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The Canterbury Tales

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HERE BIGINNETH THE BOOK OF THE TALES OF CAUNTERBURY.
THE CANTERBURY TALES STARTS HERE.









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Whan that Aprille with his shoures sote
The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open yë,
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages):
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
(And palmers for to seken straunge strondes)
To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.
People want to go on religious pilgrimages to spiritual places in the springtime, when the April rains have soaked deep into the dry ground to water the flowers’ roots; and when Zephyrus, the god of the west wind, has helped new flowers to grow everywhere; and when you can see the constellation Aries in the sky; and when the birds sing all the time. Some people go to other countries, but many people in England choose to go to the city of Canterbury in southeastern England to visit the remains of Thomas Becket, the Christian martyr who had the power of healing people.

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Bifel that, in that seson on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
At night was come in-to that hostelrye
Wel nyne and twenty in a companye,
Of sondry folk, by aventure y-falle
In felawshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,
That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde;
The chambres and the stables weren wyde,
And wel we weren esed atte beste.
And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,
So hadde I spoken with hem everichon,
That I was of hir felawshipe anon,
And made forward erly for to ryse,
To take our wey, ther as I yow devyse.
One spring, when I was making my own humble pilgrimage to Canterbury, I stayed at the Tabard Inn in the city of Southwark. While I was there, a group of twenty-nine people who were also making the same pilgrimage arrived at the hotel. None of them had really known each other before, but they had met along the way. It was a pretty diverse group of people from different walks of life. The hotel was spacious and had plenty of room for all of us. I started talking with these people and pretty soon fit right into their group. We made plans to get up early and continue on the journey to Canterbury together.

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