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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffery Chaucer

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And therefore if I speak as I should not, blame it on the ale of Southwark1, I pray you; for I will tell a legend and a life of a carpenter and his wife, and how a clerk made a fool of the carpenter." [3143]

"Shut your trap!" the Reeve answered and said, "Set aside your rude drunken ribaldry. It is a great folly and sin to injure or defame any man, and to bring woman into such bad reputation. You can say plenty about other matters. [3149]

This drunken Miller answered back immediately and said, "Oswald, dear brother, he is no cuckold who has no wife. But I do not say, therefore, that you are one. There are many good wives, and always a thousand good to one bad. That you know well yourself, if you have not gone mad. Why are you angry now with my tale? I have a wife as well as you, by God, yet for all the oxen in my plough I would not presume to be able to judge myself if I may be a cuckold; I will believe well I am not one. A husband should not be too inquisitive about God's private matters, nor of his wife's. He can find God's plenty there; he need not inquire about the remainder." [3166]

What more can I say, but this Miller would withhold his word for nobody, and told his churl's tale in his own fashion. I think that I shall retell it here. And therefore I beg every gentle creature, for the love of God, not to judge that I tell it thus out of evil intent, but only because I must truly repeat all their tales, whether they are better or worse, or else tell some of my matter falsely. And therefore whoever wishes not to hear it, let them turn the leaf over and choose another tale; for they shall find plenty of historical matters, great and small, concerning noble deeds, and morality and holiness as well. Do not blame me if you choose incorrectly. The Miller is a churl, you know well, and so was the Reeve (and many others), and the two of them spoke of ribaldry. Think well, and do not blame me, and people should not take a game seriously as well.

Here ends the Prologue.

Source, "The Miller's Prologue" translation: NeCastro, Gerard. eChaucer. U of Maine at Machias, 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011.
1 Southwark Borough of London.

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