General Prologue 28: Drawing Of Lots - Geoffrey Chaucer (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation)
At morning, when that day began to spring,
by Forrest Hainline
Up rose our Host, and was our all our cock,
And gathered us together all in a flock,
And forth we rode a little more than paas
Unto the watering of Saint Thomas;
And there our Host began his horse to rest
And said, "Lords, hearken if you lest,
You know your promise, and I it you record.
If even-song and morning-song accord,
Let's see now who shall tell the first tale.
As ever must I drink wine or ale,
Whoso be rebel to my judgment
Shall pay for all that by the way is spent.
Now draw cut, before we further twin;
He who has the shortest will begin.
"Sir Knight, " said he, "my master and my lord,
Now draw cut, for that is my accord.
"Come near, " said he, "my lady Prioress.
And you, sir Clerk, let be your shamefacedness,
Don't study it; lay hand to, every man! "
Anon to draw every one began,
And shortly for to tell it as it was,
Were it by adventure, or sort, or case,
The truth is this: the cut fell to the Knight,
Of which full blithe and glad was every wight,
And tell he must his tale, as was reason,
By promise and by composition,
As you have heard; what need words more?
And when this good man saw that it was so,
And that he that wise was and obedient
To keep his promise by his free assent,
He said, "Since I shall begin the game,
What, welcome be the cut, by God's name!
Now let us ride, and hearken what I say."
And with that word we rode on forth our way,
And he began with right a merry cheer
His tale anon, and said as you may hear.
© 2012 Forrest A. Hainline III