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32 Works of Geoffrey Chaucer

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Chaucer’s Dream

Story type: Poetry

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[This pretty allegory, or rather conceit, containing one or two passages that for vividness and for delicacy yield to nothing in the whole range of Chaucer’s poetry, had never been printed before the year 1597, when it was included in the edition of Speght. Before that date, indeed, a Dream of Chaucer had been printed; […]

The House Of Fame

Story type: Poetry

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[Thanks partly to Pope’s brief and elegant paraphrase, in his “Temple of Fame,” and partly to the familiar force of the style and the satirical significance of the allegory, “The House of Fame” is among the best known and relished of Chaucer’s minor poems. The octosyllabic measure in which it is written — the same […]

[“The Flower and the Leaf” is pre-eminently one of those poems by which Chaucer may be triumphantly defended against the charge of licentious coarseness, that, founded upon his faithful representation of the manners, customs, and daily life and speech of his own time, in “The Canterbury Tales,” are sweepingly advanced against his works at large. […]

THE life so short, the craft so long to learn, Th’assay so hard, so sharp the conquering, The dreadful joy, alway that *flits so yern;* *fleets so fast* All this mean I by* Love, that my feeling *with reference to Astoneth* with his wonderful working, *amazes So sore, y-wis, that, when I on him think, […]

The Court Of Love

Story type: Poetry

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“The Court Of Love” was probably Chaucer’s first poem of any consequence. It is believed to have been written at the age, and under the circumstances, of which it contains express mention; that is, when the poet was eighteen years old, and resided as a student at Cambridge, — about the year 1346. The composition […]

[THE noble vindication of true love, as an exalting, purifying, and honour-conferring power, which Chaucer has made in “The Court of Love,” is repeated in “The Cuckoo and the Nightingale.” At the same time, the close of the poem leads up to “The Assembly of Fowls;” for, on the appeal of the Nightingale, the dispute […]

THE PROLOGUE. WHEN that Aprilis, with his showers swoot*, *sweet The drought of March hath pierced to the root, And bathed every vein in such licour, Of which virtue engender’d is the flower; When Zephyrus eke with his swoote breath Inspired hath in every holt* and heath *grove, forest The tender croppes* and the younge […]

TALE <1> WHILOM*, as olde stories tellen us, *formerly There was a duke that highte* Theseus. *was called <2> Of Athens he was lord and governor, And in his time such a conqueror That greater was there none under the sun. Full many a riche country had he won. What with his wisdom and his […]

THE PROLOGUE When that the Knight had thus his tale told In all the rout was neither young nor old, That he not said it was a noble story, And worthy to be *drawen to memory*; *recorded* And *namely the gentles* every one. *especially the gentlefolk* Our Host then laugh’d and swore, “So may I […]

THE PROLOGUE WHEN folk had laughed all at this nice case Of Absolon and Hendy Nicholas, Diverse folk diversely they said, But for the more part they laugh’d and play’d;* *were diverted And at this tale I saw no man him grieve, But it were only Osewold the Reeve. Because he was of carpenteres craft, […]

THE PROLOGUE THE Cook of London, while the Reeve thus spake, For joy he laugh’d and clapp’d him on the back: “Aha!” quoth he, “for Christes passion, This Miller had a sharp conclusion, Upon this argument of herbergage.* *lodging Well saide Solomon in his language, Bring thou not every man into thine house, For harbouring […]

THE PROLOGUE. Our Hoste saw well that the brighte sun Th’ arc of his artificial day had run The fourthe part, and half an houre more; And, though he were not deep expert in lore, He wist it was the eight-and-twenty day Of April, that is messenger to May; And saw well that the shadow […]

THE PROLOGUE <1> Experience, though none authority* *authoritative texts Were in this world, is right enough for me To speak of woe that is in marriage: For, lordings, since I twelve year was of age, (Thanked be God that *is etern on live),* *lives eternally* Husbands at the church door have I had five,<2> For […]

THE PROLOGUE<1> This worthy limitour, this noble Frere, He made always a manner louring cheer* *countenance Upon the Sompnour; but for honesty* *courtesy No villain word as yet to him spake he: But at the last he said unto the Wife: “Dame,” quoth he, “God give you right good life, Ye have here touched, all […]

THE PROLOGUE. The Sompnour in his stirrups high he stood, Upon this Friar his hearte was so wood,* *furious That like an aspen leaf he quoke* for ire: *quaked, trembled “Lordings,” quoth he, “but one thing I desire; I you beseech, that of your courtesy, Since ye have heard this false Friar lie, As suffer […]

THE PROLOGUE “SIR Clerk of Oxenford,” our Hoste said, “Ye ride as still and coy, as doth a maid That were new spoused, sitting at the board: This day I heard not of your tongue a word. I trow ye study about some sophime:* *sophism But Solomon saith, every thing hath time. For Godde’s sake, […]

THE PROLOGUE “Weeping and wailing, care and other sorrow, I have enough, on even and on morrow,” Quoth the Merchant, “and so have other mo’, That wedded be; I trow* that it be so; *believe For well I wot it fareth so by me. I have a wife, the worste that may be, For though […]

THE PROLOGUE. “HEY! Godde’s mercy!” said our Hoste tho,* *then “Now such a wife I pray God keep me fro’. Lo, suche sleightes and subtilities In women be; for aye as busy as bees Are they us silly men for to deceive, And from the soothe* will they ever weive,** *truth **swerve, depart As this […]

THE PROLOGUE <1> “IN faith, Squier, thou hast thee well acquit, And gentilly; I praise well thy wit,” Quoth the Franklin; “considering thy youthe So feelingly thou speak’st, Sir, I aloue* thee, *allow, approve *As to my doom,* there is none that is here *so far as my judgment Of eloquence that shall be thy […]

THE PROLOGUE <1> The Canterbury Tales [“YEA, let that passe,” quoth our Host, “as now. Sir Doctor of Physik, I praye you, Tell us a tale of some honest mattere.” “It shall be done, if that ye will it hear,” Said this Doctor; and his tale gan anon. “Now, good men,” quoth he, “hearken everyone.”] […]

THE PROLOGUE. OUR Hoste gan to swear as he were wood; “Harow!” quoth he, “by nailes and by blood, <1> This was a cursed thief, a false justice. As shameful death as hearte can devise Come to these judges and their advoca’s.* *advocates, counsellors Algate* this sely** maid is slain, alas! *nevertheless **innocent Alas! too […]

<1> THE PROLOGUE Our Host upon his stirrups stood anon, And saide; “Good men, hearken every one, This was a thrifty* tale for the nones. *discreet, Sir Parish Priest,” quoth he, “for Godde’s bones, profitable Tell us a tale, as was thy *forword yore:* *promise formerly* I see well that ye learned men in lore […]

THE PROLOGUE<1> WHEN said was this miracle, every man As sober* was, that wonder was to see, *serious Till that our Host to japen* he began, *talk lightly And then *at erst* he looked upon me, *for the And saide thus; “What man art thou?” quoth he; first time* “Thou lookest as thou wouldest find […]

THE PROLOGUE. “WELL said, by *corpus Domini,”* quoth our Host; *the Lord’s body* “Now longe may’st thou saile by the coast, Thou gentle Master, gentle Marinere. God give the monk *a thousand last quad year!* *ever so much evil*<1> Aha! fellows, beware of such a jape.* *trick The monk *put in the manne’s hood an […]

THE PROLOGUE. “No more of this, for Godde’s dignity!” Quoth oure Hoste; “for thou makest me So weary of thy very lewedness,* *stupidity, ignorance <1> That, all so wisly* God my soule bless, *surely Mine eares ache for thy drafty* speech. *worthless <2> Now such a rhyme the devil I beteche:* *commend to This may […]

THE PROLOGUE WHEN ended was my tale of Melibee, And of Prudence and her benignity, Our Hoste said, “As I am faithful man, And by the precious corpus Madrian,<1> I had lever* than a barrel of ale, *rather That goode lefe* my wife had heard this tale; *dear For she is no thing of such […]

THE CANON’S YEOMAN’S TALE. <1> THE PROLOGUE. WHEN ended was the life of Saint Cecile, Ere we had ridden fully five mile, <2> At Boughton-under-Blee us gan o’ertake A man, that clothed was in clothes black, And underneath he wore a white surplice. His hackenay,* which was all pomely-gris,** *nag **dapple-gray So sweated, that it […]

THE SECOND NUN’S TALE <1> The minister and norice* unto vices, *nurse Which that men call in English idleness, The porter at the gate is of delices;* *delights T’eschew, and by her contrar’ her oppress, — That is to say, by lawful business,* — *occupation, activity Well oughte we to *do our all intent* *apply […]

THE PROLOGUE. “Ho!” quoth the Knight, “good sir, no more of this; That ye have said is right enough, y-wis,* *of a surety And muche more; for little heaviness Is right enough to muche folk, I guess. I say for me, it is a great disease,* *source of distress, Where as men have been in […]

THE PROLOGUE By that the Manciple his tale had ended, The sunne from the south line was descended So lowe, that it was not to my sight Degrees nine-and-twenty as in height. Four of the clock it was then, as I guess, For eleven foot, a little more or less, My shadow was at thilke […]

THE PROLOGUE WEET* ye not where there stands a little town, *know Which that y-called is Bob-up-and-down, <1> Under the Blee, in Canterbury way? There gan our Hoste for to jape and play, And saide, “Sirs, what? Dun is in the mire.<2> Is there no man, for prayer nor for hire, That will awaken our […]

*PRECES DE CHAUCERES* <1> *Prayer of Chaucer* Now pray I to you all that hear this little treatise or read it, that if there be anything in it that likes them, that thereof they thank our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom proceedeth all wit and all goodness; and if there be anything that displeaseth them, […]