Original Text

Modern Text

Wo was this knight and sorwefully he syketh;
But what! he may nat do al as him lyketh.
And at the laste, he chees him for to wende,
60And come agayn, right at the yeres ende,
With swich answere as God wolde him purveye;
And taketh his leve, and wendeth forth his weye.
The sad knight heaved a deep sigh but had no answer for the queen. And so he decided to leave and search for whatever answer to the queen’s question God found fit to give him.
He seketh every hous and every place,
Wher-as he hopeth for to finde grace,
To lerne, what thing wommen loven most;
But he ne coude arryven in no cost,
Wher-as he mighte finde in this matere
Two creatures accordinge in-fere.
The knight looked everywhere to find out what women want most. He looked in every house and in any place where people would talk with him. He couldn’t find any place, though, where two people would give him the same answer.
Somme seyde, wommen loven best richesse,
70Somme seyde, honour, somme seyde, Iolynesse;
Somme, riche array, somme seyden, lust abedde,
And ofte tyme to be widwe and wedde.
Some people told him that women love money the most. Others, honor. Some said happiness and laughter, and others claimed women like nice clothes and fine jewelry. Some said women want good sex, and others said women want to be able to marry multiple times.
Somme seyde, that our hertes been most esed,
Whan that we been y-flatered and y-plesed.
He gooth ful ny the sothe, I wol nat lye;
A man shal winne us best with flaterye;
And with attendance, and with bisinesse,
Been we y-lymed, bothe more and lesse.
Other people said that we women want to be flattered more than anything else, and—I’ll confess—this is actually pretty close to the truth since we women can be won with nice words and constant attention.
And somme seyn, how that we loven best
80For to be free, and do right as us lest,
And that no man repreve us of our vyce,
But seye that we be wyse, and no-thing nyce.
For trewely, ther is noon of us alle,
If any wight wol clawe us on the galle,
That we nil kike, for he seith us sooth;
Assay, and he shal finde it that so dooth.
For be we never so vicious with-inne,
We wol been holden wyse, and clene of sinne.
Other people said that we women want freedom more than anything else, freedom to do whatever we want without having men around to scold and tell us how silly we are. No woman likes to hear this, even if it’s the truth. Go ahead and try it, and see how your woman reacts!