Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Miller's Tale Lines 549-599

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 549-599

Lines 549-578

  • Absolon asks a friend if he's seen John recently.
  • The friend replies that he has not seen John since Saturday. He thinks he must have gone out of town to buy timber.
  • Absolon is overjoyed, declaring this the perfect time to court Alisoun.
  • He describes his plan to stand beneath Alisoun's window at dawn and tell her of his love-longing.
  • Absolon says his mouth is itchy, which he believes is a sign it's in need of kissing.
  • Also, he says, he dreamed last night he was at a feast.
  • He says he will sleep for two hours, then wake and play.

Lines 579-599

  • Absolon wakes at cock-crow.
  • He dresses himself nicely and chews spices and licorice to make his breath smell good.
  • He goes to the carpenter's house and stands at Alisoun's window, the bottom of which is only at his chest because it is so low.
  • He asks Alisoun to wake and speak to him, claiming she cares little for his sadness. He describes himself as a lamb longing for the teat and a turtle-dove, and says he eats no more than a maid, so strong is his love-sickness.