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They were adrad of him, as of the dethe.
His wonyng was ful fair upon an hethe,
With grene trees i-schadwed was his place.
He cowde bettre than his lord purchace.
Ful riche he was astored prively,
His lord wel couthe he plese subtilly,

To geve and lene him of his owne good,

And have a thank, and yet a cote, and hood.



In youthe he lerned hadde a good mester;
He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
This reeve sat upon a ful good stot,
That was al pomely gray, and highte Scot.
A long surcote of pers uppon he hade,
And by his side he bar a rusty blade.


Of Northfolk was this reeve of which I telle,
Byside a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.


Tukked he was, as is a frere, aboute,

And evere he rood the hyndreste of the route.

A SOMPNOUR was ther with us in that place,

That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynes face,
For sawceflem he was, with eyghen narwe.


And [quyk] he was, and [chirped], as a sparwe,

With skalled browes blake, and piled berd;

Of his visage children weren aferd.
Ther nas quyksilver, litarge, ne bremstoon,
Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,
Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,


That him mighte helpen of his whelkes white,
Ne of the knobbes sittyng on his cheekes.
Wel lovede he garleek, onyouns, and ek leekes,

And for to drinke strong wyn reed as blood.
Thanne wolde he speke, and crye as he were wood.


And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,

Than wolde he speke no word but Latyn.

A fewe termes hadde he, tuo or thre,
That he hadde lerned out of som decree;
No wonder is, he herde it al the day;
And eek ye knowen wel, how that a jay


Can clepen Watte, as wel as can the pope.
But who so wolde in other thing him grope,
Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie,
Ay, Questio quid juris, wolde he crye.
He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;

A bettre felawe schulde men noght fynde.
He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn


A good felawe to have his concubyn


A twelf moneth, and excuse him atte fulle:

And prively a fynch eek cowde he pulle.
And if he fond owher a good felawe,
He wolde techen him to han non awe
In such caas of the archedeknes curs,
But-if a mannes soule were in his purs;
For in his purs he scholde y-punyssched be.
"Purs is the erchedeknes helle," quod he.
But well I woot he lyede right in dede;

Of cursyng oghte ech gulty man him drede;
For curse wol slee right as assoillyng saveth;
And also war him of a significavit.



In daunger hadde he at his owne gise


yonge gurles of the diocise,

And knew here counseil, and was al here reed.
A garland hadde he set upon his heed,
As gret as it were for an ale-stake;
A bokeler hadde he maad him of a cake.

With him ther rood a gentil PARDONER
Of Rouncivale, his frend and his comper,
That streyt was comen from the court of Rome.
Ful lowde he sange, ‘Com hider, love, to me.'
This sompnour bar to him a stif burdoun,
Was nevere trompe of half so gret a soun,
This pardoner hadde heer as yelwe as wex,
But smothe it heng, as doth a strike of flex;
By unces
hynge his lokkes that he hadde,
And therwith he his schuldres overspradde.
Ful thinne it lay, by culpons on and oon,
But hood, for jolitee, ne werede he noon,





For it was trussed up in his walet.
Him thoughte he rood al of the newe get,
Dischevele, sauf his cappe, he rood al bare.
Suche glaryng eyghen hadde he as an hare.
A vernicle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
His walet lay byforn him in his lappe,
Bret-ful of pardoun come from Rome al hoot.
A voys
he hadde as smal as eny goot.
No berd hadde he, ne nevere scholde have,
As smothe it was as it were late i-schave;

I trowe he were a geldyng or a mere.
But of his craft, fro Berwyk into Ware,
Ne was ther such another pardoner.
For in his male he hadde a pilwebeer,
Which that, he seide, was oure lady veyl:
He seide, he hadde a gobet of the seyl
That seynt Peter hadde, whan that he wente
Uppon the see, til Jhesu Crist him hente.
He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
But with these reliques, whan that he fond





A poure persoun dwellyng uppon lond,
Upon a day he gat him more moneye

Than that the persoun gat in monthes tweye.

And thus with feyned flaterie and japes,


He made the persoun and the people his apes.

But trewely to tellen atte laste,

He was in churche a noble ecclesiaste.

Wel cowde he rede a lessoun or a storye,

But altherbest he sang an offertorie;


For wel he wyste, whan that song was songe,
He moste preche, and wel affyle his tonge,
To wynne silver, as he right wel cowde;
Therefore he sang ful meriely and lowde.

Now have I told you schortly in a clause

Thestat, tharray, the nombre, and eek the cause
Why that assembled was this compainye
In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrie,


That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
But now is tyme to yow for to telle
How that we bare us in that ilke night,
Whan we were in that hostelrie alight;
And after wol I telle of oure viage,

And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage.
But first I pray you of your curteisie,
That ye ne rette it nat my vileinye,

Though that I pleynly speke in this matere,

To telle you here wordes and here cheere;
Ne though I speke here wordes proprely.
For this ye knowen also wel as I,

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Whoso schal telle a tale after a man,

He moot reherce, as neigh as evere he can,
Everych word, if it be in his charge,

Al speke he nevere so rudelyche and large;
Or elles he moot telle his tale untrewe,

Or feyne thing, or fynde wordes newe.

may not spare, although he were his brother;
He moot as wel seyn oo word as another.
Crist spak himself ful broode in holy writ,

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Here in this tale, as that thei schulde stonde;
My wit is schort, ye may wel understonde.


Greet cheere made oure host us everchon,

And to the souper sette he us anon;
And servede us with vitaille atte beste.

Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste.
A semely man oure hoost he was withalle
For to han been a marschal in an halle;
A large man he was with eyghen stepe,
A fairer burgeys was ther noon in Chepe :
Bold of his speche, and wys and wel i-taught,
And of manhede him lakkede right naught.



Eek therto he was right a mery man,

And after soper playen he bygan,

And spak of myrthe amonges othre thinges,
Whan that we hadde maad our rekenynges;

And sayde thus: "Lo, lordynges, trewely
Ye ben to me right welcome hertely:

For by my trouthe, if that I schal not lye,
I saugh nought this yeer so mery a companye
At oones in this herbergh as is now.
Fayn wolde I don yow mirthe, wiste I how.
And of a mirthe I am right now bythought,
To doon you eese, and it schal coste nought.
Ye goon to Caunterbury; God you speede,
The blisful martir quyte you youre meede!
And wel I woot, as ye gon by the weye,
Ye schapen yow to talen and to pleye;
For trewely confort ne mirthe is noon
To ryde by the weye domb as a stoon;
And therfore wol I maken you disport,





As I seyde erst, and don you som confort.

And if yow liketh alle by oon assent
Now for to standen at my juggement,
And for to werken as I schal you seye,
To morwe, whan ye riden by the weye,
Now by my fader soule that is deed,
But ye be merye, I wol geve myn heed.
Hold up youre hond withoute more speche."
Oure counseil was not longe for to seche;


Us thought it nas nat worth to make it wys,


And grauntede him withoute more avys,

And bad him seie his verdite, as him leste.


Lordynges," quoth he, "now herkneth for the beste;

But taketh it not, I praye you, in desdeyn;

This is the poynt, to speken schort and pleyn,


That ech of yow to schorte with oure weie,

In this viage, schal telle tales tweye,

To Caunterburi-ward, I mene it so,

And hom-ward he schal tellen othere tuo,

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