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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Summoner's Prologue
lines 1-18: The Summoner comments on the Friar's tale


The Prologue of the Somonours Tale.

       This somonour in his styropes hye stood;
Upon this Frere his herte was so wood
That lyk an aspen leef he quook for ire.
       High in his stirrups, then, the summoner stood;
Against the friar his heart, as madman's would,
Shook like very aspen leaf, for ire.
       "Lordynges," quod he, "but o thyng I desire;
5I yow biseke that, of youre curteisye,
Syn ye han herd this false frere lye,
As suffreth me I may my tale telle.
This frere bosteth that he knoweth helle,
And God it woot, that it is litel wonder;
10Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder.
For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle
How that a frere ravyshed was to helle
In spirit ones by a visioun;
And as an angel ladde hym up and doun,
15To shewen hym the peynes that the were,
In al the place saugh he nat a frere;
Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo.
Unto this angel spak the frere tho:
       "Masters," said he, "but one thing I desire;
5I beg of you that, of your courtesy,
Since you have heard this treacherous friar lie,
You suffer it that I my tale may tell!
This friar he boasts he knows somewhat of Hell,
And God He knows that it is little wonder;
10Friars and fiends are never far asunder.
For, by gad, you have oftentimes heard tell
How such a friar was snatched down into Hell
In spirit, once, and by a vision blown;
And as an angel led him up and down
15To show the pains and torments that there were,
In all the place he saw no friar there.
Of other folk he saw enough in woe;
And to the angel then he questioned so:




Next Next:
From The Summoner's Prologue, lines 19-44:
Where friars come from according to the Summoner
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