Quotable: Chaucer

“Infinite are the harms that come this way;
We little know the things for which we pray.
Our ways are drunkard ways – drunk as a mouse;
A drunkard knows quite well he has a house,
But how to get there puts him in a dither,
And for a drunk the way is slip and slither.
Such is our world indeed, and such are we.
How eagerly we seek felicity,
Yet we are so often wrong in what we try!”
Chaucer, “The Knight’s Tale,” The Canterbury Tales, 37.

“‘Just as there never died a man,” said he,
‘But had in life some station or degree,
Just so there never lived a man,’ he said,
‘In all the world but in the end was dead.
This world is but a thoroughfare of woe
And we are pilgrims passing to and fro.
Death is the end of every worldly sore,'”
Chaucer, 79.

“‘So what conclusion can I draw from this
Except that after grief there should be bliss
And praise to Jupiter for all his grace?
So, ere we make departure of this place,
I rule that of two sorrows we endeavor
To make on perfect joy, to last for ever.
Then let us look, and where we find herein
The greatest grief let happiness begin.”
Chaucer, 85.

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