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CANTERBURY TALES, viz.
YROL. TO CANT. TALES, H THE REVES TALE,
&c. fife &c.
But nuthclea certain
I can right now nu thrifty Tale fain.
But CHAUCER, (though he can hutlewcdly
On metres and on riming craftily)
Hath fa yd hem in fwichc Eiiglilh as he can
Of tjlde time, as knowcth inany a man -,
And if he have not fayd hem, ieve brother,
Jn o book, fee hath fayd hem in another
Who so that wtil liis large Volume seke. TALES,-ver. 4465.
DanCHAUCET, noli of English undefil'd,
The pure well-head of poetry did dwell
He whilst he lived was the foveraigne head
Of shepherd* all srENSER,
Old CHAUCER, like the morning star,
CHAUCER, him who first with harmony inform\i
^Vith cunning band portraying
Him u'hu in times—.—
Dark and untaught began with charming verse
'i o tame the rudeness of his native land. AKXNST DE.
THE CANTERBURY TALES.
Whanne that April with his fhoures sote
The droughte of March hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veine in swiche licour,
Ofwhiche vertae engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eke with hisTote brethe * 5
Enspired hath in every holt and hethc
The tendre cropper, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ramhishalsecoursyronne,
And smalc foules maken melndie,
That flepea alle night with open eye, 10
So prilceth hem nature in hir corages,
Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken strange ftrondes,
To serve halwes couthc in fondry londes;
For a grammatical and metrical analysis of the first eight cen lines fee the fjsay-, tjfc. p. 167—170.
^. 8. Hath in the Ham] Rather the Bolk. See the reasons in the Discourse, &c. p. 177.
■fr. 13. rfnd paiinereil'rheiDŒcTenl sorts of pilgrims are thin distinguished by Dante, Vita nut va, p. 8o, '* Chiamanii ralml11 erl% inquanto vanaooltramare, laomle molte volte recano *' la palraa,;—Peregrins jrtquanro vanno alia casadi Galizia j "—Romei, inquanto vamin a Roma." But lie speaks as an Italian. Chaucer seems to consider all pilgrims to foreign parts as pahnetfr..
And specially from every (Sire's endc t$
Of Englelond to Canterbury they wende,
The holy Blissful martyr for to scke
That hem hath holpen whan that they were feke.
Befelle that in that scfon on a day,
Hedy to wenden on my pilgrimage
In selawfhip, and pilgrimes were they alle
And shortly when the fonne was gon to reste, 36
But natheles while I have time and space, 35
Or that I fortber in this Tale pace,
ir-^o. The Tabard} See Mr. Speght's note, as cited in the Discourse, &c. n. 6.
is. 29. tvel—e/etf] BienaiJ?s. The later French usage ofaisi sinp. and aiscs plur. unaccented, seems to be a corruption.
^. 33. And made forward} Moreproperly/orM'crrf. See be-1 lo*, ver. R 31, 50, 54, from the Sax. fore-word, promise. Mads (contrived from mated) is a dissyllable. See ver. 4361.
Me thinlteth it accordant to reson
To telien you alle the condition
Of eche of hem, so as it semed me,
And whiche they weren, and of what degre, 40
And eke in what araie that they were inne; .'
And at a knight than wol I sirste beginne. » I
A Knigbt ther was, and that a worthy man,
Trouthe and honour, fredom and curtesie.
■&. 43. A Knight] The course of adventures of our Knight may be illustrated by those of a real knight of Chaucer's age, who (for any thing that appears to the contrary) might have been upon this very pilgrimagcj his epitaph bin Leland's Him v. iii. p. 111 ; "Icy gift le noble et vaillant Chivaler Matheu
** de Gourney, Use. qui en fa vie fu a la bataille de Bena
"maryii) et ala apres a la siege d'Algezire fur les Sarazines et ** aufli a les batailles de l'Efclute, de Creffy, de Deyngenefse* •* de Peyteres, de Nazare, d'Ozrey et a plufours autres batail•* les et afleges en les quex il gaigna nobleman graunt los et •■ honour."—He died in 1406 at the age of ninty-six. Why Chaucer thould have chosen to bring his knight from Alexandria and Lettowe rather than from Cressy and Poitiers is a problem difficult to resolve, except by supposing that the slightest services against infidels were in those days more honourabla than the most splendid victories over Christians.
■fr. 48. ferre] i, e. ferert the comparative of /er, far. So Chaucer uses derrt for deter, the comparat. ofdere, dear^ ver. 1450; "Ther n*a&noman that Theseus hath derre." Ferrer is used at length by Peter of Lang-toft, and ferrejt, th* supcrl. below, ver. 40*5.