Words of the Franklin to the Squire,
and of the Host to the Franklin

"Squire, by my faith, you surely well acquit Yourself, and nobly. Praises for your wit," The Franklin said. "Considering your youth, 675 You speak with feeling, sir, and that's the truth! My judgment is, there's not another here Who shall be called for eloquence your peer If you live long enough. Good luck to you, God grant your powers keep on growing, too! 680 I've listened to your speech delightedly. I have a son, and, by the Trinity, Could I have land worth twenty pounds a year, Were it to fall into my hands right here, I'd rather have him a man of discretion 685 As much as you have been! Fie on possession Unless a man is virtuous too! My son I have reproved and shall again; he's one Who's not inclined to virtue but to vice. To spend, to lose all that he has at dice, 690 In such it is his custom to engage. And he would rather talk with any page Than with a noble man from whom he might Learn of gentility and learn it right." "Straw," said our Host, "for your gentility! 695 What, Franklin! As it's plain for all to see, Each one must tell at least a tale or two Or break his pledge, and that's including you." "I know that, sir," the Franklin said. "I pray You will not take offense that I should say 700 A word or two to this man whom we've heard." "Now tell your tale without another word." "Gladly, Sir Host," said he. "I shall obey Your will, so listen now to what I say. I don't wish to object the slightest bit, 705 I'll go as far as my wits may permit. I pray to God you'll find in it some pleasure, Then I will know at least it's up to measure."

The Franklin's Prologue | Contents | Title Page