The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Cook's Prologue

The cook of londoun, whil the reve spak,
     4325
For joye him thoughte he clawed him on the bak.
     4326
Ha! ha! quod he, for cristes passion,
     4327
This millere hadde a sharp conclusion
     4328
Upon his argument of herbergage!
     4329
Wel seyde salomon in his langage,
     4330
-- Ne bryng nat every man into thyn hous; --
     4331
For herberwynge by nyghte is perilous.
     4332
Wel oghte a man avysed for to be
     4333
Whom that he broghte into his pryvetee.
     4334
I pray to god, so yeve me sorwe and care
     4335
If evere, sitthe I highte hogge of ware,
     4336
Herde I a millere bettre yset a-werk.
     4337
He hadde a jape of malice in the derk.
     4338
But God forbede that we stynte heere;
     4339
And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to heere
     4340
A tale of me, that am a povre man,
     4341
I wol yow telle, as wel as evere I kan,
     4342
A litel jape that fil in oure citee.
     4343
Oure hoost answerde and seide, I graunte it thee.
     4344
Now telle on, roger, looke that it be good;
     4345
For many a pastee hastow laten blood,
     4346
And many a jakke of dovere hastow soold
     4347
That hath been twies hoot and twies coold.
     4348
Of many a pilgrym hastow cristes curs,
     4349
For of thy percely yet they fare the wors,
     4350
That they han eten with thy stubbel goos;
     4351
For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.
     4352
Now telle on, gentil roger by thy name.
     4353
But yet I pray thee, be nat wroth for game;
     4354
A man may seye ful sooth in game and pley.
     4355
Thou seist ful sooth, quod roger, by my fey!
     4356
But -- sooth pley, quaad pley, -- as the flemyng seith.
     4357
And therfore, herry bailly, by thy feith,
     4358
Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,
     4359
Though that my tale be of an hostileer.
     4360
But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit;
     4361
But er we parte, ywis, thou shalt be quit.
     4362
And therwithal he lough and made cheere,
     4363
And seyde his tale, as ye shul after heere.
     4364