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A BOOK OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

A BOOK

BOOK OF ENGLISH LITERATURE

10

IO

12

THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGES

Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
GEOFFREY CHAUCER (1340-1400) Me thinketh it acordaunt to resoun,

To telle yow al the condicioun
THE PROLOGUE

Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,

And whiche they weren, and of what Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote degree;

40 The droghte of Marche hath perced to the And eek in what array that they were rote,

inne: And bathed every veyne in swich licour, And at a knight than wol I first biginne. Of which vertu engendred is the flour; A KNIGHT ther was, and that a worthy Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth 5

man, Inspired hath in every holtand heeth That fro the tyme that he first bigan The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne To ryden out, he loved chivalrye, 45 Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne, Trouthe and honour, fredom and curAnd smale fowles maken melodye,

teisye. That slepen al the night with open yë, Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre, (So priketh hem nature in hir corages?): And therto hadde he riden (no man ferrell) Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages As wel in Cristendom as hethenesse, (And palmers for to seken straunge And ever honoured for his worthinesse. 50 strondes)

At Alisaundre he was, whan it was wonne; To ferne3 halwes, couthe" in sondry lon Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bides;

gonne" And specially, from every shires ende

15 Aboven alle naciouns in Pruce. Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende, In Lettow hadde he reysed13 and in Ruce, The holy blisful martir for to seke,

No Cristen man so ofte of his degree. 55 That hem hath holpen, whan that they In Gernade at the sege eek hadde he be were seke.

Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye. Bifel that, in that seson on a day,

At Lyeys was he, and at Satalye, In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage

See To Caunterbury with ful devout corage, At many a noble aryvel4 hadde he be. 60 At night was come in-to that hostelrye At mortal batailles. hadde he been fiftene, Wel nyne and twenty in a companye, And foughten for our feith at Tramissene Of sondry folk, by aventure y-falle?

25 In listes thryes, and ay slayn his foo. In felawshipe, and pilgrims were they This ilke worthy knight hadde been also alle,

Somtyme with the lord of Palatye, 65 That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde; Ageyn another hethen in Turkye: The chambres and the stables weren wyde, And evermore he hadde a sovereyn And wel we weren esed atte beste. And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste, And though that he were worthy, he was So hadde I spoken with hem everichon, 31 wys, That I was of hir felawshipe anon,

And of his port as meke as is a mayde. And made forwarderly for to ryse,

He never yet no vileinye ne sayde 70 To take our wey, ther as I yow devyse. In al his lyf, un-to no maner wight.16 But natheles, whyl I have tyme and He was a verray parfit gentil knight. space,

35

20

prys. 15

11 farther. ipood. ? hearts. i distant.

12 " he had been placed at the head of the table." chance. 7 fallen. 3 "entertained in the best manner.' 13 gone on an expedition.

14 disembarkation. * agreement.

15 reputation.

10 war.

4 shrines.

s known.

18 no sort of person.

5

But for to tellen

yow
of his
array,

Harneised23 wel, and sharp as point of
His hors' were goode, but he was nat gay. spere;
Of fustian he wered a gipoun?

75

A Cristofre24 on his brest of silver shene.115 Al bismotered with his habergeoun;" An horn he bar, the bawdrik25 was of grene; For he was late y-come from his viage, A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse. And wente for to doon his pilgrimage. Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE, With him ther was his sone, a yong That of hir smyling was ful simple and SQUYER,

coy;

119 A lovyere, and a lusty bacheler,

80 Hir gretteste ooth was but by sëynt Loy, With lokkes crulle, as they were leyd in And she was clepeda madame Eglentyne. presse.

Ful wel she song the service divyne, Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse. Entuned in hir nose ful semely; Of his stature he was of evene lengthe, And Frensh she spak ful faire and fetisly, 28 And wonderly deliver, and greet of After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, 125 strengthe.

For Frensh of Paris was to hir unknowe. And he had been somtyme in chivachye, At mete wel y-taught was she with-alle; In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Picardye, 86 She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle, And born him wel, as of so litel space, 10 Ne wette hir fingres in hir sauce depe. In hope to stonden in his ladyll grace. Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel Embrouded 12 was he, as it were a mede13 kepe,

130 Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and rede. 90 That no drope ne fille up-on hir brest. Singinge he was, or floytinge, 14 al the day; In curteisye was set ful moche hir lest.29 He was as fresh as is the month of May. Hir over lippe wyped she so clene, Short was his goune, with sleves longe and That in hir coppe was no ferthing sene wyde.

Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir Wel coude he sitte on hors, and faire ryde. draughte.

135 He coude songes make and wel endyte, 95 Ful semely after hir mete she raughte, 30 Iustelő and eek daunce, and wel purtreye 16 And sikerly31 she was of greet disport, 32 and wryte.

And full plesaunt, and amiable of port, 33 So hote7 he lovede, that by nightertale18 | And peyned hir34 to countrefete chere35 He sleep namore than dooth a nightin- Of court, and been estatlich36 of manere,140 gale.

And to ben holden digne37 of reverence. Curteys he was, lowly, and servisable, But, for to speken of hir conscience, 38 And carf biforn his fader at the table. 100 She was so charitable and so pitous,

A YEMAN hadde he, and servaunts namo She wolde wepe, if that she sawe a mous At that tyme, for him listel ryde so; Caught in a trappe, if it were deed or And he was clad in cote and hood of grene; bledde.

145 A sheef of pecock-arwes brighte and kene Of smale houndes had she, that she fedde Under his belt he bar ful thriftily,

105 With rosted flesh, or milk and wastel (Wel coude he dresse his takel20 yemanly: breed. 3 His arwes drouped noght with fetheres But sore weep she if oon of hem were deed, lowe),

Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte: And in his hand he bar a mighty bowe. And al was conscience and tendre herte.150 A not-heed21 hadde he, with a broun Ful semely hir wimpel pinchedł0 was; visage.

Hir nose tretys;41 hir eyen greye as glas; Of wode-craft wel coude he al the usage.110 Hir mouth ful smal, and ther-to softe and Upon his arm he bar a gay bracer,

reed; And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler, But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed; And on that other syde a gay daggere, It was almost a spanne brood, I trowe; 155 1 horses (plural). 2 doublet. 8 spotted.

22

5 voyage.
6 curly.

23 equipped. i ordinary height.

military expedition. 24 " figure of St. Christopher used as a brooch." 10" considering the short time he had served."

27 named. 28 elegantly. 11 lady's.

14 fluting.

2 pleasure. 30 reached. 31 truly. 32 fond of pleasure. 15 joust. 17 hotly. 18 in the night-time. 33 behavior.

36 deportment. 10 it pleased him. 20 take care of his weapons.

36 dignified. 37 worthy.

38 tenderness of heart. 21 cropped head.

40 pleated.

41 well proportioned.

coat of mail.

8 active.

25 belt.

28 forester.

13 meadow.

12 adorned.
16 draw.

34 tried hard.

22 guard.

39 fine bread.

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