This is a poem I wrote in 11th grade in imitation of the Canterbury Tales. It remains, sadly enough, one of my favorites among my own writings.
Whan that Spring hath come again to alle
In New York City that befor in thrall
To Wintere gloom and depressioun had been,
Then a throng of folke well were seen
To go as oun bodee upon the street
And at the Metropolitan to meet,
And greet ech other as do friendes fond
Who having been away from hir own lond
Do come again to a familiar place:
Such was the welcome given in this space.
But what a divers croud of people came
Although they were of oun group alle the same!
I coude well how people in this day
Like well whanever it is they can sey
"I knowest all of hem, and eek hir life
is known to me as is that of my wife!"
As I spoke long to ech of hem I will
Relate hir stories here, and of hem tell.
The actual assignment was to write a portrait of a pilgrim that the narrator only pretended to like. If only other characters I dreamed up were as lively as this idiot.
A Man ther was, and such a man was he
That in his companye were ladies three,
Ful semely arreyed in evening-wear
That shewed to avauntage hir bosoms bare.
As for the Man, he was right tall and fair (5)
With complexioun as clene as is the air
And hair as broun as the brickes of a walle.
In fine Armani dressed was he alle,
And bar he in his hand a smalle case
Which he took with him to every place; (10)
Yet nevere opened, and as I muste gesse,
It filled alle was with emptinesse.
For tho he was a bisinesse man, I trowe
With alle his werke ne liketh him to go.
For why, quod he, should my bisinesse with me stay (15)
But-if I planned to swinken alle the daye?
And sikerly the plaisir of good life
And so to his three ladies spake he
And teched hem of Art and tymes gay (20)
When men were free to laf and pleye and sing
And never hadde ne werke, ne anything.
This Man stayed with the rest throughout the day,
But why he came at alle, I cannot seye.