The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Reeve'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.
'Of al hir art ne counte I noght a tare.'
"Art" here refers to book-learning, and again, the miller is declaring it valueless. A "tare" is a kind of weed, considered worthless.
He seyde, 'I trowe the clerkes were aferd
Yet kan a millere make a clerkes berd,
For al his art; now lat hem goon hir weye!'
(241 – 243)
Symkyn declares that his clever ruse proves that a miller can "make a clerkes beard," or trick a clerk, demonstrating that he views this conflict to be one between millers and clerks, rather than just between him and these particular clerks.
'Alas,' quod John, 'the day that I was born!
Now are we dryve til hethyng and til scorn.
Our corn is stoln, men wil us fooles calle,
Bathe the wardeyn and oure felawes alle,
And namely the miller, weylawey!'
(255 – 259)
John basically admits here that he does view his ability to prevent Symkyn from cheating him as somehow indicative of his intelligence. Now that Symkyn has cheated them, he fears that his school friends and the warden will call him a fool. What hurts the most, however, is that the miller will call him a fool.