Study Guide

The Canterbury Tales: the Man of Law's Tale Lines 134-168

By Chaucer, Geoffrey

Lines 134-168

Lines 134-147

  • Part I begins in Syria, of all places. There dwells a company of rich merchants, all very steadfast and good men indeed, thank you and good night.
  • They send their spices, gold cloth, and rich satins very far abroad, and their wares are so high-quality and new that everyone wants to sell to and buy from them. A good business, no?
  • It happens that these merchants decide to travel to Rome, although we don't really know why. In any case, they find a comfy spot and grab a room.

Lines 148-168

  • The merchants hang out in Rome for as long as they want. Long enough, in any case, to hear day in and day out about how awesome the emperor's daughter Custance is.
  • How awesome? This awesome: "Our Emperor of Rome, God save him, has a daughter whom no one has ever matched in goodness and beauty since the world began. I God sustain her honor, and hope she becomes the queen of all Europe!"
  • She's gorgeous, but not a snob about it. And she's youthful and pure without being naive or foolish.
  • She's also virtuous, humble, curteous, faithful, and charitable. In other words, she's perfect.