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From The Prioress's Tale, lines 36-49:
A Jewish quarter and a Christian school
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Prioress's Tale
lines 50-77: A choir boy who worships Mary


50 Among thise children was a wydwes sone,
A litel clergeon, seven yeer of age,
That day by day to scole was his wone,
And eek also, wher as he saugh th' ymage
Of Cristes mooder, he hadde in usage
55As hym was taught, to knele adoun, and seye
His Ave Marie, as he goth by the weye.
50Among these children was a widow's son,
A little choir boy, seven years of age,
Who went to school as days passed one by one,
And who, whenever saw he the image
Of Jesus' Mother, it was his usage,
55As he'd been taught, to kneel down there and say
Ave Maria, before he went his way.

Thus hath this wydwe hir litel sone ytaught
Oure blisful Lady, Cristes mooder deere,
To worshipe ay; and he forgate it naught,
60For sely child wol alday soone leere.
But ay, whan I remembre on this mateere,
Seint Nicholas stant evere in my presence,
For he so yong to Crist dide reverence.
Thus had this widow her small son well taught
Our Blessed Lady, Jesus' Mother dear,
To worship always, and he ne'er forgot,
60For simple child learns easily and clear;
But ever, when I muse on matters here,
Saint Nicholas stands aye in my presence,
For he, when young, did do Christ reverence.

This litel child, his litel book lernynge,
65As he sat in the scole at his prymer,
He Alma redemptoris herde synge
As children lerned hir anthiphoner;
And as he dorste, he drough hym ner and ner,
And herkned ay the wordes and the noote,
70Til he the firste vers koude al by rote.
This little child, his little lesson learning,
65Sat at his primer in the school, and there,
While boys were taught the antiphons, kept turning,
And heard the Alma redemptoris fair,
And drew as near as ever he did dare,
Marking the words, remembering every note,
70Until the first verse he could sing by rote.

Noght wiste he what this Latyn was to seye,
For he so yong and tendre was of age,
But on a day his felawe gan he preye
T'expounden hym this song in his langage,
75Or telle hym why this song was in usage;
This preyde he hym to construe and declare
Ful often tyme upon hise knowes bare.
He knew not what this Latin meant to say,
Being so young and of such tender age,
But once a young school-comrade did he pray
To expound to him the song in his language,
75Or tell him why the song was in usage;
Asking the boy the meaning of the song,
On his bare knees he begged him well and long.





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From The Prioress's Tale, lines 78-98:
The choir boy learns to sing Alma redemptoris
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