"He priketh harde and depe as he were mad."
I really do need to read all of Chaucer again, for it's a principle of scriptural hermeneutics that one should interpret scripture by scripture, and Chaucer is nothing if not holy writ for Medievalists.
To assist in this hermeneutic circle, I'm using a hypertext website, titled Librarius, devoted to Chaucer and his writings, especially The Canterbury Tales (edited by Sinan Kökbugur).
In the "Reeve's Tale," two university students (called "clerks") -- John and Alan -- visit a miller and contrive to sleep with his daughter and his wife because the miller has cheated them of some of their grain (as millers were wont to do).
Alan manages to 'seduce' the Miller's daughter, then John, in the following passage (lines 360-379), moves a cradle to trick the miller's wife into 'sleeping' with him (and if this blog entry's title didn't warn you already, you'd best stop now if you want to avoid reading sex scenes in literature):
For those unversed in Middle English, the hyperlinks should help in understanding, but the site also helpfully provides a Modern English translation:
Soon after this the wyf hir rowtyng leet,
And gan awake, and wente hire out to pisse,
And cam agayn, and gan hir cradel mysse
And groped heer and ther, but she found noon.
"Allas!" quod she, "I hadde almoost mysgoon;
I hadde almoost goon to the clerkes bed.
Ey, benedicite! thanne hadde I foule ysped."
And forth she gooth til she the cradel fond.
She gropeth alwey forther with hir hond,
And foond the bed, and thoghte noght but good,
By cause that the cradel by it stood,
And nyste wher she was, for it was derk;
But faire and wel she creep in to the clerk,
And lith ful stille, and wolde han caught a sleep.
Withinne a while this John the clerk up leep,
And on this goode wyf he leith on soore.
So myrie a fit ne hadde she nat ful yoore;
He priketh harde and depe as he were mad.
This joly lyf han thise two clerkes lad
Til that the thridde cok bigan to synge.
Soon after this the wife no longer snored,Well, this looks pretty clear: "He priketh harde and depe as he were mad" translates as "He pierces her hard and deep, like one gone mad."
But woke and rose and went outside to piss,
And came again and did the cradle miss,
And groped round, here and there, but found it not.
"Alas!" thought she, "my way I have forgot.
I nearly found myself in the clerks' bed.
Eh, bless me, but that were wrong!" she said.
And on, until by cradle she did stand.
And, groping a bit farther with her hand,
She found the bed, and thought of nothing but good,
Because her baby's cradle by it stood;
And knew not where she was, for it was dark;
But calmly then she crept in by the clerk,
And lay right still, and would have gone to sleep.
But within a moment this John the clerk did leap,
And on this good wife did he vigorously lie.
No such merry time she'd known in years gone by.
He pierces her hard and deep, like one gone mad.
And so a jolly life these two clerks had
Till the third cock began to crow and sing.
I say 'looks' because for a strict scholar, this is still only circumstantial. The sexual act narrated here is itself one rightly described as piercing, so the use of "priketh" in this passage doesn't provide hard and fast evidence of a double meaning generally. Moreover, the word is perhaps used by Chaucer to imply that the miller's wife is being raped ... though the Reeve does describe her as having "[s]o myrie a fit" ("such [a] merry time "), and that doesn't sound like rape, but perhaps the good wife's pleasure comes from the student's deception. At any rate, the evidence is not so clear as it first appears.
So ... I still haven't found what I'm looking for.