Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Canterbury Tales, Wife of Bath's Prologue [Excerpt]

     But now, sire,—lat me se—what I shal seyn?
A ha! by God, I have my tale ageyn.
     Whan that my fourthe housbonde was on beere,
I weep algate, and made sory cheere,
As wyves mooten, for it is usage,
And with my coverchief covered my visage;
But for that I was purveyed of a make,
I wepte but smal, and that I undertake!
     To chirche was myn housbonde born a morwe
With neighebores, that for hym maden sorwe,
And Jankyn, oure clerk, was oon of tho.
As help me God, whan that I saugh hym go
After the beere, me thoughte he hadde a paire
Of legges and of feet so clene and faire
That al myn herte I gaf unto his hoold.
He was, I trowe, a twenty wynter oold,
And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth;
But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth.
Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel,
I hadde the prente of seïnte Venus seel.
As help me God, I was a lusty oon,
And faire and riche, and yong, and wel bigon,
And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me,
I hadde the beste quonyam myghte be.
For certes, I am al Venerien
In feelynge, and myn herte is Marcien;
Venus me gaf my lust, my likerousnesse,
And Mars gaf me my sturdy hardynesse.
Myn áscendent was Taur, and Mars therinne;
Allas, allas! that evere love was synne!
I folwed ay myn inclinacioun
By vertu of my constellacioun,
That made me I koude noght withdrawe
My chambre of Venus from a good felawe.
Yet have I Martes mark upon my face,
And also in another, privee, place.
For God so wys be my savacioun,
I ne loved nevere by no discrecioun,
But evere folwede myn appetit,—
Al were he short, or long, or blak, or whit;
I took no kep, so that he liked me,
How poore he was, ne eek of what degree.

Credit


This poem is in the public domain.

Author


Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer was born in London sometime between 1340 and 1344 to

Date Published: 1478-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/canterbury-tales-wife-baths-prologue-excerpt