Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Franklin's Prologue
lines 1-20: The Franklin apologizes for his vulgar language


The prologe of the Frankeleyns tale.

       Thise olde gentil Britouns in hir dayes
Of diverse aventures maden layes,
Rymeyed in hir firste Briton tonge;
Whiche layes with hir instrumentz they songe,
5Or elles redden hem, for hir plesaunce.
And oon of hem have I in remembraunce,
Whiche I shal seyn, with good-wyl, as I kan.
       These ancient gentle Bretons, in their days,
Of divers high adventures made great lays
And rhymed them in their primal Breton tongue,
The which lays to their instruments they sung,
5Or else recited them where joy might be;
And one of them have I in memory,
Which I shall gladly tell you, as I can.
       But sires, by cause I am a burel man,
At my bigynnyng first I yow biseche,
10Have me excused of my rude speche.
I lerned nevere rethorik, certeyn;
Thyng that I speke, it moot be bare and pleyn.
I sleep nevere on the Mount of Parnaso,
Ne lerned Marcus Tullius Scithero.
15Colours ne knowe I none, withouten drede,
But swiche colours as growen in the mede,
Or elles swiche, as men dye or peynte.
Colours of rethoryk been me to queynte,
My spirit feeleth noght of swich mateere;
20But if yow list, my tale shul ye heere.
       But, sirs, because I am an ignorant man,
At my beginning must I first beseech
10You will excuse me for my vulgar speech;
I never studied rhetoric, that's certain;
That which I say, it must be bare and plain.
I never slept on Mount Parnassus, no,
Nor studied Marcus Tullius Cicero.
15Colours I know not, there's no doubt indeed,
Except colours such as grow within the mead,
Or such as men achieve with dye or paint.
Colours of rhetoric I find but quaint;
My spirit doesn't feel the beauty there.
20But if you wish, my story you shall hear.




Next Next:
From The Franklin's Tale, lines 21-52:
About a knight, his wife and their marriage
Next