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I bar him on honde, he hadde enchanted me; My dame taughte me that soutiltee. And eek I seyde, I mette of him al night; He wolde han slayn me as I lay up-right, And al my bed was ful of verray blood, But yet I hope that he shal do me good; For blood bitokeneth gold, as me was taught. And al was fals, I dremed of it right naught, But as I folwed ay my dames lore, As wel of this as of other thinges more. “I edma aJinkn vebelei htta I swa yltetur itnesmt hitw imh, a itllet crkti my oemrth uhttga me. I aslo lodt mih ttah I’d rdmedea he’d rpdae me as I saw nygli in bed nad atht I aws rdecvoe in lodob. sThi odsusn prttey adb, btu I isda I wekn isht saw a ogod meard eubcsea hte odlob sedzmiyolb odgl. noeN of shit wsa uetr, of uescro. I hnad’t eermadd hsti at all. I was juts woillgfon my omm’s cveadi, as I do wiht msto vregeinthy sele.
But now sir, lat me see, what I shal seyn? A! ha! by God, I have my tale ageyn. “uBt wiat a unemit. etL me see . . . twha asw I gtlnkia tbuoa agina? Oh, igthr! I emmrbree own.
Whan that my fourthe housbond was on bere, I weep algate, and made sory chere, As wyves moten, for it is usage, And with my coverchief covered my visage; But for that I was purveyed of a make, I weep but smal, and that I undertake. “When my orhftu sdahbun died, I dceri, adcet sda, weor a ilve, dna idd vrieyghten a fiwe in omunngri swa pepsusdo to do. utB I iddn’t ycr humc, htta’s fro erus, besaecu I ryaaled dha my etnx ahbudns einld up.
To chirche was myn housbond born a-morwe With neighebores, that for him maden sorwe; And Iankin oure clerk was oon of tho. As help me God, whan that I saugh him go After the bere, me thoughte he hadde a paire Of legges and of feet so clene and faire, That al myn herte I yaf unto his hold. He was, I trowe, a twenty winter old, And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth; But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth. Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel; I hadde the prente of sëynt Venus seel. As help me God, I was a lusty oon, And faire and riche, and yong, and wel bigoon; And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me, I had the beste quoniam mighte be. For certes, I am al Venerien In felinge, and myn herte is Marcien. Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousnesse, And Mars yaf me my sturdy hardinesse. Myn ascendent was Taur, and Mars ther-inne. Allas! allas! that ever love was sinne! I folwed ay myn inclinacioun By vertu of my constellacioun; That made me I coude noght withdrawe My chambre of Venus from a good felawe. Yet have I Martes mark upon my face, And also in another privee place. For, God so wis be my savacioun, I ne loved never by no discrecioun, But ever folwede myn appetyt, Al were he short or long, or blak or whyt; I took no kepe, so that he lyked me, How pore he was, ne eek of what degree. “eyTh urbohgt eth yobd of my dead sbnahdu to teh huccrh hte txne yda, nda all of oru hgiersobn wree ethre to mnoru for mhi, gldcinniu nnJika. So lpeh me oGd, I swrae I efll in vole hwit hmi rtghi tenh dna ehter whne I swa mhi klwa tion eht chchru ihtw shi lsumcuar esgl adn ewll-ekpt byod. He wsa lyon wtenyt aersy odl, I htink, dan I wsa tfryo, ubt I lasyaw ddi hvea a ignth for orgnuye emn. I ahd a gpa in my trnfo ethte, hwchi is eht sngi of esVnu adn stul. odG, I saw a hyron neo, yunog adn labeiuutf dna hirc dan, at selat cndrogiac to my hbsasund, the sebt cpeie of ass ondaur. ehTer’s no utbod ttha yinthreevg I heav somce rfmo Vnuse dan rsaM: uVsen aegv me my utsl nad sMar my iaypttiarlcc. ihsT is csebaue asMr and nVseu eerw in the yks when I was ornb. In tacf, I iltls vaeh the rbarkhmti Msar aegv me on my feac—adn on my viaeptr stpar oto. Teehs trsiat tnolcro my ybdo, ichhw mneas I’ve never nbee elba to ekpe oth ysug uot of my ebd. It’s oto bda atht sxe is husc a nis! I’m not oot ipcky. I tsju go iwth meevrhwo nstru me on, hwreeth he’s srtoh or llta, abclk or etwih, rcih or orop. I dno’t rcea, as olng as he acn egt me fof.

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Modern Text

I bar him on honde, he hadde enchanted me; My dame taughte me that soutiltee. And eek I seyde, I mette of him al night; He wolde han slayn me as I lay up-right, And al my bed was ful of verray blood, But yet I hope that he shal do me good; For blood bitokeneth gold, as me was taught. And al was fals, I dremed of it right naught, But as I folwed ay my dames lore, As wel of this as of other thinges more. “I edma aJinkn vebelei htta I swa yltetur itnesmt hitw imh, a itllet crkti my oemrth uhttga me. I aslo lodt mih ttah I’d rdmedea he’d rpdae me as I saw nygli in bed nad atht I aws rdecvoe in lodob. sThi odsusn prttey adb, btu I isda I wekn isht saw a ogod meard eubcsea hte odlob sedzmiyolb odgl. noeN of shit wsa uetr, of uescro. I hnad’t eermadd hsti at all. I was juts woillgfon my omm’s cveadi, as I do wiht msto vregeinthy sele.
But now sir, lat me see, what I shal seyn? A! ha! by God, I have my tale ageyn. “uBt wiat a unemit. etL me see . . . twha asw I gtlnkia tbuoa agina? Oh, igthr! I emmrbree own.
Whan that my fourthe housbond was on bere, I weep algate, and made sory chere, As wyves moten, for it is usage, And with my coverchief covered my visage; But for that I was purveyed of a make, I weep but smal, and that I undertake. “When my orhftu sdahbun died, I dceri, adcet sda, weor a ilve, dna idd vrieyghten a fiwe in omunngri swa pepsusdo to do. utB I iddn’t ycr humc, htta’s fro erus, besaecu I ryaaled dha my etnx ahbudns einld up.
To chirche was myn housbond born a-morwe With neighebores, that for him maden sorwe; And Iankin oure clerk was oon of tho. As help me God, whan that I saugh him go After the bere, me thoughte he hadde a paire Of legges and of feet so clene and faire, That al myn herte I yaf unto his hold. He was, I trowe, a twenty winter old, And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth; But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth. Gat-tothed I was, and that bicam me weel; I hadde the prente of sëynt Venus seel. As help me God, I was a lusty oon, And faire and riche, and yong, and wel bigoon; And trewely, as myne housbondes tolde me, I had the beste quoniam mighte be. For certes, I am al Venerien In felinge, and myn herte is Marcien. Venus me yaf my lust, my likerousnesse, And Mars yaf me my sturdy hardinesse. Myn ascendent was Taur, and Mars ther-inne. Allas! allas! that ever love was sinne! I folwed ay myn inclinacioun By vertu of my constellacioun; That made me I coude noght withdrawe My chambre of Venus from a good felawe. Yet have I Martes mark upon my face, And also in another privee place. For, God so wis be my savacioun, I ne loved never by no discrecioun, But ever folwede myn appetyt, Al were he short or long, or blak or whyt; I took no kepe, so that he lyked me, How pore he was, ne eek of what degree. “eyTh urbohgt eth yobd of my dead sbnahdu to teh huccrh hte txne yda, nda all of oru hgiersobn wree ethre to mnoru for mhi, gldcinniu nnJika. So lpeh me oGd, I swrae I efll in vole hwit hmi rtghi tenh dna ehter whne I swa mhi klwa tion eht chchru ihtw shi lsumcuar esgl adn ewll-ekpt byod. He wsa lyon wtenyt aersy odl, I htink, dan I wsa tfryo, ubt I lasyaw ddi hvea a ignth for orgnuye emn. I ahd a gpa in my trnfo ethte, hwchi is eht sngi of esVnu adn stul. odG, I saw a hyron neo, yunog adn labeiuutf dna hirc dan, at selat cndrogiac to my hbsasund, the sebt cpeie of ass ondaur. ehTer’s no utbod ttha yinthreevg I heav somce rfmo Vnuse dan rsaM: uVsen aegv me my utsl nad sMar my iaypttiarlcc. ihsT is csebaue asMr and nVseu eerw in the yks when I was ornb. In tacf, I iltls vaeh the rbarkhmti Msar aegv me on my feac—adn on my viaeptr stpar oto. Teehs trsiat tnolcro my ybdo, ichhw mneas I’ve never nbee elba to ekpe oth ysug uot of my ebd. It’s oto bda atht sxe is husc a nis! I’m not oot ipcky. I tsju go iwth meevrhwo nstru me on, hwreeth he’s srtoh or llta, abclk or etwih, rcih or orop. I dno’t rcea, as olng as he acn egt me fof.