The First 18 Lines of the General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales

The optional prompt for the last day of NaPoWriMo is to translate a poem from another language, so here is my translation of the first 18 lines of the General Prologue of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.  My goal was to get the meter of the original right and not worry about the rhyme.

When April’s showers come to ease the drought

of March that shrivels every flower’s roots,

and bathe each leaf in soothing, liquid balm;

his power germinates the waiting flowers;

when Zephyr softly blows with his sweet breath

and turns the brown and barren groves and fields

to green with newly growing leaves and shoots;

and the new year is half through Ares’ course;

then once again the birds begin to sing

throughout the day and hardly sleep at night

(with Nature’s help and her encouragement);

then people start to think about their souls.

They want to make a holy a pilgrimage and go,

to foreign lands and visit famous shrines;

and specially from every English shire,

these pilgrims want to visit Canterbury,

to seek the holy blessed martyred saint

who helped to cure them of their winter ills.

 

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