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selinon (rock-parsley). -Colplontes, or koleplantes: coleworts, cauliflowers, cabbages, &c. Lat. caulis (stem, stalk, esp. cabbage-stalk, cabbage); Ger. kohl (cabbage). Cf.
also kale, kail. 276. Lammasse, Lammas, August 1.
* Lammas' is ‘Hlaf-mass' (Loafmass). The festival on this day celebrated the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and especially the grain harvest. It was one of the great Pagan festivals; and on the introduction of Christianity, it was continued, a loaf being the usual offering at church. Hence
the name of the service, which was extended to the day. (See Chambers's Book of Days, vol. ii., p.
154, August 1.) 279. Pese-coddes, peascods, pea-pods,
‘pea-shells, with the peas in them (peas were often boiled in the shells)' (Skeat). Pea :' older forms ' pees' and 'pise,' with plurals, 'pesen,' 'peses,' and 'piosan.' Fr. pois, Lat. pisum. 'Coddes:' older codd'
means 'a bag.' 281. Chibolles, small onions or leeks.
Fr. ciboule, Lat. cæpulla, dimin. from cæpe (an onion). Cf. Scot. cibo (seibow, sebow).
GEOFFREY CHAUCER.-1340 ?-1400. GEOFFREY CHAUCER was the son of a London vintner or wine-merchant. He became early attached to the Court, probably as a page in Prince Lionel's household, and remained more or less 'a court-man all his life.' In 1359, he accompanied Edward III.'s army to France, was taken prisoner in the following year, and ransomed by the king. In 1367 he received a life-pension. About the same time, or a little earlier, he married Philippa, one of the ladies in waiting on Queen Philippa. He was next employed on many diplomatic missions to continental courts—to Genoa, Flanders, France, Lombardy, &c. Meantime he had been appointed, in 1374, Comptroller of the Customs and Subsidy of Wools, Skins, and Tanned Hides in the Port of London, and he had received a pension for life from the Duke of Lancaster. In 1382, he was made Comptroller of the Petty Customs, with the privilege of appointing a deputy. In 1386, he sat in parliament as a knight of the shire (or M.P.) for Kent. But now his fortunes began to decline with the fortunes of his friend John of Gaunt. His comptrollerships were taken from him; and he was so far reduced as to raise money on his annuities. Again, in 1389, the prospect brightened a little, and for a short time he held the post of Clerk of the King's Works. In 1394, he received from Richard II. an annuity of £20; and his low condition may be inferred from his occasionally soliciting portions of this in advance. In later years, royal acts of kindness were done to him in other forms. And in the last year of his life, Henry Bolingbroke, son of John of Gaunt, came to the throne, and within four days doubled Chaucer's pension of twenty marks, while continuing to him the £ 20 annuity granted by Richard II. At Christmas 1399, the poet retired to a house in the garden of the Chapel of St Mary, Westminster, where he died, probably on October 25, 1400.
Chaucer's great work is The Canterbury Tales, which dates not earlier than 1386. The general plan, with a description of the characters, is given in the Prologue. One May morning, as Chaucer lay at the Tabard, a famous publichouse in High Street, Southwark, there arrived nine-and-twenty pilgrims on their way to the shrine of St Thomas at Canterbury. Chaucer joined them, and 'mine host' presided over the company on the road. It was agreed that each pilgrim should tell two tales on the journey to Canterbury, and two tales more on the return journey. But there are only twenty-four tales in all; an incompleteness that may be explained on various suppositions. Chaucer may have felt the undertaking to be too cumbrous, or he may have died in the midst of his work.
We follow closely Dr Morris's text (Clarendon Press Series).
70 In his lyf unto no maner wight.6
He was a verray? perfizt 8 gentil o knight. 1 Distinguished, brave. 2 War. 3 Farther. 4 Carriage, bearing, behaviour. Nothing unbecoming a gentleman. 6 No manner of person. 7 True. 8 Perfect. 9 Noble.
NOTES. 45. He is inserted along with the rela- 48. Ferre, compar. of fer, far.
tive pron. 'that' (44): 'that he' 49. Cristendom ... hethenesse : Chrisbeing used for that
See Ormin, 3, alone. So, that his' for 'whose,' note. that him’ for that' (objective) or 70. Vilonye, villainy; speech or action
whom.' -Chyvalrye, chivalry; the proper to villains, Lat. villani, manners, exercises, and exploits of a peasants attached to villa (farms). knight. Fr. chevalerie, from cheva- Hence the word now lier (horseman, knight), from cheval, very bad moral condition generLat. caballus, a horse.
ally.-Observe the three negatives 46. Honour. The accent on the last for one denial. syllable shews the influence of the
72. Verray, true : Fr. vrai, Lat. French form honneur, Lat. honorem. verācem,
he was I gesse. 1 The Knight 2 Pleasant, jolly. 3 Curled.
Of his statúre he was of evene lengthe,
Embrowded? was he, as it were a mede
79. Squyer, squire, esquire, shieldbearer; attendant on a knight, bearing his lance and shield. Fr. escuyer, écuyer, from Lat. scutarius, from Lat. scutum (shield), from Gr. skutos (hide : several layers of which, fixed on some strong framework, formed the shield of ancient warrior). A coat of arms blazoned on a shield is an "escutcheon,' 'scutcheon,' Fr. escusson, écusson. For another offshoot from the same root, see Fortescue, note on Scute,
82. I gesse, I suppose or judge, I should
say. Not yet an Americanism. Cf.
The Knight's Tale, 192. 84. Delyvere, active, nimble. Fr.
délivrer, Lat. deliberare, from de (down, away), and liber (free). The
root-idea is freedom of action. 92. As fressh as... May. May, the de
light of the poets, and especially of Chaucer, furnishes the highest possible comparison. Cf. The Knight's Tale, 179.
See also Dunbar, The Golden Targe.
(From the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales.)
1 Mastery, superiority. 2 Hunting. 3 Dainty, choice. 4 Ther as = where. Cell, house. Rule. 7 St Maur. 8 St Benet, or Benedict.
9 Some deal, somewhat 10 Strait, strict. 11 Same. 12 Gave. 13 Pilled, moulting.