab{s}olon / |þt| ioly was and gay
154Gooth with a sencer / on the haliday
155Sen{s}ynge the wyues / of the pari{ss}he fa{s}te
156And many a louely look / on hem he ca{s}te
157And namely / on this Carpenters wyf
158To looke on hire / hym thoughte a murye lyf
159She was {s}o |prop|re and sweete and likerous
160I dar wel seyn / if she hadde been a Mous
161And he a cat/ he wolde hir hente anon
162This pari{ss}he clerk/ this ioly Ab{s}olon
163Hath in his herte / swich a loue longynge
164That of no wyf / ne took he noon offrynge
165ffor curtei{s}ye / he seyde he wolde noon
166The Moone / whan it was nyght/ ful brighte shoon
167And Ab{s}olon / his gyterne / hath ytake
168ffor |per|amours / he thoghte for to wake
169And forth he gooth / iolyf and amorous
170Til he cam / to the Carpenters hous
171A litel / after cokkes hadde ycrowe
172And dre{ss}ed hym vp / by a shot wyndowe
173That was / vp on / the Carpenters wal
174He syngeth / in his voys / gentil and smal
175Now deere lady / if thy wille be
176I prey yow / |þt| ye wol rewe on me
177fful wel acordant/ to his giternynge
178This Carpenter awook/ and herde hym synge
179And spak/ vn to his wyf / and seyde anon
180What Ali{s}on / here{s}tow noght Ab{s}olon
{{Folio 44v}}
181That chaunteth thus / vnder oure boures wal
182¶And she / an{s}werde hir hou{s}bonde / ther with al
183Yis god woot Io{_hn} / I here it euerydel
184This pa{ss}eth forth / what wol ye bet than wel
185ffro day to day / this ioly Ab{s}olon
186So woweth hi|re| / |þt| hym is wo bigon
187He waketh al the nyght/ and al the day
188He kembed his lokkes brode / and made hym gay
189He woweth hi|re| / by meenes / and brocage
190And swoor / he wolde been hir owene page
191He syngeth brokkyng/ as a nyghtyngale
192He sente hir pyment/ Meeth / and spiced Ale
193And wafres pipyng hoot/ out of the gleede
194And for she was of towne / he |pro|fred meede
195ffor som folk / wol be wonnen for riche{ss}e
196And som for strokes / and som for gentile{ss}e
Vnde Ouidi|us| Ictib|us| Agrestis
197Som tyme to shewe / his lightne{ss}e and mai{s}trye
198He pleyeth Herodes / vp on a Scaffold hye
199But what auailleth hym / as in this cas
200She loueth so / this hende Nicholas
201That Ab{s}olon / may blowe the Bukkes horn
202He ne hadde for his labour / but a scorn
203And thus she maketh / Ab{s}olon hir Ape
204And al his erne{s}t/ turneth til a Iape
205fful sooth is this |pro||uer|be / it is no lye
206Men seith right thus / alwey the neighe slye
207Maketh / the ferre leeue to be looth
208ffor thogh |þt| Ab{s}olon / be wood or wrooth
209By cau{s}e / |þt| he fer was from hir sighte
210This neighe Nicholas / stood in his lighte
211¶Now bere thee wel / thow hende Nicholas
212ffor Ab{s}olon / may waille / and synge allas
213¶And so bifel it/ on a Saterday
214This Carpenter / was goon til O{s}enay
215And Hende Nicholas / and Ali{s}o|un|
216Acorded been / to this conclu{s}io|un|
217That Nicholas / shal shapen hem a wile
218This sely Ialous hou{s}bonde / to bigile
219And if so be / the game wente aright/
220She sholde slepen / in his arm al nyght/
{{Folio 45r}}
221ffor this was hir de{s}ir / and his al{s}o
222And right anoon / with outen wordes mo
223This Nicholas / no lenger wolde tarie
224But dooth ful {s}ofte / vn to his chambre carie
225Bothe mete and drynke / for a day or tweye
226And to hir hou{s}bonde / bad hire for to seye
227If |þt| he axed / after Nicholas
228She sholde seye / she ny{s}te wher he was
229Of al that day / she seigh hym noght |with| Iye
230She trowed / |þt| he was in maladye
231ffor / for no cry / hir mayde koude hym calle
232He nolde an{s}were / for no thyng |þt| myghte falle
233¶This pa{ss}eth forth / al thilke Saterday
234That Nicholas / stille in his chambre lay
235And eet/ and sleep / or dide what hym le{s}te
236Til Sonday / |þt| sonne gooth to re{s}te
237¶This sely Carpenter / hath greet |mer|uaille
238Of Nicholas / or what thyng myghte hym aille
239And seyde / I am adrad / by Seint Thomas
240It stondeth nat aright/ with Nicholas
241God shilde / |þt| he deyde sodeynly
242This world is now / ful tikel sikerly
243I seigh to day a corps / born to chirche
244That now a monday la{s}t/ I seigh hym wirche
245Clepe at his dore / or knokke with a stoon
246Go vp quod he / vn to his knaue anoon
247Looke how it is / and tel me boldely
248¶This knaue gooth hym vp / ful sturdily
249And at the chambre dore / whil |þt| he {s}tood
250He cryde and knokked / as |þt| he were wood
251What how / what do ye mai{s}ter Nicholay
252How may ye slepen / al the longe day
253But al for noght/ he herde nat a word
254An hole he foond / ful lowe vp on a bord
255Ther as the Cat / was wont In for to crepe
256And at that hole / he looked In ful depe
257And atte la{s}te / he hadde of hym a sighte
258¶This Nicholas / sat euere capyng vp righte
259As he hadde kiked / on the newe moone
260Adown he gooth / and tolde his mai{s}ter soone
{{Folio 45v}}
261In what array / he saw this ilke man
262¶This Carpenter / to ble{ss}en hym bigan
263And seyde / help vs seinte ffride{s}wyde
264A man woot litel / what hym shal bityde
265This man is falle / with his A{s}tromye
266In {s}om woodne{ss}e / or in som Agonye
267I thoghte ay wel / how |þt| it sholde be
268Men sholde noght knowe / of goddes |pri|uetee
269Ye bli{ss}ed be alwey / a lewed man
270That noght/ but oonly his bileue kan
271So ferde another clerk/ with A{s}tromye
272He walked in the feeldes / for to prye
273Vp on the {s}terres / what ther sholde bifalle
274Til he was / in a Marlepit yfalle
275He saw nat that/ but yet by Seint Thomas
276Me reweth sore / of hende Nicholas
277He shal be rated / of his studiyng/
278If |þt| I may / by |Iesus| heuene kyng/
279Get me a staf / |þt| I may vnder{s}pore
280Whil |þt| thow Robyn / heue{s}t vp the dore
281He shal out of his {s}tudyyng/ as I ge{ss}e
282And to the chambre dore / he gan hym dre{ss}e
283His knaue / was a {s}trong carl / for the nones
284And by the ha{s}pe / he haaf it vp atones
285In to the floor / the dore fil anoon
286This Nicholas / sat ay as stille as {s}toon
287And euere caped vp / in to the Eyr
288This Carpenter / wende he were in de{s}peyr
289And hente hym / by the sholdres myghtily
290And shook hym harde / and cryde spitou{s}ly
291What Nicholay / what how looke adoun
292Awake / and thenk on Cri{s}tes pa{ss}ioun
293I crouche thee / from Elues / and fro wightes
294Ther with the nyght spel / seyde he anon rightes
295On foure halues / of the hous aboute
296And on the thre{ss}hfold / on the dore with oute
297|Iesu| cri{s}t/ and Seint/ Benedight/
298Ble{ss}e this hous / from euery wikked wight/
299ffor the nyghte{s}uerye / the white Pater no{s}ter
300Where wente{s}tow / seinte Petres su{s}ter
{{Folio 46r}}
301And at the la{s}te / this hende Nicholas
302Gan for to sike soore / and seyde allas
303Shal al the world / be lo{s}t eft {s}oones now
304¶This Carpenter an{s}werde / what sei{s}tow
305What thenk / on god / as we doon men |þt| swynke
306¶This Nicholas an{s}werde / fecche me drynke
307And after / wol I speke in pryuetee
308Of |cer|tein thyng / |þt| toucheth me and thee
309I wol telle it / noon oother man |cer|tayn
310¶This Carpenter gooth doun / and comth agayn
311And broghte of myghty ale / a large quart/
312And whan |þt| eech of hem / hadde dronke his part/
313This Nicholas / his dore fa{s}te shette
314And doun the Carpenter / by hym he sette
315And seyde / |Iohan| / myn hoo{s}t/ lief and deere
316Thou shalt vp on thy trouthe / swere me heere
317That to no wight/ thou shalt this con{s}eil wreye
318ffor it is cri{s}tes con{s}eil / that I seye
319And if thou telle it/ man thou art forlore
320ffor this vengeaunce / thow shalt haue therfore
321That if thow wreye me / thow shalt be wood
322¶Nay Cri{s}t forbede it/ for his holy blood
323Quod tho this sely man / I nam no labbe
324And thogh I seye / I nam nat lief to gabbe
325Sey what thow wolt/ I shal it neuere telle
326To child ne wyf/ by hym that harwed helle
327¶Now |Iohan| quod Nicholas / I wol noght lye
328I haue yfounde / in myn A{s}trologye
329As I haue looked / in the moone bright/
330That now a monday next/ at quarter nyght/
331Shal falle a reyn / and that so wilde and wood
332That half so greet/ was ne|uer|e Nowels flood
333This world he seyde / in la{ss}e than in an hour
334Shal al be dreynt/ so hidous is the shour
335Thus shal man kynde drenche / and le{s}e hir lyf
336¶This Carpenter an{s}werde / allas my wyf/
337And shal she drenche / allas myn Ali{s}oun
338ffor sorwe of this / he fil almoo{s}t adoun
339And seyde / is ther no remedie in this cas
340¶Why yis for gode / quod Hende Nicholas
{{Folio 46v}}
341If thow wolt werken / after loore and reed
342Thow may{s}t noght werken / after thyn owene heed
343ffor thus seith Salomon / |þt| was ful trewe
344Werk al by con{s}eil / and thow shalt noght rewe
345And if thow werken wolt/ by good con{s}ayl
346I vndertake / with outen ma{s}t/ or Sayl
347Yit shal I saue hi|re| / and thee and me
348Ha{s}tow nat herd / how saued was Noe
349Whan |þt| oure lord / hadde warned hym biforn
350That al the world / with water sholde be lorn
351¶Yis quod this Carpenter/ ful yore ago
352¶Ha{s}tow nat herd / quod Nicholas al{s}o
353The sorwe of Noe / with his felawe{s}hipe
354Er |þt| he myghte / gete his wyf to shipe
355Hym hadde leuere / I dar wel vndertake
356At thilke tyme / than alle hi{s}e wetheres blake
357That she hadde had a ship / hir self allone
358And therfore / wo{s}tow what is be{s}t to done
359This axeth ha{s}te / and of an ha{s}tyf thyng/
360Men may noght |pre|che / or maken tariyng/
361Anoon go gete vs fa{s}te / in to this In
362A knedyng trogh / or ellis a kymelyn
363ffor eech of vs / but looke |þt| they be large
364In whiche we mowen swymme / as in a barge
365And han ther Inne / vitaille suffi{s}aunt/
366But for a day / fy on the remenaunt/
367The water shal a{s}lake / and goon away
368Aboute pryme / vp on the nexte day
369But Robyn / may nat wite of this / thy knaue
370Ne eek/ thy mayde Gille / I may nat saue
371Axe noght why / for thogh thou axe me
372I wol noght/ tellen goddes pryuetee
373Suffi{s}eth thee / but if thy wittes madde
374To han as greet a grace / as Noe hadde
375Thy wif shal I wel sauen / out of doute
376Go now thy wey / and speed thee heer aboute
377But whan thou ha{s}t / for hi|re| and thee and me
378Ygeten vs / thi{s}e knedyng/ tubbes thre
379Thanne shaltow hangen hem / in the roof ful hye
380That no man / of oure purueiance e{s}pye
{{Folio 47r}}
381And whan thow thus ha{s}t doon / as I haue seyd
382And ha{s}t oure vitaille / faire in hem yleyd
383And eek an Ax / to smyte the corde atwo
384Whan |þt| the water cometh / |þt| we may go
385And breke an hole / an heigh vp on the gable
386Vn to the gardynward / ouer the stable
387That we may frely / pa{ss}en forth oure wey
388Whan |þt| the grete shour / is goon awey
389Thanne shaltow swymme / as murye I vndertake
390As dooth the white doke / after his drake
391Thanne woltow clepe / how Ali{s}on / how |Iohan|
392Be murye / for the flood wol pa{ss}e anon
393And thou wolt seyn / hail mai{s}ter Nicholay
394Good morwe / I see thee wel / for it is day
395And thanne shal we be lordes al oure lyf/
396Of al the world / as Noe and his wyf/
397But of o thyng / I. warne thee ful right
398Be wel auy{s}ed / on that ilke nyght/
399That we been entred / in to shippes bord
400That noon of vs / ne speke noght a word
401Ne clepe ne crye / but been in his prayere
402ffor it is / goddes owene he{s}te deere
403Thy wyf and thow / mote hange fer atwynne
404ffor |þt| bitwix yow / shal be no synne
405Namoore in lookyng/ than ther shal in dede
406This ordinaunce is seyd / go god thee spede
407Tomorwe at nyght/ whan men been alle a{s}lepe
408In to oure knedyng/ tubbes / wol we crepe
409And sitten there / abidyng goddes grace
410Go now thy wey / I haue no lenger space
411To make of this / no lenger sermonyng/
412Men seyn thus / seend the wi{s}e and sey no thyng/
413Thow art so wys / it nedeth thee nat teche
414Go saue oure lyf/ and that I thee bi{s}eche
415¶This sely Carpenter / gooth forth his wey
416fful ofte he seyde / allas and weylawey
417And to his wyf / he tolde his |pri|uetee
418And she was war / and knew it bet than he
419What al this queynte ca{s}t/ was for to seye
420But nathelees / she ferde as she wolde deye
{{Folio 47v}}
421And seyde allas / go forth thy wey anon
422Help vs to scape / or we been dede echon
423I am thy trewe / verray wedded wyf/
424Go deere spou{s}e / and help to saue oure lyf/
425¶Lo which a greet thyng / is affeccio|un|
426Men may dyen / of ymaginacio|un|
427So depe / may im|pre|{ss}io|un| be take
428This sely Carpenter / bigynneth quake
429Hym thynketh verrailiche / |þt| he may se
430Noes flood / come walwyng as the see
431To drenchen Ali{s}o|un| / his hony deere
432He wepeth / waileth / maketh sory cheere
433He siketh / |with| ful many a sory swogh
434And gooth / and geteth hym a knedyng/ trogh
435And after / a tubbe and a kymelyn
436And pryuely / he sente hem to his In
437And heeng hem / in the roof in |pri|uetee
438His owene hand / he made laddres thre
439To clymben / by the ronges and the stalkes
440Vn to the tubbes / hangyng/ in the balkes
441And hem vitailed / bothe trogh and tubbe
442With breed and che{s}e / and good ale in a Iubbe
443Suffi{s}ynge right ynogh / as for a day
444But er |þt| he hadde maad / al this array
445He sente his knaue / and eek his wenche al{s}o
446Vp on his nede / to londo|un| for to go
447And on the monday / whan it drogh to nyght/
448He shette his dore / with outen candel lyght/
449And dre{ss}ed alle thyng/ as it sholde be
450And shortly / vp they clomben alle thre
451They seten stille / wel a furlong way
452Now Pater no{s}ter / clom seyde Nicholay
453And clum quod |Iohan| / and clum seyde Ali{s}o|un|
454This Carpenter / seyde his deuocio|un|
455And stille he sit/ and biddeth his prayere
456Awaitynge on the reyn / if he it heere
457¶The dede sleep / for wery bi{s}yne{ss}e
458ffil on this Carpenter / right as I ge{ss}e
459Aboute corfew tyme / or litel moore
460ffor trauaillyng of his goo{s}t/ he groneth soore
{{Folio 48r}}
461And eft he routeth / for his heed my{s}lay
462¶Doun of the laddre / stalketh Nicholay
463And Ali{s}o|un| / ful softe adoun she spedde
464With outen wordes mo / they goon to bedde
465Ther as the Carpenter / is wont to lye
466Ther was the reuel / and the melodye
467And thus lyth Ali{s}o|un| / and Nicholas
468In.bu{s}yne{ss}e of myrthe / and in solas
469Til that the belle of laudees / gan to rynge
470And freres in the chauncel / gonne synge
471¶This pari{ss}h clerk/ this amorous Ab{s}olo|n_|
472That is for loue / alwey so wo bigon
473Vp on the monday / was at O{s}neye
474With compaignye / hym to di{s}porte and pleye
475And axed vp on caas / a Cloi{s}trer
476fful pryuely / after |Iohan| the Carpenter
477And he drogh hym a part/ out of the cherche
478And seyde I noot/ I saugh hym here noght werche
479Sith Saterday / I trowe |þt| he be went
480ffor tymber / ther oure Abbot hath hym sent/
481ffor he is wont/ for tymber for to go
482And dwellen atte graunge / a day or two
483Or ellis / he is at his hous |cer|teyn
484Where |þt| he be / I kan noght soothly seyn
485¶This Ab{s}olon / ful iolyf was and lyght/
486And thoghte / now is tyme to wake al nyght/
487ffor sikerly / I saugh hym noght stirynge
488Aboute his dore / syn day bigan to sprynge
489So mote I thryue / I shal at Cokkes crowe
490fful |pri|uely / knokken at his wyndowe
491That stant ful lowe / vp on his boures wal
492To Ali{s}on / now wol I tellen al
493My loue longyng/. for yit I shal nat my{ss}e
494That at the lee{s}te wey / I shal hir ki{ss}e
495Som manere confort/ / shal I haue parfay
496My mouth hath icched / al this longe day
497That is a signe of ki{ss}yng/ at/ the lee{s}te
498Al nyght me mette eek / I was at a fee{s}te
499Ther fore I wol go slepe / an houre or tweye
500And al the nyght/ than wol I wake and pleye
{{Folio 48v}}
501¶Whan |þt| the fir{s}te cok/ hath crowe anon
502Vp ri{s}t / this ioly louere Ab{s}olon
503And hym arrayeth gay / at point deuys
504But fir{s}t / he cheweth grayn and likorys
505To smellen swete / er he hadde kembd his heer
506Vnder his tonge / a trewe loue he beer
507ffor ther by / wende he to be gracious
508He rometh / to the Carpenters hous
509And stille he stant/ vnder the shot wyndowe
510Vn to his bre{s}t/ it raughte / it was so lowe
511And ofte he cogheth / with a semy sown
512What do ye hony comb / swete Ali{s}oun
513My faire bryd / my swete cynamome
514Awaketh lemman myn / and speketh to me
515Wel litel thynken ye / vp on my wo
516That for youre loue / I swete ther I go
517No wonder is / thogh |þt| I swelte and swete
518I moorne / as dooth a lamb / after the tete
519Ywis lemman / I haue swich loue longyng/
520That lyk a turtle trewe / is my moornyng/
521I may nat ete / namoore than a mayde
522¶Go fro the wyndow / Iakke fool she sayde
523As help me god / it wol nat be com pa me
524I loue another / and ellis I were to blame
525Wel bet than thee / by Ihu Ab{s}olon
526Go forth thy wey / or I wol ca{s}te a {s}toon
527And lat me slepe / a twenty deuelewey
528¶Allas quod Ab{s}olon / and weilawey
529That trewe loue / was euere {s}o yuel bi{s}et/
530Thanne kys me / syn |þt| it may be no bet/
531ffor |Iesus| loue / and for the loue of me
532¶Woltow thanne / go thy wey ther with quod she
533¶Ye certes lemman / quod this Ab{s}olon
534¶Thanne make thee redy quod she / I come anon
535¶This Ab{s}olon / doun sette hym on his knees
536And seyde / I am a lord / at alle degrees
537ffor after this / I hope ther cometh moore
538Lemman thy grace / and swete bryd thyn oore
539¶The wyndow she vndooth / and that in ha{s}te
540Haue do quod she / com of and speed thee fa{s}te
{{Folio 49r}}
541Le{s}t |þt| oure neghebores / thee e{s}pye
542¶This Ab{s}olon / gan wipe his mouth ful drye
543Derk was the nyght/ as pych / or as the cole
544And at the wyndow / out she putte hir hole
545And Ab{s}olon / hym fil no bet ne wers
546But with his mouth / he ki{s}te hir naked ers

No|ta| mal|um| quid

547fful sauourly / er he were war of this
548Abak he {s}terte / and thoghte it was amys
549ffor wel he wi{s}te / a womman hath no berd
550He felte a thyng al rogh / and longe yherd
551And seyde / fy allas / what haue I do
552¶Te hee quod she / and clapte the wyndow to
553And Ab{s}olon / gooth forth a sory paas
554¶A berd / a berd / quod hende Nicholas
555By goddes corpus / this gooth faire and wel
556¶This sely{:}Ab{s}olon / herde euery del
557And on his lippe / he gan for anger byte
558And to hym self/ he seyde I shal thee quyte
559¶Who rubbeth now / who froteth now his lippes
560With du{s}t/ |with| sond / |with| straw / |with| clooth |with| chippes
561But Ab{s}olon / |þt| seith ful ofte allas
562My soule / bitake vn to Sathanas
563But me were leuere / than al this town quod he
564Of this de{s}pit/ awreken for to be
565Allas quod he / allas I ne hadde ybleynt/
566His hote loue was coold / and al yqueynt
567ffor fro that tyme / |þt| he hadde ki{s}t hir ers
568Of |per|amours / he {s}ette noght a kers
569ffor he was heelyd / of his maladye
570fful ofte |per|amours / he gan defye
571And weep / as dooth a child |þt| is ybete
572A softe paas / he wente ouer the strete
573Vn til a smyth / men clepen daun Gerueys
574That in his forge / smythed plogh harneys
575He sharpeth shaar / and cultour bi{s}ily
576This Ab{s}olon / knokketh al e{s}ily
577And seyde / vndo Gerueys and that anon
578¶What who artow|?| / it/ am I Ab{s}olon
579What Ab{s}olon / what Cri{s}tes swete tree
580Why ri{s}e ye {s}o rathe / ey benedicitee
{{Folio 49v}}
581What eyleth yow / som gay gerl / god it woot/
582Hath broght yow thus / vp on the viritoot/
583By Seinte note / ye woot wel what I mene
584¶This Ab{s}olon / ne roghte nat a bene
585Of al his pley / no word agayn he yaf/
586He hadde moore tow / on his dy{s}taf/
587Than Gerueys knew / and seyde freend so deere
588That hoote cultour / in the chymenee heere
589As lene it me / I haue ther with to doone
590I wol brynge it thee / agayn ful {s}oone
591¶Gerueys an{s}werde / certes were it gold
592Or in a poke / nobles al vntold
593Thow sholde{s}t haue / as I am trewe Smyth
594Ey Cri{s}tes foo / what wol ye do ther with
595¶Ther of quod Ab{s}olon / be as be may
596I shal wel telle it thee / another day
597And caughte the cultour / by the colde stele
598fful softe / out at the dore he gan to stele
599And wente / vn to the Carpenters wal
600He cogheth fir{s}t/ and knokketh ther with al
601Vp on the wyndow / right as he dide er
602¶This Ali{s}on an{s}werde / who is ther|?|
603That knokketh so / I warante it a theef/
604¶Wy nay quod he god woot/ my swete lief/
605I am thyn Ab{s}olon / my derelyng/
606Of gold quod he / I haue thee broght a ryng/
607My moder yaf it me / so god me saue
608fful fyn it is / and ther to wel ygraue
609This wol I yeuen thee / if thow me ki{ss}e
610¶This Nicholas / was ri{s}en for to pi{ss}e
611And thoghte / he wolde amenden al the Iape
612He sholde ki{ss}e his ers / er |þt|/ he scape
613And vp the wyndow / dide he ha{s}tely
614And out his ers / he putteth pryuely
615Ouer the buttok / to the haunche bon
616¶And ther with / spak/ this clerk/ this Ab{s}olon
617Spek swete herte / I noot noght wher thow art/
618This Nicholas / anoon leet fle a fart/
619As greet/ as it hadde been a thonder dent/
620That with the strook/ he was almoo{s}t yblent/
{{Folio 50r}}
621And he was redy / with his Iren hoot/
622And Nicholas / in the ers he smoot/
623Of gooth the skyn / an handbrede aboute
624The hoote cultour / brende so his toute
625That for the smert/ he wende for to dye
626As he were wood / for wo he gan to crye
627Help water / water / help for goddes herte
628¶This Carpenter / out of his slomber sterte
629And herde oon cryen water / as he were wood
630And thoghte allas / now cometh Nowelys flood
631He sette hym vp / with oute wordes mo
632And with his Ax / he smoot the corde atwo
633And down gooth al / he foond neither to selle
634Ne breed ne ale / til he cam to the Celle
635Vp on the floor / and the|re| a{s}wowne he lay
636¶Vp {s}tirte hi|re| / Ali{s}on and Nicholay
637And cryden out and harrow / in the Strete
638The neghebores / bothe smale and grete
639In ronnen / for to gauren on this man
640That a{s}wowne lay / bothe pale and wan
641ffor with the fal / he bro{s}ten hadde his arm
642But stonde he mo{s}te / vn to his owene harm
643ffor whan he spak / he was anon bore doun
644With hende Nicholas and Ali{s}oun
645They tolden euery man / |þt| he was wood
646He was aga{s}t so / of Nowelys flood
647Thurgh fanta{s}ie / |þt| of his vanytee
648He hadde yboght hym / knedyng tubbes thre
649And hadde hem hanged / in the roof aboue
650And |þt| he preyde hem / for goddes loue
651To sitten in the roof / |per| compaignye
652¶The folk gan laughen / at his fanta{s}ye
653In to the roof / they kiken and they cape
654And turned al his harm / vn to a Iape
655ffor what {s}o / |þt| this Carpenter an{s}werde
656It was for noght/ no man his re{s}on herde
657With othes grete / he was {s}o sworn adoun
658That he was holden wood / in al the toun
659ffor euery clerk / anon right heeld with oother
660They seyde / the man was wood / my leeue brother
{{Folio 50v}}
661And e|uer|y wight/ gan laughen at this stryf/
662Thus swyued / was the Carpenters wyf/
663ffor al his kepyng/ and his Ialou{s}ye
664And Ab{s}olon / hath ki{s}t hir nether Iye
665And Nicholas / is scalded in the toute
666This tale is doon / and god saue al the route
¶Here is ended / the Millerys tale


1] Old spelling is retained except for ligatured letters, which are normalized. Expanded contractions and abbreviations are placed within vertical bars. The original lineation is retained, but not small capitals and the text of signatures, catchwords, and running titles. Irregularities in spacing are ignored. Reference citations are by folio numbers and editorial through-ms and through-tale line numbers.
Unusual characters are identified as follows:
{s} : long-s
{ss} : ligatured long-s long-s
{C|} : capitulum
{`,} : comma under opening single quotation mark
{?.} : punctus elevatus
{^} : caret
Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Assisted by Nancy Misener and Alex Bisset.