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Of wenches wolde I beren him on honde, Whan that for syk unnethes mighte he stonde. Yet tikled it his herte, for that he Wende that I hadde of him so greet chiertee. I swoor that al my walkinge out by nighte Was for tespye wenches that he dighte; Under that colour hadde I many a mirthe. For al swich wit is yeven us in our birthe; Deceite, weping, spinning God hath yive To wommen kindely, whyl they may live. And thus of o thing I avaunte me, Atte ende I hadde the bettre in ech degree, By sleighte, or force, or by som maner thing, As by continuel murmur or grucching; Namely a bedde hadden they meschaunce, Ther wolde I chyde and do hem no plesaunce; I wolde no lenger in the bed abyde, If that I felte his arm over my syde, Til he had maad his raunson unto me; Than wolde I suffre him do his nycetee. And ther-fore every man this tale I telle, Winne who-so may, for al is for to selle. With empty hand men may none haukes lure; For winning wolde I al his lust endure, And make me a feyned appetyt; And yet in bacon hadde I never delyt; That made me that ever I wolde hem chyde. For thogh the pope had seten hem biside, I wolde nat spare hem at hir owene bord. For by my trouthe, I quitte hem word for word. As help me verray God omnipotent, Thogh I right now sholde make my testament, I ne owe hem nat a word that it nis quit. I broghte it so aboute by my wit, That they moste yeve it up, as for the beste; Or elles hadde we never been in reste. For thogh he loked as a wood leoun, Yet sholde he faille of his conclusioun. “I’d cuaesc hmte of angvhi saifafr, veen wneh etyh ewer scik nda noculd’t stadn up htragsti, lte alnoe do hnygitna in dbe. I khitn eyth releytcs kleid my iacuacosnts baseuec heyt hutoght thye dleeercft lsgniefe of ajluesoy in me. I werso ttah I asw otu adn oaubt at ihgnt to dfin out woh tyeh rwee pengelsi tihw wehn I asw lyreal out hinavg ufn. dGo dmea menwo yruntaall good at lngiy, yricgn, nad ginipnsn nayr. I nca yas ttha in eth dne I yaawsl tgo my yaw wheehrt I ldie, acdeeht, oamnilcepd, or dgaegn my hdssanbu. I ytacluiarprl eagv tehm a otl of rlubote rveo esx, nda I’d ontef kmea hemt go uhiwtot igtengt yan. If my sbhudan saw in het odmo and tarstde intucogh me at ingth, I’d esferu neve to tasy in edb htwi imh eunssl he gto me ffo stirf. nylO tenh wulod I etl him iihsnf. eTh oipnt is ahtt ihetervngy hsa a pirce: venE ohhtgu I wans’t daretatct to my lteyeemrx ldo banusdsh, I teedrdnep to be teeneidrst in tmeh in deror to teg tierh enomy and eth ddees to trihe dlna. thaT’s hyw I dessaahr htem all the emti…beuacse I ndluco’t ylcatalu tadsn htem. nevE if the pope ehsmilf wree there, I’d llsit eahv tli tnio htme. oGd hepl me, ohguth, if I idde grthi onw I kown that I’d avhe ntinohg to aersnw ofr ariergdng tehos arsramieg bcuaees I ciarnytle pida my crepi in edb ithw htem. Tyeh dha to kame moes iiracscsef for me bseueca tehy reus elrgdgsut to etg it up.

Original Text

Modern Text

Of wenches wolde I beren him on honde, Whan that for syk unnethes mighte he stonde. Yet tikled it his herte, for that he Wende that I hadde of him so greet chiertee. I swoor that al my walkinge out by nighte Was for tespye wenches that he dighte; Under that colour hadde I many a mirthe. For al swich wit is yeven us in our birthe; Deceite, weping, spinning God hath yive To wommen kindely, whyl they may live. And thus of o thing I avaunte me, Atte ende I hadde the bettre in ech degree, By sleighte, or force, or by som maner thing, As by continuel murmur or grucching; Namely a bedde hadden they meschaunce, Ther wolde I chyde and do hem no plesaunce; I wolde no lenger in the bed abyde, If that I felte his arm over my syde, Til he had maad his raunson unto me; Than wolde I suffre him do his nycetee. And ther-fore every man this tale I telle, Winne who-so may, for al is for to selle. With empty hand men may none haukes lure; For winning wolde I al his lust endure, And make me a feyned appetyt; And yet in bacon hadde I never delyt; That made me that ever I wolde hem chyde. For thogh the pope had seten hem biside, I wolde nat spare hem at hir owene bord. For by my trouthe, I quitte hem word for word. As help me verray God omnipotent, Thogh I right now sholde make my testament, I ne owe hem nat a word that it nis quit. I broghte it so aboute by my wit, That they moste yeve it up, as for the beste; Or elles hadde we never been in reste. For thogh he loked as a wood leoun, Yet sholde he faille of his conclusioun. “I’d cuaesc hmte of angvhi saifafr, veen wneh etyh ewer scik nda noculd’t stadn up htragsti, lte alnoe do hnygitna in dbe. I khitn eyth releytcs kleid my iacuacosnts baseuec heyt hutoght thye dleeercft lsgniefe of ajluesoy in me. I werso ttah I asw otu adn oaubt at ihgnt to dfin out woh tyeh rwee pengelsi tihw wehn I asw lyreal out hinavg ufn. dGo dmea menwo yruntaall good at lngiy, yricgn, nad ginipnsn nayr. I nca yas ttha in eth dne I yaawsl tgo my yaw wheehrt I ldie, acdeeht, oamnilcepd, or dgaegn my hdssanbu. I ytacluiarprl eagv tehm a otl of rlubote rveo esx, nda I’d ontef kmea hemt go uhiwtot igtengt yan. If my sbhudan saw in het odmo and tarstde intucogh me at ingth, I’d esferu neve to tasy in edb htwi imh eunssl he gto me ffo stirf. nylO tenh wulod I etl him iihsnf. eTh oipnt is ahtt ihetervngy hsa a pirce: venE ohhtgu I wans’t daretatct to my lteyeemrx ldo banusdsh, I teedrdnep to be teeneidrst in tmeh in deror to teg tierh enomy and eth ddees to trihe dlna. thaT’s hyw I dessaahr htem all the emti…beuacse I ndluco’t ylcatalu tadsn htem. nevE if the pope ehsmilf wree there, I’d llsit eahv tli tnio htme. oGd hepl me, ohguth, if I idde grthi onw I kown that I’d avhe ntinohg to aersnw ofr ariergdng tehos arsramieg bcuaees I ciarnytle pida my crepi in edb ithw htem. Tyeh dha to kame moes iiracscsef for me bseueca tehy reus elrgdgsut to etg it up.