The Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, with Notes by E. F. Willoughby

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General Books, 2013 - History - 44 pages
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can usually download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated. 1881 edition. Excerpt: ...MS. pace=steps. Olde thinges.--This is the reading of most of the MSS., and I have adopted it instead of that of the MS. Harl. forby hem, which appears to give no clear sense. The reule of seynt Maure or of seint Beneyt, Bycause that it was old and somdel streyt, This ilke monk leet oldS thingSs pacS, 175 And helde after the newS world the space'. He ga.1 nat of that text a pulled hen, That seith, that hunters been noon holy men; Ne that a monk, whan he is reccheles Is likned to a fissche that is waterles; 180 This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre. But thilkd text held he not worth an oystre. And I seide his opinioun was good. What schulde he studie, and make himselven wood, Uppon a book in cloystre alway to powrS, 185 Or swynkS with his handes, and labourS, As Austyn byt? How schal the world be served? Lat Austyn have his swynk to him reserved. 177. Pulled.--Probably pylled=bald, scabby, or moulting (as if peeled). Text, an authoritative quotation; so the term scripture was applied to the writings of saints, &c., as well as to the Bible. 178. Noon--none. 179-181 Reccheles--reckless, careless. A.S. reccan, to think, regard. All the oldest MSS. read reccheles, though Mr. T. Wright, on the authority of one at Cambridge, proposes cloysterles. The "text," he observes, is taken from a Decretal of Gratian--" Sicut piscis sine aqua caret vita, ita sine monasterio," though Chaucer more probably found it in the life of Louis IX. by le Sieur de Joinville, who says, ' Tho Scriptures (sic) do say that a monk cannot live out of his cloister without falling into deadly sins, any more than a fish can live out of water without dying." Had Chaucer, however, written cloysterles the explanation in l. 181 would...

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About the author (2013)

Geoffrey Chaucer, one of England's greatest poets, was born in London about 1340, the son of a wine merchant and deputy to the king's butler and his wife Agnes. Not much is known of Chaucer's early life and education, other than he learned to read French, Latin, and Italian. His experiences as a civil servant and diplomat are said to have developed his fascination with people and his knowledge of English life. In 1359-1360 Chaucer traveled with King Edward III's army to France during the Hundred Years' War and was captured in Ardennes. He returned to England after the Treaty of Bretigny when the King paid his ransom. In 1366 he married Philippa Roet, one of Queen Philippa's ladies, who gave him two sons and two daughters. Chaucer remained in royal service traveling to Flanders, Italy, and Spain. These travels would all have a great influence on his work. His early writing was influenced by the French tradition of courtly love poetry, and his later work by the Italians, especially Dante, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. Chaucer wrote in Middle English, the form of English used from 1100 to about 1485. He is given the designation of the first English poet to use rhymed couplets in iambic pentameter and to compose successfully in the vernacular. Chaucer's Canterbury Tales is a collection of humorous, bawdy, and poignant stories told by a group of fictional pilgrims traveling to the shrine of St. Thomas a Becket. It is considered to be among the masterpieces of literature. His works also include The Book of the Duchess, inspired by the death of John Gaunt's first wife; House of Fame, The Parliament of Fowls, and The Legend of Good Women. Troilus and Criseyde, adapted from a love story by Boccaccio, is one of his greatest poems apart from The Canterbury Tales. Chaucer died in London on October 25, 1400. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in what is now called Poet's Corner.

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