The Miller's Tale
(Young Love ---
And Revenge Division)

[Absolon, quite the dandy, is in love with Alison. He imagines her alone and goes over to her house to appraise her of his passion. Unfortunately, when he raps at the window, he cannot see that she is to be found in the arms of Nicholas, her newest love.]

The would-be lover Absolon
Fixes himself up to perfection.
But first, before he combs out his hair,
He chews fresh mint and licorice
So he'll be sweet smelling.
(To be a man of grace,
One must carry an herb under the tongue.)
He comes to the carpenter's house,
Stands next to the low window that just comes up to his breast,
Coughs and calls quietly:
"What are you doing, my honey-comb, my sweet Alisoun,
My fair bird, my sweet cinnamon?
Awake, my love, and speak to me!
I know you aren't thinking about my anguish,
Nor that I moan for your love wherever I go.
Like a lamb hunting milk I seek the breast.
I have such a longing,
And my mourning is like a true turtledove.
I don't eat any more than a maid," he moans.
"Idiot, get away from that window," Alison says;
"So help me God, I don't want to hear
This 'come kiss me' business.
I love someone else,
Someone, by God, far better than you.
Go away, let me sleep,
Or I'll bop you one."
"Woe is me," says Absolon,
"That true love was so fickle.
There's only one think I can hope for...
And that is...kiss me
For Jesus's love (and for my own.)"
"If I do, will you go away?" she says.
"Yes, yes, certainly, love," he says.
"Then get ready," she says, "I'm coming."
And to Nicholas she says quietly,
"Don't make any noise and you'll get a good laugh."
Absolon then gets down on his knees
And thinks, "I am lord of all;
After this surely there'll be more."
"Your grace, my love, my sweet bird,"
He says, "give me your best."
She opens the window and says,
"Come on, get it over with
Or the neighbors will see us."
The night is as dark as it can be,
Absolon puckers up as she
Sticks her fanny out the window,
Absolon didn't have a clue so
With his mouth he gives her a savory kiss on the ass
Enjoying every moment of the kiss long before
He can figure out what it is.
And then, immediately he jumps back, thinks it strange,
Because he knows a woman doesn't have a beard
(He felt this rough and long-haired thing)
And says, "O damn! what have I done?"
"Tee hee!" says Alison and slams the window shut.
Absolon goes forth on his sad way.
"A beard! A beard!" Nicholas says cuddling up with her:
"By God, that was a kick!"
Absolon hears every word,
And begins to chew his lip in anger.
"I'll pay you back," he thinks to himself.
He rubs and scrubs his lip
With dust, and sand, and straw, and cloth, and wood-chips,
And says, "Goddamit," and thinks that he will commit his soul to the devil!
That he's going to avenge the kiss
Rather than have the whole town making fun of him.
"Damn," he says, "damn that I didn't turn aside!"
His love, once hot, is now icy;
Starting at that moment that he kissed her ass,
He now doesn't give a shit for love:
He's now healed of that sickness,
Even denounces lovemaking,
Weeps like a beaten child.

§     §     §

Quickly he crosses the street,
Going to the blacksmith by the name of Gerveys,
Who makes sharp plows at his forge.
Absolon knocks softly,
"What's going on?" says the blacksmith
"It's me, Absalon. Open up, Gerveys, quick!"
"Absolon! for Christ's sake,
Why are you up so early? What ails you?
Some girl, God knows,
Has got you up.
By the Saints, you know what I mean."
Absolon doesn't give a toot
For the jokes; he says nothing;
He has other fish to fry
Than Gerveys will ever know.
"Dear friend," he says,
"That hot poker over in the chimney,
Lend it to me. I've got something special to do with it,
I'll bring it back right away."
Gerveys: "Of course, even if it were gold,
Or a bag of uncounted coins,
You can have it as I am true smith.
But for God's sake, what are you going to do with it?"
"Forget it," says Absolon,
"I'll tell you tomorrow."
He catches the poker by the cold end
And quickly he goes out the door
And walks to the carpenter's house.

§     §     §

He coughs, knocks at the window --- just like before.
Alisoun says, "Who's there?
Who's knocking? It must be a thief."
"No, no," says he: "My God, you sweet lover,
I'm your Absolon, my darling."
Then he says, "I've brought you a gold ring.
My mother gave it to me, God love her.
It's very fine, delicately engraved.
I'll give it to you if you'll kiss me."
Nicholas gets up to piss
And thinks he'll add to the joke
By letting Absolon kiss his ass too before he goes away.
He opens the window, sticks out his fanny
All the way up to his thighs.
Absolon says, "Speak, sweet bird, I don't know where you are"
And so Nicholas lets fly with a tremendous fart
Like a thunder clap
That almost blinds poor Absolon ...
But he is ready with his hot iron
And gets Nicholas right in the ass.
Taking off about at least a hand's breadth of skin.
The hot poker so burns his butt,
That Nicholas thinks he'll die of pain.
He began to cry as if he were mad:
"Help! water! water! water! help, for God's sakes!"

--- Translation by Carlos Amantea
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