Previous Previous:
From The Franklin's Prologue, lines 1-20:
The Franklin apologizes for his vulgar language
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



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


Heere bigynneth the Frankeleyns tale.

       In Armorik, that called is Britayne,
Ther was a knyght that loved and dide his payne
To serve a lady in his beste wise;
And many a labour, many a greet emprise,
25He for his lady wroghte, er she were wonne.
For she was oon the faireste under sonne,
And eek therto comen of so heigh kynrede
That wel unnethes dorste this knyght for drede
Telle hir his wo, his peyne, and his distresse.
30But atte laste, she for his worthynesse,
And namely for his meke obeysaunce,
Hath swiche a pitee caught of his penaunce,
That pryvely she fil of his accord
To take hym for hir housbonde and hir lord,
35Of swich lordshipe as men han over hir wyves-
And for to lede the moore in blisse hir lyves,
Of his free wyl he swoor hir as a knyght,
That nevere in al his lyf he, day ne nyght,
Ne sholde upon hym take no maistrie
40Agayn hir wyl, ne kithe hir jalousie,
But hir obeye and folwe hir wyl in al
As any lovere to his lady shal,
Save that the name of soveraynetee,
That wolde he have, for shame of his degree.
       In old Armorica, now Brittany,
There was a knight that loved and strove, did he
To serve a lady in the highest wise;
And many a labour, many a great emprise
25He wrought for her, or ever she was won.
For she was of the fairest under sun,
And therewithal come of so high kindred
That scarcely could this noble knight, for dread,
Tell her his woe, his pain, and his distress.
30But at the last she, for his worthiness,
And specially for his meek obedience,
Had so much pity that, in consequence,
She secretly was come to his accord
To take him for her husband and her lord,
35Of such lordship as men have over wives;
And that they might be happier in their lives,
Of his free will he swore to her, as knight,
That never in his life, by day or night,
Would he assume a right of mastery
40Against her will, nor show her jealousy,
But would obey and do her will in all
As any lover of his lady shall;
Except the name and show of sovereignty,
Those would he have, lest he shame his degree
45        She thanked hym, and with ful greet humblesse
She seyde, "Sire, sith of youre gentillesse
Ye profre me to have so large a reyne,
Ne wolde nevere God bitwixe us tweyne,
As in my gilt, were outher werre or stryf.
50Sir, I wol be youre humble trewe wyf,
Have heer my trouthe til that myn herte breste."
Thus been they bothe in quiete and in reste.
45       She thanked him, and with a great humbleness
She said: "Since, sir, of your own nobleness
You proffer me to have so loose a rein
Would God there never come between us twain,
For any guilt of mine, a war or strife.
50Sir, I will be your humble, faithful wife,
Take this as truth till heart break in my breast."
Thus were they both in quiet and in rest.




Next Next:
From The Franklin's Tale, lines 53-94:
About love and marriage, freedom and bondage
Next