Verse > Geoffrey Chaucer > Complete Poetical Works
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Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1894.
 
The Canterbury Tales
The Friar’s Prologue
 
The Prologe of the Freres tale.

THIS worthy limitour, this noble Frere,
He made alwey a maner louring chere
Upon the Somnour, but for honestee
No vileyns word as yet to him spak he.
But atte laste he seyde un-to the Wyf,        5
‘Dame,’ quod he, ‘god yeve yow right good lyf!
Ye han heer touched, al-so moot I thee,
In scole-matere greet difficultee;
Ye han seyd muchel thing right wel, I seye;
But dame, here as we ryden by the weye,        10
Us nedeth nat to speken but of game,
And lete auctoritees, on goddes name,
To preching and to scole eek of clergye.
But if it lyke to this companye,
I wol yow of a somnour telle a game.        15
Pardee, ye may wel knowe by the name,
That of a somnour may no good be sayd;
I praye that noon of you be yvel apayd.
A somnour is a renner up and doun
With mandements for fornicacioun,        20
And is y-bet at every tounes ende.’
  Our host tho spak, ‘a! sire, ye sholde be hende
And curteys, as a man of your estaat;
In companye we wol have no debaat.
Telleth your tale, and lat the Somnour be.’        25
  ‘Nay,’ quod the Somnour, ‘lat him seye to me
What so him list; whan it comth to my lot,
By god, I shal him quyten every grot.
I shal him tellen which a greet honour
It is to be a flateringe limitour;        30
And his offyce I shal him telle, y-wis.’
  Our host answerde, ‘pees, na-more of this.’
And after this he seyde un-to the Frere,
‘Tel forth your tale, leve maister deere.’

Here endeth the Prologe of the Frere.
 
 
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