Geoffrey Chaucer, The Friar's Prologue (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation)
This worthy limiter, this noble Friar
He made always a manner lowering chiere
Upon the Summoner, but for honesty
No villain's word as yet to him spoke he.
But at the last he said unto the wife,
'My lady, ' said he, 'God give you right good life!
You have here touched, also must I thee,
In school matters great difficulty.
You have said much things right well, I say;
But, dame, here as we ride by the way,
Us need not to speak but of game,
And leave authoritative, on God's name,
To preaching and to schools of clergy.
But if it like to this company,
I will you of a summoner tell a game.
Pardie, you may well know by the name
That of a summoner may no good be said;
I pray that none of you be evil apaid.
A summoner is a runner up and down
With mandements for fornication,
And is beaten at every town's end.'
Our Host then spoke, 'Ah, sir, you should be hend
And courteous, as a man of your estate;
In company we will have no debate.
Tell your tale, and let the Summoner be.'
'Nay, ' said the Summoner, 'let him say to me
What so he please; when it comes to my lot,
By God, I shall him quit every grot.
I shall him tell which a great honor
It is to be a flattering limiter,
And of many another manner crime
Which need not rehearse at this time;
And his office I shall him tell, iwis.'
Our Host answered, 'Peace, no more of this! '
And after this he said unto the Friar,
'Tell forth your tale, lief master dear.'