The canterbury tales, p.9
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.9

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  That stemed 202 as a forneis of a leed;

  His bootes souple 203, his hors in greet estat.

  Now certeinly he was a fair prelat 204;

  205 He was nat pale as a forpined goost 205.

  A fat swan loved he best of any roost 206;

  His palfrey 207 was as broun as is a berye.

  A FRERE 208 ther was, a wantowne and a merye,

  A limitour 209, a ful solempne man.

  210 In alle the ordres foure 210 is noon that kan

  So muche of daliaunce 211 and fair langage.

  He hadde maad ful many a mariage

  Of yonge wommen, at his owene cost.

  Unto his ordre he was a noble post.

  215 Ful wel biloved and famulier was he

  With frankeleins 216 overal in his contree,

  And eek with worthy wommen of the toun;

  For he hadde power of confessioun –

  As seide himself – moore than a curat 219,

  220 For of his ordre he was licenciat 220.

  Ful swetely herde he confessioun,

  And plesaunt was his absolucioun.

  He was an esy man to yeve penaunce

  Theras he wiste to have 224 a good pitaunce.

  225 For unto a povre 225 ordre for to yive

  Is signe that a man is wel yshrive 226;

  For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt 227

  He wiste that a man was repentaunt.

  For many a man so hard is of his herte,

  230 He may nat wepe, althogh him soore smerte 230.

  Therfore, in stede of wepinge and preyeres,

  Men moote 232 yeve silver to the povre freres.

  His tipet 233 was ay farsed ful of knives

  And pinnes, for to yeven 234 faire wives.

  235 And certeinly he hadde a murye 235 note;

  Wel koude he singe and pleyen on a rote 236;

  Of yeddinges 237 he bar outrely the pris.

  His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lis 238;

  Therto he strong was as a champioun.

  240 He knew the tavernes wel in al the toun,

  And every hostiler and tappestere 241,

  Bet 242 than a lazar or a beggestere.

  For unto swich a worthy man as he

  Acorded nat 244, as by his facultee,

  245 To have with sike lazars aqueintaunce.

  It is nat honeste – it may nat avaunce –

  For to deelen 247 with no swich poraille,

  But al with riche and selleres of vitaille 248.

  And overal 249, theras profit sholde arise,

  250 Curteis he was and lowely of servise;

  Ther was no man nowher so vertuous 251.

  He was the beste beggere in his hous

  252a – And yaf a certein 252aferme for the graunt;

  252b Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his 252bhaunt –

  For thogh a widwe hadde noght a sho 253,

  So plesant was his ‘In principio’,

  255 Yet wolde he have a ferthing er he wente.

  His purchas was wel bettre than his rente,256

  And rage 257 he koude, as it were right a whelpe.

  In love-dayes 258 ther koude he muchel helpe,

  For ther he was nat lik a cloisterer,

  260 With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,

  But he was lik a maister 261 or a pope;

  Of double worstede 262 was his semicope,

  That rounded 263 as a belle out of the presse.

  Somwhat he lipsed 264 for his wantownesse 265,

  265 To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge;

  And in his harping, whan that he hadde songe,

  Hise eyen twinkled in his heed aright

  As doon the sterres 268 in the frosty night.

  This worthy limitour was cleped269 Huberd.

  270 A MARCHANT was ther, with a forked berd,

  In mottelee 271, and hye on hors he sat.

  Upon his heed a Flaundrissh bevere 272 hat,

  His bootes clasped faire and fetisly 273.

  Hise resons 274 spak he ful solempnely,

  275 Sowninge alwey th’encrees of his winning.275

  He wolde the see were kept 276, for any thing,

  Bitwixen Middelburgh and Orewelle.

  Wel koude he in eschaunge 278 sheeldes selle.

  This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette 279;

  280 Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,

  So estatly was he of his governaunce 281,

  With his bargaines and with his chevisaunce 282.

  For sothe, he was a worthy man withalle,

  But sooth to seyn, I noot 284 how men him calle.

  285 A CLERK 285 ther was of Oxenford also,

  That unto logik hadde longe ygo.286

  As leene 287 was his hors as is a rake,

  And he was nat right fat, I undertake,

  But looked holwe and therto 289 sobrely.

  290 Ful thredbare was his overeste 290 courtepy;

  For he hadde gete 291 him yet no benefice,

  Ne was so worldly for to have office 292.

  For him was levere have 293 at his beddes heed

  Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,

  295 Of Aristotle and his philosophye,

  Than robes riche, or fithele 296, or gay sautrye.

  But al be that he was a philosophre,

  Yet hadde he but litel gold in coffer 298!

  But al that he mighte of 299 his frendes hente,

  300 On bookes and on lerninge he it spente,

  And bisily gan 301 for the soules preye

  Of hem that yaf him wherwith to scoleye 302.

  Of studye too 304k he moost cure 303 and moost heede.

  Noght oo word spak he moore than was neede,

  305 And that was seid in forme 305 and reverence,

  And short, and quik 306, and ful of heigh sentence.

  Sowninge in 307 moral vertu was his speche,

  And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.

  A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE 309, war and wis,

  310 That often hadde been at the Parvis 310,

  Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.

  Discreet he was and of greet reverence –

  He semed swich, hise wordes weren so wise.

  Justice he was ful often in assise 314,

  315 By patente 315 and by plein commissioun.

  For 316 his science, and for his heigh renoun,

  Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.

  So greet a purchasour 318 was nowher noon;

  Al was fee simple 319 to him in effect.

  320 His purchasing 320 ne mighte nat been infect.

  Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,

  And yet he semed bisier than he was.

  In termes 323 hadde he caas and doomes alle

  That from the time of King William 324 were falle.

  325 Therto he koude endite 325 and make a thing,

  Ther koude no wight pinche at 326 his writing;

  And every statut koude he plein 327 by roote.

  He rood but hoomly 328 in a medlee coote,

  Girt with a ceint 329 of silk, with barres smale;

  330 Of his array telle 330 I no lenger tale.

  A FRANKELEIN 331 was in his compaignye;

  Whit was his berd as is the daiesye 332.

  Of his complexioun he was sangwin;333

  Wel loved he by the morwe 334 a sop in win.

  335 To liven in delit was evere his wone 335,

  For he was Epicurus owene sone 336,

  That heeld opinioun that plein delit 337

  Was verray felicitee parfit.

  An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;339

  340 Seint Julian 340 he was in his contree.

  His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon 341;

  A bettre envined 342 man was nowher noon.

  Withoute bake-mete 343 was nevere his hous,

  Of fissh and flessh, and that so plentevous 344

nbsp; 345 It snewed345 in his hous of mete and drinke,

  Of alle deintees that men koude thinke.

  After 347 the sondry sesons of the yeer,

  So chaunged he his mete 348 and his soper.

  Ful many a fat partrich 349 hadde he in muwe,

  350 And many a breem 350 and many a luce in stuwe.

  Wo was his cook but if his sauce were351

  Poinaunt and sharp, and redy al his geere!

  His table dormaunt 353 in his halle alway

  Stood redy covered al the longe day.

  355 At sessions ther was he lord and sire;355

  Ful ofte time he was knight of the shire 356.

  An anlaas 357 and a gipser al of silk

  Heeng 358 at his girdel, whit as morne milk.

  A shirreve 359 hadde he been, and a countour;

  360 Was nowher swich a worthy vavasour 360.


  A WEBBE 362, a DYERE, and a TAPICER,

  And they were clothed alle in oo liveree 363

  Of a solempne 364 and a greet fraternitee.

  365 Ful fressh and newe hir geere 365 apiked was;

  Hir knives were chaped 366 noght with bras,

  But al with silver, wroght ful clene 367 and wel,

  Hir girdles and hir pouches everydel 368.

  Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeis369

  370 To sitten in a yeldehalle 370 on a deis.

  Everich, for the wisdom that he kan 371,

  Was shaply 372 for to been an alderman,

  For catel 373 hadde they inogh and rente,

  And eek hir wives wolde it wel assente.

  375 And elles 375, certein, were they to blame;

  It is ful fair to been ycleped ‘madame’,

  And goon to vigilies 377 al bifore,

  And have a mantel royalliche ybore 378.

  A COOK they hadde with hem for the nones 379,

  380 To boille the chiknes 380 with the marybones,

  And poudre-marchaunt tart 381 and galingale.

  Wel koude he knowe a draughte of Londoun ale;

  He koude rooste and sethe 383 and broille and frye,

  Maken mortreux 384 and wel bake a pie.

  385 But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,

  That on his shine a mormal 386 hadde he.

  For blankmanger 387, that made he with the beste.

  A SHIPMAN was ther, woning fer by weste 388 –

  For aught I woot 389 he was of Dertemouthe.

  390 He rood upon a rouncy 390, as he kouthe,

  In a gowne of falding 391 to the knee.

  A daggere hanginge on a laas 392 hadde he,

  Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun;

  The hoote somer had maad his hewe 394 al broun.

  395 And certeinly he was a good felawe;

  Ful many a draughte of win hadde he ydrawe

  Fro Burdeuxward 397 whil that the chapman sleep.

  Of nice 398 conscience took he no keep:

  If that he faught and had the hyer hond,

  400 By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.400

  But of his craft to rekene 401 wel his tides,

  His stremes, and his daungers him bisides 402,

  His herberwe 403 and his moone, his lodemenage,

  Ther nas noon swich from Hulle to Cartage.

  405 Hardy he was, and wis to undertake;

  With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.

  He knew alle the havenes as they were

  Fro Gootland to the cape of Finistere,408

  And every crike 409 in Britaigne and in Spaine.

  410 His barge ycleped was the Mawdelaine.

  With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHYSIK 411.

  In al this world ne was ther noon him lik

  To speke of physik and of surgerye,

  For he was grounded 414 in astronomye.

  415 He kepte 415 his pacient a ful greet deel

  In houres 416 by his magik natureel.

  Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent 417

  Of hise images 418 for his pacient.

  He knew the cause of every maladye,

  420 Were it of hoot or coold or moiste or drye,420

  And where engendred and of what humour 421;

  He was a verray parfit practisour 422.

  The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,

  Anon he yaf the sike man his boote 424.

  425 Ful redy hadde he hise apothecaries,

  To sende him drogges 426, and his letuaries,

  For ech of hem made oother for to winne 427 –

  Hir frendshipe nas nat newe to biginne 428.

  Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,429

  430 And Deiscorides, and eek Rufus,

  Old Ipocras, Haly, and Galien,

  Serapion, Razis, and Avicen,

  Averrois, Damascien, and Constantin,

  Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertin.

  435 Of his diete mesurable 435 was he,

  For it was of no superfluitee,

  But of greet norissinge and digestible.

  His studye was but litel on the Bible.

  In sangwin 439 and in pers he clad was al,

  440 Lined with taffata 440 and with sendal.

  And yet he was but esy of dispence 441;

  He kepte that he wan in pestilence 442.

  For gold in physik is a cordial 443;

  Therfore he loved gold in special.

  445 A good WIF was ther of biside 445 BATHE,

  But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe 446.

  Of clooth-making she hadde swich an haunt447,

  She passed 448 hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.

  In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon

  450 That to the offringe 450 bifore hire sholde goon –

  And if ther dide, certein, so wrooth was she

  That she was out of alle charitee.

  Hir coverchiefs 453 ful fine were of ground;

  I dorste swere 454 they weyeden ten pound

  455 That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed.

  Hir hosen 456 weren of fin scarlet reed,

  Ful streite 457 yteyd, and shoes ful moiste and newe.

  Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe 458.

  She was a worthy womman al hir live;

  460 Housbondes at chirche-dore 460 she hadde five,

  Withouten 461 oother compaignye in youthe –

  But therof nedeth nat 462 to speke as nouthe.

  And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;

  She hadde passed many a straunge strem 464.

  465 At Rome she hadde been and at Boloine,

  In Galice at Seint Jame 466, and at Coloine –

  She koude muche of 467 wandringe by the weye.

  Gat-tothed was she 468, soothly for to seye.

  Upon an amblere 469 esily she sat,

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