The Cook’s Prologue

From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

CkT 4325 The Cook of Londoun, whil the Reve spak,
CkT 4326 For joye him thoughte he clawed him on the bak.
CkT 4327 “Ha! ha!” quod he, “For Cristes passion,
CkT 4328 This millere hadde a sharp conclusion
CkT 4329 Upon his argument of herbergage!
CkT 4330 Wel seyde Salomon in his langage,
CkT 4331 ‘Ne bryng nat every man into thyn hous,’
CkT 4332 For herberwynge by nyghte is perilous.
CkT 4333 Wel oghte a man avysed for to be
CkT 4334 Whom that he broghte into his pryvetee.
CkT 4335 I pray to God, so yeve me sorwe and care
CkT 4336 If evere, sitthe I highte Hogge of Ware,
CkT 4337 Herde I a millere bettre yset a-werk.
CkT 4338 He hadde a jape of malice in the derk.
CkT 4339 But God forbede that we stynte heere;
CkT 4340 And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to heere
CkT 4341 A tale of me, that am a povre man,
CkT 4342 I wol yow telle, as wel as evere I kan,
CkT 4343 A litel jape that fil in oure citee.”
CkT 4344 Oure Hoost answerde and seide, “I graunte it thee.
CkT 4345 Now telle on, Roger; looke that it be good,
CkT 4346 For many a pastee hastow laten blood,
CkT 4347 And many a Jakke of Dovere hastow soold
CkT 4348 That hath been twies hoot and twies coold.
CkT 4349 Of many a pilgrym hastow Cristes curs,
CkT 4350 For of thy percely yet they fare the wors,
CkT 4351 That they han eten with thy stubbel goos,
CkT 4352 For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.
CkT 4353 Now telle on, gentil Roger by thy name.
CkT 4354 But yet I pray thee, be nat wroth for game;
CkT 4355 A man may seye ful sooth in game and pley.”
CkT 4356 “Thou seist ful sooth,” quod Roger, “by my fey!
CkT 4357 But `sooth pley, quaad pley,’ as the Flemyng seith.
CkT 4358 And therfore, Herry Bailly, by thy feith,
CkT 4359 Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,
CkT 4360 Though that my tale be of an hostileer.
CkT 4361 But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit;
CkT 4362 But er we parte, ywis, thou shalt be quit.”
CkT 4363 And therwithal he lough and made cheere,
CkT 4364 And seyde his tale, as ye shul after heere.