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In The Canterbury Tales from The Nun's Priest's Tale, use your own words to paraphrase...

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eurodeluxxe | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 20, 2010 at 2:50 AM via web

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In The Canterbury Tales from The Nun's Priest's Tale, use your own words to paraphrase what Chauntecleer is telling the Fox.

"Nay thanne," quod he, "I shrewe us bothe two, / And first I shrewe myself bothe blood and bones, / If thou bigyle me ofter than ones. / Thou shalt namoore, thurgh thy flaterye, / Do me to synge and wynke with myn ye; / For he that wynketh whan he sholde see, / Al wilfully, God lat him nevere thee."

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted August 21, 2010 at 7:49 AM (Answer #1)

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This interesting quote comes at the resolution of Chanticleer's misadventure in The Nun's Priest's Tale, which is the twentieth tale in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. In order to paraphrase the quote in one's own words, one must first know what Chaucer's words mean. Some Middle English words are fairly easily sorted out. For instance, "thou shalt namoore" is fairly easy to sort out to a Modern English "you shall no more."

But some Middle English really requires a Middle English Dictionary or a The Canterbury Tales Glossary online. For instance, Middle English "thee" seemes pretty straightforward and one would expect it to be the same as the Colonial period "thee," which is a form of address. However, in Middle English, "thee" actually means "to thrive; prosper" (Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, Part 2; Glossary, Walter W. Skeat).

Now--what is the meaning of the quotation so an acceptable paraphrase can be written for it?:

"Nay thanne," quod he, "I shrewe us bothe two,
And first I shrewe myself bothe blood and bones,
If thou bigyle me ofter than ones.
Thou shalt namoore, thurgh thy flaterye,
Do me to synge and wynke with myn ye;
For he that wynketh whan he sholde see,
Al wilfully, God lat him nevere thee."

What it means is that Chanticleer is rejecting the fox's suggestion by saying that he curses (shrewe) both of them and that he will curse himself "blood and bones" before he lets the the fox trick (bigyle) him more than once. He goes on to say that never more shall the fox use flattery to make Chanticleer sing (at dawn) and not take heed of danger, because anyone who fails to take heed of danger--wholly willfully--when he should be alert, God should never let prosper.

This is what it means. Now I'll attempt a paraphrase that can be a model for your own paraphrase in your own words:  "No," said he, "I'd sooner curse both of us. And I'll curse myself completely before I let you beguile me one more time. Your flattery will never again make me sing and close my eyes to danger; for anyone who willfully closes their eyes to danger, God should never let thrive."

Thanne: then, than, sooner, before
Shrewe: n. scoundrel, accursed, wretch
adj. evil, wicked
prp: beshrew, curse
Bothe: both
Bigyle: beguile, trick, dupe
Ones: once
Namoore: never more, no more
Thurgh: through
Flaterye: flattery
Synge: sing
Ye: eye
Al: all, every, wholly, in every respect, entirely, all the day, all in all
Thee: thrive, prosper

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