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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Franklin's Prologue

The prologe of the Frankeleyns tale.

       Thise olde gentil Britouns in hir dayes
Of diverse aventures maden layes,
Rymeyed in hir firste Briton tonge;
Whiche layes with hir instrumentz they songe,
5Or elles redden hem, for hir plesaunce.
And oon of hem have I in remembraunce,
Whiche I shal seyn, with good-wyl, as I kan.
       But sires, by cause I am a burel man,
At my bigynnyng first I yow biseche,
10Have me excused of my rude speche.
I lerned nevere rethorik, certeyn;
Thyng that I speke, it moot be bare and pleyn.
I sleep nevere on the Mount of Parnaso,
Ne lerned Marcus Tullius Scithero.
15Colours ne knowe I none, withouten drede,
But swiche colours as growen in the mede,
Or elles swiche, as men dye or peynte.
Colours of rethoryk been me to queynte,
My spirit feeleth noght of swich mateere;
20But if yow list, my tale shul ye heere.




Next:
The Franklin's Tale (ll. 21-916)