Geoffrey Chaucer                  


THE CANTERBURY TALES                  

(With an Interlinear Translation)                  


The General Prologue                  

Here bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury.                  


        1        Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
                       When April with its sweet-smelling showers
        2        The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
                       Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
        3        And bathed every veyne in swich licour
                       And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
        4        Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
                       By the power of which the flower is created;
        5        Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
                       When the West Wind also with its sweet breath,
        6        Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
                       In every wood and field has breathed life into,
        7        The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
                       The tender new leaves, and the young sun
        8        Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
                       Has run half its course in Aries,
        9        And smale foweles maken melodye,
                       And small fowls make melody,
      10        That slepen al the nyght with open ye
                       Those that sleep all the night with open eyes
      11        (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
                       (So Nature incites them in their hearts),
      12        Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
                       Then folk long to go on pilgrimages,
      13        And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
                       And professional pilgrims (long) to seek foreign shores,
      14        To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
                       To (go to) distant shrines, known in various lands;
      15        And specially from every shires ende
                       And specially from every shire's end
      16        Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
                       Of England to Canterbury they travel,
      17        The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
                       To seek the holy blessed martyr,
      18        That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
                       Who helped them when they were sick.

      19        Bifil that in that seson on a day,
                       It happened that in that season on a day,
      20        In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
                       In Southwark at the Tabard Inn as I lay
      21        Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
                       Ready to go on my pilgrimage
      22        To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
                       To Canterbury with a very devout spirit,
      23        At nyght was come into that hostelrye
                       At night had come into that hostelry
      24        Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
                       Well nine and twenty in a company
      25        Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
                       Of various sorts of people, by chance fallen
      26        In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
                       In fellowship, and they were all pilgrims,
      27        That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
                       Who intended to ride toward Canterbury.
      28        The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
                       The bedrooms and the stables were spacious,
      29        And wel we weren esed atte beste.
                       And we were well accommodated in the best way.
      30        And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
                       And in brief, when the sun was (gone) to rest,
      31        So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
                       I had so spoken with everyone of them
      32        That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
                       That I was of their fellowship straightway,
      33        And made forward erly for to ryse,
                       And made agreement to rise early,
      34        To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.
                       To take our way where I (will) tell you.

      35        But nathelees, whil I have tyme and space,
                       But nonetheless, while I have time and opportunity,
      36        Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
                       Before I proceed further in this tale,
      37        Me thynketh it acordaunt to resoun
                       It seems to me in accord with reason
      38        To telle yow al the condicioun
                       To tell you all the circumstances
      39        Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
                       Of each of them, as it seemed to me,
      40        And whiche they weren, and of what degree,
                       And who they were, and of what social rank,
      41        And eek in what array that they were inne;
                       And also what clothing that they were in;
      42        And at a knyght than wol I first bigynne.
                       And at a knight then will I first begin.

      43        A KNYGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,
                       A KNIGHT there was, and that (one was) a worthy man,
      44        That fro the tyme that he first bigan
                       Who from the time that he first began
      45        To riden out, he loved chivalrie,
                       To ride out, he loved chivalry,
      46        Trouthe and honour, fredom and curteisie.
                       Fidelity and good reputation, generosity and courtesy.
      47        Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
                       He was very worthy in his lord's war,
      48        And therto hadde he riden, no man ferre,
                       And for that he had ridden, no man farther,
      49        As wel in cristendom as in hethenesse,
                       As well in Christendom as in heathen lands,
      50        And evere honoured for his worthynesse;
                       And (was) ever honored for his worthiness;
      51        At Alisaundre he was whan it was wonne.
                       He was at Alexandria when it was won.
      52        Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bigonne
                       He had sat very many times in the place of honor,
      53        Aboven alle nacions in Pruce;
                       Above (knights of) all nations in Prussia;
      54        In Lettow hadde he reysed and in Ruce,
                       He had campaigned in Lithuania and in Russia,
      55        No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.
                       No Christian man of his rank so often (had done so).
      56        In Gernade at the seege eek hadde he be
                       Also he had been in Grenada at the siege
      57        Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.
                       Of Algeciras, and had ridden in Morocco.
      58        At Lyeys was he and at Satalye,
                       He was at Ayash and at Atalia,
      59        Whan they were wonne, and in the Grete See
                       When they were won, and in the Mediterranean
      60        At many a noble armee hadde he be.
                       He had been at many a noble expedition.
      61        At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
                       He had been at fifteen mortal battles,
      62        And foughten for oure feith at Tramyssene
                       And fought for our faith at Tlemcen
      63        In lystes thries, and ay slayn his foo.
                       Three times in formal duels, and each time slain his foe.
      64        This ilke worthy knyght hadde been also
                       This same worthy knight had also been
      65        Somtyme with the lord of Palatye
                       At one time with the lord of Balat
      66        Agayn another hethen in Turkye;
                       Against another heathen in Turkey;
      67        And everemoore he hadde a sovereyn prys.
                       And evermore he had an outstanding reputation
      68        And though that he were worthy, he was wys,
                       And although he was brave, he was prudent,
      69        And of his port as meeke as is a mayde.
                       And of his deportment as meek as is a maid.
      70        He nevere yet no vileynye ne sayde
                       He never yet said any rude word
      71        In al his lyf unto no maner wight.
                       In all his life unto any sort of person.
      72        He was a verray, parfit gentil knyght.
                       He was a truly perfect, noble knight.
      73        But for to tellen yow of his array,
                       But to tell you of his clothing,
      74        His hors were goode, but he was nat gay.
                       His horses were good, but he was not gaily dressed.
      75        Of fustian he wered a gypon
                       He wore a tunic of coarse cloth
      76        Al bismotered with his habergeon,
                       All stained (with rust) by his coat of mail,
      77        For he was late ycome from his viage,
                       For he was recently come (back) from his expedition,
      78        And wente for to doon his pilgrymage.
                       And went to do his pilgrimage.

      79        With hym ther was his sone, a yong SQUIER,
                       With him there was his son, a young SQUIRE,
      80        A lovyere and a lusty bacheler,
                       A lover and a lively bachelor,
      81        With lokkes crulle as they were leyd in presse.
                       With locks curled as if they had been laid in a curler.
      82        Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.
                       He was twenty years of age, I guess.
      83        Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,
                       Of his stature he was of moderate height,
      84        And wonderly delyvere, and of greet strengthe.
                       And wonderfully agile, and of great strength.
      85        And he hadde been somtyme in chyvachie
                       And he had been for a time on a cavalry expedition
      86        In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Pycardie,
                       In Flanders, in Artois, and Picardy,
      87        And born hym weel, as of so litel space,
                       And conducted himself well, for so little a space of time,
      88        In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
                       In hope to stand in his lady's good graces.
      89        Embrouded was he, as it were a meede
                       He was embroidered, as if it were a mead
      90        Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and reede.
                       All full of fresh flowers, white and red.
      91        Syngynge he was, or floytynge, al the day;
                       Singing he was, or fluting, all the day;
      92        He was as fressh as is the month of May.
                       He was as fresh as is the month of May.
      93        Short was his gowne, with sleves longe and wyde.
                       His gown was short, with long and wide sleeves.
      94        Wel koude he sitte on hors and faire ryde.
                       He well knew how to sit on horse and handsomely ride.
      95        He koude songes make and wel endite,
                       He knew how to make songs and well compose (the words),
      96        Juste and eek daunce, and weel purtreye and write.
                       Joust and also dance, and well draw and write.
      97        So hoote he lovede that by nyghtertale
                       He loved so passionately that at nighttime
      98        He sleep namoore than dooth a nyghtyngale.
                       He slept no more than does a nightingale.
      99        Curteis he was, lowely, and servysable,
                       Courteous he was, humble, and willing to serve,
    100        And carf biforn his fader at the table.
                       And (he) carved before his father at the table.

    101        A YEMAN hadde he and servantz namo
                       He (the Knight) had A YEOMAN and no more servants
    102        At that tyme, for hym liste ride so,
                       At that time, for it pleased him to ride so,
    103        And he was clad in cote and hood of grene.
                       And he (the yeoman) was clad in coat and hood of green.
    104        A sheef of pecok arwes, bright and kene,
                       A sheaf of peacock arrows, bright and keen,
    105        Under his belt he bar ful thriftily
                       He carried under his belt very properly
    106        (Wel koude he dresse his takel yemanly;
                       (He well knew how to care for his equipment as a yeoman should;
    107        His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe),
                       His arrows did not fall short because of drooping feathers),
    108        And in his hand he baar a myghty bowe.
                       And in his hand he carried a mighty bow.
    109        A not heed hadde he, with a broun visage.
                       He had a close-cropped head, with a brown face.
    110        Of wodecraft wel koude he al the usage.
                       He well knew all the practice of woodcraft.
    111        Upon his arm he baar a gay bracer,
                       He wore an elegant archer's arm-guard upon his arm,
    112        And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,
                       And by his side a sword and a small shield,
    113        And on that oother syde a gay daggere
                       And on that other side an elegant dagger
    114        Harneised wel and sharp as point of spere;
                       Well ornamented and sharp as the point of a spear;
    115        A Cristopher on his brest of silver sheene.
                       A Christopher-medal of bright silver (was) on his breast.
    116        An horn he bar, the bawdryk was of grene;
                       He carried a horn, the shoulder strap was green;
    117        A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.
                       He was a forester, truly, as I guess.

    118        Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE,
                       There was also a Nun, a PRIORESS,
    119        That of hir smylyng was ful symple and coy;
                       Who was very simple and modest in her smiling;
    120        Hire gretteste ooth was but by Seinte Loy;
                       Her greatest oath was but by Saint Loy;
    121        And she was cleped madame Eglentyne.
                       And she was called Madam Eglantine.
    122        Ful weel she soong the service dyvyne,
                       She sang the divine service very well,
    123        Entuned in hir nose ful semely;
                       Intoned in her nose in a very polite manner;
    124        And Frenssh she spak ful faire and fetisly,
                       And she spoke French very well and elegantly,
    125        After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe,
                       In the manner of Stratford at the Bow,
    126        For Frenssh of Parys was to hire unknowe.
                       For French of Paris was to her unknown.
    127        At mete wel ytaught was she with alle;
                       At meals she was well taught indeed;
    128        She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
                       She let no morsel fall from her lips,
    129        Ne wette hir fyngres in hir sauce depe;
                       Nor wet her fingers deep in her sauce;
    130        Wel koude she carie a morsel and wel kepe
                       She well knew how to carry a morsel (to her mouth) and take good care
    131        That no drope ne fille upon hire brest.
                       That no drop fell upon her breast.
    132        In curteisie was set ful muchel hir lest.
                       Her greatest pleasure was in good manners.
    133        Hir over-lippe wyped she so clene
                       She wiped her upper lip so clean
    134        That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene
                       That in her cup there was seen no tiny bit
    135        Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir draughte.
                       Of grease, when she had drunk her drink.
    136        Ful semely after hir mete she raughte.
                       She reached for her food in a very seemly manner.
    137        And sikerly she was of greet desport,
                       And surely she was of excellent deportment,
    138        And ful plesaunt, and amyable of port,
                       And very pleasant, and amiable in demeanor,
    139        And peyned hire to countrefete cheere
                       And she took pains to imitate the manners
    140        Of court, and to been estatlich of manere,
                       Of court, and to be dignified in behavior,
    141        And to ben holden digne of reverence.
                       And to be considered worthy of reverence.
    142        But for to speken of hire conscience,
                       But to speak of her moral sense,
    143        She was so charitable and so pitous
                       She was so charitable and so compassionate
    144        She wolde wepe, if that she saugh a mous
                       She would weep, if she saw a mouse
    145        Kaught in a trappe, if it were deed or bledde.
                       Caught in a trap, if it were dead or bled.
    146        Of smale houndes hadde she that she fedde
                       She had some small hounds that she fed
    147        With rosted flessh, or milk and wastel-breed.
                       With roasted meat, or milk and fine white bread.
    148        But soore wepte she if oon of hem were deed,
                       But sorely she wept if one of them were dead,
    149        Or if men smoot it with a yerde smerte;
                       Or if someone smote it smartly with a stick;
    150        And al was conscience and tendre herte.
                       And all was feeling and tender heart.
    151        Ful semyly hir wympul pynched was,
                       Her wimple was pleated in a very seemly manner,
    152        Hir nose tretys, hir eyen greye as glas,
                       Her nose (was) well formed, her eyes gray as glass,
    153        Hir mouth ful smal, and therto softe and reed.
                       Her mouth very small, and moreover soft and red.
    154        But sikerly she hadde a fair forheed;
                       But surely she had a fair forehead;
    155        It was almoost a spanne brood, I trowe;
                       It was almost nine inches broad, I believe;
    156        For, hardily, she was nat undergrowe.
                       For, certainly, she was not undergrown.
    157        Ful fetys was hir cloke, as I was war.
                       Her cloak was very well made, as I was aware.
    158        Of smal coral aboute hire arm she bar
                       About her arm she wore of small coral
    159        A peire of bedes, gauded al with grene,
                       A set of beads, with large green beads (to mark divisions),
    160        And theron heng a brooch of gold ful sheene,
                       And thereon hung a brooch of very bright gold,
    161        On which ther was first write a crowned A,
                       On which there was first written an A with a crown,
    162        And after Amor vincit omnia.
                       And after "Love conquers all."

    163        Another NONNE with hire hadde she,
                       She had another NUN with her,
    164        That was hir chapeleyne, and preestes thre.
                       Who was her secretary, and three priests.

    165        A MONK ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
                       There was a MONK, an extremely fine one,
    166        An outridere, that lovede venerie,
                       An outrider (a monk with business outside the monastery), who loved hunting,
    167        A manly man, to been an abbot able.
                       A virile man, qualified to be an abbot.
    168        Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,
                       He had very many fine horses in his stable,
    169        And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere
                       And when he rode, one could hear his bridle
    170        Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere
                       Jingle in a whistling wind as clear
    171        And eek as loude as dooth the chapel belle
                       And also as loud as does the chapel belle
    172        Ther as this lord was kepere of the celle.
                       Where this lord was in charge of the cell (subordinate monastery).
    173        The reule of Seint Maure or of Seint Beneit --
                       The rule of Saint Maurus or of Saint Benedict --
    174        By cause that it was old and somdel streit
                       Because it was old and somewhat strict
    175        This ilke Monk leet olde thynges pace,
                       This same Monk let old things pass away,
    176        And heeld after the newe world the space.
                       And followed the broader customs of modern times.
    177        He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,
                       He gave not a plucked hen for that text
    178        That seith that hunters ben nat hooly men,
                       That says that hunters are not holy men,
    179        Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees,
                       Nor that a monk, when he is heedless of rules,
    180        Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees --
                       Is like a fish that is out of water --
    181        This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre.
                       This is to say, a monk out of his cloister.
    182        But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre;
                       But he considered that same text not worth an oyster;
    183        And I seyde his opinion was good.
                       And I said his opinion was good.
    184        What sholde he studie and make hymselven wood,
                       Why should he study and make himself crazy,
    185        Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure,
                       Always to pore upon a book in the cloister,
    186        Or swynken with his handes, and laboure,
                       Or work with his hands, and labor,
    187        As Austyn bit? How shal the world be served?
                       As Augustine commands? How shall the world be served?
    188        Lat Austyn have his swynk to hym reserved!
                       Let Augustine have his work reserved to him!
    189        Therfore he was a prikasour aright:
                       Therefore he was indeed a vigorous horseman:
    190        Grehoundes he hadde as swift as fowel in flight;
                       He had greyhounds as swift as fowl in flight;
    191        Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare
                       Of tracking and of hunting for the hare
    192        Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
                       Was all his pleasure, by no means would he refrain from it.
    193        I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
                       I saw his sleeves lined at the hand
    194        With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;
                       With squirrel fur, and that the finest in the land;
    195        And for to festne his hood under his chyn,
                       And to fasten his hood under his chin,
    196        He hadde of gold ywroght a ful curious pyn;
                       He had a very skillfully made pin of gold;
    197        A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
                       There was an elaborate knot in the larger end.
    198        His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,
                       His head was bald, which shone like any glass,
    199        And eek his face, as he hadde been enoynt.
                       And his face did too, as if he had been rubbed with oil.
    200        He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt;
                       He was a very fat lord and in good condition;
    201        His eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,
                       His eyes were prominent, and rolling in his head,
    202        That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
                       Which (the eyes) gleamed like a furnace under a cauldron;
    203        His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
                       His boots (were) supple, his horse in excellent condition.
    204        Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat;
                       Now certainly he was a handsome ecclesiastical dignitary;
    205        He was nat pale as a forpyned goost.
                       He was not pale as a tormented spirit.
    206        A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
                       A fat swan loved he best of any roast.
    207        His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.
                       His palfrey (saddle horse) was as brown as is a berry.

    208        A FRERE ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
                       There was a FRIAR, a pleasure-loving and merry one,
    209        A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
                       A limiter (friar with an assigned district), a very solemn man.
    210        In alle the ordres foure is noon that kan
                       In all the four orders of friars is no one that knows
    211        So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage.
                       So much of sociability and elegant speech.
    212        He hadde maad ful many a mariage
                       He had made very many a marriage
    213        Of yonge wommen at his owene cost.
                       Of young women at his own cost.
    214        Unto his ordre he was a noble post.
                       He was a noble supporter of his order.
    215        Ful wel biloved and famulier was he
                       Very well beloved and familiar was he
    216        With frankeleyns over al in his contree,
                       With landowners every where in his country,
    217        And eek with worthy wommen of the toun;
                       And also with worthy women of the town;
    218        For he hadde power of confessioun,
                       For he had power of confession,
    219        As seyde hymself, moore than a curat,
                       As he said himself, more than a parish priest,
    220        For of his ordre he was licenciat.
                       For by his order he was licensed to hear confessions.
    221        Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
                       He heard confession very sweetly,
    222        And plesaunt was his absolucioun:
                       And his absolution was pleasant:
    223        He was an esy man to yeve penaunce,
                       He was a lenient man in giving penance,
    224        Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
                       Where he knew he would have a good gift.
    225        For unto a povre ordre for to yive
                       For to give to a poor order (of friars)
    226        Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;
                       Is a sign that a man is well confessed;
    227        For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
                       For if he gave, he (the friar) dared to assert,
    228        He wiste that a man was repentaunt;
                       He knew that a man was repentant;
    229        For many a man so hard is of his herte,
                       For many a man is so hard in his heart,
    230        He may nat wepe, althogh hym soore smerte.
                       He can not weep, although he painfully suffers.
    231        Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres
                       Therefore instead of weeping and prayers
    232        Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
                       One may give silver to the poor friars.
    233        His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves
                       His hood was always stuffed full of knives
    234        And pynnes, for to yeven faire wyves.
                       And pins, to give to fair wives.
    235        And certeinly he hadde a murye note:
                       And certainly he had a merry voice:
    236        Wel koude he synge and pleyen on a rote;
                       He well knew how to sing and play on a rote (string instrument);
    237        Of yeddynges he baar outrely the pris.
                       He absolutely took the prize for reciting ballads.
    238        His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys;
                       His neck was white as a lily flower;
    239        Therto he strong was as a champioun.
                       Furthermore he was strong as a champion fighter.
    240        He knew the tavernes wel in every toun
                       He knew the taverns well in every town
    241        And everich hostiler and tappestere
                       And every innkeeper and barmaid
    242        Bet than a lazar or a beggestere,
                       Better than a leper or a beggar-woman,
    243        For unto swich a worthy man as he
                       For unto such a worthy man as he
    244        Acorded nat, as by his facultee,
                       It was not suitable, in view of his official position,
    245        To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
                       To have acquaintance with sick lepers.
    246        It is nat honest; it may nat avaunce,
                       It is not respectable; it can not be profitable,
    247        For to deelen with no swich poraille,
                       To deal with any such poor people,
    248        But al with riche and selleres of vitaille.
                       But all with rich people and sellers of victuals.
    249        And over al, ther as profit sholde arise,
                       And every where, where profit should arise,
    250        Curteis he was and lowely of servyse;
                       He was courteous and graciously humble;
    251        Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
                       There was no man anywhere so capable (of such work).
    252        He was the beste beggere in his hous;
                       He was the best beggar in his house;
    252a      [And yaf a certeyn ferme for the graunt;
                       [And he gave a certain fee for his grant (of begging rights);
    252a      Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his haunt;]
                       None of his brethren came there in his territory;]
    253        For thogh a wydwe hadde noght a sho,
                       For though a widow had not a shoe,
    254        So plesaunt was his "In principio,"
                       So pleasant was his "In the beginning",
    255        Yet wolde he have a ferthyng, er he wente.
                       Yet he would have a farthing, before he went away.
    256        His purchas was wel bettre than his rente.
                        His total profit was much more than his proper income.
    257        And rage he koude, as it were right a whelp.
                       And he knew how to romp (or flirt), as if he were indeed a pup.
    258        In love-dayes ther koude he muchel help,
                       He knew how to be much help on days for resolving disputes,
    259        For ther he was nat lyk a cloysterer
                       For there he was not like a cloistered monk
    260        With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
                       With a threadbare cope, like a poor scholar,
    261        But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
                       But he was like a master of arts or a pope.
    262        Of double worstede was his semycope,
                       Of wide (expensive) cloth was his short cloak,
    263        That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
                       Which was round as a bell fresh from the clothespress.
    264        Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse,
                       Somewhat he lisped, for his affectation,
    265        To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge;
                       To make his English sweet upon his tongue;
    266        And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe,
                       And in his harping, when he had sung,
    267        His eyen twynkled in his heed aryght
                       His eyes twinkled in his head exactly
    268        As doon the sterres in the frosty nyght.
                       As do the stars in the frosty night.
    269        This worthy lymytour was cleped Huberd.
                       This worthy friar was called Huberd.

    270        A MARCHANT was ther with a forked berd,
                       There was a MERCHANT with a forked beard,
    271        In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat;
                       Wearing parti-colored cloth, and in a high saddle he sat on his horse;
    272        Upon his heed a Flaundryssh bever hat,
                       Upon his head (he wore a) Flemish beaver hat,
    273        His bootes clasped faire and fetisly.
                       His boots were buckled handsomely and elegantly.
    274        His resons he spak ful solempnely,
                       His opinions he spoke very solemnly,
    275        Sownynge alwey th' encrees of his wynnyng.
                       Concerning always the increase of his profits.
    276        He wolde the see were kept for any thyng
                       He wanted the sea to be guarded at all costs
    277        Bitwixe Middelburgh and Orewelle.
                       Between Middelburgh (Holland) and Orwell (England).
    278        Wel koude he in eschaunge sheeldes selle.
                       He well knew how to deal in foreign currencies.
    279        This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette:
                       This worthy man employed his wit very well:
    280        Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
                       There was no one who knew that he was in debt,
    281        So estatly was he of his governaunce
                       He was so dignified in managing his affairs
    282        With his bargaynes and with his chevyssaunce.
                       With his buying and selling and with his financial deals.
    283        For sothe he was a worthy man with alle,
                       Truly, he was a worthy man indeed,
    284        But, sooth to seyn, I noot how men hym calle.
                       But, to say the truth, I do not know what men call him.

    285        A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also,
                       There was also a CLERK (scholar) from Oxford,
    286        That unto logyk hadde longe ygo.
                       Who long before had begun the study of logic.
    287        As leene was his hors as is a rake,
                       His horse was as lean as is a rake,
    288        And he nas nat right fat, I undertake,
                       And he was not very fat, I affirm,
    289        But looked holwe, and therto sobrely.
                       But looked emaciated, and moreover abstemious.
    290        Ful thredbare was his overeste courtepy,
                       His short overcoat was very threadbare,
    291        For he hadde geten hym yet no benefice,
                       For he had not yet obtained an ecclesiastical living,
    292        Ne was so worldly for to have office.
                       Nor was he worldly enough to take secular employment.
    293        For hym was levere have at his beddes heed
                       For he would rather have at the head of his bed
    294        Twenty bookes, clad in blak or reed,
                       Twenty books, bound in black or red,
    295        Of Aristotle and his philosophie
                       Of Aristotle and his philosophy
    296        Than robes riche, or fithele, or gay sautrie.
                       Than rich robes, or a fiddle, or an elegant psaltery (a harp-like instrument).
    297        But al be that he was a philosophre,
                       But even though he was a philosopher,
    298        Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;
                       Nevertheless he had but little gold in his strongbox;
    299        But al that he myghte of his freendes hente,
                       But all that he could get from his friends,
    300        On bookes and on lernynge he it spente,
                       He spent on books and on learning,
    301        And bisily gan for the soules preye
                       And diligently did pray for the souls
    302        Of hem that yaf hym wherwith to scoleye.
                       Of those who gave him the wherewithal to attend the schools.
    303        Of studie took he moost cure and moost heede.
                       He took most care and most heed of study.
    304        Noght o word spak he moore than was neede,
                       He spoke not one word more than was needed,
    305        And that was seyd in forme and reverence,
                       And that was said with due formality and respect,
    306        And short and quyk and ful of hy sentence;
                       And (was) short and lively and full of elevated content;
    307        Sownynge in moral vertu was his speche,
                       His speech was consonant with (his) moral virtue,
    308        And gladly wolde he lerne and gladly teche.
                       And gladly would he learn and gladly teach.

    309        A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war and wys,
                       A SERGEANT OF THE LAW, prudent and wise,
    310        That often hadde been at the Parvys,
                       Who often had been at the Porch of St. Paul's (i.e. had long practiced law)
    311        Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
                       Was also there, very rich in superior qualities.
    312        Discreet he was and of greet reverence --
                       He was judicious and of great dignity --
    313        He semed swich, his wordes weren so wise.
                       He seemed such, his words were so wise.
    314        Justice he was ful often in assise,
                       He was very often a judge in the court of assizes,
    315        By patente and by pleyn commissioun.
                       By royal appointment and with full jurisdiction.
    316        For his science and for his heigh renoun,
                       For his knowledge and for his excellent reputation,
    317        Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
                       He had many grants of yearly income.
    318        So greet a purchasour was nowher noon:
                       There was nowhere so great a land-buyer:
    319        Al was fee symple to hym in effect;
                       In fact, all was unrestricted possession to him;
    320        His purchasyng myghte nat been infect.
                       His purchasing could not be invalidated.
    321        Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
                       There was nowhere so busy a man as he,
    322        And yet he semed bisier than he was.
                       And yet he seemed busier than he was.
    323        In termes hadde he caas and doomes alle
                       He had in Year Books all the cases and decisions
    324        That from the tyme of kyng William were falle.
                       That from the time of king William have occurred.
    325        Therto he koude endite and make a thyng,
                       Furthermore, he knew how to compose and draw up a legal document,
    326        Ther koude no wight pynche at his writyng;
                       So that no one could find a flaw in his writing;
    327        And every statut koude he pleyn by rote.
                       And he knew every statute completely by heart.
    328        He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote,
                       He rode but simply in a parti-colored coat,
    329        Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale;
                       Girded with a belt of silk, with small stripes;
    330        Of his array telle I no lenger tale.
                       I tell no longer tale of his clothing.

    331        A FRANKELEYN was in his compaignye.
                       A FRANKLIN was in his company.
    332        Whit was his berd as is the dayesye;
                       His (the Franklin's) beard was white as a daisy;
    333        Of his complexioun he was sangwyn.
                       As to his temperament, he was dominated by the humor blood.
    334        Wel loved he by the morwe a sop in wyn;
                       He well loved a bit of bread dipped in wine in the morning;
    335        To lyven in delit was evere his wone,
                       His custom was always to live in delight,
    336        For he was Epicurus owene sone,
                       For he was Epicurus' own son,
    337        That heeld opinioun that pleyn delit
                       Who (Epicurus) held the opinion that pure pleasure
    338        Was verray felicitee parfit.
                       Was truly perfect happiness.
    339        An housholdere, and that a greet, was he;
                       He was a householder, and a great one at that;
    340        Seint Julian he was in his contree.
                       He was Saint Julian (patron of hospitality) in his country.
    341        His breed, his ale, was alweys after oon;
                       His bread, his ale, was always of the same (good) quality;
    342        A bettre envyned man was nowher noon.
                       Nowhere was there any man better stocked with wine.
    343        Withoute bake mete was nevere his hous,
                       His house was never without baked pies
    344        Of fissh and flessh, and that so plentevous
                       Of fish and meat, and that so plentiful
    345        It snewed in his hous of mete and drynke;
                       That in his house it snowed with food and drink;
    346        Of alle deyntees that men koude thynke,
                       Of all the dainties that men could imagine,
    347        After the sondry sesons of the yeer,
                       In accord with the various seasons of the year,
    348        So chaunged he his mete and his soper.
                       So he varied his midday meal and his supper.
    349        Ful many a fat partrich hadde he in muwe,
                       He had very many fat partridges in pens,
    350        And many a breem and many a luce in stuwe.
                       And many a bream and many a pike in his fish pond.
    351        Wo was his cook but if his sauce were
                       Woe was his cook unless his sauce was
    352        Poynaunt and sharp, and redy al his geere.
                       Hotly spiced and sharp, and ready all his cooking equipment.
    353        His table dormant in his halle alway
                       In his hall his dining table always
    354        Stood redy covered al the longe day.
                       Stood covered (with table cloth) and ready all the long day.
    355        At sessiouns ther was he lord and sire;
                       He presided as lord and sire at court sessions;
    356        Ful ofte tyme he was knyght of the shire.
                       He was a member of parliament many times.
    357        An anlaas and a gipser al of silk
                       A dagger and a purse all of silk
    358        Heeng at his girdel, whit as morne milk.
                       Hung at his belt, white as morning milk.
    359        A shirreve hadde he been, and a contour.
                       He had been a sheriff, and an auditor of taxes.
    360        Was nowher swich a worthy vavasour.
                       There was nowhere such a worthy landowner.

    361        AN HABERDASSHERE and a CARPENTER,
                       A HABERDASHER and a CARPENTER,
    362        A WEBBE, a DYERE, and a TAPYCER --
                       A WEAVER, a DYER, and a TAPESTRY-MAKER --
    363        And they were clothed alle in o lyveree
                       And they were all clothed in the livery
    364        Of a solempne and a greet fraternitee.
                       Of a solemn and a great parish guild.
    365        Ful fressh and newe hir geere apiked was;
                       Their equipment was adorned all freshly and new;
    366        Hir knyves were chaped noght with bras
                       Their knives were not mounted with brass
    367        But al with silver, wroght ful clene and weel,
                       But entirely with silver, wrought very neatly and well,
    368        Hire girdles and hir pouches everydeel.
                       Their belts and their purses every bit.
    369        Wel semed ech of hem a fair burgeys
                       Each of them well seemed a solid citizen
    370        To sitten in a yeldehalle on a deys.
                       To sit on a dais in a city hall.
    371        Everich, for the wisdom that he kan,
                       Every one of them, for the wisdom that he knows,
    372        Was shaply for to been an alderman.
                       Was suitable to be an alderman.
    373        For catel hadde they ynogh and rente,
                       For they had enough possessions and income,
    374        And eek hir wyves wolde it wel assente;
                       And also their wives would well assent to it;
    375        And elles certeyn were they to blame.
                       And otherwise certainly they would be to blame.
    376        It is ful fair to been ycleped "madame,"
                       It is very fine to be called "my lady,"
    377        And goon to vigilies al bifore,
                       And go to feasts on holiday eves heading the procession,
    378        And have a mantel roialliche ybore.
                       And have a gown with a train royally carried.

    379        A COOK they hadde with hem for the nones
                       A COOK they had with them for the occasion
    380        To boille the chiknes with the marybones,
                       To boil the chickens with the marrow bones,
    381        And poudre-marchant tart and galyngale.
                       And tart poudre-marchant and galingale (spices).
    382        Wel koude he knowe a draughte of Londoun ale.
                       He well knew how to judge a draft of London ale.
    383        He koude rooste, and sethe, and broille, and frye,
                       He knew how to roast, and boil, and broil, and fry,
    384        Maken mortreux, and wel bake a pye.
                       Make stews, and well bake a pie.
    385        But greet harm was it, as it thoughte me,
                       But it was a great harm, as it seemed to me,
    386        That on his shyne a mormal hadde he.
                       That he had an open sore on his shin.
    387        For blankmanger, that made he with the beste.
                       As for white pudding, he made that of the best quality.

    388        A SHIPMAN was ther, wonynge fer by weste;
                       A SHIPMAN was there, dwelling far in the west;
    389        For aught I woot, he was of Dertemouthe.
                       For all I know, he was from Dartmouth.
    390        He rood upon a rouncy, as he kouthe,
                       He rode upon a cart horse, insofar as he knew how,
    391        In a gowne of faldyng to the knee.
                       In a gown of woolen cloth (that reached) to the knee.
    392        A daggere hangynge on a laas hadde he
                       He had a dagger hanging on a cord
    393        Aboute his nekke, under his arm adoun.
                       About his neck, down under his arm.
    394        The hoote somer hadde maad his hewe al broun;
                       The hot summer had made his hue all brown;
    395        And certeinly he was a good felawe.
                       And certainly he was a boon companion.
    396        Ful many a draughte of wyn had he ydrawe
                       He had drawn very many a draft of wine
    397        Fro Burdeux-ward, whil that the chapman sleep.
                       While coming from Bordeaux, while the merchant slept.
    398        Of nyce conscience took he no keep.
                       He had no concern for a scrupulous conscience.
    399        If that he faught and hadde the hyer hond,
                       If he fought and had the upper hand,
    400        By water he sente hem hoom to every lond.
                       He sent them home by water to every land (they walked the plank).
    401        But of his craft to rekene wel his tydes,
                       But of his skill to reckon well his tides,
    402        His stremes, and his daungers hym bisides,
                       His currents, and his perils near at hand,
    403        His herberwe, and his moone, his lodemenage,
                       His harbors, and positions of his moon, his navigation,
    404        Ther nas noon swich from Hulle to Cartage.
                       There was none other such from Hull to Cartagena (Spain).
    405        Hardy he was and wys to undertake;
                       He was bold and prudent in his undertakings;
    406        With many a tempest hadde his berd been shake.
                       His beard had been shaken by many a tempest.
    407        He knew alle the havenes, as they were,
                       He knew all the harbors, how they were,
    408        Fro Gootlond to the cape of Fynystere,
                       From Gotland to the Cape of Finisterre,
    409        And every cryke in Britaigne and in Spayne.
                       And every inlet in Brittany and in Spain.
    410        His barge ycleped was the Maudelayne.
                       His barge was called the Maudelayne.

    411        With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHISIK;
                       With us there was a DOCTOR OF MEDICINE
    412        In al this world ne was ther noon hym lik,
                       In all this world there was no one like him,
    413        To speke of phisik and of surgerye,
                       To speak of medicine and of surgery,
    414        For he was grounded in astronomye.
                       For he was instructed in astronomy.
    415        He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
                       He took care of his patient very many times
    416        In houres by his magyk natureel.
                       In (astronomically suitable) hours by (use of) his natural science.
    417        Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
                       He well knew how to calculate the planetary position
    418        Of his ymages for his pacient.
                       Of his astronomical talismans for his patient.
    419        He knew the cause of everich maladye,
                       He knew the cause of every malady,
    420        Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,
                       Were it of hot, or cold, or moist, or dry elements,
    421        And where they engendred, and of what humour.
                       And where they were engendered, and by what bodily fluid.
    422        He was a verray, parfit praktisour:
                       He was a truly, perfect practitioner:
    423        The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,
                       The cause known, and the source of his (patient's) harm,
    424        Anon he yaf the sike man his boote.
                       Straightway he gave the sick man his remedy.
    425        Ful redy hadde he his apothecaries
                       He had his apothecaries all ready
    426        To sende hym drogges and his letuaries,
                       To send him drugs and his electuaries,
    427        For ech of hem made oother for to wynne --
                       For each of them made the other to profit --
    428        Hir frendshipe nas nat newe to bigynne.
                       Their friendship was not recently begun.
    429        Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
                       He well knew the old Aesculapius,
    430        And Deyscorides, and eek Rufus,
                       And Dioscorides, and also Rufus,
    431        Olde Ypocras, Haly, and Galyen,
                       Old Hippocrates, Haly, and Galen,
    432        Serapion, Razis, and Avycen,
                       Serapion, Rhazes, and Avicenna,
    433        Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn,
                       Averroes, John the Damascan, and Constantine,
    434        Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.
                       Bernard, and Gaddesden, and Gilbertus.
    435        Of his diete mesurable was he,
                       He was moderate in his diet,
    436        For it was of no superfluitee,
                       For it was of no excess,
    437        But of greet norissyng and digestible.
                       But greatly nourishing and digestible.
    438        His studie was but litel on the Bible.
                       His study was but little on the Bible.
    439        In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,
                       He was clad all in red and in blue,
    440        Lyned with taffata and with sendal.
                       Lined with taffeta and with silk.
    441        And yet he was but esy of dispence;
                       And yet he was moderate (careful) in spending;
    442        He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
                       He kept what he earned in (times of) plague.
    443        For gold in phisik is a cordial,
                       Since in medicine gold is a restorative for the heart,
    444        Therefore he lovede gold in special.
                       Therefore he loved gold in particular.

    445        A good WIF was ther OF biside BATHE,
                       There was a good WIFE OF beside BATH,
    446        But she was somdel deef, and that was scathe.
                       But she was somewhat deaf, and that was a pity.
    447        Of clooth-makyng she hadde swich an haunt
                       She had such a skill in cloth-making
    448        She passed hem of Ypres and of Gaunt.
                       She surpassed them of Ypres and of Ghent.
    449        In al the parisshe wif ne was ther noon
                       In all the parish there was no wife
    450        That to the offrynge bifore hire sholde goon;
                       Who should go to the Offering before her;
    451        And if ther dide, certeyn so wrooth was she
                       And if there did, certainly she was so angry
    452        That she was out of alle charitee.
                       That she was out of all charity (love for her neighbor).
    453        Hir coverchiefs ful fyne weren of ground;
                       Her kerchiefs (coverings for the head) were very fine in texture;
    454        I dorste swere they weyeden ten pound
                       I dare swear they weighed ten pound
    455        That on a Sonday weren upon hir heed.
                       That on a Sunday were upon her head.
    456        Hir hosen weren of fyn scarlet reed,
                       Her stockings were of fine scarlet red,
    457        Ful streite yteyd, and shoes ful moyste and newe.
                       Very closely laced, and shoes very supple and new.
    458        Boold was hir face, and fair, and reed of hewe.
                       Bold was her face, and fair, and red of hue.
    459        She was a worthy womman al hir lyve:
                       She was a worthy woman all her life:
    460        Housbondes at chirche dore she hadde fyve,
                       She had (married) five husbands at the church door,
    461        Withouten oother compaignye in youthe --
                       Not counting other company in youth --
    462        But thereof nedeth nat to speke as nowthe.
                       But there is no need to speak of that right now.
    463        And thries hadde she been at Jerusalem;
                       And she had been three times at Jerusalem;
    464        She hadde passed many a straunge strem;
                       She had passed many a foreign sea;
    465        At Rome she hadde been, and at Boloigne,
                       She had been at Rome, and at Boulogne,
    466        In Galice at Seint-Jame, and at Coloigne.
                       In Galicia at Saint-James (of Compostella), and at Cologne.
    467        She koude muchel of wandrynge by the weye.
                       She knew much about wandering by the way.
    468        Gat-tothed was she, soothly for to seye.
                       She had teeth widely set apart, truly to say.
    469        Upon an amblere esily she sat,
                       She sat easily upon a pacing horse,
    470        Ywympled wel, and on hir heed an hat
                       Wearing a large wimple, and on her head a hat
    471        As brood as is a bokeler or a targe;
                       As broad as a buckler or a shield;
    472        A foot-mantel aboute hir hipes large,
                       An overskirt about her large hips,
    473        And on hir feet a paire of spores sharpe.
                       And on her feet a pair of sharp spurs.
    474        In felaweshipe wel koude she laughe and carpe.
                       In fellowship she well knew how to laugh and chatter.
    475        Of remedies of love she knew per chaunce,
                       She knew, as it happened, about remedies for love
    476        For she koude of that art the olde daunce.
                       For she knew the old dance (tricks of the trade) of that art.

    477        A good man was ther of religioun,
                       A good man was there of religion,
    478        And was a povre PERSOUN OF A TOUN,
                       And (he) was a poor PARSON OF A TOWN,
    479        But riche he was of hooly thoght and werk.
                       But he was rich in holy thought and work.
    480        He was also a lerned man, a clerk,
                       He was also a learned man, a scholar,
    481        That Cristes gospel trewely wolde preche;
                       Who would preach Christ's gospel truly;
    482        His parisshens devoutly wolde he teche.
                       He would devoutly teach his parishioners.
    483        Benygne he was, and wonder diligent,
                       He was gracious, and wonderfully diligent,
    484        And in adversitee ful pacient,
                       And very patient in adversity,
    485        And swich he was ypreved ofte sithes.
                       And such he was proven many times.
    486        Ful looth were hym to cursen for his tithes,
                       He was very reluctant to excommunicate for (nonpayment of) his tithes,
    487        But rather wolde he yeven, out of doute,
                       But rather would he give, there is no doubt,
    488        Unto his povre parisshens aboute
                       Unto his poor parishioners about
    489        Of his offryng and eek of his substaunce.
                       Some of his offering (received at mass) and also some of his income.
    490        He koude in litel thyng have suffisaunce.
                       He knew how to have sufficiency in few possessions.
    491        Wyd was his parisshe, and houses fer asonder,
                       His parish was wide, and houses far apart,
    492        But he ne lefte nat, for reyn ne thonder,
                       But he did not omit, for rain nor thunder,
    493        In siknesse nor in meschief to visite
                       In sickness or in trouble to visit
    494        The ferreste in his parisshe, muche and lite,
                       Those living farthest away in his parish, high-ranking and low,
    495        Upon his feet, and in his hand a staf.
                       Going by foot, and in his hand a staff.
    496        This noble ensample to his sheep he yaf,
                       He gave this noble example to his sheep,
    497        That first he wroghte, and afterward he taughte.
                       That first he wrought, and afterward he taught.
    498        Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte,
                       He took those words out of the gospel,
    499        And this figure he added eek therto,
                       And this metaphor he added also to that,
    500        That if gold ruste, what shal iren do?
                       That if gold rust, what must iron do?
    501        For if a preest be foul, on whom we truste,
                       For if a priest, on whom we trust, should be foul
    502        No wonder is a lewed man to ruste;
                       It is no wonder for a layman to go bad;
    503        And shame it is, if a prest take keep,
                       And it is a shame, if a priest is concerned:
    504        A shiten shepherde and a clene sheep.
                       A defiled (shitty) shepherd and a clean sheep.
    505        Wel oghte a preest ensample for to yive,
                       Well ought a priest to give an example,
    506        By his clennesse, how that his sheep sholde lyve.
                       By his purity, (of) how his sheep should live.
    507        He sette nat his benefice to hyre
                       He did not rent out his benefice (ecclesiastical living)
    508        And leet his sheep encombred in the myre
                       And leave his sheep encumbered in the mire
    509        And ran to Londoun unto Seinte Poules
                       And run to London unto Saint Paul's
    510        To seken hym a chaunterie for soules,
                       To seek an appointment as a chantry priest (praying for a patron)
    511        Or with a bretherhed to been withholde;
                       Or to be hired (as a chaplain) by a guild;
    512        But dwelte at hoom, and kepte wel his folde,
                       But dwelt at home, and kept well his sheep fold (parish),
    513        So that the wolf ne made it nat myscarie;
                       So that the wolf did not make it go wrong;
    514        He was a shepherde and noght a mercenarie.
                       He was a shepherd and not a hireling.
    515        And though he hooly were and vertuous,
                       And though he was holy and virtuous,
    516        He was to synful men nat despitous,
                       He was not scornful to sinful men,
    517        Ne of his speche daungerous ne digne,
                       Nor domineering nor haughty in his speech,
    518        But in his techyng discreet and benygne.
                       But in his teaching courteous and kind.
    519        To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
                       To draw folk to heaven by gentleness,
    520        By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.
                       By good example, this was his business.
    521        But it were any persone obstinat,
                       Unless it were an obstinate person,
    522        What so he were, of heigh or lough estat,
                       Whoever he was, of high or low rank,
    523        Hym wolde he snybben sharply for the nonys.
                       He would rebuke him sharply at that time.
    524        A bettre preest I trowe that nowher noon ys.
                       I believe that nowhere is there a better priest.
    525        He waited after no pompe and reverence,
                       He expected no pomp and ceremony,
    526        Ne maked him a spiced conscience,
                       Nor made himself an overly fastidious conscience,
    527        But Cristes loore and his apostles twelve
                       But Christ's teaching and His twelve apostles
    528        He taughte; but first he folwed it hymselve.
                       He taught; but first he followed it himself.

    529        With hym ther was a PLOWMAN, was his brother,
                       With him there was a PLOWMAN, who was his brother,
    530        That hadde ylad of dong ful many a fother;
                       Who had hauled very many a cartload of dung;
    531        A trewe swynkere and a good was he,
                       He was a true and good worker,
    532        Lyvynge in pees and parfit charitee.
                       Living in peace and perfect love.
    533        God loved he best with al his hoole herte
                       He loved God best with all his whole heart
    534        At alle tymes, thogh him gamed or smerte,
                       At all times, whether it pleased or pained him,
    535        And thanne his neighebor right as hymselve.
                       And then (he loved) his neighbor exactly as himself.
    536        He wolde thresshe, and therto dyke and delve,
                       He would thresh, and moreover make ditches and dig,
    537        For Cristes sake, for every povre wight,
                       For Christ's sake, for every poor person,
    538        Withouten hire, if it lay in his myght.
                       Without payment, if it lay in his power.
    539        His tithes payde he ful faire and wel,
                       He paid his tithes completely and well,
    540        Bothe of his propre swynk and his catel.
                       Both of his own labor and of his possessions.
    541        In a tabard he rood upon a mere.
                       He rode in a tabard (sleeveless jacket) upon a mare.

    542        Ther was also a REVE, and a MILLERE,
                       There was also a REEVE, and a MILLER,
    543        A SOMNOUR, and a PARDONER also,
                       A SUMMONER, and a PARDONER also,
    544        A MAUNCIPLE, and myself -- ther were namo.
                       A MANCIPLE, and myself -- there were no more.

    545        The MILLERE was a stout carl for the nones;
                       The MILLER was a stout fellow indeed;
    546        Ful byg he was of brawn, and eek of bones.
                       He was very strong of muscle, and also of bones.
    547        That proved wel, for over al ther he cam,
                       That was well proven, for wherever he came,
    548        At wrastlynge he wolde have alwey the ram.
                       At wrestling he would always have the ram (the prize).
    549        He was short-sholdred, brood, a thikke knarre;
                       He was stoutly built, broad, a large-framed fellow;
    550        Ther was no dore that he nolde heve of harre,
                       There was no door that he would not heave off its hinges,
    551        Or breke it at a rennyng with his heed.
                       Or break it by running at it with his head.
    552        His berd as any sowe or fox was reed,
                       His beard was red as any sow or fox,
    553        And therto brood, as though it were a spade.
                       And moreover broad, as though it were a spade.
    554        Upon the cop right of his nose he hade
                       Upon the exact top of his nose he had
    555        A werte, and theron stood a toft of herys,
                       A wart, and thereon stood a tuft of hairs,
    556        Reed as the brustles of a sowes erys;
                       Red as the bristles of a sow's ears;
    557        His nosethirles blake were and wyde.
                       His nostrils were black and wide.
    558        A swerd and a bokeler bar he by his syde.
                       He wore a sword and a buckler by his side.
    559        His mouth as greet was as a greet forneys.
                       His mouth was as large as a large furnace.
    560        He was a janglere and a goliardeys,
                       He was a loudmouth and a buffoon,
    561        And that was moost of synne and harlotries.
                       And that was mostly of sin and deeds of harlotry.
    562        Wel koude he stelen corn and tollen thries;
                       He well knew how to steal corn and take payment three times;
    563        And yet he hadde a thombe of gold, pardee.
                       And yet he had a thumb of gold, indeed.
    564        A whit cote and a blew hood wered he.
                       He wore a white coat and a blue hood.
    565        A baggepipe wel koude he blowe and sowne,
                       He well knew how to blow and play a bag-pipe,
    566        And therwithal he broghte us out of towne.
                       And with that he brought us out of town.

    567        A gentil MAUNCIPLE was ther of a temple,
                       There was a fine MANCIPLE of a temple (law school),
    568        Of which achatours myghte take exemple
                       Of whom buyers of provisions might take example
    569        For to be wise in byynge of vitaille;
                       For how to be wise in buying of victuals;
    570        For wheither that he payde or took by taille,
                       For whether he paid (cash) or took (goods) on credit,
    571        Algate he wayted so in his achaat
                       Always he watched so (carefully for his opportunity) in his purchases
    572        That he was ay biforn and in good staat.
                       That he was always ahead and in good state.
    573        Now is nat that of God a ful fair grace
                       Now is not that a very fair grace of God
    574        That swich a lewed mannes wit shal pace
                       That such an unlearned man's wit shall surpass
    575        The wisdom of an heep of lerned men?
                       The wisdom of a heap of learned men?
    576        Of maistres hadde he mo than thries ten,
                       He had more than three times ten masters,
    577        That weren of lawe expert and curious,
                       Who were expert and skillful in law,
    578        Of which ther were a duszeyne in that hous
                       Of whom there were a dozen in that house
    579        Worthy to been stywardes of rente and lond
                       Worthy to be stewards of rent and land
    580        Of any lord that is in Engelond,
                       Of any lord that is in England,
    581        To make hym lyve by his propre good
                       To make him live by his own wealth
    582        In honour dettelees (but if he were wood),
                       In honor and debtless (unless he were crazy),
    583        Or lyve as scarsly as hym list desire;
                       Or live as economically as it pleased him to desire;
    584        And able for to helpen al a shire
                       And (they would be) able to help all a shire
    585        In any caas that myghte falle or happe.
                       In any emergency that might occur or happen.
    586        And yet this Manciple sette hir aller cappe.
                       And yet this Manciple set all their caps (fooled them all).

    587        The REVE was a sclendre colerik man.
                       The REEVE was a slender choleric man.
    588        His berd was shave as ny as ever he kan;
                       His beard was shaved as close as ever he can;
    589        His heer was by his erys ful round yshorn;
                       His hair was closely cropped by his ears;
    590        His top was dokked lyk a preest biforn.
                       The top of his head in front was cut short like a priest's.
    591        Ful longe were his legges and ful lene,
                       His legs were very long and very lean,
    592        Ylyk a staf; ther was no calf ysene.
                       Like a stick; there was no calf to be seen.
    593        Wel koude he kepe a gerner and a bynne;
                       He well knew how to he keep a granary and a storage bin;
    594        Ther was noon auditour koude on him wynne.
                       There was no auditor who could earn anything (by catching him).
    595        Wel wiste he by the droghte and by the reyn
                       He well knew by the drought and by the rain
    596        The yeldynge of his seed and of his greyn.
                       (What would be) the yield of his seed and of his grain.
    597        His lordes sheep, his neet, his dayerye,
                       His lord's sheep, his cattle, his herd of dairy cows,
    598        His swyn, his hors, his stoor, and his pultrye
                       His swine, his horses, his livestock, and his poultry
    599        Was hoolly in this Reves governynge,
                       Was wholly in this Reeve's control,
    600        And by his covenant yaf the rekenynge,
                       And in accord with his contract he gave the reckoning,
    601        Syn that his lord was twenty yeer of age.
                       Since his lord was twenty years of age.
    602        Ther koude no man brynge hym in arrerage.
                       There was no man who could find him in arrears.
    603        Ther nas baillif, ne hierde, nor oother hyne,
                       There was no farm manager, nor herdsman, nor other servant,
    604        That he ne knew his sleighte and his covyne;
                       Whose trickery and treachery he (the Manciple) did not know;
    605        They were adrad of hym as of the deeth.
                       They were afraid of him as of the plague.
    606        His wonyng was ful faire upon an heeth;
                       His dwelling was very nicely situated upon an heath;
    607        With grene trees yshadwed was his place.
                       His place was shadowed with green trees.
    608        He koude bettre than his lord purchace.
                       He could buy property better than his lord could.
    609        Ful riche he was astored pryvely.
                       He was secretly very richly provided.
    610        His lord wel koude he plesen subtilly,
                       He well knew how to please his lord subtly,
    611        To yeve and lene hym of his owene good,
                       By giving and lending him some of his lord's own possessions,
    612        And have a thank, and yet a cote and hood.
                       And have thanks, and also a coat and hood (as a reward).
    613        In youthe he hadde lerned a good myster:
                       In youth he had learned a good craft:
    614        He was a wel good wrighte, a carpenter.
                       He was a very good craftsman, a carpenter.
    615        This Reve sat upon a ful good stot
                       This Reeve sat upon a very good horse
    616        That was al pomely grey and highte Scot.
                       That was all dapple gray and was called Scot.
    617        A long surcote of pers upon he hade,
                       He had on a long outer coat of dark blue,
    618        And by his syde he baar a rusty blade.
                       And by his side he wore a rusty sword.
    619        Of Northfolk was this Reve of which I telle,
                       Of Northfolk was this Reeve of whom I tell,
    620        Biside a toun men clepen Baldeswelle.
                       Beside a town men call Bawdeswelle.
    621        Tukked he was as is a frere aboute,
                       He had his coat hitched up and belted, like a friar,
    622        And evere he rood the hyndreste of oure route.
                       And ever he rode as the last of our company.

    623        A SOMONOUR was ther with us in that place,
                       There was a SUMMONER with us in that place,
    624        That hadde a fyr-reed cherubynnes face,
                       Who had a fire-red cherubim's face,
    625        For saucefleem he was, with eyen narwe.
                       For it was pimpled and discolored, with swollen eyelids.
    626        As hoot he was and lecherous as a sparwe,
                       He was as hot and lecherous as a sparrow,
    627        With scalled browes blake and piled berd.
                       With black, scabby brows and a beard with hair fallen out.
    628        Of his visage children were aferd.
                       Children were afraid of his face.
    629        Ther nas quyk-silver, lytarge, ne brymstoon,
                       There was no mercury, lead monoxide, nor sulphur,
    630        Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon,
                       Borax, white lead, nor any oil of tarter,
    631        Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte,
                       Nor ointment that would cleanse and burn,
    632        That hym myghte helpen of his whelkes white,
                       That could cure him of his white pustules,
    633        Nor of the knobbes sittynge on his chekes.
                       Nor of the knobs sitting on his cheeks.
    634        Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes,
                       He well loved garlic, onions, and also leeks,
    635        And for to drynken strong wyn, reed as blood;
                       And to drink strong wine, red as blood;
    636        Thanne wolde he speke and crie as he were wood.
                       Then he would speak and cry out as if he were crazy.
    637        And whan that he wel dronken hadde the wyn,
                       And when that he had drunk deeply of the wine,
    638        Thanne wolde he speke no word but Latyn.
                       Then he would speak no word but Latin.
    639        A fewe termes hadde he, two or thre,
                       He had a few legal terms, two or three,
    640        That he had lerned out of som decree --
                       That he had learned out of some text of ecclesiastical law --
    641        No wonder is, he herde it al the day;
                       That is no wonder, he heard it all the day;
    642        And eek ye knowen wel how that a jay
                       And also you know well how a jay
    643        Kan clepen "Watte" as wel as kan the pope.
                       Can call out "Walter" as well as the pope can.
    644        But whoso koude in oother thyng hym grope,
                       But whoever knew how to examine him in other matters,
    645        Thanne hadde he spent al his philosophie;
                       (Would find that) he had used up all his learning;
    646        Ay "Questio quid iuris" wolde he crie.
                       Always "The question is, what point of the law applies?" he would cry.
    647        He was a gentil harlot and a kynde;
                       He was a fine rascal and a kind one;
    648        A bettre felawe sholde men noght fynde.
                       One could not find a better fellow.
    649        He wolde suffre for a quart of wyn
                       For a quart of wine he would allow
    650        A good felawe to have his concubyn
                       A good fellow to have his concubine
    651        A twelf month, and excuse hym atte fulle;
                       For twelve months, and excuse him completely;
    652        Ful prively a fynch eek koude he pulle.
                       Secretly he also knew how to pull off a clever trick.
    653        And if he foond owher a good felawe,
                       And if he found anywhere a good fellow,
    654        He wolde techen him to have noon awe
                       He would teach him to have no awe
    655        In swich caas of the ercedekenes curs,
                       Of the archdeacon's curse (of excommunication) in such a case,
    656        But if a mannes soule were in his purs;
                       Unless a man's soul were in his purse;
    657        For in his purs he sholde ypunysshed be.
                       For in his purse he would be punished.
    658        "Purs is the ercedekenes helle," seyde he.
                       "Purse is the archdeacon's hell," he said.
    659        But wel I woot he lyed right in dede;
                       But well I know he lied right certainly;
    660        Of cursyng oghte ech gilty man him drede,
                       Each guilty man ought to be afraid of excommunication,
    661        For curs wol slee right as assoillyng savith,
                       For excommunication will slay just as forgiveness saves,
    662        And also war hym of a Significavit.
                       And let him also beware of a Significavit (order for imprisonment).
    663        In daunger hadde he at his owene gise
                       In his control he had as he pleased
    664        The yonge girles of the diocise,
                       The young people of the diocese,
    665        And knew hir conseil, and was al hir reed.
                       And knew their secrets, and was the adviser of them all.
    666        A gerland hadde he set upon his heed,
                       He had set a garland upon his heed,
    667        As greet as it were for an ale-stake.
                       As large as if it were for the sign of a tavern
    668        A bokeleer hadde he maad hym of a cake.
                       He had made himself a buckler of a cake.

    669        With hym ther rood a gentil PARDONER
                       With him there rode a fine PARDONER
    670        Of Rouncivale, his freend and his compeer,
                       Of Rouncivale, his friend and his companion,
    671        That streight was comen fro the court of Rome.
                       Who had come straight from the court of Rome.
    672        Ful loude he soong "Com hider, love, to me!"
                       Very loud he sang "Come hither, love, to me!"
    673        This Somonour bar to hym a stif burdoun;
                       This Summoner harmonized with him in a strong bass;
    674        Was nevere trompe of half so greet a soun.
                       There was never a trumpet of half so great a sound.
    675        This Pardoner hadde heer as yelow as wex,
                       This Pardoner had hair as yellow as wax,
    676        But smothe it heeng as dooth a strike of flex;
                       But smooth it hung as does a clump of flax;
    677        By ounces henge his lokkes that he hadde,
                       By small strands hung such locks as he had,
    678        And therwith he his shuldres overspradde;
                       And he spread them over his shoulders;
    679        But thynne it lay, by colpons oon and oon.
                       But thin it lay, by strands one by one.
    680        But hood, for jolitee, wered he noon,
                       But to make an attractive appearance, he wore no hood,
    681        For it was trussed up in his walet.
                       For it was trussed up in his knapsack.
    682        Hym thoughte he rood al of the newe jet;
                       It seemed to him that he rode in the very latest style;
    683        Dischevelee, save his cappe, he rood al bare.
                       With hair unbound, save for his cap, he rode all bare-headed.
    684        Swiche glarynge eyen hadde he as an hare.
                       He had such glaring eyes as has a hare.
    685        A vernycle hadde he sowed upon his cappe.
                       He had sewn a Veronica upon his cap.
    686        His walet, biforn hym in his lappe,
                       Before him in his lap, (he had) his knapsack,
    687        Bretful of pardoun comen from Rome al hoot.
                       Brimful of pardons come all fresh from Rome.
    688        A voys he hadde as smal as hath a goot.
                       He had a voice as small as a goat has.
    689        No berd hadde he, ne nevere sholde have;
                       He had no beard, nor never would have;
    690        As smothe it was as it were late shave.
                       It (his face) was as smooth as if it were recently shaven.
    691        I trowe he were a geldyng or a mare.
                       I believe he was a eunuch or a homosexual.
    692        But of his craft, fro Berwyk into Ware
                       But as to his craft, from Berwick to Ware
    693        Ne was ther swich another pardoner.
                       There was no other pardoner like him.
    694        For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
                       For in his pouch he had a pillow-case,
    695        Which that he seyde was Oure Lady veyl;
                       Which he said was Our Lady's veil;
    696        He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl
                       He said he had a piece of the sail
    697        That Seint Peter hadde, whan that he wente
                       That Saint Peter had, when he went
    698        Upon the see, til Jhesu Crist hym hente.
                       Upon the sea, until Jesus Christ took him.
    699        He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
                       He had a cross of latten (brass-like alloy) full of stones,
    700        And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
                       And in a glass container he had pigs' bones.
    701        But with thise relikes, whan that he fond
                       But with these relics, when he found
    702        A povre person dwellynge upon lond,
                       A poor parson dwelling in the countryside,
    703        Upon a day he gat hym moore moneye
                       In one day he got himself more money
    704        Than that the person gat in monthes tweye;
                       Than the parson got in two months;
    705        And thus, with feyned flaterye and japes,
                       And thus, with feigned flattery and tricks,
    706        He made the person and the peple his apes.
                       He made fools of the parson and the people.
    707        But trewely to tellen atte laste,
                       But truly to tell at the last,
    708        He was in chirche a noble ecclesiaste.
                       He was in church a noble ecclesiast.
    709        Wel koude he rede a lessoun or a storie,
                       He well knew how to read a lesson or a story,
    710        But alderbest he song an offertorie;
                       But best of all he sang an Offertory;
    711        For wel he wiste, whan that song was songe,
                       For he knew well, when that song was sung,
    712        He moste preche and wel affile his tonge
                       He must preach and well smooth his speech
    713        To wynne silver, as he ful wel koude;
                       To win silver, as he very well knew how;
    714        Therefore he song the murierly and loude.
                       Therefore he sang the more merrily and loud.

    715        Now have I toold you soothly, in a clause,
                       Now have I told you truly, briefly,
    716        Th' estaat, th' array, the nombre, and eek the cause
                       The rank, the dress, the number, and also the cause
    717        Why that assembled was this compaignye
                       Why this company was assembled
    718        In Southwerk at this gentil hostelrye
                       In Southwark at this fine hostelry
    719        That highte the Tabard, faste by the Belle.
                       That is called the Tabard, close by the Bell.
    720        But now is tyme to yow for to telle
                       But now it is time to tell to you
    721        How that we baren us that ilke nyght,
                       How we conducted ourselves that same night,
    722        Whan we were in that hostelrie alyght;
                       When we had arrived in that hostelry;
    723        And after wol I telle of our viage
                       And after that I will tell of our journey
    724        And al the remenaunt of oure pilgrimage.
                       And all the rest of our pilgrimage.
    725        But first I pray yow, of youre curteisye,
                       But first I pray yow, of your courtesy,
    726        That ye n' arette it nat my vileynye,
                       That you do not attribute it to my rudeness,
    727        Thogh that I pleynly speke in this mateere,
                       Though I speak plainly in this matter,
    728        To telle yow hir wordes and hir cheere,
                       To tell you their words and their behavior,
    729        Ne thogh I speke hir wordes proprely.
                       Nor though I speak their words accurately.
    730        For this ye knowen al so wel as I:
                       For this you know as well as I:
    731        Whoso shal telle a tale after a man,
                       Whoever must repeat a story after someone,
    732        He moot reherce as ny as evere he kan
                       He must repeat as closely as ever he knows how
    733        Everich a word, if it be in his charge,
                       Every single word, if it be in his power,
    734        Al speke he never so rudeliche and large,
                       Although he may speak ever so rudely and freely,
    735        Or ellis he moot telle his tale untrewe,
                       Or else he must tell his tale inaccurately,
    736        Or feyne thyng, or fynde wordes newe.
                       Or make up things, or find new words.
    737        He may nat spare, althogh he were his brother;
                       He may not refrain from (telling the truth), although he were his brother;
    738        He moot as wel seye o word as another.
                       He must as well say one word as another.
    739        Crist spak hymself ful brode in hooly writ,
                       Christ himself spoke very plainly in holy writ,
    740        And wel ye woot no vileynye is it.
                       And you know well it is no rudeness.
    741        Eek Plato seith, whoso kan hym rede,
                       Also Plato says, whosoever knows how to read him,
    742        The wordes moote be cosyn to the dede.
                       The words must be closely related to the deed.
    743        Also I prey yow to foryeve it me,
                       Also I pray you to forgive it to me,
    744        Al have I nat set folk in hir degree
                       Although I have not set folk in order of their rank
    745        Heere in this tale, as that they sholde stonde.
                       Here in this tale, as they should stand.
    746        My wit is short, ye may wel understonde.
                       My wit is short, you can well understand.

    747        Greet chiere made oure Hoost us everichon,
                       Our Host made great hospitality to everyone of us,
    748        And to the soper sette he us anon.
                       And to the supper he set us straightway.
    749        He served us with vitaille at the beste;
                       He served us with victuals of the best sort;
    750        Strong was the wyn, and wel to drynke us leste.
                       The wine was strong, and it well pleased us to drink.
    751        A semely man OURE HOOSTE was withalle
                       OUR HOST was an impressive man indeed
    752        For to been a marchal in an halle.
                       (Qualified) to be a master of ceremonies in a hall.
    753        A large man he was with eyen stepe --
                       He was a large man with prominent eyes --
    754        A fairer burgeys was ther noon in Chepe --
                       There was no better business man in Cheapside --
    755        Boold of his speche, and wys, and wel ytaught,
                       Bold of his speech, and wise, and well mannered,
    756        And of manhod hym lakkede right naught.
                       And he lacked nothing at all of the qualities proper to a man.
    757        Eek therto he was right a myrie man;
                       Also moreover he was a right merry man;
    758        And after soper pleyen he bigan,
                       And after supper he began to be merry,
    759        And spak of myrthe amonges othere thynges,
                       And spoke of mirth among other things,
    760        Whan that we hadde maad oure rekenynges,
                       When we had paid our bills,
    761        And seyde thus: "Now, lordynges, trewely,
                       And said thus: "Now, gentlemen, truly,
    762        Ye been to me right welcome, hertely;
                       You are right heartily welcome to me,
    763        For by my trouthe, if that I shal nat lye,
                       For by my word, if I shall not lie (I must say),
    764        I saugh nat this yeer so myrie a compaignye
                       I saw not this year so merry a company
    765        Atones in this herberwe as is now.
                       At one time in this lodging as is (here) now.
    766        Fayn wolde I doon yow myrthe, wiste I how.
                       I would gladly make you happy, if I knew how.
    767        And of a myrthe I am right now bythoght,
                       And I have just now thought of an amusement,
    768        To doon yow ese, and it shal coste noght.
                       To give you pleasure, and it shall cost nothing.

    769        "Ye goon to Caunterbury -- God yow speede,
                       "You go to Canterbury -- God give you success,
    770        The blisful martir quite yow youre meede!
                       May the blessed martyr give you your reward!
    771        And wel I woot, as ye goon by the weye,
                       And well I know, as you go by the way,
    772        Ye shapen yow to talen and to pleye;
                       You intend to tell tales and to amuse yourselves;
    773        For trewely, confort ne myrthe is noon
                       For truly, it is no comfort nor mirth
    774        To ride by the weye doumb as a stoon;
                       To ride by the way dumb as a stone;
    775        And therfore wol I maken yow disport,
                       And therefore I will make a game for you,
    776        As I seyde erst, and doon yow som confort.
                       As I said before, and provide you some pleasure.
    777        And if yow liketh alle by oon assent
                       And if pleases you all unanimously
    778        For to stonden at my juggement,
                       To be subject to my judgment,
    779        And for to werken as I shal yow seye,
                       And to do as I shall tell you,
    780        Tomorwe, whan ye riden by the weye,
                       Tomorrow, when you ride by the way,
    781        Now, by my fader soule that is deed,
                       Now, by the soul of my father who is dead,
    782        But ye be myrie, I wol yeve yow myn heed!
                       Unless you be merry (if you are not), I will give you my head!
    783        Hoold up youre hondes, withouten moore speche."
                       Hold up your hands, without more speech."

    784        Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche.
                       Our decision was not long to seek out.
    785        Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,
                       It seemed to us it was not worthwhile to deliberate on it,
    786        And graunted hym withouten moore avys,
                       And (we) granted his request without more discussion,
    787        And bad him seye his voirdit as hym leste.
                       And asked him to say his decision as it pleased him.
    788        "Lordynges," quod he, "now herkneth for the beste;
                       "Gentlemen," said he, "now listen for the best course of action;
    789        But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn.
                       But, I pray yow, do not take it in disdain (scorn it).
    790        This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
                       This is the point, to speak briefly and clearly,
    791        That ech of yow, to shorte with oure weye,
                       That each of yow, to make our way seem short by this means,
    792        In this viage shal telle tales tweye
                       Must tell two tales in this journey
    793        To Caunterbury-ward, I mene it so,
                       On the way to Canterbury, that is what I mean,
    794        And homward he shal tellen othere two,
                       And on the homeward trip he shall tell two others,
    795        Of aventures that whilom han bifalle.
                       About adventures that in old times have happened.
    796        And which of yow that bereth hym best of alle --
                       And whoever of you who does best of all --
    797        That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas
                       That is to say, who tells in this case
    798        Tales of best sentence and moost solaas --
                       Tales of best moral meaning and most pleasure --
    799        Shal have a soper at oure aller cost
                       Shall have a supper at the cost of us all
    800        Heere in this place, sittynge by this post,
                       Here in this place, sitting by this post,
    801        Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
                       When we come back from Canterbury.
    802        And for to make yow the moore mury,
                       And to make you the more merry,
    803        I wol myselven goodly with yow ryde,
                       I will myself gladly ride with you,
    804        Right at myn owene cost, and be youre gyde;
                       Entirely at my own cost, and be your guide;
    805        And whoso wole my juggement withseye
                       And whosoever will not accept my judgment
    806        Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
                       Shall pay all that we spend by the way.
    807        And if ye vouche sauf that it be so,
                       And if you grant that it be so,
    808        Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
                       Tell me straightway, without more words,
    809        And I wol erly shape me therfore."
                       And I will get ready early for this."

    810        This thyng was graunted, and oure othes swore
                       This thing was granted, and our oaths (were) sworn
    811        With ful glad herte, and preyden hym also
                       With very glad hearts, and (we) prayed him also
    812        That he wolde vouche sauf for to do so,
                       That he would consent to do so,
    813        And that he wolde been oure governour,
                       And that he would be our governor,
    814        And of oure tales juge and reportour,
                       And judge and score keeper of our tales,
    815        And sette a soper at a certeyn pris,
                       And set a supper at a certain price,
    816        And we wol reuled been at his devys
                       And we will be ruled as he wishes
    817        In heigh and lough; and thus by oon assent
                       In every respect; and thus unanimously
    818        We been acorded to his juggement.
                       We are accorded to his judgment.
    819        And therupon the wyn was fet anon;
                       And thereupon the wine was fetched immediately;
    820        We dronken, and to reste wente echon,
                       We drank, and each one went to rest,
    821        Withouten any lenger taryynge.
                       Without any longer tarrying.

    822        Amorwe, whan that day bigan to sprynge,
                       In the morning, when day began to spring,
    823        Up roos oure Hoost, and was oure aller cok,
                       Our Host arose, and was the rooster of us all (awakened us).
    824        And gadrede us togidre alle in a flok,
                       And gathered us together all in a flock,
    825        And forth we riden a litel moore than paas
                       And forth we ride at little more than a walk
    826        Unto the Wateryng of Seint Thomas;
                       Unto the Watering of Saint Thomas;
    827        And there oure Hoost bigan his hors areste
                       And there our Host stopped his horse
    828        And seyde, "Lordynges, herkneth, if yow leste.
                       And said, "Gentlemen, listen, if you please.
    829        Ye woot youre foreward, and I it yow recorde.
                       You know your agreement, and I remind you of it.
    830        If even-song and morwe-song accorde,
                       If what you said last night agrees with what you say this morning,
    831        Lat se now who shal telle the firste tale.
                       Let's see now who shall tell the first tale.
    832        As evere mote I drynke wyn or ale,
                       As ever I may drink wine or ale,
    833        Whoso be rebel to my juggement
                       Whosoever may be rebel to my judgment
    834        Shal paye for al that by the wey is spent.
                       Shall pay for all that is spent by the way.
    835        Now draweth cut, er that we ferrer twynne;
                       Now draw straws, before we depart further (from London);
    836        He which that hath the shorteste shal bigynne.
                       He who has the shortest (straw) shall begin.
    837        Sire Knyght," quod he, "my mayster and my lord,
                       Sir Knight," said he, "my master and my lord,
    838        Now draweth cut, for that is myn accord.
                       Now draw a straw, for that is my decision.
    839        Cometh neer," quod he, "my lady Prioresse.
                       Come nearer," he said, "my lady Prioress.
    840        And ye, sire Clerk, lat be youre shamefastnesse,
                       And you, sir Clerk, let be your modesty,
    841        Ne studieth noght; ley hond to, every man!"
                       And study not; lay hand to (draw a straw), every man!"
    842        Anon to drawen every wight bigan,
                       Every person began straightway to draw,
    843        And shortly for to tellen as it was,
                       And shortly to tell as it was,
    844        Were it by aventure, or sort, or cas,
                       Were it by chance, or destiny, or luck,
    845        The sothe is this: the cut fil to the Knyght,
                       The truth is this: the draw fell to the Knight,
    846        Of which ful blithe and glad was every wyght,
                       For which everyone was very happy and glad,
    847        And telle he moste his tale, as was resoun,
                       And he must tell his tale, as was reasonable,
    848        By foreward and by composicioun,
                       By our previous promise and by formal agreement,
    849        As ye han herd; what nedeth wordes mo?
                       As you have heard; what more words are needed?
    850        And whan this goode man saugh that it was so,
                       And when this good man saw that it was so,
    851        As he that wys was and obedient
                       Like one who was wise and obedient
    852        To kepe his foreward by his free assent,
                       To keep his agreement by his free assent,
    853        He seyde, "Syn I shal bigynne the game,
                       He said, "Since I must begin the game,
    854        What, welcome be the cut, a Goddes name!
                       What! Welcome be the draw, in God's name!
    855        Now lat us ryde, and herkneth what I seye."
                       Now let us ride, and listen to what I say."
    856        And with that word we ryden forth oure weye,
                       And with that word we rode forth on our way,
    857        And he bigan with right a myrie cheere
                       And he began with a truly merry demeanor
    858        His tale anon, and seyde as ye may heere.
                       To tell his tale straightway, and said as you may hear.

                   1386-1400