The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

Original Text

Modern Text

The child seyde, ‘al-so mote I thee,
Tomorwe wol I mete thee
    Whan I have myn armoure;
And yet I hope, par ma fay,
110That thou shalt with this launcegay
    Abyen it ful soure;
            Thy mawe
Shal I percen, if I may,
Er it be fully pryme of day,
    For heer thou shalt be slawe.’
Sir Thopas only gave a nod,
Drew up, and said, “I swear to God,”
    I’ll return tomorrow.
Dressed in armor and with my lance,
I’ll slay you through your underpants,
    And end your sorrow,
            With your guts bestrewn.
Now I’m not bragging when I say,
Live fully and enjoy this day—
    You’ll die before tomorrow noon!”
Sir Thopas drow abak ful faste;
This geaunt at him stones caste
    Out of a fel staf-slinge;
But faire escapeth child Thopas,
120And al it was thurgh Goddes gras,
    And thurgh his fair beringe.
Then Sir Thopas turned and rode away,
Dodging rocks the giant threw his way,
    With his enormous sling.
It was only by God’s good grace,
That Sir Elephant was not an ace—
    He missed Sir Thopas by a shoestring.
Yet listeth, lordes, to my tale
Merier than the nightingale,
    For now I wol yow roune
How sir Thopas with sydes smale,
Priking over hil and dale,
    Is come agayn to toune.
But keep listening, everyone,
My story is not quite yet done—
    It ends on a happy note.
Know that Sir Thopas rode back to town,
And prepared for the final showdown,
    In that meadow so remote.