The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale Contents
Part 5: l.193-234
193: Now, sire, now wol I telle forth my tale. --
194: As evere moote I drynken wyn or ale,
195: I shal seye sooth, tho housbondes that I hadde,
196: As thre of hem were goode, and two were badde.
197: The thre were goode men, and riche, and olde;
198: Unnethe myghte they the statut holde
199: In which that they were bounden unto me.
200: Ye woot wel what I meene of this, pardee!
201: As help me god, I laughe whan I thynke
202: How pitously a-nyght I made hem swynke!
203: And, by my fey, I tolde of it no stoor.
204: They had me yeven hir lond and hir tresoor;
205: Me neded nat do lenger diligence
206: To wynne hir love, or doon hem reverence.
207: They loved me so wel, by God above,
208: That I ne tolde no deyntee of hir love!
209: A wys womman wol bisye hire evere in oon
210: To gete hire love, ye, ther as she hath noon.
211: But sith I hadde hem hoolly in myn hond,
212: And sith they hadde me yeven al hir lond,
213: What sholde I taken keep hem for to plese,
214: But it were for my profit and myn ese?
215: I sette hem so a-werke, by my fey,
216: That many a nyght they songen -- weilawey!
217: The bacon was nat fet for hem, I trowe,
218: That som men han in essex at dunmowe.
219: I governed hem so wel, after my lawe,
220: That ech of hem ful blisful was and fawe
221: To brynge me gaye thynges fro the fayre.
222: They were ful glad whan I spak to hem faire;
223: For, God it woot, I chidde hem spitously.
224: Now herkneth hou I baar me proprely,
225: Ye wise wyves, that kan understonde.
226: Thus shulde ye speke and bere hem wrong on honde;
227: For half so boldely kan ther no man
228: Swere and lyen, as a womman kan.
229: I sey nat this by wyves that been wyse,
230: But if it be whan they hem mysavyse.
231: A wys wyf shal, it that she kan hir good,
232: Bere hym on honde that the cow is wood,
233: And take witnesse of hir owene mayde
234: Of hir assemt; but herkneth how I sayde:
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