By Geoffrey Chaucer
Buk 1 My maister Bukton, whan of Crist our kyng
Buk 2 Was axed what is trouthe or sothfastnesse,
Buk 3 He nat a word answerde to that axing,
Buk 4 As who saith, “No man is al trewe,” I gesse.
Buk 5 And therfore, though I highte to expresse
Buk 6 The sorwe and wo that is in mariage,
Buk 7 I dar not writen of it no wikkednesse,
Buk 8 Lest I myself falle eft in swich dotage.
Buk 9 I wol nat seyn how that yt is the cheyne
Buk 10 Of Sathanas, on which he gnaweth evere,
Buk 11 But I dar seyn, were he out of his peyne,
Buk 12 As by his wille he wolde be bounde nevere.
Buk 13 But thilke doted fool that eft hath levere
Buk 14 Ycheyned be than out of prison crepe,
Buk 15 God lete him never fro his wo dissevere,
Buk 16 Ne no man him bewayle, though he wepe.
Buk 17 But yet, lest thow do worse, take a wyf;
Buk 18 Bet ys to wedde than brenne in worse wise.
Buk 19 But thow shal have sorwe on thy flessh, thy lyf,
Buk 20 And ben thy wives thral, as seyn these wise;
Buk 21 And yf that hooly writ may nat suffyse,
Buk 22 Experience shal the teche, so may happe,
Buk 23 That the were lever to be take in Frise
Buk 24 Than eft to falle of weddynge in the trappe.
Buk 25 This lytel writ, proverbes, or figure
Buk 26 I sende yow; take kepe of yt, I rede;
Buk 27 Unwys is he that kan no wele endure.
Buk 28 If thow be siker, put the nat in drede.
Buk 29 The Wyf of Bathe I pray yow that ye rede
Buk 30 Of this matere that we have on honde.
Buk 31 God graunte yow your lyf frely to lede
Buk 32 In fredam, for ful hard is to be bonde.