Canterbury Tales

Magnificent. (It’s like a Rosetta Stone for Middle English.  Not really, but it’s great.)

Ich haue devised an excellente planne for a worke of grete literarye merit, and of much sentence and solaas. And school-childer alle across thys grete erth shal reden of thes tales and thanke me for the delite they haue, much more delite than the distiches of catoun shal euere brynge, or even the grapes of wrathe.

Ich shal make a collecioun of tales with a central frame narratif, much lyk the Tenne Dayes of Giovan Boccacce, the whiche ich loue so much that myn copye of yt ys fallynge into fragmentz. But thes tales shalle be tolde nat only by aristocratik sots but by men and womyn of alle estaats (more jokes that waye! whatte ys funnyer than an argument bitwene a sumonour and a friar?).

Honestli, yt ys in sum parte sloth that thus driveth me, for ich haue manye litel wrytynges heere and ther, svch as the tale of the tow yonge knightes and perle harboure, and the vita of Seynte Cecile, that wolde nat selle as independente volumes. But package them wyth severale tales of aventure and slapsticke? Bad-a-bynge, bad-a-boume! A devyce of marketynge moore cunnynge than a foxe that has jvst been made doctour of cunnyng at the universitee of Paris! A devyce of marketynge so clever that yt maketh Bill 3ates look lyk Jessica Simpsoun! Ich am sorrye to be so prideful yn myn herte, but ich am really psychede.

Thogh ich am a man of litel lernynge and thogh ich bere a humble pen that kan nat be compared to the noble style of Cithero or Alanus of Lille or grete Dant who did trauel from helle vp to paradise, nevirtheless ich do beleve myn litel tales shal be a mater of sum discussion and intereste for men and women who shal come aftir me in states vnborne and accentes yet unkennede. And keepyng this in myn consideracioun, ich do thus presente here to yow, gentil rederes, the notes concernynge thes tales that ich made yestermorn at the custoume hous. Myn clerkli mayster in freshman comp did alwey telle me that a wrytyng planne ys always a goode idea, and ich tende to beleve hym since he ys now Archbishop of Canterburie so he must have doon somethynge ryght. So heere is myn wrytng planne. May it plese yow to pardon me the seuerale unrelated nootes ich haue made oute of ire or confusione, or concernynge litel dittees and balades the whiche ich do penne almost constantli. I include al of the mattir, both kernele and chaffe, heere for the sake of Ladye Clio the warde of historyes and bookes, and hopefulli to answere future scholarlyle questiones abovte the ordere and nature of myn tales:


BSL! As yf strucke by lightynge – finalli a waye to get ouer myn writeres blok…

Heere bigenneth the booke of the tales of Canterburie:

Howe coole doth that sounde? Organise ynto fragmentz, for ich trowe that a worke in ‘fragmentz’ shall appeale to Vmberto Eco.


Intro/setup of frame: Something about Aprille – meetynge with the pilgrimes – pilgrimes in hir order and degre – the hostes proposal

The Knightes Tale: Rafe and Dannie are tow freendes who fighten in the same war at Perle Harbour, but both falle in loue with the same ladye, Evelyne (Kate Beckinsale)

The Milleres prolog and Tale: whatte Adam Pinkhurste did vnto me bifor I fired hys ass– chaunge names and occupaciouns – absolvtely fabliaux

The Reves prologue and Tale: not svre yet – but definitlie haue an ironike aubade and vse the word “fnorten”, for “fnortynge” ys aboute the funnyeste worde of which y kan thynken)

The Cookes prologe and Tale: heroik prentys named Perkyn Revelour survyveth al thinges that wolde kepe a playere doun, meeteth Gros-Blanche, an famovs rapper, and hymself getteth ovte of the workshop and the street to becum a starre, all thurgh his hustle & flowe – inclvde myn newe ballade ’tis difficult out heere to been a prentys’?

XXX lastes of lether at iii pennyes subdsidie a laste is whatte? Goddes nvts, wher ys myn abacus? Yf Nichol Brembre hath taken yt ayein ich am goynge to screame.


One Response to “Canterbury Tales”

  1. Seminare Says:

    What a frankly amazing piece of writing!

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