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From The Tale of Sir Thopas, lines 229-238:
The Host interrupts Chaucer
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Tale of Sir Thopas
lines 239-252: The Host suggests that Chaucer should tell a tale in prose


       "By God," quod he, "for pleynly at a word
240Thy drasty rymyng is nat worth a toord,
Thou doost noght elles but despendest tyme.
Sir, at o word thou shalt no lenger ryme.
Lat se wher thou kanst tellen aught in geeste,
Or telle in prose somwhat, at the leeste,
245In which ther be som murthe or som doctryne."
       "By God!" cried he, "now plainly, in a word,
240Your dirty rhyming is not worth a turd;
You do nothing but waste and fritter time.
Sir, in one word, you shall no longer rhyme.
Let's see if you can use the country verse,
Or tell a tale in prose -you might do worse-
245Wherein there's mirth or doctrine good and plain."
       "Gladly," quod I, "by Goddes sweete pyne,
I wol yow telle a litel thyng in prose,
That oghte liken yow as I suppose,
Or elles, certes, ye been to daungerous.
250It is a moral tale vertuous,
Al be it take somtyme in sondry wyse
Of sondry folk as I shal yow devyse.
       "Gladly," said I, "by God's sweet tears and pain,
I will relate a little thing in prose
That ought to please you, or so I suppose,
For surely, else, you're contumelious.
250It is a moral tale, right virtuous,
Though it is told, sometimes, in different wise
By different folk, as I shall you apprise.




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From The Tale of Sir Thopas, lines 253-276:
Chaucer announces a moral tale in prose
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