from THE MILLER’S TALE
~ by Geoffrey Chaucer
She was a pretty creature, fair and tender,
And had a weasel’s body, softly slender.
She used to wear a girdle of striped silk,
Her apron was as white as morning milk
To deck her loins, all gusseted and pleated.
Her smock was white; embroidery repeated
Its pattern on the collar front and back,
Inside and out; it was of silk, and black.
And all the ribbons on her milky mutch
Were made to match her collar, even such.
She wore a broad silk fillet, rather high,
And certainly she had a lecherous eye.
And she had plucked her eyebrows into bows,
Slenderly arched they were, and black as sloes.
And a more truly blissful sight to see
She was than blossom on a cherry tree,
And softer than the wool upon a wether.
And by her girdle hung a purse of leather,
Tasseled in silk, with metal droplets, pearled.
If you went seeking up and down the world
The wisest man you met would have to wrench
His fancy to imagine such a wench.
She had a shining color, gaily tinted,
And brighter than a florin newly minted,
And when she sang it was as loud and quick
As any swallow perched upon a rick.
And she would skip or play some game or other
Like any kid or calf behind its mother.
Her mouth was sweet as mead or honey — say
A hoard of apples lying in the hay.
Skittish she was, and jolly as a colt,
Tall as a mast, and upright as a bolt
Out of a bow. Her collaret revealed
A brooch as big as boss upon a shield.
High shoes she wore, and laced them to the top.
She was a daisy, O a lollypop
For any nobleman to take to bed
Or some good man of yeoman stock to wed.
(Translation by Nevill Coghill)