The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Prioress' Prologue

O lord, oure lord, thy name how merveillous
     453
Is in this large world ysprad, quod she;
     454
For noght oonly thy laude precious
     455
Parfourned is by men of dignitee,
     456
But by the mouth of children thy bountee
     457
Parfourned is, for on the brest soukynge
     458
Somtyme shewen they thyn heriynge.
     459
Wherfore in laude, as I best kan or may,
     460
Of thee and of the white lyle flour
     461
Which that the bar, and is a mayde alway,
     462
To telle a storie I wol do my labour;
     463
Nat that I may encressen hir honour,
     464
For whe hirself is honour and the roote
     465
Of bountee, next hir sone, and soules boote.
     466
O mooder mayde! o mayde mooder free!
     467
O bussh unbrent, brennynge in moyses sighte,
     468
That ravyshedest doun fro the dietee,
     469
Thurgh thyn humbless, the goost that in th' alighte,
     470
Of whos vertu, whan he thyn herte lighte,
     471
Conceyved was the fadres sapience,
     472
Help me to telle it in thy reverence!
     473
Lady, thy bountee, thy magnificence,
     474
Thy vertu, and thy grete humylitee,
     475
Ther may no tonge expresse in no science;
     476
For somtyme, lady, er men praye to thee,
     477
Thou goost biforn of thy benyngnytee,
     478
And getest us the lyght, of thy preyere,
     479
To gyden us unto thy sone so deere.
     480
My konnyng is so wayk, o blisful queene,
     481
For to declare thy grete worthynesse
     482
That I ne may the weighte nat susteene;
     483
But as a child of twelf month oold, or lesse,
     484
That kan unnethes any word expresse,
     485
Right so fare I, and therfore I yow preye,
     486
Gydeth my song that I shal of yow seye.
     487