Verse > Geoffrey Chaucer > Complete Poetical Works
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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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