The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale Contents
By this gaud have I wonne year by year
A hundred marks, since I was pardonere.
I stande like a clerk in my pulpit,
And when the lewed people down is set,
I preache so as ye have heard before,
And telle them a hundred japes more.
Then pain I me to stretche forth my neck,
And east and west upon the people I beck,
As doth a dove, sitting on a bern;
My handes and my tongue go so yern,
That it is joy to see my business.
Of avarice and of such cursedness
Is all my preaching, for to make them free
To give their pence, and namely unto me.
For mine intent is not but for to win,
And nothing for correction of sin.
I recke never, when that they be buried,
Though that their soules go a blackburied.
For certes many a predication
Cometh oft-time of evil intention;
Some for pleasance of folk, and flattery,
To be advanced by hypocrisy;
And some for vainglory, and some for hate.
For, when I dare not otherwise debate,
Then will I sting him with my tongue smart
In preaching, so that he shall not astart
To be defamed falsely, if that he
Hath trespass'd to my brethren or to me.
For, though I telle not his proper name,
Men shall well knowe that it is the same
By signes, and by other circumstances.
Thus quite I folk that do us displeasances:
Thus spit I out my venom, under hue
Of holiness, to seem holy and true.
But, shortly mine intent I will devise,
I preach of nothing but of covetise.
Therefore my theme is yet, and ever was, --
Radix malorum est cupiditas.
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