Sunday, June 28, 2020


What a Waste

Geoffrey Chaucer, "The Monk's Prologue," Canterbury Tales VII.1943-1953 (the host Harry Bailey to the monk; tr. Nevill Coghill):
God send confusion on the fellow who
First had the thought to make a monk of you!
You would have put a hen to pretty use,
Had you permission, as you have the juice,
To exercise your pleasure in procreation!
You could have done your part to build the nation.
Alas, who put you in so wide a cope?
Damnation take me, but if I were Pope,
Not only you but many a mighty man
Going about the world with tonsured pan
Should have a wife...

I pray to God yeve him confusioun
That first thee broghte unto religioun!
Thou woldest han been a tredefoul aright;
Haddestow as greet a leve as thow hast might
To parfourne al thy lust in engendrure,
Thow haddest bigeten many a creature.
Allas, why werestow so wid a cope?
God yeve me sorwe but, and I were a pope,
Nat oonly thow, but every mighty man,
Thogh he were shore ful hye upon his pan,
Sholde have a wif...
Mutatis mutandis, I feel the same way when I see certain nuns.

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