The following is a translation of a 13th century "French fabliau" poem, it was copied from a gopher server which seems to be no longer up, thus this I leave this here for the ages.
For two years I've been telling so
Many fine tales and fabliaux
Which I've discovered or made up
That by St. John, it's time to stop
And tell no more except this last,
Called *Berangier of the Long Ass*,
A story which you haven't heard,
But if you'd like you'll hear it word
For word this minute, no delay.
Hear it good people! Guerin will say
What happened once in Lombardy,
Where men aren't known for bravery,
To a knight errant who'd been wed
To a fine lady, purely bred
And daughter to a landed earl.
The young knight's father was a churl
Who'd gotten rich by usury.
His cellars were full; his grainery
Held all it could. He had cows and goats,
Dollars, deniers, marks, sous, and groats.
And the earl was deeply in his debt
With nothing left to pay, except
To give the rich man's son his daughter.
That's how good blood thins down to water,
How counts and earls and all their race
Decline and finish in disgrace.
If people wed to get out of debt,
Disgrace is what they ought to get.
The harm they do cannot be told:
From those who covet silver and gold
More than nobility, a race
Of foolish, good-for-nothing, base
And chickenhearted knights descends.
Thus chivalry declines and ends.
But here's the gist of what I heard
From start to finish as it occurred.
Not wasting any time, the earl
Put wedding garments on the girl
And married her to the young peasant,
Then dubbed him knight for a wedding present.
The young man went home with the maid.
For more than ten years, there they stayed.
This new knight valued relaxation,
Not valiant deeds or reputation:
The code of chivalry could go hang.
He loved pie, custard, and meringue,
But the common people he despised.
Now when the lady realized
How utterly her husband lacked
Virtue, how he was in fact
Useless for tournaments or war
And liked to fill a straw bed more
Than wield a lance or grasp a shield
(From which it clearly was revealed
To her that though the man was quite
A talker, he was not a knight
Worth talking of, but born and raised
A commoner), that's when she praised
The line of knights from whence she'd sprung,
Proud, valiant knights who'd never hung
Around the house from dawn to dark.
The husband knew that these remarks
Were aimed at him to put him down.
"Lady," he said, "I have renown.
I have more prowess than a dozen
Of your grandfathers. There's not a cousin
Or knight of any clan or class
Whose valor I do not surpass.
And I'm not lazy, take it from me.
Tomorrow morning you will see.
If I can find my foes tomorrow,
Who envy me and want to borrow
Trouble from me, I'll prove myself.
Not one will get off with his health.
These enemies who scorn and scoff
Will not scoff long with their heads o.
At dusk tomorrow they'll be dead."
For the time being, that's all he said.
The knight arose at dawn next day
And rang a bell for his valet,
Who brought his buckler, sword, and lance
And armed his lord with elegance.
(The arms and armor all were splendid,
Not being dirtied, scratched, or dented.)
When he was geared and rigged for battle
And sitting proudly in the saddle,
He wondered what he should do next
To give his wife a good pretext
For thinking him a noble knight.
He saw a forest to his right
A quarter mile from his front door.
Without delay he headed for
The forest at a gallop. There
He had to gasp a bit for air.
He rode on further through the wood
To where a giant oak tree stood
And cast its shade upon a field.
He tied his horse, unhooked his shield,
And hung it from the lowest bough.
Listen to what the fool did now.
He drew his sword, shiny and bright,
And beat the shield with all his might,
Battering like a maniac,
Making it clatter at every whack,
Till he had mutilated it.
He took his sturdy lance and hit
The branch. The lance splintered in thirds.
His work was finished, so he spurred
His horse around the woods some more
Before arriving home. He bore
A third of his lance and but a fourth
Of the shield that he had carried forth.
He reined his horse. His wife came out
To ask what this was all about
And hold his stirrup strap in place,
But the knight hit her in the face
With the full weight of his big foot.
"Stand back!" he cried, "Hands off the boot!
Let it be known it isn't right
For you to touch so great a knight
As I am--not with my renown;
No such knight from Adam down
Adorns the family tree you've vaunted.
I'm not defeated, weak, or daunted.
I am the flower of chivalry!"
The lady didn't disagree.
In consternation she beheld
The shattered lance and broken shield,
Not knowing what to think or say
About the evidence on display
Afraid he'd beat her to the ground,
Because he threatened her and frowned
She dared not touch, but stood somewhat
Out of his reach. Her mouth stayed shut.
What shall I say? He used this game
To vilify her family name
And put her in her place, that is,
To set her value under his.
Another time the knight came back
With another shield all hewed and hacked
And full of holes. His chain-mail shirt
However, was by no means hurt.
Neither was he--from head to foot
He wasn't bruised, he wasn't cut
He wasn't even tired out.
That's when his wife began to doubt
Her husband's claim that he'd unhorsed
Defeated, subjugated, forced
To pay homage, put to flight
And hanged two dozen enemy knights
That day. She saw that he concealed
His cowardice with a cracked shield,
And told herself if he went back
Into the woods again, she'd track
Him down to learn what foes he sought
And what he did and how he fought.
These were the plans she settled on.
Early next day at break of dawn
Her husband armed and said he still
Had three more enemies to kill
Who kept on threatening and defying,
Causing disturbances and spying--
Crimes which the noble knight detested.
The lady tactfully suggested
He take some servants, three or four,
To make the victory more sure.
"Lady," he said, "I'll go alone.
I'll kill them so well on my own
Not one will get away with his life."
Urging his charger past his wife,
He sallied forth with zeal and zest
Into the woods. She rose and dressed
Herself in armor like a knight,
Mounted a stallion, held on tight,
Did not delay, did not look back
And followed in her husband's track
Till there he was in the same field
And from the same oak tree his shield
Was hanging. He was beating it,
Banging and making it submit
To a cruel martyrdom and rigor.
A person standing near might figure
A hundred devils were there yelling.
This isn't any joke I'm telling:
He raised a ruckus to the sky.
The lady reined her horse nearby.
At first the sight of this display
Of folly filled her with dismay.
But when she'd heard her fill of noise,
She shouted with a mighty voice
And urged her charger straight ahead:
"Sir Knight! Sir Knight! What folly led
You to come cutting up my manor?
Vain are my knighthood and my honor
If I don't slay you on this field.
Why are you picking on that shield?
What has it ever done to you?
You've bit off more than you can chew.
Fie on whoever says it's fit
For you to wage a war on it!"
And when he heard the speech she made,
He was dumbfounded and dismayed.
(His wife he didn't recognize.)
At once, great tears fell from his eyes
And his damasked sword fell from his grasp.
"Sir, for God's sake," he managed to gasp,
"Pity! If I've done any wrong
I'll give whatever you want: my pony,
Lance--here's my shield, saddle, money."
The lady said, "As God's my shield,
Before you've parted from this field,
You'll change your tune. Now stop this noise.
I'm giving you an even choice.
Either you joust with me right now
(If so, you have my solemn vow
If you're unhorsed, you will not fail
To lose your head--it won't avail
To beg for pity or remorse),
Or let me get down from my horse
And I'll bend over on the grass
And you can come and kiss my ass
Right in the middle, if you please.
Just take whichever one of these
That suits your inclination. Choose!"
He who was shaking in his shoes,
Whose cowardliness no shame could oust
Declared his purpose not to joust.
"Good Sir," he said, "I've deeply sworn
An oath to joust with no man born.
But be so kind as to dismount
And I'll do what it is your want."
The lady didn't wait around,
But lightly leapt upon the ground,
Stood with her back before his nose,
Lifted her tunic, touched her toes,
And said, "Your face goes here, Sir Knight."
But when her crevice came in sight,
it seemed to him the ass and cunt
Were one long crack from back to front.
He thought it surely must have been
The longest ass he'd ever seen.
And there he placed the kiss of truce,
Which cowards customarily use,
Next to the hole. That's how she served
The knight what richly he deserved.
The lady stood, turned round and mounted.
Before she left, her husband shouted,
"Tell me your name, sir, since you're leaving.
Then go in peace. We'll call it even."
--"Vassal, I'll tell it. I don't mind.
Another such name you will not find:
All other men are beneath my class.
I'm Berangier of the Long Ass,
Who puts to shame the chickenhearted."
The wife had finished what she'd started.
Now she returned home through the wood,
Disarmed herself as best she could
And sent for the knight she held above
All others in esteem and love.
She led him into the bed chamber,
Where with an eager kiss he claimed her.
And when the husband reached the house,
She, who did not fear her spouse,
Didn't even deign to stir,
But made her lover sit by her.
And when the knight came in the room,
Afflicted by despair and gloom,
The sight of a lover with his wife
Was not the high point of his life.
"Madam," he said, "it's plain to me
That you have done me injury,
Bringing a man to my abode.
You'll pay for this my girl. You've sowed
And you shall reap."--"Shut up, you bore!"
She said, "And don't say anymore,
Because one more insinuation
Against my name and reputation
And by the saints I'll file a claim
Against you for my injured fame.
Go on, you cuckold! Go on, be jealous!"
--"You'll file a claim? And who, pray tell us,
Will hear a claim (hat comes from you?"
--"Your fellow knight at arms is who,
Who subjugated you today,
I mean my lord Sir Berangier
Of the Long Ass, who will disgrace
You once again!" The husband's face
Turned fiery red with rage and shame
No more could he abuse her name.
He felt checkmated. He felt ill.
And from that day, she did her will:
She was no common girl or fool.
*When the shepherd's weak, the wolf shits wool.*
The poet, Guerin mentions himself early in the poem. It does my heart well to know that profanity was so expertly used for entertainment in the middle ages. I do know of another translation of this poem, it looked more accurate, but it did not rhyme, so fuck it.