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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffery Chaucer

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Translation of "The Nun's Priest's Tale" courtesy Gerard NeCastro, University of Maine at Machias.

The Nun's Priest's Tale

The Prologue of the Nun's Priest's Tale

"Ho, good sir, no more of this," said the Knight. "What you have told is enough, in truth, and much more, for a little sorrow goes a long way with most people, I believe. As for me, it is a great distress to hear of the sudden fall of people who have been in great wealth and ease. Alas! And the contrary is joy and delight, as when a man who has been in a low station climbs up and becomes prosperous and remains there. Such a thing is joyful and pleasant to speak of." [2579]

"Yes, by St. Paul's bell," said our Host, "you tell the truth. This monk mouth rings loudly; he told about how Fortune 'covered with a cloud' I don't know what. And you also heard right now of a 'tragedy,' and yet it does not help, by God, to bewail or complain of what is past. And also it is grievous, as you have said, to hear of such sorrow. Sir Monk, no more of this, for the love of heaven. Your tale distresses this whole party. Such talk is not worth a butterfly, for there is no joviality or sport in it. [2591]

Therefore, Sir Monk, or, by your name, Sir Peter, tell us something else, I pray you heartily; for in truth, were it not for the clinking of your bells, hanging over all your bridle, by heaven's king, I would have fallen from this horse into slumber by now, even if the mud is not very comfortable or deep. Then your tale would have been told in vain, for truly, as these scholars say, 'Whenever a man can find no audience, it does no good to offer one's opinions.' I know how to understand a good tale well told, I believe. Sir, tell something about hunting, I ask you." [2805]
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