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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffery Chaucer

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"The Pardoner's Prologue" courtesy Gerard NeCastro, University of Maine at Machias.


The Pardoner's Prologue (Middle English)

PardT 329 "Lordynges," quod he, "in chirches whan I preche,
PardT 330 I peyne me to han an hauteyn speche,
PardT 331 And rynge it out as round as gooth a belle,
PardT 332 For I kan al by rote that I telle.
PardT 333 My theme is alwey oon, and evere was --
PardT 334 Radix malorum est Cupiditas.
PardT 335 "First I pronounce whennes that I come,
PardT 336 And thanne my bulles shewe I, alle and some.
PardT 337 Oure lige lordes seel on my patente,
PardT 338 That shewe I first, my body to warente,
PardT 339 That no man be so boold, ne preest ne clerk,
PardT 340 Me to destourbe of Cristes hooly werk.
PardT 341 And after that thanne telle I forth my tales;
PardT 342 Bulles of popes and of cardynales,
PardT 343 Of patriarkes and bishopes I shewe,
PardT 344 And in Latyn I speke a wordes fewe,
PardT 345 To saffron with my predicacioun,
PardT 346 And for to stire hem to devocioun.
PardT 347 Thanne shewe I forth my longe cristal stones,
PardT 348 Ycrammed ful of cloutes and of bones --
PardT 349 Relikes been they, as wenen they echoon.
PardT 350 Thanne have I in latoun a sholder-boon
PardT 351 Which that was of an hooly Jewes sheep.
PardT 352 `Goode men,' I seye, `taak of my wordes keep;
PardT 353 If that this boon be wasshe in any welle,
PardT 354 If cow, or calf, or sheep, or oxe swelle
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