Geoffrey Chaucer


Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote                       
When April with his showers sweet with fruit

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,               
The drought of March has pierced unto the root

And bathed every veyne in swich licour                           
And bathed each vein with liquor that has power

Of which vertu engendred is the flour,                             
To generate therein and sire the flower;

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth                       
When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth                               
Quickened again, in every holt and heath,

The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne                         
The tender shoots and buds, and the young sun

Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,                           
Into the Ram one half his course has run,

And smale foweles maken melodye,                                  
And many little birds make melody

That slepen al the nyght with open ye                                
That sleep through all the night with open eye

(so priketh hem Nature in hir corages),                              
(So Nature pricks them on to ramp and rage)-

Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,                     
Then do folk long to go on pilgrimage,

And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,                 
And palmers to go seeking out strange strands,

To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;                       
To distant shrines well known in sundry lands.

And specially from every shires ende                                
And specially from every shire's end

Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,                         
Of England they to Canterbury wend,

The hooly blisful martir for to seke,                                    
The holy blessed martyr there to seek

That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.           
Who helped them when they lay so ill and weak.

   Bifel that, in that seson on a day,                                       
   Befell that, in that season, on a day

In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay                                   
In Southwark, at the Tabard, as I lay

Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage                                   
Ready to start upon my pilgrimage

To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,                           
To Canterbury, full of devout homage, 

At night was come into that hostelrye                               
There came at nightfall to that hostelry

Wel nyne and twenty in a companye,                                
Some nine and twenty in a company

Of sondry folk, by aventure y-falle                                   
Of sundry persons who had chanced to fall

In felaweshipe, and pilgrims were they alle,                   
In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all

That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde;
That toward Canterbury town would ride.

The chambres and the stables weren wyde,                
The rooms and stables spacious were and wide,

And wel we weren esed atte beste.                                  
And well we there were eased, and of the best.

And shortly, whan the sonne was to reste,                        
And briefly, when the sun had gone to rest,

So hadde I spoken with hem everichon                           
So had I spoken with them, every one,

That I was of hir felawshipe anon,                                    
That I was of their fellowship anon,

And made forward erly for to ryse,                                  
And made agreement that we'd early rise

To take oure wey, ther as I yow devyse.                            
To take the road, as you I will apprise.

   But natheles, whyl I have tyme and space,                        
   But none the less, whilst I have time and space,

Er that I ferther in this tale pace,                                      
Before yet farther in this tale I pace,

Me thinketh it acordaunt to resoun                                   
It seems to me accordant with reason

To telle yow al the condicioun                                           
To inform you of the state of every one

Of ech of hem, so as it semed me,                                   
Of all of these, as it appeared to me,

And whiche they weren, and of what degree,                   
And who they were, and what was their degree,

And eek in what array that they were inne;                        
And even how arrayed there at the inn; 

And at a knight than wol I first biginne.                          
And with a knight thus will I first begin.

spoken =Anniina Jokinen