The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Prioress' Prologue

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