Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE PROLOGUE OF THE NONNE PRESTES TALE. (T. 14773-14798). - The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 4 (The Canterbury Tales)
THE PROLOGUE OF THE NONNE PRESTES TALE. (T. 14773-14798). - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 4 (The Canterbury Tales) 
The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). 7 vols. Vol. 4.
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THE PROLOGUE OF THE NONNE PRESTES TALE.
The prologue of the Nonne Preestes Tale.
- ‘HO!’ quod the knight, ‘good sir, na-more of this,
- That ye han seyd is right y-nough, y-wis,
- And mochel more; for litel hevinesse
- Is right y-nough to mochel folk, I gesse.3960
- I seye for me, it is a greet disese
- Wher-as men han ben in greet welthe and ese,
- To heren of hir sodeyn fal, allas!
- And the contrarie is Ioie and greet solas,
- As whan a man hath been in povre estaat,3965
- And clymbeth up, and wexeth fortunat,(10)
- And ther abydeth in prosperitee,
- Swich thing is gladsom, as it thinketh me,
- And of swich thing were goodly for to telle.’
- ‘Ye,’ quod our hoste, ‘by seint Poules belle,3970
- Ye seye right sooth; this monk, he clappeth loude,
- He spak how “fortune covered with a cloude”
- I noot never what, and als of a “Tragedie”
- Right now ye herde, and parde! no remedie
- It is for to biwaille, ne compleyne3975
- That that is doon, and als it is a peyne,(20)
- As ye han seyd, to here of hevinesse.
- Sir monk, na-more of this, so god yow blesse!
- Your tale anoyeth al this companye;
- Swich talking is nat worth a boterflye;3980
- For ther-in is ther no desport ne game.
- Wherfor, sir Monk, or dan Piers by your name,
- I preye yow hertely, telle us somwhat elles,
- For sikerly, nere clinking of your belles,
- That on your brydel hange on every syde,3985
- By heven king, that for us alle dyde,(30)
- I sholde er this han fallen doun for slepe,
- Although the slough had never been so depe;
- Than had your tale al be told in vayn.
- For certeinly, as that thise clerkes seyn,3990
- “Wher-as a man may have noon audience,
- Noght helpeth it to tellen his sentence.”
- And wel I woot the substance is in me,
- If any thing shal wel reported be.
- Sir, sey somwhat of hunting, I yow preye.’3995
- ‘Nay,’ quod this monk, ‘I have no lust to pleye;(40)
- Now let another telle, as I have told.’
- Than spak our host, with rude speche and bold,
- And seyde un-to the Nonnes Preest anon,
- ‘Com neer, thou preest, com hider, thou sir Iohn,4000
- Tel us swich thing as may our hertes glade,
- Be blythe, though thou ryde up-on a Iade.
- What though thyn hors be bothe foule and lene,
- If he wol serve thee, rekke nat a bene;
- Look that thyn herte be mery evermo.’4005
- ‘Yis, sir,’ quod he, ‘yis, host, so mote I go,(50)
- But I be mery, y-wis, I wol be blamed:’—
- And right anon his tale he hath attamed,
- And thus he seyde un-to us everichon,
- This swete preest, this goodly man, sir Iohn.4010