The Cook's Prologue and Tale in 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
¶The prologe of the Cookes tale
2 ffor ioye hym thoughte / he clawed hym on the bak/
3 Haha quod he / for Cri{s}tes pa{ss}io|un|
4 This Millere / hadde a sharp conclu{s}io|un|
5 Vp on his argument/ of herbergage
6 Wel seyde Salomon / in his langage
7 Ne bryng nat euery man / in to thyn hous
8 ffor herberwyng/ by nyghte is |per|ilous
9 Wel oghte a man / auy{s}ed for to be
10 Whom |þt| he broghte / in to his |pri|uetee
11 I pray to god / so yeue me sorwe and care
12 If euer sith / I highte hogge of ware
13 Herde I a Millere / bettre y{s}et awerk /
14 He hadde a iape of malice / in the derk/
15 But god forbede / that we stynten heere
16 ffor if ye / vouche {s}auf to heere
17 A tale of me / that am a poure man
18 I wol yow telle / as wel as e|uer|e I kan
19 A litel iape / that fil in oure Citee
20 ¶Oure hoo{s}t an{s}werde / and seyde I graunte it thee
21 Now tel on Roger / looke that it be good
22 ffor many a pa{s}tee / ha{s}tow laten blood
23 And many a Iakke of Douere / ha{s}tow soold
24 That hath been twies hoot/ and twies coold
25 Of many a pilgrym / ha{s}tow Cri{s}tes curs
26 ffor of thy |per|{s}le / yet they fare the wors
27 That they han eten / with thy stubbul goos
28 ffor in thy shoppe / is many a flye loos
29 Now tel on / gentil Roger / by thy name
30 But yet I praye thee / be nat wrooth for game
31 A man may seye ful {s}ooth / in game and pley
32 ¶Thow sei{s}t ful sooth / quod Roger by my fey
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33 But sooth pley quade pley / as the fflemyng seith
34 And therfore herry Bailly / by thy feith
35 Be thou nat wrooth / er we departen heer
36 Thogh |þt| my tale / be of an ho{s}tiler
37 But nathelees / I wol nat telle it yit
38 But er we parte / ywis thow shalt be quyt/
39 And ther with al / he lough / and made cheere
40 And seyde his tale / as ye shal after heere
¶Here bigynneth the Cook/ his tale
2 And of a craft/ of vitaillers was he
3 Gaillard he was / as goldfynch in the shawe
4 Broun as a berye / a |prop|re short/ felawe
5 With lokkes blake / ykembd ful feti{s}ly
6 Dauncen he koude / so wel and iolily
7 That he / was clepyd Perkyn Reuelour
8 He was / as ful / of loue and |per|amour
9 As is the hyue / ful of hony swete
10 Wel was the wenche / |þt| |with| hym myghte meete
11 At euery bridale / wolde he synge |&| hoppe
12 he loued bet the Tauerne / than the shoppe
13 ffor / whan ther any ridyng/ was in Chepe
14 Out of the {s}hoppe / thider wolde he lepe
15 Til |þt| he hadde / al the sighte y{s}eyn
16 And daunced wel / he wolde noght come ageyn
17 And gadred hym / a meynee of his sort/
18 To hoppe and synge / and maken swich di{s}port/
19 And ther / they setten steuene / for to meete
20 To pleyen at the dees / in swich a Streete
21 ffor in the town / nas ther no Prentys
22 That fairer / koude ca{s}te a paire of dys
23 Than Perkyn koude / and ther to he was free
24 Of his di{s}pen{s}e / in place of pryuetee
25 That foond his mai{s}ter wel / in his chaffare
26 ffor ofte tyme / he foond his box ful bare
27 ffor sikerly / a prentys reuelour
28 That haunteth dees / ryot/ or |per|amour
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29 His mai{s}ter / shal it in his shoppe abye
30 Al haue he / no part of the Min{s}tralcye
31 ffor thefte and riot / they been con|uer|tible
32 Al konne he pleye / on Giterne / or Rubible
33 Reuel and trouthe / as in a lowe degree
34 They been ful wrothe al day / as men may see
35 ¶This ioly Prentys / with his Mai{s}ter bood
36 Til he were neigh / out of his |pre|nti{s}hood
37 Al were he snybbed / bothe erly and late
38 And som tyme / lad with reuel to Newgate
39 But atte la{s}te / his mai{s}ter hym bithoghte
40 Vp on a day / whan he his papir soghte
41 Of a |pro|uerbe / that seith this same word
42 Wel bet is roten Appul / out of hoord
43 Than |þt| it rotte / al the remenaunt/
44 So fareth it/ by a riotous seruaunt/
45 It is ful la{ss}e harm / to lete hym pace
46 Than he shende / alle the {s}eruantz in the place
47 Ther fore / his mai{s}ter gaf hym acquitaunce
48 And bad hym go / with sorw / and |with| me{s}chaunce
49 And thus this ioly |pre|ntys / hadde his leeue
50 Now lat hym riote / al the nyght/ or leeue
51 And for ther nys no theef/ with oute a lowke
52 That helpeth hym / to wa{s}ten and to sowke
53 Of that he brybe kan / or borwe may
54 Anon / he {s}ente his bed / and his array
55 Vn to a compeer / of his owene sort/
56 That loued dees / and reuel / and di{s}port/
57 And hadde a wyf / that heeld for contenaunce
58 A shoppe / and swyued for hir su{s}tenaunce
Of this Cokes tale
maked Chaucer na


1] Old spelling is retained except for ligatured letters, which are normalized. Expansions of 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:
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{ss} : ligatured long-s long-s
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Ian Lancashire
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