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From General Prologue, lines 717-785:
The proposal of the Host
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From The Canterbury Tales:
General Prologue
lines 786-811: The rules of the game


       Oure conseil was nat longe for to seche.
Us thoughte it was noght worth to make it wys,
And graunted hym, withouten moore avys,
And bad him seye his voirdit, as hym leste.
790"Lordynges," quod he, "now herkneth for the beste;
But taak it nought, I prey yow, in desdeyn.
This is the poynt, to speken short and pleyn,
That ech of yow, to shorte with oure weye,
In this viage shal telle tales tweye
795To Caunterbury-ward I mene it so,
And homward he shal tellen othere two,
Of aventures that whilom han bifalle.
And which of yow that bereth hym best of alle,
That is to seyn, that telleth in this caas
800Tales of best sentence and moost solaas,
Shal have a soper at oure aller cost
Heere in this place, sittynge by this post,
Whan that we come agayn fro Caunterbury.
And for to make yow the moore mury,
805I wol myselven goodly with yow ryde
Right at myn owene cost, and be youre gyde;
And who so wole my juggement withseye
Shal paye al that we spenden by the weye.
And if ye vouche sauf that it be so,
810Tel me anon, withouten wordes mo,
And I wol erly shape me therfore."
       Our decision was not so far to seek;
We thought there was no reason to debate,
And granted him his way at any rate,
And asked him tell his verdict just and wise,
790"Masters," said he, "listen to my advice;
But take it not, I pray you, in disdain;
This is the point, to put it short and plain,
That each of you, as if to shorten the day,
Shall tell two stories as you wend your way
795To Canterbury town; and each of you
On coming home, shall tell another two,
About adventures that happened in the past.
And he who plays his part of all the best,
That is to say, who tells upon the road
800Tales of best sense, in most amusing mode,
Shall have a supper at all others' cost
Here in this room and sitting by this post,
When we come back again from Canterbury.
And now, the more to make sure you'll be merry,
805I will myself, and gladly, with you ride
At my own cost, and I will be your guide.
But whosoever will and tries to disobey
Shall pay for all that's bought along the way.
And if you grant, agree it will be so,
810Tell me at once, or if not, tell me no,
And I will get ready early. No more."




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From General Prologue, lines 812-823:
The agreement
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