The Age of Chaucer. The Prologue from The Canterbury Tales. Poem by Geoffrey Chaucer Translated by Nevill Coghill did you know? Geoffrey Chaucer. Canterbury Tales: Prologue. [Parallel Texts]. For information about sources and permissions, see below, p. The Canterbury Tales: Prologue. Here bygynneth . world, and on people. The style of the rest of the Prologue and Tales is much simpler than this To Canterbury with full devout couráge, spirit, heart. At night.

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The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales. Lines 1– Geoffrey Chaucer ((?)– ). WHAN that Aprille with his shoures soote. The droghte of Marche hath. chaucer's prologue to the canterbury tales summary geoffrey chaucer, the man responsible for the spreading and development of middle english dialect was not. THE CANTERBURY TALES. The General Prologue. The Knight's Tale. The Miller's tale. The Reeve's Tale. The Cook's Tale. The Man of Law's Tale. The Wife of.

Of mortal battles he had fought fifteen, And he'd fought for our faith at Tramissene Three times in lists, and each time slain his foe. This self-same worthy knight had been also At one time with the lord of Palatye Against another heathen in Turkey: And always won he sovereign fame for prize.

Though so illustrious, he was very wise And bore himself as meekly as a maid. He never yet had any vileness said, In all his life, to whatsoever wight. He was a truly perfect, gentle knight. But now, to tell you all of his array, His steeds were good, but yet he was not gay.

Of simple fustian wore he a jupon Sadly discoloured by his habergeon; For he had lately come from his voyage And now was going on this pilgrimage. With him there was his son, a youthful squire, A lover and a lusty bachelor, With locks well curled, as if they'd laid in press.

Some twenty years of age he was, I guess. In stature he was of an average length, Wondrously active, aye, and great of strength.

Geoffrey Chaucer

He'd ridden sometime with the cavalry In Flanders, in Artois, and Picardy, And borne him well within that little space In hope to win thereby his lady's grace. Befell that, in that season, on a day In Southwark, at the Tabard, as I lay Ready to start upon my pilgrimage To Canterbury, full of devout homage, There came at nightfall to that hostelry Some nine and twenty in a company Of sundry persons who had chanced to fall In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all That toward Canterbury town would ride.

The rooms and stables spacious were and wide, And well we there were eased, and of the best. And briefly, when the sun had gone to rest, So had I spoken with them, every one, That I was of their fellowship anon, And made agreement that we'd early rise To take the road, as you I will apprise.

About General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

But none the less, whilst I have time and space, Before yet farther in this tale I pace, It seems to me accordant with reason To inform you of the state of every one Of all of these, as it appeared to me, And who they were, and what was their degree, And even how arrayed there at the inn; And with a knight thus will I first begin.

A knight there was, and he a worthy man, Who, from the moment that he first began To ride about the world, loved chivalry, Truth, honour, freedom and all courtesy. Full worthy was he in his liege-lord's war, And therein had he ridden none more far As well in Christendom as heathenesse, And honoured everywhere for worthiness.

At Alexandria, he, when it was won; Full oft the table's roster he'd begun Above all nations' knights in Prussia. In Latvia raided he, and Russia, No christened man so oft of his degree. In far Granada at the siege was he Of Algeciras, and in Belmarie.

Of mortal battles he had fought fifteen, And he'd fought for our faith at Tramissene Three times in lists, and each time slain his foe. This self-same worthy knight had been also At one time with the lord of Palatye Against another heathen in Turkey: And always won he sovereign fame for prize.

The narrator begins by describing the Knight , a noble man who loves chivalry and fights for truth and honor. The knight has travelled through Christian and heathen territories——Alexandria, Prussia, Russia, Lithuania, Granada, Morocco, Turkey——and has been victorious everywhere and universally praised for his valor.

But his exploits are always conducted for love of Christ, not love of glory. The narrator is sincere in his description of the Knight as a noble, chivalrous man, determined to fight for the glory of God and always victorious. Download it!

In addition to being worthy and brave, says the narrator, the Knight is modest and meek as a maid. He never speaks ill of anyone. He wears modest clothes , and his mail is stained with rust. The Squire has curled hair and, though only of moderate height, is marvelously agile. He has taken part in chivalric expeditions in Flanders and northern France. The Squire is not yet as noble and experienced as his father: The Squire , says the narrator, wants to find favor with his lady.

His tunic is embroidered with flowers, as if he had gathered a meadow and sewn it to his clothes, and his gown is short with wide sleeves. The Squire is constantly singing and playing the flute.

He can also joust, dance, draw, and write well. The Squire is so passionately in love that he sleeps no more than a nightingale. He is always courteous, humble, and modest. Unlike the Knight, who dresses modestly so as not to show off, the young Squire wears elaborately decorated clothing that reveals him as a lusty youth as well as a fighter. He displays all the skills of a courtly lover. But although the Squire is a bit vain, he does always act in accordance with his social position.

The only servant the Knight has with him is the Yeoman , who wears a green hood and coat. The Yeoman takes great care of his bow and sharp, keen peacock arrows. He has closely cropped hair and tanned skin.

On his arm he wears a bright arm guard and carried a sword as well as a dagger. The Yeoman also wears a badge of St. Even though the Knight is noble, he is shown as humble, as befits a good knight, because he only travels with one servant. The fact that he has a Yeoman also shows that the Knight owns land because he needs a forester to maintain it.

The narrator next describes the Prioress , a nun named Madame Eglentyne. She sings the liturgy through her nose. She speaks French elegantly, though in an English accent.

She has excellent table manners: She wipes her lips so clean that not a speck of grease remains after a meal. The Prioress takes pains to imitate courtly manners and to remain dignified at all times. She believes she sings well, but she intones in straight through her nose. The fact that the Prioress speaks French shows her desire to adopt the behaviors of a noble lady, since French was the language of the court. The Prioress is so charitable and compassionate, the narrator says, that whenever she sees a mouse caught and bleeding in a trap, she weeps.

She keeps small dogs, feeding them roast meat, milk, and fine white bread, and she weeps if any of them are trampled or if men beat them with a switch.

The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

The narrator sarcastically portrays the Prioress as a wimp, squealing every time she sees a dead mouse. In the name of her compassion, she also spoils her little pet dogs. The Prioress wears a wimple draped to show off her well-formed nose, gray eyes, and small red mouth. The narrator observes that she has a wide forehead and that she is hardly underfed. Her cloak is very elegant.

She wears a coral rosary with green beads , on which there is a gilded A, for Amor vincit omnia: The Prioress pretends to be dainty, but the narrator sardonically observes that she is a rather large woman, which explains why he knows her table manners so well.

Her fancy rosary suggests that the Prioress is more devoted to earthly possessions than to Christ. The narrator notes that a second nun rides with the Prioress as well as a chaplain and three priests ; however, these characters are only mentioned in passing in the General Prologue. Next there comes a handsome Monk who conducts business outside the monastery. When he rides through the country, men can hear his bridle jingling as loud as the chapel bell.

This monk is of the old, somewhat strict Benedictine order, but he lets the old ideas pass away to follow new customs.

The Monk scoffs at the notion that monks cannot be holy if they go hunting and scorns the text that claims that a monk out of his cloister is not worth an oyster.

The narrator claims to agree: Let Augustine do his own work! The narrator satirizes the contemporary non-devout life of monks through his portrait of the jolly huntsman. By pretending to agree that monks should abandon the commands of their orders and go hunting instead of studying in cloisters, the narrator mocks the corruption he sees in medieval monasteries.

The Monk is a good horseman and rides along with a pack of swift greyhounds. His sleeves are trimmed with expensive squirrel fur, and his hood is fastened with a gold pin into an elaborate knot. His head is bald, and his face glows as if he had been rubbed with oil. He is a plump, lively man whose eyes gleam like fire under a cauldron. The plump, robust Monk resembles a prosperous lord rather than a scholar who spends his days pouring over his books. Instead of dressing in modest, pious attire, the Monk wears fine furs and shows off his material wealth.

The merry, wanton Friar is licensed to beg in a certain district. Of all the orders of Friars, his is the most inclined to gossip.

The Friar has arranged and paid for many marriages of young ladies. He is well known to all the rich landowners and wealthy women in town, as he has full powers of confession and could absolve any sins sweetly and pleasantly.

Many a man is so hard of heart, says the narrator , that he cannot weep for his sins: Medieval friars were mendicants: The wily Friar hears the confessions of the wealthy landowners and gives them easy penance to make more money, twisting the spiritual intention of his office to his own material well-being. The Friar is an excellent singer and knew every innkeeper and barmaid in every town.

He disdains lepers and beggars as unworthy: Whenever he can make money, there is no man so virtuous. On days when conflicts are resolved, the Friar behaves not like a cloistered cleric but like a master or pope, donning an expensive cloak and frolicking.

This friar, whose name is Hubert, also has a lisp. Saint Francis, the founder of the Order of Friars, famously spent his life treating lepers and beggars. This hypocritical Friar abuses his office to make money instead of concentrating his efforts on helping those who need aid.

Instead of remaining pious and true to his vows, the lusty Friar cavorts in expensive clothes. The detail of his lisp turns him into an even more ridiculous figure. A Merchant with a forked beard is also among the company. He is dressed in a multicolor cloak , fur hat, and boots.

He speaks slowly, weighing the profit of expressing his opinions. He is good at borrowing money and was so dignified in business that no one can tell he was in debt, the narrator claims.As leene was his hors as is a rake, And he nas nat right fat, I undertake, But looked holwe, and ther-to sobrely. Chaucer gives us a direct view of reality and a true picture of daily life.

He'd ridden sometime with the cavalry In Flanders, in Artois, and Picardy, And borne him well within that little space In hope to win thereby his lady's grace. A yeoman had he, nor more servants, no, At that time, for he chose to travel so; And he was clad in coat and hood of green. Written and Composed By: The Reeve is a slender, choleric man with a closely cropped beard and stick-thin legs.

Whit was his berd as is the dayesye; Of his complexioun he was sangwyn. If he had lived a few years more, he would certainly have been our first dramatist and novelist, just as he is the first national poet of England. This geniality separates Chaucer from such later humorists as Addison and Jane Austin who can be cruel. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy , Privacy Policy , and Terms of Service.

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