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DIMEV 5024
Squire come near if it your will be
Geoffrey Chaucer, the ‘Squire’s Headlink’ of the Canterbury Tales — 8 lines in couplets.
Note: These lines are almost always conjoined with IV.2419-40 (745), the ‘Merchant’s Endlink’, though in some MSS the references to ‘Squire‭ are altered to ‘Franklin’ to function as a prologue to the Franklin’s Tale.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer
Title(s): ‘Squire’s Headlink’; Squire’s Prologue; Canterbury Tales
Subjects: pilgrims/pilgrimage; love; links
Versification: — couplets — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 14 (SC 3360), f. 131v1
First Lines:
Squyer come nere if that youre wille be
and sey somwhat of loue for certis ye…
Last Lines:
…haue me excused if that I speke a mys
my wil is good and lo my tale is this
Attributed Title: Here endith the Squyers prolog…(f. 131v)
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Barlow 20 (SC 6420), ff. 149-149v
Transcription:
Sir frankeleyn comyth nere if it ȝore wil be
And telle vs a tale as ȝe ar a worthi man
Hit shal be don trewly Ost quod he
I wil ȝow telle as hertly as I can
Holdeth me excused þogh I vnworthi am
To tell ȝow a tale for I wil not Rebelle
A ȝenst ȝoure wille a tale wil I telle
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32 (745), together introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: here endith þe prologe… (f. 149v).
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 686 (SC 2527), f. 129v
First Lines:
Squyer come nere yf it youre wylle be
And sey somwhat of love for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused yef y speke amysse
My wille is good and lo my tale is this
Attributed Title: Here endeth þe prologe of þe Squyers tale… (f. 129v)
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Hatton Donati 1 (SC 4138), f. 99
First Lines:
Sir ffrankeleyn come ner if it your will be
And sei vs a tale for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if that I speke a mys
Mi wil is good and lo my tale is this
Attributed Title: Prolog of þe ffrankelyn (RT)
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 600 (SC 1476), f. 161v
First Lines:
Sire squier come nere if it be your will be
And sai vs a tale for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if I sai amys
Mi wille is good and loo my tale is þis
Attributed Title: Here endeþ þe prolog of þe Squier… (f. 161v)
6.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 739 (SC 1234), f. 176v
Transcription:
Sir fraunkelene cometh nere ȝif if ȝour wil be
And say hus a taile as ȝe are gentilman
Hit shall be do truly ooste quod he
I will ȝou telle as hertly as I can
Holdeth me excusyd þogh I vnworthy am
To telle ȝou a tale for I will not rebelle
And with ȝour leve a tale now will I telle
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32, together introducing the Franklin’s Tale.
7.Source: Oxford, Christ Church 152, f. 220
First Lines:
Squyer come neer if it youre wille be
And sey somwhat of certes ye
Can there on as moche as any man…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excuse yf I speke amys
My wille is good and so my wille is this
8.Source: Oxford, Trinity College 49, f. 123v1
First Lines:
Marchaunt comyth nere if your wille be
and say vs a tale for certis ye…
Last Lines:
…haue me excusid if I speke a mys
My wille is gode and lo my tale is this
Note: These lines here serve to introduce the Merchant’s Tale; see below where they function as a headlink to the Squire’s Tale.
Attributed Title: Prologus Mercatorij (f. 123v)
9.Source: Oxford, Trinity College 49, f. 140v
First Lines:
Squier com nere yif that your wille be
and say sum what of loue for certis ye…
Last Lines:
…holde me excusid I if I speke a mys
My will is gode and my tale is this
Note: Second occurrence in MS.
Attributed Title: Armiger (RT)
10.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Dd.4.24, f. 119v
First Lines:
Squyere come ner if it ȝoure wylle be
And seye som what of loue for certes ȝe…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if I speke amys
My wyl is good and lo my tale is this
Attributed Title: Hic desinit prologus… (f. 119v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Cambridge MS. Dd.4.24 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Completed by the Egerton MS. 2726 (The Haistwell MS). The Chaucer Society 1st Series, no. 95 (Part 1, issue for 1901) and 96 (Part 2, issue for 1902).
11.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ii.3.26, f. 98v
First Lines:
Sir ffrankeleyn come nere if it your wil be
And sey vs a tale for certeys ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if that I speke amysse
My wil is good and lo my tale is this
Attributed Title: ffrankleyn (RT)
12.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Mm.2.5, ff. 153v-154
First Lines:
Sir fraunkeleyn com ner ȝif it your will be
And saye us a tale for certes ȝe…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused ȝif y saye amis
My will is goode and lo my tale is this
Note: V.4 omitted.
13.Source: Cambridge UK, Fitzwilliam Museum McClean 181 [olim Ashburnham 127], f. 118
Transcription:
Sir ffrancleyn come nere yf your wylle be
And sey us a tale as ye are a gentel man
Hit schall be do truly ost quoth he
I woll you tell as hertely as y kan
Holde me excused þouȝe y vnworthy am
To tell you a tale for y woll not rebelle
Ayeynst youre wylle a tale wol y telle
Haue me excused yf that y speke a mysse
My wyll ys gode and loo my tale is this
Note: Present in this MS in this nine-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32, together functioning to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
14.Source: London, British Library Addit. 5140, f. 171v
First Lines:
Squyer come neer yf it your wil be
And sey somwhat of love for certis ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused yf y speke amys
My wyll is good and loo my tale is this
Attributed Title: Explicit prologus Armigeri… (f. 171v)
15.Source: London, British Library Addit. 35286 [olim Ashburnham 125], f. 122v
First Lines:
Squier come nere yif it your wille be
And sey some what of loue for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused yif I speke amys
Mi wille is good and loo my tale is this
Attributed Title: the Squyer (RT)
Editions:
Horobin, Simon. “A Transcription and Study of British Library MS Additional 35286 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.” Diss. Univ. of Sheffield, 1997.
16.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2726 [olim Haistwell], f. 139
First Lines:
Squyer com nere yf it your will be
And sey somwhat of loue for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused yf I speke a mys
My will is gode and lo my tale is this
Attributed Title: Hic desinit prologus Armigeri… (f. 139)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Cambridge MS. Dd.4.24 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Completed by the Egerton MS. 2726 (The Haistwell MS). The Chaucer Society 1st Series, no. 95 (Part 1, issue for 1901) and 96 (Part 2, issue for 1902).
17.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2864 [olim Ingilby, post Compton Hall], ff. 145-145v
First Lines:
Sqwyre com neer yf it your wil be
And sey somwhat of love for certys ye…
Last Lines:
…Have me excusid yif I speke amys
My will is good and loo my tale is this
Attributed Title: The sqwyer (RT); Hic desinit prologus… (f. 145v)
18.Source: London, British Library Harley 1758, f. 127
Transcription:
Sir ffrankeleyn comyth neer if it your will be
And seie vs a tale as ye are a gentill man
It schall be doon trewli Ost quod he
I woll you telle as herteli as I can
Holde me excusid thogh I vnworthi am
To telle you a tale for I woll noght rebelle
Ayenst your wille a tale now woll I telle
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32, together functioning to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
19.Source: London, British Library Harley 7334, f. 148v
First Lines:
Sir Squier com forþ if þat ȝour wille be
And say vs a tale for certes ȝe…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if þat I speke amys
My wil is good and þerto my tale is this
Attributed Title: Her endith þe prologe… (f. 148v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Harleian MS 7334 of Chaucer’s ‘Canterbury Tales’. Chaucer Society 73. London: Trübner, 1885.
20.Source: London, British Library Harley 7335, f. 129v
First Lines:
Squyer come ner if it youre will be
And sey sumwhat of loue for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if y speke a mys
Mi wille is good and lo my tale is this
21.Source: London, British Library Royal 17 D.XV, ff. 96-96v
First Lines:
Sqwyer come neere yefe your wylle be
And saye somewhatte of loue for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excusede yefe I speke Amysse
My wylle is gode and lo the tale is this
Attributed Title: Here endith the prolog… (f. 96v)
22.Source: London, British Library Royal 18 C.II, ff. 145v-146
Transcription:
Sire frankeleyn comeþ nere ȝif hit ȝoure wil be
And telle vs a tale as ȝe are a worthi man
Hit schal be do truly oost quod he
I wil ȝow telle as hertely as I can
Holdeþ me excused þough I vnworthi am
To telle ȝou a tale for I wolde not rebelle
Aȝens ȝoure wille a tale wole I telle
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32, together functioning to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: Here endith the prolog… (f. 146)
23.Source: London, British Library Sloane 1685, ff. 145-145v
Transcription:
Sir ffrankleyne comethe nere yf it youre wille be
And seithe vs a tale as ȝe are gentill man
Hit shalle be do trewely Ost quod he
I wolle you telle as hertely as I can
Holde me excused vnworþi if I am
To telle you a tale for I wille not rebelle
Aȝenst your wylle a tale now wylle I telle
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32, together functioning to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: Here endeth þe Prologe… (f. 145v)
24.Source: Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales Peniarth 392 D [‘Hengwrt’], ff. 153-153v
First Lines:
Sir ffrankeleyn com neer if it youre wille be
And sey vs a tale for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if þat I speke amys
My wyl is good and lo my tale is this
Attributed Title: Explicit (f. 153v)
Facsimiles:
Ruggiers, Paul G., ed. The Canterbury Tales. Geoffrey Chaucer. A Facsimile of the Hengwrt Manuscript, with Variants from the Ellesmere Manuscript. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma, and Folkestone: Wm. Dawson, 1979.
Stubbs, Estelle, ed. The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile (CD-ROM). Leicester, England: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2000.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Hengwrt Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 3, 9, 27, 39, 51, 71. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
Blake, Norman F., ed. The Canterbury Tales. Edited from the Hengwrt Manuscript. York Medieval Texts, second series. London: Edward Arnold, 1980.
Stubbs, Estelle, ed. The Hengwrt Chaucer Digital Facsimile (CD-ROM). Leicester, England: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2000.
25.Source: Alnwick Castle, Duke of Northumberland MS 455, f. 130v
Transcription:
Sir ffrankelen com nere yf your wil be
And tel vs a tale as ye be gentil man
It shal be do trewly hoost quod he
I woll ȝew tell as hertly as I can
Hold me excusid þouȝ I vnworthy am
Have me excusid þouȝe I speke amys
Mi will is good lo my tale is this
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32, together functioning to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
26.Source: Lichfield, Lichfield Cathedral Library 29, ff. 153-153v
Transcription:
Sire ffrankeleyn cometh nere ȝif it ȝoure wille be
And say vs a tale as ȝe are gentilman
It shal be do trewely oost quod he
I wol ȝow telle as hertely as I can
Holdeth me excused thogh I vnworthy am
To telle ȝow a tale for I wol not rebelle
Aȝenst ȝoure wille a tale now wol I telle
Note: Present in this MS in this seven-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32, together functioning to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: The ffrankeleyn (RT); Thus endeth þe prologe… (f. 153v, rubric)
27.Source: Lincoln, Lincoln Cathedral Library 110, f. 137v
First Lines:
Sire frankleyn skquiercom ner if your wille bee
And sey vs atale for certes yee…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused yif þat I speke amys
My wil is good & lo my tale is thys
Note: These lines are added in the margin. Following IV.1212, at the end of Clerk’s Tale, is the explicit: ‘Now is endid þe clerkis tale of oxenford And now / biginneth þe prolog of the frankelens tale’. What follows, however, is the ‘Host’s Stanza’, (IV.1212a-g, 5801), which is then followed by V.709-728, the Franklin’s Prologue. Next to IV.1212g, in the gutter, a second scribe adds a ‘+’, followed by ‘Sir Frankl[eyn]’. In the margin, below a corresponding ‘+’, this scribe writes V.1-8, but a third hand subsequently crosses out ‘frankleyn’ and writes ‘skquier’ above. Also in the margin, but written much smaller, are three sets of comments (written by the same hand that deletes ‘frankleyn’ and writes ‘skquier’ above): opposite the incipit for Franklin’s Tale is ‘heer sholde þe marchantz tale’; five lines lower is ‘And þis prolog is fals for it is / for skquiers tale’; at the very bottom, opposite V.717, is V.9, ‘[A]t Sarray in þe londe of Tartrie’. These three comments appear to be by yet another scribe.
28.Source: Manchester, John Rylands Library Eng. 113 [olim Hodson 39], f. 98
First Lines:
Squier come nere yif it your will be
And sey somwhat of loue for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…haue me excuse if I spek amys
My will is good and lo my tale is þis
Attributed Title: Hic desinit prologus fabule Armigeri… (f. 98); Squyer (RT)
29.Source: Petworth House, Lord Leconfield MS 7, f. 178
First Lines:
Sire ffraunkeleyne come ner if it ȝour wille be
And say vs a tale for sertys ȝe…
Last Lines:
…HAue me excused ȝif I sey amys
My wille is good & loo my tale is þis
Note: The ‘Merchant’s Endlink’ (745) is here conjoined with the ‘Squire’s Headlink’ to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: Here endeþ þe prologe of þe ffraunkeleyn… (f. 178); The prologe of þe ffraunkleyn (RT)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Petworth MS of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 6, 12, 19, 35, 42, 54, 68. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Autotype Specimens of the Chief Chaucer MSS, Part II. Chaucer Society Series 1, no. 56. London: Trübner, 1876.
30.Source: Austin, University of Texas, Humanities Research Center HRC Pre-1700 MS 143 [olim Deene Park; post Cardigan-Brudenell, sold Sotheby’s, Feb. 1959], f. 121v
First Lines:
Squyer com nere yif it youre wil be
And sey somwhat of love for certis ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me escused yif y speke a mys
My will is good and lo my tale is thys
Attributed Title: Hic desinit prologus… (f. 121v); Squyer (RT)
31.Source: New York, Columbia University Library Plimpton 253 [olim Phillipps 9970], f. 1
First Lines:
…[Syr] [f]franklin com nerr ȝef it ȝoure wille be
And say vs atale for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haueth me excused ȝef I say amys
My will is good and lo my tale is this
Note: Smudges partially obscure the beginning of the first line.
Attributed Title: The ffrankeleyn (RT)
Facsimiles:
Digital Scriptorium: Facsimile of Plimpton MS 253. Columbia University, 1996-.
32.Source: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M249 [olim Ashburnham 124, post Compton Hall], f. 152v
First Lines:
Sire ffrankeleyn cometh nere ȝif if youre wil be
And say vs a tale as ye are a gentilman…
Last Lines:
…Holdeth me excused though I vnworthy am
To telle you a tale for I wol not rebell
Aȝenist youre wille a tale now wol I telle
Note: V.7 precedes 5-6.
Attributed Title: The ffrankeleyn (RT); Thus endeth the prologe of the ffrankeleyn… (f. 152v)
33.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library EL 26.C.9 [‘Ellesmere’], ff. 115-115v
First Lines:
Squier com neer if it your wille be
And sey somwhat of loue for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if I speke amys
My wyl is good and lo my tale is thiso
Attributed Title: Squier (RT)
Facsimiles:
The Ellesmere Chaucer Reproduced in Facsimile. 2 vols. Preface by Alix Egerton. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1911.
Hanna, Ralph, ed. The Ellesmere Chaucer Reproduced in Facsimile. 2 vols. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1911. Preface by Alix Egerton repr. as The Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales: A Working Facsimile. Intro. Hanna; Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1989.
Woodward, Daniel, and Martin Stevens, eds. The New Ellesmere Chaucer Facsimile (Huntington MS EL 26 C 9). Tokyo: Yushodo, and San Marino, CA: Huntington Library, 1995: Now available in part online: http://dpg.lib.berkeley.edu/webdb/dsheh/heh_brf?CallNumber=El+26+C+9.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Ellesmere Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 2, 8, 16, 26, 32, 38, 50, 70. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
34.Source: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale angl. 39, f. 57ra
First Lines:
esquyer come neer yif that your wille be
and say som what for certys yee…
Last Lines:
…hold me excusid yif I speke amys
my wil is good and my tale is this
Attributed Title: Explicit prohemium fabule Armi / geri… (f. 57ra)
35.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 24 [olim Chatsworth, Duke of Devonshire], f. 130v
First Lines:
Squier com ner if it your wil be
And sey somwhat of loue for certes ye…
Last Lines:
…Haue me excused if I speke amis
My will is good and lo my tale is this
Attributed Title: Hic desinit Prologus Armigeri… (f. 130v, rubric)
36.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 32 [olim Penrose 6; prior Delamere], f. 81va
Transcription:
Sire ffrankeleyn comyht neere yif it yowre will be
And seye vs a tale as yee are a gentell man
Hit schall bee doon trewly Ooste quod hee
I wole yow telle as hertilye as I can
Holde mee excused thowgh I vnworthy am
Too tell yow a taale fore I wole nowght rebelle
Ayenst yowre will a tale now wole I telle
Haue me Explicit prologe excusede if þat I speke amys
My will is good and lo my tale is this
Note: Present in this MS in this nine-line form and preceded by a seven-line version of IV.2427-32, together functioning to introduce the Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: Explicit prologe (f. 81va, deleted)