A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place,

There was a summoner with us in that place,

That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,

who had a fire red cherub's face,

For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe.

he had pimples and swollen eyelids.

As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe,

he was as hot and lecherous as a sparrow,

With scalled browes blake and piled berd.

black, scabby brows he had and a thin beard.

Of his visage children were aferd.

Children were afraid of his face.

Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, ne brymstoon,

No mercury, lead monoxide, sulphur,

Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,

borax, white lead or cream of tartar,

Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,

no ointment that would cleanse and bite,

That hym myghte helpen of his whelkes white,

could cure his white whelks,

Nor of the knobbes sittynge on his chekes.

or the pimples sitting on his cheeks.

Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,

He loved garlic, onions, and also leek,

And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood;

and to drink strong wine, red as blood;

Thanne wolde he speke and crie as he were wood.

Then he would speak and cry as if he were crazy.

And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,

And when he had drunk all the wine,

Thanne wolde he speke no word but Latyn.

Then he would speak only Latin.

A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,

he had a few technical terms, two or three,

That he had lerned out of som decree -

which he had learned from some law text -

No wonder is, he herde it al the day;

No wonder, for he heard them all day long;

And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay

and you also know how a jay

Kan clepen 'Watte' as wel as kan the pope.

can say 'Walter' as well as the pope.

But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope,

But anyone who knew how to test him further,

Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie;

found that to be the extent of his learning;

Ay 'Questio quid iuris' wolde he crie.

Then 'The question is, what point of the law applies?' he would say.

He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;

He was a gentle and kind jester;

A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde.

You would not find a better fellow.

He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn

He would allow - for a quarter of wine -

A good felawe to have his concubyn

a good lad to have his concubine

A twelf month, and excuse hym atte fulle;

for twelve months, and excuse him completely;

Ful prively a fynch eek koude he pulle.

Secretely he also knew how to pluck a finch.

And if he foond owher a good fellawe,

And if he found a good fellow anywhere,

He wolde techen him to have noon awe

he would tell him not to be afraid

In swich caas of the ercedekenes curs,

in such case of the Archdeacon's curse,

But if a mannes soule were in his purs;

Only if a man's soul was in his purse;

For in his purs he sholde ypunysshed be.

For he should feel it in his purse.

'Purs is the ercedekenes helle,' seyde he.

'Purse is the Archdeacon's hell', said he.

But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;

But I know well how he lied in what he did;

Of cursyng oghte ech gilty man him drede,

Every guilty man should be afraid of a curse,

For curs wol slee right as assoillyng savith,

For curses will kill, just as absolution brings salvation,

And also war hym of a 'Significavit'.

and also bewares him of imprisonment.

In daunger hadde he at his owene gise

In his control he had, as he pleased,

The yonge girles of the diocise,

The young girls of the diocese,

And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.

and knew their secrets, and was adviser of them all.

A gerland hadde he set upon his heed,

He had a garland on his head,

As greet as it were for an ale-stake.

as big as if it was for a sign of an alehouse

A bokeleer hadde he made hym of a cake.

he had made a shield of a round cake.