We are introduced to the merchant, who seems to be very private about his life, expressing his disinterest in marriage rather discretely.
'For thogh the feend to hire ycoupled were, she wolde him overmacche': Even if she was married to the devil she would defeat him.
'But of my owene soore, for soory herte, I telle may namoore': but of my own pain, for my suffering heart , I cannot speak more.
We are introduced to January, who is a middle aged knight who has led a life full of 'fulfilling his sexual appetite', until he decides to get married.
'And folwed ay his bodily delit': He was driven by his sexual desires until now. This also introduces personification of his desires, as he is literally following it, suggesting the emotion is very controlling and potent.
'And for to live under that holy boond' 'As doon thise fools that been seculeer': Januarie expresses religious motivations here, suggesting he is trying to gain forgiveness from God after his lustful actions.
'I have my body folily dispended': Januarie seems to show some remorse here, which is ironic considering he is continuing his sexual addiction.
'Oold fish and yong flesshwolde I have ful fain' 'And bet than old boef than the tendre veal' Januarie expresses how much he wants to marry a younger woman, objectifying all women in the process to a hunk of meat.
The merchant expresses his views on the benefits of marriage, such as the wife being helpful and obedient, as well as it making you closer towards God. In typical Januarie fashion, he mentions the sexual benefits, which only come with being married to a young woman.
'Yet hadde I nevere with noon of hem debaat' 'his conseil sholde passe his lordes wit': Placebo flatters Januarie, praising his judgement, and explains how he would never doubt someone of such high status.
'Certein I finde in it but cost and care, And observances, of alle blisses bare': Justinus' displeasure with marriage is displayed here, explaining how little pleasure comes out of marriage.
Januarie consults his brothers, Placebo and Justinus, about what to do. Placebo tells Januarie to trust his own judgement, whereas Justinus eludes to the suffering part of marriage, especially with an unfaithful wife.
'Hir fresshe beautee and hir age tendre' : Here we see objectification of her age and her beauty, again using adjectives used to describe food and meat, showing how he thinks of a woman as property, to be thrown around and controlled.
'Heigh fantasye and curioius bisynesse' 'Passeth thurgh his herte night by night': 'Curious' shows his enticement into getting a wife, and 'bisynesse' is mercantile imagery, Women passed throuigh his heart, as if it wasn't very hard to enter.
Januarie must now choose a wife, which he has a lot of fun doing. Eventually, he decides on May.