The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Cook's Tale

A prentys whilom dwelled in oure citee,
     4365
And of a craft of vitailliers was hee.
     4366
Gaillard he was as goldfynch in the shawe,
     4367
Broun as a berye, a propre short felawe,
     4368
With lokkes blake, ykembd ful fetisly.
     4369
Dauncen he koude so wel and jolily
     4370
That he was cleped perkyn revelour.
     4371
He was as ful of love and paramour
     4372
As is the hyve ful of hony sweete:
     4373
Wel was the wenche with hym myghte meete. Page  61
     4374
At every bridale wolde he synge and hoppe;
     4375
He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe.
     4376
For whan ther any ridyng was in chepe,
     4377
Out of the shoppe thider wolde he lepe --
     4378
Til that he hadde al the sighte yseyn,
     4379
And daunced wel, he wolde nat come ayeyn --
     4380
And gadered hym a meynee of his sort
     4381
To hoppe and synge and maken swich disport;
     4382
And ther they setten stevene for to meete,
     4383
To pleyen at the dys in swich a streete.
     4384
For in the toune nas ther no prentys
     4385
That fairer koude caste a paire of dys
     4386
Than perkyn koude, and therto he was free
     4387
Of his dispense, in place of pryvetee.
     4388
That fond his maister wel in his chaffare;
     4389
For often tyme he foond his box ful bare.
     4390
For sikerly a prentys revelour
     4391
That haunteth dys, riot, or paramour.
     4392
His maister shal it in his shoppe abye,
     4393
Al have he no part of the mynstralcye.
     4394
For thefte and riot, they been convertible,
     4395
Al konne he pleye on gyterne or ribible.
     4396
Revel and trouthe, as in a lowe degree,
     4397
They been ful wrothe al day, as men may see.
     4398
this joly prentys with his maister bood,
     4399
Til he were ny out of his prentishood,
     4400
Al were he snybbed bothe erly and late,
     4401
And somtyme lad with revel to newegate.
     4402
But atte laste his maister him bithoghte.
     4403
Upon a day, whan he his papir soghte,
     4404
Of a proverbe that seith this same word,
     4405
Wel bet is roten appul out of hoord
     4406
Than that it rotie al the remenaunt.
     4407
So fareth it by a riotous servaunt;
     4408
It is ful lasse harm to lete hym pace,
     4409
Than he shende alle the servantz in the place.
     4410
Therfore his maister yaf hym acquitance,
     4411
And bad hym go, with sorwe and with meschance!
     4412
And thus this joly prentys hadde his leve.
     4413
Now lat hym riote al the nyght or leve.
     4414
And for ther is no theef withoute a lowke,
     4415
That helpeth hym to wasten and to sowke
     4416
Of that he brybe kan or borwe may,
     4417
Anon he sente his bed and his array
     4418
Unto a compeer of his owene sort,
     4419
That lovede dys, and revel, and disport,
     4420
And hadde a wyf that heeld for contenance
     4421
A shoppe, and swyved for hir sustenance.
     4422