Verse > Geoffrey Chaucer > Complete Poetical Works
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1894.
The Canterbury Tales
The Merchant’s Prologue
The Prologe of the Marchantes Tale.

‘WEPING and wayling, care, and other sorwe
I know y-nogh, on even and a-morwe,’
Quod the Marchaunt, ‘and so don othere mo
That wedded been, I trowe that it be so.
For, wel I woot, it fareth so with me.        5
I have a wyf, the worste that may be;
For thogh the feend to hir y-coupled were,
She wolde him overmacche, I dar wel swere.
What sholde I yow reherce in special
Hir hye malice? she is a shrewe at al.        10
Ther is a long and large difference
Bitwix Grisildis grete pacience
And of my wyf the passing crueltee.
Were I unbounden, al-so moot I thee!
I wolde never eft comen in the snare.        15
We wedded men live in sorwe and care;
Assaye who-so wol, and he shal finde
I seye sooth, by seint Thomas of Inde,
As for the more part, I sey nat alle.
God shilde that it sholde so bifalle!        20
  A! good sir hoost! I have y-wedded be
Thise monthes two, and more nat, pardee;
And yet, I trowe, he that all his lyve
Wyflees hath been, though that men wolde him ryve
Un-to the herte, ne coude in no manere        25
Tellen so muchel sorwe, as I now here
Coude tellen of my wyves cursednesse!’
  ‘Now,’ quod our hoost, ‘Marchaunt, so god yow blesse,
Sin ye so muchel knowen of that art,
Ful hertely I pray yow telle us part.’        30
  ‘Gladly,’ quod he, ‘but of myn owene sore,
For sory herte, I telle may na-more.’

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