The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Summoner's Prologue

This somonour in his styropes hye stood;
     1665
Upon this frere his herte was so wood
     1666
That lyk an aspen leef he quook for ire.
     1667
Lordynges, quod he, but o thyng I desire;
     1668
I yow biseke that, of youre curteisye,
     1669
Syn ye han herd this false frere lye,
     1670
As suffreth me I may my tale telle.
     1671
This frere bosteth that he knoweth helle,
     1672
And God it woot, that it is litel wonder;
     1673
Freres and feendes been but lyte asonder.
     1674
For, pardee, ye han ofte tyme herd telle
     1675
How that a frere ravyshed was to helle
     1676
In spirit ones by a visioun;
     1677
And as an angel ladde hym up and doun,
     1678
To shewen hym the peynes that the were,
     1679
In al the place saugh he nat a frere;
     1680
Of oother folk he saugh ynowe in wo.
     1681
Unto this angel spak the frere tho:
     1682
Now, sire, quod he, han freres swich a grace
     1683
That noon of hem shal come to this place?
     1684
Yis, quod this aungel, many a millioun!
     1685
And unto sathanas he ladde hym doun.
     1686
-- And now hath sathanas, -- seith he, -- a tayl
     1687
Brodder than of a carryk is the sayl.
     1688
Hold up thy tayl, thou sathanas! -- quod he;
     1689
-- shewe forth thyn ers, and lat the frere se
     1690
Where is the nest of freres in this place! --
     1691
And er that half a furlong wey of space,
     1692
Right so as bees out swarmen from an hyve,
     1693
Out of the develes ers ther gonne dryve Page  94
     1694
Twenty thousand freres on a route,
     1695
And thurghout helle swarmed al aboute,
     1696
And comen agayn as faste as they may gon,
     1697
And in his ers they crepten everychon.
     1698
He clapte his tayl agayn and lay ful stille.
     1699
This frere, whan he looked hadde his fille
     1700
Upon the tormentz of this sory place,
     1701
His spirit God restored, of his grace,
     1702
Unto his body agayn, and he awook.
     1703
But natheles, for fere yet he quook,
     1704
So was the develes ers ay in his mynde,
     1705
That is his heritage of verray kynde.
     1706
God save yow alle, save this cursed frere!
     1707
My prologe wol I ende in this manere.
     1708