Canterbury Tales: Prologue

Contents:
Author: Geoffrey Chaucer  | Date: 1380

PROLOGUE

Here begins the Book

of the Tales of Canterbury

When April with his showers sweet with fruit

The drought of March has pierced unto the root

And bathed each vein with liquor that has power

To generate therein and sire the flower;

When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,

Quickened again, in every holt and heath,

The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun

Into the Ram one half his course has run,

And many little birds make melody

That sleep through all the night with open eye

(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-

Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,

And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,

To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.

And specially from every shire’s end

Of England they to Canterbury wend,

The holy blessed martyr there to seek

Who helped them when they lay so ill and weal

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.

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.

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Chicago: Geoffrey Chaucer, "Prologue," Canterbury Tales: Prologue Original Sources, accessed December 1, 2021, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=FEUHT4B6HRNED2E.

MLA: Chaucer, Geoffrey. "Prologue." Canterbury Tales: Prologue, Original Sources. 1 Dec. 2021. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=FEUHT4B6HRNED2E.

Harvard: Chaucer, G, 'Prologue' in Canterbury Tales: Prologue. Original Sources, retrieved 1 December 2021, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=FEUHT4B6HRNED2E.