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wine and wellspiced ale

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Dołączył: 09 Paź 2011
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The Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales 67And songs came shrilling from her pretty head As from a swallow's sitting on a shed. Therewith she'd dance too, and could play and sham Like any kid or calf about its dam. Her mouth was sweet as bragget or as mead Or hoard of apples laid in hay or weed. Skittish she was as is a pretty colt, Tall as a staff and straight as crossbow bolt. A brooch she wore upon her collar low, As broad as boss of buckler did it show; Her shoes laced up to where a girl's legs thicken. She was a primrose, and a tender chicken For any lord to lay upon his bed, Or yet for any good yeoman to wed. Now, sir, and then, sir, go befell the case, That on a day this clever Nicholas Fell in with this young wife to toy and play, The while her husband was down Osney way, Clerks being as crafty as the best of us; And unperceived he caught her by the puss, Saying: "Indeed, unless I have my will, For secret love of you, sweetheart, I'll spill." And held her hard about the hips, and how! And said: "O darling, love me, love me now, Or I shall die, and pray you God may save!" And she leaped as a colt does in the trave, And with her head she twisted fast away, And said: "I will not kiss you, by my fay! Why, let go," cried she, "let go, Nicholas! Or I will call for help and cry 'alas!' Do take your hands away, for courtesy!" This Nicholas for mercy then did cry, And spoke so well, importuned her so fast That she her love did grant him at the last, And swore her oath, by Saint Thomas of Kent, That she would be at his command, content, As soon as opportunity she could spy. "My husband is so full of jealousy, Unless you will await me secretly, I know I'm just as good as dead," said she. "You must keep all quite hidden in this case." "Nay, thereof worry not," said Nicholas, "A clerk has lazily employed his while If he cannot a carpenter beguile." And thus they were agreed, and then they swore To wait a while, as I have said before. When Nicholas had done thus every whit And patted her about the loins a bit, He kissed her sweetly, took his psaltery, And played it fast and made a melody. Then fell it thus, that to the parish kirk, The Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales 68The Lord Christ Jesus' own works for to work, This good wife went, upon a holy day; Her forehead shone as bright as does the May, So well she'd washed it when she left off work. Now there was of that church a parish clerk Whose name was (as folk called him) Absalom. Curled was his hair, shining like gold, and from His head spread fanwise in a thick bright mop; 'Twas parted straight and even on the top; His cheek was red, his eyes grey as a goose; With Saint Paul's windows cut upon his shoes, He stood in red hose fitting famously. And he was clothed full well and properly All in a coat of blue, in which were let Holes for the lacings, which were fairly set. And over all he wore a fine surplice As white as ever hawthorn spray, and nice. A merry lad he was, so God me save, And well could he let blood, cut hair, and shave, And draw a deed or quitclaim, as might chance. In twenty manners could he trip and dance, After the school that reigned in Oxford, though, And with his two legs swinging to and fro; And he could play upon a violin; Thereto he sang in treble voice and thin; And as well could he play on his guitar. In all the town no inn was, and no bar, That he'd not visited to make good cheer, Especially were lively barmaids there. But, truth to tell, he was a bit squeamish Of farting and of language haughtyish. This Absalom, who was so light and gay, Went with a censer on the holy day, Censing the wives like an enthusiast; And on them many a loving look he cast, Especially on this carpenter's goodwife. To look at her he thought a merry life, She was so pretty, sweet, and lickerous. I dare well say, if she had been a mouse And he a cat, he would have mauled her some. This parish clerk, this lively Absalom Had in his heart, now, such a lovelonging That from no wife took he an offering; For courtesy, he said, he would take none. The moon, when it was night, full brightly shone, And his guitar did Absalom then take, For in lovewatching he'd intent to wake. And forth he went, jolly and amorous, Until he came unto the carpenter's house A little after cocks began to crow; And took his stand beneath a shotwindow The Canterbury Tales The Canterbury Tales 69That was let into the good woodwright's wall. He sang then, in his pleasant voice and small, "Oh now, dear lady, if your will it be, I pray that you will have some ruth on me," The words in harmony with his stringplucking. This carpenter awoke and heard him sing, And called unto his wife and said, in sum: "What, Alison! Do you hear Absalom, Who plays and sings beneath our bedroom wall?" And she said to her husband, therewithal: "Yes, God knows, John, I bear it, truth to tell." So this went on; what is there better than well? From day to day this pretty Absalom So wooed her he was woebegone therefrom. He lay awake all night and all the day; He combed his spreading hair and dressed him gay; By gobetweens and agents, too, wooed he, And swore her loyal page he'd ever be. He sang as tremulously as nightingale; He sent her sweetened wine and wellspiced ale And waffles piping hot out of the fire, And, she being townbred, mead for her desire. For some are won by means of money spent, And some by tricks, and some by long descent. Once, to display his versatility, He acted Herod on a scaffold high. But what availed it him in any case? She was enamoured so of Nicholas That Absalom might go and blow his horn; He got naught for his labour but her scorn. And thus she made of Absalom her ape, And all his earnestness she made a jape. For truth is in this proverb, and no lie, Men say well thus: It's always he that's nigh That makes the absent lover seem a sloth. For now, though Absalom be wildly wroth, Because he is so far out of her sight, This handy Nicholas stands in his light.

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