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The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue


by Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Old Age Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.

Quote #7

The flour is goon, there is namoore to telle,
The bren as I best kan, now most I selle

The Wife draws upon the double meaning of "flour" here as either plant or (cooking) flour. White flour was thought to be more desirable, but the Wife proposes to make the best of the bran (grain husk) that's remaining to her. This is not the first time the Wife has compared herself to bread; recall that, earlier, she calls virgins white bread and wives barley bread.

Quote #8

He was, I trowe, twenty winter old,
And I was fourty, if I shal seye sooth;
But yet I hadde alwey a coltes tooth

The Wife's claim to a "coltes tooth," or youthful appetites, refers not just to a preference for much younger sexual partners, but also a sex drive like one normally attributed to a young person, despite her advancing years.

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