The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale Contents
Part 25: l.1219-1264
1219 Chese now, quod she, oon of thise thynges tweye:
1220 To han me foul and old til that I deye,
1221 And be to yow a trewe, humble wyf,
1222 And nevere yow displese in al my lyf;
1223 Or elles ye wol han me yong and fair,
1224 And take youre aventure of the repair
1225 That shal be to youre hous by cause of me,
1226 Or in som oother place, may wel be.
1227 Now chese yourselven, wheither that yow liketh.
1228 This knyght avyseth hym and sore siketh,
1229 But atte laste he seyde in this manere:
1230 My lady and my love, and wyf so deere,
1231 I put me in youre wise governance;
1232 Cheseth youreself which may be moost plesance,
1233 And moost honour to yow and me also.
1234 I do no fors the wheither of the two;
1235 For as yow liketh, it suffiseth me.
1236 Thanne have I gete of yow maistrie, quod she,
1237 Syn I may chese and governe as me lest?
1238 Ye, certes, wyf, quod he, I holde it best.
1239 Kys me, quod she, we be no lenger wrothe;
1240 For, by my trouthe, I wol be to yow bothe,
1241 This is to seyn, ye, bothe fair and good.
1242 I prey to God that I moote sterven wood,
1243 But I to yow be also good and trewe
1244 As evere was wyf, syn that the world was newe.
1245 And but I be to-morn as fair to seene
1246 As any lady, emperice, or queene,
1247 That is bitwixe the est and eke the west,
1248 Dooth with my lyf and deth right as yow lest.
1249 Cast up the curtyn, looke how that it is.
1250 And whan the knyght saugh verraily al this,
1251 That she so fair was, and so yong therto,
1252 For joye he hente hire in his armes two,
1253 His herte bathed in a bath of blisse.
1254 A thousand tyme a-rewe he gan hire kisse,
1255 And she obeyed hym in every thyng
1256 That myghte doon hym plesance or likyng.
1257 And thys they lyve unto hir lyves ende
1258 In parfit joye; and jhesu crist us sende
1259 Housbondes meeke, yonge, and fressh abedde,
1260 And grace t' overbyde hem that we wedde;
1261 And eek I praye jhesu shorte hir lyves
1262 That wol nat be governed by hir wyves;
1263 And olde and angry nygardes of dispence,
1264 God sende hem soone verray pestilence!
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