The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale Page 23

page Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale: Page 23

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Of Clitemistra, for hir lecherye,
That falsly made hir housbond for to dye,
He redde it with ful good devocioun.
“And then he brought up Clytemnestra, who cheated on her husband, which ultimately killed him. Jankin liked this story too.
740He tolde me eek for what occasioun
Amphiorax at Thebes loste his lyf;
Myn housbond hadde a legende of his wyf,
Eriphilem, that for an ouche of gold
Hath prively unto the Grekes told
Wher that hir housbonde hidde him in a place,
For which he hadde at Thebes sory grace.
“He told me the story about Eriphyle from the city of Thebes, who was married to Amphiarus and sold out her husband to the Greeks for a piece of gold jewelry.
Of Lyma tolde he me, and of Lucye,
They bothe made hir housbondes for to dye;
That oon for love, that other was for hate;
750Lyma hir housbond, on an even late,
Empoysoned hath, for that she was his fo.
Lucya, likerous, loved hir housbond so,
That, for he sholde alwey upon hir thinke,
She yaf him swich a maner love-drinke,
That he was deed, er it were by the morwe;
And thus algates housbondes han sorwe.
“Then there was Livia and Lucilla, who murdered their husbands. Livia hated her husband, so she poisoned him one night. Lucilla, on the other hand, gave her husband a love potion so that he wouldn’t think of other girls, but it ended up killing him in his sleep.
Than tolde he me, how oon Latumius
Compleyned to his felawe Arrius,
That in his gardin growed swich a tree,
760On which, he seyde, how that his wyves three
Hanged hem-self for herte despitous.
“O leve brother,” quod this Arrius,
“Yif me a plante of thilke blissed tree,
And in my gardin planted shal it be!”
“Then Jankin told me about a guy named Latumisu who complained to his friend Arrius about how his three wives had hanged themselves from the branches of the peach tree in his garden out of spite. ‘My dear friend,’ Arrius had replied. ‘That’s great! Give me a seed from this tree so that I can plant it in my own garden!’