The Friar's Tale

PROLOGUE


  Although this worthy limiter, the Friar,                 1265
Had all the while been glowering with ire
At the Summoner, to this juncture he
Had said naught to him for propriety.
But finally the Friar said to the Wife,
  "My lady, God give you a right good life!                1270
For I must tell you, here you've come to touch
On weighty questions scholars argue much.
You've said a lot and very well, I say.
But as we're riding here, dame, on our way,
We need to speak of nothing but in game;                   1275
Let's leave the authorities, in God's name,
To preaching clerics and their studies too.
Now if this group would like, what I shall do
Is tell you of a summoner for game;
You know, pardie, that by the very name                    1280
About a summoner there's no good to say.
(May none among you take offense, I pray.)
A summoner is one who runs around
With writs for fornication where it's found,
And gets a beating at each village side."                  1285
  "Ah, sir, you should be kind," our Host replied,
"And courteous, considering your station.
Here in this group we'll have no altercation;
Tell your tale and let the Summoner be."
  "No," said the Summoner, "let him say to me              1290
What he may please. When it's my turn I'll note    
And pay him back, by God, for every groat.
I'll tell him how so great an honor, sir,
It is to be a flattering limiter;
I'll also tell of many another crime                       1295
That needn't be recounted at this time.    
About his job for sure I'll tell him much."
  Our Host said, "Hold your peace! No more of such!" 
And to the Friar after that he said,
"Now with your tale, dear master, go ahead."               1300

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