Best Poems From
General Prologue 17: The Wife of Bath - Geoffrey Chaucer (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation)
A good Wife was there of beside Bath,
But she was somewhat deaf, and that was scathe.
Of cloth making she had such a haunt
She passed them of Ypres and of Ghent.
In all the parish wife was there none
That to the offering before her should go on;
And if they did, certain so wroth was she
That she was out of all charity.
Her coverchiefs full fine were of ground;
I do swear they weighed ten pound
That on a Sunday were upon her head.
Her hose were of fine scarlet red,
Full straight tied, and shoes full moist and new.
Bold was her face, and fair, and red of hew.
She was a worthy woman all her life:
Husbands at church door she had five,
Without them other company in youth -
But there's no need to speak right now.
And thrice had she been at Jerusalem;
She had passed many a strange stream;
At Rome she had been, and at Boulogne,
In Galicia at Saint Jame, and at Cologne.
She could much of wandering by the way.
Gap-toothed was she, truly for to say.
Upon an ambler easily she sat,
Wimpled well, and on her head a hat
As broad as is a buckler or a targe;
A foot-mantle about her hips large,
And on her feet a pair of spurs sharp.
In fellowship well could she laugh and carp.
Of remedies of love she knew per chance,
For she knew of that art the old dance.
© 2009 Forrest Hainline
Almost Winter Solstice
A full cold moon fastens
Its grip while the nights become long
©2013 Forrest A. Hainline III
General Prologue 16: The Doctor of Physic - Geoffrey Chaucer (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation)
With us there was A Doctor of Physic;
In all this world was there none him like,
To speak of physic and of surgery,
For he was grounded in astronomy.
He kept his patient a full great deal
In hours, by his magic natural.
Well could he fortune the ascendant
Of his images for his patient.
He knew the cause of every malady,
Were it of hot, or cold, or moist, or dry,
And where they engendered, and of what humor.
He was a very perfect practitioner:
The cause he knew, and of his harm the root,
Anon he gave the sick man his boot.
Full ready had he his apothecaries
To send him drugs and electuaries,
For each of them made other for to win
His friendship was not new to begin.
Well knew he the old Aesculapius,
And Dioscorides and too Rufus,
Old Hippocrates, Hali, and Galen,
Serapion, Rhazes, and Avicen,
Averroes, Damascene, and Constantine,
Bernard, and Gatisden, and Gilbertus.
Of his diet measurable was he,
For it was of no superfluity,
But of great nourishing and digestable.
His study was but little on the Bible.
In sanguine and in perse he clad was all,
Lined with taffeta and with sendal.
And yet he was but easy of dispense;
He kept that he won in pestilence.
For gold in physic is a cordial,
Therefore he loved gold in special.
© 2009 Forrest HainlineHainline
General Prologue 18: The Parson - Geoffrey Chaucer (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation)
A good man was there of religion,
And was a poor Parson of a town,
But rich he was of holy thought and work.
He was also a learned man, a clerk,
That Christs Gospel truly would preach;
His parishioners devoutly would he teach.
Benign he was and wonder diligent,
And in adversity full patient,
And such he was proved oft sithe.
Full loathe was he to curse for his tithes,
But rather would he give, out of doubt,
Unto his poor parishioners about
Of his offering and too of his substance.
He could in little things have sufficience.
Wide was his parish, and houses far asonder,
But he left none out, for rain nor thunder,
In sickness nor in mischief to visit
The farthest in his parish, much and light,
Upon his feet, and in his hand a stave.
This nobel example to his sheep he gave,
That first he wrought, and afterward he taught.
Out of the Gospel he those words caught,
And this figure he added also thereto,
That if gold rust, what shall iron do?
For if a priest be foul, on whom we trust,
No wonder is a lewd man to rust;
And shame it is if a priest take keep,
A shitten shepherd and a clean sheep.
Well ought a priest example for to give,
By his cleanness, how that his sheep should live.
He set not his benefice to hire
And let his sheep encumbered in the mire
And ran to London unto Saint Pauls
To seek him a chantry for souls,
Or with a brotherhood to be withhold;
But dwelt at home, and kept well his fold,
So that the wolf not make it miscarry;
He was a shepherd and not a mercenary.
And though he holy were and virtuous,
He was to sinful men not despitous,
Nor of his speech dangerous nor digne,
But in his teaching discreet and benign.
To draw folk to heaven by fairness,
By good example, that was his business.
But if were any person obstinate,
What so he were of high or low estate,
Him would he snib him sharply for the nonce.
A better priest I trust that nowhere none is.
He waited after no pomp and reverence,
Nor maked him a spiced conscience,
But Christs lore and his apostles twelve
He taught; but first he followed it himself.
© 2009 Forrest Hainline