The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Franklin's Prologue

Thise olde gentil britouns in hir dayes
Of diverse aventures maden layes,
Rymeyed in hir firste briton tonge;
Whiche leyes with hir instrumentz songe,
Or elles redden hem for hir plesaunce,
And oon of hem have I in remembraunce,
Which I shal seyn with good wyl as I kan.
But, sires, by cause I am a burel man,
At my bigynnyng first I yow biseche,
Have me excused of my rude speche.
I lerned nevere rethorik, certeyn;
Thyng that I speke, it moot be bare and pleyn.
I sleep nevere on the mount of pernaso,
Ne lerned marcus tullius scithero.
Colours ne knowe I none, withouten drede,
But swiche colours as growen in the mede,
Or elles swiche as men dye or peynte.
Colours of rethoryk been to me queynte;
My spririt feeleth noght of swich mateere.
But if yow list, my tale shul ye heere.