The Physician's Tale

Essay by icecold52High School, 12th grade April 2005

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The author of The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer, was thought to be born in 1343. His father was a merchant and Chaucer had many occupations such as a soldier and a diplomat. His true calling though was as an author. During his services as an English soldier he was captured and held for a ransom of sixteen pounds. A few years later he married one of the queens servants named Philippa Pan. Chaucer did not write the Canterbury Tales until the end of his life; therefore, he only finished twenty-four of the projected one hundred twenty-four tales. (Literature)

Chaucer gave an in depth description of the physician:

A physician too emerged as we proceeded;

No one alive could talk as well as he did

On points of medicine and of surgery,

For, being grounded in astronomy,

He watched his patient's favorable star

And, by his Natural Magic, knew

The lucky hours and planetary degrees

For making charms and magic effigies.

The cause of every malady you'd got

He knew, and whether dry, cold, moist or hot;

He knew their seat, their humor and condition.

He was a perfect practicing physician.

These causes being known for what they were,

He gave the man his medicine then and there.

All his apothecaries in a tribe

Were ready with the drugs he would prescribe,

And each made money from the other guile;

They had been friendly for a goodish while.

In his own diet he observed some measure;

There were no superfluities for pleasure,

Only digestives, nutritives, and such.

He did not read the Bible very much.

In blood-red garments, slashed with bluish-grey

And lined with taffeta, he rode his way;

Yet he was rather close as to expenses

And kept the gold he won in pestilences.

Gold stimulates the heart, or so...