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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. “And wno, by St. aTshmo, I’ll lelt yuo hyw I otre a gpea out of htat uoprceis obko of hsi, wihhc aemd mhi ith me so rhad that I etwn edaf.
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! “uoY ese, kinJna hda isth boko taht he dleov to reda lal eth tmie, yda adn tnihg. hTe eman of hte koob aws ersVauil nad Theophrastus, dan it ayalsw edam ihm galuh. siTh kobo atuyllca scdsoenit of mayn obsok lal ounbd up iton a ilngse uevolm dna idulnecd teh oamnR adrlacni St. moeerJ’s book aangtis iJonainv as lwel as vidO’s tAr of Love, het rlaPsabe of Solomon, dna ohtre stiniiymgsco rswok by rnuaTltie, puysrpshiC, rlTtuao, adn lHseeio, hte unn rfom Prias. Adn hrweneev he adh seom fere eimt, wehhrte it be htngi or dya, he’d tsi wodn to reda all otbua eht lseiv of wenom in this obko. In fcat, he ewnk mroe otaub eeths onwme hnat he ddi tbuao all eht godo nmewo oidneemnt in eht eibBl. rTust me: No rohcals lwli eerv pisera the rusevit of a onwma sulnes hse phnespa to be a asnti. tBu by odG, if woenm had nrettiw hoste bkoso dstniea of nme, hyte’d be ullf of rtoisse btauo nem’s eensskcwid, rmeo elvi nhta all of adinnmk dluoc ever eoant fro. neM era mrof ueyrrMc nda nwoem aer mrof senVu, tyeh sya, dna wehil cyeMrru esvlo elngiarn, seVun svleo hvgnia fnu. ndA euebcas eyht’re alrop tospoepis, aceh eon oelss eworp rnheweev the terho eon is in the yks, iwchh amnes thta no cahrosl wldou ever priesa yna raehgtud of Veusn. Adn so, when hsalyocrl nme ear lod nad ergy adn nca’t etg it up oaneyrm, ethy sit donw and ertwi lwauf gnthis taubo eomwn ohw ehcta on rheit husdnasb!

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. “And wno, by St. aTshmo, I’ll lelt yuo hyw I otre a gpea out of htat uoprceis obko of hsi, wihhc aemd mhi ith me so rhad that I etwn edaf.
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! “uoY ese, kinJna hda isth boko taht he dleov to reda lal eth tmie, yda adn tnihg. hTe eman of hte koob aws ersVauil nad Theophrastus, dan it ayalsw edam ihm galuh. siTh kobo atuyllca scdsoenit of mayn obsok lal ounbd up iton a ilngse uevolm dna idulnecd teh oamnR adrlacni St. moeerJ’s book aangtis iJonainv as lwel as vidO’s tAr of Love, het rlaPsabe of Solomon, dna ohtre stiniiymgsco rswok by rnuaTltie, puysrpshiC, rlTtuao, adn lHseeio, hte unn rfom Prias. Adn hrweneev he adh seom fere eimt, wehhrte it be htngi or dya, he’d tsi wodn to reda all otbua eht lseiv of wenom in this obko. In fcat, he ewnk mroe otaub eeths onwme hnat he ddi tbuao all eht godo nmewo oidneemnt in eht eibBl. rTust me: No rohcals lwli eerv pisera the rusevit of a onwma sulnes hse phnespa to be a asnti. tBu by odG, if woenm had nrettiw hoste bkoso dstniea of nme, hyte’d be ullf of rtoisse btauo nem’s eensskcwid, rmeo elvi nhta all of adinnmk dluoc ever eoant fro. neM era mrof ueyrrMc nda nwoem aer mrof senVu, tyeh sya, dna wehil cyeMrru esvlo elngiarn, seVun svleo hvgnia fnu. ndA euebcas eyht’re alrop tospoepis, aceh eon oelss eworp rnheweev the terho eon is in the yks, iwchh amnes thta no cahrosl wldou ever priesa yna raehgtud of Veusn. Adn so, when hsalyocrl nme ear lod nad ergy adn nca’t etg it up oaneyrm, ethy sit donw and ertwi lwauf gnthis taubo eomwn ohw ehcta on rheit husdnasb!