ALASTAIR J. MINNIS
Having asked Harry Bailly to ‘com forth’ and be the first to ‘kisse’ his spurious ‘relikes everychon,’ the Pardoner suffers the most robust putdown in the entireCanterbury Tales.
‘Nay, nay!’ quod he [i.e., Bailly], ‘thanne have I cristes curs!
Lat be,’ quod he, ‘it shal nat be, so theech!
Thou woldest make me kisse thyn olde breech,
And swere it were a relyk of a seint,
Though it were with thy fundament depeint!
But, by the croys which that Seint Eleyne fond,
I wolde I hadde thy coillons in myn hond
In stide of relikes or of seintuarie.