These are the thoughts of the knight from the Wife of Bath's Tale, when he is alone with his new wife for the first time. In no way an attractive personality, the knight recalls his crime, raping a young girl in the woods, and his punishment, having to tell the queen what women most want. In return for the answer, he promises to marry an old ugly hag. After this monologue, when his wife speaks to him, he will learn what true nobility and beauty are, and how to respect other human beings. But, right now, here are the thoughts that go through his shallow mind:
Oh God, what a day it was!
To be almost dead, and to be rescued
only to wed this hateful hag.
Now it’s our wedding night,
and she’s waiting for me to start,
but I’m afraid.
God knows what I am about to go through
is just a little better
than what I have escaped.
Oh dear Lord! I beg you
let her sleep tonight, and, if you can,
let her sleep forever.
The wrong I’d done to that maiden
will be avenged fully when the night is over
and when the dawn comes.
Of course, the maid might not think so,
for she is damaged goods forever now.
I doubt anyone will want to be her husband.
To think of it, I might be better off
if I had married the poor maiden,
and not this ugly beast.
At least, she had the beauty and the figure
that my old wife lacks, and in the rest,
I’ve never thought I would end up
like this, married to someone
of such low birth and vile figure.
What a sad end to such a happy life!
I know I never should’ve made
that rash, unthoughtful promise.
Truly, as they say, one ought to think,
and think again, before one acts.
That is some great advice.
Oh Lord, she’s restless… Ugly witch!
I hope she doesn’t start to speak.
I won’t be able to stand it.
Maybe, if I close my eyes,
the hag will think that I am sleeping…
No such luck.
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