Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Squire's Tale
Modern english adjacent to middle english

About The Canterbury Tales:
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a collection of stories in a frame story, between 1387 and 1400. It is the story of a group of thirty people who travel as pilgrims to Canterbury (England). The pilgrims, who come from all layers of society, tell stories to each other to kill time while they travel to Canterbury. He never finished his enormous project and even the completed tales were not finally revised. Scholars are uncertain about the order of the tales. As the printing press had yet to be invented when Chaucer wrote his works, The Canterbury Tales has been passed down in several handwritten manuscripts.

About The Squire's Introduction and Tale:
The Squire's tale is about a royal family. The father, king Cambyuskan, has a wife named Elpheta, two sons named Algarsyf and Cambalo and a daughter Canacee, who is beautiful (line 34).After twenty years of reign, it is time for an anniversry party (lines 43-45). During the feast a strange knight enters the hall sitting on a brass war-horse (line 81). The knight carries a mirror (line 82), has a gold ring on his thumb (line 83) and has a naked sword hanging at his side (line 84). After greeting the king, the knight claims that the king of Arabia and India has sent him to deliver presents. The steed of brass enables a person to reach every destination on earth within twenty-four hours (lines 115-119). The mirror can predict adversity and determines if a person is a friend or foe (line 132-136). The bearer of the gold ring is able to understand the language of all birds and the healing properties of all herbs (lines 148-155). Finally the edge of the sword cuts any armour and the flat side heals evey wound inflicted by the sharp edge (lines 156-165). The knight is offered a room and a place at the dinner table (172-173). Canacee gets the ring and the other presents are safely stored, except for the brass horse that could not be moved. How to move the horse is explained in lines 305-334. The feast continues until everyone is satisfied.

At the beginning of the second part of the Squire's tale, Canacee rises early and goes out for a walk with her maids (female servants). Canacee bears the ring (and therefore is able to communicate with birds) when she walks through the park and it happens that she rescues a female falcon who has wounded itself. The falcon says that her husband, a male falcon, has been unfaithful to her and has treated her really badly (624-626). Canacee nurses the falcon with herbs from the wood and takes the falcon home (line 635-645). Several plotlines are announced and preluded, but not further elaborated (line 651-670).

The Squire begins the third part, but the Franklin cuts him off after two lines. The Franklin praises the Squire for his wit and his eloquence. If this remark would be genuine, why not let the Squire continue his story? Is the appraisal by the Franklin of the Squire an instance of sarcasm or irony? We don't know for certain. Sarcasm and irony are modern things. Anyway, the Host orders the Franklin to tell a tale and the Franklin obeys.

The Squire's Tale looks unfinished and is loosely structured. Was that on purpose? Or would Chaucer have written and concluded the tale of the Squire differently if he had lived longer? Well, we can speculate till we drop but we will not know for certain.

About viewing this part:
This part of Librarius provides middle english and modern english in two adjacent text columns and is best to be viewed full screen. The frame borders are drag-and-drop adjustable to fit the reader's personal convenience. Recommended screen resolution: 1280 x 1024 or preferably higher.