“The Miller’s Prologue”
From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
Lines 12 – 26
The Millere, that for dronken was al pale,
So that unnethe upon his hors he sat,
He nolde avalen neither hood ne hat,
Ne abiden no man for his curteisye,
But in Pilates vois he gan to crye,
And swoor, “By armes and by blood and bones,
I can a noble tale for the nones,
With which I wol now quite the Knightes tale.”
Oure Hoste sawgh that he was dronke of ale,
And saide, “Abide, Robin, leve brother,
Som bettre man shal telle us first another.
Abide, and lat us werken thriftily.”
“By Goddes soule,” quod he, “that wol nat I,
For I wol speke or elles go my way.”
Oure Host answerde, “Tel on, a devele way!
The Miller was so drunk that he was pale and having trouble sitting on his horse correctly. He refused to remove his hood or hat and never waited for a man out of courtesy. But, like Pilate, he made a dramatic exclamation and swore, "In the name of God and on my grave, I know a magnificent and perfect tale for this occasion; and with it, I will undermine the Knight's tale." Our Host realized he was drunk and said, "Robin, although you are my dear brother, please wait, a better man should go first. Remain patient, and let’s act respectfully." "By God," said Miller, “No, I will not. I will tell my story, or I will leave.” Our Host answered him, saying, “Go ahead—tell your story in the devil’s name!”
In a close reading of Lines 12 – 26 in “The Miller’s Prologue” in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, the rhyming structure stands out and expresses the passage’s major themes. The beginning of this passage describes the Miller’s physical presence. In the first lines, the rhyming words, “sat” and “hat” (along with the unrhymed “pale” that precedes these lines) are used to portray the Miller’s physical description (lines 12-14). Here, Chaucer utilizes a simplistic vernacular in order to...
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