Sybil’s Poem April – at last.

April - at last

April – at last

Sybil's Poem

Sybil’s Poem

from the Prologue to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales

from the Prologue to Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales

written in Middle English in the Fifteenth Century  – try reading it ALOUD. Translation follows

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Natúre in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
When April, with its showers sweet,
  Has pierced the drought of March to the root,
 And bathed every vein (of the plants) in such liquid
By which power the flower is created;
When the West Wind also with its sweet breath,
 In every wood and field has breathed life into 
  The tender new leaves, and the young sun
 Has run half its course in Aries
And small fowls make melody
   Those that sleep all the night with open eyes
    (So Nature incites them in their hearts),
Then folk long to go on pilgrimages,
 And professional pilgrims to seek foreign shores,
 To distant shrines, known in various lands
And specially from every shire’s end
Of England to Canterbury they travel,
 To seek the holy blessed martyr,
Who helped them when they were sick.
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