Geoffrey Chaucer, The Cook's Prologue (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation) - Poem by Forrest Hainline
The Cook of London, while the Reeve spak,
For joy he thought he clawed him on the back.
'Ha! ha! ' said he, 'For Christ's passion,
This miller had a sharp conclusion
Upon his argument of harborage!
Well said Salomon in his language,
‘Ne bring not every man into thy house, '
For harborage by night is perilous.
Well ought a man avised for to be
Whom that he brought into his privitee.
I pray to God, so give me sorrow and care
If ever, since I hight Hogge of Ware,
Heard I a miller better set at work.
He had a jape of malice in the dark.
But God forbid that we stint here;
And therefore, if you vouchsafe to hear
A tale of me, that am a poor man,
I will you tell, as well as ever I can,
A little jape that fell in our city.'
Our Host answered and said, 'I grant it thee.
Now tell on, Roger; look that it be good,
For of many a pastry hast thou leten blood,
And many a Jack of Dover hast thou sold
That has been twice hot and twice cold.
Of many a pilgrim hast thou Christ's curse,
For of thy parsley yet they fare the worse,
That they have eaten with thy subbed goose,
For in thy shop is many a fly loose.
Now tell on, gentle Roger by thy name.
But yet I pray thee, be not wroth for game;
A man may say full sooth in game and play.'
'Thou sayest full sooth, ' said Roger, 'by my faith!
But ‘true play, bad play, ' as the Fleming says.
And therefore, Harry Bailly, by thy faith,
Be thou not wroth, ere we depart here,
Thought that my tale be of an hostiler.
But nonetheless I will not tell it yet;
But ere we part, iwis, thou shalt be quit.'
And therewithal he laughed and made cheer,
And said his tale, as you shall after hear.
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