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GEOFFREY CHAUCER.

(1328-1400.)

(CHAUCER, though eminent chiefly as a poet, deserves to be mentioned also as a prose writer. His longest unversified production is an allegorical and meditative work called The Testament of Love, written chiefly for the purpose of defending his character against certain imputations which had been cast upon it. Two of the Canterbury Tales are in prose; and from the first, entitled the Tale of Melibeus, the following passage is extracted. The spelling is modernized, and occasionally an obsolete word or phrase is exchanged for one of the same meaning now in use.]

On Riches. In getting your riches, and in using them, ye should always have three things in your heart, that is to say, our Lord God, conscience, and good name. First, ye should have God in your heart, and for no riches should ye do anything which may in any manner displease God that is your Creator and Maker; for, according to the word of Solomon, it is better for a man to have a little good, with love of God, than to have much good and lose the love of his Lord God; and the prophet saith, that better it is to be a good man and have little good and treasure, than to be holden a shrewd man and have great riches. And yet I say furthermore, that ye should so do your business to get your riches, that ye get them with a good conscience. And the apostle saith, that there is nothing in this world, of which we should have so great joy,

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