Weekly Interlinear Poem





This is the poem
for the week of October 12.
This is the last of the series.
The Archive will remain on the Internet.

Send me e-mail - robert15115@gmail.com
Robert Jackson

Description of the Wife of Bath in the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales
(Chaucer's Middle English spelling has been modernized)

-Geoffrey Chaucer



A good WIFE was thereof beside Bath
beside=near
But she was somedeal deaf, and that was scath
somedeal=somewhat
scath=a pity

Of clothmaking she hadde such a haunt
haunt=skill
She passed them of Ypres and of Gaunt
passed=surpassed
(Ypres and Gaunt (Ghent) were cloth-making cities)

In all the parish, wife ne was there none
ne . . . none - double negative=none (not uncommon)
That to the offering before her shoulde gon
to the offering=to make an offering (at a church)
before her=ahead of her
gon=go

And if there did, certain so wroth was she
That she was out of alle charity.
Her coverchiefs full fine were of ground.
of ground=old-fashioned
I durste swear they weighed-en ten pound
That on a Sunday were upon her head.
Her hosen weren of fine scarlet red
Full straight y-tied and shoes full moist and new.
moist=supple
Bold was her face and fair and red of hue.
She was a worthy woman all her life.
Husbands at churche door she had had five,
Without-en other company in youth,
without-en=not counting
But thereof needeth not to speak as nouth.
as nouth=now
And thrice had she been at Jerusalem.
She had passed many a strange stream.
strange=foreign
At Rome she had been and at Boulogne,
In Galicia at St James and at Cologne.
(pilgrimage sites)
She koude much of wandering by the way.
koude=knew
Gap-toothed was she, soothly for to say.
soothly=truly
Upon an ambler easily she sat
ambler=pacing horse (slow)
Y-wimpled well, and on her head a hat
wimple=cloth covering for the head
As broad as is a buckler or a targe.
buckler, targe=kinds of shields
A foot mantle about her hippes large,
foot mantle=overskirt
And on her feet a pair of spurs sharp.
In fellowship well could she laugh and carp.
Of remedies of love she knew perchance
perchance=by experience
For she knew of that art the olde dance.

A good WIFE was thereof beside Bath
But she was somedeal deaf, and that was scath
Of clothmaking she hadde such a haunt
She passed them of Ypres and of Gaunt
In all the parish, wife ne was there none
That to the offering before her shoulde gon
And if there did, certain so wroth was she
That she was out of alle charity.
Her coverchiefs full fine were of ground.
I durste swear they weighed-en ten pound
That on a Sunday were upon her head.
Her hosen weren of fine scarlet red
Full straight y-tied and shoes full moist and new.
Bold was her face and fair and red of hue.
She was a worthy woman all her life.
Husbands at churche door she had had five,
Without-en other company in youth,
But thereof needeth not to speak as nouth.
And thrice had she been at Jerusalem.
She had passed many a strange stream.
At Rome she had been and at Boulogne,
In Galicia at St James and at Cologne.
She koude much of wandering by the way.
Gap-toothed was she, soothly for to say.
Upon an ambler easily she sat
Y-wimpled well, and on her head a hat
As broad as is a buckler or a targe.
A foot mantle about her hippes large,
And on her feet a pair of spurs sharp.
In fellowship well could she laugh and carp.
Of remedies of love she knew perchance
For she knew of that art the olde dance.