Previous Previous:
From The Monk's Prologue, lines 36-76:
The Host asks the Monk to tell a tale
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Prologue
lines 77-102: The Monk assents and preludes the subjects of his tale


       This worthy Monk took al in pacience,
And seyde, "I wol doon al my diligence,
As fer as sowneth into honestee,
80To telle yow a tale, or two, or three.
And if yow list to herkne hyderward
I wol yow seyn the lyf of Seint Edward;
Or ellis first tragedies wol I telle
Of whiche I have an hundred in my celle.
85Tragedie is to seyn, a certeyn storie,
As olde bookes maken us memorie,
Of hym that stood in greet prosperitee
And is yfallen out of heigh degree
Into myserie, and endeth wrecchedly,
90And they ben versified communely
Of six feet, which men clepen exametron.
In prose eek been endited many oon,
And eek in meetre, in many a sondry wyse.
Lo, this declaryng oghte ynogh suffise;
       This worthy monk took all with sober sense,
And said: "I will do all my diligence,
So far as it accords with decency,
80To tell to you a tale, or two, or three.
And if you care to hear, come hitherward,
And I'll repeat the life of Saint Edward;
Or rather, first some tragedies I'll tell,
Whereof I have a hundred in my cell.
85Tragedy is to say a certain story
From ancient books which have preserved the glory
Of one that stood in great prosperity
And is now fallen out of high degree
In misery, where he ends wretchedly.
90Such tales are versified most commonly
In six feet, which men call hexameter.
In prose are many written; some prefer
A quantitative metre, various wise.
Lo, this short prologue will enough suffice.
95        Now herkneth, if yow liketh for to heere.
But first, I yow biseeke in this mateere,
Though I by ordre telle nat this thynges,
Be it of popes, emperours, or kynges,
After hir ages, as men writen fynde,
100But tellen hem, som bifore and som bihynde,
As it now comth unto my remembraunce;
Have me excused of myn ignoraunce."
95        Now listen, if you'd like my speech to hear;
But first I do beseech, let it be clear
That I, in order, tell not all these things,
Be it of popes, of emperors, or kings,
Each in his place, as men in writings find,
100But I put some before and some behind,
As they to memory may come by chance;
Hold me excused, pray, of my ignorance."


Explicit





Next Next:
From The Monk's Tale, lines 103-110:
The subject of the Monk's tale
Next