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The Canterbury Tales

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The apostel weping seith ful pitously,
‘Ther walken many of whiche yow told have I,
I seye it now weping with pitous voys,
That they been enemys of Cristes croys,
Of whiche the ende is deeth, wombe is her God.’
O wombe! O bely! O stinking cod,
Fulfild of donge and of corrupcioun!
At either ende of thee foul is the soun.
How greet labour and cost is thee to finde!
Thise cokes, how they stampe, and streyne, and grinde,
And turnen substaunce in-to accident,
To fulfille al thy likerous talent!
Out of the harde bones knokke they
The mary, for they caste noght a-wey
That may go thurgh the golet softe and swote;
Of spicerye, of leef, and bark, and rote
Shal been his sauce y-maked by delyt,
To make him yet a newer appetyt.
But certes, he that haunteth swich delyces
Is deed, whyl that he liveth in tho vyces.

St. Paul, the apostle, wept when he said

Philippians 3:18

St. Paul, the apostle, wept when he said
, “There are many men out there who will tell you that they don’t care about Christ and say that their stomachs are their only gods. It makes me weep to just think about it.” Stupid stomach! You are filled with corruption and dung. Both ends make awful sounds when burping or farting. It costs so much and requires so much effort to feed you! Just look at all the cooks who knead and grind and strain to make food for you to keep you satisfied! They mix spices and herbs and roots and bark to make tasty sauces for you. They even work extra hard to extract the marrow out of the animals’ bones to give you something sweet to eat. Everyone who lives for these vices, though, is surely already dead for having sinned so much.



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A lecherous thing is wyn, and dronkenesse
Is ful of stryving and of wrecchednesse.
O dronke man, disfigured is thy face,
Sour is thy breeth, foul artow to embrace,
And thurgh thy dronke nose semeth the soun
As though thou seydest ay ‘Sampsoun, Sampsoun’;
And yet, God wot, Sampsoun drank never no wyn.
Thou fallest, as it were a stiked swyn;
Thy tonge is lost, and al thyn honest cure;
For dronkenesse is verray sepulture
Of mannes wit and his discrecioun.
In whom that drinke hath dominacioun,
He can no conseil kepe, it is no drede.
Now kepe yow fro the whyte and fro the rede,
And namely fro the whyte wyn of Lepe,
That is to selle in Fish-strete or in Chepe.
This wyn of Spayne crepeth subtilly
In othere wynes, growing faste by,
Of which ther ryseth swich fumositee,
That whan a man hath dronken draughtes three,
And weneth that he be at hoom in Chepe,
He is in Spayne, right at the toune of Lepe,
Nat at the Rochel, ne at Burdeux toun;
And thanne wol he seye, ‘Sampsoun, Sampsoun.’
Wine only leads to lecherousness, and drunkenness leads to fighting and misery. Let me tell each of you drunkards out there that your face is disgusting and fleshy, your breath reeks, and no one wants to touch you. You’re clumsy, you never know what you’re saying, and you have no sense of decency because the wine has ruined your intellect and ability to speak. You can’t even keep secrets when you’re drunk, and you make an awful wheezing sound through your nose that sounds like you’re saying, “Samson, Samson,” even though, God knows, Samson in the Bible never had a drop to drink. You should stay away from both white and red wine, particularly from those cheap wines from Lepe in Spain that are sold on Fishstreet and Cheapside. Drink that stuff and in no time you’ll be saying “Samson, Samson” for sure.

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