Wednesday, April 28, 2010

from "General Prologue" to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

from the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales (lines 1-18)

Here bygynneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury.

    Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(So Priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Source of the text - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Riverside Chaucer, 3rd Edition, edited by Larry D. Benson.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987, p. 23.

TJB: Our narrator assonantly links cause—a gorgeous April-chronographia ending in a unique bird-image—to effect, the desire for holy pilgrimage.

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