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Word Count: 3,196
THE FRIARS TALE Once on a time there dwelt in my country An archdeacon a man of high degree Who boldly executed the Churchs frown In punishment of fornication known And of witchcraft and of all known bawdry And defamation and adultery Of church-wardens and of fake testaments And contracts and the lack of sacraments And still of many another kind of crime Which need not be recounted at this time And usury and simony also But unto lechers gave he greatest woe They should lament if they were apprehended And payers of short tithes to shame descended If anyone informed of such twas plain Hed not escape pecuniary pain For all short tithes and for small offering He made folk pitifully to howl and sing For ere the bishop caught them with his crook They were already in the archdeacons book Then had he by his competent jurisdiction Power to punish them by such infliction He had a summoner ready to his hand A slyer rogue was not in all England For cunningly hed espionage to trail And bring reports of all that might avail He could protect of lechers one or two To learn of four and twenty more mark you For though this man were wild as is a hare To tell his evil deeds I will not spare For we are out of his reach of infliction They have of us no competent jurisdiction Nor ever shall for term of all their lives Peter So are the women of the dives The summoner said likewise beyond my cure Peace with mischance and with misadventure Thus spoke our host and let him tell his tale Now tell it on despite the summoners wail
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