The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

Original Text

Modern Text

120Lo Catoun, which that was so wys a man,
Seyde he nat thus, ne do no fors of dremes?
Now, sire,’ quod she, ‘whan we flee fro the bemes,
For Goddes love, as tak som laxatyf;
Up peril of my soule, and of my lyf,
I counseille yow the beste, I wol nat lye,
That bothe of colere and of malencolye
Ye purge yow; and for ye shul nat tarie,
Though in this toun is noon apotecarie,
I shal my-self to herbes techen yow,
130That shul ben for your hele, and for your prow;
And in our yerd tho herbes shal I finde,
The whiche han of hir propretee, by kinde,
To purgen yow binethe, and eek above.
Forget not this, for Goddes owene love!
Ye been ful colerik of compleccioun.
Ware the sonne in his ascencioun
Ne fynde yow nat repleet of humours hote;
And if it do, I dar wel leye a grote,
That ye shul have a fevere terciane,
140Or an agu, that may be youre bane.
A day or two ye shul have digestyves
Of wormes, er ye take your laxatyves,
Of lauriol, centaure, and fumetere,
Or elles of ellebor, that groweth there,
Of catapuce, or of gaytres beryis,
Of erbe yve, growing in our yerd, that mery is;
Pekke hem up right as they growe, and ete hem in.
Be mery, housbond, for your fader kin!
Dredeth no dreem; I can say yow na-more.’
“Wasn’t it the great Roman writer Cato who said, ‘Pay no attention to your dreams?’ Now, when we fly down from the rafters this morning, take a laxative, for the love of God, and purge your body of whatever it is that gave you those nightmares. I swear to God I’m only trying to help you. And since there isn’t a pharmacy in this town, I’ll show you the herbs that are growing in our yard that you should take to purge your system. Don’t forget that you have a finicky stomach, and you wouldn’t want to be caught sick when the sun rises and it’s time to crow. If you are still sick when the sun comes up, I’ll bet you a shilling that you’ve got malaria or some other kind of serious sickness. If so, you might have to take some kind of strange medicine or something to help you get rid of it. Now, buck up, husband, and do your father proud. Don’t worry about your dreams. They’re just foolishness.”