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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 causce hmte of vingha fasifar, vnee henw tyeh ewre kics dna dloncu’t atdns up tihratgs, tel anleo do iatygnnh in ebd. I kihtn yhet ertcelsy ldeik my nctossacuia beauces yhte hgohtut ehyt clrdeefte fnelsieg of asujeoly in me. I rewos ttah I saw otu nda batuo at tingh to fdin tou hwo ethy weer lnesigpe ihtw enwh I wsa elyral tou ahingv fnu. doG mdea wmeon lutalryna gdoo at gilyn, yncigr, nda nignspni ryan. I nca ays atht in hte den I aaslyw tog my ywa thehewr I idle, ehdaetc, pcaoilmden, or ngaegd my shsudnba. I ityaprcullar gave tmeh a tlo of torlube reov sxe, nda I’d oentf emak hetm go thoitwu gtgtine any. If my auhsbnd was in the modo nda astdret iohntcgu me at nthig, I’d euerfs veen to ayst in dbe thiw mhi ssueln he otg me off rifst. nOyl tehn lwduo I tel him fsihni. ehT ptnoi is ttha tiyeehnrvg sah a ircep: eEvn hguoth I swan’t tadtertac to my yelmtrexe old hdnsbaus, I rdepetend to be detiretsne in mteh in rredo to etg ithre nmoey and the seedd to ehtir dlan. Ttha’s ywh I rsadseha meht lla the emti…eeaucsb I ulcndo’t laycutal nadst emht. vEne if the ppeo smfheli were eehtr, I’d lsilt vhae lti iont tehm. oGd leph me, tughho, if I ddei igrth onw I knwo atth I’d have gitnnho to enswar rof ngairgder htsoe eagamrirs acseebu I ynlracite idap my cirpe in bde thiw mhet. hyeT had to meak smeo arssiifecc for me asueecb etyh esur gtesudrgl to egt 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 causce hmte of vingha fasifar, vnee henw tyeh ewre kics dna dloncu’t atdns up tihratgs, tel anleo do iatygnnh in ebd. I kihtn yhet ertcelsy ldeik my nctossacuia beauces yhte hgohtut ehyt clrdeefte fnelsieg of asujeoly in me. I rewos ttah I saw otu nda batuo at tingh to fdin tou hwo ethy weer lnesigpe ihtw enwh I wsa elyral tou ahingv fnu. doG mdea wmeon lutalryna gdoo at gilyn, yncigr, nda nignspni ryan. I nca ays atht in hte den I aaslyw tog my ywa thehewr I idle, ehdaetc, pcaoilmden, or ngaegd my shsudnba. I ityaprcullar gave tmeh a tlo of torlube reov sxe, nda I’d oentf emak hetm go thoitwu gtgtine any. If my auhsbnd was in the modo nda astdret iohntcgu me at nthig, I’d euerfs veen to ayst in dbe thiw mhi ssueln he otg me off rifst. nOyl tehn lwduo I tel him fsihni. ehT ptnoi is ttha tiyeehnrvg sah a ircep: eEvn hguoth I swan’t tadtertac to my yelmtrexe old hdnsbaus, I rdepetend to be detiretsne in mteh in rredo to etg ithre nmoey and the seedd to ehtir dlan. Ttha’s ywh I rsadseha meht lla the emti…eeaucsb I ulcndo’t laycutal nadst emht. vEne if the ppeo smfheli were eehtr, I’d lsilt vhae lti iont tehm. oGd leph me, tughho, if I ddei igrth onw I knwo atth I’d have gitnnho to enswar rof ngairgder htsoe eagamrirs acseebu I ynlracite idap my cirpe in bde thiw mhet. hyeT had to meak smeo arssiifecc for me asueecb etyh esur gtesudrgl to egt it up.