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The Canterbury Tales and Other Works of Chaucer (Middle English), by Geoffery Chaucer, [14th cent.], at

The Canterbury Tales

The Prioress' Prologue

 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,
 But by the mouth of children thy bountee
 Parfourned is, for on the brest soukynge
 Somtyme shewen they thyn heriynge.
460 Wherfore in laude, as I best kan or may,
 Of thee and of the white lylye flour
 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.
 O mooder Mayde, O mayde Mooder free!
 O bussh unbrent, brennynge in Moyses sighte,
 That ravyshedest doun fro the Deitee,
470 Thurgh thyn humblesse, the Goost that in th' alighte,
 Of whos vertu, whan he thyn herte lighte,
 Conceyved was the Fadres sapience,
 Help me to telle it in thy reverence!
 Lady, thy bountee, thy magnificence,
 Thy vertu and thy grete humylitee
 Ther may no tonge expresse in no science;
 For somtyme, Lady, er men praye to thee,
 Thou goost biforn of thy benyngnytee,
 And getest us the lyght, of thy preyere,
480 To gyden us unto thy Sone so deere.
 My konnyng is so wayk, O blisful Queene,
 For to declare thy grete worthynesse
 That I ne may the weighte nat susteene;
 But as a child of twelf month oold, or lesse,
 That kan unnethes any word expresse,
 Right so fare I, and therfore I yow preye,
 Gydeth my song that I shal of yow seye.

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