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The Canterbury Tales

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‘Avoy!’ quod she, ‘fy on yow, hertelees!
Allas!’ quod she, ‘for, by that God above,
Now han ye lost myn herte and al my love;
I can nat love a coward, by my feith.
For certes, what so any womman seith,
We alle desyren, if it mighte be,
To han housbondes hardy, wyse, and free,
And secree, and no nigard, ne no fool,
Ne him that is agast of every tool,
Ne noon avauntour, by that God above!
How dorste ye seyn for shame unto your love,
That any thing mighte make yow aferd?
Have ye no mannes herte, and han a berd?
Allas! and conne ye been agast of swevenis?
No-thing, God wot, but vanitee, in sweven is.
Swevenes engendren of replecciouns,
And ofte of fume, and of complecciouns,
Whan humours been to habundant in a wight.
Certes this dreem, which ye han met to-night,
Cometh of the grete superfluitee
Of youre rede colera, pardee,
Which causeth folk to dreden in here dremes
Of arwes, and of fyr with rede lemes,
Of grete bestes, that they wol hem byte,
Of contek, and of whelpes grete and lyte;
Right as the humour of malencolye
Causeth ful many a man, in sleep, to crye,
For fere of blake beres, or boles blake,
Or elles, blake develes wole hem take.
Of othere humours coude I telle also,
That werken many a man in sleep ful wo;
But I wol passe as lightly as I can.
“Ugh, go away!” Pertelote cried. “Shame on you, you coward! God knows you’ve lost my heart and all my love. I can’t love a coward. No matter what women may say, deep down they all want husbands who are strong and brave and kind and know how to keep a secret, not someone who’s stupid and foolish, nor someone who’s scared of the sword! Shame on you for telling me that something scares you. Be a man! And, God, this wasn’t even real—it was a dream! Dreams are nothing but silliness caused by gas and indigestion from overeating. The fluids in your body must just be out of whack. This nightmare you had probably just means you had too much red bile in your stomach, which leads to bad dreams of fire and beasts that want to eat you, just as too much black bile in your stomach makes people dream about black bears and bulls and devils. Nightmares can come from other bodily fluids being out of whack too. I could go on, but you get the idea.

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