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If me thou dost forsake,
Look ne'er to find the like,
Methinks experience might thee teack
While the iron's hot to strike.

My portion is not small,
My parentage not base,
My looking-glass informs me that
I have a comely face.

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Yet have I made a choice
Against my parents will,
With one so mean,

who cruelly
My tender heart doth kill.

I hearing her say so
Did boldly to her come,
The night was dark, and she believed
That I was her own Tom.

She blam'd my tarrying long,
Which I did well excuse,
I pray'd her wend along with me,
Which she did not refuse.

Supposing all this while
That I had been her Tom;
She swore she had rather

go
Than to go ever home.

with me,

Thus Tom has lost liis lass,
Because he broke his vow,
And I have rais'd my fortunes well,
The case is alter'd now.

LXXI.

THE WANTON WIFE OF BATH.

In Bath a wanton wife did dwell,

As Chaucer he doth write;
Who did in pleasure spend her days

In many a fond delight.

Upon a time sore sick she was

And at the length did die ;
Her soul at last at Heaven's gate,

Did knock most mightily.

Then Adam came unto the gate,

Who knocketh there? quoth he ; I am the Wife of Bath, she said,

And fain would come to thee,

Thou art a sinner, Adam said,

And here no place shall have, And so art thou, I trow, quoth she,

And gip* a doting knave.

I will come in in spite, she said,

Of all such churls as thee; Thou wert the causer of our woe,

Our pain and misery.

And first broke God's commandments

In pleasure of thy wife :
When Adam heard her tell this tale,

He run away for life.

Then down came Jacob at the gate,

And bids her pack to hell ;
Thou false deceiver why? said she,

Thou may'st be there as well.

For thou deceiv'dst thy father dear,

And thine own brother too. Away slunk Jacob presently,

And made no more ado.

She knocks again with might and main,

And Lot he chides her straight; Why then, quoth she, thou drunken ass,

Who bid thee here to prate?

* Gip is an expression of contempt.

With thy two daughters thou didst lie,

On them two bastards got ;
And thus most tauntingly she chaft

Against poor silly Lot.

Who calleth there, quoth Judith then,

With such shrill sounding notes ? This fine minks surely came not here,

Quoth she, for cutting throats.

Good Lord, how Judith blush'd for shame

When she heard her say so; King David hearing of the same,

He to the gate did go.

Quoth David, who knocks there so loud,

And maketh all this strife? You were more kind, good Sir, she said,

Unto Uriah's wife.

And when thy servant thou didst cause

In battle to be slain,
Thou caused'st then more strife than 1,

Who would come here so fain.

The woman's mad, said Solomon,

That thus doth taunt a king ; Not half so mad as you, she said,

I trow in many a thing.

Thou hadst seven hundred wives at once,

For whom thou didst provide, And yet three hundred whores, God wot,

Thou didst maintain beside.

And those made thee forsake thy God,

And worship stocks and stones, Besides the charge they put thee to

In breeding of young bones.

Hadst thou not been besides thy wits,

Thou wouldst not thus have ventur'd, And therefore I do marvel much,

How thou this place hast entered,

I never heard, quoth Jonas, then,
So vile a scold as this

;
Thou whore-son run away, quoth she,

Thou diddest more amiss.

They say, quoth Thomas, women's tongues

Of aspen leaves are made ;
Thou unbelieving wretch, quoth she,

All is not true that's said.

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