1163 But o word, lordynges, herkneth er I go:
But one word, lords, hear before I go:
1164 It were ful hard to fynde now-a-dayes
It would be very difficult to find now-a-days
1165 In al a toun Grisildis thre or two;
In all the town Griseldas three or two;
1166 For if that they were put to swiche assayes,
For if they were put to such tests,
1167 The gold of hem hath now so badde alayes
The gold of them has now been so badly debased
1168 With bras, that thogh the coyne be fair at ye,
With brass, that though the coin be fair to look at,
1169 It wolde rather breste a-two than plye.
It would rather break in two than bend.
1170 For which heere, for the Wyves love of Bathe --
For which here, for the love of the Wife of Bath --
1171 Whos lyf and al hire secte God mayntene
Whose life and all her sect may God maintain
1172 In heigh maistrie, and elles were it scathe --
In high mastery, and otherwise it would be a pity --
1173 I wol with lusty herte, fressh and grene,
I will with lusty heart, fresh and vigorous,
1174 Seyn yow a song to glade yow, I wene;
Say you a song to make you happy, I believe;
1175 And lat us stynte of ernestful matere.
And let us stint of serious matter.
1176 Herkneth my song that seith in this manere:
Hear my song that says in this manner:
Lenvoy de Chaucer.
1177 Grisilde is deed, and eek hire pacience,
Griselda is dead, and also her patience,
1178 And bothe atones buryed in Ytaille;
And both together buried in Italy;
1179 For which I crie in open audience
For which I cry in the hearing of all
1180 No wedded man so hardy be t'assaille
No wedded man so bold be to test
1181 His wyves pacience in trust to fynde
His wife's patience trusting to find
1182 Grisildis, for in certein he shal faille.
Griselda, for certainly he shall faille.
1183 O noble wyves, ful of heigh prudence,
O noble wives, full of great prudence,
1184 Lat noon humylitee youre tonge naille,
Let no humility nail down your tongue,
1185 Ne lat no clerk have cause or diligence
Nor let any clerk have cause or eagerness
1186 To write of yow a storie of swich mervaille
To write about you a story of such marvel
1187 As of Grisildis pacient and kynde,
As of patient and kind Griselda,
1188 Lest Chichevache yow swelwe in hire entraille!
Lest Chichevache swallow you in her entrails!
1189 Folweth Ekko, that holdeth no silence,
Follow Echo, who holds no silence,
1190 But evere answereth at the countretaille.
But ever answers in reply.
1191 Beth nat bidaffed for youre innocence,
Be not fooled because of your innocence,
1192 But sharply taak on yow the governaille.
But eagerly take the governance to yourself.
1193 Emprenteth wel this lessoun in youre mynde,
Imprint well this lesson in your mind,
1194 For commune profit sith it may availle.
Since it may work to the benefit of all.
1195 Ye archewyves, stondeth at defense,
You arch-wives, stand ready for battle,
1196 Syn ye be strong as is a greet camaille;
Since you are strong as is a great camel;
1197 Ne suffreth nat that men yow doon offense.
Suffer not that men do offense to you.
1198 And sklendre wyves, fieble as in bataille,
And slender wives, feeble in battle,
1199 Beth egre as is a tygre yond in Ynde;
Be fierce as is a tiger yonder in India;
1200 Ay clappeth as a mille, I yow consaille.
Ever wag your tongues like a windmill, I you advise.
1201 Ne dreed hem nat; doth hem no reverence,
Fear them not; do them no reverence,
1202 For though thyn housbonde armed be in maille,
For though thy husband be armed in mail,
1203 The arwes of thy crabbed eloquence
The arrows of thy spiteful eloquence
1204 Shal perce his brest and eek his aventaille.
Shall pierce his breast and also his neck-guard.
1205 In jalousie I rede eek thou hym bynde,
In jealousy I advise also that thou bind him,
1206 And thou shalt make hym couche as doth a quaille.
And thou shalt make him cower as does a quail.
1207 If thou be fair, ther folk been in presence,
If thou be fair, where folk are present,
1208 Shewe thou thy visage and thyn apparaille;
Show thou thy visage and thy apparel;
1209 If thou be foul, be fre of thy dispence;
If thou be ugly, be lavish in thy expenditures;
1210 To gete thee freendes ay do thy travaille;
To get thee friends always work hard;
1211 Be ay of chiere as light as leef on lynde,
Be ever in behavior as light as a leaf on a linden tree,
1212 And lat hym care, and wepe, and wrynge, and waille!
And let him grieve, and weep, and wring his hands, and wail!
[Bihoold the murye words of the Host
1212a This worthy Clerk, whan ended was his tale,
[When ended was the tale of this worthy Clerk,
1212b Oure Hooste seyde, and swoor, "By Goddes bones,
Our Host said, and swore, "By God's bones,
1212c Me were levere than a barel ale
I would rather than have a barrel of ale
1212d My wyf at hoom had herd this legende ones!
My wife at home had heard this legend once!
1212e This is a gentil tale for the nones,
This is a fine tale for this occasion,
1212f As to my purpos, wiste ye my wille;
For my purposes, if you knew my will;
1212g But thyng that wol nat be, lat it be stille."]
But thing that will not be, let it be still."]
Heere endeth the Tale of the Clerk of Oxenford.
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