The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Cunning and Cleverness Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
'Why, yis, for Gode,' quod hende Nicholas,
'If thou wolt werken after lore and reed;
Thou mayst nat werken after thyn owene heed;
For thus seith Salomon, that was ful trewe,
'Werk al by conseil, and thou shalt nat rewe.'
Nicholas convinces John not to tell anyone else about the flood. Were he to tell someone smarter, that person might knock some sense into him, which Nicholas does not want.
Men seyn thus, 'Send the wyse, and sey no thing.'
Thou art so wys, it nedeth thee nat teche;
Go, save our lyf, and that I thee biseche.
Alisoun's flattery of John, like Nicholas's prophecy "only" for the three of them, makes John feel special, chosen by God as one who is "sent" by him to do something important. Combine this with Alisoun's damsel-in-distress plea to John to "save our lyf," and he's putty in her hands.