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The Canterbury Tales

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PROLOGUE TO SIR THOPAS.
PROLOGUE TO CHAUCER’S OWN TALE ABOUT SIR THOPAS.
BIHOLD THE MURYE WORDES OF THE HOST TO CHAUCER.
LISTEN TO WHAT THE HOST SAID TO CHAUCER:






Whan seyd was al this miracle, every man
As sobre was, that wonder was to se,
Til that our hoste Iapen tho bigan,
And than at erst he loked upon me,
And seyde thus, ‘what man artow?’ quod he;
‘Thou lokest as thou woldest finde an hare,
For ever upon the ground I see thee stare.
When the Prioress finished her story, everyone was in a pretty serious and somber mood. It was actually quite interesting to see everyone so quiet. But pretty soon the Host was back to telling his jokes, until he suddenly turned to me and said, “Everything okay? You’re staring so much at the ground—you look like you’re studying it intently!

10




Approche neer, and loke up merily.
Now war yow, sirs, and lat this man have place;
He in the waast is shape as wel as I;
This were a popet in an arm tenbrace
For any womman, smal and fair of face.
He semeth elvish by his contenaunce,
For unto no wight dooth he daliaunce.
“Come on now, chin up! Be happy! Make room, everyone, for this guy here. He and I are of about the same build—any woman would love to hold him in her arms. There’s something funny about this guy—he only speaks when he absolutely has to.




20

Sey now somwhat, sin other folk han sayd;
Tel us a tale of mirthe, and that anoon;’—
‘Hoste,’ quod I, ‘ne beth nat yvel apayd,
For other tale certes can I noon,
But of a ryme I lerned longe agoon.’
‘Ye, that is good,’ quod he; ‘now shul we here
Som deyntee thing, me thinketh by his chere.’
“Come on, speak up now, and tell us a story like the others have. And make it a happy story too. Let’s hear it!” “You’ll have to forgive me,” I answered him. “I’m pretty bad at telling stories. I really only know this short one I once learned long ago.” “Yeah, yeah, that’s fine,” the Host replied, “But get on with it. I can tell this is going to be good just by the look on your face!”

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