Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas

WHEN said was this miracle, every man
As sober* was, that wonder was to see, *serious
Till that our Host to japen* he began, *talk lightly
And then *at erst* he looked upon me, *for the first time*
And saide thus; 'What man art thou?' quoth he;
'Thou lookest as thou wouldest find an hare,
For ever on the ground I see thee stare.

'Approache near, and look up merrily.
Now ware you, Sirs, and let this man have place.
He in the waist is shapen as well as I;
This were a puppet in an arm t'embrace
For any woman small and fair of face.
He seemeth elvish* by his countenance, *surly, morose
For unto no wight doth he dalliance.

'Say now somewhat, since other folk have said;
Tell us a tale of mirth, and that anon.'
'Hoste,' quoth I, 'be not evil apaid,* *dissatisfied
For other tale certes can* I none, *know
Eut of a rhyme I learned yore* agone.' *long
'Yea, that is good,' quoth he; 'now shall we hear
Some dainty thing, me thinketh by thy cheer.'

THE TALE

The First Fit* *part

Listen, lordings, in good intent,
And I will tell you verrament* *truly
Of mirth and of solas,* *delight, solace
All of a knight was fair and gent,* *gentle
In battle and in tournament,
His name was Sir Thopas.

Y-born he was in far country,
In Flanders, all beyond the sea,
At Popering in the place;
His father was a man full free,
And lord he was of that country,
As it was Godde's grace.

Sir Thopas was a doughty swain,
White was his face as paindemain,
His lippes red as rose.
His rode* is like scarlet in grain, *complexion
And I you tell in good certain
He had a seemly nose.

His hair, his beard, was like saffroun,
That to his girdle reach'd adown,
His shoes of cordewane:
Of Bruges were his hosen brown;
His robe was of ciclatoun,
That coste many a jane.

He coulde hunt at the wild deer,
And ride on hawking *for rivere* *by the river*
With gray goshawk on hand:
Thereto he was a good archere,
Of wrestling was there none his peer,
Where any ram should stand.

Full many a maiden bright in bow'r
They mourned for him par amour,
When them were better sleep;
But he was chaste, and no lechour,
And sweet as is the bramble flow'r
That beareth the red heep.* *hip

And so it fell upon a day,
For sooth as I you telle may,
Sir Thopas would out ride;
He worth* upon his steede gray, *mounted
And in his hand a launcegay,* *spear
A long sword by his side.

He pricked through a fair forest,
Wherein is many a wilde beast,
Yea, bothe buck and hare;
And as he pricked north and east,
I tell it you, him had almest *almost
Betid* a sorry care. *befallen

There sprange herbes great and small,
The liquorice and the setewall,* *valerian
And many a clove-gilofre,
And nutemeg to put in ale,
Whether it be moist* or stale, *new
Or for to lay in coffer.

The birdes sang, it is no nay,
The sperhawk* and the popinjay,** *sparrowhawk **parrot
That joy it was to hear;
The throstle-cock made eke his lay,
The woode-dove upon the spray
She sang full loud and clear.

Sir Thopas fell in love-longing
All when he heard the throstle sing,
And *prick'd as he were wood;* *rode as if he
His faire steed in his pricking were mad*
So sweated, that men might him wring,
His sides were all blood.

Sir Thopas eke so weary was
For pricking on the softe grass,
So fierce was his corage,* *inclination, spirit
That down he laid him in that place,
To make his steed some solace,
And gave him good forage.

'Ah, Saint Mary, ben'dicite,
What aileth thilke* love at me *this
To binde me so sore?
Me dreamed all this night, pardie,
An elf-queen shall my leman* be, *mistress
And sleep under my gore.* *shirt

An elf-queen will I love, y-wis,* *assuredly
For in th
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Geoffrey Chaucer

Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the Father of English literature, is widely considered the greatest English poet of the Middle Ages and was the first poet to have been buried in Poet's Corner of Westminster Abbey. more…

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"Chaucer's Tale of Sir Thopas" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Sep. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/14617/chaucer's-tale-of-sir-thopas>.

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