The Franklin's Tale


These old and noble Bretons in their days Would turn diverse adventures into lays 710 That, rhymed in the original Breton tongue, Accompanied by instruments were sung Or else they would be read at people's leisure. There's one I still remember, and with pleasure I'll tell it for you now as best I can. 715 But, sirs, because I am a simple man, Right at the very start I would beseech That you excuse my ignorant form of speech. I've never studied rhetoric, no way, So plain and bare must be what I've to say. 720 I've never slept on Mount Parnassus, no, Nor studied Marcus Tullius Cicero. I don't know any colors, none indeed, Except the colors growing on the mead Or used by men to dye or paint; to me 725 Colors of rhetoric are a mystery, My spirit simply has no feel for such. But if you'd hear my tale, you'll hear as much.

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