The Franklin's Prologue

Thise olde gentil Britons in hir dayes
Of diverse aventures maden layes,
Rymeyed in hir firste Briton tonge;
Whiche layes with hir instruments they songe,
Or elles redden hem for hir pleasaunce;
And oon of hem have I in remembraunce,
Which I shal sayn with good wil as I can.
But sires, by cause I am a burel man,
At my biginning first I you biseeche
Have me excused of my rude speeche.
I lerned nevere retorike, certain:
Thing that I speke it moot be bare and plain;
I sleep nevere in the Mount of Parnaso,
Ne lerned Marcus Tullius Scithero;
Colours ne knowe I noon, withouten drede,
But swiche colours as growen in the mede,
Or elles swiche as men dye or painte;
Colours of retorike been too quainte:
My spirit feeleth nat of swich matere.
But if you list, my tale shul ye heere.
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