The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

Lenvoy de Chaucer

Grisilde is deed, and eek hire pacience,
     1177
And bothe atones buryed in ytaille;
     1178
For which I crie in open audience,
     1179
No wedded man so hardy be t' assaille
     1180
His wyves pacience in trust to fynde
     1181
Grisildis, for in certein he shal faille.
     1182
O noble wyves, ful of heigh prudence,
     1183
Lat noon humylitee youre tonge naille,
     1184
Ne lat no clerk have cause or diligence
     1185
To write of yow a storie of swich mervaille
     1186
As of grisildis pacient and kynde,
     1187
Lest chichevache yow swelwe in hire entraille!
     1188
Folweth ekko, that holdeth no silence,
     1189
But evere answereth at the countretaille.
     1190
Beth nat bidaffed for youre innocence,
     1191
But sharply taak on yow the governaille.
     1192
Emprenteth wel this lessoun in youre mynde,
     1193
For commune profit sith it may availle.
     1194
Ye archewyves, stondeth at defense,
     1195
Syn ye be strong as is a greet camaille;
     1196
Ne suffreth nat that men yow doon offense.
     1197
And sklendre wyves, fieble as in bataille,
     1198
Beth egre as is a tygre yond in ynde;
     1199
Ay clappeth as a mille, I yow consaille.
     1200
Ne dreed hem nat, doth hem no reverence,
     1201
For though thyn housbonde armed be in maille,
     1202
The arwes of thy crabbed eloquence
     1203
Shal perce his brest, and eek his aventaille.
     1204
In jalousie I rede eek thou hym bynde,
     1205
And thou shalt make hym couche as doth a quaille.
     1206
If thou be fair, ther folk been in presence,
     1207
Shewe thou thy visage and thyn apparaille;
     1208
If thou be foul, be fre of thy dispence;
     1209
To gete thee freendes ay do thy travaille;
     1210
Be ay of chiere as light as leef on lynde,
     1211
And lat hym care, and wepe, and wrynge, and waille!
     1212
This worthy clerk, whan ended was his tale,
     1212.1
Oure hooste seyde, and swoor, by goddes bondes,
     1212.2
Me were levere than a barel ale
     1212.3
My wyf at hoom had herd this legende ones!
     1212.4
This is a gentil tale for the nones,
     1212.5
As to my purpos, wiste ye my wille;
     1212.6
But thyng that wol nat be, lat it be stille.
     1212.7