A MARCHANT was ther with a forked berd,
There was a merchant with a forked beard,
In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat;
In motley dress; high on his horse he sat;
Upon his heed a Flaundryssh bever hat,
Upon his head a Flemish beaver hat,
His bootes clasped faire and fetisly.
His boots were daintily buckled.
His resons he spak ful solempnely,
He spoke his opinions very solemnly,
Sownynge alwey th'encrees of his wynnyng.
Concerned with always making a profit.
He wolde the see were kept for any thyng.
He wanted the sea to be guarded at any cost.
Bitwixe Middelburgh and Orewelle
Between Middelburg and the river Orwell
Wel koude he in eschaunge sheeldes selle.
He could sell shields in return.
This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette:
this clever man used his wits very well:
Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
No one knew that he had debts,
So estatly was he of his governaunce
He was so stately in negotiation,
With his bargaynes and with his chevyssaunce,
With his buying and selling and with his financial arrangements,
For sothe he was a worthy man with alle,
Truly he was an excellent man indeed,
But, sooth to seyn, I noot how men hym calle.
But to tell the truth, I do not know what they called him.