They were full glad when I spoke them fair, For God knows, I chid them mercilessly. I holde a mouses herte nat worth a leek That hath but oon hole for to sterte to, And if that faille, thanne is al ydo. A drunken woman has no true defence; This lechers know from their experience. With daunger oute we al oure chaffare; Greet prees at market maketh deere ware, And to greet cheep is holde at litel prys: This knoweth every womman that is wys. The first three were good because they were rich, old, and obedient to her every whim.
Or where commanded he virginity? One of the most vivacious characters on the pilgrimage is The Wife of Bath. Of everyone demanded was their silence, And that the knight should tell his audience What thing that worldly women love the best. She prefers to go forth and multiply, defending her position by pointing to King Solomon, who had many wives, among other Biblical figures who married often. And if she be foul, you say that she Covets every man that she might see, For like a spaniel she will at him leap Till she finds some man to take her cheap; Never a goose so grey swam on the lake That, say you, it will not find a mate. By the same token, her interpretations of Scripture, such as on marriage , are tailored to suit her own purposes.
God bade us to wax fruitful and multiply, she says, and that is the text that she wholeheartedly endorses. Paul's admonishment that it is better to marry than to burn. Like Chaucer himself, the Wife of Bath is well read. These marriages analyze how a man or woman can gain authority over the other. What makes the outcome of this story ironic? Unto this day it dooth myn herte boote That I have had my world as in my tyme. Chaucer's deft handling of the narrator's transition between appearance and other information is evident in The General Prologue.
If she were beautiful, many men would be after her; in her present state, however, he can be assured that he has a virtuous wife. For had God commanded maidenhood, Then had he ended marriage and for good. Both describe the Wife's knowledge and use of Scripture in her justification of her sexual behaviour. You say, that just as insects kill a tree, Just so a wife destroys her husband; This they know who to a wife are bound. Therfore no womman of no clerk is preysed. It was an oppressive time for women in male-dominated society. What eyleth swich an old man for to chide? She also argues against the complaint that the husband is expected to flatter and praise his wife in public.
Thus say you, lord, on your way to bed, And that no wise man ever needs to wed, Nor no man that has his eye on Heaven — Wild thunderbolts and lightning-fire then Fall on your withered neck till it be broke! And thus they lived to their lives end In perfect joy — and Jesus Christ us send Husbands meek, young, and fresh abed, And grace to outlive those that we wed. And on his way back he happened to ride, Full of his cares, under a forest side, Where he saw dancing on woodland floor Of ladies four and twenty, and yet more. And surely, if there were never seed sown, Virginity, where would that be grown? Namely abedde hadden they meschaunce: Ther wolde I chide and do hem no plesaunce; I wolde no lenger in the bed abyde, 410 If that I felte his arm over my syde, Til he had maad his raunson unto me; Thanne wolde I suffre hym do his nycetee. Jerome, two men whose opinions about women the Wife specifically alludes to in her Prologue. Jerome's Against Jovinian, which argues the virtues of celibacy and portrays marriage as a necessary evil. These negative ideas about wives gained support from St.
Of myn estaat I nyl nat make no boost, For wel ye knowe a lord in his houshold 100 He nath nat every vessel al of gold; Somme been of tree, and doon hir lord servyse. Chaucer gives us an interesting woman whose coarse speech and flashy clothing seem at odds with the depth of her learning. That was the old opinion, as I read — I speak of many hundred years ago. My ascendant Taurus, with Mars therein — Alas, alas, that ever love was sin! What ails you, to grumble so and groan? She sees nothing wrong with having had five husbands and cannot understand Jesus' rebuke to the woman at the well who also had five husbands. She discusses the issues of equality between men and women, and how more often then not women are held to a standard that is not held to men.
However, her speech quickly evolves into a defense of the married lifestyle, which she deems necessary because people have apparently criticized her for being married so many times. He has promised to reward her, and she asks him to marry her as that reward 7. Now that she has won power over him, she asks him to kiss her, promising both beauty and fidelity. By God, he smoot me ones on the lyst, 635 For that I rente out of his book a leef, That of the strook myn ere wax al deef. Ere I be dead, yet will I kiss thee! I hate hym that my vices telleth me, And so doo mo, God woot, of us than I. Students will need some understanding of these tracts in order to assess the Wife's argument that women rather than men should have mastery in marriage. He knew of them more legends and lives Than there are of good wives in the Bible.
But now to my purpose, as I told you, How I was beaten for a book, all true. She is a woman of great vitality, a woman who is wonderfully alive and responsive. As may aid me God the Omnipotent, Though I this minute make my testament, I owe them not a word that was not quits! As help me God, whan that I saugh hym go After the beere, me thoughte he hadde a paire Of legges and of feet so clene and faire That al myn herte I yaf unto his hoold. Lo, have it every deel! And if that she be fair, thou verray knave, Thou seyst that every holour wol hire have; 255 She may no while in chastitee abyde, That is assailled upon ech a syde. She says that men can only guess and interpret what Jesus meant when he told a Samaritan woman that her fifth husband was not her husband. So help me God, when I saw him go After the bier, I thought he had a pair Of legs and of feet so fine and fair, That all my heart I gave to him to hold. Men may conseille a womman to been oon, But conseillyng is no comandėment.