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The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
From 'The Wife of Bath's Prologue'
Experience, though noon auctoritee
Were in this world, is right ynough for me
To speke of wo that is in mariage:
For lordinges, sith I twelf yeer was of age-
Thanked be God that is eterne on live-
Housbondes at chirche dore I have had five
(If I so ofte mighte han wedded be),
And alle were worthy men in hir degree.
But me was told, certain, nat longe agoon is,
That sith that Crist ne wente nevere but ones
To wedding in the Cane of Galilee,
That by the same ensample taughte he me
That I ne sholde wedded be but ones.
Herke eek, lo, which a sharp word for the nones,
Biside a well, Jesus, God and man,
Spak in repreve of the Samaritan:
'Thou hast yhad five housbondes,' quod he,
'And that ilke man that now hath thee
Is nat thyn housbonde.' Thus saide he certain.
What that he mente therby I can nat sayn,
But that I axe why the fifthe man
Was noon housbonde to the Samaritan?
How manye mighte she han in mariage?
Yit herde I nevere tellen in myn age
Upon this nombre diffinicioun.
Men may divine and glosen up and down,
But wel I woot, expres, withouten lie,
God bad us for to wexe and multiplye:
That gentil text can I wel understonde