Read by Marie Borroff
as edited by E. Talbot Donaldson
in The Norton Anthology of English Literature
The Wife of Bath’s Prologue, ll. 1-22 in MP3 format
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 lyve–
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 welle, Jesus, God and man,
Spak in repreve of the Samaritan . . . .