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The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 593-632 Summary
When my fourth husband died, I cried and appeared to be mourning, as wives must after the custom. I covered my face with a handkerchief. Actually, though, since I was provided with a future husband, I didn't cry too much. My fourth husband was taken to the church the next day, with the neighbors mourning him, including Jankyn the clerk. When I saw Jankyn walking behind the coffin, I thought that he had a pair of legs and feet so attractive that I gave my heart to him. He was twenty years old, and I was forty. I have always had a colt's tooth (a lustful appetite, particularly for younger men). I was gap-toothed, which became me well. I had the symbol of Saint Venus on my face. I was lusty, rich, young, and becoming. Also, and so my husbands said, I had the best vagina you could find. Certainly, I am Venus-like in feeling, with a Mars-like heart. Venus gave me my lust and lecherousness, and Mars my sturdy hardiness. My ascending star was Taurus, with Mars in its house. It's just too bad that love is considered a sin! I always followed my inclinations, because of the sign under which I was born. This made me unable to withhold my sexual favors from a good fellow. I have the sign of Mars on my face, and also in another private place. I never had sex because of well-considered motives, but always followed my appetite. Were the man short, tall, black, or white, I didn't care. As long as he liked me, it didn't matter how poor a man was or to what social class he belonged.
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