The Friar TranslationThis is a featured page

208: A frere ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
There was a friar, a wanton and merry man,
209: A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
A lymytour, a very dignified man.
210: In alle the ordres foure is noon that kan
In all the Four Oders are none that know
211: So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage.
So much of socialability and fine language.
212: He hadde maad ful many a mariage
He had performed very many marriages
213: Of yonge wommen at his owene cost.
Of young women at his own cost.
214: Unto his ordre he was a noble post.
For his order he was a noble post.
215: Ful wel biloved and famulier was he
Very well loved and known was he
216: With frankeleyns over al in his contree,
With franklins all over his country,
217: And eek with worthy wommen of the toun;
And also with worthy women of the town;
218: For he hadde power of confessioun,
For he had the power of confession,
219: As seyde hymself, moore than a curat,
As said himself, more than a parish priest,
220: For of his ordre he was licenciat.
For in his order he was licensed to hear confessions.
221: Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
He very nicely heard confessions,
222: And plesaunt was his absolucioun:
And to be pleasant was his order of absolution:
223: He was an esy man to yeve penaunce,
He was an easy man to give penance,
224: Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
Where he knew it to have a good pittance.
225: For unto a povre ordre for to yive
To give well to a priest of a poor order
226: Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;
Is sign that a man is well shriven;
227: For if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
For if he gave, he dared make a boast,
228: He wiste that a man was repentaunt;
He knew that a man was repentant;
229: For many a man so hard is of his herte,
For many a man is so hard of heart,
230: He may nat wepe, althogh hym soore smerte.
He may not weep, although he sorely suffers.
231: Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres
Therefore instead of weeping and prayer
232: Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
Men must give silver to the poor friars.
233: His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves
His tippet was always stuffed full of knives
234: And pynnes, for to yeven faire wyves.
And pins, for to be given to faire wives.
235: And certeinly he hadde a murye note:
And certainly he had a pleasant voice:
236: Wel koude he synge and pleyen on a rote;
He knew well how to sing and play a stringed instrument;
237: Of yeddynges he baar outrely the pris.
Of balladry he carried plainly the prize.
238: His nekke whit was as the flour-de-lys;
His neck white as the fleur-de-lys (pleasant voice);
239: Therto he strong was as a champioun.
Therefore he definitely was as a champion.
240: He knew the tavernes wel in every toun
He knew the taverns well in every town
241: And everich hostiler and tappestere
And every innkeeper and barmaid
242: Bet than a lazar or a beggestere;
Better than a leper or a beggar-woman;
243: For unto swich a worthy man as he
For unto such a worthy man as he
244: Acorded nat, as by his facultee,
Accorded it, as far as he could see,
245: To have with sike lazars aqueyntaunce.
To have sick lepers for acquaintances.
246: It is nat honest, it may nat avaunce,
There is no honest advantages,
247: For to deelen with no swich poraille,
For to deal with such poverty-stricken curs,
248: But al with riche and selleres of vitaille.
But all with the rich and big victuallers.
249: And over al, ther as profit sholde arise,
And over all, wherever profit may arise,
250: Curteis he was and lowely of servyse.
Curteous he was and humble in man's eyes.
251: Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
There was no man anywhere so virtuous.
252: He was the beste beggere in his hous;
He was the best beggar in his house;
252.1: (and yaf a certeyne ferme for the graunt;
(and a certain farm being assigned to him;
252.2: Noon of his bretheren cam ther in his haunt;)
no other of his bretheren came near his skill;)
253: For thogh a wydwe hadde noght a sho,
For though a widow had no shoes,
254: So plesaunt was his in principio,
So pleasant was his In principio,
255: Yet wolde he have a ferthyng, er he wente.
Yet would he have a farthing, before his path.
256: His purchas was wel bettre than his rente.
His acquisition was more than his income.
257: And rage he koude, as it were right a whelp.
And he knew how to rage, as it were like a pup.
258: In love-dayes ther koude he muchel help,
In love-days there he knew how to help much,
259: For ther he was nat lyk a cloysterer
For there he was not like a cloysterer
260: With a thredbare cope, as is a povre scoler,
With threadbare cope, as is this poor scholar,
261: But he was lyk a maister or a pope.
But he was like a master or a pope.
262: Of double worstede was his semycope,
Of double worsted was his semi-cope,
263: That rounded as a belle out of the presse.
That rounded as a bell out of the press.
264: Somwhat he lipsed, for his wantownesse,
Somewhat he lisped, for his wantonness,
265: To make his englissh sweete upon his tonge;
To make his English sweet upon his tongue;
266: And in his harpyng, whan that he hadde songe,
And in his harping, after he had sung,
267: His eyen twynkled in his heed aryght,
His eyes twinkled in his bright head,
268: As doon the sterres in the frosty nyght.
As do the stars in the frosty night.
269: This worthy lymytour was cleped huberd.
This worthy lymytour was called Hubert.


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