He coude hunte at wilde deer,
And ryde an hauking for riveer,
With grey goshauk on honde;
Ther-to be was a good archeer,
Of wrastling was ther noon his peer,
Ther any ram shal stonde.
He hunted deer in all weather,
And liked to hawk by the river,
With his bird on his hand;
He was a very good archer
And at wrestling no one was better
He was the best in the land.
Ful many a mayde, bright in bour,
They moorne for him, paramour,
Whan hem were bet to slepe;
But he was chast and no lechour,
And sweet as is the bremble-flour
That bereth the rede hepe.
Young maidens, at night tucked in bed
Would yearn for him, they all said,
To make love at all hours.
But he wouldn’t have sex while unwed;
He was so sweet, like the fruit that is shed
By the bramble flowers.
And so bifel upon a day,
For sothe, as I yow telle may,
Sir Thopas wolde out ryde;
He worth upon his stede gray,
And in his honde a launcegay,
A long swerd by his syde.
Now, I’m not lying when I say,
That it so happened one day,
Thopas went on a ride;
His war horse was the color gray,
And he brought his lance with him that day,
While his sword hung at his side.
He priketh thurgh a fair forest,
Ther-inne is many a wilde best,
Ye, bothe bukke and hare;
And, as he priketh north and est,
I telle it yow, him hadde almest
Bitid a sory care.
He rode through ten forests at least,
Filled with a hundred kinds of beast,
Including rabbits and deer.
And as he rode far north and east,
His troubles never once ceased,
And his hardship was severe.
Ther springen herbes grete and smale,
The lycorys and cetewale,
And many a clowe-gilofre;
And notemuge to putte in ale,
Whether it be moyste or stale,
Or for to leye in cofre.
The spring flowers great and small,
The licorice and ginger, and all
Of the large fields of cloves,
And nutmeg to put in alcohol—
Whether in beer or wine for the fall—
Were all blooming in droves.