Chaucer himself was a prime example of new social mobility being granted to members of the emerging middle class.
The elf-queen, with her jolly company, Danced oftentimes on many a green mead; 5 This was the old opinion, as I read. But now no man can see the elves, you know.
Be wise, and keep your neck from iron dire! And if you cannot tell it me anon, 50 Then will I give you license to be gone A twelvemonth and a day, to search and learn Sufficient answer in this grave concern. He sought out every house and every place Wherein he hoped to find that he had grace To learn what women love the most of all; But nowhere ever did it him befall 60 To find, upon the question stated here, Two persons who agreed with statement clear.
Some said that our poor hearts are aye most eased When we have been most flattered and thus pleased.
And some folk say that great delight have we To be held constant, also trustworthy, And on one purpose steadfastly to dwell, 75 And not betray a thing that men may tell. When what the knight went for he could not find out, That is, the thing that women love the best, 80 Most saddened was the spirit in his breast; But home he goes, he could no more delay.
But truly, ere he came upon them there, 90 The dancers vanished all, he knew not where. No creature saw he that gave sign of life, Save, on the greensward sitting, an old wife; A fouler person could no man devise.
Before the knight this old wife did arise, 95 And said: When they were come unto the court, this knight Said he had kept his promise as was right, And ready was his answer, as he said.
This knight did not stand dumb, as does a beast, But to this question presently answered With manly voice, so that the whole court heard: If this be false, say nay, upon your fay! That I so promised I will not protest. For though I may be foul and old and poor, I will not, for all metal and all ore That from the earth is dug or lies above, Be aught except your wife and your true love.
Great was the woe the knight had in his thought When he, with her, to marriage bed was brought; He rolled about and turned him to and fro. Fares every knight with wife as you with me? Are knights of his all so fastidious? It will not be amended ever, no! Would God my heart would break within my breast!
But since you speak of such gentility As is descended from old wealth, till ye Claim that for that you should be gentlemen, I hold such arrogance not worth a hen. Find him who is most virtuous alway, Alone or publicly, and most tries aye To do whatever noble deeds he can, And take him for the greatest gentleman.The Friar starts to tell a nasty tale about summoners, but the Host steps in and lets the Wife of Bath tell her tale.
The interruption of the Friar and Summoner remind the reader that this is a frame narrative, and the other pilgrims are always present in every tale.
Read Full Text and Annotations on The Canterbury Tales The Tale of the Wife of Bath at Owl Eyes. The Wife of Bath’s Prologue The Tale of the Wife of Bath or the knight simply perceives her as beautiful now that she has power in their relationship.
Notice . The Wife of Bath's Tale. Heere bigynneth the Tale of the Wyf of Bathe. In th' olde dayes of the Kyng Arthour, In the old days of King Arthur, Of which that Britons speken greet honour, Of whom Britons speak great honor, Al was this land fulfild of fayerye.
. The Wife's prologue is unique in that it is longer than the tale itself. The Wife of Bath uses the prologue to explain the basis of her theories about experience versus authority and to introduce the point that she illustrates in her tale: The thing women most desire is complete .
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A summary of The Wife of Bath’s Prologue in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of The Canterbury Tales and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans.