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But all with silver wrought ful clene and wel,

Hir girdeles and hir pouches every del.1
Wel semed eche of hem a fayre burgeis,

To sitten in a gild halle, on the deis.
Everich for the wisdom that he can,
Was shapelich for to ben an alderman.
For catel hadden they ynough and rent,
And eke hir wives wolde it wel assent:
And elles certainly they were to blame.
It is ful fayre to be ycleped madame,
And for to gon to vigiles all before,
And have a mantel reallich2 ybore.

A COKE they hadden with hem for the nones,
To boile the chikenes and the marie bones,
And poudre marchant, tart and galingale.3
Wel coude he knowe a draught of London ale.
He coude roste, and sethe, and broile, and frie,
Maken mortrewes, and wel bake a pie.
But gret harm was it, as it thoughte me,
That on his shinne a mormals hadde he.
For blanc manger that made he with the best.

A SHIPMAN was ther, woned fer by West :
For ought I wote, he was of Dertemouth.
He rode upon a rouncie, as he couthe,
All in a goune of falding to the knee.

2 Royally.


3 Sweet cyperus.


4 Stews.

5 Cancer.

6 Who dwelt

7 Common hackney.

8 Coarse cloth



A dagger hanging by a las hadde he

About his nekke under his arm adoun.

The hote sommer hadde made his hewe al broun.

And certainly he was a good felaw.

Ful many a draught of win he hadde draw

From Burdeux ward, while that the chapman slepe.

Of nice conscience toke he no kepe.

If that he faught, and hadde the higher hand,

By water he sent hem home to every land.

But of his craft to reken wel his tides,
His stremes and his strandes him besides,
His herberwe, his mone, and his lodemanage,2
Ther was non swiche, from Hull unto Cartage.
Hardy he was, and wise, I undertake:

With many a tempest hadde his berd be shake.
He knew wel alle the havens, as they were,
Fro Gotland to the Cape de Finistere,
And every creke in Bretagne and in Spaine.
His barge ycleped was the Magdelaine.

With us ther was a DocтOUR OF PHISIKE,
In all this world ne was ther non him like
To speke of phisike, and of surgerie :
For he was grounded in astronomie.

He kept his patient a ful gret del

In houres by his magike naturel.

Wel coude he fortunen the ascendant
Of his images for his patient.

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He knew the cause of every maladie,
Were it of cold, or hote, or moist, or drie,
And wher engendred, and of what humour,
He was a veray parfite practisour.

The cause yknowe, and of his harm the rote,
Anon he gave to the sike man his bote.1
Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries

To send him dragges, and his lettuaries,
For eche of hem made other for to winne :

Hir frendship n'as not newe to beginne.

Wel knew he the old Esculapius,

And Dioscorides, and eke Rufus ;

Old Hippocras, Hali, and Gallien ;
Serapion, Rasis, and Avicen;

Averrois, Damascene, and Constantin;
Bernard, and Gatisden, and Gilbertin.
Of his diete mesurable was he,
For it was of no superfluitee,

But of gret nourishing, and digestible.

His studie was but litel on the Bible.

In sanguin and in perse he clad was alle

Lined with taffata, and with sendalle.3

And yet he was but esy of dispence :
He kepte that he wan in the pestilence.

For gold in phisike is a cordial;
Therfore he loved gold in special.

A good WIF was ther of beside BATHE,

But she was som del defe, and that was scathe.

1 Remedy.

2 In blood-red and in sky-blue.

3 A thin silk.

Of cloth making she hadde swiche an haunt,'
She passed hem of Ipres, and of Gaunt.
In all the parish wif ne was ther non,
That to the offring before hire shulde gon,


And it ther did, certain so wroth was she,
That she was out of alle charitee.

Hire coverchiets weren ful fine of ground;
I dorste swere, they weyeden a pound;

1 Practice.

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That on the Sonday were upon hire hede.
Hire hosen weren of fine scarlet rede,

Ful streite yteyed, and shoon ful moist and newe.
Bold was hire face, and fayre and rede of hew.
She was a worthy woman all hire live,

Housbondes at the chirche dore had she had five,
Withouten other compagnie in youthe.

But therof nedeth not to speke as nouthe.1
And thries hadde she ben at Jerusaleme.

She hadde passed many a strange streme.
At Rome she hadde ben, and at Boloine,
In Galice at Seint James, and at Coloine.
She coude moche of wandring by the way.
Gat-tothed was she, sothly for to say.
Upon an ambler esily she sat,

Ywimpled wel, and on hire hede an hat,

As brode as is a bokeler, or a targe.

A fote-mantel about hire hippes large,

And on hire fete a pair of sporres sharpe.

In felawship wel coude she laughe and carpe
Of remedies of love she knew perchance,


For of that arte she coude the olde dance.

A good man ther was of religioun,

That was a poure PERSONE 3 of a toun:

But riche he was of holy thought and werk.

He was also a lerned man, a clerk,

That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche.

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