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The Canterbury Tales and Other Works of Chaucer (Middle English), by Geoffery Chaucer, [14th cent.], at

The Canterbury Tales

The Merchant's Prologue

 "Wepyng and waylyng, care and oother sorwe
 I knowe ynogh, on even and a-morwe,"
 Quod the Marchant, "and so doon other mo
 That wedded been. I trowe that it be so,
 For wel I woot it fareth so with me.
 I have a wyf, the worste that may be;
 For thogh the feend to hire ycoupled were,
1220 She wolde hym overmacche, I dar wel swere.
 What sholde I yow reherce in special
 Hir hye malice? She is a shrewe at al.
 Ther is a long and large difference
 Bitwix Grisildis grete pacience
 And of my wyf the passyng crueltee.
 Were I unbounden, also moot I thee,
 I wolde nevere eft comen in the snare.
 We wedded men lyven in sorwe and care.
 Assaye whoso wole, and he shal fynde
1230 That I seye sooth, by Seint Thomas of Ynde,
 As for the moore part -- I sey nat alle.
 God shilde that it sholde so bifalle!
 "A, goode sire Hoost, I have ywedded bee
 Thise monthes two, and moore nat, pardee;
 And yet, I trowe, he that al his lyve
 Wyflees hath been, though that men wolde him ryve
 Unto the herte, ne koude in no manere
 Tellen so muchel sorwe as I now heere
 Koude tellen of my wyves cursednesse!"
1240 "Now," quod oure Hoost, "Marchaunt, so God yow blesse,
 Syn ye so muchel knowen of that art
 Ful hertely I pray yow telle us part."
 "Gladly," quod he, "but of myn owene soore,
 For soory herte, I telle may namoore."

Next: The Merchant's Tale