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A BOOK OF ENGLISH LITERATURE
THE END OF THE MIDDLE AGES
Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
To telle yow al the condicioun
Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
And whiche they weren, and of what Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote degree;
40 The droghte of Marche hath perced to the And eek in what array that they were rote,
inne: And bathed every veyne in swich licour, And at a knight than wol I first biginne. Of which vertu engendred is the flour; A KNIGHT ther was, and that a worthy Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth 5
man, Inspired hath in every holt' and heeth That fro the tyme that he first bigan The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne To ryden out, he loved chivalrye, Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne, Trouthe and honour, fredom and curAnd smale fowles maken melodye,
teisye. That slepen al the night with open yë, Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre, (So priketh hem nature in hir corages?): | And therto hadde he riden (no man ferre'l) Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages As wel in Cristendom as hethenesse, (And palmers for to seken straunge And ever honoured for his worthinesse. 50 strondes)
At Alisaundre he was, whan it was wonne; To ferne halwes, couthe) in sondry lon- Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bi
des; And specially, from every shires ende 15
Aboven alle naciouns in Pruce. Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende, In Lettow hadde he reysed13 and in Ruce, The holy blisful martir for to seke,
No Cristen man so ofte of his degree. 55 That hem hath holpen, whan that they In Gernade at the sege eek hadde he be were seke.
Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye. Bifel that, in that seson on a day, At Lyeys was he, and at Satalye, In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
See To Caunterbury with ful devout corage, At many a noble aryvel hadde he be. 60 At night was come in-to that hostelrye At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene, Wel nyne and twenty in a companye, And foughten for our feith at Tramissene Of sondry folk, by aventure y-falle?
25 In listes thryes, and ay slayn his foo. In felawshipe, and pilgrims were they This ilke worthy knight hadde been also alle, Somtyme with the lord of Palatye,
65 That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde; Ageyn another hethen in Turkye: The chambres and the stables weren wyde, And evermore he hadde sovereyn And wel we weren esed atte beste.8
prys. And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste, And though that he were worthy, he was So hadde I spoken with hem everichon, 31
wys, That I was of hir felawshipe anon,
And of his port as meke as is a mayde. And made forwarderly for to ryse,
He never yet no vileinye ne sayde 70 To take our wey, ther as I yow devyse. In al his lyf, un-to no maner wight. But natheles, whyl I have tyme and He was a verray parfit gentil knight. space,
35 1 wood. 3 distant, 4 shrines. 5 known. 12 "he had been placed at the head of the table."
13 gone on an expedition.
14 disembarkation. agreement.
? hearts. 7 fallen
8 "entertained in the best manner.
15 reputation. I
16 no sort of person.