Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
Prologue of the Prioress's Tale

The Prologe of the Prioresses Tale.

Domine dominus noster.

       "O lord oure lord, thy name how merveillous
Is in this large world ysprad," quod she
"For noght oonly thy laude precious
Parfourned is by men of dignitee,
5But by the mouth of children thy bountee
Parfourned is, for on the brest soukynge
Somtyme shewen they thyn heriynge.

Wherfore in laude, as I best kan or may,
Of thee, and of the whyte lylye flour
10Which that the bar, and is a mayde alway,
To telle a storie I wol do my labour;
Nat that I may encressen hir honour,
For she hirself is honour, and the roote
Of bountee, next hir sone, and soules boote.

15 O mooder Mayde! O mayde Mooder free!
O bussh unbrent, brennynge in Moyses sighte,
That ravysedest doun fro the deitee
Thurgh thyn humblesse, the Goost that in th'alighte,
Of whos vertu, whan he thyn herte lighte,
20Conceyved was the Fadres sapience,
Help me to telle it in thy reverence.

Lady, thy bountee, thy magnificence,
Thy vertu, and thy grete humylitee,
Ther may no tonge expresse in no science,
25For somtyme, lady, er men praye to thee,
Thou goost biforn of thy benyngnytee
And getest us the lyght, thurgh thy preyere,
To gyden us unto thy Sone so deere.

My konnyng is so wayk, O blisful Queene,
30For to declare thy grete worthynesse,
That I ne may the weighte nat susteene,
But as a child of twelf monthe oold, or lesse,
That kan unnethes any word expresse,
Right so fare I; and therfore I yow preye,
35Gydeth my song that I shal of yow seye."

The Prioress's Tale (ll. 36-238)
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.