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Now wol I seye yow sooth, by seint Thomas, Why that I rente out of his book a leef, For which he smoot me so that I was deef. “dnA wno, by St. osaThm, I’ll letl ouy hyw I troe a apeg tuo of atht irpouces book of hsi, cihhw mdae mhi hit me so hrda htta I wten defa.
He hadde a book that gladly, night and day, For his desport he wolde rede alway. He cleped it Valerie and Theofraste, At whiche book he lough alwey ful faste. And eek ther was som-tyme a clerk at Rome, A cardinal, that highte Seint Ierome, That made a book agayn Iovinian; In whiche book eek ther was Tertulan, Crisippus, Trotula, and Helowys, That was abbesse nat fer fro Parys; And eek the Parables of Salomon, Ovydes Art, and bokes many on, And alle thise wer bounden in o volume. And every night and day was his custume, Whan he had leyser and vacacioun From other worldly occupacioun, To reden on this book of wikked wyves. He knew of hem mo legendes and lyves Than been of gode wyves in the Bible. For trusteth wel, it is an impossible That any clerk wol speke good of wyves, But-if it be of holy seintes lyves, Ne of noon other womman never the mo. Who peyntede the leoun, tel me who? By God, if wommen hadde writen stories, As clerkes han with-inne hir oratories, They wolde han writen of men more wikkednesse Than all the mark of Adam may redresse. The children of Mercurie and of Venus Been in hir wirking ful contrarious; Mercurie loveth wisdom and science, And Venus loveth ryot and dispence. And, for hir diverse disposicioun, Ech falleth in otheres exaltacioun; And thus, God woot! Mercurie is desolat In Pisces, wher Venus is exaltat; And Venus falleth ther Mercurie is reysed; Therfore no womman of no clerk is preysed. The clerk, whan he is old, and may noght do Of Venus werkes worth his olde sho, Than sit he doun, and writ in his dotage That wommen can nat kepe hir mariage! “uYo ees, anniJk adh iths oobk htat he delvo to reda lal teh mite, ayd dna ihtgn. ehT enma of het okob asw aVsiurel dan Theophrastus, nda it ywlasa maed imh aguhl. shiT book cllyauat eistdsonc of ymna sbook lal ndobu up onti a neigls mlveou nda ceddunil teh naRom rlcaadni St. emoJre’s book astaing vnJioian as wlle as idOv’s tAr of Love, eth slraPeab of Solomon, adn ehrto inmcioitsgsy rskow by ineaurlTt, hiuCpssrpy, lrtTaou, adn leoeHis, hte nun frmo siarP. nAd enwevreh he adh esmo eefr tiem, eerthwh it be tghin or yda, he’d tis dwno to drea lal otbau eht elsiv of noewm in siht obko. In tfca, he wnek roem bauto heets nowme tanh he did uabto all eht good oewnm tnodminee in hte Bible. surtT me: No shrcalo lliw rvee apesir hte utvrise of a oamwn susnle esh naephsp to be a inast. tBu by dGo, if enwom ahd enritwt stohe oskbo idesatn of nme, yeth’d be ufll of isetosr bouta enm’s cedweinssk, emro eliv tnah all of ikdnamn dclou evre ntaeo fro. nMe rea rfom eMcrryu nad mneow aer frmo usneV, teyh asy, nad lwhei eurcMry solve egnlniar, snVeu lsevo hnvgai unf. dAn eeacbus etyh’re laopr itpspsooe, haec oen eolss rpweo eenrvweh the rteoh one is in the kys, hchiw nseam atth no lohsacr odlwu rvee aeiprs ayn arhuegdt of nsueV. And so, hnwe loyslhcra men are old dna rgey dan nca’t get it up mnoaeyr, hety tsi nwod and irtew awful ihtsng baout emwon who athce on rihet sbsanudh!

Original Text

Modern Text

Now wol I seye yow sooth, by seint Thomas, Why that I rente out of his book a leef, For which he smoot me so that I was deef. “dnA wno, by St. osaThm, I’ll letl ouy hyw I troe a apeg tuo of atht irpouces book of hsi, cihhw mdae mhi hit me so hrda htta I wten defa.
He hadde a book that gladly, night and day, For his desport he wolde rede alway. He cleped it Valerie and Theofraste, At whiche book he lough alwey ful faste. And eek ther was som-tyme a clerk at Rome, A cardinal, that highte Seint Ierome, That made a book agayn Iovinian; In whiche book eek ther was Tertulan, Crisippus, Trotula, and Helowys, That was abbesse nat fer fro Parys; And eek the Parables of Salomon, Ovydes Art, and bokes many on, And alle thise wer bounden in o volume. And every night and day was his custume, Whan he had leyser and vacacioun From other worldly occupacioun, To reden on this book of wikked wyves. He knew of hem mo legendes and lyves Than been of gode wyves in the Bible. For trusteth wel, it is an impossible That any clerk wol speke good of wyves, But-if it be of holy seintes lyves, Ne of noon other womman never the mo. Who peyntede the leoun, tel me who? By God, if wommen hadde writen stories, As clerkes han with-inne hir oratories, They wolde han writen of men more wikkednesse Than all the mark of Adam may redresse. The children of Mercurie and of Venus Been in hir wirking ful contrarious; Mercurie loveth wisdom and science, And Venus loveth ryot and dispence. And, for hir diverse disposicioun, Ech falleth in otheres exaltacioun; And thus, God woot! Mercurie is desolat In Pisces, wher Venus is exaltat; And Venus falleth ther Mercurie is reysed; Therfore no womman of no clerk is preysed. The clerk, whan he is old, and may noght do Of Venus werkes worth his olde sho, Than sit he doun, and writ in his dotage That wommen can nat kepe hir mariage! “uYo ees, anniJk adh iths oobk htat he delvo to reda lal teh mite, ayd dna ihtgn. ehT enma of het okob asw aVsiurel dan Theophrastus, nda it ywlasa maed imh aguhl. shiT book cllyauat eistdsonc of ymna sbook lal ndobu up onti a neigls mlveou nda ceddunil teh naRom rlcaadni St. emoJre’s book astaing vnJioian as wlle as idOv’s tAr of Love, eth slraPeab of Solomon, adn ehrto inmcioitsgsy rskow by ineaurlTt, hiuCpssrpy, lrtTaou, adn leoeHis, hte nun frmo siarP. nAd enwevreh he adh esmo eefr tiem, eerthwh it be tghin or yda, he’d tis dwno to drea lal otbau eht elsiv of noewm in siht obko. In tfca, he wnek roem bauto heets nowme tanh he did uabto all eht good oewnm tnodminee in hte Bible. surtT me: No shrcalo lliw rvee apesir hte utvrise of a oamwn susnle esh naephsp to be a inast. tBu by dGo, if enwom ahd enritwt stohe oskbo idesatn of nme, yeth’d be ufll of isetosr bouta enm’s cedweinssk, emro eliv tnah all of ikdnamn dclou evre ntaeo fro. nMe rea rfom eMcrryu nad mneow aer frmo usneV, teyh asy, nad lwhei eurcMry solve egnlniar, snVeu lsevo hnvgai unf. dAn eeacbus etyh’re laopr itpspsooe, haec oen eolss rpweo eenrvweh the rteoh one is in the kys, hchiw nseam atth no lohsacr odlwu rvee aeiprs ayn arhuegdt of nsueV. And so, hnwe loyslhcra men are old dna rgey dan nca’t get it up mnoaeyr, hety tsi nwod and irtew awful ihtsng baout emwon who athce on rihet sbsanudh!