The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
And all above there lay a gay sautrie,
On which he made a-nyghtes melodie
So swetely that all the chambre rong;
And Angelus ad virginem he song.
It's not likely that Nicholas is singing a holy song out of a true feeling of piety. Instead, he's probably just showing off, which would be more in accord with his character.
This Nicholas gan mercy for to crye,
And spak so faire, and profred him so faste,
That she hir love hym graunted atte laste,
And swoor hir ooth, by seint Thomas of Kent,
That she wol been at his comandement.
Alisoun's swearing to cheat on her husband by Saint Thomas of Kent emphasizes the audacity of the act. It also foreshadows the moment when religion again plays a role in sexual sin: Absolon's lustful longing for Alisoun when he meets her in the parish church.
Thanne fil it thus, that to the paryssh chirche,
Cristes owene werkes for to wirche,
This goode wyf went on a haliday.
The irony of these lines, of course, is that the work Alisoun ends up doing at the parish church is not "Cristes owene werkes," but the captivation of Absolon's attention.