Chaucer, Geoffrey, d. 1400. The Canterbury tales :
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The Pardoner's Prologue
329: lordynges, quod he, in chirches whan I preche,
330: I peyne me to han an hauteyn speche,
331: And rynge it out as round as gooth a belle,
332: For I kan al by rote that I telle.
333: My theme is alwey oon, and evere was --
334: Radix malorum est cupiditas.
335: first I pronounce wheenes that I come,
336: And thanne my bulles shewe I, alle and some.
337: Oure lige lordes seel on my patente,
338: That shewe I first, my body to warente,
339: That no man be so boold, ne preest ne clerk,
340: Me to destourbe of cristes hooly werk.
341: And after that thanne telle I forth my tales;
342: Bulles of popes and of cardynales,
343: Of patriarkes and bishopes I shewe
344: And in latyn I speke a wordes fewe,
345: To saffron with my predicacioun,
346: And for to stire hem to devocioun.
347: Thanne shewe I forth my longe cristal stones,
348: Ycrammed ful of cloutes and of bones, --
349: Relikes been they, as wenen they echoon.
350: Thanne have I in latoun a sholder-boon
351: Which that was of an hooly jewes sheep.
352: Goode men, I seye, taak of my wordes keep;
353: If that this boon be wasshe in any welle,
354: If cow, or calf, or sheep, or oxe swelle
355: That any worm hath ete, or worm ystonge,
356: Taak water of that welle and wassh his tonge,
357: And it is hool anon; and forthermoore,
358: Of pokkes and of scabbe, and every soore
359: Shal every sheep be hool that of this welle
360: Drynketh a draughte. Taak kep eek what I telle --
361: If that the good-man that the beestes oweth
362: Wol every wyke, er that the cok hym croweth,
363: Fastynge, drynken of this welle a draughte,
364: As thilke hooly jew oure eldres taughte,
365: His beestes and his stoor shal multiplie.
366: and, sires, also it heeleth jalousie;
367: For though a man be falle in jalous rage,
368: Lat maken with this water his potage,
369: And nevere shal he moore his wyf mystriste,
370: Though he the soothe of hir defaute wiste,
371: Al had she taken prestes two or thre.
372: heere is a miteyn eek, that ye may se.
373: He that his hand wol putte in this mitayn,
374: He shal have multipliyng of his grayn,
375: Whan he hath sowen, be it whete or otes,
376: So that he offre pens, or elles grotes.
377: goode men and wommen, o thyng warne I yow --
378: If any wight be in this chirche now
379: That hath doon synne horrible, that he
380: Dar nat, for shame, of it yshryven be,
381: Or any womman, be she yong or old,
382: That hath ymaad hir housbonde cokewold,
383: Swich folk shal have no power ne no grace
384: To offren to my relikes in this place.
385: And whoso fyndeth hym out of swich blame,
386: He wol come up and offre in goddes name,
387: And I assoille him by the auctoritee
388: Which that by bulle ygraunted was to me.
389: by this gaude have I wonne, yeer by yeer,
390: An hundred mark sith I was pardoner.
391: I stonde lyk a clerk in my pulpet,
392: And whan the lewed peple is doun yset,
393: I preche so as ye han herd bifoore,
394: And telle an hundred false japes moore.
395: Thanne peyne I me to strecche forth the nekke,
396: And est and west upon the peple I bekke,
397: As dooth a dowve sittynge on a berne.
398: Myne handes and my tonge goon so yerne
399: That it is joye to se my bisynesse.
400: Of avarice and of swich cursednesse
401: Is al my prechyng, for to make hem free
402: To yeven hir pens, and namely unto me.
403: For myn entente is nat but for to wynne,
404: And nothyng for correccioun of synne.
405: I rekke nevere, whan that they been beryed,
406: Though that hir soules goon a-blakeberyed!
407: For certes, many a predicacioun
408: Comth ofte tyme of yvel entencioun;
409: Som for plesance of folk and flaterye,
410: To been avaunced by ypocrisye,
411: And som for veyne glorie, and som for hate.
412: For whan I dar noon oother weyes debate,
413: Thanne wol I stynge hym with my tonge smerte
414: In prechyng, so that he shal nat asterte
415: To been defamed falsly, if that he
416: Hath trespased to my bretheren or to me.
417: For though I telle noght his propre name,
418: Men shal wel knowe that it is the same,
419: By signes, and by othere circumstances.
420: Thus quyte I folk that doon us displesances;
421: Thus spitte I out my venym under hewe
422: Of hoolynesse, to semen hooly and trewe.
423: but shortly myn entente I wol devyse --
424: I preche of no thyng but for coveityse.
425: Therfore my theme is yet, and evere was,
426: Radix malorum est cupiditas.
427: Thus kan I preche agayn that same vice
428: Which that I use, and that is avarice.
429: But though myself be gilty in that synne,
430: Yet kan I maken oother folk to twynne
431: From avarice, and soore to repente.
432: But that is nat my principal entente;
433: I preche nothyng but for coveitise.
434: Of this mateere it oghte ynogh suffise.
435: thanne telle I hem ensamples many oon
436: Of olde stories longe tyme agoon.
437: For lewed peple loven tales olde;
438: Swiche thynges kan they wel reporte and holde.
439: What, trowe ye, that whiles I may preche,
440: And wynne gold and silver for I teche,
441: That I wol lyve in poverte wilfully?
442: Nay, nay, I thoghte it nevere, trewwly!
443: For I wol preche and begge in sondry landes;
444: I wol nat do no labour with myne handes,
445: Ne make baskettes, and lyve therby,
446: By cause I wol nat beggen ydelly.
447: I wol noon of the apostles countrefete;
448: I wol have moneie, wolle, chese, and whete,
449: Al were it yeven of the povereste page,
450: Or of the povereste wydwe in a village,
451: Al sholde hir children sterve for famyne.
452: Nay, I wol drynke licour of the vyne,
453: And have a joly wenche in every toun.
454: But herkneth, lordynges, in conclusioun --
455: Youre likyng is that I shal telle a tale.
456: Now have I dronke a draughte of corny ale,
457: By god, I hope I shal yow telle a thyng
458: That shal be reson been at youre likyng.
459: For though myself be a ful vicious man,
460: A moral tale yet I yow telle kan,
461: Which I am wont to preche for to wynne.
462: Now hoold youre pees! my tale I wol bigynne.