The Prologue of the Nonnes Preestes Tale.
"Hoo!" quod the Knyght, "good sire, namoore of this,
That ye han seyd is right ynough, ywis,
And muchel moore, for litel hevynesse
Is right ynough to muche folk, I gesse.
I seye for me, it is a greet disese
Where as men han been in greet welthe and ese,
To heeren of hir sodeyn fal, allas!
And the contrarie is joye and greet solas,
As whan a man hath been in povre estaat,
And clymbeth up, and wexeth fortunat,
And there abideth in prosperitee.
Swich thyng is gladsom, as it thynketh me,
And of swich thyng were goodly for to telle."
"Ye," quod our Hoost, "by Seint Poules belle,
Ye seye right sooth; this Monk, he clappeth lowde,
He spak, how Fortune covered with a clowde -
I noot nevere what; and also of a tragedie
Right now ye herde; and pardee, no remedie
It is for to biwaille ne compleyne
That that is doon; and als it is a peyne,
As ye han seyd, to heere of hevynesse.
Sire Monk, namoore of this, so God yow blesse!
Youre tale anoyeth al this compaignye;
Swich talkyng is nat worth a boterflye,
For therinne is ther no desport ne game.
Wherfore, sire Monk, or daun Piers by youre name,
I pray yow hertely, telle us somwhat elles,
For sikerly, nere clynkyng of youre belles
That on your bridel hange on every syde,
By hevene kyng, that for us alle dyde,
I sholde er this han fallen doun for sleepe,
Althogh the slough had never been so deepe;
Thanne hadde your tale al be toold in veyn.
For certeinly, as that thise clerkes seyn,
Whereas a man may have noon audience,
Noght helpeth it to tellen his sentence.
And wel I woot the substance is in me,
If any thyng shal wel reported be.
Sir, sey somwhat of huntyng, I yow preye."
"Nay," quod this Monk, "I have no lust to pleye;
Not lat another telle as I have toold."
Thanne spak oure Hoost, with rude speche and boold,
And seyde unto the Nonnes Preest anon,
"Com neer, thou preest, com hyder, thou, sir John,
Telle us swich thyng as may oure hertes glade;
Be blithe, though thou ryde upon a jade.
What thogh thyn hors be bothe foul and lene?
If he wol serve thee, rekke nat a bene!
Looke that thyn herte be murie everemo."
"Yis, sir," quod he, "yis, Hoost, so moot I go,
But I be myrie, ywis, I wol be blamed."
And right anon his tale he hath attamed,
And thus he seyde unto us everichon,
This sweete preest, this goodly man sir John.