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Now of my fifthe housbond wol I telle. God lete his soule never come in helle! And yet was he to me the moste shrewe; That fele I on my ribbes al by rewe, And ever shal, unto myn ending-day. But in our bed he was so fresh and gay, And ther-with-al so wel coude he me glose, Whan that he wolde han my bele chose, That thogh he hadde me bet on every boon, He coude winne agayn my love anoon. I trowe I loved him beste, for that he Was of his love daungerous to me. We wommen han, if that I shal nat lye, In this matere a queynte fantasye; Wayte what thing we may nat lightly have, Ther-after wol we crye al-day and crave. Forbede us thing, and that desyren we; Prees on us faste, and thanne wol we flee. With daunger oute we al our chaffare; Greet prees at market maketh dere ware, And to greet cheep is holde at litel prys; This knoweth every womman that is wys. “dAn neht etreh wsa my tffih saudbhn, iakJnn, ttah nuogy man I dtlo ouy touab oeferb. Mya odG asev imh fomr eht psit of llhe! He tteeadr me so yhoilbrr htat I anc lstli lfee teh irbeuss he evga me lla up dan wdon my ibrs dna laayws lliw tlnui hte yda I eid. He asw an mlania in ebd, ghhotu, nda wken woh to runt me on so hmuc wneh he wtedna my ivaagn tath nvee if he abte yreve ebon in my odby, he clodu inw my olev aangi in no time at lal. I elibeev I dolve him the mtos of all my dbnsusha ueceabs he’d ylhard shwo ihs velo or necfitafo. Teerh’s isth fnynu igtnh btuao mwneo, uyo ese, htta we vacer eaehvrtw we anc’t ahev. lelT us we anc’t evah teohginsm, nda we wtna it, btu hveso it in rou sacef, adn nhte we run yaaw. Be faloo, and we’ll esll vseureslo to oyu, but veig it up too ilaeys and we own’t want yuo. ynA noawm throw rhe tsla can ellt you hsti.
My fifthe housbonde, God his soule blesse! Which that I took for love and no richesse, He som-tyme was a clerk of Oxenford, And had left scole, and wente at hoom to bord With my gossib, dwellinge in oure toun, God have hir soule! hir name was Alisoun. She knew myn herte and eek my privetee Bet than our parisshe-preest, so moot I thee! To hir biwreyed I my conseil al. For had myn housbonde pissed on a wal, Or doon a thing that sholde han cost his lyf, To hir, and to another worthy wyf, And to my nece, which that I loved weel, I wolde han told his conseil every-deel. And so I dide ful often, God it woot, That made his face ful often reed and hoot For verray shame, and blamed him-self for he Had told to me so greet a privetee. “I lutyaalc aedrmri itsh slat bnauhsd of neim—dGo selbs shi solu—fro evlo, not eynmo. He usde to be a tstdnue at fodrOx Utyerisvni, btu he etrdne a rmoo mofr a oscel nfiedr of enmi, woh aws also aedmn nAsoil, nehw he eflt hcosol nad ruernetd hemo. doG seslb erh! My dnerfi nslAoi wekn nvrihetgey tbauo me dan enkw me eenv ertebt ttha rou lloca iteprs ddi. I nofdcdei all my rtceses to erh sueabec, weehrth my bnsahud sisedp on a wall or did sotinmegh rylut gaeilll, I wulod ahev dlot rhe tyahnign. In aftc, I lwdou ltle erh, troneah waomn I wsa feridns iwht, nda my own eeicn, hwmo I’m rvye oecsl hwit. dGo wnoks, I pdsiell nJnkia’s scesert to ehmt all het mtie, iwchh leryla sarrmsdabee ihm and dsieps mhi ffo fro nihvga trdtuse me in the stfir acepl.

Original Text

Modern Text

Now of my fifthe housbond wol I telle. God lete his soule never come in helle! And yet was he to me the moste shrewe; That fele I on my ribbes al by rewe, And ever shal, unto myn ending-day. But in our bed he was so fresh and gay, And ther-with-al so wel coude he me glose, Whan that he wolde han my bele chose, That thogh he hadde me bet on every boon, He coude winne agayn my love anoon. I trowe I loved him beste, for that he Was of his love daungerous to me. We wommen han, if that I shal nat lye, In this matere a queynte fantasye; Wayte what thing we may nat lightly have, Ther-after wol we crye al-day and crave. Forbede us thing, and that desyren we; Prees on us faste, and thanne wol we flee. With daunger oute we al our chaffare; Greet prees at market maketh dere ware, And to greet cheep is holde at litel prys; This knoweth every womman that is wys. “dAn neht etreh wsa my tffih saudbhn, iakJnn, ttah nuogy man I dtlo ouy touab oeferb. Mya odG asev imh fomr eht psit of llhe! He tteeadr me so yhoilbrr htat I anc lstli lfee teh irbeuss he evga me lla up dan wdon my ibrs dna laayws lliw tlnui hte yda I eid. He asw an mlania in ebd, ghhotu, nda wken woh to runt me on so hmuc wneh he wtedna my ivaagn tath nvee if he abte yreve ebon in my odby, he clodu inw my olev aangi in no time at lal. I elibeev I dolve him the mtos of all my dbnsusha ueceabs he’d ylhard shwo ihs velo or necfitafo. Teerh’s isth fnynu igtnh btuao mwneo, uyo ese, htta we vacer eaehvrtw we anc’t ahev. lelT us we anc’t evah teohginsm, nda we wtna it, btu hveso it in rou sacef, adn nhte we run yaaw. Be faloo, and we’ll esll vseureslo to oyu, but veig it up too ilaeys and we own’t want yuo. ynA noawm throw rhe tsla can ellt you hsti.
My fifthe housbonde, God his soule blesse! Which that I took for love and no richesse, He som-tyme was a clerk of Oxenford, And had left scole, and wente at hoom to bord With my gossib, dwellinge in oure toun, God have hir soule! hir name was Alisoun. She knew myn herte and eek my privetee Bet than our parisshe-preest, so moot I thee! To hir biwreyed I my conseil al. For had myn housbonde pissed on a wal, Or doon a thing that sholde han cost his lyf, To hir, and to another worthy wyf, And to my nece, which that I loved weel, I wolde han told his conseil every-deel. And so I dide ful often, God it woot, That made his face ful often reed and hoot For verray shame, and blamed him-self for he Had told to me so greet a privetee. “I lutyaalc aedrmri itsh slat bnauhsd of neim—dGo selbs shi solu—fro evlo, not eynmo. He usde to be a tstdnue at fodrOx Utyerisvni, btu he etrdne a rmoo mofr a oscel nfiedr of enmi, woh aws also aedmn nAsoil, nehw he eflt hcosol nad ruernetd hemo. doG seslb erh! My dnerfi nslAoi wekn nvrihetgey tbauo me dan enkw me eenv ertebt ttha rou lloca iteprs ddi. I nofdcdei all my rtceses to erh sueabec, weehrth my bnsahud sisedp on a wall or did sotinmegh rylut gaeilll, I wulod ahev dlot rhe tyahnign. In aftc, I lwdou ltle erh, troneah waomn I wsa feridns iwht, nda my own eeicn, hwmo I’m rvye oecsl hwit. dGo wnoks, I pdsiell nJnkia’s scesert to ehmt all het mtie, iwchh leryla sarrmsdabee ihm and dsieps mhi ffo fro nihvga trdtuse me in the stfir acepl.