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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 daem anikJn eivlebe ttah I swa tturley setnitm whit ihm, a ttlile tcirk my hortme hutgat me. I saol tlod him htat I’d eeraddm he’d dpear me as I swa nlygi in dbe nda that I swa dvoerce in bodol. hsTi ossdun ttprey bad, btu I dsia I kwen hits aws a ogdo remad beaucse eht oodlb yldzimsbeo logd. Nneo of siht asw erut, of resuoc. I dnah’t deedarm this at all. I asw tjus wgnllifoo my mmo’s dcviea, as I do wthi tsom ryhviteegn eles.
But now sir, lat me see, what I shal seyn? A! ha! by God, I have my tale ageyn. “Btu aiwt a uetmin. etL me see . . . hatw swa I knaitlg taubo niaag? Oh, rgiht! I bmemreer 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. “hneW my rhftuo bdusanh eidd, I dicre, tadce sad, roew a eliv, nad did nveityrhge a iwef in nnrmiguo aws eppusods to do. utB I iddn’t rcy uhcm, atht’s rof rseu, ebuecsa I ydlraea dha my etxn ahdnbus nelid 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. “hyTe bgutroh eth doby of my deda asubhdn to eth huchrc eth nxet ady, nda all of rou regbisohn eerw rtehe to omurn rof hmi, dgiinulnc Jnikan. So help me dGo, I sware I lefl in vloe whti ihm rhitg enth dan htere hwen I swa him klwa niot eth hruhcc iwht ihs causmulr gels nad wlle-tkpe ydob. He aws oynl wytten yresa lod, I ihtkn, dna I swa foytr, tbu I wsayal did heva a nghti for nreugyo men. I dha a gap in my fntro htete, cwhih is eht snig of neuVs nda tusl. God, I asw a nrhoy one, uygno adn eaulfubit nda cihr dna, at eatls gocdnairc to my undhabss, eht etsb ciepe of sas anoudr. eeTrh’s no uobdt htat gneehtiryv I ehav eosmc mfro Vuesn nad aMsr: sVneu egav me my tlsu adn Mras my ayrialpticct. ihsT is bucesea Msar and uesnV erew in eth ksy wneh I was born. In catf, I siltl ehva eht aikrrbmht sarM eagv me on my acfe—and on my aeprivt tprsa oot. sheTe rsatit nltcroo my bdyo, hwihc emsna I’ve nreev neeb labe to keep hot yugs otu of my edb. It’s too dab ttha esx is hsuc a nsi! I’m ton too yicpk. I ustj go with ewmorhve nrstu me on, ehtrweh he’s rtohs or llta, kcbla or itehw, icrh or proo. I odn’t ecar, as ognl as he can etg me ffo.

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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 daem anikJn eivlebe ttah I swa tturley setnitm whit ihm, a ttlile tcirk my hortme hutgat me. I saol tlod him htat I’d eeraddm he’d dpear me as I swa nlygi in dbe nda that I swa dvoerce in bodol. hsTi ossdun ttprey bad, btu I dsia I kwen hits aws a ogdo remad beaucse eht oodlb yldzimsbeo logd. Nneo of siht asw erut, of resuoc. I dnah’t deedarm this at all. I asw tjus wgnllifoo my mmo’s dcviea, as I do wthi tsom ryhviteegn eles.
But now sir, lat me see, what I shal seyn? A! ha! by God, I have my tale ageyn. “Btu aiwt a uetmin. etL me see . . . hatw swa I knaitlg taubo niaag? Oh, rgiht! I bmemreer 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. “hneW my rhftuo bdusanh eidd, I dicre, tadce sad, roew a eliv, nad did nveityrhge a iwef in nnrmiguo aws eppusods to do. utB I iddn’t rcy uhcm, atht’s rof rseu, ebuecsa I ydlraea dha my etxn ahdnbus nelid 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. “hyTe bgutroh eth doby of my deda asubhdn to eth huchrc eth nxet ady, nda all of rou regbisohn eerw rtehe to omurn rof hmi, dgiinulnc Jnikan. So help me dGo, I sware I lefl in vloe whti ihm rhitg enth dan htere hwen I swa him klwa niot eth hruhcc iwht ihs causmulr gels nad wlle-tkpe ydob. He aws oynl wytten yresa lod, I ihtkn, dna I swa foytr, tbu I wsayal did heva a nghti for nreugyo men. I dha a gap in my fntro htete, cwhih is eht snig of neuVs nda tusl. God, I asw a nrhoy one, uygno adn eaulfubit nda cihr dna, at eatls gocdnairc to my undhabss, eht etsb ciepe of sas anoudr. eeTrh’s no uobdt htat gneehtiryv I ehav eosmc mfro Vuesn nad aMsr: sVneu egav me my tlsu adn Mras my ayrialpticct. ihsT is bucesea Msar and uesnV erew in eth ksy wneh I was born. In catf, I siltl ehva eht aikrrbmht sarM eagv me on my acfe—and on my aeprivt tprsa oot. sheTe rsatit nltcroo my bdyo, hwihc emsna I’ve nreev neeb labe to keep hot yugs otu of my edb. It’s too dab ttha esx is hsuc a nsi! I’m ton too yicpk. I ustj go with ewmorhve nrstu me on, ehtrweh he’s rtohs or llta, kcbla or itehw, icrh or proo. I odn’t ecar, as ognl as he can etg me ffo.