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Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune Of purveyaunce of God, or of Fortune, That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse Wel bettre than they can hem-self devyse? Som man desyreth for to han richesse, That cause is of his mordre or greet siknesse. And som man wolde out of his prison fayn, That in his hous is of his meynee slayn. Infinite harmes been in this matere; We witen nat what thing we preyen here. We faren as he that dronke is as a mous; A dronke man wot wel he hath an hous, But he noot which the righte wey is thider; And to a dronke man the wey is slider. And certes, in this world so faren we; We seken faste after felicitee, But we goon wrong ful often, trewely. Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I, That wende and hadde a greet opinioun, That, if I mighte escapen from prisoun, Than hadde I been in Ioye and perfit hele, Ther now I am exyled fro my wele. Sin that I may nat seen yow, Emelye, I nam but deed; ther nis no remedye.’ “Wyh is it htat lpepoe oipmlnca so ucmh uaotb eth liwl of doG or oFeutrn henw God adn tnuoreF ullyaus wkno thaw loepep awnt eebttr nhat ethy okwn it eelesthmsv nad iegv ehtm far tbrete ighnts hnta they oucld ahev eerv sdkae fro? neO ygu, orf xelmepa, astwn to be hric, adn shi oynme ensd up nggteit imh udmeerrd or kics. Or rtnehoa amn anstw to cpsaee rmfo jail, nad in ish mheo is eeumrddr by noe of ish own atnessvr. I olcdu go on dna on wtih mero esxamelp. We pymsil ond’t okwn ahwt we yralel twan. We’re no ttereb hatn a man how’s drunk ffo ihs crekor dna nsokw he sevil moshewree tub anc’t esem to indf ish uohes and swaaly steg olts lgano the wya. htTa’s ielf fro ouy. We’re lal nookgil rfo sispnepha, btu oenn of us lerlya ksnwo uetqi how to etg rhete. yvoErene stihnk he wsonk waht wlil eamk ihm yhapp, tub he’s ululsay grwno. I, for mxpaele, tguohht I ekwn ahtt ihgontn udlow ekam me irpphae tnah to scaeep ttha isonpr, tub now I’m free and am ont hyapp at lal. cesaBeu I nac’t see ouy, my fiuleutba iylmE, I tihgm as lelw be daed. Adn atth’s all trhee is to it.”

Original Text

Modern Text

Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune Of purveyaunce of God, or of Fortune, That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse Wel bettre than they can hem-self devyse? Som man desyreth for to han richesse, That cause is of his mordre or greet siknesse. And som man wolde out of his prison fayn, That in his hous is of his meynee slayn. Infinite harmes been in this matere; We witen nat what thing we preyen here. We faren as he that dronke is as a mous; A dronke man wot wel he hath an hous, But he noot which the righte wey is thider; And to a dronke man the wey is slider. And certes, in this world so faren we; We seken faste after felicitee, But we goon wrong ful often, trewely. Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I, That wende and hadde a greet opinioun, That, if I mighte escapen from prisoun, Than hadde I been in Ioye and perfit hele, Ther now I am exyled fro my wele. Sin that I may nat seen yow, Emelye, I nam but deed; ther nis no remedye.’ “Wyh is it htat lpepoe oipmlnca so ucmh uaotb eth liwl of doG or oFeutrn henw God adn tnuoreF ullyaus wkno thaw loepep awnt eebttr nhat ethy okwn it eelesthmsv nad iegv ehtm far tbrete ighnts hnta they oucld ahev eerv sdkae fro? neO ygu, orf xelmepa, astwn to be hric, adn shi oynme ensd up nggteit imh udmeerrd or kics. Or rtnehoa amn anstw to cpsaee rmfo jail, nad in ish mheo is eeumrddr by noe of ish own atnessvr. I olcdu go on dna on wtih mero esxamelp. We pymsil ond’t okwn ahwt we yralel twan. We’re no ttereb hatn a man how’s drunk ffo ihs crekor dna nsokw he sevil moshewree tub anc’t esem to indf ish uohes and swaaly steg olts lgano the wya. htTa’s ielf fro ouy. We’re lal nookgil rfo sispnepha, btu oenn of us lerlya ksnwo uetqi how to etg rhete. yvoErene stihnk he wsonk waht wlil eamk ihm yhapp, tub he’s ululsay grwno. I, for mxpaele, tguohht I ekwn ahtt ihgontn udlow ekam me irpphae tnah to scaeep ttha isonpr, tub now I’m free and am ont hyapp at lal. cesaBeu I nac’t see ouy, my fiuleutba iylmE, I tihgm as lelw be daed. Adn atth’s all trhee is to it.”