Chaucer and His England

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Methuen & Company, 1908 - 321 pages
No book of this size can pretend to treat exhaustively of all that concerns Chaucer and his England; but the author's main aim has been to supply an informal historical commentary on the poet's works. - Preface to the first edition.

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Page 64 - I STROVE with none, for none was worth my strife; Nature I loved, and next to Nature, Art; I warmed both hands before the fire of life; It sinks, and I am ready to depart.
Page 147 - Embrouded was he, as it were a mede Al ful of fresshe floures, whyte and rede. 90 Singinge he was, or floytinge, al the day ; He was as fresh as is the month of May.
Page 146 - And though that he was worthy, he was wise ; And of his port as meek as is a maid. He never yet no villainy§ ne said In all his life unto no manner wight: He was a very perfect, gentle knit/ht.
Page 3 - Sheffield, a mercer, came into a house and asked for meat, and especially he asked after eggs; and the good wife answered that she could speak no French, and the merchant was angry, for he also could speak no French, but would have had eggs, and she understood him not. And then at last another said, that he would have "eyren"; then the goodwife said that she understood him well. Lo, what should a man in these days now write, eggs or eyren? Certainly it is hard to please every man because of diversity...
Page 143 - ... to have with them both men and women, that can well sing wanton songs, and some other pilgrims will have with them bagpipes, so that every town that they come through, what with the noise of their singing. and with the sound of their piping, and with the jangling of their Canterbury bells, and with the barking out of dogs after them, they make more noise than if the king came there away with all his clarions, and many other minstrels.
Page 233 - Englishmen removed not one foot ; thirdly again they leapt and cried, and went forth till they came within shot ; then they shot fiercely with their cross-bows. Then the English archers stept forth one pace and let fly their arrows so wholly and so thick that it seemed snow...
Page 313 - Fowls," and which contrasts so sweetly with the stern lines of Dante from which they were imitated: — " Through me men go into the blissful place Of the heart's heal and deadly woundes' cure; Through me men go unto the well of Grace, Where green and lusty May doth ever endure ; This is the way to all good aventure ; Be glad, thou Reader, and thy sorrow offcast, All open am I, pass in, and speed thee fast...
Page 272 - When the great fen, or moor, which watereth the walls of the city on the north side, is frozen, many young men play upon the ice ; some, striding as wide as they may, do slide swiftly ; others make themselves seats of ice, as great as millstones ; one sits down, many hand in hand to draw him, and one slipping on a sudden, all fall together ; some tie bones to their feet and under their heels ; and shoving themselves by a little picked staff, do slide as swiftly as a bird flieth in the air, or an...
Page 156 - What man art thou?" quoth he : " Thou lookest as thou wouldest find an hare; For ever upon 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 to embrace For any woman ; small and fair of face ; He seemeth elvish by his countenance, For unto no wight doth he dalliance. " Say now somewhat, since other folk have said ; Tell us a tale of mirth, and that anon.
Page 250 - will never love or honour their king, unless he be victorious and a lover of arms and war against their neighbours and especially against such as are greater and richer than themselves. Their land is more fulfilled of riches and all manner of goods when they are at war than in times of peace. They take delight and solace in battles and slaughter : covetous and envious are they above measure of other men's wealth.

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