The Canterbury Tales, by Geoffrey Chaucer

Epilogue to the Nonne Preestes Tale.

‘Sir Nonnes Preest,’ our hoste seyde anoon,

‘Y-blessed be thy breche, and every stoon!

This was a mery tale of Chauntecleer.

4640

But, by my trouthe, if thou were seculer,

Thou woldest been a trede-foul a-right.

For, if thou have corage as thou hast might,

Thee were nede of hennes, as I wene,

Ya, mo than seven tymes seventene.

4645

See, whiche braunes hath this gentil Preest,

(10)

So greet a nekke, and swich a large breest!

He loketh as a sperhauk with his yën;

Him nedeth nat his colour for to dyen

With brasil, ne with greyn of Portingale.

4650

Now sire, faire falle yow for youre tale!’

 And after that he, with ful mery chere,

Seide to another, as ye shullen here.

These genuine lines only occur in Dd., in MS. Reg. 17 D. xv, and in MS. Addit. 5140 (B. M.). The text is founded on Dd.

4637. Dd. oure hoost.   4639. Dd. murie; Reg. Add. mery.   4641. Dd. ben.   Dd. tredfoul; Reg. Add. trede foule.   4645. Dd. which; Reg. whiche; Add. suche.   4646. Dd. gret.   4647. Dd. sperhauke; eyen.   4648. Dd. dyghen; Reg. Add. dyen.   4650-2. I suspect these three lines to be spurious.   4650. Reg. youre mery tale.   4652. to] all un-to.   another] Add. the Nonne.

Note. Three varieties of a Doctour’s Prologue are given, respectively, by Tyrwhitt, Wright, and Morris; but are all spurious. Perhaps the best is the very short one in Tyrwhitt, as follows:—

‘Ye, let that passen,’ quod our Hoste, ‘as now.

Sire Doctour of Phisyk, I preye yow,

Telle us a tale of som honest matere.’

 ‘It shal be doon, if that ye wol it here,’

Seyde this Doctour, and his tale bigan anon.

‘Now, good men,’ quod he, ‘herkneth everichon.’

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Last updated Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 20:37