Original Text

Modern Text

Lo Cresus, which that was of Lyde king,
Mette he nat that he sat upon a tree,
320Which signified he sholde anhanged be?
Lo heer Andromacha, Ectores wyf,
That day that Ector sholde lese his lyf,
She dremed on the same night biforn,
How that the lyf of Ector sholde be lorn,
If thilke day he wente in-to bataille;
She warned him, but it mighte nat availle;
He wente for to fighte nathelees,
But he was slayn anoon of Achilles.
But thilke tale is al to long to telle,
330And eek it is ny day, I may nat dwelle.
Shortly I seye, as for conclusioun,
That I shal han of this avisioun
Adversitee; and I seye forther-more,
That I ne telle of laxatyves no store,
For they ben venimous, I woot it wel;
I hem defye, I love hem never a del.
“Oh, and don’t forget the story about King Croesus of ancient Lydia in Turkey. Didn’t he dream that he sat in a tree, which meant that he would be hanged? Then there’s Andromache, the wife of Hector, the warrior of ancient Troy. The night before he died she saw in a dream how he would be killed in battle with the Greeks. She begged him not to fight, but he wouldn’t listen to her, which is why he died that day by the sword of the Greek warrior Achilles. Anyway, that’s a long story, and I should really get going since the sun is about to come up. Let me just say this, though: That dream I had last night doesn’t mean I need a laxative, which I can’t stand anyway. It means that something bad is going to happen to me.
Now let us speke of mirthe, and stinte al this;
Madame Pertelote, so have I blis,
Of o thing God hath sent me large grace;
340For whan I see the beautee of your face,
Ye ben so scarlet-reed about your yën,
It maketh al my drede for to dyen;
For, also siker as In principio,
Mulier est hominis confusio;
Madame, the sentence of this Latin is—
Womman is mannes Ioye and al his blis.
For whan I fele a-night your softe syde,
Al-be-it that I may nat on you ryde,
For that our perche is maad so narwe, alas!
350I am so ful of Ioye and of solas
That I defye bothe sweven and dreem.’
“Now, let’s stop talking about this and turn to happier things. God has really blessed me by giving you to me, Madame Pertelote. When I look at you—with those cute little ringlets of red around your eyes—all my fears just melt away. It really is true what they mean when they say In principio, mulier est hominis confusion, which . . . uh . . . um,

I guess means that

What it really means is: “In the beginning, woman brought the downfall of man.”

I guess means that
‘Woman is man’s joy and the source of all his happiness.’ Yeah, that’s it. Because when I feel your soft side at night, even though I can’t mount you because our perch is so small, I’m still so happy that no nightmare or dream can bother me!”