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The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale

The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale

by Geoffrey Chaucer

Sex Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #10

His hote love was cold and al y-queynt;
For fro that tyme that he had kiste hir ers,
Of paramous he sette nat a kers.
For he was heeled of his maladye
.
(651-654)

In this clever passage, "queynt" means both "quenched" and female genitals. Absolon's love is "queynt" by Alisoun's "queynte," but not in the way he was hoping. The reference to Absolon's being healed of his sickness reflects the courtly love language in which a lovesick man is "healed" by getting sex. But here again, Absolon's "cure" is not quite what he had wished for.

Quote #11

Thus swyved was this carpenteris wyf
For al his keping and his jalousye
.
(747-748)

"Swyved" is a vulgar term for sex. This quote, which tells us that John was cuckolded (cheated on by his wife) despite his best attempts to avoid it, hearkens back to the moment in the Miller's Prologue in which he insists that all men's wives will be unfaithful to them – it's better for men just not to know about their wives' "pryvetee."

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