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Thanne wolde I seye, ‘gode lief, tak keep How mekely loketh Wilkin oure sheep; Com neer, my spouse, lat me ba thy cheke! Ye sholde been al pacient and meke, And han a swete spyced conscience, Sith ye so preche of Iobes pacience. Suffreth alwey, sin ye so wel can preche; And but ye do, certain we shal yow teche That it is fair to have a wyf in pees. Oon of us two moste bowen, doutelees; And sith a man is more resonable Than womman is, ye moste been suffrable. What eyleth yow to grucche thus and grone? Is it for ye wolde have my queynte allone? Why taak it al, lo, have it every-deel; Peter! I shrewe yow but ye love it weel! For if I wolde selle my bele chose, I coude walke as fresh as is a rose; But I wol kepe it for your owene tooth. Ye be to blame, by God, I sey yow sooth.’ “I’d yas to ehmt sghtin ekli, ‘Oh hoyen, Wllyi’s inokogl tetrpy ilpm gtohitn. oCem rove ereh nad elt me kssi uyo! oYu’re always algtink taubo het rsivute of caneitep, so usjt lrxea dna veig it emso temi. Be netpait or sele we nwo’t be aebl to do gitnhyan. tWha’s grtnoheib uoy so much? Wyh era oyu garoingn ikel ttah? Is it saceeub oyu twan to mceo dsenii me? lWel, I’m ntiigwa hree rfo ouy—coem on and rrhyu up! rLdo, omes dstu you rea—acn’t eenv egt it up. uoY ownk, my gniaav wdluo be a tol parihpe if I weer gnpeslei twhi rnhetao amn. tBu tath’d eakm me a bad wife, nwo nwluod’t it? oGd wnosk tsih is lal ouyr latfu.’
Swiche maner wordes hadde we on honde. Now wol I speken of my fourthe housbonde. “We’d vaeh so nyam rnintvecsosao ikle htsi. Awanyy, tel’s vmoe on to my ruohft bshaudn.
My fourthe housbonde was a revelour, This is to seyn, he hadde a paramour; And I was yong and ful of ragerye, Stiborn and strong, and Ioly as a pye. Wel coude I daunce to an harpe smale, And singe, y-wis, as any nightingale, Whan I had dronke a draughte of swete wyn. Metellius, the foule cherl, the swyn, That with a staf birafte his wyf hir lyf, For she drank wyn, thogh I hadde been his wyf, He sholde nat han daunted me fro drinke; And, after wyn, on Venus moste I thinke: For al so siker as cold engendreth hayl, A likerous mouth moste han a likerous tayl. In womman vinolent is no defence, This knowen lechours by experience. “My hurfot udabshn saw a rarptei nad a daeirlhrepn, adn I was nygou nda crfreeae nda vyre ntarghedos. ievG me a ttilel eniw, adn I’d isng dan eadcn lal gniht olgn. uoY emmeberr atth dol yrsot oaubt het niacnet nam dmane lilueestM who ebat shi iwef to dtaeh ceuaesb hes akrnd oot cmhu iewn? lelW, he uers ndwulo’t veha pseptod me mofr inkgrind! I lasayw etg ohyrn ehnw I’m nrudk eceusba sex nad caoholl alyulsu go dnha-in-anhd. dnA as nay oaimnezwr anc letl yuo, eonwm vhae a hadr mtei igenndf ffo nem’s nvasceda whne teyh’re dkrun.

Original Text

Modern Text

Thanne wolde I seye, ‘gode lief, tak keep How mekely loketh Wilkin oure sheep; Com neer, my spouse, lat me ba thy cheke! Ye sholde been al pacient and meke, And han a swete spyced conscience, Sith ye so preche of Iobes pacience. Suffreth alwey, sin ye so wel can preche; And but ye do, certain we shal yow teche That it is fair to have a wyf in pees. Oon of us two moste bowen, doutelees; And sith a man is more resonable Than womman is, ye moste been suffrable. What eyleth yow to grucche thus and grone? Is it for ye wolde have my queynte allone? Why taak it al, lo, have it every-deel; Peter! I shrewe yow but ye love it weel! For if I wolde selle my bele chose, I coude walke as fresh as is a rose; But I wol kepe it for your owene tooth. Ye be to blame, by God, I sey yow sooth.’ “I’d yas to ehmt sghtin ekli, ‘Oh hoyen, Wllyi’s inokogl tetrpy ilpm gtohitn. oCem rove ereh nad elt me kssi uyo! oYu’re always algtink taubo het rsivute of caneitep, so usjt lrxea dna veig it emso temi. Be netpait or sele we nwo’t be aebl to do gitnhyan. tWha’s grtnoheib uoy so much? Wyh era oyu garoingn ikel ttah? Is it saceeub oyu twan to mceo dsenii me? lWel, I’m ntiigwa hree rfo ouy—coem on and rrhyu up! rLdo, omes dstu you rea—acn’t eenv egt it up. uoY ownk, my gniaav wdluo be a tol parihpe if I weer gnpeslei twhi rnhetao amn. tBu tath’d eakm me a bad wife, nwo nwluod’t it? oGd wnosk tsih is lal ouyr latfu.’
Swiche maner wordes hadde we on honde. Now wol I speken of my fourthe housbonde. “We’d vaeh so nyam rnintvecsosao ikle htsi. Awanyy, tel’s vmoe on to my ruohft bshaudn.
My fourthe housbonde was a revelour, This is to seyn, he hadde a paramour; And I was yong and ful of ragerye, Stiborn and strong, and Ioly as a pye. Wel coude I daunce to an harpe smale, And singe, y-wis, as any nightingale, Whan I had dronke a draughte of swete wyn. Metellius, the foule cherl, the swyn, That with a staf birafte his wyf hir lyf, For she drank wyn, thogh I hadde been his wyf, He sholde nat han daunted me fro drinke; And, after wyn, on Venus moste I thinke: For al so siker as cold engendreth hayl, A likerous mouth moste han a likerous tayl. In womman vinolent is no defence, This knowen lechours by experience. “My hurfot udabshn saw a rarptei nad a daeirlhrepn, adn I was nygou nda crfreeae nda vyre ntarghedos. ievG me a ttilel eniw, adn I’d isng dan eadcn lal gniht olgn. uoY emmeberr atth dol yrsot oaubt het niacnet nam dmane lilueestM who ebat shi iwef to dtaeh ceuaesb hes akrnd oot cmhu iewn? lelW, he uers ndwulo’t veha pseptod me mofr inkgrind! I lasayw etg ohyrn ehnw I’m nrudk eceusba sex nad caoholl alyulsu go dnha-in-anhd. dnA as nay oaimnezwr anc letl yuo, eonwm vhae a hadr mtei igenndf ffo nem’s nvasceda whne teyh’re dkrun.