Paraphrases From Chaucer by Alexander Pope

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"Whoever He Be That Tells My Faults, I Hate Him Mortally!"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: As a young man Pope undertook to modernize portions of Chaucer's poetry to the English of the early eighteenth century. In this portion of the Wife of Bath's Prologue, that self-willed woman tells how she became intimate with her clerk and vowed if ever her husband died to take the clerk as her husband. As it turns out, the husband dies, and, after a brief month, the Wife of Bath marries the clerk, who has twenty years to her forty. The marriage is not a happy one, for the Wife is stubborn, willful, and a "rambler." Her young husband tries to preach to her, showing her faults to her and citing examples of good women. When his sermons prove unavailing he even, by the Wife's admission, strikes her on the face. His words and blows make no difference, for his spouse tells her fellow pilgrims on the way to Canterbury:

All this avail'd not, for whoe'er he be
That tells my faults, I hate him mortally!
And so do numbers more, I'll boldly say,
Men, women, clergy, regular and lay.