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 engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem nature in hir corages);
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes.
For people seeking to dip their toe into our ancestral tongue or to hone their skills further, have a go at our Chaucer's English Knowledge Cards. Amaze your friends and family! Pass your "Intro to Chaucer" pronunciation exam! Or at least sound convincing when you're doing medieval re-enactments.
Chaucer's other great work is of course Troilus and Cressida; an illustration from William Morris's 1896 Kelmscott Press edition appears below.
"An historical romance, its tragic love story takes place during the Trojan War, an event favoured by many medieval writers. It has been suggested that this is the work by which Chaucer himself would have liked to have been remembered. It was certainly written when he was at the height of his career and public fame as a poet, and, according to Pearsall, it is self-consciously and deliberately his masterpiece. It was based on the Filostrato by Boccaccio, a work which would have scandalized its contemporary readers as being both thoroughly modern and quite wicked in its unrestrained depiction of sexual love. Chaucer’s version was probably the talk of the court in the 1380s."
|The court reacting to Chaucer's wicked, sexy story.|