the prologue to the canterbury tales by geoffrey chaucer

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  • The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
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  • The Ellesmere Manuscript 15 th c. ms. Huntington Library ntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=6074 mere_Chaucer ntingtonlibrary.aspx?id=6074 mere_Chaucer
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  • 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);
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  • 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.
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  • Shrine of St. Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral
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  • Canterbury Cathedral A Pilgrimage to Canterbury That toward Canterbury wolden ride
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  • The Tabard Inn, Southwark, London Bifel that in that seson on a day, In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
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  • Geoffrey Chaucer the Pilgrim the Poet Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
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  • 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
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  • The chambres and the stables weren wide, And wel we were esed at the beste, And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • Another NONNE with hire hadde she, That was hir chapeleyne, and preestes thre.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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. The Parson
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  • 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
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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 The Summoner
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  • 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. The Pardoner
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  • The Ellesmere Manuscript The Wife of Bath
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  • The Ellesmere Manuscript The Knight
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  • The Squire And The Franklin
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  • William Blake, The Canterbury pilgrims setting out from the Tabard Inn
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  • William Blake, The Canterbury pilgrims
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  • Arthur SzykArthur Szyk, The Canterbury Pilgrims
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  • The Canterbury Pilgrims Augustana College


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