Ã¯Â¿Â½PAGE Ã¯Â¿Â½ Geoffrey Chaucer - The Canterbury Tales: The Man of Law's Tale
The Man of Law's Tale
Introduction to the Man of Law's Tale
The Words of the Host to the Company
Our host saw well that the bright sun had sped over a fourth part of the horizon-arcÃ¯Â¿Â½ between sunrise and sunset, and half an hour and more besides; and though he was not deeply expert in learning, he knew it was the eighteenth morning of April, which is the messenger to May. He saw also that the shadow of every tree was the same in length as the erect body that formed it; and therefore by the shadow his wit told him that Phoebus, shining so clear and bright, had climbed forty-five degrees into the sky, and for that day, in that latitude, that it must be ten o'clock. 14
And suddenly he pulled his horse around.
"Gentle people," he said, "I warn you, this entire company, one forth of the day is gone. For the love of God and St. John, lose no more time than you can help. Gentle people, time wastes away from us, day and night, secretly in our sleep and in our negligence in our waking hours, like a stream that descends from the mountain to the plain and never turns back. 24
"Well can Seneca and many philosophers bewail time lost more than gold lost from a treasure chest, for, as he said, "loss of goods may be recovered, but loss of time ruins us.". Surely, it will not come back any more than Malkyn's maidenheadÃ¯Â¿Â½, which she has lost in her wantonness. Let us not grow moldy then in idleness. 32
"Sir Man of Law," he said, "as you hope for happiness, tell us a tale, according...