The Friar's Prologue

This worthy lymytour, this noble Frere,
He made alwey a maner louryng chiere
Upon the Somonour, but for honestee
No vileyns word as yet to hym spak he.
But atte laste he seyde unto the wyf,
"Dame," quod he, "God yeve yow right good lyf.
Ye han heer touched, also moot I thee,
In scole-matere greet difficultee.
Ye han seyd muche thyng right wel, I seye.
But dame, heere as we ryde by the weye
Us nedeth nat to speken but of game,
And lete auctoritees, on Goddes name,
To prechyng and to scole of clergye.
But if it lyke to this compaignye,
I wol yow of a somonour telle a game.
Pardee, ye may wel knowe by the name
That of a somonour may no good be sayd:
I praye that noon of you be yvele apayd.
A somonour is a rennere up and doun
With mandementz for fornicacioun,
And is ybet at every townes ende."
Oure Hoost to spak, "A, sire, ye sholde be hende
And curteys, as a man of youre estaat;
In compaignye we wol have no debaat.
Telleth youre tale and lat the Somonour be."
"Nay," quod the Somonour, "lat hym seye to me
Whatso hym list. Whan it comth to my lot,
By God, I shall hym quiten every grot.
I shal hym tellen which a greet honour
It is to be a flaterynge lymytour,
And of many another manere cryme
Which nedeth nat rehercen for this tyme.
And his office I shal hym telle, ywis."
Oure Hoost answerde, "Pees, namoore of this."
And after this he seyde unto the Frere,
"Tel forth youre tale, leeve maister deere."
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