The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Sex Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
Thy wyf and thouo mote hange fer a-twinne,
For that bitwixe yow shal be no sinne
No more in looking than ther shal in dede.
Nicholas's reference to the possible sin "in looking" refers to the Catholic belief that if you look at a woman lustfully, you've already had sex with her in your heart. Beyond conveniently separating John and Alisoun so that it's easier for Alisoun to sneak away, Nicholas's warning subtly flatters John by making it seem that Nicholas thinks of him as a virile man with uncontainable sexual desires.
Withouten wordes mo, they goon to bedde
Ther-as the carpenter is wont to lye.
Ther was the revel and the melodye;
And thus lyth Alison and Nicholas
In bisinesse of mirthe and of solas,
Til that the belle of Laudes gan to ringe,
And freres in the chuancel gonne singe.
This passage emphasizes the audacity of Nicholas and Alisoun making love in John's bed by calling it a "revel" – which can mean both festive occasion and disorderly conduct – and by juxtaposing it with the religious observances of the nearby friars.
This Absoloun doun sette him on his knees,
And seyde, 'I am a lord at alle degrees;
For after this I hope ther cometh more.'
The "more" Absoloun refers to is sex, which he hopes will follow from Alisoun's kiss. Absoloun's assumption of a kneeling position contrasts with his reference to himself as a "lord," and, as the subsequent events confirm, the kneeling position is a more accurate reflection of his true status in his relationship with Alisoun.