The Prologue

When April with his showers hath pierced the drought
Of March with sweetness to the very root,
And flooded every vein with liquid power
That of its strength engendereth the flower;
When Zephyr also with his fragrant breath
Hath urged to life in every holt and heath
New tender shoots of green, and the young sun
Half of his course within the Ram hath run
And little birds are making melody
That sleep the whole night through with open eye,
(For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so),
Then people long on pilgrimage to go
(And palmers to be seeking foreign strands)
To distant shrines renowned in sundry lands.
And then from every English countryside
Especially to Canterbury they ride,
There to the holy sainted martyr kneeling
That in their sickness sent them help and healing.

From Canterbury Tales, Six Tales and Six Lyics, by Geoffrey Chaucer, translated by Frank Ernest Hill.

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