Canterbury Tales Prologue Snippets  

When that April, with his showers sweet

The drought of March has pierced to the root,

And bathed every vine in such liquor,

Of which virtue is the flower...

And specially from every shire's end

Of England, to Canterbury they wend,

The holdy blissful martyr for to seek

That them had helped, when they were sick.

Befell that in that season, on a day,

In Southwark at the Tabard as I lay

Ready to wenden on my pilgrimage

To Canterbury with full devout courage,

At night was come into that hostelery

Well nine-and-twenty in a company

Of sundry folk, by adventure fallen

into   fellowship, and pilgrims were they all,

that toward Canterbury would ride.

The chambers and the stables were wide

and well we had eaten of the best;

And shortly, when the sun was to rest,

So had I spoken with them every one

That I would be of there fellowship anon,

And made forward early for to rise

To take our way, there as I to you describe...

Great cheer our Host made to us everyone

And before us set our super anon

He served us with vitals at the best;

Strong was teh wine, and well to drink us let.

A seemly man our was withall

For to been a marshal in a halle...

And said he thus, "Now lords, truly,

Ye have been to me right welcome heartily;

For by my troth, and I shall not lie,

I saw not this year so merry a company

At once in my herbery, as you are now.

Fain would I give you mirth, and I know how.

An of a mirth I am right bethought.

To do you ease, and it shall cost you nought.

You go to Canterbury- God you speed,

The blissful martyr give you your reward!

And well I know, as you go by the way,

You will shape tales and play,

For truly, there is no mirth

To ride by the way dumb as a stone;

And therefor will I make you disport,

As I said at first, and do you some comfort.

And if you like it all by common consent

For to stand to my judgement,

And for to work as I shall tell you...

That each of you, to shorten our way,

In this way shall tell two tales

On the way to Canterbury, I mean it so.

And homeward you shall tell another two....


Back to Battle & Canterbury