Character description of the shipman (general prologue)

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Tutorial Presentation- The Shipman Lines 390-412

Old English Version

390 A Shipman was ther, woning fer by weste;

391 For ought I woot, he was of Dertemouthe.

392 He rood upon a rouncy, as he couthe,

393 In a gowne of falding to the knee.

394 A daggere hanging on a laas hadde he

395 Aboute his nekke, under his arm adown.

396 The hote somer hadde maad his hewe al brown,

397 And certainly he was a good felawe.

398 Ful many a draughte of win had he drawe

399 Fro Burdeuxward, whil that the chapman sleep.

400 Of nice conscience took he no keep;

401 If that he faught, and hadde the higher hand,

402 By water he sente hem hoom to every land.

403 But of his craft, to rekene wel his tides,

404 His stremes, and his daungers hym bisides,

405 His herberwe and his moone, his lodemenage,

406 Ther was noon swich from Hulle to Cartage.

407 Hardy he was, and wis to undertake,

408 With many a tempest hadde his beerd been shake;

409 He knew alle the havenes as they were

410 From Gotlond to the Cape of Finistere,

411 And every crike in Britaine and in Spaine.

412 His barge ycleped was the Maudelaine

Modern English Translation

390 There was a sailor, living far out west;

391 For aught I know, he was of Dartmouth town.

392 He sadly rode a hackney, in a gown,

393 Of thick rough cloth falling to the knee.

394 A dagger hanging on a cord had he

395 About his neck, and under arm, and down.

396 The summer's heat had burned his visage brown;

397 And certainly he was a good fellow.

398 Full many a draught of wine he'd drawn, I trow,