A Golden Age of English Poetry
Edited By Gerald Morgan
GERALD MORGANChaucer’s Knight’s Tale: The Book of the Duke 153
Gerald Morgan Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale: The Book of the Duke ‘Or ti conforta; ch’ei convene ch’i’ solva il mio dovere anzi ch’i’ mova: giustizia vuole e pietà mi ritene’. ‘Now take comfort, for I must fulfil my duty before I go; justice requires it and compassion bids me stay.’ — Dante, Purgatorio, X.91–3; Sinclair, II.135 To be called a knyght is fair, for men shul knele to hym; To be called a kyng is fairer, for he may knyghtes make; Ac to be conquerour called, þat comeþ of special grace, And of hardynesse of herte and of hendenesse. — Langland, Piers Plowman, B XIX.28–31 When Theseus with werres longe and grete The aspre folk of Cithe had overcome, With laurer corouned, in his char gold-bete, Hom to his contre-houses is he come, For which the peple, blisful al and somme, So cryëden that to the sterres hit wente, And him to honouren dide al her entente. — Chaucer, Anelida and Arcite, 22–8 Introduction The textual dif ficulties of the Canterbury Tales (if not on the scale of Piers Plowman) and more particularly the problems in determining the relation of the various fragments to one another may lead us to overlook or under- estimate the degree to which Chaucer has brought towards completion his 154 Gerald Morgan comic masterpiece. Indeed it is evident from a recent essay by Robert Meyer- Lee that scholars have created fragments where no fragmentation is to be found in the original text.1 Thus the General...
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