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4325 The Cook of Londoun, whil the Reve spak,
4326 For joye him thoughte he clawed him on the bak.
4327 “Ha! ha!” quod he, “For Cristes passion,
4328 This millere hadde a sharp conclusion
4329 Upon his argument of herbergage!
4330 Wel seyde Salomon in his langage,
4331 ‘Ne bryng nat every man into thyn hous,’
4332 For herberwynge by nyghte is perilous.
4333 Wel oghte a man avysed for to be
4334 Whom that he broghte into his pryvetee.
4335 I pray to God, so yeve me sorwe and care
4336 If evere, sitthe I highte Hogge of Ware,
4337 Herde I a millere bettre yset a-werk.
4338 He hadde a jape of malice in the derk.
4339 But God forbede that we stynte heere;
4340 And therfore, if ye vouche-sauf to heere
4341 A tale of me, that am a povre man,
4342 I wol yow telle, as wel as evere I kan,
4343 A litel jape that fil in oure citee.”
4344 Oure Hoost answerde and seide, “I graunte it thee.
4345 Now telle on, Roger; looke that it be good,
4346 For many a pastee hastow laten blood,
4347 And many a Jakke of Dovere hastow soold
4348 That hath been twies hoot and twies coold.
4349 Of many a pilgrym hastow Cristes curs,
4350 For of thy percely yet they fare the wors,
4351 That they han eten with thy stubbel goos,
4352 For in thy shoppe is many a flye loos.
4353 Now telle on, gentil Roger by thy name.
4354 But yet I pray thee, be nat wroth for game;
4355 A man may seye ful sooth in game and pley.”
4356 “Thou seist ful sooth,” quod Roger, “by my fey!
4357 But ‘sooth pley, quaad pley,’ as the Flemyng seith.
4358 And therfore, Herry Bailly, by thy feith,
4359 Be thou nat wrooth, er we departen heer,
4360 Though that my tale be of an hostileer.
4361 But nathelees I wol nat telle it yit;
4362 But er we parte, ywis, thou shalt be quit.”
4363 And therwithal he lough and made cheere,
4364 And seyde his tale, as ye shul after heere.

The Tale

4365 A prentys whilom dwelled in oure citee,
4366 And of a craft of vitailliers was hee.
4367 Gaillard he was as goldfynch in the shawe,
4368 Broun as a berye, a propre short felawe,
4369 With lokkes blake, ykembd ful fetisly.
4370 Dauncen he koude so wel and jolily
4371 That he was cleped Perkyn Revelour.
4372 He was as ful of love and paramour
4373 As is the hyve ful of hony sweete;
4374 Wel was the wenche with hym myghte meete.
4375 At every bridale wolde he synge and hoppe;
4376 He loved bet the taverne than the shoppe.
4377 For whan ther any ridyng was in Chepe,
4378 Out of the shoppe thider wolde he lepe —
4379 Til that he hadde al the sighte yseyn,
4380 And daunced wel, he wolde nat come ayeyn —
4381 And gadered hym a meynee of his sort
4382 To hoppe and synge and maken swich disport;
4383 And ther they setten stevene for to meete,
4384 To pleyen at the dys in swich a streete.
4385 For in the toune nas ther no prentys
4386 That fairer koude caste a paire of dys
4387 Than Perkyn koude, and therto he was free
4388 Of his dispense, in place of pryvetee.
4389 That fond his maister wel in his chaffare,
4390 For often tyme he foond his box ful bare.
4391 For sikerly a prentys revelour
4392 That haunteth dys, riot, or paramour,
4393 His maister shal it in his shoppe abye,
4394 Al have he no part of the mynstralcye.
4395 For thefte and riot, they been convertible,
4396 Al konne he pleye on gyterne or ribible.
4397 Revel and trouthe, as in a lowe degree,
4398 They been ful wrothe al day, as men may see.
4399 This joly prentys with his maister bood,
4400 Til he were ny out of his prentishood,
4401 Al were he snybbed bothe erly and late,
4402 And somtyme lad with revel to Newegate.
4403 But atte laste his maister hym bithoghte,
4404 Upon a day, whan he his papir soghte,
4405 Of a proverbe that seith this same word:
4406 “Wel bet is roten appul out of hoord
4407 Than that it rotie al the remenaunt.”
4408 So fareth it by a riotous servaunt;
4409 It is ful lasse harm to lete hym pace,
4410 Than he shende alle the servantz in the place.
4411 Therfore his maister yaf hym acquitance,
4412 And bad hym go, with sorwe and with meschance!
4413 And thus this joly prentys hadde his leve.
4414 Now lat hym riote al the nyght or leve.
4415 And for ther is no theef withoute a lowke,
4416 That helpeth hym to wasten and to sowke
4417 Of that he brybe kan or borwe may,
4418 Anon he sente his bed and his array
4419 Unto a compeer of his owene sort,
4420 That lovede dys, and revel, and disport,
4421 And hadde a wyf that heeld for contenance
4422 A shoppe, and swyved for hir sustenance.

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