The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Miller's Prologue

Whan that the knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
     3109
In al the route nas ther yong ne oold
     3110
That he ne seyde it was a noble storie,
     3111
And worthy for to drawen to memorie;
     3112
And namely the gentils everichon.
     3113
Oure hooste lough and swoor, so moot I gon,
     3114
This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male.
     3115
Lat se now who shal telle another tale;
     3116
For trewely the game is wel bigonne.
     3117
Now telleth ye, sir monk, if that ye konne
     3118
Somwhat to quite with the knyghtes tale.
     3119
The millere, that for dronken was al pale,
     3120
So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
     3121
He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
     3122
Ne abyde no man for his curteisie,
     3123
But in pilates voys he gan to crie,
     3124
And swoor, by armes, and by blood and bones,
     3125
I kan a noble tale for the nones,
     3126
With which I wol now quite the knyghtes tale.
     3127
Oure hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale,
     3128
And seyde, abyd, robyn, my leeve brother;
     3129
Som bettre man shal telle us first another.
     3130
Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily.
     3131
By goddes soule, quod he, that wol nat I;
     3132
For I wol speke, or elles go my wey.
     3133
Oure hoost answerde, tel on, a devel wey!
     3134
Thou art a fool; thy wit is overcome.
     3135
Now herkneth, quod the millere, alle and some!
     3136
But first I make a protestacioun
     3137
That I am dronke, I knowe it by my soun;
     3138
And therfore if that I mysspeke or seye, Page  48
     3139
Wyte it the ale of southwerk, I you preye.
     3140
For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
     3141
Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,
     3142
How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe.
     3143
The reve answerde and seyde, stynt thy clappe!
     3144
Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye.
     3145
It is a synne and eek a greet folye
     3146
To apeyren any man, or hym defame,
     3147
And eek to bryngen wyves in swich fame.
     3148
Thou mayst ynogh of othere thynges seyn.
     3149
This dronke millere spak ful soone ageyn
     3150
And seyde, leve brother osewold,
     3151
Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
     3152
But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon;
     3153
Ther been ful goode wyves many oon,
     3154
And evere a thousand goode ayeyns oon badde.
     3155
That knowestow wel thyself, but if thou madde.
     3156
Why artow angry with my tale now?
     3157
I have a wyf, pardee, as wel as thow;
     3158
Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plogh,
     3159
Take upon me moore than ynogh,
     3160
As demen of myself that I were oon;
     3161
I wol bileve wel that I am noon.
     3162
An housbonde shal nat been inquisityf
     3163
Of goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf.
     3164
So he may fynde goddes foyson there,
     3165
Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere.
     3166
What sholde I moore seyn, but this millere
     3167
He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,
     3168
But tolde his cherles tale in his manere.
     3169
M' athynketh that I shal reherce it heere.
     3170
And therfore every gentil wight I preye,
     3171
For goddes love, demeth nat that I seye
     3172
Of yvel entente, but for I moot reherce
     3173
Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
     3174
Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
     3175
And therfore, whoso list it nat yheere,
     3176
Turne over the leef and chese another tale;
     3177
For he shal fynde ynowe, grete and smale,
     3178
Of storial thyng that toucheth gentillesse,
     3179
And eek moralitee and hoolynesse.
     3180
Blameth nat me if that ye chese amys.
     3181
The millere is a cherl, ye knowe wel this;
     3182
So was the reve eek and othere mo,
     3183
And harlotrie they tolden bothe two.
     3184
Avyseth yow, and put me out of blame;
     3185
And eek men shal nat maken ernest of game.
     3186