The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Introduction to the Pardoner's Tale

Oure hooste gan to swere as he were wood;
Harrow! quod he, by nayles and by blood!
This was a fals cherl and a fals justise.
As shameful deeth as herte may devyse
Come to thise juges and hire advocatz!
Algate this sely mayde is slayn, allas!
Allas, to deere boughte she beautee!
Wherfore I seye al day that men may see
That yiftes of fortune and of nature
Been cause of deeth to many a creature.
Hire beautee was hire deth, I dar wel sayn.
Allas, so pitously as she was slayn!
Of bothe yiftes that I speke of now
Men han ful ofte moore for harm than prow.
But trewely, myn owene maister deere,
This is a pitous tale for to heere.
But nathelees, passe over, is no fors.
I pray to God so save thy gentil cors,
And eek thyne urynals and thy jurdones,
Thyn ypocras, and eek thy galiones,
And every boyste ful of the letuarie;
God blesse hem, and oure lady seinte marie!
So moot I theen, thou art a propre man,
And lyk a prelat, by seint ronyan!
Seyde I nat wel? I kan nat speke in terme;
But wel I woot thou doost myn herte to erme,
That I almoost have caught a cardynacle.
By corpus bones! but I have triacle,
Or elles a draughte of moyste and corny ale,
Or but I heere anon a myrie tale,
Myn herte is lost for pitee of this mayde.
Thou beel amy, thou pardoner, he sayde,
Telle us som myrthe or japes right anon.
it shal be doon, quod he, by seint ronyon!
But first, quod he, heere at this alestake
I wol bothe drynke and eten of a cake.
but right anon thise gentils gonne to crye,
Nay, lat hym telle us of no ribaudye!
Telle us som moral thyng, that we may leere
Som wit, and thanne wol we gladly heere.
I graunte, ywis, quod he, but I moot thynke
Upon som honest thyng while that I drynke.