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Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground; I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed. Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce, For she koude of that art the olde daunce.
And they were clothed alle in o lyveree Of a solempne and a greet fraternitee.
Ful fressh and newe hir geere apiked was; Hir knyves were chaped noght with bras, But al with silver; wroght ful clene and weel, And have a mantel roialliche ybore.
A not heed hadde he, with a broun visage, A Cristopher on his brest of silver sheene.
An horn he bar, the bawdryk was of grene; A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.
His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves And pynnes, for to yeven yonge wyves. It is nat honeste, it may nat avaunce, For to deelen with no swich poraille, But al with riche and selleres of vitaille. Somwhat he lipsed for his wantownesse To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge; And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe, Hise eyen twynkled in his heed aryght Wel koude he in eschaunge sheeldes selle.
And over al, ther as profit sholde arise, For thogh a wydwe hadde noght a sho, So plesaunt was his "In principio" Yet wolde he have a ferthyng, er he wente; His purchas was wel bettre than his rente. This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette; Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette, So estatly was he of his governaunce With his bargaynes and with his chevyssaunce.
He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt, Hise eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed, That stemed as a forneys of a leed; His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat; He may nat wepe, al thogh hym soore smerte; Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
Ther as this lord was keper of the celle, The reule of Seint Maure, or of Seint Beneit, By cause that it was old and somdel streit This ilke Monk leet olde thynges pace, And heeld after the newe world the space.
He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen, That seith that hunters beth nat hooly men, Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees, Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees,- This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre; And I seyde his opinioun was good. Therfore he was a prikasour aright: Grehoundes he hadde, as swift as fowel in flight; Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.