Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE MANCIPLE'S PROLOGUE. (T. 16950-16968). - The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 4 (The Canterbury Tales)
THE MANCIPLE’S PROLOGUE. (T. 16950-16968). - 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 MANCIPLE’S PROLOGUE.
Here folweth the Prologe of the Maunciples Tale.
- WITE ye nat wher ther stant a litel toun
- Which that y-cleped is Bob-up-and-doun,
- Under the Blee, in Caunterbury weye?
- Ther gan our hoste for to Iape and pleye,
- And seyde, ‘sirs, what! Dun is in the myre!5
- Is ther no man, for preyere ne for hyre,
- That wol awake our felawe heer bihinde?
- A theef mighte him ful lightly robbe and binde.
- See how he nappeth! see, for cokkes bones,
- As he wol falle from his hors at ones.10
- Is that a cook of Londoun, with meschaunce?
- Do him come forth, he knoweth his penaunce,
- For he shal telle a tale, by my fey!
- Al-though it be nat worth a botel hey.
- Awake, thou cook,’ quod he, ‘god yeve thee sorwe,15
- What eyleth thee to slepe by the morwe?
- Hastow had fleen al night, or artow dronke,
- Or hastow with som quene al night y-swonke,
- So that thou mayst nat holden up thyn heed?’
- This cook, that was ful pale and no-thing reed,20
- Seyde to our host, ‘so god my soule blesse,
- As ther is falle on me swich hevinesse,
- Noot I nat why, that me were lever slepe
- Than the beste galoun wyn in Chepe.’
- ‘Wel,’ quod the maunciple, ‘if it may doon ese25
- To thee, sir cook, and to no wight displese
- Which that heer rydeth in this companye,
- And that our host wol, of his curteisye,
- I wol as now excuse thee of thy tale;
- For, in good feith, thy visage is ful pale,30
- Thyn yen daswen eek, as that me thinketh,
- And wel I woot, thy breeth ful soure stinketh,
- That sheweth wel thou art not wel disposed;
- Of me, certein, thou shalt nat been y-glosed.
- Se how he ganeth, lo, this dronken wight,35
- As though he wolde us swolwe anon-right.
- Hold cloos thy mouth, man, by thy fader kin!
- The devel of helle sette his foot ther-in!
- Thy cursed breeth infecte wol us alle;
- Fy, stinking swyn, fy! foule moot thee falle!40
- A! taketh heed, sirs, of this lusty man.
- Now, swete sir, wol ye Iusten atte fan?
- Ther-to me thinketh ye been wel y-shape!
- I trowe that ye dronken han wyn ape,
- And that is whan men pleyen with a straw.’45
- And with this speche the cook wex wrooth and wraw,
- And on the maunciple he gan nodde faste
- For lakke of speche, and doun the hors him caste,
- Wher as he lay, til that men up him took;
- This was a fayr chivachee of a cook!50
- Allas! he nadde holde him by his ladel!
- And, er that he agayn were in his sadel,
- Ther was greet showving bothe to and fro,
- To lifte him up, and muchel care and wo,
- So unweldy was this sory palled gost.55
- And to the maunciple thanne spak our host,
- ‘By-cause drink hath dominacioun
- Upon this man, by my savacioun
- I trowe he lewedly wolde telle his tale.
- For, were it wyn, or old or moysty ale,60
- That he hath dronke, he speketh in his nose,
- And fneseth faste, and eek he hath the pose.
- He hath also to do more than y-nough
- To kepe him and his capel out of slough;
- And, if he falle from his capel eft-sone,65
- Than shul we alle have y-nough to done,
- In lifting up his hevy dronken cors.
- Telle on thy tale, of him make I no fors.
- But yet, maunciple, in feith thou art to nyce,
- Thus openly repreve him of his vyce.70
- Another day he wol, peraventure,
- Reclayme thee, and bringe thee to lure;
- I mene, he speke wol of smale thinges,
- As for to pinchen at thy rekeninges,
- That wer not honeste, if it cam to preef.’75
- ‘No,’ quod the maunciple, ‘that were a greet mescheef!
- So mighte he lightly bringe me in the snare.
- Yet hadde I lever payen for the mare
- Which he rit on, than he sholde with me stryve;
- I wol nat wratthe him, al-so mote I thryve!80
- That that I spak, I seyde it in my bourde;
- And wite ye what? I have heer, in a gourde,
- A draught of wyn, ye, of a rype grape,
- And right anon ye shul seen a good Iape.
- This cook shal drinke ther-of, if I may;85
- Up peyne of deeth, he wol nat seye me nay!’
- And certeinly, to tellen as it was,
- Of this vessel the cook drank faste, allas!
- What neded him? he drank y-nough biforn.
- And whan he hadde pouped in this horn,90
- To the maunciple he took the gourde agayn;
- And of that drinke the cook was wonder fayn,
- And thanked him in swich wyse as he coude.
- Than gan our host to laughen wonder loude,
- And seyde, ‘I see wel, it is necessarie,95
- Wher that we goon, good drink we with us carie;
- For that wol turne rancour and disese
- Tacord and love, and many a wrong apese.
- O thou Bachus, y-blessed be thy name,
- That so canst turnen ernest in-to game!100
- Worship and thank be to thy deitee!
- Of that matere ye gete na more of me.
- Tel on thy tale, maunciple, I thee preye.’
- ‘Wel, sir,’ quod he, ‘now herkneth what I seye.’
Thus endeth the Prologe of the Manciple.