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SELECTIONS FROM

CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES

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FROM

CHAUCER'S CANTERBURY TALES

(Ellesmere Text)

EDITED

WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES, AND GLOSSARY

BY

HIRAM CORSON, LL.D.

PROFESSOR OF ENGLISH LITERATURE IN THE CORNELL UNIVERSITY

A profoundly human soul with a marvellous

power of speech'

New York
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

LONDON: MACMILLAN & CO., LTD.

1905

All rights reserved

HARVARD
UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY

COPYRIGHT, 1897,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and electrotyped September, 1896. Reprinted May,
1897 ; September, 1898; March, 1901 ; March, 1902; July, 1904.
July, 1905.

Norwood Press
J. S. Cushing & Co. -- Berwick & Smith

Norwood Magg. U.S.A.

PREFACE

This edition of Selections from The Canterbury Tales has been prepared as an introduction to the study of Chaucer as a poet rather than as a writer of fourteenth century English; and, accordingly, all philological information not absolutely needed for such study has been omitted; but all requisite aids to a knowledge of the language as it is, irrespective of its sources, are afforded by the synopsis of grammatical forms given in the General Introduction, and by a designation of the grammatical categories of all words recorded in the Glossary, except where the definitions indicate the same.

It was not thought necessary to obtrude upon the student's attention the unimportant variations which the different texts of The Canterbury Tales exhibit. Attention is called in the Notes to any variation which gives a different meaning from the reading of the Ellesmere text. In a very few cases, other readings than those of the Ellesmere have been adopted, but their adoption has always been noted. It is remarkable how slight the variations in the several texts really are. The reproduction of the seven best manuscripts of The Canterbury Tales revealed the fact, not before so certainly known, that, with very few exceptions, we must

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