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Who rubbeth now, who froteth now his lippes 3745
With dust, with sond, with straw, with cloth, with
But Absolon that faith full oft Alas! (chippes,
My soule betake I unto Sathanas
But me were lever than all this toun (quod he)
Of this despit awroken for to be.

3730
Alas! alas! that I ne had yblent:
His hote love is cold and all yqueint;
For fro that time that he had kist hire ers
Of paramours ne raught he not a kers,
For he was heled of his maladie;

3755 Ful often paramours he gan defie, And wepe as doth a child chat is ybete. A fofte pas he went him over the frete Until a smith, men callen Dan Gerveis, That in his forge smithed plow-harneis ; 5760 He sharpeth share and cultre besily. This Absolon knocketh all esily, And said, Undo, Gerveis, and that anon.

What, who art thou? It ani ! Absolon.
What, Absolon ? what, Crilles fwete tre, 3765
Why rise ye so rath? ey benedicite !
What eileth you ? some gay girle, God it wote,
Hath brought you

thus
upon

the viretote: By Seint Neote ye wete wel what I menc.

This Absolon ne raughte not a bene 3770

V.3768. the vire101e] This is the reading of the bett mi. The explanation of the word I kave to the reader's ligacity.

Volume 11.

Of all his play; no word again he yaf: .
He hadde more tawe on his diftaf
Than Gerveis knew, and faide, Frend fo dere,
That hote culter in the cheminee here
As lene it nie, I have therwith co don; 3775
I wol it bring again to thee ful sone.

Gerveis anfwered, Certes were it gold,
Or in a poke nobles alt untold,
'Thou shuldert it have, as I am trewe fmith.
Ey, Cristes foot, what wol ye don therwith? 3789
Therof, quod Absolon, be as be may,
I shal wel tellen thee another day;
And caught the culter by the colde stele.
Ful foft out at the dore he gan to ftele,
And went unto the carpenteres wall; 3785
He coughed first, and knocked therwithall
Upon the window, right as he did er.

This Alison anfwered, Who is ther That knocketh so? I warrant him a thefe.

Nay, nay, (quod he) God wot, my swete lefe, I ani thin Absolon, thy dereling.

3791 Of gold (quod he) I have thee brought a ring ; My mother yave it me, fu God me fave, Ful fine it is, and therto wel ygrave; This wol I yeven thee if thou me kiffe. 3795

This Nicholas was risen for to pisse,

*. 3772. more tasve on his clifaf] so in Froissart, v. iv. p; 92, edit. 1574; “ Il aura en bref temps autres estoupes en 14 ** quenoille.”

3800

1

And thought he wolde amenden all the jape,
He skulde kifle hiş ers er that he scape;
And up the window did he hastily,
And out his ers he putteth privily.
Over the buttok, to the hanche bon;
And therwith spake chis clerk, this Absolon,
Speke swete bird, I n'ot not wher thou art.

This Nicholas anon let deen a fart
As gret as it had been a thonder dint, . 3805
That with the stroke he was wel nie yhlině ;
And he was redy with his yren hoft,
And Nicholas amid the ers he smote.

Off goth the skinhe an hondbrede al aboute. The hotę.culter brenned fo his toute, 3810 That for the (mert he wened for to die; As he were wood for wo he gan to crie Helpe, water, water ! help for Godges herte!

This carpenter out of his domber kerte, And herd on crie Water as he were wood, 3815 And thought, alas! now cometh Noes Lood. He fet him up withouten wordes mo, And with his axe hc {mate the cord atwo,And doun goth all; he fond neyther to felle Ne breed pe ale til he came to the teile, 3820

5. 3809. ar bondbrede al aloue] Alhas been added for the fake of the metre, but I believe unnecedarily. The original plırafe was an londes bredde, an hands-brea ith; so that conta brede (as it is written in fome mil.) wou'd uaturally continue to be pronounced as a trifyllable.

7. 3819..be fond neyther 10 jelle] This is a Fr. phrase. Fabliaux, t. ii, p. 282;

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Upon the fore, and ther afwoune he lay.

Up sterten Alifon and Nicholay,
And crieden, Out and harrow! in the strete.

The neigheboures bothe fmale and grete
In rannen for to gauren on this man, 3825
That yet afwoune lay bothe pale and wan,
For with the fall he brosten hath his arm.
But stonden he must unto his owen harm,
For whan he spake he was anon bore doun
With Hendy Nicholas and Alisoun.

3830 They tolden every man that he was'wood, He was agaste fo of Noes flood Thurgh fantasie, that of his vanitee He had y bought him kneding tubbes three, And had hem honged in the roof above, - } 3835 And that he praied hem for Goddes love To sitten in the roof par compagnie.

The folk gan laughen at his fantafie. Into the roof they kyken and they gape, And turned all his harm into a jape.. 3840 For what so that this carpenter answerd li was for nought, no man his reson herd. With othes gret he was fo fworné adoun, That he was holden wood in all the toun, For everich clerk anon right held with other ; 3845 They said the man was wood, my leve brother;

Ainc tant come it mift a descendre

Ne trouva point de pain a vendre. In the next verie felle, for the sake of the rhyme, is put for fille; Sax.lyl, Fr. Lueil, Lat. folum.

And every wight gan laughen at this trif.

Tlus (wived was the carpenteres wif
For all his keping and his jalouse,
And Absolon hath kitt hire nether eye,
And Nicholas is scalded in the coute.
This Tale is don, and God save all the route.

3850

THE REVES PROLOGUE.
Whan folk hap laughed at this nice cas
Of Absolon and Hendy Nicholas,
Diverse folk diversely they saide,

3855
But for the more part they lought and plaide;
Ne at this Tale I saw no man him greve
But it were only Ofewold the Reve:
Because he was of carpenteres craft
A litel ire is in his herte ylafc;

3860
He gan to grutch and blamen it a lite,
So the ik, quod he, ful wel coude I him quite
With blering of a proude milleres eye,
If that me lift to speke of ribaudrie.

*. 3853. Whan folk han laughed] The better mfl. read laugben, which therefore is probably right. Chaucer sometimes forins the participle of the past time in en, eren in those verbs of which he also uses the participle in ed. See ver. 3311, WIshen, 7354, faren; for washed and fared.

. 3862. So the ik] so th: 1, so may I che, or thrive. This ancient pl:rase is terribly corrupted in mott of the mil. and editt. It occurs again below, ver. 12881, 16397.

9.3863.Wirb blering] With a trick put upon a proud miller: fo ver. 17201, blered is tlyn eye; thou art cheated. And R.R. ver. 391., almost blored is mine eye; I am almoft cheated.

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