The Friar’s Prologue

From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

FrT 1265 This worthy lymytour, this noble Frere,
FrT 1266 He made alwey a maner louryng chiere
FrT 1267 Upon the Somonour, but for honestee
FrT 1268 No vileyns word as yet to hym spak he.
FrT 1269 But atte laste he seyde unto the wyf,
FrT 1270 “Dame,” quod he, “God yeve yow right good lyf!
FrT 1271 Ye han heer touched, also moot I thee,
FrT 1272 In scole-matere greet difficultee.
FrT 1273 Ye han seyd muche thyng right wel, I seye;
FrT 1274 But, dame, heere as we ryde by the weye,
FrT 1275 Us nedeth nat to speken but of game,
FrT 1276 And lete auctoritees, on Goddes name,
FrT 1277 To prechyng and to scoles of clergye.
FrT 1278 But if it lyke to this compaignye,
FrT 1279 I wol yow of a somonour telle a game.
FrT 1280 Pardee, ye may wel knowe by the name
FrT 1281 That of a somonour may no good be sayd;
FrT 1282 I praye that noon of you be yvele apayd.
FrT 1283 A somonour is a rennere up and doun
FrT 1284 With mandementz for fornicacioun,
FrT 1285 And is ybet at every townes ende.”
FrT 1286 Oure Hoost tho spak, “A, sire, ye sholde be hende
FrT 1287 And curteys, as a man of youre estaat;
FrT 1288 In compaignye we wol have no debaat.
FrT 1289 Telleth youre tale, and lat the Somonour be.”
FrT 1290 “Nay,” quod the Somonour, “lat hym seye to me
FrT 1291 What so hym list; whan it comth to my lot,
FrT 1292 By God, I shal hym quiten every grot.
FrT 1293 I shal hym tellen which a greet honour
FrT 1294 It is to be a flaterynge lymytour,
FrT 1295 And of many another manere cryme
FrT 1296 Which nedeth nat rehercen at this tyme;
FrT 1297 And his office I shal hym telle, ywis.”
FrT 1298 Oure Hoost answerde, “Pees, namoore of this!”
FrT 1299 And after this he seyde unto the Frere,
FrT 1300 “Tel forth youre tale, leeve maister deere.”