Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 457-474

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 457-474

  • (The Wife ends her imaginary address to her husband.)
  • That's how I used to speak to my husbands. Now I'll tell you about my fourth husband.
  • My fourth husband kept a mistress.
  • Then, I was young and passionate. I was stubborn, strong, and cheerful.
  • I could dance well to the songs of a harp, and sing like a nightingale, when I'd had a lot to drink.
  • Metellius killed his wife for drinking, but if I'd been his wife he would not have persuaded me to stop drinking.
  • After I drink, I want to have sex. For, just as cold brings hail, so a mouth fond of drink belongs to a body fond of sex.
  • Women who have been drinking have no self-control, which lechers know from experience.