The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story
by Geoffrey Chaucer
The Canterbury Tales: General Prologue & Frame Story Literature and Writing Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Line). We used the line numbering found on Librarius's online edition.
"By cause drynke hath dominacioun
Upon this man, by my savacioun,
I trowe he lewedly wolde telle his tale."
(Manciple's Prologue 57 – 59)
The Host expresses the importance of having all one's wits about one to tell a good tale, and demonstrates just how seriously he takes this story-telling competition.
"Thou getest fable noon ytoold for me,
For Paul that writeth unto Thymothee,
Repreveth hem that weyven soothfastnesse
And tellen fables and swich wrecchednesse."
(Parson's Prologue 31 – 34)
Expressing the opinion that "fables," or fanciful stories, are not only frivolous but sinful, the Parson foreshadows the opinion Chaucer expresses in his retraction (for more on this, see "What's Up with the Ending?"). It's a sober note on which to end a story all about telling stories, and no one's ever been quite sure what to make of this choice of last tale-teller and this, the last word on stories.