The Miller’s Prologue

From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

MilT 3109 Whan that the Knyght had thus his tale ytoold,
MilT 3110 In al the route nas ther yong ne oold
MilT 3111 That he ne seyde it was a noble storie
MilT 3112 And worthy for to drawen to memorie,
MilT 3113 And namely the gentils everichon.
MilT 3114 Oure Hooste lough and swoor, “So moot I gon,
MilT 3115 This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male.
MilT 3116 Lat se now who shal telle another tale;
MilT 3117 For trewely the game is wel bigonne.
MilT 3118 Now telleth ye, sir Monk, if that ye konne,
MilT 3119 Somwhat to quite with the Knyghtes tale.”
MilT 3120 The Millere, that for dronken was al pale,
MilT 3121 So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
MilT 3122 He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
MilT 3123 Ne abyde no man for his curteisie,
MilT 3124 But in Pilates voys he gan to crie,
MilT 3125 And swoor, “By armes, and by blood and bones,
MilT 3126 I kan a noble tale for the nones,
MilT 3127 With which I wol now quite the Knyghtes tale.”
MilT 3128 Oure Hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale,
MilT 3129 And seyde, “Abyd, Robyn, my leeve brother;
MilT 3130 Som bettre man shal telle us first another.
MilT 3131 Abyd, and lat us werken thriftily.”
MilT 3132 “By Goddes soule,” quod he, “that wol nat I;
MilT 3133 For I wol speke or elles go my wey.”
MilT 3134 Oure Hoost answerde, “Tel on, a devel wey!
MilT 3135 Thou art a fool; thy wit is overcome.”
MilT 3136 “Now herkneth,” quod the Millere, “alle and some!
MilT 3137 But first I make a protestacioun
MilT 3138 That I am dronke; I knowe it by my soun.
MilT 3139 And therfore if that I mysspeke or seye,
MilT 3140 Wyte it the ale of Southwerk, I you preye.
MilT 3141 For I wol telle a legende and a lyf
MilT 3142 Bothe of a carpenter and of his wyf,
MilT 3143 How that a clerk hath set the wrightes cappe.”
MilT 3144 The Reve answerde and seyde, “Stynt thy clappe!
MilT 3145 Lat be thy lewed dronken harlotrye.
MilT 3146 It is a synne and eek a greet folye
MilT 3147 To apeyren any man, or hym defame,
MilT 3148 And eek to bryngen wyves in swich fame.
MilT 3149 Thou mayst ynogh of othere thynges seyn.”
MilT 3150 This dronke Millere spak ful soone ageyn
MilT 3151 And seyde, “Leve brother Osewold,
MilT 3152 Who hath no wyf, he is no cokewold.
MilT 3153 But I sey nat therfore that thou art oon;
MilT 3154 Ther been ful goode wyves many oon,
MilT 3155 And evere a thousand goode ayeyns oon badde.
MilT 3156 That knowestow wel thyself, but if thou madde.
MilT 3157 Why artow angry with my tale now?
MilT 3158 I have a wyf, pardee, as wel as thow;
MilT 3159 Yet nolde I, for the oxen in my plogh,
MilT 3160 Take upon me moore than ynogh,
MilT 3161 As demen of myself that I were oon;
MilT 3162 I wol bileve wel that I am noon.
MilT 3163 An housbonde shal nat been inquisityf
MilT 3164 Of Goddes pryvetee, nor of his wyf.
MilT 3165 So he may fynde Goddes foyson there,
MilT 3166 Of the remenant nedeth nat enquere.”
MilT 3167 What sholde I moore seyn, but this Millere
MilT 3168 He nolde his wordes for no man forbere,
MilT 3169 But tolde his cherles tale in his manere.
MilT 3170 M’ athynketh that I shal reherce it heere.
MilT 3171 And therfore every gentil wight I preye,
MilT 3172 For Goddes love, demeth nat that I seye
MilT 3173 Of yvel entente, but for I moot reherce
MilT 3174 Hir tales alle, be they bettre or werse,
MilT 3175 Or elles falsen som of my mateere.
MilT 3176 And therfore, whoso list it nat yheere,
MilT 3177 Turne over the leef and chese another tale;
MilT 3178 For he shal fynde ynowe, grete and smale,
MilT 3179 Of storial thyng that toucheth gentillesse,
MilT 3180 And eek moralitee and hoolynesse.
MilT 3181 Blameth nat me if that ye chese amys.
MilT 3182 The Millere is a cherl; ye knowe wel this.
MilT 3183 So was the Reve eek and othere mo,
MilT 3184 And harlotrie they tolden bothe two.
MilT 3185 Avyseth yow, and put me out of blame;
MilT 3186 And eek men shal nat maken ernest of game.