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“The Prioress’s Tale,” by Edward Burne-Jones, c. 1869. Wikimedia Commons.


Introduction

by Leticia Rinaldini

 

The General Prologue names the prioress as “Madame Eglantine,” and describes her impeccable table manners and soft-hearted ways. Her portrait suggests she is likely in religious life as a means of social advancement, given her aristocratic manners and mispronounced French (“The Prioress’s Tale”). She maintains a secular lifestyle, including keeping lap dogs that she privileges over people, a fancy rosary, and a brooch inscribed with “Amor vincit omnia” (‘Love Conquers All’). Like many religious figures in the Canterbury Tales, there is a tension between what we know of her in the Prologue–her affected, aristocratic air–and the brutality of the Tale she tells.

The Prioress’ Tale falls into a common medieval genre, a category of stories grouped as “miracle of the Virgin” accounts. It also blends elements of the antisemitic trope of a pious child killed by the enemies of the faith; the first example of which in English was written about William of Norwich.

Summary

Readers are told that the story takes place in a small Christian town in Asia. The story is about a widowed mother of a seven-year-old son who attends a Christian school near a Jewish ghetto. Her son takes an interest in the Virgin Mary and pushes himself to learn the ‘Alma Redemptoris,’ a liturgical hymn, from an older schoolmate. He then proudly belts the song on his way to and from school, right through the Jewish ghetto every day. According to the Prioress, this arouses Satan himself who then whispers in the ears of the Jewish people that this boy is singing this hymn to disrespect them and that he is a disgrace. The Jewish people then hire a murderer to rid them of this disrespectful boy. One day, as the child walked and sang his way home, the murderer slit his throat and threw him into a cesspit leaving him to die a gruesome death. Panicked when her son doesn’t return home, the widow searches everywhere for her son, asking everyone in the ghetto if they had seen him. In complete despair, she simply begins singing the ‘Alma Redemptoris’ and, by miracle, she hears her son’s voice singing in response. She finds him and calls the town Provost who sees the horror that happened and orders all of the Jewish people to be bound, hanged, and quartered. They take the young boy’s corpse to an abbey nearby and as the service goes on the boy begins speaking explaining to them how the Virgin Mary had come down from the heavens and placed a grain in his mouth insisting that he sing the ‘Alma Redemptoris’ until his burial. With this, the Provost removed the grain from the boy’s tongue and buried him as a martyr.

Literary Themes

There is a tension between redemption and barbarity in this tale. The religious theme is the most obvious and prominent, seeing as how it is a “miracle of the virgin” and the boy, though he lost his life, is redeemed in the afterlife.  It is the boy’s devotion to the Virgin that is encouraged and enforced by his mother, peers, and what ultimately keeps his soul pure. For this reason, he passes as a martyr who is going to enjoy the rest of his days in the Kingdom of Christ.

Similarly, there is a clear analogy between the “single mother” depicted here and the virgin mother herself. The “cult of the Virgin” arose in the 11th century, where she was worshipped as “the Bride of Christ, Personification of the Church, Queen of Heaven, and Intercessor for the salvation of humankind,” particularly in France, where many cathedrals were dedicated in her name–most famously, “Notre Dame” (“The Virgin Mary in Later Middle Ages”). A strong theme of motherly loyalty and duty runs throughout the story as well as in the figure of the Prioress herself. On the other hand, the Jewish people are depicted as bloodthirsty and cruel. Anti-Semitism was rampant throughout Europe during this time with Jews serving as scapegoats to explain economic woes, crop failure, and to serve as a distraction from Church corruption. Tales of the “blood libel” served as justification for Jewish persecution, expulsion, and ethnic genocide.

Historical Context

The tale is related to various so-called “blood libel” stories common at the time in which Jews were accused of sacrificing Christian children in order to use their blood for ritual purposes. Jews were banished from England in 1290, one hundred years before the tale was written, so it was set in some unnamed exotic, Asian, city. Jews, unknown in England, are simply anonymous mythical demons, like gypsies, fairies, trolls, and wicked monks common in other such stories. The Physician’s Tale is a similar story about an innocent child persecuted by an implacable enemy but without the antisemitic tone.


Works Cited

“The Prioress’s Tale.” Wikipedia. 28 Sept. 2020. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Prioress%27s_Tale Accessed 29 Sept. 2020.

“The Virgin Mary in Western Representations.” Department of Medieval Art and the Cloisters. Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oct. 2001. www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/virg/hd_virg.htm Accessed 29 Sept. 2020.

Discussion Questions

  1. The Prioress and the Pardoner are often read together. What do these sections have in common? Why might scholars pair them to analyze?
  2. What might Chaucer’s religious views be based on this text? Can we distinguish between his views and the Prioress’s?
  3. What do we know about the Prioress from the General Prologue and how might this affect the way we read her Tale?
  4. What do you think the boy’s ability to continue singing after his death symbolizes in this story? Are there any other prominent symbolic actions here?
  5. What were some societal changes going on in England at the time that could have influenced this story or even made it possible for these stories to be written and appreciated?

 

Further Resources

  • A video summary, by Course Hero, with analysis of the Prioress’s Tale
  • A webpage overview of the genre, characters, form, and “interpretive issues” from Goucher College
  • A journal article from Open Access Companion to Canturbury Tales about the Prioress’s Tale by Emily Steiner


Reading: The Prioress’s Tale

 

lines 1-35: A hymn to Mary and Jesus

       “O lord oure lord, thy name how merveillous
Is in this large world ysprad,” quod she
“For noght oonly thy laude precious
Parfourned is by men of dignitee,
5 But by the mouth of children thy bountee
Parfourned is, for on the brest soukynge
Somtyme shewen they thyn heriynge.
       O Lord, Our Lord, your name how marvelous
Is spread through all this mighty world,” said she;
“For not alone your praise so glorious
Is given by men of worth and dignity,
5 But from the mouths of children thy bounty
Is hymned, yea, even sucklings at the breast
Do sometimes thy laudation manifest.
Wherfore in laude, as I best kan or may,
Of thee, and of the whyte lylye flour
10 Which that the bar, and is a mayde alway,
To telle a storie I wol do my labour;
Nat that I may encressen hir honour,
For she hirself is honour, and the roote
Of bountee, next hir sone, and soules boote.
“Wherefore in praise, as best I can or may,
Of you and of that pure white Lily-flower
10 Who bore you, and is yet a maid alway,
I tell a tale as best is in my power,
Not that I may increase her heavenly dower,
For she herself is honour and the one
From whom spring wealth and goodness, next her son.
15 O mooder Mayde! O mayde Mooder free!
O bussh unbrent, brennynge in Moyses sighte,
That ravysedest doun fro the Deitee
Thurgh thyn humblesse, the Goost that in th’alighte,
Of whos vertu, whan he thyn herte lighte,
20 Conceyved was the Fadres sapience,
Help me to telle it in thy reverence.
15 O Mother-Maid! O Maiden-Mother free!
O bush unburnt, burning in Moses’ sight,
Who ravished so the Soul of Deity,
With thy meekness, the Spirit of the Light,
That his virtue, which was thy soul’s delight,
20 Conceived in thee the father’s wise essence,
Help me to speak now with all reverence!
Lady, thy bountee, thy magnificence,
Thy vertu, and thy grete humylitee,
Ther may no tonge expresse in no science,
25 For somtyme, lady, er men praye to thee,
Thou goost biforn of thy benyngnytee
And getest us the lyght, thurgh thy preyere,
To gyden us unto thy Sone so deere.
Lady, thy goodness and thy generous grace.
Thy virtue and thy great humility –
No tongue may say, no pen may fully trace;
25 For sometimes, lady, before men pray to thee.
Thou goest before, of thy benignity,
And givest us the true light, by thy prayer,
To guide us all unto your son so dear.
My konnyng is so wayk, O blisful Queene,
30 For to declare thy grete worthynesse,
That I ne may the weighte nat susteene,
But as a child of twelf monthe oold, or lesse,
That kan unnethes any word expresse,
Right so fare I; and therfore I yow preye,
35 Gydeth my song that I shal of yow seye.”
I cannot bear the burden, blessed Queen,
30 Of fitly praising all thy worthiness,
My wisdom and my knowledge are too mean;
But as a child of twelve months old, or less,
That scarcely any word can well express,
So fare I now, and therefore do I pray,
35 Guide thou that song of you which I shall say!’

lines 36-49: A Jewish quarter and a Christian school

       Ther was in Asye, in a greet citee,
Amonges Cristene folk, a Jewerye,
Sustened by a lord of that contree
For foule usure and lucre of vileynye,
40 Hateful to Crist and to his compaignye,
And thurgh this strete men myghte ride or wende,
For it was free and open at eyther ende.
       In Asia, in a city rich and great
There was a Jewry set amidst the town,
Established by a rich lord of the state
For usury and gain of ill renown,
40 Hateful to Christ and those who are his own;
And through that street a man might ride or wend,
For it was free and open at each end.
A litel scole of cristen folk ther stood
Doun at the ferther ende, in which ther were
45 Children an heep, ycomen of Cristen blood,
That lerned in that scole yeer by yeer
Swich manere doctrine as men used there,
This is to seyn, to syngen and to rede,
As smale children doon in hir childhede.
A little school for Christian folk there stood,
Down at the farther end, in which there were
45 A many children born of Christian blood,
Who learned in that same school, year after year,
Such teachings as with men were current there,
Which is to say, to sing well and to read,
As children do of whatsoever creed.

lines 50-77: A choir boy who worships Mary

50 Among thise children was a wydwes sone,
A litel clergeon, seven yeer of age,
That day by day to scole was his wone,
And eek also, wher as he saugh th’ ymage
Of Cristes mooder, he hadde in usage
55 As hym was taught, to knele adoun, and seye
His Ave Marie, as he goth by the weye.
50 Among these children was a widow’s son,
A little choir boy, seven years of age,
Who went to school as days passed one by one,
And who, whenever saw he the image
Of Jesus’ Mother, it was his usage,
55 As he’d been taught, to kneel down there and say
Ave Maria, before he went his way.
Thus hath this wydwe hir litel sone ytaught
Oure blisful Lady, Cristes mooder deere,
To worshipe ay; and he forgate it naught,
60 For sely child wol alday soone leere.
But ay, whan I remembre on this mateere,
Seint Nicholas stant evere in my presence,
For he so yong to Crist dide reverence.
Thus had this widow her small son well taught
Our Blessed Lady, Jesus’ Mother dear,
To worship always, and he ne’er forgot,
60 For simple child learns easily and clear;
But ever, when I muse on matters here,
Saint Nicholas stands aye in my presence,
For he, when young, did do Christ reverence.
This litel child, his litel book lernynge,
65 As he sat in the scole at his prymer,
He Alma redemptoris herde synge
As children lerned hir anthiphoner;
And as he dorste, he drough hym ner and ner,
And herkned ay the wordes and the noote,
70 Til he the firste vers koude al by rote.
This little child, his little lesson learning,
65 Sat at his primer in the school, and there,
While boys were taught the antiphons, kept turning,
And heard the Alma redemptoris fair,
And drew as near as ever he did dare,
Marking the words, remembering every note,
70 Until the first verse he could sing by rote.
Noght wiste he what this Latyn was to seye,
For he so yong and tendre was of age,
But on a day his felawe gan he preye
T’expounden hym this song in his langage,
75 Or telle hym why this song was in usage;
This preyde he hym to construe and declare
Ful often tyme upon hise knowes bare.
He knew not what this Latin meant to say,
Being so young and of such tender age,
But once a young school-comrade did he pray
To expound to him the song in his language,
75 Or tell him why the song was in usage;
Asking the boy the meaning of the song,
On his bare knees he begged him well and long.

lines 78-98: The choir learns to sing Alma redemptoris

His felawe, which that elder was than he,
Answerde hym thus, “This song, I have herd seye,
80 Was maked of oure blisful Lady free,
Hir to salue, and eek hir for to preye
To been our help, and socour whan we deye.
I kan namoore expounde in this mateere,
I lerne song, I kan but smal grammere.”
His fellow was an older lad than he,
And answered thus: “This song, as I’ve heard say,
80 Was made to praise Our Blessed Lady free,
Her to salute and ever her to pray
To be our help when comes our dying day.
I can expound to you only so far;
I’ve learned the song; I know but small grammar.”
85        “And is this song maked in reverence
Of Cristes mooder?” seyde this innocent.
“Now, certes, I wol do my diligence
To konne it al, er Cristemasse is went;
Though that I for my prymer shal be shent
90 And shal be beten thries in an houre,
I wol it konne, oure lady for to honoure.”
85        “And is this song made in all reverence
Of Jesus’ Mother?” asked this innocent;
“Now truly I will work with diligence
To learn it all before Christmas sacrament,
Though for my primer I take punishment
90 And though I’m beaten thrice within the hour,
Yet will I learn it by Our Lady’s power!”
His felawe taughte hym homward prively
Fro day to day, til he koude it by rote;
And thanne he song it wel and boldely
95 Fro word to word acordynge with the note.
Twies a day it passed thurgh his throte,
To scoleward, and homward whan he wente;
On Cristes mooder set was his entente.
His fellow taught him on their homeward way
Until he learned the antiphon by rote.
Then clear and bold he sang it day by day,
95 Each word according with its proper note;
And twice each day it welled from out his throat,
As schoolward went he and as homeward went;
On Jesus’ Mother was his fixed intent.

lines 99-112: The boy sings Alma redemptoris in the Jewish quarter

       As I have seyd, thurghout the Juerie
100 This litel child, as he cam to and fro,
Ful murily than wolde he synge and crie
O Alma redemptoris” evere-mo.
The swetnesse hath his herte perced so
Of Cristes mooder, that to hir to preye
105 He kan nat stynte of syngyng by the weye.
       As I have said, as through the Jewry went
100 This little school-boy, out the song would ring,
And joyously the notes he upward sent;
O Alma redemptoris would he sing;
To his heart’s core it did the sweetness bring
Of Christ’s dear Mother, and, to Her to pray,
105 He could not keep from singing on his way.
       Oure firste foo, the serpent Sathanas,
That hath in Jewes herte his waspes nest,
Up swal, and seyde, “O Hebrayk peple, allas,
Is this to yow a thyng that is honest,
110 That swich a boy shal walken as hym lest
In youre despit, and synge of swich sentence,
Which is agayn oure lawes reverence?”
       Our primal foe, the serpent Sathanas,
Who has in Jewish heart his hornets’ nest,
Swelled arrogantly: “O Jewish folk, alas!
Is it to you a good thing, and the best,
110 That such a boy walks here, without protest,
In your despite and doing such offense
Against the teachings that you reverence?”

lines 113-133: The Jews kill the choir boy

Fro thennes forth the Jewes han conspired
This innocent out of this world to chace.
115 An homycide therto han they hyred
That in an aleye hadde a privee place;
And as the child gan forby for to pace,
This cursed Jew hym hente and heeld hym faste,
And kitte his throte, and in a pit hym caste.
       From that time forth the Jewish folk conspired
Out of the world this innocent to chase;
115 A murderer they found, and thereto hired,
Who in an alley had a hiding-place;
And as the child went by at sober pace,
This cursed Jew did seize and hold him fast,
And cut his throat, and in a pit him cast.
120 I seye that in a wardrobe they hym threwe,
Where as this Jewes purgen hire entraille.
O cursed folk of Herodes al newe,
What may youre yvel entente yow availle?
Mordre wol out, certeyn, it wol nat faille,
125 And namely ther thonour of God shal sprede,
The blood out crieth on youre cursed dede.
120 I say, that in a cesspool him they threw,
Wherein these Jews did empty their entrails.
O cursed folk of Herod, born anew,
How can you think your ill intent avails?
Murder will out, ’tis sure, nor ever fails,
125 And chiefly when God’s honour vengeance needs.
The blood cries out upon your cursed deeds.
       O martir, sowded to virginitee,
Now maystow syngen, folwynge evere in oon
The white lamb celestial -quod she-
130 Of which the grete evaungelist Seint John
In Pathmos wroot, which seith that they that goon
Biforn this lamb and synge a song al newe,
That never, fleshly, wommen they ne knewe.
       O martyr firm in thy virginity,
Now mayest thou sing, and ever follow on
The pure white Lamb Celestial” -quoth she-
130 “Whereof the great evangelist, Saint John,
In Patmos wrote, saying that they are gone
Before the Lamb, singing a song that’s new,
And virgins all, who never woman knew.

lines 134-154: The boy’s mother searches for him

       This poure wydwe awaiteth al that nyght
135 After hir litel child, but he cam noght;
For which, as soone as it was dayes light,
With face pale of drede and bisy thoght,
She hath at scole and elleswhere hym soght,
Til finally she gan so fer espie,
140 That he last seyn was in the Jewerie.
       This widow poor awaited all that night
135 Her child’s return to her, but be came not;
For which, so soon as it was full daylight,
With pale face full of dread, and busy thought,
At school she sought and everywhere she sought,
Until, at last, from all her questioning she
140 Learned that he last was seen in the Jewry.
With moodres pitee in hir brest enclosed,
She gooth, as she were half out of hir mynde,
To every place where she hath supposed
By liklihede hir litel child to finde;
145 And evere on Cristes mooder, meeke and kynde
She cride, and atte laste thus she wroghte,
Among the cursed Jewes she hym soghte.
With mother’s pity in her breast enclosed
She ran, as she were half out of her mind,
To every place where it might be supposed,
In likelihood, that she her son should find;
145 And ever on Christ’s Mother meek and kind
She called until, at last, Our Lady wrought
That amongst the cursed Jews the widow sought.
She frayneth, and she preyeth pitously
To every Jew that dwelte in thilke place,
150 To telle hir if hir child wente oght forby.
They seyde “nay”; but Jhesu, of his grace,
Yaf in hir thoght, inwith a litel space,
That in that place after hir sone she cryde,
Where he was casten in a pit bisyde.
She asked and she implored, all piteously,
Of every Jew who dwelt in that foul place,
150 To tell her where her little child could be.
They answered “Nay.” But Jesus, of His grace,
Put in her mind, within a little space,
That after him in that same spot she cried
Where he’d been cast in it, or near beside.

lines 155-168: The dead boy is found

155        O grete God, that parfournest thy laude
By mouth of innocentz, lo, heer thy myght!
This gemme of chastite, this emeraude,
And eek of martirdom the ruby bright,
Ther he with throte ykorven lay upright,
160 He Alma redemptoris gan to synge
So loude, that al the place gan to rynge.
155        O Thou great God, Who innocents hast called
To give you praise, now shown is thy great might!
This gem of chastity, this emerald,
Of martyrdom the ruby clear and bright,
Began, though slain and hidden there from sight,
160 The Alma redemptoris loud to sing,
So clear that all the neighbourhood did ring.
       The cristene folk that thurgh the strete wente
In coomen, for to wondre upon this thyng,
And hastily they for the provost sente.
165 He cam anon withouten tariyng,
And herieth Crist that is of hevene kyng,
And eek his mooder, honour of mankynde;
And after that, the Jewes leet he bynde.
       The Christian folk that through the ghetto went
Came running for the wonder of this thing,
And hastily they for the provost sent;
165 He also came without long tarrying,
And gave Christ thanks, Who is of Heaven King,
And, too, His Mother, honour of mankind;
And after that the Jews there did he bind.

lines 169-182: The dead boy is brought to an abbey and the Jews are punished

       This child, with pitous lamentacioun,
170 Uptaken was, syngynge his song alway,
And with honour of greet processioun
They carien hym unto the nexte abbay;
His mooder swownynge by his beere lay,
Unnethe myghte the peple that was theere
175 This newe Rachel brynge fro his beere.
       This child, with piteous lamentation, then
170 Was taken up, singing his song alway;
And, honoured by a great concourse of men,
Carried within an abbey near, that day.
Swooning, his mother by the black bier lay,
Nor easily could people who were there
175 This second Rachel carry from the bier.
       With torment and with shameful deeth echon
This provost dooth the Jewes for to sterve,
That of this mordre wiste, and that anon.
He nolde no swich cursednesse observe;
180 “Yvele shal have that yvele wol deserve”;
Therfore with wilde hors he dide hem drawe,
And after that he heng hem, by the lawe.
       With torture and with shameful death, each one,
The provost did these cursed Hebrews serve
Who of the murder knew, and that anon;
From justice to the villains he’d not swerve.
180 “Evil shall have what evil does deserve.”
And therefore, with wild horses, did he draw,
And after hang, their bodies, all by law.

lines 183-196: The dead boy sings again and the abott asks how that is possible

       Upon this beere ay lith this innocent
Biforn the chief auter, whil masse laste,
185 And after that, the abbot with his covent
Han sped hem for to burien hym ful faste,
And whan they hooly water on hym caste,
Yet spak this child, whan spreynd was hooly water,
And song O Alma redemptoris mater!
       Upon the bier lay this poor innocent
Before the altar, while the mass did last,
185 And after that the abbot and monks went
About the coffin for to close it fast;
But when the holy water they did cast,
Then spoke the child, at touch of holy water,
And sang, O Alma redemptoris mater!
190        This abbot, which that was an hooly man,
As monkes been – or elles oghte be –
This yonge child,to conjure he bigan,
And seyde, “O deere child, I halse thee,
In vertu of the hooly Trinitee,
195 Tel me what is thy cause for to synge,
Sith that thy throte is kut to my semynge?”
190        This abbot, who was a right holy man,
As all monks are, or as they ought to be,
The dead young boy to conjure then began,
Saying: “O dear child, I do beg of thee,
By virtue of the Holy Trinity,
195 Tell me how it can be that thou dost sing
After thy throat is cut, to all seeming?”

lines 197-217: The dead boy explains his singing

       “My throte is kut unto my nekke boon,”
Seyde this child, “and, as by wey of kynde,
I sholde have dyed, ye, longe tyme agon,
200 But Jesu Crist, as ye in bookes fynde,
Wil that his glorie laste and be in mynde,
And for the worship of his mooder deere,
Yet may I synge O Alma loude and cleere.
       “My throat is cut unto the spinal bone,”
Replied the child. “By nature of my kind
I should have died, aye, many hours agone,
200 But Jesus Christ, as you in books shall find,
Wills that His glory last in human mind;
Thus for the honour of His Mother dear,
Still may I sing O Alma loud and clear.
       “This welle of mercy, Cristes mooder swete,
205 I loved alwey as after my konnynge;
And whan that I my lyf sholde forlete,
To me she cam, and bad me for to synge
This antheme, verraily, in my deyynge,
As ye han herd, and whan that I hadde songe,
210 Me thoughte she leyde a greyn upon my tonge.
       “This well of mercy, Jesus’ Mother sweet,
205 I always loved, after poor knowing;
And when came time that I my death must meet,
She came to me and bade me only sing
This anthem in the pain of my dying,
As you have heard, and after I had sung,
210 She laid a precious pearl upon my tongue.
“Wherfore I synge, and synge I moot certeyn
In honour of that blisful mayden free,
Til fro my tonge of taken is the greyn.
And afterward thus seyde she to me,
215 `My litel child, now wol I fecche thee,
Whan that the greyn is fro thy tonge ytake;
Be nat agast, I wol thee nat forsake.'”
       “Wherefore I sing, and sing I must, ’tis plain,
In honour of that blessed Maiden free,
Till from my tongue is taken away the grain;
And afterward she said thus unto me:
215 ‘My little child, soon will I come for thee,
When from thy tongue the little bead they take;
Be not afraid, thee I will not forsake.'”

lines 218-238: The abott stops the boy and the boy is made a martyr

       This hooly monk, this abbot, hym meene I,
His tonge out-caughte, and took awey the greyn,
220 And he yaf up the goost ful softely;
And whan this Abbot hadde this wonder seyn,
His salte teeris trikled doun as reyn,
And gruf he fil al plat upon the grounde,
And stille he lay, as he had been ybounde.
       The holy monk, this abbot, so say I,
The tongue caught out and took away the grain,
220 And he gave up the ghost, then, easily,
And when the abbot saw this wonder plain,
The salt tears trickled down his cheeks like rain,
And humbly be fell prone upon the ground,
Lying there still as if he had been bound.
225 The covent eek lay on the pavement,
Wepynge, and heryen Cristes mooder deere.
And after that they ryse, and forth been went,
And tooken awey this martir from his beere,
And in a tombe of marbul stones cleere
230 Enclosen they his litel body sweete.
Ther he is now, God leve us for to meete!
225 And all the monks lay there on the pavement,
Weeping and praising Jesus’ Mother dear,
And after that they rose and forth they went,
Taking away this martyr from his bier,
And in a tomb of marble, carved and clear,
230 Did they enclose his little body sweet;
Where he is now- grant us him to meet!
       O yonge Hugh of Lyncoln, slayn also
With cursed Jewes, as it is notable,
For it nis but a litel while ago,
235 Preye eek for us, we synful folk unstable,
That of his mercy God so merciable
On us his grete mercy multiplie,
For reverence of his mooder Marie. Amen.
       O you young Hugh of Lincoln, slain also
By cursed Jews, as is well known to all,
Since it was but a little while ago,
235 Pray you for us, sinful and weak, who call,
That, of his mercy, God will still let fall
Something of grace, and mercy multiply,
For dignity of his mother dear on high. Amen.

 

Heere is ended the Prioresses Tale.


Source Text:

Kökbugur, Sinan, ed. The Canterbury Tales (in Middle and Modern English. Librarius.com, 1997, is copyright protected but reproduction expressly allowed for non-profit, educational use.

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