A MONK ther was, a fair for the maistrie,

There was a MONK, an extremely handsome one,

An outridere, that lovede venerie,

with business outside the monastery, who loved hunting,

A manly man, to been an abbot able.

A virile man, to be an able abbot.

Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,

He had many a fine horse in the stable,

And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere

And when he rode, you could hear his bridle

Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere

jingling in a whistling wind as clearly

And eek as loude as dooth the chapel belle

and also as loud as the chapel bell

Ther as this lord was kepere of the celle.

As this lord was keeper of the of the monastery

The reule of Seint Maure or of Seint Beneit -

The rule of Saint Maur and Saint Benet -

By cause that it was old and somdel streit

Because it was old and somewhat narrow

This ilke Monk leet olde thynges pace,

this same Monk let old things pass away,

And heeld after the newe world the space.

and followed the customs of new times.

He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,

He did not give that text at a plucked hen,

That seith that hunters ben nat hooly men,

Which says that hunters are not holy men,

Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees,

Nor that a monk, when he is heedless of rules,

Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees -

Is compared to a fish out of water -

This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre.

That is to say, a monk out of his cloister.

But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre;

But he did not think that text worth anything;

And I seyde his opinion was good.

And I said that his opinion was good.

What sholde he studie and make hymselven wood,

Why would he study and make himself crazy,

Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure,

Always poring over a book in the cloister,

Or swynken with his handes, and laboure,

Or work with his hands, and toil,

As Austyn bit? How shal the world be served

As Saint Augustine commands? How shall the world be served

Lat Austyn have his swynk to hym reserved!

Let Saint Augustine reserve his labour to himself!

Therfore he was a prikasour aright:

Therefore he was certainly a horseman:

Grehoundes he hadde as swift as fowel in flight

he had greyhounds as swift as birds in flight

Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare

in tracking and hunting the hare

Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.

was all his fun, for he did not want to spare the cost.

I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond

I saw that his sleeves were lined by hand

With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;

with fur, and the finest in the country;

And for to festne his hood under his chyn,

and to fasten his hood under his chin,

He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pyn;

he had a really skillfully made pin of wrought gold;

A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.

there was an elaborate knot at the larger end.

His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,

his head was bald and shone like glass

And eek his face, as he hadde been enoynt,

and also his face, as if it had been rubbed with oil,

He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt;

he was a priest who was really fat and in good condition;

His eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,

his prominent eyes were rolling in his head,

That stemed as a forneys of a leed;

they gleamed like a furnace under a cauldron;

His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat,

his boots supple, his horse in fine condition,

Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat;

now he was certainly a beautiful reverend;

He was nat pale as a forpyned goost.

he was not pale like a tormented spirit.

A fat swan loved he best of any roost.

He liked a fat swan best of any roast.

His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.

His palfrey was as brown as is a berry.