Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue
lines 1-39: A Canon and his Yeoman catch up with the pilgrims


The Prologe of the Chanouns Yemannes Tale

       Whan ended was the lyf of Seinte Cecile,
Er we hadde riden fully fyve mile,
A Boghtoun under blee us gan atake
A man that clothed was in clothes blake,
5And undernethe he hadde a whyt surplys.
His hakeney, that was al pomely grys,
So swatte that it wonder was to see;
It semed as he had priked miles three.
The hors eek that his yeman rood upon
10So swatte that unnethe myghte it gon.
Aboute the peytrel sood the foom ful hye;
He was of foom al flekked as a pye.
A male tweyfoold on his croper lay;
It semed that he caried lite array.
15Al light for somer rood this worthy man,
And in myn herte wondren I bigan
What that he was, til that I understood
How that his cloke was sowed to his good;
For which, whan I hadde longe avysed me,
20I demed hym som chanoun for to be.
His hat heeng at his bak doun by a laas,
For he hadde riden moore than trot or paas;
He hadde ay priked lik as he were wood.
A clote-leef he hadde under his hood
25For swoot, and for to keep his heed from heete.
But it was joye for to seen hym swete!
His forheed dropped as a stillatorie,
Were ful of plantayne and of paritorie.
And whan that he was come, he ban to crye,
30"God save," quod he, "this joly compaignye!
Faste have I priked," quod he, "for youre sake,
By cause that I woldeyow atake,
To riden in this myrie compaignye."
His yeman eek was ful of curteisye,
35And seyde, "Sires, now in the morwe-tyde
Out of youre hostelrie I saugh yow ryde,
And warned heer my lord and my soverayn,
Which that to ryden with yow is ful fayn
For his desport; he loveth daliaunce."
       When Saint Cecilia's Life was done, and whiles
We had not farther gone a good five miles,
At Boughton-under-Blean us did o'ertake
A man, who was clothed all in clothes of black,
5And underneath he had a surplice white.
His hackney was of dappled-grey, so bright
With sweat that it was marvelous to see;
It seemed that he had spurred him for miles three.
The horse too that his yeoman rode upon
10So sweat that scarcely could it go; and on
The breast strap of the harness foam stood high,
Whereof he was as flecked as is a pie.
A double wallet on his crupper lay,
And as it seemed, he went in light array.
15Lightly, for summer, rode this worthy man,
And in my heart to wonder I began
What he could be, until I understood
The way he had his cloak sewed to his hood;
From which, when long I had communed with me,
20I judged at length some canon he must be.
His hat hung on his back down by a lace,
For he had ridden more than trot or pace;
He had spurred hard, indeed, as madman would.
A burdock leaf he had beneath his hood
25To curb the sweat and keep his head from heat
But what a joy it was to see him sweat!
His forehead dripped as a distillatory
Were full of plantain and of pellitory.
And this man when he came began to cry:
30"God save," said he, "this jolly company!
Fast I have spurred," said he then, "for your sake,
Because I wanted you to overtake,
To ride on in this merry company."
His yeoman too was full of courtesy,
35And said: "Good sirs, all in the morningtide
Out of your hostelry I saw you ride,
And warned my lord and master, full and plain,
And he to ride with you is truly fain
For his amusement; he loves dalliance."




Next Next:
From The Canon's Yeoman's Prologue, lines 40-130:
The Yeoman explains his master's craft
Next