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From General Prologue, lines 163-164:
The Second Nun and Three Priests
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From The Canterbury Tales:
General Prologue
lines 165-207: The Monk


165      A MONK ther was, a fair for the maistrie,
An outridere, that lovede venerie,
A manly man, to been an abbot able.
Ful many a deyntee hors hadde he in stable,
And whan he rood, men myghte his brydel heere
170Gynglen in a whistlynge wynd als cleere
And eek as loude, as dooth the chapel belle.
Ther as this lord was keper of the celle,
The reule of Seint Maure, or of Seint Beneit,
By cause that it was old and somdel streit
175This ilke Monk leet olde thynges pace,
And heeld after the newe world the space.
He yaf nat of that text a pulled hen,
That seith that hunters beth nat hooly men,
Ne that a monk, whan he is recchelees,
180Is likned til a fissh that is waterlees,-
This is to seyn, a monk out of his cloystre
But thilke text heeld he nat worth an oystre;
And I seyde his opinioun was good.
What sholde he studie, and make hymselven wood,
185Upon a book in cloystre alwey to poure,
Or swynken with his handes and laboure,
As Austyn bit? How shal the world be served?
Lat Austyn have his swynk to him reserved!
Therfore he was a prikasour aright:
190Grehoundes he hadde, as swift as fowel in flight;
Of prikyng and of huntyng for the hare
Was al his lust, for no cost wolde he spare.
I seigh his sleves purfiled at the hond
With grys, and that the fyneste of a lond;
195And, for to festne his hood under his chyn,
He hadde of gold ywroght a curious pyn;
A love-knotte in the gretter ende ther was.
His heed was balled, that shoon as any glas,
And eek his face, as it hadde been enoynt.
200He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt,
Hise eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,
That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.
Now certeinly he was a fair prelaat;
205He was nat pale as a forpyned goost.
A fat swan loved he best of any roost.
His palfrey was as broun as is a berye,
165      A MONK there was, one of the finest sort,
An outrider; hunting was his sport;
A manly man, to be an abbot able.
Very many excellent horses had he in stable:
And when he rode men might his bridle hear
170Jingling in the whistling wind as clear,
Also, and as loud as does the chapel bell
Where this monk was governour of the cell.
The rule of Maurus or Saint Benedict,
By reason it was somewhat old and strict,
175This same monk let such old things slowly pace
And followed new-world manners in their place.
He gave for that text not a plucked hen
Which holds that hunters are not holy men;
Nor that a monk, when he is cloisterless,
180Is like unto a fish that's waterless;
That is to say, a monk out of his cloister.
But this same text he held not worth an oyster;
And I said his opinion was good.
Why should he study as a madman would
185Poring a book in a cloister cell? Or yet
Go labour with his hands and work and sweat,
As Austin bids? How shall the world be served?
Let Austin have his toil to him reserved.
Therefore he was a rider day and night;
190Greyhounds he had, as fast as a bird in flight.
Since riding and the hunting of the hare
Were all his love, for no cost would he spare.
I saw his sleeves were made with fur at the hand
With fine grey fur, the finest in the land;
195Also, to fasten his hood under his chin,
He had made of wrought-gold a curious pin:
A love-knot in the larger end there was.
His head was bald and shone like any glass,
And smooth as one anointed was his face.
200Fat was this lord, he stood in goodly case.
His bulging eyes he rolled about, and hot
They gleamed and red, like fire beneath a pot;
His boots were soft; his horse of great estate.
Now certainly he was a fine prelate:
205He was not pale as some tormented ghost.
A fat swan he loved best of any roast.
His palfrey was as brown as is a berry.




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From General Prologue, lines 208-271:
The Friar
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