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This passeth forth; what wol ye bet than wel?
Fro day to day this Ioly Absolon
So woweth hir, that him is wo bigon.
He waketh al the night and al the day;
He kempte hise lokkes brode, and made him gay;
He woweth hir by menes and brocage,
190And swoor he wolde been hir owne page;
He singeth, brokkinge as a nightingale;
He sente hir piment, meeth, and spyced ale,
And wafres, pyping hote out of the glede;
And for she was of toune, he profred mede.
For som folk wol ben wonnen for richesse,
And som for strokes, and som for gentillesse.
This went on for a long time, however, but Absalom had no luck. Pretty soon he became depressed. He tried everything he could think of: dressing up for her and combing his hair neatly, swearing to her that he’d do anything for her, singing like a nightingale, having his friends say nice things about him to her, sending her wine and treats and fresh pies. He even tried to buy her love. Some women like money, they say, some like kindness, and others like soft touches, but none of those seemed to work for Absalom.
Somtyme, to shewe his lightnesse and maistrye,
He pleyeth Herodes on a scaffold hye.
But what availleth him as in this cas?
200She loveth so this hende Nicholas,
That Absolon may blowe the bukkes horn;
He ne hadde for his labour but a scorn;
And thus she maketh Absolon hir ape,
And al his ernest turneth til a Iape.
Ful sooth is this proverbe, it is no lye,
Men seyn right thus, ‘alwey the nye slye
Maketh the ferre leve to be looth.’
For though that Absolon be wood or wrooth,
By-cause that he fer was from hir sighte,
210This nye Nicholas stood in his lighte.
One time, to impress Alison with his acting abilities, Absalom even stood on a makeshift stage and put on a little play in which he pretended to be King Herod from the Bible. But did it do him any good? No. Alison loved Tricky Nicky and thought that Absalom should take a hike. She gave him nothing but dirty looks in return and made a buffoon out of him so that he was the laughing stock of the town. You know, it really is true what they say: People want what they can’t have and ignore what’s right in front of them. No matter how hard Absalom tried, Alison showered all her affection on Nicholas.