The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale Page 16

page Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale: Page 16

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But, lord Crist! whan that it remembreth me
470Upon my yowthe, and on my Iolitee,
It tikleth me aboute myn herte rote.
Unto this day it dooth myn herte bote
That I have had my world as in my tyme.
But age, allas! that al wol envenyme,
Hath me biraft my beautee and my pith;
Lat go, fare-wel, the devel go therwith!
The flour is goon, ther is na-more to telle,
The bren, as I best can, now moste I selle;
But yet to be right mery wol I fonde.
480Now wol I tellen of my fourthe housbonde.
“Oh Lord in heaven! Remembering all those fun times I had when I was young tickles me to my core. It makes me glad knowing that I had those experiences in my youth. Too bad age has stolen my beauty and youthful energy. Oh well. I don’t need them anyway! I’m not young any more, and that’s just all there is to it. Now I just need to make do with what I have left and try to find some joy in that. Oh, anyway, back to my fourth husband.
I seye, I hadde in herte greet despyt
That he of any other had delyt.
But he was quit, by God and by seint Ioce!
I made him of the same wode a croce;
Nat of my body in no foul manere,
But certeinly, I made folk swich chere,
That in his owene grece I made him frye
For angre, and for verray Ialousye.
By God, in erthe I was his purgatorie,
490For which I hope his soule be in glorie.
For God it woot, he sat ful ofte and song
Whan that his shoo ful bitterly him wrong.
Ther was no wight, save God and he, that wiste,
In many wyse, how sore I him twiste.
He deyde whan I cam fro Ierusalem,
And lyth y-grave under the rode-beem,
Al is his tombe noght so curious
As was the sepulcre of him, Darius,
Which that Appelles wroghte subtilly;
500It nis but wast to burie him preciously.
Lat him fare-wel, God yeve his soule reste,
He is now in the grave and in his cheste.
“You know, it made me furious to think that he was sleeping around with other women. But by God, I got him in the end because two can play that game! I flirted with other men, which just cooked his goose. I put him through hell on earth, and I know he suffered because he was the kind of guy who’d whine about every little thing. Only he and God knew how much I tortured that man. He died shortly after I returned from my pilgrimage to Jerusalem. He’s buried inside our church, though his grave isn’t nearly as fancy as the tomb the architect Appelles built for Darius so long ago. Anything that nice would have been a waste on my fourth husband. Anyway, he’s dead now, God rest his soul.