The Wife of Bath - Translate the Quote

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We all believe in God, and he lived in poverty willingly.
"Hye God, on whom that we bileeve, in wilful poverty chees to live his lyf." - Hag.
1 of 45
God never said no to a specific number of husbands... I'm just waiting for the sixth to come along!
"Of no nombre mencion made he... welcome the sixte, whan that evere he shal" - Wife.
2 of 45
I'm not so sure I know what he meant by that...
"What that he mente therby, I kan not seyn" - Wife.
3 of 45
Men can advise women to be virgins, but advising isn't the same as an order.
"Men may counseille a womman to been oon, but counseilling is no comandement." - Wife.
4 of 45
St. Paul said it's better to be married than burn in hell, as it's not a sin.
"He seith that to be wedded is no sinne, bet is to be wedded than to brinne." - Wife.
5 of 45
If women could write stories too, they would write about men even more wicked.
"If wommen hadde writen stories... they wolde han writen of men moore wikkednesse." - Wife.
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If goodness was only a trait exclusive to rich people (then they would do no wrong, but) rich sons commit crimes... actions, not birth, make you bad.
"If gentilesse were planted natureely unto a certyn lineage" (then they would do no wrong, but) "a lordes sone do shame and vileynie... for vileyns sinful dedes make a churl." - Hag.
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If you want to be a wise wife, you should always scold your husband.
"Ye wise wives... shude ye speke and bere him wrong on honde." - Wife.
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He was always so cruel and violent to me; I still feel the pain on my ribs!
"Yet was he to me the mooste shrewe; that feele I on my ribbes alby rewe." - Wife.
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I will put the 'wisdom' I've gained due to my age to good use in marriage.
"I wol bistowe the flour of al myn age in the actes and fruit of mariage." - Wife.
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Experience, even though it isn't written down, is good enough for me to tell you about how bad marriage is.
"Experience, though noon auctoritee were in this world, is right ynogh for me to speke of wo that is in mariage." - Wife.
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Let the virgins be pure white bread, and let us wives be called barley.
"Lat hem be breed of pured whete-seed, and lat us wives hoten barly-breed." - Wife.
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My husband shall be both my debtor and my slave... I have all the power over his body, not he.
"My dettour and my thral... I have the power duringe al my lyfe upon his propre body, and noght he." - Wife.
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Women want power over her husband as her lover, and to control him from above.
"Wommen desiren to have sovereinetee as wel over hir housbond as hir love, and for to been in maistre him above." - Hag.
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The king gave the knight to the queen, who could decide whether he would live or die.
"Yaf him to the queene, as at hir will, to chese wheither she wolde him save or spille." - Wife.
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A woman's love is like hell and wildfire; the bigger the flame, the more it consumes.
"Thou likenest eek a wommenes love to helle... wilde fyr, the moore it brenneth, the moore it hath desir to consume everything that brent wole be." - Wife.
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It makes me laugh when I think about how hard I made my husbands work in bed!
"I laughe when I think how piteously a-night I made hem swinke!" - Wife.
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I had my husbands in the palm of my hand.
"I hadde hem hoolly in myn honde." - Wife.
18 of 45
I was so clever with my arguments that my husbands just gave up... I gave them a dose of their own medicine!
"I broghte it so aboute by my wit that they moste yeve it up... in his owene grece I made him frie." - Wife.
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I'm putting myself completely in your charge.
"I put me in youre wise governance" - Knight.
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Using swift violence, he took her virginity.
"By verray force, he rafte hire maidenhed" - Wife.
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If I sold my private parts, I'd be able to walk around wearing the best clothes.
"For if I wolde selle my bele chose, I koude walke as fressh as is a rose" - Wife.
22 of 45
You say that farm animals get to be valued first, and it's not fair that you can't do this with wives.
"Thou seist that oxen, asses, hors and houndes, they been assayed at diverse stoundes" - Wife.
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Not everybody is in 'perfect' condition; even those of us who aren't can still be of use.
"Nath nat every vessel al of gold; somme been of tree, and doon hir lord servise." - Wife.
24 of 45
The flour (my beauty) has all gone; I now have to make do and try to sell the bread I've got as best I can.
"The flour is goone, ther is namoore to telle; the bren, as best I kan, now moste I selle." - Wife.
25 of 45
Poverty can actually be a good thing; it makes people work hard, and grow more wise.
"Poverte is hateful good... a ful greet bringere-out of bisiness, a greet amendere eek of sapience." - Hag.
26 of 45
You accuse me of being like a cat; if I'm well-dressed, I'm not going to hang around indoors.
"I was lyk a cat... if the cattes skin be slik and gay, she wol not dwelle in house half a day." - Wife.
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Women can't defend themselves once they've been drinking; drunk men know this well.
"In wommen, vinolent is no defence - this knowen lecchours by experience." - Wife.
28 of 45
Either have me old and loyal, or young and beautiful, and face the consequences.
"Han me foul and old...trewe, humble... or han me yong and faire, and take youre aventure of the repair that shal be to youre hous" - Hag.
29 of 45
I'm only joking around, I'm not being serious!
"For myn entente is nat but for to pleye" - Wife.
30 of 45
When I remember my younger years, it warms my heart.
"Whan that it remembreth me upon my yowthe... it tikleth me about myn herte root." - Wife.
31 of 45
I'll be both loyal and true, and beautiful too, as beautiful as your average rich woman.
"I to yow be also good and trewe... but I be to-morn as fair to seene as any lady, emperice, or queene." - Hag.
32 of 45
Jesus only speaks to those who live like a good Christian; and that's not me.
"He spak to hem that wolde live parfitly, and lordinges, by your leve, that am nat I" - Wife.
33 of 45
Age poisons everything, it took away my looks and my vigour.
"Age, allas, that ol wole envenime, hath me biraft my beautee and my pith." - Wife.
34 of 45
Venus gave me my lust and Mars made me strong... I'm just acting like the stars have foretold.
"Venus, me yaf my lust, my likerousness, and Mars yaf me my sturdy hardinesse (...) I folwed ay myn inclinacioun by vertu of my constellacioun." - Wife.
35 of 45
Treachery, false tears, lying, God has given these things to women as a gift.
"Deceite, weping, spinning, God hath yive to wommen kindely." - Wife.
36 of 45
Men can't lie half so well as women can.
"For half so boldely kan ther no man swere and lyen, as a womman kan." - Wife.
37 of 45
God told us to have sex a lot, which I can definitely agree with!
"God bade us for to wexe and multiplie; that gentil text kan I wel understonde." - Wife.
38 of 45
In marriage, I'm going to use my privates as God has told me to use them.
"In wyfhood, I wol use myn instrument as freely as my Makere hath it sent." - Wife.
39 of 45
I loved him best, even though he was cruel and a danger to me.
"I trowe I loved him best, for that he was of his love daungerous to me." - Wife.
40 of 45
I had to endure sex with him to gain the upperhand; I had to pretend to like 'bacon' too...
"For winning wolde I al his lust endure, and make me a feyned appetite; and yet in bacon hadde I nevere delit." - Wife.
41 of 45
Castle walls will always be 'taken' eventually, men can't guard them forever.
"Men may nat kepe a castel wal, it may so longe assailled been overal." - Wife.
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She knew a lot about 'pilgrimage', and a lot about 'love' too.
"She koude muchel of wandringe by the waye... of remedies of love she knew per chaunce." - Prologue.
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If we cannot have something, the more desperately we want it.
"What thing we may nat lightly have, therafter wol we crie all day and crave." - Wife.
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Women are responsible for everything bad that happens, ever.
"Womman was the los of al mankinde." - Wife.
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Other cards in this set

Card 2


"Of no nombre mencion made he... welcome the sixte, whan that evere he shal" - Wife.


God never said no to a specific number of husbands... I'm just waiting for the sixth to come along!

Card 3


"What that he mente therby, I kan not seyn" - Wife.


Preview of the back of card 3

Card 4


"Men may counseille a womman to been oon, but counseilling is no comandement." - Wife.


Preview of the back of card 4

Card 5


"He seith that to be wedded is no sinne, bet is to be wedded than to brinne." - Wife.


Preview of the back of card 5
View more cards


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