GROUP A. THE PROLOGUE.
Here biginneth the Book of the Tales of Caunterbury.
WHAN that Aprille with his shoures sote
The droghte of Marche bath perced to the rote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour,
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every bolt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale fowles maken melodye,
That slepen al the night with open y~,
(So priketh hem nature in hir corages):
Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages
(And palmers for to seken straunge strondes)
To ferne halwes, couthe in sondry londes
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The holy blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen, whan that they were seke.
Bifel that, in that seson on a day,
In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay
Redy to wenden on my pilgrimage
To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,
From E. x. E. hise; rest his. 8. H1. halfe; rest half. 9. 111.
fowles; Pt. Ln. foules; E. 11n. foweles. io. 111. yhe; 11n. lye; E. eye.
Pt. Ln.Than; E Thanne. E. pilgrimage (by mistake). 13. Pt. H1. palmers;
E. Palmeres. A. 11n. Caunter-; E. Cauntur- i& E. seeke. ig. Hn.
Bifel; E. Bifil.