The Merchant's Tale


PROLOGUE


"Of weeping, wailing, care and other plight I know enough each morning, noon, and night," The Merchant said, "and so do others, too, 1215 Who have been married. I believe it's true, For well I know that's how it is with me. I have a wife, the worst that there could be; For if she and the devil were a pair, She'd be more than his match, I dare to swear. 1220 What specially should I relate to you About her malice? She's a total shrew. There is a mighty difference between Griselda's patience--great, as we have seen-- And my own wife's surpassing cruelty. 1225 How I could thrive if only I were free! I'd nevermore be captured in the snare. We married men live sorrowfully, in care. Let whoso will assay and he will find, By India's Saint Thomas, I've opined 1230 The truth (for most part, I won't claim it all). And God forbid that it should so befall! "Ah, me! I have been married, good Sir Host, So far, pardie, for two months at the most. But I believe that he who's yet to wive 1235 In all his life--even though men may rive Him to the heart--could not in any way Tell you as much of woe as I could say Right here and now of my wife's cursedness!" "Now, Merchant," said our Host, "as God may bless 1240 You, since you know so much about that art, I heartily do pray you'll tell us part." "Gladly," said he, "but no more I'll relate, For aching heart, of my own sorry state."

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