Monday, June 17, 2019


An Epicurean

Geoffrey Chaucer, "General Prologue," Canterbury Tales I.335-338 (describing the Franklin):
To liven in delit was evere his wone,
For he was Epicurus owene sone,
That heeld opinioun that plein delit
Was verray felicitee parfite.
This hardly needs translation, but nevertheless here is Nevill Coghill's modern English version:
He lived for pleasure and had always done,
For he was Epicurus' very son,
In whose opinion sensual delight
Was the one true felicity in sight.
On Chaucer's description of the Franklin see Jill Mann, Chaucer and Mediaeval Estates Satire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973; rpt. 1987), pp. 152-159 (esp. 156-157), and Peter Coss, "The Franklin," in Stephen H. Rigby, ed., Historians on Chaucer: The 'General Prologue' to the Canterbury Tales (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), pp. 227-246.

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