Vocabulary and Notes


[The Portrait in The General Prologue]

545 carl 'fellow'
Back to Text

548 have alwey the ram 'win the prize'
Back to Text

549 a thikke knarre 'a sturdy lad'; lit. 'a strong knot of wood'. The Miller is seen to be belligerent and dangerous.
Back to Text

550 nolde < ne+wolde,'would not'
Back to Text

550 harre 'hinge'; his greatest achievement appears to be knocking down doors with his head. This 'skill' will be put to good use in the Tale.
Back to Text

554 cop 'ridge'. His physical ugliness is generally a sign of inner corruption in medieval literature, and his red hair a sign of bad temper.
Back to Text

559 forneys 'furnace';the gates of hell in medieval drama were often represented as a gaping furnace.
Back to Text

560 janglere 'gossip'
Back to Text

560 goliardeys a teller of coarse stories; originally a vagabond priest in 12th/13th cents who travelled around telling 'goliardic', i.e. crude, satirical poems
Back to Text

562 koude 'knew how to'
Back to Text

18 thombe of gold there's a proverb, 'an honest miller has a thumb of gold' = there is no such thing; it is possibly meant ironically that the miller's heavy thumb pressed down on the flour when being weighed.
Back to Text


[Prologue]

2 nas < ne+was, 'wasn't'
Back to Text

4 for to drawen to memorie 'to bear in mind', 'to remember'.
Back to Text

5 gentils 'nobles', cf. PDE 'gentleman'
Back to Text

6 So moot I gon an exclamation: 'Well I never'; lit. 'So may I go'.
Back to Text

7 unbokeled is the male lit. 'the trunk/bag is unbuckled'; i.e., the event has begun.
Back to Text

8 Lat se 'Let us see'.
Back to Text

10 Ye 'You'; this is the polite/plural form used by the Host, Harry Bailey, to his superior, the Monk. Harry addresses the Miller in the singular, familiar form; cf. line 27 'Thou'.
Back to Text

11 quite with 'repay'.
Back to Text

13 unnethe 'hardly', 'with difficulty'.
Back to Text

14 nolde avalen ne+wolde 'would not take off'. A sign of disprespect.
Back to Text

18 kan 'know'.
Back to Text

19 quite; knowing the Miller, quite here may have an ironic sense of 'to avenge'. As it happens he does tell a tale that parodies the courtly tradition of the Knight's Tale.
Back to Text

21 leeve 'dear'.
Back to Text

23 werken thriftily 'proceed properly'.
Back to Text

26 a devel wey! 'damn you!'
Back to Text

28 alle and some 'one and all'
Back to Text

30 soun 'sound' (of my voice).
Back to Text

32 Wyte it the ale 'blame the ale'.
Back to Text

33 lyf 'a saint's life', 'hagiography'
Back to Text

35 hath set the wryghtes cappe 'made a fool of the carpenter'.
Back to Text

36 Stynt thy clappe! 'Shut up'.
Back to Text

37 lewed in ME lewd can simply mean 'unlearned', 'not clerical', but it came to mean 'vulgar', 'rude'.
Back to Text

37 harlotrye 'vulgar or obscene talk or actions'
Back to Text

39 apeyren 'injure'
Back to Text

41 This line means 'You can talk as much as you want about any other matter.
Back to Text

42 soone 'immediately'
Back to Text

43 Leve 'dear'
Back to Text

47 ayeyns oon badde 'for every bad [wife]'
Back to Text

48 knowestow 'knowest thou'; a case of elision.
Back to Text

48 but if thou madde 'unless you're mad'
Back to Text

49 artow 'art thou', 'are you'
Back to Text

52 this line means '[I would not] assume too much'.
Back to Text

53 this line means 'to consider myself one [i.e. a cuckold]
Back to Text

56 pryvetee 'secrets'
Back to Text

57 foyson 'abundance'.
Back to Text

62 M'athynketh 'it grieves me', 'I greatly regret'
Back to Text

63 gentil wight 'noble person'
Back to Text

65 reherce 'repeat'
Back to Text

66 hir...they Chaucer uses the following forms for the 3rd pers. plural pronouns: they (nom.), hir (possess.), hem (accus. and dat.)
Back to Text

68 list it nat yheere ' does not wish to hear it'.
Back to Text

70 grete and smale 'important and trivial [tales]'
Back to Text

71 storial 'historical'
Back to Text

72 gentillesse 'nobility'
Back to Text

75 othere mo ' others' (lit. 'other more')
Back to Text

77 Avyseth yow 'be advised'.
Back to Text

78 This line means 'And also men should not take fun too seriously'.
Back to Text


[The Tale]

79 Whilom 'Once apon a time'
Back to Text

80 This line means: 'A rich churl who took in lodgers', where gnof means 'churl', 'boor'.
Back to Text

83 art The trivium or liberal arts; the three basic subjects at university -- grammar, logic and rhetoric. Today the humanities degree is still called 'Arts'.
Back to Text

83 fantasye 'mind', 'imagination'.
Back to Text

84 astrologye This was a distinguished subject, still connected to astronomy. Chaucer was skilled in astrology and wrote The Astrolabe.
Back to Text

85-6 These lines mean 'And knew a certain [number of] experiments to determine by enquiry'.
Back to Text

87 in certein houres 'at what specific time'; the prediction of the time of floods is going to play a crucial part in the plot.
Back to Text

89-90 'Or if people asked him what might occur in any eventuality', where rekene means 'tell'.
Back to Text

91 cleped 'called'
Back to Text

91 hende an ambiguous word: 'noble', 'courteous', 'obliging' and possibly 'handy','near at hand'; it becomes the epithet consistently used for Nicholas and is probably meant tongue-in- cheek.
Back to Text

92 deerne 'secret'; all Nicholas's actions are shrouded in secrecy. Secrecy was important in courtly love.
Back to Text

92 solas 'delight', 'pleasure'.
Back to Text

93 sleigh 'subtle'
Back to Text

93 ful privee 'extremely secret/withdrawn'
Back to Text

94 meke for to see 'appeared modest'
Back to Text

97 fetisly ydight 'attractively dressed/decorated'
Back to Text

97 swoote 'sweet'.
Back to Text

99 lycorys 'liquorice'
Back to Text

99 cetewale 'ginger': both these herbs were considered aphrodisiacs.
Back to Text

100 Almageste a major treatise on astronomy by the Greek astronomer Ptolemy (c. 100-170); it later came to cover any major astronomical text.
Back to Text

101 astrelabie 'astrolobe'; an astronomical instrument, used for measuring the position of stars and planets; an expensive instrument, so, along with his many manuscripts (line 100), he could not be so poor (line 82).
Back to Text

101 longynge for his art 'belonging to his science/studies'.
Back to Text

102 augrym stones stones or counters with arabic numerals for use on an abacus
Back to Text

104 faldyng reed 'a red cloth'
Back to Text

105 sautrie 'a psaltery'; a musical intrument like a small triangular harp, plucked by quills'. A courtly instrument, as opposed to the Miller's bagpipes.
Back to Text

109 The Kynges Noote 'The King's Song'; This song has not been i dentified.
Back to Text

110 This line probably is ironic and 'blessed' could either mean that he is blessed by a good voice or that after he sings his throat is blessed by a drink.
Back to Text

112 This line means 'Depending on the financial generosity of his friends and his own income'.
Back to Text

115 eighteteene This was by no means an early age for marriage which could take place for boys and girls much earlier and betrothal could happen at birth.
Back to Text

116 narwe in cage 'closely confined'; line 123 suggests that John also is caught in a trap. The closely guarded wife is a common fabliau device, and fun is derived by seeing how she escapes.
Back to Text

117 old the fabliau husband is traditionally old; this is called senex amans 'the old lover'
Back to Text

118 This line means 'he considered himself likely to be a cuckold/sexually cheated'.
Back to Text

121 after hire estaat 'according to their condition (social, age, etc.)
Back to Text

123 sith the contracted form of sithen 'since'.
Back to Text

124 care 'trouble'.
Back to Text

126 gent and smal 'slender and thin'.
Back to Text

127 ceynt 'girdle', 'belt'
Back to Text

127 barred 'striped'.
Back to Text

128 barmclooth 'apron'
Back to Text

129 lendes 'loins'
Back to Text

129 goore 'gusset'.
Back to Text

130 broyden 'embroidered'
Back to Text

133 voluper 'cap'.
Back to Text

135 filet 'hand-band'
Back to Text

137 ypulled 'plucked'
Back to Text

138 tho 'those'; here 'they'.
Back to Text

138 sloo sloe-berry.
Back to Text

140 pere-jonette a type of sweet pear that is early ripe; possibility a comment on Alisoun?
Back to Text

141 wether a mature, male sheep; one might have expected 'lamb'? Again the white colour is continued.
Back to Text

143 latoun 'latten', brass-like metal.
Back to Text

144 This line means: 'If you were to search all over this world'
Back to Text

145 thenche 'imagine'.
Back to Text

146 popelote colloquial: 'doll', 'pet'.
Back to Text

146 wenche 'female'; not a complimentary or courtly term.
Back to Text

149 yerne 'eager', 'lively'
Back to Text

153 bragot 'bragget', a fermented drink of beer and honey.
Back to Text

153 meeth 'mead', honey-based alcoholic drink.
Back to Text

155 Wynsynge 'ever moving'
Back to Text

156 bolt 'arrow'.
Back to Text

158 boos of a bokeler 'boss (or central part) of a shield'
Back to Text

160 prymerole 'primula'.
Back to Text

160 piggesnye lit. 'pig's eye',probably a flower; both names are colloquial words for a lovely girl; cf. popelote (146).
Back to Text

163 This line means 'Now, sir, moreover, sir, it so came about'
Back to Text

165 rage 'fool around'
Back to Text

167 subtil 'clever'
Back to Text

167 queynte 'crafty', 'devious'
Back to Text

168 queynte female private parts; 'c__t'; there is a deliberate pun on the two uses of queynte; cf also line 646 yqueynt 'quenched'.
Back to Text

169 but.... 'unless I have my desire'.
Back to Text

170 deerne 'secret'
Back to Text

170 lemman 'beloved' < leof+man 'loved one'
Back to Text

170 spille 'die'
Back to Text

172 al atones 'immediately'
Back to Text

174 trave 'frame'
Back to Text

175 wryed 'twisted'
Back to Text

177 lat bestop it
Back to Text

178 out harrow 'help!'
Back to Text

179 Do wey 'put away'
Back to Text

180 gan mercy... 'asked for pity'; a traditional plea from a courtly lover. gan +infin. should be translated as the pret.
Back to Text

181 profered... 'presented himself'`
Back to Text

185 leyser wel espie 'when she could see an opportunity'
Back to Text

186 jalousie 'suspicion'
Back to Text

187 but ye wayte wel 'unless you carefully wait'.
Back to Text

188 woot 'know'
Back to Text

189 as in this cas 'in this affair'
Back to Text

191 This line means: ' A student had lazily wasted his time'
Back to Text

194 tyme 'opportunity'
Back to Text

195 everideel 'everything'
Back to Text

196 thakked 'patted'
Back to Text

196 lendes 'thighs'
Back to Text

200 wirche 'to work' ('to perform the works of Christ's')
Back to Text

201 haliday 'a holy day'
Back to Text

203 This line means:'It [her forehead] was washed so well when she stopped her work'
Back to Text

205 the which that 'who'
Back to Text

205 ycleped 'called'
Back to Text

206 Crul 'curled'; a case of metathesis.
Back to Text

207 strouted 'spread out'
Back to Text

208 shode 'hair parting'
Back to Text

209 rode 'complexion'
Back to Text

210 corven 'carved'
Back to Text

211 fetisly '[he went] elegantly
Back to Text

212 Yclad 'dressed'
Back to Text

212 ful smal and proprely 'very delicately and elegantly'; note the repetition of ful. This stresses his occupation with appearance.
Back to Text

213 kirtel 'tunic'
Back to Text

213 waget 'light blue cloth'.
Back to Text

217 myrie child 'a merry lad'
Back to Text

223 rubible 'a small, two-stinged violin' -- perhaps significantly meant as a small, inferior instrument
Back to Text

224 quynyble 'high-pitched, treble voice', again suggesting effeminacy
Back to Text

226 nas 'was not'
Back to Text

227 solas 'entertainment'
Back to Text

228 gaylard tappestere 'lively barmaid'
Back to Text

229 squaymous 'fastidious'
Back to Text

230 daungerous 'disdainful'
Back to Text

233 Sensynge 'censing', that is swinging the censer that contains burning incense above the wives.
Back to Text

236 This line means:' he thought it a great experience to gaze at her', where propre means 'fine', 'respectable' and likerous means 'sexy'
Back to Text

239 hente 'catch'
Back to Text

246 For paramours 'for love's sake'; this is the original meaning of par amour.
Back to Text

250 dressed hym 'placed himself'
Back to Text

250 shot-wyndowe 'hinged window'; it is important later that the window can open! This is typical fabliau love of detail.
Back to Text

252 gentil and smal 'polite and high-pitched'; cf. Alisoun's voice that it is 'loud and lively' (149).
Back to Text

254 rewe on me 'pity me
Back to Text

255 This line means: 'harmonising well with his guitar playing'
Back to Text

258 herestow nat 'did you not hear' (lit. hearest not thou?)
Back to Text

259 boures 'bedroom'
Back to Text

260 therwithal 'right away'
Back to Text

261 Yis 'Yes indeed'; this is the emphatic form of 'yea'.
Back to Text

261 every deel 'every bit [of it]'
Back to Text

262 'And so it goes on; what do you expect?'
Back to Text

264 hym is wo bigon 'he is wretched'.
Back to Text

268 page 'servant'
Back to Text

269 brokkynge 'quavering'
Back to Text

270 meeth 'mead', a fermented honey drink
Back to Text

271 gleede 'fire'
Back to Text

272 meede 'bribe'; cf. Lady Meed in Piers Plowman.
Back to Text

274 strokes beatings
Back to Text

274 gentillesse 'nobility', 'courtesy'
Back to Text

276 scaffold 'platform' for the play.
Back to Text

277 'But what good did it do him?'
Back to Text

281 An expression that probably means he was wasting his time.
Back to Text

284-5 This expression means:'The clever lover close at hand makes the lover that is far away hated.' Lit. 'Always the near, clever one makes the far lover to be hated'.
Back to Text

286 wood 'mad'.
Back to Text

288 nye 'near'
Back to Text

289 ber thee wel 'do your best!'
Back to Text

294 'Agree to this plan'
Back to Text

295 shapen hym a wyle 'prepare a trick'
Back to Text

296 sely 'innocent', 'naive'.
Back to Text

297 if so be 'if it so turned out that'.
Back to Text

299 hire 'hers'
Back to Text

300 mo 'more'
Back to Text

303 mete 'food'
Back to Text

304 'And told her to say to her husband'
Back to Text

306 nyste 'didn't know': ne+wiste
Back to Text

307 with ye lit.' with her eye'; this phrase is pleonastic and the line means 'she hadn't laid eyes on him all day'.
Back to Text

308 trowed 'believed'.
Back to Text

309-10 'For, as her maid could not rouse him by shouting, he wouldn't answer no matter what happened'.
Back to Text

311 thilke 'the same'
Back to Text

313 leste 'wished'
Back to Text

315 merveyle 'puzzlement'
Back to Text

317 Seint Thomas Thomas à Becket; cf line 183.
Back to Text

318 'Things aren't right with Nicholas.
Back to Text

319 God shilde 'God forbid'
Back to Text

320 tikel 'unpredictable', 'uncertain'.
Back to Text

321-2 'Today I saw a corpse carried to church, yet a short while ago, on last Monday, last I saw him at work'.
Back to Text

323 knave 'servant'
Back to Text

323 anoon 'immediately'
Back to Text

324 clepe 'call'
Back to Text

326 gooth hym up 'takes himself up', 'goes up'; watch the changes in tense in this passage.
Back to Text

327 whil that 'as'
Back to Text

328 wood 'mad'
Back to Text

330 how may ye slepen 'How can you sleep'
Back to Text

334 ful depe 'intently'
Back to Text

336 capyng 'gaping', 'staring'
Back to Text

337 'As if he'd looked on the new moon'; this could cause lunacy.
Back to Text

338 soone 'immediately'
Back to Text

339 array 'state'.
Back to Text

340 to blessen hym bigan: 'crossed himself'
Back to Text

341 Seinte Frydeswyde 8th-cent. patron saint of Oxford
Back to Text

342 'Little does a man know what's to happen to him' -- an Ironic statement for both John and Nicholas.
Back to Text

343 astromye 'astronomy', probably the error is intended to show John's lack of knowledge.
Back to Text

344 agonye 'mental anguish'
Back to Text

345 'I always thought that it would come to this'.
Back to Text

346 pryvetee 'secrets': yet John listens to God's secrets as narrated by John. See Commentary at lines 50-6.
Back to Text

347 lewed 'lay', 'unlearned'
Back to Text

348 his bileve kan 'knows the Creed' (which begins 'I believe...')
Back to Text

349 ferde 'fared'
Back to Text

350 prye 'stare'
Back to Text

352 marle-pit 'clay pit'
Back to Text

354 me reweth soore 'I'm greatly sorry for'
Back to Text

355 rated 'criticised'
Back to Text

357 underspore 'force upwards'
Back to Text

359 as I gesse 'I suppose'; this is the modern American use of 'I guess so'.
Back to Text

360 gan hym dresse 'placed himself'
Back to Text

361 This line echoes the Miller in the GP line 1.
Back to Text

362 'And he heaved it off immediately by the latch'.
Back to Text

365 caped 'gaped'.
Back to Text

366 wende 'thought'
Back to Text

367 hente 'grabbed'
Back to Text

368 spitously 'violently'.
Back to Text

371 crouche 'make the sign of the Cross'.
Back to Text

371 wightes 'evil spirits'.
Back to Text

372 nyght-spel 'a prayer to protect against night spirits'
Back to Text

372 anon-rightes 'straightaway'
Back to Text

373 halves 'corners'
Back to Text

375 Benedight 'Benedict' -- a deliberate error to show John's simplicity?
Back to Text

377 verye ' evil spirits' (but this word is not found elsewhere; possibly another nonsense word by John.)
Back to Text

377 the white pater-noster lit. 'the white Lord's Prayer'; this was a simple prayer to protect one at night-time, like the night- spel.
Back to Text

378 wentestow 'did you go'.
Back to Text

380 '[Nicholas] sighed pitifully and said, 'Alas!'
Back to Text

381 eftsoones 'again'
Back to Text

383 swynke 'work'
Back to Text

386 toucheth 'concerns'
Back to Text

392 'He got the carpenter to sit beside him.'
Back to Text

393 lief 'dear'
Back to Text

394 'You must swear to me here on your pledged word'.
Back to Text

395 wreye 'betray'
Back to Text

397 forlore 'damned'
Back to Text

398 han 'have'
Back to Text

399 'If you betray me, you shall become mad'.
Back to Text

401 'Said then this naive man, 'I am not a tell-tale'
Back to Text

402 'No, though I say so myself, I am not used to blether'
Back to Text

408 quarter nyght 9 p.m.
Back to Text

412 'All will be drowned, as the rain will be so terrible'
Back to Text

413 'Thus all mankind must drown and lose their life.'
Back to Text

419 'If you will follow advice and counsel'.
Back to Text

421 trewe 'wise'
Back to Text

422 rewe 'regret it'
Back to Text

428 lorn 'lost'
Back to Text

429 ful yoore ago 'many years ago'; is this referring to the Flood or when he heard the story?
Back to Text

433 'He would have preferred, I bet'
Back to Text

434 wetheres 'male sheep'; surely he had only one? Alisoun in line 141 surprisingly is compared to a wether.
Back to Text

436 woostou 'do you know' [the 'thou' form]
Back to Text

437-8 'This demands speed, and men must not preach or tarry when it's an urgent case.'
Back to Text

439 into this in '[bring] into this inn/boarding house'.
Back to Text

440 kymelyn 'tub'
Back to Text

442 mowe 'may'
Back to Text

444 fy on the remenant! 'to heck with the rest of the time!'
Back to Text

445 aslake 'go down', 'subside'
Back to Text

446 pryme 9 a.m.
Back to Text

447 wite 'know'
Back to Text

449 Axe 'ask': a case of methathesis -- see aske in the same line.
Back to Text

450 pryvetee 'secret'
Back to Text

451 'Let it be rnough for you [to know], unless you've gone mad'
Back to Text

454 speed thee heer-aboute 'hurry up over this matter'; speed originally meant 'prosper' so it could mean 'may you prosper in this matter', but 'speed' suits the frantic motion here.
Back to Text

458 purveiaunce 'preparations'
Back to Text

460 'And [you] have laid out provisions carefully in them'.
Back to Text

464 gardyn-ward 'towards the garden' (cf.'I'm heading town- ward)
Back to Text

467 I undertake 'I bet'
Back to Text

469 clepe 'call out'
Back to Text

475 ful right 'very seriously'
Back to Text

477 'When we have entered on board ship'
Back to Text

479 in his preyere 'at his prayers'
Back to Text

480 'For it is God's own important command'
Back to Text

481 fer atwynne 'far between each other'.
Back to Text

482 'So that there will be no sin [sexual contact] between the two of you'
Back to Text

483 than ther shal in deede 'than there will be in action'.
Back to Text

484 This ordinance is seyd 'this command is [now] given'
Back to Text

487 abidyng 'waiting for'
Back to Text

488 I have no lenger space 'I have no more time'
Back to Text

492 'Go save our lives, I beg you.' lyf is in the singular, suggesting that their collective fate is all tied together.
Back to Text

496 war aware [of it]
Back to Text

497 queynte cast 'crafty plan'; remember the earlier uses of queynte.
Back to Text

497 for to seye 'all about'
Back to Text

498 ferde 'behaved'
Back to Text

498 as she wolde deye as if she'd die [of fear]
Back to Text

500 echon every one of us
Back to Text

501 verray true, faithful
Back to Text

503 affeccioun 'emotion'
Back to Text

504 ymaginacioun 'fancy'
Back to Text

505 'So deeply may an obsession take hold'
Back to Text

508 walwynge 'surging'
Back to Text

508 drenchen 'drown'
Back to Text

510 maketh sory cheere 'makes a sorrowful expression'
Back to Text

511 siketh 'sighs'
Back to Text

511 swogh 'groan'
Back to Text

513 kymelyn 'tub'
Back to Text

514 in 'inn', 'boarding house'.
Back to Text

517 ronges and stalkes 'rungs and uprights [of a ladder]'.
Back to Text

518 balkes 'rafters'
Back to Text

519 hem vitailled 'put provisions in them'
Back to Text

520 jubbe 'jug'
Back to Text

522 array 'preparations'
Back to Text

524 Upon his nede 'at his requirement'
Back to Text

525 it drow to nyght 'night came'
Back to Text

527 dressed 'prepared'
Back to Text

529 'They sat quietly a good few minutes away from each other'
Back to Text

530 'Now, say your Lord's Prayer and then sut up'.
Back to Text

532 devocioun 'prayer'
Back to Text

533 biddeth 'prays'
Back to Text

534 if he it heere 'if he hears it'
Back to Text

535 for wery bisynesse 'because of tiring labour'
Back to Text

536 'Descended heavily on this carpenter, I suppose'
Back to Text

537 corfew-tyme 'curfew', 'dusk'
Back to Text

538 'Because his spirit was distressed he greatly groans'
Back to Text

539 routeth 'snores'
Back to Text

539 myslay 'lay awkwardly'
Back to Text

542 mo 'more'
Back to Text

543 'There where the carpenter usually lies'
Back to Text

545 lith 'lies'
Back to Text

546 solas 'joy'
Back to Text

548 freres 'religious brothers', 'friars'
Back to Text

551 Oseneye probably 'Osney Mead', owned by the abbey
Back to Text

552 hym to disporte 'to enjoy himself'
Back to Text

553 'And by chance asked a monk'
Back to Text

555 drough 'pulled'
Back to Text

556-7'And said, "I don't know, [but] I haven't seen him working here since Saturday; I think that he has gone for timber".'
Back to Text

558 ther 'where'
Back to Text

560 grange 'farmhouse'
Back to Text

565 sikirly 'surely'
Back to Text

566 syn 'since'
Back to Text

567 So moot I thryve lit.'so may I thrive'; 'I'm determined'
Back to Text

569 stant the contracted form of standeth
Back to Text

569 boures 'bedroom window'
Back to Text

573 'I must have some kind of pleasure, indeed'.
Back to Text

576 'All night I dreamt I was at a feast'
Back to Text

579 anon immediately
Back to Text

580 rist 'rises'
Back to Text

581 'And dresses himself extravagantly to perfection'
Back to Text

582 greyn 'spice' -- a breath sweener.
Back to Text

584 trewe-love 'a four-leaved herb called 'herb-paris' in the shape of a true-love knot; possibly an aphrodisiac.
Back to Text

584 beer bore, carried
Back to Text

585 wende considered [himself]
Back to Text

587 stant 'stands'
Back to Text

588 raughte 'reached'
Back to Text

589 semy soun 'soft sound'
Back to Text

591 bryd 'bird','sweetheart'
Back to Text

591 cynamome 'cinnamon'
Back to Text

592 lemman 'lover'
Back to Text

594 swete ther I go 'sweat wherever I go'
Back to Text

595 swelte 'swelter', 'burn'
Back to Text

596 moorne 'yearn'
Back to Text

597 Ywis 'Indeed'
Back to Text

598 turtel 'turtle-dove'
Back to Text

598 moornynge 'yearning', 'desire'
Back to Text

601 com pa me 'come kiss me'
Back to Text

602 and elles I were to blame lit. 'or else I'd be to blame'; 'or I'd be ashamed of myself if I didn't [love another]' -- her husband or Nicholas?
Back to Text

603 bet better
Back to Text

605 a twenty devel wey 'for goodness sake!' lit. 'in the name of twenty devils'
Back to Text

606 and weylawey 'Oh deary me'
Back to Text

607 yvel biset 'badly treated'
Back to Text

608 'since I can expect nothing better'
Back to Text

610 'Will you then go away immediately?'
Back to Text

612 anon 'immediately'
Back to Text

613 stille 'quietly'
Back to Text

614 hust 'hush'
Back to Text

616 at alle degrees 'in every sense.'
Back to Text

618 'Lover, [give me] your grace and sweetheart, your favour'
Back to Text

619 undoth lit. 'undoes'; 'opens'
Back to Text

620 Have do, com of 'Come on, hurry up!'
Back to Text

625 Lit. 'And nothing better or worse happened to Absolon'; 'this is honestly the truth of what happened to Absolon'
Back to Text

626 ers arse
Back to Text

627 'Very eagerly, before he knew what he was doing.'
Back to Text

628 stirte lit. 'started', 'jumped'
Back to Text

628 amys 'wrong'
Back to Text

629 wiste 'knew'
Back to Text

630 yherd 'hairy'
Back to Text

631 do 'done'
Back to Text

633 a sory pas 'in a sorrowful manner'
Back to Text

635 'By God [lit. By God's body] this is great fun'
Back to Text

636 deel 'part'
Back to Text

638 quyte 'repay'
Back to Text

639 froteth 'rubs'
Back to Text

640 chippes 'wood shavings'
Back to Text

642-4 'Damn me [lit. May Satan take my soul], if I wouldn't rather give all this town just to be avenged of this injury'.
Back to Text

645 'Alas that I had not avoided it!'
Back to Text

646 yqueynt 'quenched' [a pun on the earlier use of queynte in line 168]
Back to Text

648 kers 'curse'
Back to Text

649 maladie 'sickness'
Back to Text

650 'Very often he denounced love'
Back to Text

651 ybete 'beaten'
Back to Text

652 A softe paas 'quietly'
Back to Text

653 cleped 'called'
Back to Text

653 daun a title above the smith's rank; translate 'sir' or 'Mr'.
Back to Text

654 smythed 'forged'
Back to Text

655 'He sharpens plough-share and coulter [part of the plough] energetically'
Back to Text

656 al esily 'quietly'
Back to Text

657 Undo 'Open!'
Back to Text

659 Cristes sweeete tree an oath, lit. 'By Christ's Cross'.
Back to Text

660 rathe 'early'
Back to Text

661 'What's the matter? Some fine girl, I bet'.
Back to Text

662 viritoot a unique word, probably meaning 'hanky-panky'.
Back to Text

663 Note St Noet, a local saint.
Back to Text

663 woot 'know'
Back to Text

664 'This Absolon didn't give a damn'
Back to Text

665 yaf 'gave', here 'replied'
Back to Text

666 'He had more important matters in hand'
Back to Text

668 chymenee 'fireplace'
Back to Text

669 'Please lend it to me, [as] I have a job for it'
Back to Text

671 Certes 'indeed'
Back to Text

672 'Or untold numbers of gold coins in a bag'
Back to Text

674 foo 'foe'; Christ's foe is Satan.
Back to Text

678 he gan to stele 'he crept out'
Back to Text

681 'just as he did before'
Back to Text

683 warante it 'believe it to be'
Back to Text

688 wel ygrave 'beautifully engraved'
Back to Text

691 amenden 'improve'
Back to Text

692 ere that he scape 'before he could escape'
Back to Text

693 'He opened up the window quickly'
Back to Text

697 noot ne+woot 'do not know'
Back to Text

699 dent 'blast'
Back to Text

700 yblent 'blinded'
Back to Text

703 'Off goes about a hand-span stretch of skin'
Back to Text

704 toute 'bottom'
Back to Text

705 And he thought he'd die from the pain'
Back to Text

706 wood 'mad'
Back to Text

708 sterte 'jumped'
Back to Text

709 as he were wood 'as if he were mad'
Back to Text

711 sits sitteth
Back to Text

713 Lit. 'he did not have time to sell bread or ale' [on the way down]! That is, he fell straight down.
Back to Text

714 celle 'floor'
Back to Text

715 aswowne 'unconscious'
Back to Text

716 Up stirte hire 'Up she jumped'
Back to Text

717 harrow 'Help!'
Back to Text

718 smal and grete 'poor and rich'
Back to Text

719 'Run [into the house] to stare at the this man'
Back to Text

721 brosten 'broken'
Back to Text

722 'But he had to put up with his own injury'
Back to Text

723 anon bore doun 'immediately shouted down by'
Back to Text

726 agast 'terrified'
Back to Text

727 fantasie 'imagination'
Back to Text

730 'And that he begged them'
Back to Text

731 par campaignie 'for company'
Back to Text

733 kiken and they cape 'they stared and gazed'
Back to Text

734 'And they turned all his injury into a joke'
Back to Text

736 'no one listened to his explanation'
Back to Text

738 holde wood 'considered mad'
Back to Text

739 'Every student immediately supported the other [Nicholas?]
Back to Text

740 leeve 'dear'
Back to Text

741 wight 'person'
Back to Text

742 swyved a crude verb for sexual intercourse
Back to Text

743 kepyng/jalousye 'protection/suspicion'
Back to Text

744 nether ye lit. 'her lower eye'; a crude noun phrase for part of the female anatomy.
Back to Text

745 towte 'bottom'
Back to Text

746 rowte 'company'
Back to Text