The General Prologue, lines 1-18, with translation:
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1         Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
 :              When April with its sweet-smelling showers
2         The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
   Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
3         And bathed every veyne in swich licour
   And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
4         Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
   By the power of which the flower is created;
5         Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
   When the West Wind also with its sweet breath,
6         Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
   In every holt and heath, has breathed life into
7         The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
   The tender crops, and the young sun
8         Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
   Has run its half course in Aries,
9         And smale foweles maken melodye,
   And small fowls make melody,
10         That slepen al the nyght with open ye
   Those that sleep all the night with open eyes
11         (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
   (So Nature incites them in their hearts),
12         Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
   Then folk long to go on pilgrimages,
13         And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
   And professional pilgrims (long) to seek foreign shores,
14         To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
   To (go to) distant shrines, known in various lands;
15         And specially from every shires ende
   And specially from every shire's end
16         Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
   Of England to Canterbury they travel,
17         The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
   To seek the holy blessed martyr,
18         That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
   Who helped them when they were sick.

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Last modified: Feb, 8, 2001
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Gold Texts on this page prepared and maintained by L. D. Benson (