The School Bag

The Pardoner’s Tale

Geoffrey Chaucer

463         In Flaundres whilom was a compaignye
                 In Flanders once was a company
464          Of yonge folk that haunteden folye,
                 Of young folk who practiced folly,
465          As riot, hasard, stywes, and tavernes,
                Such as debauchery, gambling, brothels, and taverns,
466          Where as with harpes, lutes, and gyternes,
                 Where with harps, lutes, and guitars,
467          They daunce and pleyen at dees bothe day and nyght,
                 They dance and play at dice both day and night,
468          And eten also and drynken over hir myght,
                 And also eat and drink beyond their capacity,
469          Thurgh which they doon the devel sacrifise
                 Through which they do the devil sacrifice
470          Withinne that develes temple in cursed wise
                 Within that devil's temple in cursed manner
471          By superfluytee abhomynable.
                 By abominable excess.
472          Hir othes been so grete and so dampnable
                 Their oaths are so great and so damnable
473          That it is grisly for to heere hem swere.
                 That it is grisly to hear them swear.
474          Oure blissed Lordes body they totere --
                 Our blessed Lord's body they tore in pieces --
475          Hem thoughte that Jewes rente hym noght ynough --
                 They thought that the Jews did not tear him enough --
476          And ech of hem at otheres synne lough.
                 And each of them laughed at the other's sin.
477          And right anon thanne comen tombesteres
                 And right away then come dancing girls
478          Fetys and smale, and yonge frutesteres,
                 Elegantly shaped and slim, and girls selling fruits,
479          Syngeres with harpes, baudes, wafereres,
                 Singers with harps, bawds, girls selling wafers,
480          Whiche been the verray develes officeres
                 Which are the very devil's officers
481          To kyndle and blowe the fyr of lecherye,
                 To kindle and blow the fire of lechery,
482          That is annexed unto glotonye.
                 That is joined unto gluttony.
483          The hooly writ take I to my witnesse
                 The Bible I take as my witness
484          That luxurie is in wyn and dronkenesse.
                 That lechery is in wine and drunkenness.

485          Lo, how that dronken Looth, unkyndely,
                 Lo, how that drunken Lot, unnaturally,
486          Lay by his doghtres two, unwityngly;
                 Lay by his two daughters, unwittingly;
487          So dronke he was, he nyste what he wroghte.
                 So drunk he was, he knew not what he did.
488          Herodes, whoso wel the stories soghte,
                 Herod, whoever should seek well the histories (would learn),
489          Whan he of wyn was repleet at his feeste,
                 When he was filled with wine at his feast,
490          Right at his owene table he yaf his heeste
                 Right at his own table he gave his command
491          To sleen the Baptist John, ful giltelees.
                 To slay John the Baptist, full guiltless.

492          Senec seith a good word doutelees;
                 Seneca says a good word, doubtless;
493          He seith he kan no difference fynde
                 He says he can find no difference
494          Bitwix a man that is out of his mynde
                 Between a man that is out of his mind
495          And a man which that is dronkelewe,
                 And a man that is drunk,
496          But that woodnesse, yfallen in a shrewe,
                 Except that madness, fallen in an evil person,
497          Persevereth lenger than doth dronkenesse.
                 Lasts longer than does drunkenness.
498          O glotonye, ful of cursednesse!
                 O gluttony, full of cursedness!
499          O cause first of oure confusioun!
                 O first cause of our ruin!
500          O original of oure dampnacioun,
                 O origin of our damnation,
501          Til Crist hadde boght us with his blood agayn!
                 Until Christ had bought us with his blood again!
502          Lo, how deere, shortly for to sayn,
                 Lo, how dearly, shortly to say,
503          Aboght was thilke cursed vileynye!
                 Was bought that same cursed villainy!
504          Corrupt was al this world for glotonye.
                 Corrupt was all this world for gluttony.

505          Adam oure fader, and his wyf also,
                 Adam our fader, and his wife also,
506          Fro Paradys to labour and to wo
                 From Paradise to labor and to woe
507          Were dryven for that vice, it is no drede.
                 Were driven for that vice, there is no doubt.
508          For whil that Adam fasted, as I rede,
                 For while Adam fasted, as I read,
509          He was in Paradys; and whan that he
                 He was in Paradise; and when he
510          Eet of the fruyt deffended on the tree,
                 Ate of the forbidden fruit on the tree,
511          Anon he was out cast to wo and peyne.
                 Immediately he was cast out to woe and pain.
512          O glotonye, on thee wel oghte us pleyne!
                 O gluttony, on thee well we ought to complain!
513          O, wiste a man how manye maladyes
                 O, if a man knew how many evils
514          Folwen of excesse and of glotonyes,
                 Follow of excess and of gluttony,
515          He wolde been the moore mesurable
                 He would be the more moderate
516          Of his diete, sittynge at his table.
                 Of his diet, sitting at his table.
517          Allas, the shorte throte, the tendre mouth,
                 Alas, the short throat, the tender mouth,
518          Maketh that est and west and north and south,
                 Makes that east and west and north and south,
519          In erthe, in eir, in water, men to swynke
                 In earth, in air, in water, men work
520          To gete a glotoun deyntee mete and drynke!
                 To get a glutton dainty food and drink!
521          Of this matiere, O Paul, wel kanstow trete:
                 Of this matter, O Paul, well can thou treat
522          "Mete unto wombe, and wombe eek unto mete,
                 "Food unto belly, and belly also unto food,
523          Shal God destroyen bothe," as Paulus seith.
                 God shall destroy both," as Paul says.
524          Allas, a foul thyng is it, by my feith,
                 Alas, a foul thing it is, by my faith,
525          To seye this word, and fouler is the dede,
                 To say this word, and fouler is the deed,
526          Whan man so drynketh of the white and rede
                 When man so drinks of the white and red
527          That of his throte he maketh his pryvee
                 That he makes his privy of his throat
528          Thurgh thilke cursed superfluitee.
                 Through that same cursed excess.

529          The apostel wepyng seith ful pitously,
                 The apostle weeping says full piteously,
530          "Ther walken manye of whiche yow toold have I --
                 "There walk many of whom I have told you --
531          I seye it now wepyng, with pitous voys --
                 I say it now weeping, with piteous voice --
532          They been enemys of Cristes croys,
                 They are enemies of Christ's cross,
533          Of whiche the ende is deeth; wombe is hir god!"
                 Of which the end is death; belly is their god!"
534          O wombe! O bely! O stynkyng cod,
                 O gut! O belly! O stinking bag,
535          Fulfilled of dong and of corrupcioun!
                 Filled with dung and with corruption!
536          At either ende of thee foul is the soun.
                 At either end of thee the sound is foul.
537          How greet labour and cost is thee to fynde!
                 How great labor and cost it is to feed thee!
538          Thise cookes, how they stampe, and streyne, and grynde,
                 These cooks, how they pound, and strain, and grind,
539          And turnen substaunce into accident
                 And turn substance into outward appearance
540          To fulfille al thy likerous talent!
                 To fulfill all thy gluttonous desire!
541          Out of the harde bones knokke they
                 Out of the hard bones they knock
542          The mary, for they caste noght awey
                 The marrow, for they throw nothing away
543          That may go thurgh the golet softe and swoote.
                 That may go through the gullet softly and sweetly.
544          Of spicerie of leef, and bark, and roote
                 Of seasonings of leaf, and bark, and root
545          Shal been his sauce ymaked by delit,
                 Shall his sauce be made for delight,
546          To make hym yet a newer appetit.
                 To make him yet a newer appetite.
547          But, certes, he that haunteth swiche delices
                 But, certainly, he who habitually seeks such delicacies
548          Is deed, whil that he lyveth in tho vices.
                 Is dead, while he lives in those vices.

549          A lecherous thyng is wyn, and dronkenesse
                 A lecherous thing is wine, and drunkenness
550          Is ful of stryvyng and of wrecchednesse.
                 Is full of striving and of wretchedness.
551          O dronke man, disfigured is thy face,
                 O drunken man, disfigured is thy face,
552          Sour is thy breeth, foul artow to embrace,
                 Sour is thy breath, foul art thou to embrace,
553          And thurgh thy dronke nose semeth the soun
                 And through thy drunken nose the sound seems
554          As though thou seydest ay "Sampsoun, Sampsoun!"
                 As though thou said always "Sampson, Sampson!"
555          And yet, God woot, Sampsoun drank nevere no wyn.
                 And yet, God knows, Sampson never drank any wine.
556          Thou fallest as it were a styked swyn;
                 Thou fallest like a stuck pig;
557          Thy tonge is lost, and al thyn honeste cure,
                 Thy tongue is lost, and all thy care for decency,
558          For dronkenesse is verray sepulture
                 For drunkenness is truly the sepulcher
559          Of mannes wit and his discrecioun.
                 Of man's wit and his discretion.
560          In whom that drynke hath dominacioun
                 In whom drink has domination
561          He kan no conseil kepe; it is no drede.
                 He can keep no secrets; there is no doubt.
562          Now kepe yow fro the white and fro the rede,
                 Now guard yourself from the white and from the red,
563          And namely fro the white wyn of Lepe
                 And namely from the white wine of Lepe
564          That is to selle in Fysshstrete or in Chepe.
                 That is for sale in Fishstreet or in Cheapside.
565          This wyn of Spaigne crepeth subtilly
                 This wine of Spain creeps subtly
566          In othere wynes, growynge faste by,
                 Into other wines, growing near by,
567          Of which ther ryseth swich fumositee
                 Of which there rise such bodily vapors
568          That whan a man hath dronken draughtes thre,
                 That when a man has drunk three drafts,
569          And weneth that he be at hoom in Chepe,
                 And supposes that he is at home in Cheapside,
570          He is in Spaigne, right at the toune of Lepe --
                 He is in Spain, right at the town of Lepe --
571          Nat at the Rochele, ne at Burdeux toun --
                 Not at La Rochelle, nor at Bordeaux town --
572          And thanne wol he seye "Sampsoun, Sampsoun!"
                 And then will he say "Sampson, Sampson!"

573          But herkneth, lordynges, o word, I yow preye,
                 But listen, gentlemen, one word, I pray you,
574          That alle the sovereyn actes, dar I seye,
                 That all the great deeds, I dare say,
575          Of victories in the Olde Testament,
                 Of victories in the Old Testament,
576          Thurgh verray God, that is omnipotent,
                 Through true God, who is omnipotent,
577          Were doon in abstinence and in preyere.
                 Were done in abstinence and in prayer.
578          Looketh the Bible, and ther ye may it leere.
                 Look in the Bible, and there you can learn it.

579          Looke, Attilla, the grete conquerour,
                 Consider how Attila, the great conqueror,
580          Deyde in his sleep, with shame and dishonour,
                 Died in his sleep, with shame and dishonor,
581          Bledynge ay at his nose in dronkenesse.
                 Bleeding ever at his nose in drunkenness.
582          A capitayn sholde lyve in sobrenesse.
                 A captain should live in sobriety.
583          And over al this, avyseth yow right wel
                 And beyond all this, consider right well
584          What was comaunded unto Lamuel --
                 What was commanded unto Lamuel --
585          Nat Samuel, but Lamuel, seye I;
                 Not Samuel, but Lamuel, I say;
586          Redeth the Bible, and fynde it expresly
                 Read the Bible, and find it explicitly
587          Of wyn-yevyng to hem that han justise.
                 About giving wine to those that have the duty of doing justice.
588          Namoore of this, for it may wel suffise.
                 No more of this, for it may well suffice.

589          And now that I have spoken of glotonye,
                 And now that I have spoken of gluttony,
590          Now wol I yow deffenden hasardrye.
                 Now I will forbid you gambling.
591          Hasard is verray mooder of lesynges,
                 Dicing is the true mother of lies,
592          And of deceite, and cursed forswerynges,
                 And of deceit, and cursed perjuries,
593          Blaspheme of Crist, manslaughtre, and wast also
                 Blasphemy of Christ, manslaughter, and waste also
594          Of catel and of tyme; and forthermo,
                 Of possessions and of time; and furthermore,
595          It is repreeve and contrarie of honour
                 It is a disgrace and contrary to honor
596          For to ben holde a commune hasardour.
                 To be considered a common dice player.
597          And ever the hyer he is of estaat,
                 And ever the higher he is of estate,
598          The moore is he yholden desolaat.
                 The more is he considered abandoned (to shame).
599          If that a prynce useth hasardrye,
                 If a prince plays at dicing,
600          In alle governaunce and policye
                 In all governance and policy
601          He is, as by commune opinioun,
                 He is, by common opinion,
602          Yholde the lasse in reputacioun.
                 Held the less in reputation.

603          Stilboun, that was a wys embassadour,
                 Stilboun, who was a wise ambassador,
604          Was sent to Corynthe in ful greet honour
                 Was sent to Corinth in very great honor
605          Fro Lacidomye to make hire alliaunce.
                 From Sparta to make their alliance.
606          And whan he cam, hym happede, par chaunce,
                 And when he came, it happened, by chance,
607          That alle the gretteste that were of that lond,
                 That all the greatest men that were of that land,
608          Pleyynge atte hasard he hem fond.
                 Playing at dice he found them.
609          For which, as soone as it myghte be,
                 For which, as soon as it could be,
610          He stal hym hoom agayn to his contree,
                 He stole home again to his country,
611          And seyde, "Ther wol I nat lese my name,
                 And said, "There I will not lose my reputation,
612          Ne I wol nat take on me so greet defame,
                 Nor will I take on me so great infamy,
613          Yow for to allie unto none hasardours.
                 To ally you unto any dice-players.
614          Sendeth othere wise embassadours;
                 Send other wise ambassadors;
615          For, by my trouthe, me were levere dye
                 For, by my troth, I would rather die
616          Than I yow sholde to hasardours allye.
                 Than I should ally you to dice-players.
617          For ye, that been so glorious in honours,
                 For you, that are so glorious in honors,
618          Shul nat allyen yow with hasardours
                 Shall not ally yourselves with dice-players
619          As by my wyl, ne as by my tretee."
                 By my will, nor by my negotiation."
620          This wise philosophre, thus seyde hee.
                 This wise philosopher, thus said he.

621          Looke eek that to the kyng Demetrius
                 Consider also that to the king Demetrius
622          The kyng of Parthes, as the book seith us,
                 The king of Parthia, as the book tells us,
623          Sente him a paire of dees of gold in scorn,
                 Sent him a pair of dice of gold in scorn,
624          For he hadde used hasard ther-biforn;
                 Because he had played at dicing before that;
625          For which he heeld his glorie or his renoun
                 For which he held his glory or his renown
626          At no value or reputacioun.
                 At no value or esteem.
627          Lordes may fynden oother maner pley
                 Lords may find other sorts of play
628          Honest ynough to dryve the day awey.
                 Respectable enough to pass the time.

629          Now wol I speke of othes false and grete
                 Now will I speak of oaths false and great
630          A word or two, as olde bookes trete.
                 A word or two, as old books treat them.
631          Gret sweryng is a thyng abhominable,
                 Great swearing is an abominable thing,
632          And fals sweryng is yet moore reprevable.
                 And false swearing is yet more worthy of reproof.
633          The heighe God forbad sweryng at al,
                 The high God forbad swearing at al,
634          Witnesse on Mathew; but in special
                 Witness on Matthew; but in special
635          Of sweryng seith the hooly Jeremye,
                 Of swearing says the holy Jeremiah,
636          "Thou shalt swere sooth thyne othes, and nat lye,
                 "Thou shall swear truly thine oaths, and not lie,
637          And swere in doom and eek in rightwisnesse";
                 And in judgement and also in righteousness";
638          But ydel sweryng is a cursednesse.
                 But idle swearing is a cursed thing.
639          Bihoold and se that in the firste table
                 Behold and see that in the first three
640          Of heighe Goddes heestes honurable,
                 Of high God's honorable commandments,
641          Hou that the seconde heeste of hym is this:
                 How the second of his commands is this:
642          "Take nat my name in ydel or amys."
                 "Take not my name in vain nor amiss."
643          Lo, rather he forbedeth swich sweryng
                 Lo, he forbids such swearing rather
644          Than homycide or many a cursed thyng;
                 Than homicide or many a cursed thing;
645          I seye that, as by ordre, thus it stondeth;
                 I say that, so far as order is concerned, thus it stands;
646          This knoweth, that his heestes understondeth,
                 He who understands his commandments knows this,
647          How that the seconde heeste of God is that.
                 How that is the second command of God.
648          And forther over, I wol thee telle al plat
                 And furthermore, I will tell thee flatly
649          That vengeance shal nat parten from his hous
                 That vengeance shall not part from his house
650          That of his othes is to outrageous.
                 Who of his oaths is too excessive.
651          "By Goddes precious herte," and "By his nayles,"
                 "By God's precious heart," and "By his nails,"
652          And "By the blood of Crist that is in Hayles,
                 And "By the blood of Christ that is in Hales Abbey,
653          Sevene is my chaunce, and thyn is cynk and treye!"
                 Seven is my number, and thine is five and three!"
654          "By Goddes armes, if thou falsly pleye,
                 "By God's arms, if thou falsely play,
655          This daggere shal thurghout thyn herte go!" --
                 This dagger shall go throughout thy heart!" --
656          This fruyt cometh of the bicched bones two,
                 This fruit comes of the two cursed dice,
657          Forsweryng, ire, falsnesse, homycide.
                 Perjury, anger, falseness, homicide.
658          Now, for the love of Crist, that for us dyde,
                 Now, for the love of Christ, who for us died,
659          Lete youre othes, bothe grete and smale.
                 Leave your oaths, both great and small.
660          But, sires, now wol I telle forth my tale.
                 But, sirs, now will I tell forth my tale.

661          Thise riotoures thre of whiche I telle,
                 These three rioters of whom I tell,
662          Longe erst er prime rong of any belle,
                 Long before prime rang of any bell,
663          Were set hem in a taverne to drynke,
                 Had set themselves in a tavern to drink,
664          And as they sat, they herde a belle clynke
                 And as they sat, they heard a bell clink
665          Biforn a cors, was caried to his grave.
                 Before a corpse, which was carried to its grave.
666          That oon of hem gan callen to his knave:
                 The one of them did call to his servant:
667          "Go bet," quod he, "and axe redily
                 "Go quickly," he said, "and ask at once
668          What cors is this that passeth heer forby;
                 What corpse is this that passes by here;
669          And looke that thou reporte his name weel."
                 And see that thou report his name correctly."

670          "Sire," quod this boy, "it nedeth never-a-deel;
                 "Sir," said this boy, "that is not at all necessary;
671          It was me toold er ye cam heer two houres.
                 It was told me two hours before you came here.
672          He was, pardee, an old felawe of youres,
                 He was, indeed, an old fellow of yours,
673          And sodeynly he was yslayn to-nyght,
                 And suddenly he was slain last night,
674          Fordronke, as he sat on his bench upright.
                 Completely drunk, as he sat on his bench upright.
675          Ther cam a privee theef men clepeth Deeth,
                 There came a stealthy thief men call Death,
676          That in this contree al the peple sleeth,
                 Who slays all the people in this country,
677          And with his spere he smoot his herte atwo,
                 And with his spear he struck his heart in two,
678          And wente his wey withouten wordes mo.
                 And went his way without more words.
679          He hath a thousand slayn this pestilence.
                 He has slain a thousand (during) this pestilence.
680          And, maister, er ye come in his presence,
                 And, master, before you come in his presence,
681          Me thynketh that it were necessarie
                 It seems to me that it would be necessary
682          For to be war of swich an adversarie.
                 To beware of such an adversary.
683          Beth redy for to meete hym everemoore;
                 Always be ready to meet him;
684          Thus taughte me my dame; I sey namoore."
                 Thus taught me my mother; I say no more."
685          "By Seinte Marie!" seyde this taverner,
                 "By Saint Mary!" said this tavern-keeper,
686          "The child seith sooth, for he hath slayn this yeer,
                 "The child says truth, for he has slain this year,
687          Henne over a mile, withinne a greet village,
                 Over a mile from here, within a great village,
688          Bothe man and womman, child, and hyne, and page;
                 Both man and woman, child, and laborer, and servant boy;
689          I trowe his habitacioun be there.
                 I suppose his habitation is there.
690          To been avysed greet wysdom it were,
                 It would be great wisdom to be forewarned,
691          Er that he dide a man a dishonour."
                 Before he did a man any harm."

692          "Ye, Goddes armes!" quod this riotour,
                 "Yea, God's arms!" said this rioter,
693          "Is it swich peril with hym for to meete?
                 "Is it such peril to meet with him?
694          I shal hym seke by wey and eek by strete,
                 I shall seek him by path-way and also by street (everywhere),
695          I make avow to Goddes digne bones!
                 I make a vow to God's honorable bones!
696          Herkneth, felawes, we thre been al ones;
                 Listen, fellows, we three are all agreed;
697          Lat ech of us holde up his hand til oother,
                 Let each of us hold up his hand to other,
698          And ech of us bicomen otheres brother,
                 And each of us become the others' brother,
699          And we wol sleen this false traytour Deeth.
                 And we will slay this false traitor Death.
700          He shal be slayn, he that so manye sleeth,
                 He shall be slain, he who slays so many,
701          By Goddes dignitee, er it be nyght!"
                 By God's dignity, before it be night!"

702          Togidres han thise thre hir trouthes plight
                 Together have these three pledged their troths
703          To lyve and dyen ech of hem for oother,
                 To live and die each of them for other,
704          As though he were his owene ybore brother.
                 As though he were his own born brother.
705          And up they stirte, al dronken in this rage,
                 And up they leaped, all drunken in this rage,
706          And forth they goon towardes that village
                 And forth they go towards that village
707          Of which the taverner hadde spoke biforn.
                 Of which the tavern-keeper had spoken before.
708          And many a grisly ooth thanne han they sworn,
                 And many a grisly oath then have they sworn,
709          And Cristes blessed body they torente --
                 And Christ's blessed body they tore to pieces --
710          Deeth shal be deed, if that they may hym hente!
                 Death shall be dead, if they can catch him!

711          Whan they han goon nat fully half a mile,
                 When they have gone not fully half a mile,
712          Right as they wolde han troden over a stile,
                 Right as they would have stepped over a fence,
713          An oold man and a povre with hem mette.
                 An old and poor man met with them.
714          This olde man ful mekely hem grette,
                 This old man full meekly greeted them,
715          And seyde thus, "Now, lordes, God yow see!"
                 And said thus, "Now, lords, may God look after you!"

716          The proudeste of thise riotoures three
                 The proudest of these three rioters
717          Answerde agayn, "What, carl, with sory grace!
                 Answered in reply, "What, churl, bad luck to you!
718          Why artow al forwrapped save thy face?
                 Why art thou all wrapped up except for thy face?
719          Why lyvestow so longe in so greet age?"
                 Why live thou so long in such old age?"

720          This olde man gan looke in his visage,
                 This old man did look in his face,
721          And seyde thus: "For I ne kan nat fynde
                 And said thus: "Because I can not find
722          A man, though that I walked into Ynde,
                 A man, though I walked to India,
723          Neither in citee ne in no village,
                 Neither in city nor in any village,
724          That wolde chaunge his youthe for myn age;
                 That would change his youth for my age;
725          And therfore moot I han myn age stille,
                 And therefore I must have my age still,
726          As longe tyme as it is Goddes wille.
                 As long a time as it is God's will.
727          Ne Deeth, allas, ne wol nat han my lyf.
                 Nor Death, alas, will not have my life.
728          Thus walke I, lyk a restelees kaityf,
                 Thus I walk, like a restless wretch,
729          And on the ground, which is my moodres gate,
                 And on the ground, which is my mother's gate,
730          I knokke with my staf, bothe erly and late,
                 I knock with my staff, both early and late,
731          And seye `Leeve mooder, leet me in!
                 And say `Dear mother, let me in!
732          Lo how I vanysshe, flessh, and blood, and skyn!
                 Lo how I waste away, flesh, and blood, and skin!
733          Allas, whan shul my bones been at reste?
                 Alas, when shall my bones be at rest?
734          Mooder, with yow wolde I chaunge my cheste
                 Mother, with you would I exchange my strongbox
735          That in my chambre longe tyme hath be,
                 That in my chamber long time has been,
736          Ye, for an heyre clowt to wrappe me!'
                 Yea, for an hair shirt to wrap me!'
737          But yet to me she wol nat do that grace,
                 But yet to me she will not do that favor,
738          For which ful pale and welked is my face.
                 For which full pale and withered is my face.

739          "But, sires, to yow it is no curteisye
                 "But, sirs, to you it is no courtesy
740          To speken to an old man vileynye,
                 To speak rudeness to an old man,
741          But he trespasse in word or elles in dede.
                 Unless he trespass in word or else in deed.
742          In Hooly Writ ye may yourself wel rede:
                 In Holy Writ you may yourself well read:
743          `Agayns an oold man, hoor upon his heed,
                 `In the presence of an old man, gray upon his head,
744          Ye sholde arise;' wherfore I yeve yow reed,
                 You should rise;' therefore I give you advice,
745          Ne dooth unto an oold man noon harm now,
                 Do no harm now unto an old man,
746          Namoore than that ye wolde men did to yow
                 No more than you would want men to do to you
747          In age, if that ye so longe abyde.
                 In old age, if you live so long.
748          And God be with yow, where ye go or ryde!
                 And God be with you, wherever you walk or ride!
749          I moot go thider as I have to go."
                 I must go thither where I have to go."

750          "Nay, olde cherl, by God, thou shalt nat so,"
                 "Nay, old churl, by God, thou shall not so,"
751          Seyde this oother hasardour anon;
                 Said this other dice-player quickly;
752          "Thou partest nat so lightly, by Seint John!
                 "Thou depart not so quickly, by Saint John!
753          Thou spak right now of thilke traytour Deeth.
                 Thou spoke right now of that same traitor Death.
754          That in this contree alle oure freendes sleeth.
                 That slays all our friends in this country.
755          Have heer my trouthe, as thou art his espye,
                 Have here my pledge, as thou art his spy,
756          Telle where he is or thou shalt it abye,
                 Tell where he is or thou shall pay for it,
757          By God and by the hooly sacrement!
                 By God and by the holy sacrament!
758          For soothly thou art oon of his assent
                 For truly thou art in league with him
759          To sleen us yonge folk, thou false theef!"
                 To slay us young folk, thou false thief!"

760          "Now, sires," quod he, "if that yow be so leef
                 "Now, sirs," said he, "if you are so eager
761          To fynde Deeth, turne up this croked wey,
                 To find Death, turn up this crooked way,
762          For in that grove I lafte hym, by my fey,
                 For in that grove I left him, by my faith,
763          Under a tree, and there he wole abyde;
                 Under a tree, and there he will wait;
764          Noght for youre boost he wole him no thyng hyde.
                 He will not in any way hide himself because of your boast.
765          Se ye that ook? Right there ye shal hym fynde.
                 Do you see that oak? Right there you shall find him.
766          God save yow, that boghte agayn mankynde,
                 God save you, He who redeemed mankind,
767          And yow amende!" Thus seyde this olde man;
                 And amend you!" Thus said this old man;
768          And everich of thise riotoures ran
                 And every one of these rioters ran
769          Til he cam to that tree, and ther they founde
                 Until he came to that tree, and there they found
770          Of floryns fyne of gold ycoyned rounde
                 Of fine round florins of coined gold
771          Wel ny an eighte busshels, as hem thoughte.
                 Well nigh eight bushels, as they thought.
772          No lenger thanne after Deeth they soughte,
                 No longer then after Death they sought,
773          But ech of hem so glad was of that sighte,
                 But each of them was so glad of that sight,
774          For that the floryns been so faire and brighte,
                 Because the florins are so faire and bright,
775          That doun they sette hem by this precious hoord.
                 That they set themselves down by this precious hoard.
776          The worste of hem, he spak the firste word.
                 The worst of them, he spoke the first word.

777          "Bretheren," quod he, "taak kep what that I seye;
                 "Brethren," he said, "take heed of what I say;
778            My wit is greet, though that I bourde and pleye.
                   My wit is great, though I jest and play.
779            This tresor hath Fortune unto us yiven
                   Fortune has given this treasure unto us
780            In myrthe and joliftee oure lyf to lyven,
                   In mirth and jollity to live our life,
781            And lightly as it comth, so wol we spende.
                   And as easily as it comes, so will we spend it.
782            Ey, Goddes precious dignitee! Who wende
                   Ah, God's precious dignity! Who would have supposed
783            To-day that we sholde han so fair a grace?
                   To-day that we should have such good fortune?
784            But myghte this gold be caried fro this place
                   But if this gold could be carried from this place
785            Hoom to myn hous, or elles unto youres --
                   Home to my house, or else unto yours --
786            For wel ye woot that al this gold is oures --
                   For well you know that all this gold is ours --
787            Thanne were we in heigh felicitee.
                   Then we would be in great happiness.
788            But trewely, by daye it may nat bee.
                   But truly, it may not be (done) by day.
789            Men wolde seyn that we were theves stronge,
                   Men would say that we were arrant thieves,
790            And for oure owene tresor doon us honge.
                   And for our own treasure have us hanged.
791            This tresor moste ycaried be by nyghte
                   This treasure must be carried by night
792            As wisely and as slyly as it myghte.
                   As wisely and as slyly as it can be.
793            Wherfore I rede that cut among us alle
                   Wherefore I advise that among us all straws
794            Be drawe, and lat se wher the cut wol falle;
                   Be drawn, and let's see where the lot will fall;
795            And he that hath the cut with herte blithe
                   And he who has the shortest straw with happy heart
796            Shal renne to the town, and that ful swithe,
                   Shall run to the town, and that very quickly,
797            And brynge us breed and wyn ful prively.
                   And very secretly bring us bread and wine.
798            And two of us shul kepen subtilly
                   And two of us shall carefully guard
799            This tresor wel; and if he wol nat tarie,
                   This treasure well; and if he will not tarry,
800            Whan it is nyght, we wol this tresor carie,
                   When it is night, we will carry this treasure,
801            By oon assent, where as us thynketh best."
                   By mutual agreement, where we think best."
802            That oon of hem the cut broghte in his fest,
                   That one of them brought the straws in his fist,
803            And bad hem drawe and looke where it wol falle;
                   And commanded them to draw and see where it will fall;
804            And it fil on the yongeste of hem alle,
                   And it fell on the youngest of them all,
805            And forth toward the toun he wente anon.
                   And forth toward the town he went right away.
806            And also soone as that he was gon,
                   And as soon as he was gone,
807            That oon of hem spak thus unto that oother:
                   The one of them spoke thus unto that other:
808            "Thow knowest wel thou art my sworen brother;
                   "Thou knowest well thou art my sworn brother;
809            Thy profit wol I telle thee anon.
                   Thy profit will I tell thee straightway.
810            Thou woost wel that oure felawe is agon.
                   Thou knowest well that our fellow is gone.
811            And heere is gold, and that ful greet plentee,
                   And here is gold, and that a full great quantity,
812            That shal departed been among us thre.
                   That shall be divided among us three.
813            But nathelees, if I kan shape it so
                   But nevertheless, if I can arrange things so
814            That it departed were among us two,
                   That it were divided among us two,
815            Hadde I nat doon a freendes torn to thee?"
                   Had I not done a good turn to thee?"

816          That oother answerde, "I noot hou that may be.
                     That other answered, "I know not how that can be.
817          He woot that the gold is with us tweye;
                     He knows that the gold is with us two;
818          What shal we doon? What shal we to hym seye?"
                     What shall we do? What shall we say to him?"

819          "Shal it be conseil?" seyde the firste shrewe,
                 "Shall it be (our) secret plan?" said the first scoundrel,
820          "And I shal tellen in a wordes fewe
                 "And I shall tell in a few words
821          What we shal doon, and brynge it wel aboute."
                 What we shall do, and bring it well about."

822          "I graunte," quod that oother, "out of doute,
                 "I agree," said that other, "without doubt,
823          That, by my trouthe, I wol thee nat biwreye."
                 That, by my troth, I will not betray thee."

824          "Now," quod the firste, "thou woost wel we be tweye,
                 "Now," said the first, "thou knowest well we are two,
825          And two of us shul strenger be than oon.
                 And two of us shall be stronger than one.
826          Looke whan that he is set, that right anoon
                 Look, when he has set down, right away
827          Arys as though thou woldest with hym pleye,
                 Arise as though thou would with him play,
828          And I shal ryve hym thurgh the sydes tweye
                 And I shall stab him through the two sides
829          Whil that thou strogelest with hym as in game,
                 While thou struggle with him as in game,
830          And with thy daggere looke thou do the same;
                 And with thy dagger see that thou do the same;
831          And thanne shal al this gold departed be,
                 And then shall all this gold be divided,
832          My deere freend, bitwixen me and thee.
                 My dear friend, between me and thee.
833          Thanne may we bothe oure lustes all fulfille,
                 Then we both can fulfill all our desires,
834          And pleye at dees right at oure owene wille."
                 And play at dice just as we wish,"
835          And thus acorded been thise shrewes tweye
                 And thus these two scoundrels are agreed
836          To sleen the thridde, as ye han herd me seye.
                 To slay the third, as you have heard me say.

837          This yongeste, which that wente to the toun,
                 This youngest, who went to the town,
838          Ful ofte in herte he rolleth up and doun
                 Very often in heart he rolls up and down
839          The beautee of thise floryns newe and brighte.
                 The beauty of these florins new and bright.
840          "O Lord!" quod he, "if so were that I myghte
                 "O Lord!" he said, "if it would be that I might
841          Have al this tresor to myself allone,
                 Have all this treasure to myself alone,
842          Ther is no man that lyveth under the trone
                 There is no man that lives under the throne
843          Of God that sholde lyve so murye as I!"
                 Of God that should live so merrily as I!"
844          And atte laste the feend, oure enemy,
                 And at the last the fiend, our enemy,
845          Putte in his thought that he sholde poyson beye,
                 Put in his thought that he should buy poison,
846          With which he myghte sleen his felawes tweye;
                 With which he might slay his two fellows;
847          For-why the feend foond hym in swich lyvynge
                 Because the fiend found him in such a manner of living
848          That he hadde leve him to sorwe brynge.
                 That he had leave bring him to sorrow.
849          For this was outrely his fulle entente,
                 For this was utterly his full intention,
850          To sleen hem bothe and nevere to repente.
                 To slay them both and never to repent.
851          And forth he gooth, no lenger wolde he tarie,
                 And forth he goes, no longer would he tarry,
852          Into the toun, unto a pothecarie,
                 Into the town, unto an apothecary,
853          And preyde hym that he hym wolde selle
                 And prayed him that he would sell him
854          Som poyson, that he myghte his rattes quelle;
                 Some poison, that he might kill his rats;
855          And eek ther was a polcat in his hawe,
                 And also there was a polecat in his yard,
856          That, as he seyde, his capouns hadde yslawe,
                 That, as he said, had slain his capons,
857          And fayn he wolde wreke hym, if he myghte,
                 And he would gladly revenge himself, if he could,
858          On vermyn that destroyed hym by nyghte.
                 On vermin that ruined him by night.

859          The pothecarie answerde, "And thou shalt have
                 The apothecary answered, "And thou shall have
860          A thyng that, also God my soule save,
                 A thing that, as God may save my soul,
861          In al this world ther is no creature
                 In all this world there is no creature
862          That eten or dronken hath of this confiture
                 That has eaten or drunk of this concoction
863          Noght but the montance of a corn of whete,
                 Only so much as the amount of a seed of wheat,
864          That he ne shal his lif anon forlete;
                 That he shall not immediately lose his life;
865          Ye, sterve he shal, and that in lasse while
                 Yea, he shall die, and that in less time
866          Than thou wolt goon a paas nat but a mile,
                 Than thou will go at a walk but only a mile,
867          This poysoun is so strong and violent."
                 This poison is so strong and violent."

868          This cursed man hath in his hond yhent
                 This cursed man has in his hand taken
869          This poysoun in a box, and sith he ran
                 This poison in a box, and then he ran
870          Into the nexte strete unto a man,
                 Into the next street unto a man,
871          And borwed [of] hym large botelles thre,
                 And borrowed [of] him three large bottles,
872          And in the two his poyson poured he;
                 And in the two he poured his poison;
873          The thridde he kepte clene for his drynke.
                 The third he kept clean for his drink.
874          For al the nyght he shoop hym for to swynke
                 For all the night he intended to work
875          In cariynge of the gold out of that place.
                 In carrying of the gold out of that place.
876          And whan this riotour, with sory grace,
                 And when this rioter, bad luck to him,
877          Hadde filled with wyn his grete botels thre,
                 Had filled his three big bottles with wine,
878          To his felawes agayn repaireth he.
                 He goes back again to his fellows.

879          What nedeth it to sermone of it moore?
                 What needs it to preach of it more?
880          For right as they hadde cast his deeth bifoore,
                 For right as they had planned his death before,
881          Right so they han hym slayn, and that anon.
                 Right so they have him slain, and that immediately.
882          And whan that this was doon, thus spak that oon:
                 And when this was done, thus spoke that one:
883          "Now lat us sitte and drynke, and make us merie,
                 "Now let us sit and drink, and make us merry,
884          And afterward we wol his body berie."
                 And afterward we will bury his body."
885          And with that word it happed hym, par cas,
                 And with that word it happened to him, by chance,
886          To take the botel ther the poyson was,
                 To take the bottle where the poison was,
887          And drank, and yaf his felawe drynke also,
                 And drank, and gave his fellow drink also,
888          For which anon they storven bothe two.
                 For which straightway they died, both of the two.

889          But certes, I suppose that Avycen
                 But certainly, I suppose that Avicenna
890          Wroot nevere in no canon, ne in no fen,
                 Wrote never in any authoritative book, nor in any chapter,
891          Mo wonder signes of empoisonyng
                 More wondrous symptoms of poisoning
892          Than hadde thise wrecches two, er hir endyng.
                 Than had these two wretches, before their ending.
893          Thus ended been thise homycides two,
                 Thus ended are these two homicides,
894          And eek the false empoysonere also.
                 And also the false poisoner as well.

895          O cursed synne of alle cursednesse!
                 O cursed sin of all cursedness!
896          O traytours homycide, O wikkednesse!
                 O treacherous homicide, O wickedness!
897          O glotonye, luxurie, and hasardrye!
                 O gluttony, lechery, and dicing!
898          Thou blasphemour of Crist with vileynye
                 Thou blasphemer of Christ with churlish speech
899          And othes grete, of usage and of pride!
                 And great oaths, out of habit and out of pride!
900          Allas, mankynde, how may it bitide
                 Alas, mankind, how may it happen
901          That to thy creatour, which that the wroghte
                 That to thy creator, who made thee
902          And with his precious herte-blood thee boghte,
                 And with his precious heart's blood redeemed thee,
903          Thou art so fals and so unkynde, allas?
                 Thou art so false and so unnatural, alas?

904          Now, goode men, God foryeve yow youre trespas,
                 Now, good men, God forgive you your trespass,
905          And ware yow fro the synne of avarice!
                 And guard yourselves from the sin of avarice!
906          Myn hooly pardoun may yow alle warice,
                 My holy pardon can cure you all,
907          So that ye offre nobles or sterlynges,
                 Providing that you offer gold coins or silver pennies,
908          Or elles silver broches, spoones, rynges.
                 Or else silver brooches, spoons, rings.
909          Boweth youre heed under this hooly bulle!
                 Bow your head under this holy papal bull!
910          Cometh up, ye wyves, offreth of youre wolle!
                 Come up, you wives, offer some of your wool!
911          Youre names I entre heer in my rolle anon;
                 Your names I enter here in my roll immediately;
912          Into the blisse of hevene shul ye gon.
                 Into the bliss of heaven you shall go.
913        I yow assoille, by myn heigh power,
                 I absolve you, by my high power,
914        Yow that wol offre, as clene and eek as cleer
                 You who will offer, as clean and also as clear (of sin)
915         As ye were born. -- And lo, sires, thus I preche.
                 As you were born. -- And lo, sirs, thus I preach.
916          And Jhesu Crist, that is oure soules leche,
                 And Jesus Christ, that is our souls' physician,
917          So graunte yow his pardoun to receyve,
                 So grant you to receive his pardon,
918       For that is best; I wol yow nat deceyve.
                 For that is best; I will not deceive you.

919          But, sires, o word forgat I in my tale:
                 But, sirs, one word I forgot in my tale:
920          I have relikes and pardoun in my male,
                 I have relics and pardons in my bag,
921          As faire as any man in Engelond,
                 As fine as any man in England,
922          Whiche were me yeven by the popes hond.
                 Which were given to me by the pope's hand.
923          If any of yow wole, of devocion,
                 If any of you will, of devotion,
924          Offren and han myn absolucion,
                 Offer and have my absolution,
925          Com forth anon, and kneleth heere adoun,
                 Come forth straightway, and kneel down here,
926          And mekely receyveth my pardoun;
                 And meekly receive my pardon;
927          Or elles taketh pardoun as ye wende,
                 Or else take pardon as you travel,
928          Al newe and fressh at every miles ende,
                 All new and fresh at every mile's end,
929          So that ye offren, alwey newe and newe,
                 Providing that you offer, again and again,
930          Nobles or pens, whiche that be goode and trewe.
                 Gold coins or silver pennies, which are good and true.
931          It is an honour to everich that is heer
                 It is an honor to every one that is here
932          That ye mowe have a suffisant pardoneer
                 That you may have a pardoner with sufficient power
933          T' assoille yow in contree as ye ryde,
                 To absolve you in the countryside as you ride,
934         For aventures whiche that may bityde.
                 For accidents that may happen.
935         Paraventure ther may fallen oon or two
                 Perhaps there may fall one or two
936          Doun of his hors and breke his nekke atwo.
                 Down off his horse and break his neck in two.
937          Looke which a seuretee is it to yow alle
                 Look what a safeguard is it to you all
938          That I am in youre felaweshipe yfalle,
                 That I happen to be in your fellowship,
939          That may assoille yow, bothe moore and lasse,
                 Who can absolve you, both more and less (every one),
940          Whan that the soule shal fro the body passe.
                 When the soul shall from the body pass.
941          I rede that oure Hoost heere shal bigynne,
                 I advise that our Host here shall begin,
942          For he is moost envoluped in synne.
                 For he is most enveloped in sin.
943          Com forth, sire Hoost, and offre first anon,
                 Come forth, sir Host, and offer first right now,
944          And thou shalt kisse the relikes everychon,
                 And thou shall kiss the relics every one,
945          Ye, for a grote! Unbokele anon thy purs."
                 Yea, for a fourpence coin! Unbuckle thy purse right now."

946          "Nay, nay!" quod he, "thanne have I Cristes curs!
                 "Nay, nay!" he said, "then I will have Christ's curse!
947          Lat be," quod he, "it shal nat be, so theech!
                 Let it be," he said, "it shall not be, as I may prosper!
948          Thou woldest make me kisse thyn olde breech,
                 Thou would make me kiss thine old underpants,
949          And swere it were a relyk of a seint,
                 And swear it was a relic of a saint,
950          Though it were with thy fundement depeint!
                 Though it were stained by thy fundament!
951          But, by the croys which that Seint Eleyne fond,
                 But, by the cross that Saint Helen found,
952          I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
                 I would I had thy testicles in my hand
953          In stide of relikes or of seintuarie.
                 Instead of relics or a container for relics.
954          Lat kutte hem of, I wol thee helpe hem carie;
                 Have them cut off, I will help thee carry them;
955          They shul be shryned in an hogges toord!"
                 They shall be enshrined in a hog's turd!"

956          This Pardoner answerde nat a word;
                 This Pardoner answered not a word;
957          So wrooth he was, no word ne wolde he seye.
                 So angry he was, no word would he say.

958          "Now," quod oure Hoost, "I wol no lenger pleye
                 "Now," said our Host, "I will no longer joke
959          With thee, ne with noon oother angry man."
                 With thee, nor with any other angry man."
960          But right anon the worthy Knyght bigan,
                 But immediately the worthy Knight began,
961          Whan that he saugh that al the peple lough,
                 When he saw that all the people laughed,
962          "Namoore of this, for it is right ynough!
                 "No more of this, for it is right enough!
963          Sire Pardoner, be glad and myrie of cheere;
                 Sir Pardoner, be glad and merry of cheer;
964          And ye, sire Hoost, that been to me so deere,
                 And you, sir Host, who are so dear to me,
965          I prey yow that ye kisse the Pardoner.
                 I pray you that you kiss the Pardoner.
966          And Pardoner, I prey thee, drawe thee neer,
                 And Pardoner, I pray thee, draw thyself nearer,
967          And, as we diden, lat us laughe and pleye."
                 And, as we did, let us laugh and play."
968          Anon they kiste, and ryden forth hir weye.
                 At once they kissed, and rode forth their way. 14th century