The Cook’s Tale

From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

CkT 4365 A prentys whilom dwelled in oure citee,
CkT 4366 And of a craft of vitailliers was hee.
CkT 4367 Gaillard he was as goldfynch in the shawe,
CkT 4368 Broun as a berye, a propre short felawe,
CkT 4369 With lokkes blake, ykembd ful fetisly.
CkT 4370 Dauncen he koude so wel and jolily
CkT 4371 That he was cleped Perkyn Revelour.
CkT 4372 He was as ful of love and paramour
CkT 4373 As is the hyve ful of hony sweete;
CkT 4374 Wel was the wenche with hym myghte meete.
CkT 4375 At every bridale wolde he synge and hoppe;
CkT 4376 He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe.
CkT 4377 For whan ther any ridyng was in Chepe,
CkT 4378 Out of the shoppe thider wolde he lepe —
CkT 4379 Til that he hadde al the sighte yseyn,
CkT 4380 And daunced wel, he wolde nat come ayeyn —
CkT 4381 And gadered hym a meynee of his sort
CkT 4382 To hoppe and synge and maken swich disport;
CkT 4383 And ther they setten stevene for to meete,
CkT 4384 To pleyen at the dys in swich a streete.
CkT 4385 For in the toune nas ther no prentys
CkT 4386 That fairer koude caste a paire of dys
CkT 4387 Than Perkyn koude, and therto he was free
CkT 4388 Of his dispense, in place of pryvetee.
CkT 4389 That fond his maister wel in his chaffare,
CkT 4390 For often tyme he foond his box ful bare.
CkT 4391 For sikerly a prentys revelour
CkT 4392 That haunteth dys, riot, or paramour,
CkT 4393 His maister shal it in his shoppe abye,
CkT 4394 Al have he no part of the mynstralcye.
CkT 4395 For thefte and riot, they been convertible,
CkT 4396 Al konne he pleye on gyterne or ribible.
CkT 4397 Revel and trouthe, as in a lowe degree,
CkT 4398 They been ful wrothe al day, as men may see.
CkT 4399 This joly prentys with his maister bood,
CkT 4400 Til he were ny out of his prentishood,
CkT 4401 Al were he snybbed bothe erly and late,
CkT 4402 And somtyme lad with revel to Newegate.
CkT 4403 But atte laste his maister hym bithoghte,
CkT 4404 Upon a day, whan he his papir soghte,
CkT 4405 Of a proverbe that seith this same word:
CkT 4406 “Wel bet is roten appul out of hoord
CkT 4407 Than that it rotie al the remenaunt.”
CkT 4408 So fareth it by a riotous servaunt;
CkT 4409 It is ful lasse harm to lete hym pace,
CkT 4410 Than he shende alle the servantz in the place.
CkT 4411 Therfore his maister yaf hym acquitance,
CkT 4412 And bad hym go, with sorwe and with meschance!
CkT 4413 And thus this joly prentys hadde his leve.
CkT 4414 Now lat hym riote al the nyght or leve.
CkT 4415 And for ther is no theef withoute a lowke,
CkT 4416 That helpeth hym to wasten and to sowke
CkT 4417 Of that he brybe kan or borwe may,
CkT 4418 Anon he sente his bed and his array
CkT 4419 Unto a compeer of his owene sort,
CkT 4420 That lovede dys, and revel, and disport,
CkT 4421 And hadde a wyf that heeld for contenance
CkT 4422 A shoppe, and swyved for hir sustenance.