The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale Contents
Part 7: l.308-378
308: But tel me this: why hydestow, with sorwe,
309: They keyes of thy cheste awey fro me?
310: It is my good as wel as thyn, pardee!
311: What, wenestow make an ydiot of oure dame?
312: Now by that lord that called is seint jame,
313: Thou shalt nat bothe, thogh that thou were wood,
314: Be maister of my body and of my good;
315: That oon thou shalt forgo, maugree thyne yen.
316: What helpith it of me to enquere or spyen?
317: I trowe thou woldest loke me in thy chiste?
318: Thou sholdest seye, wyf, go wher thee liste;
319: Taak youre disport, I wol nat leve no talys.
320: I knowe yow for a trewe wyf, dame alys.
321: We love no man that taketh kep or charge
322: Wher that we goon; we wol ben at oure large.
323: Of alle men yblessed moot he be,
324: The wise astrologien, daun ptholome,
325: That seith this proverbe in his almageste --
326: Of alle men his wysdom is the hyeste
327: That rekketh nevere who hath the world in honde.
328: By this proverbe thou shalt understonde,
329: Have thou ynogh, what thar thee recche or care
330: How myrily that othere folkes fare?
331: For, certeyn, olde dotard, by youre leve,
332: Ye shul have queynte right ynogh at eve.
333: He is to greet a nygard that wolde werne
334: A man to light a candle at his lanterne;
335: He shal have never the lasse light, pardee.
336: Have thou ynogh, thee thar nat pleyne thee.
337: Thou seyst also, that if we make us gay
338: With clothyng, and with precious array,
339: That it is peril of oure chastitee;
340: And yet, with sorwe! thou most enforce thee,
341: And seye thise wordes in the apostles name:
342: in habit maad with chastitee and shame
343: Ye wommen shul apparaille yow, quod he,
344: And noght in tressed heer and gay perree,
345: As perles, ne with gold, ne clothes riche.
346: After thy text, ne after thy rubriche,
347: I wol nat wirche as muchel as a gnat.
348: Thou seydest this, that I was lyk a cat;
349: For whoso wolde senge a cattes skyn,
350: Thanne wolde the cat wel dwellen in his in;
351: And if the cattes skyn be slyk and gay,
352: She wol nat dwelle in house half a day,
353: But forth she wole, er any day be dawed,
354: To shewe hir skyn, and goon a-caterwawed.
355: This is to seye, if I be gay, sire shrewe,
356: I wol renne out, my borel for to shewe.
357: Sire olde fool, what helpeth thee to spyen?
358: Thogh thou preye argus with his hundred yen
359: To be my warde-cors, as he kan best,
360: In feith, he shal nat kepe me but me lest;
361: Yet koude I make his berd, so moot I thee!
362: Thou seydest eek that ther been thynges thre,
363: The whiche thynges troublen al this erthe,
364: And that no wight may endure the ferthe.
365: O leeve sire shrewe, jhesu shorte thy lyf!
366: Yet prechestow and seyst and hateful wyf
367: Yrekened is for oon of thise meschances.
368: Been ther none othere maner resemblances
369: That ye may likne youre parables to,
370: But if a sely wyf be oon of tho?
371: Thou liknest eek wommenes love to helle,
372: To bareyne lond, ther water may nat dwelle.
373: Thou liknest it also to wilde fyr;
374: The moore it brenneth, the moore it hath desir
375: To consume every thyng that brent wole be.
376: Thou seyest, right as wormes shende a tree,
377: Right so a wyf destroyeth hire housbonde;
378: This knowe they that been to wyves bonde.
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