The General Prologue
21 of 21 folios
WHan þat Apriƚƚ wyþe his schoures soote .
Þe drought of Marche haþe perced to þe roote .
And baþes euery veyne in suche lycoure .
Of whiche vertue engender is þe floure .
Whan zephirus eke wt his swete breþe .
Inspired haþe in euery holte & hethe .
The tendre croppes & þe ȝonge sonne .
Haþe in þe Rāme his half cours roune .
And smal foules maken melodye .
Þat slepen al nyht wiþ open . yhe .
So prikkeþ hem nature in her corages .
Than longen folke to gone one pilgrimages .
And palmeres for to seeke straungere strondes .
To ferne halowes cowþe in sundre londes .
And specialy from euery schyres ende .
Of Ingelond to Canterburi þei wende
The holy blisful martir for to seke
That hem haþ holpen whan þei were seke
It be fel þan in þat sesone vpon adaie
In Suthewerke att þe tabard as .I . laie
Redi to wende on my pilgremage .
To Canterburie wiþ ful deuoute corage .
At nyhte was come in to þat hostellerie
Wel Nyne and twente on a companye
Of sondre folke be auenture yfalle
In felauschipe & Pilgrimes were þei alle
To warde Canterburi þat wolde ride
The Chambres & stables weren wyde
And wele weren esede at þe beste
An schortly whan þe sōn was to reste
So had .I. spoken wt hem euerychone
Þat .I. was of her felawschep anone
And maade forwaxx xxly for to rise
To take owre waie þare as .I. ȝowe deuise
Bot naþeles while .I. haue time & space
Er þat .I. forþer in þis tale pace .
Me þenkeþ it accordant to resōne
To teƚƚ ȝowe aƚƚ þe condiciōne
Of iche of hem so as it semed me
And whiche þei were & of whate degre
And eke in whatte araie þat þei were inne
And att a knyhte þan wold .I. furst be ginne .