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

THE COOK of London, whyl the Reve spak,
For Ioye, him thoughte, he clawed him on the bak,
‘Ha! ha!’ quod he, ‘for Cristes passioun,
This miller hadde a sharp conclusioun
Upon his argument of herbergage!        5
Wel seyde Salomon in his langage,
“Ne bringe nat every man in-to thyn hous;”
For herberwing by nighte is perilous.
Wel oghte a man avysed for to be
Whom that he broghte in-to his privetee.        10
I pray to god, so yeve me sorwe and care,
If ever, sith I highte Hogge of Ware,
Herde I a miller bettre y-set a-werk.
He hadde a Iape of malice in the derk.
But god forbede that we stinten here;        15
And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to here
A tale of me, that am a povre man,
I wol yow telle as wel as ever I can
A litel Iape that fil in our citee.’
  Our host answerde, and seide, ‘I graunte it thee;        20
Now telle on, Roger, loke that it be good;
For many a pastee hastow laten blood,
And many a Iakke of Dover hastow sold
That hath been twyes hoot and twyes cold.
Of many a pilgrim hastow Cristes curs,        25
For of thy persly yet they fare the wors,
That they han eten with thy stubbel-goos;
For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.
Now telle on, gentil Roger, by thy name.
But yet I pray thee, be nat wrooth for game,        30
A man may seye ful sooth in game and pley.’
  ‘Thou seist ful sooth,’ quod Roger, ‘by my fey,
But “sooth pley, quaad pley,” as the Fleming seith;
And ther-fore, Herry Bailly, by thy feith,
Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,        35
Though that my tale be of an hostileer.
But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit,
But er we parte, y-wis, thou shalt be quit.’
And ther-with-al he lough and made chere,
And seyde his tale, as ye shul after here.

Thus endeth the Prologe of the Cokes tale.

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