Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: The Wife of Bath's Prologue Lines 593-632

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lines 593-632

  • When my fourth husband died, I cried and appeared to be mourning, as wives must after the custom. I covered my face with a handkerchief.
  • Actually, though, since I was provided with a future husband, I didn't cry too much.
  • My fourth husband was taken to the church the next day, with the neighbors mourning him, including Jankyn the clerk.
  • When I saw Jankyn walking behind the coffin, I thought that he had a pair of legs and feet so attractive that I gave my heart to him.
  • He was twenty years old, and I was forty.
  • I have always had a colt's tooth (a lustful appetite, particularly for younger men).
  • I was gap-toothed, which became me well. I had the symbol of Saint Venus on my face.
  • I was lusty, rich, young, and becoming.
  • Also, and so my husbands said, I had the best vagina you could find.
  • Certainly, I am Venus-like in feeling, with a Mars-like heart. Venus gave me my lust and lecherousness, and Mars my sturdy hardiness. My ascending star was Taurus, with Mars in its house.
  • It's just too bad that love is considered a sin!
  • I always followed my inclinations, because of the sign under which I was born. This made me unable to withhold my sexual favors from a good fellow.
  • I have the sign of Mars on my face, and also in another private place.
  • I never had sex because of well-considered motives, but always followed my appetite.
  • Were the man short, tall, black, or white, I didn't care. As long as he liked me, it didn't matter how poor a man was or to what social class he belonged.