Friday, October 03, 2008

Chaucer is still funny

The Wife of Bath's Prologue (1370-ish)

In wyfhod I wol use myn instrument
As frely as my Makere hath it sent.
If I be daungerous, God yeve me sorwe!
Myn housbonde shal it have bothe eve and morwe,
Whan that hym list come forth and paye his dette.
An housbonde I wol have -- I wol nat lette --
Which shal be bothe my dettour and my thral,
And have his tribulacion withal
Upon his flessh, whil that I am his wyf.
I have the power durynge al my lyf
Upon his propre body, and noght he.

...

and then later...

...

Thow seyst we wyves wol oure vices hide
Til we be fast, and thanne we wol hem shewe
Wel may that be a proverbe of a shrewe!

Thou seist that oxen, asses, hors, and houndes,
They been assayed at diverse stoundes;
Bacyns, lavours, er that men hem bye,
Spoones and stooles, and al swich housbondrye,
And so been pottes, clothes, and array;
But folk of wyves maken noon assay,
Til they be wedded -- olde dotard shrewe! --
And thanne, seistow, we wol oure vices shewe.

He's paraphrasing St. Jerome, but it's just awesome....and no, I'm not talking about Mickelle.

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