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The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue

Publié par Clifford Armion le 24/06/2011

Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote

The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,

And bathed every veyne in swich licour

Of which vertu engendered is the flour

Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth

Inspired hath in every holt and heeth

The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne

Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,

And smale foweles maken melodye,

That slepen al the nyght with open ye

(So priketh hem nature in hir corage

Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,

And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,

To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes

And specially from every shires ende

Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,

The hooly blisful martir for to seke,

That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.

Bifil that in that seson on a day,

In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay

Redy to wenden on my pilgrymage

To Caunterbury with ful devout corage,

At nyght was come into that hosterye

Wel nyne and twenty in a compaignye

Of sondry folk, by aventure yfalle

In felawshipe, and pilgrimes were they alle,

That toward Caunterbury wolden ryde.


[Modern English Translation]

When April, with its sweet showers,

Has penetrated the dryness of March to the root

And has drenched every plant's vein in the sap

That has the power to produce the flower;

When also the west wind, with its sweet breath,

In every grove and field, has blown life

Into the tender shoots, and the young sun

Has run its half-course in the sign of the Ram,

And small birds are singing,

That sleep with their eyes open all night

(So much does lustiness incite them in their spirits),

Then people long to go on pilgrimages,

And palmers want to travel to foreign shores,

To distant shrines, famous in various lands.

And particularly, from every shire's end

In England, they travel to Canterbury,

To seek the holy blessed martyr

Who had helped them when they were sick.

It happened in that season that one day,

When I was staying in the Tabard Inn in Southwark,

About to begin my pilgrimage

To Canterbury in most devout spirits

At night there came into that hostelry

Some twenty-nine people, in a company

Of various sorts of folk, fallen by chance

Into a fellowship, and all of them were pilgrims

Who intended to ride towards Canterbury

Geoffrey Chaucer

Pour citer cette ressource :

"The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), juin 2011. Consulté le 27/02/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/litterature/les-dossiers-transversaux/textes-a-etudier-en-classe/the-canterbury-tales-general-prologue