Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 549-592

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 549-592

  • One time, during Lent, I went to my friend's house. (Even during Lent I loved to have fun and walk about from house to house to hear all the news.)
  • The Oxford clerk Jankyn, Alisoun, and I went out into the fields.
  • (My husband was in London all that Lent, so that I was free to play, to see and be seen. How did I know where my next good fortune was to come from?)
  • (Therefore, during that time, I made visits to vigils, processions, sermons, pilgrimages, weddings, and miracle plays.)
  • (To these events, I wore my scarlet skirt. It was so well-worn that worms and moths never touched it.)
  • Now I will tell what happened to me when I went out into the fields with Alisoun and Jankyn.
  • We walked in the fields. We had a lot of fun, this clerk and I.
  • So I spoke to him, and told him that if I were ever widowed, he should marry me.
  • (For I never stopped to provide for my future with prospective marriages. I only have disdain for the mouse that has only one hole to run to.)
  • I made this clerk believe he had enchanted me, a trick my mother taught me.
  • I told him I'd dreamed of him all night, that he killed me as I lay and my bed was full of blood. I told him that I'd been taught blood is a sign gold to come.
  • This was a lie; I hadn't dreamed any such thing. But I was following my mother's teaching.
  • Now what was I saying? Ah, I remember.