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From General Prologue, lines 287-310:
The Clerk
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From The Canterbury Tales:
General Prologue
lines 311-332: The Sergeant of the Law


       A SERGEANT OF THE LAWE, war and wys,
That often hadde been at the Parvys,
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discreet he was, and of greet reverence-
315He semed swich, hise wordes weren so wise.
Justice he was ful often in assise,
By patente, and by pleyn commissioun.
For his science, and for his heigh renoun,
Of fees and robes hadde he many oon.
320So greet a purchasour was nowher noon:
Al was fee symple to hym in effect,
His purchasyng myghte nat been infect.
Nowher so bisy a man as he ther nas,
And yet he semed bisier than he was.
325In termes hadde he caas and doomes alle
That from the tyme of Kyng William were falle.
Therto he koude endite and make a thyng,
Ther koude no wight pynche at his writyng;
And every statut koude he pleyn by rote.
330He rood but hoomly in a medlee cote
Girt with a ceint of silk, with barres smale;
Of his array telle I no lenger tale.
       A SERGEANT OF THE LAW, keen and wise,
Who'd often been at St. Paul's Porch, to advise,
There was also, rich of superior quality
Disinterested he was, and of great dignity;
315At least it seemed so, his words were so wise.
Often he was a judge in court, in assize,
By royal assignment or commission giving jurisdiction;
Because of his knowledge and high reputation,
He took large fees, had robes more than one.
320So great a land-buyer there was none.
All was fee simple to him, in effect,
Wherefore his claims could never be suspect.
Nowhere a man so busy of his class,
And yet he seemed much busier than he was.
325He knew all convictions, common and crime
Recorded since King William's time.
And he could write a contract so explicit
Not any man could trace a fault in it;
And every law he knew entirely by rote.
330He rode but simply in a medley coat,
Girded with a belt of silk, with little bars,
But of his outfit no more particulars.




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From General Prologue, lines 333-362:
The Franklin
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