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Prologue

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Prologue
by Geoffrey Chaucer c.1400

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breath
Inspired hath in every holt and heath
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
So priketh hem nature in hir corages;
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages.

(Palmers of every shire’s ende, to Canterbury, Canterbury wende )

And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
Bifil that in that seson on a day,
In southwerk at the tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage
To caunterbury with ful devout corage,
At nyght was come into that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye,

(Palmers of every shire’s ende, to Canterbury, Canterbury wende )

Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle
In felaweshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,
That toward caunterbury wolden ryde.
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
And wel we weren esed atte beste.
And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everichon
That I was of hir felaweshipe anon,
And made forward erly for to ryse,
To take oure wey ther as I yow devyse.

(Palmers of every shire’s ende, to Canterbury, Canterbury wende )

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I regret nothing.