A Tale, Devised in the Plesaunt Manere of Gentil Maister Jeoffrey Chaucer.

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A Tale, Devised in the Plesaunt Manere of Gentil Maister Jeoffrey Chaucer.

Whylom in Kent there dwelt a Clerke,
Who wyth grete Cheer, and litil Werke,
Upswalen was with Venere:
For meagre Lent ne recked he,
Ne Saincts Daies had in Remembraunce,
Mo will had he to Daliaunce.
To serchen out a Bellamie,
He had a sharp and licorous Eie;
But it wold bett abide a Leke,
Or Onion, than the Sight of Greke:
Wherefore, God yeve him Shame, Boccace
Serv'd him for Basil and Ignace.
His vermeil Cheke that shon wyth Mirth,
Spake him the blithest Priest on Yearth:
At Chyrch, to shew his lillied hond,
Full fetously he prank'd his Bond;
Sleke weren his flaxen Locks ykempt.
And Isaac Wever was he nempt.

   Thilke Clerke echaufed in the Groyne,
For a yonge Damosell did pyne,
Born in East-Cheape; who, by my Fay,
Ypert was as a Propinjay:
Ne Wit, ne Wordes did she waunt,
Wele cond she many a Romaunt;
Ore Muscadine, or spiced Ale,
She carrold soote as Nightingale:
And for the nonce couth rowle her Eyne,
Withouten Speche; a speciall Signe
She lack'd somdele of what ech Dame
Holds dere as Life, yet dredes to name:
So was eftsoons by Isaac won,
To blissful Consummation.

   Here mought I now tellen the Festes,
Who yave the Bryde, how bibbd the Ghestes;
But withouten such Gawdes, I trow
Myne Legend is prolix ynow.
Ryghte wele areeds Dan Prior’s Song,
A Tale shold never be too long;
And sikerly in fayre Englond
None bett doeth Taling understond.

   She now, algates full sad to chaunge
The Citee for her Husbond's Graunge,
To Kent mote; for she wele did knowe
Twas vaine ayenst the Streme to rowe.
So wend they on one Steed yfere,
Ech cleping toder Life and Dere;
Heven shilde hem fro myne Bromley Host,
Or many a Groat theyr Meel woll cost.

   Deem next ye Maistress Wever sene
Yclad in sable Bombasine;
The Frankeleins Wyves accost her blythe,
Curteis to guilen hem of Tythe;
And yeve Honour Parochiall
In Pew, and eke at Festivall.
Worschip and Welth her Husbond hath;
Ne poor in aught, save Werks and Faith:
Kepes Bull, Bore, Stallion, to dispence
Large Pennorths of Benevolence.
His Berne ycrammed was, and store
Of Poultrie cackled at the Dore;
His Wyf grete Joie to fede hem toke,
And was astonied at the Cocke;
That, in his Portaunce debonair,
On everich Henn bestow'd a Share
Of Plesaunce, yet no Genitours
She saw, to thrill his Paramours:
Oftsithes she mokel mus'd theron,
Yet nist she howgates it was don.

   One Night, ere they to sleepen went,
Her Isaac in her Arms she hent,
As was her Usage; and did saie,
Of Charite I mote thee praie,
To techen myne unconnyng Wit
One thing it comprehendeth niet:
And maie the foul Fiend harrow thee,
If in myne quest thou falsen me.

    Our Chaunticlere loves everich Hen,
Ne fewer kepes our Yerd than ten;
Yet romps he ore beth grete and small,
Ne ken I what he swinks wythall.
But on ech Leg a Wepon is,
Ypersent, and full starke I wys;
Doth he with hem at Pertelote play?
In sooth theres Werk inough for tway.

   Qd. Isaac, certes by Sainct Poule,
Myne Lief thou art a simple Soule;
Foules fro the Egle to the Wren,
Bin harness'd othergise than Men:
For the Males Engins of Delite,
Ferre in theyr Entrails are empight;
Els, par mischaunce, theyr Merriment
Emong the Breers mought sore be shent.
Thus woxen hote, they much avaunce
Love of Venereal jouisaunce:
And in one Month, the Trouth to sayne,
Swink mo than Manhode in Yeres twayne.

   O Benedicite! qd. she,
If kepyng hote so kindlych be,
Hie in thyne Boweles truss thyne Gere,
And eke the Skrippe that daungleth here.

   Ne Dame, he answerd, mote that bene;
For as I hope to be a Dene,
Thilke Falstaffe-Bellie rownd and big,
Was built for corny Ale, and Pig;
Ne in it is a Chink for these,
Ne for a Wheat-straw, and tway Pease.

  Pardie, qd. she, syth theres nat room,
Swete Nykin! chafe hem in myne woom.