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The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Tale Lines 1242-1270 Summary
The hag asks her husband if he is yielding 'maistrie' to her, since he's allowing her to choose and govern as she desires. The knight replies that yes, he believes that's best. The hag tells her husband to kiss her and be unhappy no longer. She promises to be 'both' to the husband, which is to say both fair, and a good true wife. She declares that she'll die crazy unless she is as good and true to her husband as any wife since the world began. And tomorrow, moreover, she says she will be as beautiful to look upon as any lady, empress, or queen anywhere in the world. She tells her husband to do with her life as he pleases, and to remove the curtain on their bed to look at her. When the knight sees that she is beautiful and young, he takes his wife in his arms and kisses her a thousand times. The knight's wife obeys him in everything. Thus the knight and his wife are happy until the end of their lives. May Jesus send us meek, young, sexually-skilled husbands, and the grace to dominate whoever we marry. Also, I pray that Jesus shorten the lives of those men who refuse to be governed by their wives, and those old misers who aren't generous with their money – may God send a plague upon them!
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