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DIMEV 745
Ay Gods mercy said our Host tho
Geoffrey Chaucer, the ‘Merchant’s Endlink’ of the Canterbury Tales — 22 lines in couplets.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer
Title(s): ‘Merchant’s Endlink’; Squire’s Prologue; Canterbury Tales
Subjects: pilgrims/pilgrimage; marriage; links; women
Versification: — couplets — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 14 (SC 3360), ff. 131-131v
First Lines:
Ey godis mercy seide our ost tho
now such a wiff I pray god kepe vs fro…
Last Lines:
…and eke my witt suffisith not therto
to tellen al therfore my tale is do
Attributed Title: …and bigynneth the Squyers prolog (f. 131)
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Barlow 20 (SC 6420), f. 149
Transcription:
I haue a wif þogh she pore be
Ȝit she hath an hepe of vices lo
ffor of hir tong a mochel shrew is she
And to my wil þe contrarie wil she do
þerof no force lat al suche þinges go
But wite ȝe wat in conseil be it saide
Me reweth sore þat I am to hir taide
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a seven-line version of V.1-8 (5024), introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: …and here bygynneth þe prologe of þe ffrankeleyn (f. 103v).
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 686 (SC 2527), f. 129v
First Lines:
Ey goddes mercy seide oure hoost þo
Now such a wyf y prey god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my witte suffiseth not þer to
To tellen alle wherefor my tale is do
Attributed Title: …And here begynneth þe prologe of þe Squyers tale (f. 129); Squyer (RT)
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Hatton Donati 1 (SC 4138), ff. 98v-99
First Lines:
Ey goddis merci seid oure oost þo
Now sich a wife I pray god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my wit suffiseth not there to
To tellen all wherefor my tale is do
Attributed Title: …Here foloueth þe wordes of oure Hoost to the ffrankeleyn (f. 98v); The wordez of þe ffrankeleyn (RT)
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 600 (SC 1476), ff. 161-161v
First Lines:
EYe god mercy seide oure hoost þoo
Now suche a wif I preie god kepe me froo…
Last Lines:
…And eek my witt suffiseþ not þerto
To telle alle þerfore my tale is doo
Attributed Title: …HEre begynneþ þe prolog of þe squier (f. 161); þe squier (RT)
6.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 739 (SC 1234), f. 176v
Transcription:
[y] haue awyfe ȝogh she pore be
Yit haith she an hepe of vices lo
ffor of her tong a mochil shrew is she
Therof no force late all suche thinges goo
ffor to my wille þe contrarie will she do
But witte ȝe what in counsaile be hit saide
Me rewith sore þat I am to hir tayde
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a seven-line version of V.1-8, introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
7.Source: Oxford, Christ Church 152, f. 220
First Lines:
Ey goddys mercy quod oure oste thoo
Now soche a wife I pray god kepe me froo…
Last Lines:
…And eke my witte suffiseth nat thertoo
To tellen alle wherfore my witte is doo
8.Source: Oxford, Trinity College 49, ff. 140-140v
First Lines:
Ey goddis mercy seide oure hoste tho…
Last Lines:
…and eke my witte suffisith nought ther to
to tellen al wer for my tale is doo
Attributed Title: Prologus Armigeri (f. 140); Armiger (RT)
9.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Dd.4.24, ff. 119-119v
First Lines:
Ey goddis mercy seide oure hoost tho
Now swich a wyf I preye god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my wyt suffiseth nat therto
To tellen al wherfore my tale is do
Attributed Title: Et incipit prologus Armigeri… (f. 119)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Cambridge MS. Dd.4.24 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Completed by the Egerton MS. 2726 (The Haistwell MS). The Chaucer Society 1st Series, no. 95 (Part 1, issue for 1901) and 96 (Part 2, issue for 1902).
10.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ii.3.26, ff. 98-98v
First Lines:
Ey goddis mercy seide oure host tho
Nowe such a wyf I pray god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my wit suffiseth not therto
To telle wherfore my tale is do
Attributed Title: …And / here begynneth the ffrankeleyns prologe (f. 98); ffrankleyn (RT)
11.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Mm.2.5, f. 153v
First Lines:
Eye god mercy seid oure oste þoo
Nowe suche a wyffe I pray god kepe me froo…
Last Lines:
…And eke my witte suffiseth not þertoo
To tell all þer for my tale is doo
Note: IV.2433 omitted.
Attributed Title: …Here begynneth þe prologe of þe ffrankeleyn (f. 153v)
12.Source: Cambridge UK, Fitzwilliam Museum McClean 181 [olim Ashburnham 127], f. 118
Transcription:
I Haue a wyfe quoth oure oste though sche pore be
Yete hath sche an hepe of vyces loo
ffor of hur tong a schrewe ys schee
ffor to my wylle þe contrary woll sche doo
Therof no forse lete all such thynges goo
But wote ye what in counsel be hit seyd
Me reweth sore þat y am to hur tyed
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a nine-line version of V.1-8, introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: The prolog of þe ffrancleyn xii (f. 118)
13.Source: London, British Library Addit. 5140, ff. 171-171v
First Lines:
Ey goddis Mercy said our ost tho
Nowe suche a wyf y prey god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eek my wyt suffiseth nat therto
To tellyn all wherfor my tale is do
Attributed Title: & Incipit prologus Armigeri (f. 171v); Squyer (RT)
14.Source: London, British Library Addit. 35286 [olim Ashburnham 125], ff. 122-122v
First Lines:
By goddes mercy seide our hoost tho
Now swich a wyf I prey god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my wit suffiseth nat ther to
To tellen al wherfore my tale is ydo
Attributed Title: The Squyer (RT)
Editions:
Horobin, Simon. “A Transcription and Study of British Library MS Additional 35286 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.” Diss. Univ. of Sheffield, 1997.
15.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2726 [olim Haistwell], f. 138v
First Lines:
EY goddes mercy seid our hoost tho
Now soch a wyf I pray god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my witte suffiseth nat þere to
To tellen all wherfore my tale is do
Attributed Title: & incipit prologus Armigeri (f. 138v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Cambridge MS. Dd.4.24 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Completed by the Egerton MS. 2726 (The Haistwell MS). The Chaucer Society 1st Series, no. 95 (Part 1, issue for 1901) and 96 (Part 2, issue for 1902).
16.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2864 [olim Ingilby, post Compton Hall], ff. 145
First Lines:
Ey goddis mercy said our Ooste tho
Now such a wyf I prayd god keep me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eek my wit suffiseth nat ther to
To tellen all wherfor my tale is do
Attributed Title: Hic incipit prologus Armiger… (f. 145); The sqwyer (RT)
17.Source: London, British Library Harley 1758, f. 127
Transcription:
Haue a wif quod our Oost thogh sche pore be
Yet hath sche an hepe of vices lo
ffor of hir tonge a schrewe is sche
ffor to my wille the contrarie will sche do
Ther of no fors late all suche thynges go
But wite ye what in counceile be it seide
Me rewith sore that I am to hir teide
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a seven-line version of V.1-8, introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
18.Source: London, British Library Harley 7334, f. 148v
First Lines:
Ey goddes mercy sayd oure host þo
Now such a wyf I pray god keep me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eek my witte suffisith nought þerto
To tellen al wherfor my tale is do
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Harleian MS 7334 of Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. Chaucer Society 73. London: Trübner, 1885.
19.Source: London, British Library Harley 7335, ff. 129-129v
First Lines:
[B]Y godes mercy seide oure ost tho
Now swich a wif y preye god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And ek my wit sufficeth not ther too
To tellen al wherfore my tale is do
20.Source: London, British Library Royal 17 D.XV, f. 96
First Lines:
Ey goddes mercy sayde ower Oste tho
Now suche A wyfe I praye god kepe me ffro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my wytte suffyceþe notte therto
To tellen all wherfor my tale is doo
Note: Preceded by the ‘Man of Law’s Endlink’ (4316) and followed by the ‘Squire’s Headlink’ (5024).
21.Source: London, British Library Royal 18 C.II, f. 145v
Transcription:
I haue a wyf þou she pore be
Yit she hath an heepe of vyces lo
For of hire tonge a moche shrew is she
And to my wylle þe contrarye wil she do
Therof no force lete all suche þinges go
But wyte ȝe what in consail be it saide
Me rewyth sore þat I am to hire taide
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a seven-line version of V.1-8, introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
22.Source: London, British Library Sloane 1685, f. 145
Transcription:
I haue a wyfe þouȝe she pore be
Ȝit hathe she an hepe of vices lo
ffor of hir tonge a moche shrewe ys sho
ffor to my wylle þe contrary wolle she doo
Therof no force let alle suche þenges go
But wytte ȝe what in counsaylayle be hit sayd
Me rewethe sore þat I am to hir teyde
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a seven-line version of V.1-8, introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: …Here bygynnyth þe Prologe of þe ffrankeleyn (f. 145)
23.Source: Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales Peniarth 392 D [‘Hengwrt’], f. 153
First Lines:
EY goddes mercy seyde oure hoost tho
Now swich a wyf I prey god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eek my wit suffiseth nat ther to
To tellen al wherfore my tale is do
Attributed Title: Here folwen the wordes of the worthy / Hoost to the ffrankeleyn (f. 153, followed by ten ruled, blank lines)
Facsimiles:
Ruggiers, Paul G., ed. The Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer. A Facsimile of the Hengwrt Manuscript, with Variants from the Ellesmere Manuscript. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, and Folkestone: Wm. Dawson, 1979.
Stubbs, Estelle, ed. The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile (CD-ROM). Leicester, England: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2000.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Hengwrt Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 3, 9, 27, 39, 51, 71. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
Blake, Norman F., ed. The Canterbury Tales. Edited from the Hengwrt Manuscript. York Medieval Texts, second series. London: Edward Arnold, 1980.
Stubbs, Estelle, ed. The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile (CD-ROM). Leicester, England: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2000.
24.Source: Alnwick Castle, Duke of Northumberland MS 455, f. 130v
Transcription:
I have a wyffe quod our hoost þouȝ she pore be
Ȝit hath she an hepe of vicis lo
ffor of hir tung a shrewe is she
Therof no force let al such thingis goo
But woot yee what in counsell be it seyd
Me rewith sore that I am to hir teyde
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a seven-line version of V.1-8, introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: Here begynnyth the ffranklen his prologg (f. 130v)
25.Source: Lichfield, Lichfield Cathedral Library 29, f. 153
Transcription:
I haue a wyf quod oure ost though she pore be
Ȝit hath she an heep of vices lo
ffor of hir tonge a moche shrewe is she
ffor to my wille the contrari wol she do
Ther of no force lat alle suche þinges go
But wite ȝe what in counsayl be it sayd
Me reweth sore that I am to hir tayd
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a seven-line version of V.1-8, introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: …and by / gynneth the Prologe of the ffrankeleyn (f. 153)
26.Source: Lincoln, Lincoln Cathedral Library 110, ff. 91-91v
First Lines:
[E]y goodes mercy quod oure host tho
Now suych a wyf I pray god kepe me fro
Last Lines:
[trimmed]ek my wit suffisith nat ther to
To tellen al þerfore my tale ysdo
Note: The main scribe left a blank space of two lines at the foot of f. 91 and of fiteen lines at the top of f. 91v. A second scribe added IV.2419-20 at the foot of f. 91 and the remainder of the ‘Merchant’s Epilogue’ in the blank space on f. 91v, resorting to the margin for the final five lines.
Attributed Title: The wordes of oure host (f. 91, margin)
27.Source: Manchester, John Rylands Library Eng. 113 [olim Hodson 39], f. 98
First Lines:
Ey goddes mercy seide oure hoste tho
Now such a wife I pray god kepe me ffro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my witt suffiseth not þerto
To tellen all wherfor my tale is doo
Attributed Title: Et incipit prologus fabule Armigeri (f. 98); prologus fabule Armigeri (f. 98, margin); Squyer (RT)
28.Source: Petworth House, Lord Leconfield MS 7, f. 178
First Lines:
HY goddis mercy seide oure hoost þoo
All euel wyues god kepe vs fro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my wite suffiseþ not þerto
To telle alle þerfore my tale is doo
Note: The ‘Merchant’s Endlink’ is here conjoined with the ‘Squire’s Headlink’ (5024) to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: The prologe of þe ffraunkeleyn (RT)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Petworth MS of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 6, 12, 19, 35, 42, 54, 68. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Autotype Specimens of the Chief Chaucer MSS, Part II. Chaucer Society Series 1, no. 56. London: Trübner, 1876.
29.Source: Austin, University of Texas, Humanities Research Center HRC Pre-1700 MS 143 [olim Deene Park; post Cardigan-Brudenell, sold Sotheby’s, Feb. 1959], f. 121v
First Lines:
Ey goddis mercy seide oure Oste tho
Nowe suche a wif y pray god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eke my wit suffisith not therto
To tellen alle wherfore my tale is do
Attributed Title: Et incipit prologus Armigeri (f. 121, foot); Squyer (RT)
30.Source: New York, Columbia University Library Plimpton 253 [olim Phillipps 9970], f. 1
First Lines:
…Ey god mercy sayde our oste tho
Now suche awyff y pray god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…[And e]ke my wit suffiseth noȝt therto
[To telle] al ther for my tale is do
Note: Smudges and a wrinkle partially obscure the last two lines.
Attributed Title: The ffrankeleyn (RT)
Facsimiles:
Digital Scriptorium: Facsimile of Plimpton MS 253. Columbia University, 1996-.
31.Source: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M249 [olim Ashburnham 124, post Compton Hall], ff. 152-152v
First Lines:
I have a wyf quod oure Ost though she pore be
Ȝit hath she an heep of vices lo
ffor of hir tonge as moche shrewe is she
ffor to my wille the contrary wol she do…
Last Lines:
…But wite ye what in counsail be it said
Me reweth sore that I am to hir tayd
Note: IV.2428-9 reversed; spurious line follows 2428.
Attributed Title: …and bigynneth the prologe of the ffrankeleyn (f. 152); The ffrankeleyn (RT)
32.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library EL 26.C.9 [‘Ellesmere’], f. 115
First Lines:
Ey goddes mercy seyde oure hoost tho
Now swich a wyf I pray god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And eek my wit suffiseth nat ther to
To tellen al wherfore my tale is do
Attributed Title: …The Prologe of the Squieres tale (f. 115)
Facsimiles:
The Ellesmere Chaucer Reproduced in Facsimile. 2 vols. Preface by Alix Egerton. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1911.
Hanna, Ralph, ed. The Ellesmere Chaucer Reproduced in Facsimile. 2 vols. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1911. Preface by Alix Egerton repr. as The Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Working Facsimile. Intro. Hanna; Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1989.
Woodward, Daniel, and Martin Stevens, eds. The New Ellesmere Chaucer Facsimile (Huntington MS EL 26 C 9). Tokyo: Yushodo, and San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1995: Now available in part online: http://dpg.lib.berkeley.edu/webdb/dsheh/heh_brf?CallNumber=El+26+C+9.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 2, 8, 16, 26, 32, 38, 50, 70. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
33.Source: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale angl. 39, ff. 56vb-57ra
First Lines:
Ey goddis mercy seid oure host tho
now such a wyfe I pray god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…and eke my wytte suffiseth not therto
to telle al wherfore my tale is doo
Attributed Title: & sub / sequenter incipit prohemium fabule / Armigeri hoc modo sequente (f. 56vb)
34.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 24 [olim Chatsworth, Duke of Devonshire], f. 130v
First Lines:
Ey quod oure oost euen said he tho
Now such a wif I pray god kepe me fro…
Last Lines:
…And ek my wit suffiseth nat therto
To tellen all wherfor my tale is do
Attributed Title: Et Incipit prologus Armigeri (f. 130)
35.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 32 [olim Penrose 6; prior Delamere], f. 81va
Transcription:
I have awyif thowgh sche pore bee
Yit hath sche an heepe of vicis loo
ffor of hiere tvnge a schrewe is schee
ffore to my will thee contrarie wole sche doo
Theer offe no foors lete all swiche thyngis goo
But wite yee what in cvnseyill bee it seyd
Mee Rewyht sore that I am to hiere teyd
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and followed by a nine-line version of V.1-8, introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: Here be gynnyht the prologe of the frankelyn (f. 81va); the frankeleynis tale (RT)