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A KNIGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,
That fro the timé that he firste began
To riden out, he loved chevalrie,
Trouthe and honòur, fredom and curtesie.
Ful worthy was he in his Lordés werre,
And thereto had he ridden, no man ferre,
As wel in Cristendom as in Hethenesse,8
And ever honoured for his worthiness.

At mortal battailles hadde he ben fiftene,
And foughten for our faith at Tramissene
In listés 10 thriés,'1 and ay slain his fo.
This ilké 12 worthy knight hadde ben also
Somtime with the Lord of Palatie, 13
Agen 14 another hethen in Turkie:
And evermore he hadde a sovereine pris. 15
And though that he was worthy he was wise,
And of his port as meke as is a mayde.
He never yet no vilanie 16 ne 17 sayde
In alle his lif, unto no manere wight : 18
He was a veray parfit gentil"9 knight.

But for to tellen you of his araie,20
His hors was good, but he ne was not gaie.


(1) EverichEvery. (2) Anon-Soon. (3) Forword-ie. foreword ; promise or engagement. (4) Devise-Relate.

(5) Chevalrie-chivalry~"the manners, exercises, and valiant exploits of a knight." (6) His Lordes werre-his Lord's war-the Holy war. (7) Ferrefurther, comparative of fer, far. (8) Hethenesse-country of heathens. (9) Tramissene-a city in Barbary. (10) Listes-See note 5, p. 27.

(11) Thries --thrice. (12) Ilke-same. (13) Palatie-Palathia, a city in Asia Minor. (14) Agen-against. (15) Sovereine pris - the highest praise. The words prize, price, and praise, are nearly identical in original signification. (16) Vilanie _"anything unbecoming a gentleman." (17) Never, ne-Double negatives were used by Chaucer as they now are in French. (18) No manere wight-no sort of person. (19) Gentil-nobly born, gentlemanlike. (20) Araieequipment.

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With him ther was his sone a yonge SQUIER,
A lover, and a lusty bacheler,
With lockés crulle 'as they were laide in presse.
Of twenty yere


he was I gesse.
Of his statůre he was of eveno lengthe,
And wonderly deliver, and grete of strengthe.
And he hadde be somtime in chevachie, 11
In Flaundres, in Artois, and in Picardie,
And borne him wel, as of so litel space,
In hope to stonden in his ladies grace.

Embrouded 13 was he, as it were a mede 14
Alle ful of fresshé flourés, white and rede.
Singing he was, or floyting is alle the day,
He was as fresshe as is the moneth of May.
Shorte was his goune, with slevés long and wide.
Wel coude he sitte on hors, and fayré 16 ride.
He coudé songés make, and wel endite,"
Juste 18 and eke dance, and wel pourtraie 19 and write.
So hote he loved, that by nightertale 20
He slep no more than doth the nightingale.
Curteis he was, lowly, and servisable, 21
And carf 22 before his fader at the table.


(1) Weredwore. (2) Gipon-a short cassock or frock: it is the French jupon, and Scotch jupe. (3) Besmotred-smutted, soiled. (4) Habergeon-a coat of mail; a diminutive of hauberk. (5) Viage-voyage, journey. (6) Don, to do, perform.

(7) Lusty-strong, stout. (8) Lockes crull, &c.— Locks curled as if they had been laid in a press. (9) Even--middle, common. (10) Wonderly deliverremarkably nimble; deliver, from the French libre, free. (11) Chevachie-from the French cheval, a horse-military expedition. (12) As of so litel space considering the short time that he had been a soldier. (13) Embroudedembroidered. (14) Mede-meadow. (15) Floytingfluting, playing on the flute. (16) Fayre-skilfully. (17) Endite-compose or dictate. (18) Juste -joust or tilt at tournaments. (19) Pourtraie-portray, draw. (20) Nightertale-night time. (21) Servisable—disposed to do services, obliging. (22) Carf - carved,


THER was also a Nonne,' a PRIORESSE,
That of hire? smiling was ful simple and coy;
Hire gretest othe’ n'as buto by Seint Eloy,
And she was clepéd Madame Eglentine.
Ful wel she sange the service devine,
Entuned in hire nose ful swetély;
And French she spake ful fayre and fetisly,?
After the scole of Stratford 8' atté Bow,
For Frenche of Paris was to hire unknowe.'

At meté10 was she wel ytaughte withalle ;
She lette no morsel from her lippés falle,
Ne wette hire fingres in hire saucé depe.
Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel kepe,
Thatté no drop ne fell upon hire brest.
In curtesiell was sette ful moche hire lest.12.
Hire over-lippé wipéd she so clene,
That in hire cuppe was no ferthing sene
Of gresé,13 whan she dronken hadde hire draught.
Ful semély 14 after hire mete she raught.15
And sikerly16 she was of grete disport,"
And ful plesànt, and amiable of port,
And peinéd hire 18 to contrefeten chere 19
Of court, and ben estatelich of manère,
And to ben holden digne 20 of reverence.

But for to speken of hire consciènce, She was so charitable and so pitoùs 21 She wolde wepe if that she saw a mous


(1) Nonne-Nun. (2) Hire-her. (3) Othe-oath. (4) N'as but-was not but, was only; like the French n'était que. (5) Saint Eloy-Warton and Tyrwhitt both say this is Saint Louis, but the allusion is confessedly doubtful. (6) Cleped-called. (7) Fetisly-neatly, properly. (8) Stratford-At Stratford near Bow, Essex, there seems to have been anciently a Benedictine nunnery; the French taught at this fashionable seminary is above satirically distinguished from the French of Paris. (9) Unknowe-unknown. (10) Mete --dinner.

(11) In curtesie, &c.-i. e. she prided herself on her gentility. (12) Lest-pleasure. (13) No ferthing of grese - not the smallest spot of grease:

erthing-a farthing, any very small thing. (14) Semely-seemly, in a polite manner. (15) Raught-reached, bent forward to. (16) Sikerly-certainly. (17) Disport-cheerfulness. (18) Peined hire-it peined in the French sense) her-she took pains ; not “it pained her,” as interpreted in “ Chaucer Modernized.” (19) To contrefeten, &c.-To imitate or assume court manners, and to be stately in her carriage. (20) Digne-worthy. (21) Pitous—piteous.

Caught in a trappe, if it were ded or bledde.
Of smalé houndés? hadde she, that she fedde
With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel brede.?
But sore wept she if on3 of hem were dede,
Or if men smote it with a yerdé+ smert:5
And all was consciènce and tendre herte.

Ful semély hire wimple ypinchéd: was;
Hire nose tretis, hire eyeno grey as glas;
Hire mouth ful smale, and therto 10 soft and red,
But sikerly she hadde a fayre forehed.
It was almost a spanné brode I trowe;
For hardily 11 she was not undergrowe.

Ful fetise 12 was hire cloke, as I was ware.
Of smale corall aboute hire arm she bare
A pair of bedés, gauded 13 all with grene;
And thereon heng14 a broche of gold ful shene, 15
On which was first ywriten a crounéd A, 16
And after, Amor vincit omnia.17


A GOOD man ther was of religiòun,
That was a pouré PERSONE 19 of a toun :
But riche he was of holy thought and werk.
He was also a lerned man, a Clerk,
That Cristés gospel trewely woldé preche.
His parishens 20 devoutly wolde he teche.


(1) Of smale houndes—some little dogs; of is here used in the partitive sense, like the French de. (2) Wastel brede-cake-bread, fine bread. The word “wastel" is connecte in origin with the French gasteau=gâteau--a cake. (3) On--one. (4) Yerde-rod, stick. (5) Smert-smartly. (6) Wimplea hood or veil, or, as others say, a covering for the neck. (7) Ypinchedcrimped up. (8) Tretis-straight and long. (9) Eyen-eyes; the old plural. (10) Thorto--in addition to that, moreover. (11) Hardily, dc.-Certainly she was not of low stature. (12) Ful fetise, &c.— Very handsome was her cloak, I observed. (13) Gauded-ornamented. (14) Heng-hung. (15) Shenesheen, bright. (16) A crouned A-for Amor, love, with a crown above it to symbolize the motto in the next line. (17) Amor vincit, &c.—“Love subdues all things;" to denote the religious service to which she was then dedicated.

(18) The above striking lines are the original of Dryden's "Goud Priest” (see p. 360), and seem to have suggested the Village Clergyman of Goldsmith's “ Leserted Village” (see p. 447). (19) Persone - Parson: “ He is called,” says Blackstone, parson, persona, because by his person the Church, which is an invisible body, is represented." (20) Parishens-parishioners.




Benigne he was, and wonder? diligent,
And in adversitee ful patient :
And swiche he was yprevéd often sithes.
Ful loth were him to cursen for his tithes,
But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
Unto his pouré parishens aboute,
Of his offrìng, and eke of his substànce.
He coude in litel thing have suffisance.
Wide was his parish, and houses fer asоnder,
But he ne left nought for no rain ne thonder,
In sikenesse and in mischiefs to visite
The ferrest in his parish, moche and lite,
Upon his fete, and in his hand a staf.
This noble ensample to his shepe he yaf,?
That first he wrought, and afterward he taught.
Out of the Gospel he the wordés caught,
And this figure he added yet therto,
That if gold rusté, what shuld iren do ?
For if a preest be foule,8 on whom we trust,
No wonder is a lewed' man to rust.
Wel ought a preest ensample for to yeve,
By his cleennessé, how his shepe shulde live.

He setté not his benefice to hire,
And lette 10 bis shepe acombred" in the mire,
And ran unto Londòn, unto Seint Poules,
To seken him a chanterie 12 for soules,
Or with 13 a brotherhede to be withold;
But dwelt at home, and kepte wel his fold,
So that the wolf ne made it not miscarie.
He was a shepherd, and no mercenàrie.
And though he holy were, and vertuous,
He was to sinful men not dispitòus, 14
Ne of his speché dangerous ne digne, 16
But in his teching dìscrete and benigne.
To drawen folk to heven with fairéness,
By good ensample, was his besinesse :




(1) Wonder-wonderfully. (2) Ypreved often, dc.-Proved often since. (3) Yeven-give. (4) Suffisance-sufficiency. (5) Mischief-trouble. (6) Moche and lite-great and small. (7) Yaf-gave. (8) Foule--soiled, defiled. (9) Lewed-ignorant; connected with low. (10) Lette-left. (11) Acombredencumbered. (12) Chanterie-a singing for souls, an endowment for that purpose. (13) Or with, dc.—Or be kept from the world with a brotherhood of monks, or friars.

(14) Dispitous—inexorable, angry to excess. (15) Dangerous sparing. (16) Digne---proud, disdainful.

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