Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote The droghte of Marche hath perced to the❘ rote,

And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth 5
Inspired hath in every holt1 and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open yë,
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages2):
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
(And palmers for to seken straunge

To ferne3 halwes, couthe5 in sondry londes;


And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,

That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.

Bifel that, in that seson on a day, In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage To Caunterbury with ful devout corage, At night was come in-to that hostelrye Wel nyne and twenty in a companye, Of sondry folk, by aventure" y-falle In felawshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,



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2 hearts. ' distant. • shrines.


7 fallen. 8 "entertained in the best manner.'

Er that I ferther in this tale pace,
Me thinketh it acordaunt to resoun,
To telle yow al the condicioun
Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,
And whiche they weren, and of what


And eek in what array that they were inne:

And at a knight than wol I first biginne. A KNIGHT ther was, and that a worthy man,


That fro the tyme that he first bigan
To ryden out, he loved chivalrye,
Trouthe and honour, fredom and cur-


Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
And therto hadde he riden (no man ferre11)
As wel in Cristendom as hethenesse,
And ever honoured for his worthinesse. 50
At Alisaundre he was, whan it was wonne;
Ful ofte tyme he hadde the bord bi-

Aboven alle naciouns in Pruce.

In Lettow hadde he reysed13 and in Ruce, No Cristen man so ofte of his degree.


In Gernade at the sege eek hadde he be
Of Algezir, and riden in Belmarye.

At Lyeys was he, and at Satalye,
Whan they were wonne; and in the Grete


At many a noble aryve14 hadde he be.
At mortal batailles hadde he been fiftene,
And foughten for our feith at Tramissene
In listes thryes, and ay slayn his foo.

This ilke worthy knight hadde been also
Somtyme with the lord of Palatye, 65
Ageyn another hethen in Turkye:
And evermore he hadde a sovereyn
prys, 15

And though that he were worthy, he was

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But for to tellen yow of his array,
His hors1 were goode, but he was nat gay.
Of fustian he wered a gipoun2


Al bismotered3 with his habergeoun;4
For he was late y-come from his viage,5
And wente for to doon his pilgrimage.
With him ther was his sone, a yong


A lovyere, and a lusty bacheler, With lokkes crulle, as they were leyd in presse.

Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse. Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,7 And wonderly deliver, and greet of strengthe.


And he had been somtyme in chivachye,"
In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Picardye, 86
And born him wel, as of so litel space,'
In hope to stonden in his ladyll grace.
Embrouded 12 was he, as it were a mede13
Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and rede. 90
Singinge he was, or floytinge,14 al the day;
He was as fresh as is the month of May.
Short was his goune, with sleves longe and


Wel coude he sitte on hors, and faire ryde. He coude songes make and wel endyte, Iuste15 and eek daunce, and wel purtreye16 and wryte.

So hote1 he lovede, that by nightertale18 He sleep namore than dooth a nightingale.

Curteys he was, lowly, and servisable, And carf biforn his fader at the table.


.A YEMAN hadde he, and servaunts namo At that tyme, for him liste19 ryde so; And he was clad in cote and hood of grene; A sheef of pecock-arwes brighte and kene Under his belt he bar ful thriftily, (Wel coude he dresse his takel20 yemanly: His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe),


And in his hand he bar a mighty bowe.
A not-heed21 hadde he, with a broun

Of wode-craft wel coude he al the usage.110
Upon his arm he bar a gay bracer,22
And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,
And on that other syde a gay daggere,

1 horses (plural).

4 coat of mail.

2 doublet.

5 voyage.

8 active.

spotted. 6 curly. military expedition. time he had served." 13 meadow. 14 fluting.

17 hotly. 18 in the night-time. 20 take care of his weapons. 22 guard.

7 ordinary height.

10" considering the short 11 lady's. 12 adorned. 15 joust. 16 draw. 19 it pleased him. 21 cropped head.

Harneised 23 wel, and sharp as point of spere;

A Cristofre24 on his brest of silver shene.115 An horn he bar, the bawdrik 25 was of grene; A forster 26 was he, soothly, as I gesse.

Ther was also a Nonne, a PRIORESSE, That of hir smyling was ful simple and coy;


Hir gretteste ooth was but by seynt Loy, And she was cleped27 madame Eglentyne. Ful wel she song the service divyne, Entuned in hir nose ful semely;

And Frensh she spak ful faire and fetisly, 28
After the scole of Stratford atte Bowe, 125
For Frensh of Paris was to hir unknowe.
At mete wel y-taught was she with-alle;
She leet no morsel from hir lippes falle,
Ne wette hir fingres in hir sauce depe.
Wel coude she carie a morsel, and wel

That no drope ne fille up-on hir brest.
In curteisye was set ful moche hir lest.29
Hir over lippe wyped she so clene,
That in hir coppe was no ferthing sene
Of grece, whan she dronken hadde hir


Ful semely after hir mete she raughte,3
And sikerly31 she was of greet disport,32
And full plesaunt, and amiable of port,"
And peyned hir34 to countrefete chere35
Of court, and been estatlich36 of manere,140
And to ben holden digne37 of reverence.
But, for to speken of hir conscience,
She was so charitable and so pitous,
She wolde wepe, if that she sawe a mous
Caught in a trappe, if it were deed or



Of smale houndes had she, that she fedde With rosted flesh, or milk and wastel breed.39

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He hadde of gold y-wroght a curious pin:
A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
His heed was balled, that shoon as any
And eek his face, as he had been anoint.
He was a lord ful fat and in good point;'
His eyen stepe,16 and rollinge in his heed,
That stemed as a forneys of a leed;18
His botes souple, his hors in greet estat.
Now certeinly he was a fair prelat;
He was nat pale as a for-pyned19 goost. 205
A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
His palfrey was as broun as is a berye.
A FRERE there was, a wantown and a

A limitour,20 a ful solempne21 man.

In alle the ordres foure is noon that can22
So moche of daliaunce and fair langage.211
He hadde maad ful many a mariage
Of yonge wommen, at his owne cost.
Un-to his ordre he was a noble post.
Ful wel biloved and famulier was he
With frankeleyns 23 over-al in his contree,
And eek with worthy wommen of the



For he had power of confessioun,
As seyde him-self, more than a curat,
For of his ordre he was licentiat.24
Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
And plesaunt was his absolucioun;
He was an esy man to yeve25 penaunce
Ther-as he wiste to han a good pitaunce;
For unto a povre order for to yive
Is signe that a man is wel y-shrive.
For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,"
He wiste that a man was repentaunt.
For many a man so hard is of his herte,
He may nat wepe al-thogh him sore




15 in good condition.

18 fire under a cauldron.

20 licensed beggar.


country gentlemen. 25 give.

28 a sort of fiddle.



Therfore, in stede of weping and preyeres,
Men moot yeve silver to the povre freres.
His tipet was ay farsed27 full of knyves
And pinnes, for to yeven faire wyves.
And certeinly he hadde a mery note;
Wel coude he synge and pleyen on a rote.28
Of yeddinges29 he bar utterly the prys.
His nekke whyt was as the flour-de-lys;
Ther-to he strong was as a champioun.
He knew the tavernes well in every




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And everich hostiler and tappestere1
Bet2 than a lazar3 or a beggestere;1
For unto swich a worthy man as he
Acorded nat, as by his facultee,5
To have with seke lazars aqueyntaunce.245
It is nat honest, it may nat avaunce
For to delen with no swich poraille,7


But al with riche and sellers of vitaille.
And over-al, ther as profit sholde aryse,
Curteys he was, and lowly of servyse.
Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
He was the beste beggere in his hous;
For thogh a widwe hadde noght a sho,
So plesaunt was his In principio,
Yet wolde he have a ferthing, er he wente.
His purchas10 was wel bettre than his
And rage he coude as it were right a


In love-dayes ther coude he mochel helpe.
For ther he was nat lyk a cloisterer,
With a thredbar cope, as is a povre scoler,
But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
Of double worsted was his semi-cope,
That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse,
To make his English swete up-on his
And in his harping, whan that he had


His eyen twinkled in his heed aright,
As doon the sterres in the frosty night.
This worthy limitour was cleped Huberd.

A MARCHANT was ther with a forked

In mottelee, and hye on horse he sat,
Up-on his heed a Flaundrish bever hat;
His botes clasped faire and fetisly.
His resons he spak ful solempnely,
Souninge12 alway thencrees of his winning.
He wolde the see were kept13 for any



Bitwixe Middlelburgh and Orewelle.
Wel coude he in eschaunge sheeldes14 selle.
This worthy man ful wel his wit bisette;15
Ther wiste no wight that he was in dette,
So estatly was he of his governaunce,16 281
With his bargaynes, and with his chev-

1 barmaid. ? better. considering his ability. 8 was not.

the beginning of the Latin

10 proceeds of his begging.

12 tending towards.

14 shields, French coins.

16 management.

3 leper. 4 beggar woman.
• profit.
7 poor people.

Gospel of St. John.

For sothe he was a worthy man with-alle,
But sooth to seyn, I noot 18 how men him

11 regular income.
13 guarded.
15 employed.
17 dealings.

A CLERK ther was of Oxenford also, 285
That un-to logik hadde longe y-go.
As lene was his hors as is a rake,
And he nas nat right fat, I undertake;
But loked holwe, and ther-to soberly.
Ful thredbar was his overest courtepy;19290
For he had geten him yet no benefyce,
Ne was so worldly for to have offyce.
For him was lever have at his beddes heed


A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war26 and wys,
That often hadde been at the parvys,27
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discreet he was, and of greet reverence:
He semed swich, his wordes weren so wyse.
Iustyce he was ful often in assyse,
By patente, and by pleyn commissioun;315
For28 his science, and for his heigh renoun,
Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
So greet a purchasour29 was nowher noon.
Al was fee simple to him in effect,
His purchasing mighte nat been infect. 320
Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
And yet he semed bisier than he was.
In termes hadde he caas30 and domes31 alle,
That from the tyme of king William were



Twenty bokes, clad in blak or reed,
Of Aristotle and his philosophye,
Than robes riche, or fithele,20 or gay sau-

But al be that he was a philosophre,
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre;

But al that he mighte of his freendes
hente, 22

On bokes and on lerninge he it spente, 300
And bisily gan for the soules preye

Of hem that yaf him wher-with to scoleye.
Of studie took he most cure and most

Noght o word spak he more than was nede,
And that was seyd in forme and rever-


And short and quik, and ful of hy sen-

Souninge25 in moral vertu was his speche,
And gladly wolde he lerne, and gladly

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