The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  General Prologue Page 3

page General Prologue: Page 3

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With him ther was his sone, a yong SQUYER,
80A lovyere, and a lusty bacheler,
With lokkes crulle, as they were leyd in presse.
Of twenty yeer of age he was, I gesse.
Of his stature he was of evene lengthe,
And wonderly deliver, and greet of strengthe.
And he had been somtyme in chivachye,
In Flaundres, in Artoys, and Picardye,
And born him wel, as of so litel space,
In hope to stonden in his lady grace.
Embrouded was he, as it were a mede
90Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and rede.
Singinge he was, or floytinge, al the day;
He was as fresh as is the month of May.
Short was his goune, with sleves longe and wyde.
Wel coude he sitte on hors, and faire ryde.
He coude songes make and wel endyte,
Iuste and eek daunce, and wel purtreye and wryte,
So hote he lovede, that by nightertale
He sleep namore than dooth a nightingale.
Curteys he was, lowly, and servisable,
100And carf biforn his fader at the table.
The knight’s son was also with us, a young SQUIRE boy who was his father’s assistant. He was a gentle, happy boy who was well on his way to becoming a knight himself. He was about twenty years old, of average height, and had very curly hair. He was also very strong and physically fit. He’d served in the army in some wars in Holland and France and had won honors there too, which he hoped would impress the girl he loved. In fact, he was so madly in love with this girl that he couldn’t even sleep at night. He wore a very colorful long shirt that had wide sleeves, and it looked like a field full of red and white flowers. You could tell he was young and carefree because he sang and played the flute all day. He’d write poetry and songs, draw, dance, and joust. All in all, he was a nice young man—humble, polite, and always willing to help out his dad.
A YEMAN hadde he, and servaunts namo
At that tyme, for him liste ryde so;
And he was clad in cote and hood of grene;
A sheef of pecok-arwes brighte and kene
Under his belt he bar ful thriftily;
(Wel coude he dresse his takel yemanly:
His arwes drouped noght with fetheres lowe),
And in his hand he bar a mighty bowe.
A not-heed hadde he, with a broun visage.
110Of wode-craft wel coude he al the usage.
Upon his arm he bar a gay bracer,
And by his syde a swerd and a bokeler,
And on that other syde a gay daggere,
Harneised wel, and sharp as point of spere;
A Cristofre on his brest of silver shene.
An horn he bar, the bawdrik was of grene;
A forster was he, soothly, as I gesse.


A servant in a noble household.

, or servant, accompanied the knight and his son, and since he was the only servant with them, he got to ride one of his master’s horses. This servant wore a green hooded jacket and carried a bow and a bundle of arrows made with bright peacock feathers. The quality of the peacock feathers alone told you that he was a pretty meticulous guy who always paid attention to the little details. He was also an excellent woodworker. He had tan skin, short hair, and wore a wrist guard and a sharp, shiny dagger. He also wore a silver Saint Christopher’s medal around his neck and a hunting horn with a green strap over his shoulder. He also carried a sword and a shield. I guess he was a forester who spent a lot of time in the woods.