The Summoner’s Prologue

From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

SumT 1665 This Somonour in his styropes hye stood;
SumT 1666 Upon this Frere his herte was so wood
SumT 1667 That lyk an aspen leef he quook for ire.
SumT 1668 “Lordynges,” quod he, “but o thyng I desire;
SumT 1669 I yow biseke that, of youre curteisye,
SumT 1670 Syn ye han herd this false Frere lye,
SumT 1671 As suffreth me I may my tale telle.
SumT 1672 This Frere bosteth that he knoweth helle,
SumT 1673 And God it woot, that it is litel wonder;
SumT 1674 Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder.
SumT 1675 For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle
SumT 1676 How that a frere ravysshed was to helle
SumT 1677 In spirit ones by a visioun;
SumT 1678 And as an angel ladde hym up and doun,
SumT 1679 To shewen hym the peynes that ther were,
SumT 1680 In al the place saugh he nat a frere;
SumT 1681 Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo.
SumT 1682 Unto this angel spak the frere tho:
SumT 1683 ‘Now, sire,’ quod he, ‘han freres swich a grace
SumT 1684 That noon of hem shal come to this place?’
SumT 1685 ‘Yis’ quod this angel, ‘many a millioun!’
SumT 1686 And unto Sathanas he ladde hym doun.
SumT 1687 ‘And now hath Sathanas,’ seith he, ‘a tayl
SumT 1688 Brodder than of a carryk is the sayl.
SumT 1689 Hold up thy tayl, thou Sathanas!’ quod he;
SumT 1690 ‘Shewe forth thyn ers, and lat the frere se
SumT 1691 Where is the nest of freres in this place!’
SumT 1692 And er that half a furlong wey of space,
SumT 1693 Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,
SumT 1694 Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve
SumT 1695 Twenty thousand freres on a route,
SumT 1696 And thurghout helle swarmed al aboute,
SumT 1697 And comen agayn as faste as they may gon,
SumT 1698 And in his ers they crepten everychon.
SumT 1699 He clapte his tayl agayn and lay ful stille.
SumT 1700 This frere, whan he looked hadde his fille
SumT 1701 Upon the tormentz of this sory place,
SumT 1702 His spirit God restored, of his grace,
SumT 1703 Unto his body agayn, and he awook.
SumT 1704 But natheles, for fere yet he quook,
SumT 1705 So was the develes ers ay in his mynde,
SumT 1706 That is his heritage of verray kynde.
SumT 1707 God save yow alle, save this cursed Frere!
SumT 1708 My prologe wol I ende in this manere.”