The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale - l.1-40

OUR Hoste gan to swear as he were wood;: "Harow!" quoth he, "by nailes and by blood,
This was a cursed thief, a false justice.
As shameful death as hearte can devise
Come to these judges and their advoca's.
Algate this sely maid is slain, alas!
Alas! too deare bought she her beauty.
Wherefore I say, that all day man may see
That giftes of fortune and of nature
Be cause of death to many a creature.
Her beauty was her death, I dare well sayn;
Alas! so piteously as she was slain.
[Of bothe giftes, that I speak of now
Men have full often more harm than prow,]
But truely, mine owen master dear,
This was a piteous tale for to hear;
But natheless, pass over; 'tis no force.
I pray to God to save thy gentle corse,
And eke thine urinals, and thy jordans,
Thine Hippocras, and eke thy Galliens,
And every boist full of thy lectuary,
God bless them, and our lady Sainte Mary.
So may I the', thou art a proper man,
And like a prelate, by Saint Ronian;
Said I not well? Can I not speak in term?
But well I wot thou dost mine heart to erme,
That I have almost caught a cardiacle:
By corpus Domini, but I have triacle,
Or else a draught of moist and corny ale,
Or but I hear anon a merry tale,
Mine heart is brost for pity of this maid.
Thou bel ami, thou Pardoner," he said,
"Tell us some mirth of japes right anon."
"It shall be done," quoth he, "by Saint Ronion.
But first," quoth he, "here at this ale-stake
I will both drink, and biten on a cake."
But right anon the gentles gan to cry,
"Nay, let him tell us of no ribaldry.
Tell us some moral thing, that we may lear
Some wit, and thenne will we gladly hear."
"I grant y-wis," quoth he; "but I must think
Upon some honest thing while that I drink."

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