The Canterbury Tales

by Geoffrey Chaucer

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Notes to The Franklin's Tale

1. Well unnethes durst this knight for dread: This knight hardly dared, for fear (that she would not entertain his suit.)

2. "Ne woulde God never betwixt us twain, As in my guilt, were either war or strife" Would to God there may never be war or strife between us, through my fault.

3. Perhaps the true reading is "beteth" — prepares, makes ready, his wings for flight.

4. Penmark: On the west coast of Brittany, between Brest and L'Orient. The name is composed of two British words, "pen," mountain, and "mark," region; it therefore means the mountainous country

5. Cairrud: "The red city;" it is not known where it was situated.

6. Warished: cured; French, "guerir," to heal, or recover from sickness.

7. Annoyeth: works mischief; from Latin, "nocco," I hurt.

8. Virelays: ballads; the "virelai" was an ancient French poem of two rhymes.

9. Lucina the sheen: Diana the bright. See note 54 to the Knight's Tale.

10. In a Latin poem, very popular in Chaucer's time, Pamphilus relates his amour with Galatea, setting out with the idea adopted by our poet in the lines that follow.

11. Sursanure: A wound healed on the surface, but festering beneath.

12. Orleans: Where there was a celebrated and very famous university, afterwards eclipsed by that of Paris. It was founded by Philip le Bel in 1312.

13. Every halk and every hern: Every nook and corner, Anglo- Saxon, "healc," a nook; "hyrn," a corner.

14. Tregetoures: tricksters, jugglers. The word is probably derived — in "treget," deceit or imposture — from the French "trebuchet," a military machine; since it is evident that much and elaborate machinery must have been employed to produce the effects afterwards described. Another derivation is from the Low Latin, "tricator," a deceiver.

15. Lissed of: eased of; released from; another form of "less" or "lessen."

16. Gironde: The river, formed by the union of the Dordogne and Garonne, on which Bourdeaux stands.

17. Nor gladly for that sum he would not gon: And even for that sum he would not willingly go to work.

18. "Noel," the French for Christmas — derived from "natalis," and signifying that on that day Christ was born — came to be used as a festive cry by the people on solemn occasions.

19. Tables Toletanes: Toledan tables; the astronomical tables composed by order Of Alphonso II, King of Castile, about 1250 and so called because they were adapted to the city of Toledo.

20. "Alnath," Says Mr Wright, was "the first star in the horns of Aries, whence the first mansion of the moon is named."

21. Another and better reading is "a week or two."

22. These stories are all taken from the book of St Jerome "Contra Jovinianum," from which the Wife of Bath drew so many of her ancient instances. See note 1 to the prologue to the Wife of Bath's Tale.

23. Panthea. Abradatas, King of Susa, was an ally of the Assyrians against Cyrus; and his wife was taken at the conquest of the Assyrian camp. Struck by the honourable treatment she received at the captors hands, Abradatas joined Cyrus, and fell in battle against his former alhes. His wife, inconsolable at his loss, slew herself immediately.

24. Protesilaus was the husband of Laedamia. She begged the gods, after his death, that but three hours' converse with him might be allowed her; the request was granted; and when her dead husband, at the expiry of the time, returned to the world of shades, she bore him company.

25. The daughter of Cato of Utica, Porcia married Marcus Brutus, the friend and the assassin of Julius Caesar; when her husband died by his own hand after the battle of Philippi, she committed suicide, it is said, by swallowing live coals — all other means having been removed by her friends.

26. Artemisia, Queen of Caria, who built to her husband Mausolus, the splendid monument which was accounted among the wonders of the world; and who mingled her husband's ashes with her daily drink. "Barbarie" is used in the Greek sense, to designate the non-Hellenic peoples of Asia.

27. Teuta: Queen of Illyria, who, after her husband's death, made war on and was conquered by the Romans, B.C 228.

28. At this point, in some manuscripts, occur thefollowing two lines: — "The same thing I say of Bilia, Of Rhodegone and of Valeria." 29. Bound: prepared; going. To "boun" or "bown" is a good old word, whence comes our word "bound," in the sense of "on the way."

30. That from his lust yet were him lever abide: He would rather do without his pleasure.

31. Such apparence: such an ocular deception, or apparition — more properly, disappearance — as the removal of the rocks.

32. The same question is stated a the end of Boccaccio's version of the story in the "Philocopo," where the queen determines in favour of Aviragus. The question is evidently one of those which it was the fashion to propose for debate in the mediaeval "courts of love."

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