The REVE was a sclendre colerik man.
The Reeve was a thin choleric man.
His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
his beard was shaven closely to the skin;
His heer was by his erys ful round yshorn;
his hair was closely cropped round his ears;
His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
the top of his head was cut short, like a priest in front.
Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
His legs were very long and slender,
Ylyk a staf; ther was no calf ysene.
like a stick; there was no calf to be seen.
Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
he kept his bins and garners very trim;
Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
there was no auditor who could gain a point on him.
Wel wiste he by the droghte and by the reyn
By the drought and by the rain he knew very well
The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn.
the yield of his seed and of his grain.
His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
His master's sheep, his cattle, his hens,
His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye
His pigs, horses, livestock and poultry
Was hoolly in this Reves governynge,
were wholly trusted to his governing,
And by his covenant yaf the rekenynge,
and he was under contract to present the account
Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age.
since his lord was twenty years of age.
Ther koude no man brynge hym in arrerage.
No man could ever bring him in arrears.
Ther nas baillif, ne hierde, nor oother hyne,
There was no bailiff, herdsman or other servant,
That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
whose tricks and treachery he did not know;
They were adrad of hym as of the deeth.
they were afraid of him as of death.
His wonyng was ful faire upon an heeth;
He had a lovely dwelling on a heath;
With grene trees yshadwed was his place.
his place was in the shade of green trees.
He koude bettre than his lord purchace.
he was better at buying property than his master.
Ful riche he was astored pryvely.
he was very rich and had secret property.
His lord wel koude he plesen subtilly,
He could well please his lord subtly,
To yeve and lene hym of his owene good,
by giving and lending him some of his own possessions,
And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
and obtain thanks, and even a coat and a hood.
In youthe he hadde lerned a good myster:
When young he had learned a good trade:
He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
He was a first-rate carpenter.
This Reve sat upon a ful good stot
This reeve sat on a very good horse
That was al pomely grey and highte Scot.
that was dapple grey and was called Scot.
A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
He had a long outer coat of dark blue,
And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.
and at his side he had a rusty blade.
Of Northfolk was this Reve of which I telle,
This reeve about whom I am talking was from Norfolk,
Biside a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.
near a town called Baldeswelle.
Tukked he was as is a frere aboute,
He had his long coat hitched up and held by a girdel, like a friar,
And evere he rood the hyndreste of oure route.
And always he rode last in our company.