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The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Title: The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer


1
The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by
Geoffrey Chaucer
2
The Ellesmere Manuscript 15th c.
ms. Huntington Library http//www.huntin
gton.org/huntingtonlibrary.aspx?id6074
http//en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ellesmere_Chaucer
3
Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote The
droghte of March hath perced to the roote And
bathed every veyne in swich licour, Of which
vertu engendred is the flour Whan Zephirus eek
with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every
holt and heeth The tendre croppes, and the yonge
sonne Hath in the Ram his halfe cours yronne, And
smale foweles maken melodye, That slepen al the
nyght with open eye- (So priketh hem Nature in
hir corages)
4
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages And
palmeres for to seken straunge strondes To ferne
halwes, kowthe in sondry londes And specially
from every shires ende Of Engelond, to
Caunterbury they wende, The hooly blisful martir
for to seke That hem hath holpen, whan that they
were seeke.
5
Shrine of St. Thomas á Becket at Canterbury
Cathedral
6
Canterbury Cathedral
  • A Pilgrimage to Canterbury

That toward Canterbury wolden ride
7
The Tabard Inn, Southwark, London
  • Bifel that in that seson on a day,
  • In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay

8
Geoffrey Chaucer the
Pilgrim the Poet
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
9
(No Transcript)
10
  • At night was come into that hostelrye
  • Wel nine and twenty in a compagneye
  • Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
  • In felawshipe, and pilgrims were they alle

11
  • The chambres and the stables weren wide,
  • And wel we were esed at the beste,
  • And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,

12
So hadde I spoken with hem everichoon That I was
of hir felawshipe anoon, And made forward erly
for to rise, To take oure way ther as I you
devise.
13
(No Transcript)
14
The Knight
  • But for to tellen yow of his array,
  • His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
  • Of fustian he wered a gypon
  • Al bismotered with his habergeon,
  • For he was late ycome from his viage,
  • And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.

15
The Squire
  • A lovyere and a lusty bacheler,
  • With lokkes crulle as they were leyd in presse. .
    . .
  • Embrouded was he, as it were a meede
  • Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede.
  • Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day
  • He was as fressh as is the month of May.
  • Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde.
  • Wel koude he sitte on hors and faire ryde.

16
The Prioress
Ther was also a Nonne,a Prioresse, That of hir
smiling was ful simple and coy. Hir gretteste
ooth was but by sainte Loy! And she was cleped
Madame Eglantine. Ful wel she soong the service
divine Entuned in hir nose ful semely And
Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly, Ful
semyly hir wympul pynched was, After the scole of
Stratford at the Bowe For Frenssh of Paris was
to hire unknowe. Bur for to speken of hir
conscience, She was so charitable and so
pitous She wolde weepe if that she saw a
mous Caught in a trappe, if it were deed or
bledde. Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde
With rosted flessh, or milk and wastelbreed. Hir
nose tretys, hir eyen greye as glas,  Hir mouth
ful smal, and therto softe and reed.  But sikerly
she hadde a fair forheed . . .  Ful fetys was
hir cloke, as I was war.  Of smal coral aboute
hire arm she bar  A peire of bedes, gauded al
with grene And theron heeng a brooch of gold ful
sheene
On which there was writen a crowned A And after,
Amor vincit omnia.
17
  • Another NONNE with hire hadde she, That was hir
    chapeleyne, and preestes thre.

18
(No Transcript)
19
The Monk
  • Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,
  • And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere
  • Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere
  • And eek as loude as dooth the chapel belle
  • Ther as this lord was kepere of the celle.
  • I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
  • With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond
  • And for to festne his hood under his chyn,
  • He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pyn
  • A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
  • His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
  • Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat
  • His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.

20
The Friar
  • Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
  • And plesant was his absolucioun.
  • He was an esy man to yive penanuce
  • Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
  • For ther he was nat lyk a cloystere
  • With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
  • But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
  • Of double worstede was his semycope,
  • That rounded as a belle out of the presse.  

21
The Merchant
  • A MARCHANT was ther with a forked berd,
  • In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat
  • Upon his heed a Flaundryssh bever hat,
  • His bootes clasped faire and fetisly.

22
The Clerk
  • As leene was his hors as is a rake,
  • And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
  • But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.
  • Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy, . . .
  • For hym was levere have at his beddes heed
  • Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
  • Of Aristotle and his philosophie
  • Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.
  • Souning in moral vertu was his speeche,
  • And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly teche.

23
Man of Law
  • He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote,
  • Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale
  • Of his array telle I no lenger tale.

24
The Franklin
  • Whit was his berd as is the dayesye
  • Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.  . . .
  • An anlaas and a gipser al of silk
  • Heeng at his girdel, whit as morne milk.

25
(No Transcript)
26
The Cook
  • Wel koude he rooste, and sethe, and broille, and
    fry,
  • Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
  • But greet harm was it, as it thought me,
  • That on his shin a mormal hadde he.
  • For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.

27
The Shipman
  • He rood upon a rouncy, as he kouthe,
  • In a gowne of faldyng to the knee.
  • A daggere hangynge on a laas hadde he
  • Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun.
  • The hoote somer hadde maad his hewe al broun.

28
The Doctor of Physik
  • In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,
  • Lyned with taffata and with sendal.
  • And yet he was but esy of dispence
  • He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
  • For gold in phisik is a cordial,
  • Therefore he lovede gold in special.

29
The Wife of Bath
  • Upon an amblere esily she sat,
  • Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat
  • As brood as is a bokeler or a targe
  • A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
  • And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.

30
(No Transcript)
31
The Parson
  • And was a poore Person of a town,
  • But riche he was of holy thought and work.
  • He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
  • That Christes gospel trewely wolde preche
  • His paisshens devoutly wolde he teche.

32
The Miller
  • A swerd and bokeler bar he by his syde. . . .
  • A whit cote and a blew hood wered he.
  • A bagpipe wel koude he blow and sowne,
  • And therwithal he brought us out of towne

33
The Manciple
  • A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple,
  • Of which achatours myghte take exemple
  • For to be wise in byynge of vitaille
  • For wheither that he payde or took by taille,
  • Algate he wayted so in his achaat
  • That he was ay biforn and in good staat.

34
The Reeve
  • The Reeve sat upon a ful good stot
  • That was pomely grey and highte Scot.
  • A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
  • And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.

35
The Summoner
  • A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place,
  • That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,
  • For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe. . . .
  • A gerland hadde he set upon his heed,
  • As greet as it were for an ale-stake.
  • A bokeleer hadde he maad hym of a cake

36
The Pardoner
  • This Pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,
  • But smothe it heeng as dooth a strike of flex
  • By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
  • And therwith he his shuldres overspradde
  • But thynne it lay, by colpons oon and oon.. . .
  • Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare.
  • A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
  • His walet, biforn hym in his lappe,
  • Bretful of pardoun comen from Rome al hoot. . . .
  • He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
  • And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.

37
The Ellesmere Manuscript The Wife of Bath
38
The Ellesmere Manuscript The Knight
39
The Squire And The Franklin
40
William Blake, The Canterbury pilgrims setting
out from the Tabard Inn
41
William Blake, The Canterbury pilgrims
42
Arthur Szyk, The Canterbury Pilgrims
43
The Canterbury Pilgrims Augustana College
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