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THE PROLOGUE. Whan that Aprille with his schowres swoote 1 Of Engelond, to Canturbury they wende, The drought of Marche hath perced to the roote, The holy blisful martir for to seeke, And bathud every veyne in swich licour, That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke. Of which vertue engendred is the flour ;
Byfel that, in that sesoun on a day, Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth In Southwerk at the Tabbard as I lay, Enspirud hath in every holte and heeth 6 Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne To Čanturbury with ful devout corage, 22 Hath in the Ram his halfe cours i-ronne, At night was come into that hostelrie And smale fowles maken melodie,
Wel nyne and twenty in a companye, That slepen al the night with open yhe, Of sondry folk, by aventure i-falle So priketh hem nature in here corages : In felaschipe, and pilgryms were thei alle, Thanne longen folk to gon on pilgrimages, That toward Canturbury wolden ryde. And palmers for to seeken straunge strondes, The chambres and the stables weren wyde, To ferne halwes, kouthe in sondry londes ; 14 And wel we weren esud atte beste.
29 And specially, from every schires ende
And schortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everychon, 8. the Ram. Tyrwhitt thinks that Chaucer has made That I was of here felawschipe anon, a mistake, and that it ought
to be the Bull
, because, the And made forward erly to aryse, showers of April having
pierced the drouth of March to To take oure weye ther as I yow devyse.. the root, the sun must have passed through the sign of
But natheles, whiles I have tyme and space, 14. ferne. Nearly all the ass. I have examined, and Or that I ferthere in this tale pace, certainly the best, agree in this reading, Tyrwhitt has Me thinketh it acordant to resoun, adopted the reading serve, which probably originated in To telle yow alle the condicioun
38 mistaking "ferne for "ferue,"'--ferne halwes means distant saints.
Of eche of hem, so as it semed me,
the Ram and entered that of the Bull.
And which they weren, and of what degré ; In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
A KNIGHT ther was, and that a worthy man, Syngynge he was, or flowtynge, al the day; 91 That from the tyme that he ferst bigan
He was as fressh as is the moneth of May. To ryden out, he lovede chyvalrye,
Schort was his goune, with sleeves long and wyde. Trouthe and honour, fredom and curtesie. 46 Wel cowde he sitte on hors, and faire ryde. Ful worthi was he in his lordes werre,
He cowde songes wel make and endite, And thereto hadde he riden, noman ferre, Justne and eek daunce, and wel purtray and write, As wel in Cristendom as in hethenesse, So hote he lovede, that by nightertale And evere honoured for his worthinesse. He sleep nomore than doth a nightyngale. At Alisandre he was whan it was wonne. Curteys he was, lowly, and servysable, 99 Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bygonne 52 And carf byforn his fadur at the table. Aboven alle naciouns in Pruce.
A YEMAN had he, and servantes nomoo In Lettowe hadde reyced and in Ruce,
At that tyme, for him lust ryde soo ; No cristen man so ofte of his degré.
And he was clad in coote and hood of grene. In Gernade atte siege hadde he be
A shef of pocok arwes bright and kene Of Algesir, and riden in Belmarie.
Under his belte he bar full thriftily. At Lieys was he, and at Satalie,
Wel cowde he dresse his takel yomanly ; Whar they were wonne; and in the Greete see His arwes drowpud nought with fetheres lowe. At many a noble arive hadde he be.
And in his hond he bar a mighty bowe. 108 At mortal batailles hadde he ben fiftene, 61 A not-heed hadde he, with a broun visage. And foughten for our feith at Tramassene Of woode-craft cowde he wel al the usage. In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.
Upon his arme he bar a gay bracer, This ilke worthi knight hadde ben also
And by his side a swerd and a bokeler, Somtyme with the lord of Palatye,
And on that other side a gay daggere, Ageyn another hethene in Turkye :
Harneysed wel, and scharp as poynt of spere ; And everemore he hadde a sovereyn prys. A Cristofre on his brest of silver schene. And though that he was worthy he was wys, 68 An horn he bar, the bawdrik was of grene ; 116 And of his port as meke as is a mayde. A forster was he sothely, as
of his aray,
gesse. He never yit no vilonye ne sayde
Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE, In al his lyf, unto no maner wight.
That of hire smylyng was ful symple and coy ; He was a verray perfight gentil knight. Hire grettest ooth nas but by seynt Loy; But for to telle you
And sche was clept madame Englentyne. His hors was good, but he ne was nought gay. Ful wel sche sang the servise devyne,
122 Of fustyan he wered a gępoun
75 Entuned in hire nose ful semyly ; Al bysmoterud with his haburgeoun,
And Frensch sche spak ful faire and fetysly, For he was late comen from his viage,
Aftur the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, And wente for to doon his pilgrimage.
For Frensch of Parys was to hire unknowe. With him ther was his sone, a yong SQUYER, At mete wel i-taught was sche withalle ; A lovyer, and a lusty bacheler,
Sche leet no morsel from hire lippes falle, With lokkes crulle as they were layde in presse. Ne wette hire fyngres in hire sauce deepe. Of twenty yeer he was of age I gesse.
Wel cowde sche carie a morsel, and wel keepe, 130 Of his stature he was of evene lengthe, 83 That no drope fil uppon hire brest. And wondurly delyver, and gret of strengthe. In curtesie was sett al hire lest. And he hadde ben somtyme in chivachie, In Flaundres, in Artoys, and in Picardie,
94. faire. I have substituted this reading from other And born him wel, as in so litel space,
Mss., in place of wel cowde he, given by the Harl. Ms.,
which appears to be a mere blundering repetition. 43. A knight. It was a common thing, in this age, for 104. pocok arwes. Arrows fledged with peacock's feaknights to seek employment in foreign countries which thers. They appear to have been larger than the comwere at war. Tyrwhitt cites from Leland the epitaph of mon arrows. In a compotus of the Bishop of Winchester, a knight of this period, Matthew de Gournay, who "en sa in 1471 (cited by Warton, Hist. E. P. ii. p. 211), we have vie fu à la bataille de Benamarin, et ala après à la siege d'Alge- one head.“ Sagittæ magnæ. Et de caliv. sagittis magnis zire sur les Sarazines, et aussi à les batailles de L'Escluse, de barbatis cum pennis pavonum." Cressy, de Deyngenesse, de Peyteres, de Nazare, d'Ozrey, et à 115. A Cristofre. A figure of St. Christopher used as a pulsours autres batailles et asseges."
brooch On the use of these brooches, or signs, see an inte51. Alisandre. Alexandria, in Egypt, was taken by resting paper, by Mr. C. Roach Smith, in the Journal of Pierre de Lusignan, king of Cyprus, in 1365, but imme- the British Archaeological Association, vol. i. p. 200. The diately afterwards abandoned.
figure of St. Christopher was looked upon with particular 53. Pruce. The knights of the Teutonic order in Prus- reverence among the middle and lower classes, and was sia were engaged in continual warfare with their Pagan supposed to possess the power of shielding the person neighbours in Lithuania (Lettowe), Russia, &c.
who looked on it from hidden dangers. 56. Gernade. The city of Algezir was taken from the 120. St. Loy. Probably a corruption of St. Eloy, or St. Moorish king of Grenada in 1344. Belmarie appears to Eligius. It is the reading of all the mss.; and Tyrwhitt have been one of the Moorish States in Africa. Layas ought not to have changed it. The same oath occurs in (Lieys), in Armenia, was taken from the Turks by Pierre the Freres Tale, 1. 7143. de Lusignan, about 1367. Satalie was taken by the same 124. Frensch. The French taught in England was the prince soon after 1352 Tremessen was one of the Moorish debased form of the old Anglo-Norman, somewhat similar states in Africa. Palathia, in Anatolia, was one of the to that used at a later period in the courts of law; and it lordships held by Christian knights after the Turkish was this at which Chaucer, and some of his contempoconguests.
raries, sneered. The writer of the Visions of Piers PloughSš. chivackie. Every reader of the contemporary histories man speaks of French of Norfolk, I. 2949... of Edward III.'s wars in France knows the pride which 127. At mete. These remarks agree, almost literally, the knights took in shewing their courage in the continual with the directions contained in the different medieval chevachies, or little excursions, into the enemy's country tracts written for the purpose of teaching manners at table.
Hire overlippe wypud sche so clene,
The reule of seynt Maure or of seint Beneyt, That in hire cuppe was no ferthing sene Bycause that it was old and somdel streyt, Of grees, whan sche dronken hadde hire draught. This ilke monk leet olde thinges pace, 175 Ful semely aftur hire mete sche raught.
And helde aftur the newe world the space. And sikurly sche was of gret disport,
He gaf nat of that text a pulled hen, And ful plesant, and amyable of port, 138 That seith, that hunters been noon holy men; And peyned hire to counterfete cheere
Ne that a monk, whan he is cloysterles, Of court, and ben estatlich of manere,
Is likned to a fissche that is watirles; And to ben holden digne of reverence.
This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre. But for to speken of hire conscience,
But thilke text hild he not worth an oystre. Sche was so charitable and so pitous,
And I seide his opinioun was good. (wood, Sche wolde weepe if that sche sawe a mous 144 What schulde he studie, and make himselven Caught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde. Uppon a book in cloystre alway to powre, 185 Of smale houndes hadde sche, that sche fedde Or swynke with his handes, and laboure, With rostud fleissh and mylk and wastel breed. As Austyn byt? How schal the world be served? But sore wepte sche if oon of hem were deed, Lat Austyn have his swynk to him reserved. Or if men smot it with a yerde 'smerte :
Therfore he was a pricasour aright; And al was conscience and tendre herte. Greyhoundes he hadde as swifte as fowel in flight; Ful semely hire wymple i-pynched was ; Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare Hire nose streight; hire eyen grey as glas ; 152 Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare. 192 Hire mouth ful smal, and therto softe and reed; I saugh his sleves purfiled atte hond But sikurly sche hadde a fair forheed.
grys, and that the fynest of a lond. It was almost a spanne brood, I trowe; And for to festne his hood undur his chyn For hardily sche was not undurgrowe.
He hadde of gold y-wrought a curious pyn: Ful fetys was hire cloke, as I was waar.
A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was. Of smal coral aboute hire arme sche baar His heed was ballid, and schon as eny glas, A peire of bedes gaudid al with grene; And eek his face as he hadde be anoynt. And theron heng a broch of gold ful schene, 160 He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt; 200 On which was first i-writen a crowned A, His eyen steep, and rollyng in his heed, And after that, Amor vincit omnia.
That stemed as a forneys of a leed; Anothur NonnE also with hire hadde sche, His bootes souple, his hors in gret estat. That was hire chapelleyn, and PRESTES thre. Now certeinly he was a fair prelat;
A Monk ther was, a fair for the maistrie, He was not pale as a for-pyned goost. An out-rydere, that loved venerye;
A fat swan loved he best of eny roost. A manly man, to ben an abbot able.
His palfray was as broun as eny berye. Full many a deynté hors hadde he in stable: A FRERE ther was, a wantoun and a merye, And whan he rood, men might his bridel heere 169 A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
209 Gyngle in a whistlyng wynd so cleere,
In alle the ordres foure is noon that can And eek as lowde as doth the chapel belle, So moche of daliaunce and fair langage. Ther as the lord was keper of the selle. He hadde i-made many a fair mariage
Of yonge wymmen, at his owne cost. 149. men smot. The word men, used in this phrase, appears here construed with a singular verb, as though it Unto his ordre he was a noble post. had been man (on frappa). So again, below, 1. 169, men Ful wel biloved and famulier was he might. So in a poem in my Political Songs, p. 330. With frankeleyns over al in his cuntré, " Where shal men nu finde."
152. eyen grey. This appears to have been the favourite And eek with worthi wommen of the toun: 217 colour of ladies' eyes in the time of Chaucer. The young For he hadde power of confessioun, girl, in the Reves Tale, is described
As seyde himself, more than a curat,
Ther as he wiste to han a good pitance;
225 166. loved venerye.. The monks of the middle ages were Is signe that a man is wel i-schreve. was a frequent subject of complaint with
the more austere For if he gaf, he dorste make avaunt, ecclesiastics, and of satire with the laity.
170. gyngle It was a universal practice among riders 173. The reule. The rules of St. Maure and St. Benet who wished to be thought fashionable, to have their were the oldest forms of monastic discipline in the Romish horses' bridles hung with bells. The Templars were church. blamed for this vanity in the thirteenth century. In the 175. olde thinges. This is the reading of most of the romance of Richard Cour de Lion, the Sultan of Damas mss., and I have adopted it instead of that of the Ms. has a trusty mare, of which we are told,
Hari., forby hem, which appears to give no clear sense. Hys crouper heeng al ful of belles,
179. cloysterles. This is also the reading of a Cambridge And his peytrel, and his arsoun,
MS. The passage is a literal translation of one from the
The Wycliffe, in his Triloge, inveighs against the priests of sine aqua caret vita, ita sine monasterio monachus." his time for their "fair hors, and joly and gay sadeles, other
readings, rekkeles, recheles, &c., found in most of the and bridles
ringing by the way." At a much later period, Mss., present considerable difficulties; and Tyrwhitt's exSpencer describes a lady's steed,
planation seems hardly admissible.
203. souple. “ This is part of the description of a smart Her wanton palfrey all was overspread
abbot, by an anonymous writer of the thirteenth century: With tinsel trappings, woven like a wave, - Ocreas habebat in cruribus, quasi innatæ essent, sine plica Whose bridle rung with golden hells and bosses brave. porrectas.'-Ms. Bodl., James, n. 6. p. 121."--Tyrwhitt.
IO FAS AMER E DOZ DE AMER.
He wiste that a man was repentaunt.
But soth to say, I not what men him calle. For many a man so hard is of his herte,
A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also, He may not wepe though him sore smerte. That unto logik hadde longe i-go. Therfore in stede of wepyng and prayeres,
Al so lene was his hors as is a rake,
289 Men mooten given silver to the pore freres. And he was not right fat, I undertake; His typet was ay farsud ful of knyfes
But lokede holwe, and therto soburly. And pynnes, for to give faire wyfes. 234 Ful thredbare was his overest courtepy, And certayn he hadde a mery noote.
For he hadde nought geten him yit a benefice, Wel couthe he synge and pleye on a rote. Ne was not worthy to haven an office. Of yeddynges he bar utturly the prys.
For him was lever have at his beddes heed His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys. Twenty bookes, clothed in blak and reed, Therto be strong was as a champioun.
, and of his philosophie, 297 He knew wel the tavernes in every toun,
Then robus riche, or fithul, or sawtrie. And every ostiller or gay tapstere,
But al though he were a philosophre, Bet than å lazer, or a beggere,
242 Yet hadde he but litul gold in cofre; For unto such a worthi man as he
But al that he might of his frendes hente, Acorded not, as by his faculté,
On bookes and his lernyng he it spente,
302 To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
And busily gan for the soules pray It is not honest, it may not avaunce,
Of hem that gaf him wherwith to scolay. For to delen with such poraile,
Of studie tooke he most cure and heede. But al with riche and sellers of vitaille.
Not oo word spak he more than was neede; And over al, ther eny profyt schulde arise, Al that he spak it was of heye prudence, Curteys he was, and lowe of servyse.
And schort and quyk, and ful of gret sentence. Ther was no man nowher so vertuous.
Sownynge in moral manere was his speche, IIe was the beste begger in al his hous, 252 And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche. 310 For though a widewe hadde but oo schoo,
A SERGEANT OF LAWE, war and wys,
That often hadde ben atte parvys,
He semed such, his wordes were so wise,
Justice he was ful often in assise,
For his science, and for his heih renoun, 318 But he was like a maister or a pope.
Of fees and robes had he many oon. Of double worstede was his semy-cope,
So gret a purchasour was ther nowher noon. That rounded was as a belle out of presse. Al was fee symple to him in effecte, [pecte. Somwhat he lipsede, for wantounesse,
His purchasyng might nought ben to him susTo make his Englissch swete upon his tunge;
Nowher so besy a man as he ther nas, 323 And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde sunge, And yit he semed besier than he was. His eyghen twynkeled in his heed aright, 269 In termes hadde caas and domes alle, As don the sterres in the frosty night.
That fro the tyme of kyng Will were falle. This worthi lymytour was called Kuberd. Therto he couthe endite, and make a thing,
A MARCHAUNT was ther with a forked berd, Ther couthe no man pynche at his writyng. In motteleye, and high on horse he sat, 273 And every statute couthe he pleyn by roote. Uppon his heed a Flaundrisch bever hat; He rood but hoomly in a medled coote, His botus clapsud faire and fetously.
Gird with a seynt of silk, with barres smale; 331 His resons he spak ful solempnely,
Of his array telle I no lenger tale. Sownynge alway the encres of his wynnyng.
A FRANKELEYN ther was in his companye; He wolde the see were kepud for eny thinge
Whit was his berde, as the dayesye. Betwixe Middulburgh and Orewelle.
Of his complexioun he was sangwyn. Wel couthc he in eschange scheeldes selle.
Wel loved he in the morn a sop
That heeld opynyoun that pleyn delyt 339 With his bargayns, and with his chevysaunce. Was verraily felicité perfyt. For sothe he was a worthi man withalle,
An househaldere, and that a gret, was he; 237. yeddynges. Ms. C. 2, reads weddinges.
Seynt Julian he was in his countré. 252. After this line, the two following are added in
301. might of his frendes hente. This is the reading of Tyrwhitt:-
most of the mss., and appears to be the right one. The a certaine ferme for the grant,
Ms. Harl. reads, might gete and his frendes sende.
304. gaf him.' An allusion to the common practice, at They are wanting in all the mss. I have consulted; a cir- this period, of poor scholars in the Universities, who wancumstance of which Tyrwhitt takes no notice, though dered about the country, begging, to raise money to support they are an evident interpolation. He seems to have them in their studies. See Piers Ploughman,1.4525,and note. taken them from the old printed editions. 258. purchase. This sentiment, or proverb, is taken li- before a church. The parvis at London, supposed to be
312. parvys. This is generally explained as a portico terally from a line in the Romance of the Rose :
that of St. Paul's, was anciently frequented by sergeantsMieux vault mon pourchas que ma rente. 278. forked berd. In Shottesbrooke church, Berks, there c. 51–" Post meridiem curice non tenentur ; sed placitantes
at-law, as we learn from Fortescue, de Laud. leg. Angl. is a brass of a Franklin of the time of Edward III., in tunc se divertunt ad pervisum et alibi, consulentes cum servienwhich he is represented with such a forked beard, which tibus ad legem et aliis consiliariis suis." See also Warton's seems to have been the fashionable mode of dressing the Hist. of Eng. Poetry, edit. of 1840, vol. ii. p. 212. beard among the bourgeoisie. The Anglo-Saxons wore 342. St. Julian was the patron of hospitality. forked beards,
His breed, his ale, was alway after oon; If that he foughte, and hadde the heigher hand,
Hardy he was, and wys to undertake;
Ther was also a DOCTOUR OF PHISIK, Stood redy covered al the longe day.
In al this world ne was ther non him lyk At sessions ther was he lord and sire.
To speke of phisik and of surgerye;
He kepte his pacient a ful gret del
Of his ymages for his pacient.
420 An HABURDASSHER and a CARPENTER, He knew the cause of every maladye, A WEBBE, a DEYER, and a TAPICER,
Were it of cold, or hete, or moyst, or drye, Weren with us eeke, clothed in oo lyveré, And where thei engendrid, and of what humour; Of a solempne and gret fraternité.
He was a verrey parfight practisour. Ful freissh and newe here gere piked was; The cause i-knowe, and of his harm the roote, Here knyfes were i-chapud nat with bras, Anon he gaf the syke man his boote. But al with silver wrought ful clene and wel, Ful redy hadde he his apotecaries, Here gurdles and here pouches every del. 370 To sende him dragges, and his letuaries, Wel semed eche of hem a fair burgeys,
For eche of hem made othur for to wynne; To sitten in a geldehalle on the deys.
Here friendschipe nas not newe to begynne. 430
And Deiscorides, and ecke Rufus;
Bernard, and Gatisden, and Gilbertyn.
Of his diete mesurable was he, And han a mantel rially i-bore.
380 For it was of no superfluité, A Cook thei hadde with hem for the nones, But of gret norisching and digestible. To boyle chiknes and the mary bones,
His studie was but litel on the Bible. 440 And poudre marchant, tart, and galyngale. In sangwin and in pers he clad was al, Wel cowde he knowę a draught of Londone ale. Lyned with taffata and with sendal. He cowde roste, sethe, broille, and frie,
And yit he was but esy in dispence;
He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
410. Scotlond. Most of the mss. have Gotland, the readFor blankmanger he made with the beste. 389 ing adopted by Tyrwhitt, and possibly the correct one.
416. Astronomye. A great portion of the medical science A SCHIPMAN was ther, wonyng fer by weste:
of the middle ages depended on astrological and other sit For ought I woot, he was of Dertemouthe. perstitious observances. He rood upon a rouncy, as he couthe,
417. a ful gret del. This is the reading of most of the
MSS.; the Ms. Harl. has wondurly wel. In a gowne of faldyng to the kne.
431. Wel knew he. The authors mentioned here were A dagger hangyng on a laas hadde he
the chief medical text-books of the middle ages. Rufus Aboute his nekke under his arm adoun.
was a Greek physician of Ephesus, of the age of Trajan; The hoote somer had maad his hew al broun;
Haly, Serapion, and Avicen, were Arabian physicians
and astronomers of the eleventh century; Rhasis was a And certeinly he was a good felawe.
Spanish Arab, of the tenth century; and Averroes was a Ful many a draught of wyn had be drawe (sleep. Moorish scholar, who flourished in Morocco in the twelfth From Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman century; Johannes Damascenus was also an Arabian phyOf nyce conscience took he no keep.
sician, but of a much earlier date; Constantius Afer, a 400
native of Carthage, and afterwards a monk of Monte Cas
sino, was one of the founders of the school of Salerno--he 352. in stewe; i.e. in a fish-pond. The great consump- lived at the end of the eleventh century; Bernardus Gortion of fisa under the Romish régime rendered a fish-pond donius, professor of medicine at Montpellier, appears to a necessary accessory to every gentleman's house. have been Chaucer's contemporary; John Gatisden was a
355. table dormant. Probably the fixed table at the end | distinguished physician of Oxford, in the earlier half of of the hall.
the fourteenth century; Gilbertyn is supposed by Warton 384. Londone ale. Tyrwhitt has cited a passage of an old to be the celebrated Gilbertus Anglicus. The other names writer, which shews that London ale was prized above that mentioned here are too well known to need further obserof other parts of the country.
vation. The names of Hippocrates and Galen were, in 396. the hoote somer. Perhaps this is a reference to the the middle ages, always (or nearly always) spelt Ypocras summer of the year 1351, which was long remembered as and Galienus. the dry and hot summer. Other allusions in this general 444. pestilence. An allasion, probably, to the great pesprologue seem to shew that Chaucer intended to lay the tilences which devastated Europe in the middle of the plot of his Canterbury pilgrimage soon after this date. fourteenth century, and to which we owe the two cele