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Page 65

CHAPTER III
FOURTEENTH CENTURY - CHAUCER'S CENTURY

and the gay young squire, whose gown " with sleves longe and wyde " was so richly embroidered that it looked like a meadow " al ful of fresshe floures whyte and reede." Chaucer gives us a picture of the merry company, but more than that, he shows us what kind of people they were. He tells us their faults in satire as keen as it is good-natured. The monk likes hunting better than obeying strict convent rules, and Chaucer says of him slyly that when he rode, men could hear the little bells on his bridle jingle quite as loudly as the bell of the chapel. The learned physician was somewhat of a miser, and Chaucer whispers cannily :
For gold in phisik is a cordial,
Therefore he lovede gold in special.

The two characters for whom the poet has most sympathy are the thin and threadbare Oxford student, who would rather have books than gorgeous robes or musical instruments ; and the earnest, faithful parish priest, who " Christes Gospel trewely wolde preche," and who never hired some one to take charge of his parish while he slipped away to live an easy life in a brotherhood.
This keen-eyed poet, with his warm sympathy, could hardly have helped loving nature, and he can picture a bright, dewy May morning so clearly that we can almost see " the silver dropes hangyng on the leves.' He liked May and

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