The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Wealth Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
Yblessed be God, that I have wedded fyve;
(Of whiche I have pyked out the beste,
Bothe of here nether purs and of here cheste.)
The Wife admits to marrying for money, but she also implies that a good penis (by which she may also mean talent in bed) is money in one's pocket by calling a man's genitals a "nether purs."
For wel ye knowe, a lord in his houshold,
He nath nat every vessel al of gold;
Somme been of tree, and doon hir lord servyse.
Here the Wife is comparing virgins to gold and sexually active women to wooden dishes. It's true that a lord would have both golden and wooden dishes in his household, and would be able to use both. But he probably wouldn't bring out the wooden dishes for "company dinners" when he wanted to impress someone. The Wife, on the other hand, has no scruples about bringing out the lustfulness in front of company.
Myn housbond shal it have bothe eve and morwe,
Whan that hym list come forth and paye his dette.
An housbonde I wol have, I wol nat lette,
Which shal be bothe my dettour and my thral.
It's appropriate that the Wife allows that a husband can pay his debt by having sex with her, since she's previously referred to a man's penis as his "nether purs." Sex and money are obviously very much linked in the Wife's mind.