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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffery Chaucer

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"General Prologue" courtesy Gerard NeCastro, University of Maine at Machias.

General Prologue (Middle English)

GP 1 Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
GP 2 The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
GP 3 And bathed every veyne in swich licour
GP 4 Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
GP 5 Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
GP 6 Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
GP 7 The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
GP 8 Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
GP 9 And smale foweles maken melodye,
GP 10 That slepen al the nyght with open ye
GP 11 (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
GP 12 Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
GP 13 And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
GP 14 To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
GP 15 And specially from every shires ende
GP 16 Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
GP 17 The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
GP 18 That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
GP 19 Bifil that in that seson on a day,
GP 20 In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
GP 21 Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
GP 22 To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
GP 23 At nyght was come into that hostelrye
GP 24 Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye
GP 25 Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
GP 26 In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
GP 27 That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.
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