Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Canterbury Tales


A Monk there was, a fayre for the maistrie,
An outrider that loved venerie;
A manly man, to be an Abbot able,
Full many a daintie horse had he in stable :
And whan he rode, men might his bridle hear
Gingeling in a whistling wind as clear,
And eke as loud, as doth the chapell bell,
There as this lord was keeper of the cell.


Walter Scott employed the above passage from the prologue to "The Canterbury Tales" as the motto to Chapter II of  "Ivanhoe".  April 17 has two resonances with Chaucer's work.  In 1397, Chaucer told "The Canterbury Tales" for the first time, in the court of English King Richard II.  It is also the date the pilgrimage to Canterbury is supposed to have begun, in 1387.

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