The Milner of Abington [and] A Merry Jest, How a Sergeaunt Would Learn to be a Friar

Anon [sometimes attrib. to A. Borde]; [and] More, Sir Thomas

TMMJ1-2: 79
STC 79
TMMJ1: Ringler 78 and TP 988 [STC 78]. Ptd. by Thomas Wright, _Anecdota Literaria_ (1844), 105-16; critical ed. Josef Raith, _Aus Schriftum und Sprache der Angelsachsen_, 4 (1936), 125-60. A retelling of Chaucer's _Reeve's Tale_. UMI microfilm reel 96. The poem is written in 8-line stanzas, rhyming aaabcccb, but with considerable irregularity evident.

A ryght pleasaunt and merye historie, of the mylner of Abyngton. Whereunto is adioyned another merye iest, of a sargeaunt that woulde haue learned to be a fryar
London: [John Charlewood for] Richard Jones,c. 1575 [STC].

Composition Date: 1532-1534? [Ringler, STC 78]; 1503? [IMEV (suppl.)].

met ='measure'
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¶A ryght pleasaunt and merye Historie, of the Mylner of Abyngton, with his Wife, and his fayre Daughter: and of two poore scholers of Cambridge.
Wherevnto is adioyned another merye Iest, of a Sargeaunt that woulde haue learned to be a Fryar.
Imprinted at London, by Rycharde_Ihones.
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sig: A2

A verie merie Historie, of the Milner of Abington,

FAyre Lordings if you list to heere
A mery Iest your mindes to cheere,
Then harken to this mery tale
Was neuer meryer set to sale

5 At Abyngton it so befell
Therby a widowe late did dwell
She had two sonnes that she loued well
For father had they none

At Cambrige are they set I wene
10 Fiue mile is them bytwene
Their spendinge was full mene,
To the scole there did they go
Some learning for to get you knowe
By good mens helpe they were kept so
15 Other finding none they had

This life longe they ledde
The mother founde them at borde and bedde
And by these meanes were they fedde
More than seuen yere
20 Their mother then vpon a daie
To Cambrid[g]e she toke the waie Cambridge] Cambridhe 1575
And to hir sonnes gan she saie
With a heuy chere

Sonnes I will be here anone
25 And than I wot ye will come home
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But corne nor bread can I get none,
The countrey is so deere.
Mother then they sayd anone
We wyll into the countrey gone
30 To good-men and make our mone
If wee may any-thinge get,

So longe they went from towne to towne
In the countrey vp and downe
That they gate in short season
35 A large met of wheate
Than anone when they it had
Unto their mother they it lad
And she therof was full glad
But longe they ne let

40 But at their neyghbours house on the morne
They borowed a horse to cary their corne
To the mille them beforne
For nothing wolde they let
The mylner was ioly in his workes all
45 He had a doughter fayre and small
The clerke of the towne loued her aboue all
Iankyn was his name

The mylner was so trewe and fele
Of each mannes corne wolde he steale
50 More than his Toledish by a deale
He let for no shame
He was so subtyll and so slye
He wolde it take before their eye
And make them a proper lye
55 And put himselfe out of blame:

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To the mylner they were sande
In the mylle-dore dyd he stande
They tied their horse with a bande
They had harde of his name
60 That one clerke to that other sware
Of the theefe we wyll beware
Haue he neuer so mykell care
Of our corne getteth he but small

Though he go out of his wyt
65 Thou shalte by the spoute syt
Tyll the poke faste be knyt
And the meale in all
Though he be neuer so wo
And I wyl vp vnto the stones go
70 And he begyle vs bothe two
Foule might him befall:

The corne vp the Milner wan
And than the clerke fast vp ran
By the stones styll stode he than
75 Tyll it was grounde in[t]ere intere] infere 1575
The mylners house is nere
Not the length of a lande
In a valey can it stande
Two myle from Abyngton

80 In his herte had he care
For the clerkes were so ware
He myght not do as he dyd are
But to his sonne gan ronne
Boy loke thou let for no drede
85 The clerkes horse home thou lede
Also faste as thou may spede
Or the meale be done

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Behinde my backhouse dore him set backhouse: =back-house, 'subsidiary building', or perhaps bakehouse
For they shall fayle of their me[t] met] men 1575met ='measure'

90 Tho the poke fast be knet
I sweare by my crowne
The litell boye stint nought
Till the horse was home brought
Thereof wiste the clerkes nought
95 Forsothe as I you saie

The clerkes their meale vp hent
And out at the dore they went
Alas they said we be shent
The rhyme-scheme suggests that a line has dropped out here.
By god than the milner sware
100 Than get you him no mare
For some theefe was of him ware
And hath had him away

The one clerke sayd to the other
Go we seke hym-selfe brother
105 Thou one way and I another
Finde him if we maie,
But euer they drede of the meale
That the milner wolde therof steale
The poke they bounde, and set on a seale
110 And their horse than sought they.

The mylner laughed them to scorne
And great othes hath he sworne
If he might haue none of their corne
He wolde haue of their meale,
115 His daughter to the mille can fare
And his diner to him bare
And also faste he tolde hir yare
All euery-deale:

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How two clerkes in the morne
120 Brought with them a met of corne
And euer they warned mee beforne
That I shoulde none steale
But do now doughter as I thee saie
Go fet mee a shete I the pray
125 And in faithe I will do saie do saie: perhaps an error for 'not do waie'
To get of the meale

For nothinge wolde let
On a whyte shete he it set
And moche floure he out bet
130 And hole was the seale
With two staues in the stoure stoure ='tumult, commotion', or perhaps 'flying dust'; see OED s.v. stour n1, 4, 5
They dange theron whyles they myght doure doure: =dure
Till they had a pecke of floure
Forsothe as I you say

135 They gathered it vp than anone
And put it in a poke full soone
And bade his daughter beare it home
Euen the ryght way
Then the clerkes had mykell thought
140 For their horse they sought
That they him finde might nought
Of all that longe day

And whan the night drewe nere
At the mylle they met in fere
145 And bothe they made a simple chere
For their goodly hackeny
That one clerke sayd by god of might
Me-thinke our poke is waxen light
I thinke it be not all a_ryght
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150 That lyketh me full yll

My heed therto dare I lay
That he hath stolen some away
That other clarke sayd nay nay,
The seale standeth on styl:
155 They both did to the milner say
Herberowe vs to_night we thee pray
And we wyll therfore well pay
What-so-euer thou wyll

For we dare not to the towne gone
160 Tyll we bring our horse home
If we do by swete saynte Iohn
We mon like it yll
The mylner sayd by goddes might
I shall [h]arborowe you to_night harborowe] barborowe 1575
165 And your supper shall be dight
Right well if wee may

There they bare their meale bitwene them two
And home with the mylner dyd they go
His wife welcomed them tho
170 So dyd his doughter gay
Aboute a fyre they were set
And good ale was there fet
And therwith they their mouthes wet
And soone souped they

175 At their supper as they made them glad
That one clerke nyce countenaunce made
And priuely on the maidens foote he treade
And she tourned awaie
Whan they had eaten and made them glad
180 The Milner his daughter bade
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Soone that a bed were made
Also fast as you maie,

And make it by the side-binke side-binke ='sideboard'; see OED s.v. bink n, 3
That the clarkes may therein winke
185 And slepe till it be daie:
For I will to my bedde win
And if you here any din
It is my man dothe come in
Forsothe as I you saie,

190 For he is in the towne at his warke
Whan he dothe come in the hounde will bark
This ment the milner by the clarke
That helde his daughter gay
By one side the clarke lay
195 By the other side his wife and he I saie
And for his doughter so gay
An-other bedde was dyght,

In a chamber as I weene
Was a wall them betweene
200 And a cake she made so clene
Thereof the clarkes had a sight:
Of their owne meale it was
Hir lemman befell suche a case
Herken sirs howe it was
205 That he might not come that night,

For to a faire was there beside
On his maisters erande for to ride
Erly in the morowe-tide
Before any day-light
210 This one clarke styll he lay
And thought on this Damsell gay
And to his brother can he saie
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What is mee best to do,

For by god and by saint Mighell
215 I thinke so on the damosell
I had muche leuer than I can tell
That I might winne hir to:
His brother said this is nought
Of my horse I haue more thought
220 By Iesu that mee deere bought
Howe we maie winne him to.

Yet lie stil brother I the praie
For come there what come maie
At the dore I will assaie
225 If it will vndoe,
This one clarke to the dore can fare can: =gan
She said Iankin be ye there
Ye forsothe he did answere
And in there did he go,
230 Against a fourme he hurte his shin
Or he might to the bedde win
Therfore the clarke was wo.

Iankin she said for Mary dere
Whie do ye make such cheere
235 Your way shoulde you better leere
So oft as you come heere
At that worde the clarke loughe
And by the voice to her he drough
Of her he had his will ynough
240 And plaide them togyther,

Whan the clarke had done his will
By the damosell he lay full stil
And belyue she said him til
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How two clarkes came thyther,
245 Upon the monday at morne
And brought with them a met of corne of] of of 1575
On a horse them beforne
And bothe they were full lither.

For the one clarke stode at the spoute
250 There-as the meale shoulde come out
That other went euer aboute
And let vs of our pray,
My father did see it might be none other
He rowned vnto my brother
255 And bade it shoulde be none other
But lede their horse away.

My litell brother blinned nought
Ere their horse was home brought
Like two fooles they haue him sought
260 All this longe daie,
As we at our supper sate
That one clarke nice countenaunce made
And priuelie on my foote he trade
But euer I tourned awaie.

265 Upon the poke he set the seale
For my father shoulde none steale
Yet we had of their meale
And of their whitest floure,
For nothinge wolde he let
270 On a shete we it set
And with two staues it bet
As longe as we might doure.

And into our backhouse their horse is brought
Therof wotte the clerkes nought
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275 The clarke laught and made good cheere
Whan he of that myght heare
That was well done my derling deere,
By God my sauiour:

Both together a_sleepe they fell,
280 Of the other clarke I wyll you tell
And of the Milners wife howe it befell
A whyle if you will abide,
All waking styl he laye
And in his heart he thought aye
285 My felowe hath a merie plaie
In this euen-tide.

The Mylners wife did rise water to make
Stilly for the milner should not wake
The right way againe could she not take,
290 For the house was so wide.
But a childe in a cradell laie
At the beddes feete as I you saie
Thereby she knew the right waye
Unto hir beddes-side,

295 The clarke laie and harde ylke dele
And of the cradell he wyst well
And if thou rise by saint Michaell
The cradell shal a_waie:
Againe he rose or she did sleepe
300 The clarke thereof tooke good keepe
Out of his bedde soone he can creepe
As fast as euer he maie.

For nothing woulde he let
The cradell away he fet
305 At his beddes-side he it set,
Forsothe as I you saye,
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The good-wife came anone
And tyll her husbande can she gone
But cradell founde she there none,
310 Shee did seeke full fast alwaie.

All about she groped fast
The cradell founde shee at the last
The Milner did sleepe full fast
And wist not of this warke,
315 By the cradell that she there fande,
She had went it had bene hir husbande went: =wened
She lyft vp the clothes with her hande
And laide her downe by the clarke,

Thus that one clarke laye by the wife
320 That other by the daughter by my life
Had the milner wist there had ben strife
For that nights warke,
That one clarke waked and he dyd say
That by the Milners daughter lay
325 I must to a faire gone or it be day,
And on he did his sarke.

Now I pray you my [k]inde Lemman free kinde] hinde 1575
A gowne-cloath then buie you mee
And I sweare so mote I thee,
330 I wyll paye therefore:
By Iesu he saide my sweeting
I haue but three shylling
That is but a lyttle thing
But if I had more,

335 Thus the clarke he made it towe made it towe: =made it tough, 'showed reluctance' or perhaps 'was persistent'; see OED s.v. tough adj., 8
The Damsell her forcer to her drawe forcer ='chest, coffer'
By God ye shall haue mowe
For to paie therefore.
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The key by the cofer did hange
340 Forthe she drewe thirty shillinge
Forsothe euery farthinge
And neither lesse nor more.

The thirtie shillinge she gan him take
This made I sir for your sake
345 Take it nowe with you all,
Nowe haue good-day mine owne swetinge
For longe or any day dothe springe
The cocke full merelie his note will singe
And my maister will mee call

350 Full merie chere the clarke can make
With thirty shillinge and his cake
The righte waie can he take
Downe by the wall,
Till he came at his brothers bedde
355 Than from the cradell away he yedde
And anone away he fledde
On the further side of the hall:

Of his siluer he toke good keepe
Downe by the milner can he creepe
360 And wakened him out of his sleepe
And said wilte thou heare a good game,
For I haue had a merie night
With the milners daughter bright
Mee liketh wel by gods might
365 That we wende not home,

For I haue thirty shillinge and a cake
That the false theefe fro our corne did take
With that the milner did wake
By god and by saint Ihon,
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370 And also she hath mee tolde
Howe he hath our horse in holde
In his backhouse he hath him bolde
I praie god giue him shame

The milner starte vp redely
375 Thou liest he said with great enuy
And that shalte thou full dere abye
Theefe what hast thou done,
He sterte vp in a great teene
And stoute strokes was them betweene
380 The milner was the more keene
And gate the clarke downe.

His wife waked anone-right
Out sir she said the clerkes do fight
The one will slee the other to_night
385 But if you parte them soone.
The clarke wakened and had great wonder
But he durste them not sunder
Full well he sawe his felowe vnder
By the light of the moone.

390 The milners wife hent a staffe tite
Sir she said who shall I smite
Dame sayde the clarke, him in the white
Hit him if thou maie,
The milner befel a foule happe
395 He had on his night-cappe
His wife lent him suche a rappe
That stil on grounde he laie.

Thus the milners heed was broken
The backhouse faste was stoken stoken ='locked up'; see OED s.v. steek v1
400 Beleeue mee the clarkes braste it open
And in than went they,
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The meale on the horse they caste
And awaye they hyed them faste
With all their things home they paste
405 Long or any day.

Forth they went by Moone-light,
To Abington they came right
Before it was day-light
Home vnto their Dame,
410 Than was her heart full light
Whan she sawe her sonne in sight
She thanked God with all her might
That they were comen home,

All their meale and thirtie shylling
415 They gaue their mother without leasing
And sence they tolde her of that thing
They let for no blame,
Their mother saide if ye doo right
Keepe ye well out of his sight
420 For if he may get you by goddes might
He wyll doo you shame.

Of that siluer the clarkes were faine
The one clarke hied with all his maine
And ledde their horse home againe
425 Uppon the same morne,
The mother them a Capon slew
And of the cake they eate inowe
And soone to Cambridge they drew,
There-as they were beforne
430 Twentie shylling with them they bare
Unto the schole gan they fare
The Mylner gate of them no mare,
If he had it sworne.

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Whan they were gone these scollers bothe
435 I tell you plaine this milner was lothe
And to his bedde againe he gothe
For he was full of paine,
His wife before had giuen him
Vengeable strypes by swete saint Sim
440 She had almoste broken bothe lithe and lim
Of the Milner I tell you plaine.

And so the milner and his wife
For this folishe deede they had great strife
All the daies of their life
445 That he had ben so mad,
And the daughter that was yonge
Did often singe a sory songe
And wisshed for the clarke that was so longe
With her gowne-clothe to make her glad.

450 And also for his mery play
She longed for him full sore in fay
That he should come againe that waie
Though she should neuer the clothe see,
The wenche she was full proper and nyce
455 Amonge all other she bare great price
For she coude tricke it point deuice
But fewe like her in that countree.

At the last the milner vntrewe
That had ben beaten bothe blacke and blewe
460 His owne deede he gan to rewe
And though he had ben false,
For many a trewer than he
Was iudged without pite
Upon a dreadfull gallowe-tree
465 To be hanged by the halse

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But sore sicke in his bedde
All his life he ledde
That he was faine to be fedde
Of his wife withouten mis
470 Thus with shorte conclusion
This milner through his abusion
Was brought to confusion
For all his falsehed iwis

And ended his life full wretchedly
475 In paine, care, and misery
Wherfore he did beare an horne
For steeling of meale this onlie
His wife and his doughter were laine by
Of two poore scolers full merely
480 That oft did laugh him to scorne

In pacience he must take it al
In chamber, in bowre, and eke in hall
What-so-euer the folke than did him call
Contented muste he be:
485 Thus endeth this mery iest iwis
And Christ that is kinge of eternall blis
Bringe vs all there whan his will is,
Amen for charite.

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A mery gest, howe a Sergeaunt woulde learne to be a Friar.

WIse men alway, affirme and saye,
The best is for eche man,
Dilligently, for to apply,
Such busines as he can.

5 And in no wise, to enterprise,
Another faculte:
For he that will, and can no skill,
Is neuer like to thee. thee: =thee, 'thrive'

He that hath left, the hosiers crafte,
10 And fall to makinge shone.
The smith that shall, to painting fall,
His thrifte is well-nigh done.

A blacke draper, with white paper.
To go to writing-scole.
15 An olde butteler, becoming a cutteler,
I wene shall proue a fole.

An olde trotte, that can (God wotte,)
Nothinge but kis the cup.
With hir phisicke, will keepe one sicke,
20 Till she haue sowsed him vp. sowsed ... vp ='brought to extremities'? See OED s.v. souse v1, 4

A man of lawe, that neuer sawe,
The waies to buie and sell.
Weninge to arise, by marchaundyse,
I praye God speede him well.

25 A marchaunt eke that will go seke,
All the meanes he may.
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To fall in sute, tyll he dispute,
His money cleane away.

Pleading the lawe, for euery strawe,
30 Shall proue a thriftie man.
With hate and strife but by my life,
I can nat tell you whan

Whan an hatter, wil go smatter,
In phylosophie.
35 Or a pedler, ware a medlar,
In theologye.

All that ensewe, suche craftes newe,
They driue so farre a cast.
That euermore, they do therefore,
40 Beshrewe themselfe at last.

This thinge was tried and, verefied,
Here by a sergeaunt late.
That rufully was, or he coulde pas,
Rapped about the pate.

45 While that he woulde, see how he could,
In Gods name plaie the friar.
Now if ye wyl, know how it fyl,
Take heede and ye shall heare.

It happed so, not long agoe,
50 A thriftie man there dide.
An hundred pound of nobles round,
Than had he laide a_side.

His sonne he would, should haue this gold
For to beginne withall.
55 But to suffise, his child wel thryues,
That money were to small.

Yet or this day, I haue herde say,
That many a man certesse,
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Hath with good cast, be ritche at the last,
60 That begonne with lesse.

But this yong-man, so well he can,
His money to imploye.
That certainly, his polecie,
To see it was a ioye.

65 For least some blast might ouercast,
His shippe or by mischaunce.
Men with some wyle, might him beguile,
And minishe his substaunce.

For to put out, al maner dout,
70 He made a good puruaie.
For euery whit, by his owne wit,
And tooke another waie.

First faire and wele, a pretie deale,
He hyd it in a potte.
75 But than him thought, that way was nought
And there he left it not.

So was he faine, from thence againe,
To put it in a cuppe.
And by and by, as couetouslie,
80 He supped it faire vppe.

In his owne brest, he thought it best,
His money to inclose,
Then wyst he well, what-euer fell,
He coulde it neuer lose.

85 He borrowed than, of another man,
Money and marchaundice:
Neuer paide it, vp he laide it.
In lyke maner wyse.

Yet on the geare, that he would weare,
90 He raught not what he spent:
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So it were nice, as for the price.
Coulde him not myscontent.

With lustie sporte, and with resorte.
Of ioly company.
95 In mirth and plaie, full many a daie,
He liued merily.

And men had sworne, some man is borne,
To dignite and powre.
And so was he, for suche degree,
100 He gate and suche honowre,

That without doubte, whan he went out,
A sergeaunt well and faire.
Was readie straight, on him to waight,
As sone as on the maire,

105 But he doutlesse, of his mekenes,
Hated suche pompe and pride.
And would not go, accompanied so,
But drewe himselfe aside.

To saint Katherine, straight as a line,
110 He gate him at a tide
For promotion, or deuotion,
There would he needes bide.

There spent he fast, tyll all was past,
And to him came there manie.
115 To aske their dette, but none coulde gette,
The valour of a penie.

With visage stoute, he bare it out,
Vnto the harde hedge, hedge: =edge
A moneth or twaine till he was faine,
120 To lay his gowne to pledge,

Than was he there, in greater feare,
Than or that he came thither.
sig: [C4]
And would as faine, depart againe,
But that he wist not whither.

125 Than after this, to a frende of his.
He went and there abode.
Where-as he laie, so sicke alwaie,
He might not come abrode.

It happed than, a marchaunt-man
130 That he ought money to,
Of an officer, that gan enquire,
What him was best to do.

And he aunswerd, be not a_ferde,
Take an action therfore,
135 I you behest, I shall him rest, rest ='arrest'; see OED s.v. rest v3
And than care for no more.

I feare quod he, it will not be,
For he will not come out.
The sergeaunt said, be not afraide,
140 It shall be brought about,

In many a game, like to the same,
Haue I bene well in vre,
And for your sake, let mee be bake, bake: =baked?
But if I do this cure.

145 Thus parte they bothe, and to him goth,
A_pace this officer,
And for a daie, all his araie,
He chaunged with a frier.

So was he dight, that no man might,
150 Him for a frier denie.
He dopped and douked, he spake and loked, dopped and douked ='bobbed and bowed'
So religiouslie.

Yet in a glasse, or he would passe,
He toted and he pored. toted ='peered, gazed'; see OED s.vv. toot v1, 2, tout v1, 1
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155 His heart for pride, lept in his side,
To see howe well he fryred.

Then forth a_pace, vnto the place,
He goeth in Gods name:
To doo this deede, but nowe take heede,
160 For heere beginneth the game.

He drew him nie, and then softlie,
At the doore he knocked.
A Damsell, that heard him wel,
There came and it vnlocked.

165 The fryar sayd, God speede fayre mayde,
Heere lodgeth such a man:
It is tolde mee, well sir quoth she,
And if he do? what than?

Quod he, maistresse, no harme doutlesse,
170 It longeth for our order.
To hurt no man, but as we can,
Euery wyght to forder.

With him truely, faine speake would I,
Syr quod she, by my faye:
175 He is so sicke, yee be not lyke,
To speake with him to_daye.

Quoth he fayre maye, yet I you pray,
Thus much at my desyer:
Vouchsafe to doo, as goe him too,
180 And saye an Austen Fryar,

Woulde with him speake, & maters breake,
For his auayle certaine.
Quod shee I wyl, stand ye heer styll,
Tyll I come downe againe.

185 Vppe is shee goe, and tolde him so:
As shee was bode to saye.
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He mistrustinge, no maner thinge,
Said mayden go thy waie.

And fetche him hither, that we to_gither:
190 May talke a_downe she goth,
And vp him brought, no harme she thought,
But it made some folke wroth.

But this officer, this fained frier,
Whan he was come a_lofte,
195 He dopped than, and greet this man,
Religiously and ofte.

And he againe, right glad and faine,
Tooke him there by the hande:
The friere than said, ye be dismaide,
200 With trouble I vnderstande.

In-deede quod he, it hath with me,
Bene better than it is.
Sir quod the frier, bee of good chere,
Ye shall yet after this.

205 For christes sake, loke that ye take,
No thought into your brest,
God maie tourne all, and so he shall,
I trust vnto the best.

But I woulde nowe, comyn with you,
210 In counsaile if you please,
Or elles not[e], of maters that, note] not 1575
Shall set your heart at ease.

Downe went the maide, the marchaunt said
Nowe saye on gentill frier,
215 Of this tidinge, that ye me bringe,
I long full sore to heare.

Whan there was none, but they alone,
The frier with euell grace,
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Said I rest thee, come on with mee.
220 And out he toke his mace:

Thou shalte obey, come on thy way,
I haue thee in my clouche,
Thou goest not hence, for all the pence,
The mayre hath in his pouche.

225 This marchaunt there, for wrath and feare,
Waxinge well-nighe wood:
Saide horeson thefe, with a verie mischefe,
Who hath taught thee thy good?

And with his fist, vpon the list.
230 He gaue him suche a blowe,
That backewarde downe, almoste in swoune,
The frier is ouerthrowe.

Yet was this man, well fearder than,
Lest he the frier had slaine:
235 Till with good rappes, and heuy clappes,
He dawed him vp againe.

The frier toke heart, and vp he starte,
And well he laide aboute,
And so there gothe, bytwene them bothe,
240 Many a lusty cloute.

They rent and tere, eche other heer,
And claue togider fast:
Till with lugginge, halinge and tugginge,
They fell downe bothe at last.

245 Than on the grounde, to_gether rounde,
With many a heuy stroke.
They roule and romble, they turne and tumble,
Lyke pygges do in a poke.

So long aboue, they heaue and shoue,
250 Togither that at the last,
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The maide and the wife, to breake the strife,
Hied them vpwarde fast.

And whan they see, the captaines lye, captaines ='principals, protagonists'?
Waltringe in the place,
255 The friers hood, they pulled a_good,
A_downe about his face.

While he was blinde, the wenche behinde,
Lent him on the flore.
Many a iole, about the nole, iole ='blow'; see OED s.v. jowl n4
260 With a great battill-dore.

The wife came to it, and with her feete,
She holpe to kepe him downe:
And with her rocke, many a knocke, rocke ='distaff'
She gaue him on the crowne.

265 They laide his mace, about his face,
That he was wode for paine,
The frier frap, gate many a swap, frap ='debauched, libertine', a contracted form of frapart, known only in the phrase friar frapart; see OED s.v. frapart adj.
Till he was well-nighe slaine.

Vp they him lifte, and with euell thrifte,
270 Hedlong all the staire:
Downe they him threwe, and said adewe,
Recommaunde vs to the mayre.

The frier arose, but I suppose,
Amased was his hedde:
275 He shoke his heres, and from great feres,
He thought him well a_fledde.

Quod he nowe lost is all this cost,
We be neuer the nere:
Ill mot he thee, that caused mee,
280 To make my-selfe a frier.

Nowe maisters all, an ende I shall,
Make there-as I began.
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In any wise, I wolde auyse,
And councell euery man.

285 His owne crafte vse, all newe refuse,
And vtterlye let them gone.
Playe not the frier, now make good cheere,
And welcome euerychone.