The Pardoner's Tale: Translation of 'The Pardoner's Prologue'

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'Ladies and Gentlemen,' he said, 'in churches when I speak,

I take pains to speak loudly,

And ring it out as sonorously as a bell,

For I know by heart everything that I say.

My text is always the same and always was -

Radix malorum est Cupiditas.

First I make it clear I am going to speak,

I make my official documents clear to everyone.

The bishop's seal is on my documents,

That I show first to protect myself,

That no man shall be so bold, no priest nor clerk,

To hinder me from performing Christ's holy work.

And after that I say what I have to say.

Documents from popes and cardinals, 

From bishops I show,

And I speak a few words in Latin,

To saffron my preaching,

To encourage them to devotion.

I then bring out my glass boxes,

Crammed full of rags and of bones,--

They believe they're relics.

I have a shoulder-bone beautifully mounted

Which was of a holy Jew's sheep.

"Good men" I say, "Listen to my words;

If this shoulder-bone is washed in a well,

If a cow or a calf or sheep or ox should fall ill

If they have eaten a worm or been stung,

Take water of that well and wash his tongue,

And it's healed, and furthermore,

Of pocks and scabs and every sore

Shall every sheep be cured by this well

Have a drink. Listen to what I tell you:

If the good man who owns the beast 

Would every week when the **** crows,

Take a drink from this well,

As this eldest Jew our elders taught,

His beasts shall multiply.

And, sirs, it also


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