Sir Topaz

PROLOGUE

Merry Words of the Host to Chaucer

This miracle, when told, made every man So sober that it was a sight to see-- Until our Host to joke with us began, Then for the first time took a look at me. "And may I ask, what man are you?" said he. 695 "You look as if you think to find a hare, For always at the ground I see you stare. "Come closer now, and look up merrily-- Attention, sirs, and let this man have place! About the waist he's shaped as well as me. 700 Now he'd be quite a doll for the embrace Of any woman small and fair of face. He seems so baffling by his countenance, Disporting with no one in any sense. "Say something now, as other folks have done; 705 Tell us a mirthful tale, and promptly so." "Sir Host," said I, "don't let me spoil your fun, For now of other tales naught do I know But for a rhyme that I learnt long ago." "That's good enough," said he, "now shall we glean 710 Some worthy thing, if I judge by his mien."

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