February 27, 2011
HERE is a free rendering of the Prologue to the Wife of Bath’s Tale by Chaucer. This is the third of five poems in Keith Jacka’s series “English Girls.”
THE WIFE OF BATH
The Wife of Bath trod the Marriage Path,
Husbands five took her to wive.
Three dowered her with Gold and Land,
She had them eating out of her hand.
Those three were rich, but also old,
Not long before their blood grew cold.
Said she: “I can’t keep chaste for years,
I only wait till a man appears.
“No sooner a husband’s dead and gone,
Another one shall take me on.
“I tantalise a little bit,
I make them beg; I tell them ‘Sit.’
“What have I got? I’ve got what they need,
They’re all the same from Adam’s seed.
“A shapely breast, a rounded bum,
Will hold men’s eyes till Kingdom Come.
“But husband four put me in my place,
I fell down hard, fell flat on my face.
“He set it all up; me safely wed,
He looked about; who else could he bed?
“He had an eye; he played the field,
No trouble for him to make them yield.
“I seethed inside; I raged with spite,
To see another woman his delight.
“I had my methods to do him down,
No need to shout; no need to frown. Read More »