13The stories are told in the kind of English which later became MODERN STANDARD ENGLISH
14The Canterbury Tales : Prologue Here bygynneth the Book of the tales of CaunterburyHere begins the Book of the Tales of Canterbury
15And going on…Whan that aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of march hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
16The modern versionWhen April with his showers sweet with fruit The drought of March has pierced unto the root And bathed each vein with liquor that has power To generate therein and sire the flower; When Zephyr also has, with his sweet breath,
17Boccaccio – Dante Chaucer The device of the collection of tales and the idea of the frame where to insert them is very likely taken from BoccaccioThe central idea of the pilgrimage might have come from Dante’s otherwordly pilgrimages
18To Canterbury30 pilgrims telling two verse tales each, on their way to and on their way back from CanterburyTo the shrine of Thomas Becket,made martyr and saint by the Roman Church
19The pilgrims enjoyng a meal at the Tabard Inn There came at nightfall to that hostelry Some nine and twenty in a company Of sundry persons who had chanced to fall In fellowship, and pilgrims were they all That toward Canterbury town would ride.
20Chaucer’s function in the story But none the less, whilst I have time and space, Before yet farther in this tale I pace, It seems to me accordant with reason To inform you of the state of every one Of all of these, as it appeared to me, And who they were, and what was their degree, And even how arrayed there at the inn; And with a knight thus will I first begin.
21A knight there was, and he a worthy man, Who, from the moment that he first began To ride about the world, loved chivalry, Truth, honour, freedom and all courtesy.
22There was a housewife come from Bath, or near, Who- sad to say- was deaf in either ear. At making cloth she had so great a bent
23With us there was a doctor of physic; In all this world was none like him to pick For talk of medicine and surgery;
24There was a merchant with forked beard, and girt In motley gown, and high on horse he sat,