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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffery Chaucer

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"The Merchant's Tale" courtesy Gerard NeCastro, University of Maine at Machias.


The Merchant's Tale (Middle English)

MerT 1245 Whilom ther was dwellynge in Lumbardye
MerT 1246 A worthy knyght, that born was of Pavye,
MerT 1247 In which he lyved in greet prosperitee;
MerT 1248 And sixty yeer a wyflees man was hee,
MerT 1249 And folwed ay his bodily delyt
MerT 1250 On wommen, ther as was his appetyt,
MerT 1251 As doon thise fooles that been seculeer.
MerT 1252 And whan that he was passed sixty yeer,
MerT 1253 Were it for hoolynesse or for dotage
MerT 1254 I kan nat seye, but swich a greet corage
MerT 1255 Hadde this knyght to been a wedded man
MerT 1256 That day and nyght he dooth al that he kan
MerT 1257 T' espien where he myghte wedded be,
MerT 1258 Preyinge oure Lord to graunten him that he
MerT 1259 Mighte ones knowe of thilke blisful lyf
MerT 1260 That is bitwixe an housbonde and his wyf,
MerT 1261 And for to lyve under that hooly boond
MerT 1262 With which that first God man and womman bond.
MerT 1263 "Noon oother lyf," seyde he, "is worth a bene,
MerT 1264 For wedlok is so esy and so clene,
MerT 1265 That in this world it is a paradys."
MerT 1266 Thus seyde this olde knyght, that was so wys.
MerT 1267 And certeinly, as sooth as God is kyng,
MerT 1268 To take a wyf it is a glorious thyng,
MerT 1269 And namely whan a man is oold and hoor;
MerT 1270 Thanne is a wyf the fruyt of his tresor.
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