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The Shipman
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From The Canterbury Tales:
General Prologue
lines 413-446: The Physician


       With us ther was a DOCTOUR OF PHISIK;
In al this world ne was ther noon hym lik,
415To speke of phisik and of surgerye,
For he was grounded in astronomye.
He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
In houres, by his magyk natureel.
Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
420Of his ymages for his pacient.
He knew the cause of everich maladye,
Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,
And where they engendred, and of what humour.
He was a verray parfit praktisour:
425The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,
Anon he yaf the sike man his boote.
Ful redy hadde he hise apothecaries
To sende him drogges and his letuaries,
For ech of hem made oother for to wynne-
430Hir frendshipe nas nat newe to bigynne.
Wel knew he the olde Esculapius,
And Deyscorides and eek Rufus,
Olde Ypocras, Haly, and Galyen,
Serapioun, Razis, and Avycen,
435Averrois, Damascien, and Constantyn,
Bernard, and Gatesden, and Gilbertyn.
Of his diete mesurable was he,
For it was of no superfluitee,
But of greet norissyng, and digestible.
440His studie was but litel on the Bible.
In sangwyn and in pers he clad was al,
Lyned with taffata and with sendal;
And yet he was but esy of dispence;
He kepte that he wan in pestilence.
445For gold in phisik is a cordial,
Therfore he lovede gold in special.
       With us there was a DOCTOR OF MEDICINE;
In all this world there was none like him
415To speak of medicine and surgery;
For he was instructed in astronomy.
He cared for and saved a patient many times
By natural science and studying astrological signs.
Well could he calculate the planetary position
420To improve the state his patient is in.
He knew the cause of every sickness,
Whether it brings heat or cold, moisture or dryness,
And where engendered, and of what humour;
He was a very good practitioner.
425The cause being known, the root of the malady,
At once he gave to the sick man his remedy.
Prepared he was, with his apothecaries,
To send him drugs and all electuaries;
By mutual aid much gold they'd always won-
430Their friendship was a thing not new begun.
Well he knew the old Esculapius,
And Deiscorides, and also Rufus,
Old Hippocrates, Hali, and Galen,
Serapion, Rhazes, and Avicen,
435Averroes, Gilbertus, and Constantine,
Bernard and Gatisden, and John Damascene.
In diet he was modest as could be,
No one could blame him of superfluity,
But greatly nourishin and digestible.
440His study was but little on the Bible.
Blue and scarlet his clothes were therewithal,
Lined with taffeta and with sendal;
And yet he was right careful of expense;
He kept the gold he gained from pestilence.
445Since gold in physic is a cordial,
Therefore he loved his gold exceeding all.




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From General Prologue, lines 447-478:
The Wife of Bath
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