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The Percy Society.

President.

THE RIGHT HON. LORD BRAYBROOKE, F.S.A.

Council.

THOMAS AMYOT, Esq., F.R.S., F.S.A.

WILLIAM HENRY BLACK, Esq.

W. DURRANT COOPER, Esq., F.S.A.
T. CROFTON CROKER, Esq. F.S.A., M.R.I.A.
J. H. DIXON, Esq.
FREDERICK WILLIAM FAIRHOLT, Esq., F.S.A.
W. D. HAGGARD, Esq., F.8.A.
JAMES ORCHARD HALLIWELL, Esq., F.R.S., F.S.A.,

Honorary Secretary.
SIR EDWARD BULWER LYTTON, BART.

JAMES PRIOR, Esq., F.S.A., M.R.I.A.

WILLIAM SANDYS, Esq., F.8.A.

C. ROACH SMITH, Esq., F.8.A.

RICHARD JOHN SMITH, Esq.

THE REV. J. REYNELL WREFORD, D.D., F.S.A.

THOMAS WRIGHT, ESQ., M.A., F.S.A., Treasurer.

THE

CANTERBURY TALES.

THE PROLOGE OF THE MONKES TALE.

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Whan ended was my tale of Melibé,
And of Prudence and hire benignité,
Oure hoste sayde, “ As I am faithful man,
And by the precious corpus Madryan !
I hadde lever than a barel ale
That gode leef my wyf had herd this tale.
For sche is no thing of such pacience
As was this Melibeus wyf dame Prudence.
By Goddes boones ! whan I bete my knaves,
Sche bringeth me forth the grete clobbet staves,
And crieth, 'slee the dogges everychon!
And breke of hem bothe bak and bon!'
And if that eny neghebour of myne
Wol nought to my wyf in chirche enclyne,
Or be so hardy to hir to trespace,
Whan sche comth hom, sche rampeth in my face, 15390
And crieth, •false coward, wreke thy wyf !
By corpes bones ! I wil have thy knyf,
And thou schalt have my distaf and go spynne.

16378corpus Madryan. Urry explains this as referring to the relics of St. Materne of Treves.

VOL. III.

B

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Fro day to night right thus sche wil bygynne;
· Allas !'sche saith, that ever I was i-schape,
To wedde a mylk-sop or a coward ape, ,
That wil be over-lad with every wight!
Thou darst nought stonde by thy wyves right.'
This is my lif, but if that I wil fight;
And out atte dore anoon I most me dight,
And ellis I am lost, but if that I
Be lik a wilde leoun fool-hardy.
I wot wel sche wol do me sle som day
Som neighebor, and thanne renne away.
For I am perilous with knyf in honde,
Al be it that I dar not hir withstonde.
For sche is big in armes,

faith!
That schal he fynde that hire mysdoth or saith.
But let us passe away fro this matiere.
My lord the monk," quod he, “be mery of chere, 15410
For ye schul telle a tale trewely.
Lo, Rowchestre stant heer faste by.
Ryde forth, myn oughne lord, brek nought oure game !
But, by my trouthe, I can not youre name ;
Whether schal I calle yow my lord dan Johan,
Or daun Thomas, or elles dan Albon?
Of what hous be ye, by your fader kyn?
I vow to God thou hast a fulfair skyn!
It is a gentil pasture ther thou gost;
Thow art not lik a penaunt or a goost.
Upon my faith, thou art an officer,
Som worthy sexteyn, or some celerer;
For, by my fader soule, as to my doome,

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