Geoffrey Chaucer

       A FRERE ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
       A FRIAR there was, a wanton and a merry,

A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
A limiter, a very festive man.

In alle the ordres foure is noon that kan
In all the Four Orders is no one that can

So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage.
Equal his gossip and well-spoken speech.

He hadde maad ful many a mariage
He had arranged many a marriage, giving each

Of yonge wommen at his owene cost.
Of young women, and this at his own cost.

Unto his ordre he was a noble post,
For his order he was a noble post.  
And wel biloved and famulier was he
Highly liked by all and intimate was he

With frankeleyns overal in his contree,
With franklins everywhere in his country,

And eek with worthy wommen of the toun;
And with the worthy women living in the city:

For he hadde power of confessioun,
For his power of confession met no equality

As seyde hymself, moore than a curat,
That's what he said, in the confession to a curate,     

For of his ordre he was licenciat.
For his order he was a licentiate.

Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
He heard confession gently, it was said,

And plesaunt was his absolucioun:
Gently absolved too, leaving no dread.

He was an esy man to yeve penaunce,
He was an easy man in penance-giving

Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
He knew how to gain a fair living;       
For unto a povre ordre for to yive
For to a begging friar, money given

Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;
Is sign that any man has been well shriven.

For, if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
For if one gave, he dared to boast bluntly,

He wiste that a man was repentaunt;
He took the man's repentance not lightly.

For many a man so harde is of his herte,
For many a man there is so hard of heart   
He may nat wepe, al thogh hym soore smerte;
He cannot weep however pains may smart.

Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres
Therefore, instead of weeping and of prayers,

Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
Men should give silver to the poor friars.

His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves
His tippet was always stuffed with pocket-knives

And pynnes, for to yeven yonge wyves.
And pins, to give to young and pleasing wives.     
And certeinly he hadde a murye note:
And certainly he possesed a merry note:

Wel koude he synge, and pleyen on a rote;
Well could he sing and play upon the rote.

Of yeddynges he baar outrely the pris.
At ballad contests, he bore the prize away.

His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys;
His throat was white as the lily flower I say;

Therto he strong was as a champioun.
Yet strong he was as every champion.     
He knew the tavernes wel in every toun
In towns he knew the taverns, every one,

And everich hostiler and tappestere
And every good host and each barmaid too -

Bet than a lazar or a beggestere;
Better than needy lepers and beggars, these he knew.

For unto swich a worthy man as he
For unto no such a worthy man as he

Acorded nat, as by his facultee,
It's unsuitable, as far as he could see,    
To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
To have sick lepers for acquaintances.

It is nat honeste, it may nat avaunce,
There is no honest advantageousness

For to deelen with no swich poraille,
In dealing with such poor beggars;

But al with riche and selleres of vitaille.
It's with the rich victual-buyers and sellers.

And over al, ther as profit sholde arise,
And generally, wherever profit might arise,     
Curteis he was, and lowely of servyse.
Courteous he was and servicable in men's eyes.

Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
There was no other man so virtuous.

He was the beste beggere in his hous;
He was the finest beggar of his house;

(And yaf a certeyn ferme for the graunt
(And gave a certain fee for his begging rights,

Noon of his brethren cam ther in his haunt;)
None of his brethren dared approach his hights;)   
For thogh a wydwe hadde noght a sho,
For though a widow had no shoes to show,

So plesaunt was his "In principio"
So pleasant was his "In principio”,

Yet wolde he have a ferthyng, er he wente;
He always got a farthing before he went.

His purchas was wel bettre than his rente.
His revenue exceeded his costs, it is evident.

And rage he koude, as it were right a whelp.
And he could flirt as well as any pup.    
In love-dayes ther koude he muchel help,
He could help resolve disputes that were brought up.

For there he was nat lyk a cloysterer
In this he was not like a cloisterer,

With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
With threadbare cope like the poor scholar,

But he was lyk a maister or a pope;
But he was like a lord or like a pope.

Of double worstede was his semycope,
Of double cloth was his semi-cope,      
That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
That rounded like a bell, as if straight from the press.

Somwhat he lipsed for his wantownesse
He lisped a little, out of wantonness,

To make his Englissh sweete upon his tonge;
To make his English soft upon his tongue;

And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe,
And in his harping, when he had sung,

Hise eyen twynkled in his heed aryght
His two eyes twinkled in his head as bright     

As doon the sterres in the frosty nyght.
As do the stars within the frosty night.

This worthy lymytour was cleped Huberd.
This worthy friar was named Hubert.

spoken =Brian Ó Broin