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The tendre croppés,' and the yongé sonne2
Hath in the Ram his halfé cours yronne,3
And smalé foulés maken1 melodie,
That slepen allé night with open eye,
So priketh hem nature in hir coràges;
Than longen folk to gon7 on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken strangé strondes,
To servé9 halwes 10 couthe11 in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shirés 12 ende
Of Englelond,13 to Canterbury they wende,14
The holy blisful martyr 15 for to seke,

That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.16.
Befelle,17 that, in that seson, on a day,

In Southwerk at the Tabard 18 as I lay,
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Canterbury with devoute corage,
At night was come into that hostelrie 19
Wel nine and twenty in a compagnie
Of sondry folk, by àventure 20 yfalle
In felawship, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward Canterbury wolden ride.
The chambres and the stables weren wide,
And wel we weren eséd 21 atté beste.

And shortly, whan the sonne was gon to reste,

(1) Croppes-Shoots.

(2) Sonne-Sun. (3) Fronne-Run. The past participle in old English frequently has the prefix y (which is the same as the Anglo-Saxon ge), as ycleped, called; yclad, clothed. (4) Maken-Make. The old English plural of the verb ends in en for all persons, as we maken, ye maken, they maken. The n is however frequently dropt. (5) So priketh hem, &c.-i. e. they sleep all night with open eyes, because nature prompts or stirs them so much in their spirits, or makes them so cheerful and lively; hem is them, and hir their. (6) Corage-from the French cœur, heart-mind, spirit. (7) Gon-To go. The old English infinitive usually ended in en or n, which however was frequently dropt. Sometimes the infinitive sign to and the termination were both used. (8) Strange strondes-Foreign shores. (9) To serve halwes, &c.-i. e. to pay homage to sacred shrines (halwes) known or famous in different countries. (10) Halwes-Halloweds-i. e. hallowed or holy places. (11) Couthe-Known, is from the old English connen, to know, the past participle of which is conned= connde conde-coude-couthe. (12) Shires-shire's. This is the old possessive case, which was formed by adding se or s. (13) Englelond-Anglesland, England. (14) Wende-Go. (15) Martyr-Thomas-à-Becket. (16) Seke (17) Befelle-It befel, happened. (18) Tabard-Now the Talbot Inn. A tabard was a jacket, or sleeveless coat, worn by heralds. (19) Hostelrie-An inn or lodging-house. (20) By aventure, &c.-By accident fallen into company. (21) Wel we weren, &c.-i. e. we were well accommodated with the best.


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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,5
Trouthe and honour, fredom and curtesie.
Ful worthy was he in his Lordés werre,
And thereto had he ridden, no man ferre,7
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," and ay slain his fo.
This ilké 12 worthy knight hadde ben also
Somtimé 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:
He was a veray parfit gentil 19 knight.



But for to tellen you of his araie,2
His hors was good, but he ne was not gaie.

(1) Everich-Every.

mise or engagement.

(2) Anon-Soon.
(4) Devise-Relate.

(3) Forword-i.e. foreword; pro

(7) Ferre

(11) Thries

(5) Chevalrie-chivalry-" the manners, exercises, and valiant exploits of a knight." (6) His Lordes werre-his Lord's war-the Holy war. further, comparative of fer, far. (8) Hethenesse-country of heathens. (9) Tramissene-a city in Barbary. (10) Listes-See note 5, p. 27. --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 crulls as they were laide in presse.
Of twenty yere of age he was I gesse.
Of his stature he was of even9 lengthe,
And wonderly deliver,10 and grete of strengthe.
And he hadde be somtime in chevachie,"
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 15 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,17

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) Wered-wore. (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. to do, perform.

(6) Don,

(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 spaceconsidering the short time that he had been a soldier. (13) Embroudedembroidered. (14) Mede-meadow. (15) Floyting-fluting, playing on the (16) Fayre skilfully. (17) Endite-compose or dictate. -joust or tilt at tournaments. (19) Pourtraie-portray, draw. ertale-night time. (21) Servisable-disposed to do services, obliging. -carved.


(18) Juste

(20) Night

(22) Carf


THER was also a Nonne,1 a PRIORESSE,
That of hire smiling was ful simple and coy;
Hire gretest othe3 n'as but by Seint Eloy,
And she was clepéd Madame Eglentine.
Ful wel she sangé the service devine,
Entunéd in hire nose ful swetély;

And French she spake ful fayre and fetisly,7
After the scole of Stratford atté Bow,
For Frenche of Paris was to hire unknowe.9
At meté 10 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 curtesie" 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,17
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 2

She woldé wepe if that she saw a mous

(1) Nonne-Nun. (2) Hire-her. (3) Othe oath. (4) Nas 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 Moder(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 houndés1 hadde she, that she fedde
With rosted flesh, and milk, and wastel brede.2
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 tretìs, hire eyen grey as glas;
Hire mouth ful smale, and therto 10 soft and red,
But sikerly she hadde a fayre forehèd.
It was almost a spanné brode I trowe;
For hardily 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.7


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 connected in origin with the French gasteau gâteau--a cake. (3) On-one. (4) Yerde-rod, stick. (5) Smert-smartly.

a hood or veil, or, as others say, a covering for the neck.

(6) Wimple(7) Ypinched--crimped up. (8) Tretis-straight and long. (9) Eyen-eyes; the old plural. (10) Therto-in addition to that, moreover. (11) Hardily, &c.-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) Shene-sheen, 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 "Good 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.


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