SEARCH RECORDS
SEARCH MSS
PRINTED BOOKS
INSCRIPTIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
GLOSSARY
DIMEV HOME
The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
DIMEV 5617
These old gentle Bretons in their days
Geoffrey Chaucer, the Franklin’s Prologue of the Canterbury Tales — 20 lines in couplets.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer
Title(s): Franklin’s Prologue; Canterbury Tales
Subjects: pilgrims/pilgrimage; prologues; rhetoric; Breton lays
Versification: — couplets — aa



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 14 (SC 3360), f. 249v
First Lines:
These oolde gentil bretons in her dayes
of dyuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…my spirit felith nought of suche matere
but if yow list my tale shul ye hire
Attributed Title: …And next / folwyng bigynneth the ffrankelyns prologe (f. 249v); the ffrankeleyne (RT); Here endith the ffrankeleyne his prolog… (f. 249v)
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Barlow 20 (SC 6420), f. 149v
First Lines:
These old gentil britons in her days
Of dyuers auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit felith not of suche matiere
But if ȝow luste my tale shul ȝe here
Attributed Title: …and here bygynnyth þe tale (f. 149v)
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 414 (SC 27880), ff. 102v-103
First Lines:
[T]hees olde gentle Bretons in her days
Of diuerse auentures maiden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit felith not of such matiere
But and ye list my tale now shul ye here
Attributed Title: The Prolog of the ffrankleyn (f. 102v)
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Hatton Donati 1 (SC 4138), f. 99
First Lines:
This olde gentel Britons in hire daies
Of diuerse auenturs maden laies…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleth nat of such matere
But if you list my tale shall ye here
Attributed Title: Here beginneth þe Prolog of the ffrankeleyn (f. 99); Prolog of þe ffrankelyn (Rt)
5.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 600 (SC 1476), f. 171v
First Lines:
Thise olde gentil Britons in hir daies
Of diuers auentures maden laies…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleþ not of suche matere
But if you lust my tale now shul ye here
Attributed Title: Here endeþ þe prolog of þe frankeleyn… (f. 171v)
6.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Laud misc. 739 (SC 1234), ff. 176v-177
First Lines:
[T]His olde gentile brytons in her daies
Of dyuerse auentures maden laies…
Last Lines:
…My spirite felith noght of suche matere
And if ȝe luste my tale shul ȝe here
7.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Rawlinson poet. 223 (SC 14714), ff. 218v-219
First Lines:
This olde gentil bretons in her d[aies]
Of dyuers aduentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleth nouȝt of such matere
But if ye list my tale ye may here
Note: Although structured as a ‘Merchant’s Prologue’, the link is followed by Franklin’s Tale.
Attributed Title: …And here beginneth the Prolog of the Marchaunt (f. 218v); Here endith the Prolog of the Marchaunt… (f. 219)
8.Source: Oxford, Christ Church 152, f. 178v
First Lines:
Thise oolde gentil Britons in hire dayes
Of dyuers auentures maden laies…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feelith nat of swiche matere
But if yow lyste my tale shall ye here
Attributed Title: …Here bygynnyth the prologe of the ffrankeleyn (f. 178v)
9.Source: Oxford, Corpus Christi College 198, f. 159
First Lines:
Thise olde gentile britouns in here dayes
Of diuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…Myn spyrit feleþ nought of such matere
But if ȝe luste my tale schul ȝe not here
Attributed Title: þe prologe of þe ffrankekleyn (f. 159, margin)
Facsimiles:
Digital Facsimile of Corpus Christi, Oxford MS 198 of the Canterbury Tales” .
10.Source: Oxford, New College 314, ff. 148v-149
First Lines:
These olde gentil britons in her daies
Of diuers Auctours maden her layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit felith no such matere
But and ye list my tale shul ye here
Attributed Title: …Begynnynge þe ffrankeleynes prolog (f. 148v); Here endith þe ffrankeleyns prologe… (f. 149)
11.Source: Oxford, Trinity College 49, f. 153v
First Lines:
THise olde gentil Bretowns in hir daies
of Diuerse auenturis madyn laies…
Last Lines:
…Mi spirite felith nought of suche matere
but if ye liste my tale shulle ye here
Note: V.716 omitted.
Attributed Title: ffrankeleynes tale (f. 153v)
12.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ii.3.26, f. 98v
First Lines:
Thes olde gentyll bretons in her dayes
Of dyuers auctours maden her layes…
Last Lines:
…My speryte felyth noo suche matere
But and ye luste my tale shull ye here
Attributed Title: ffrankleyn (RT); Here Endeth the ffrankeleynis Prologe… (f. 98v)
13.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Mm.2.5, f. 154
First Lines:
This olde gentil bretons in her daies
Of diuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit felith not of suche matier
But ȝiff you liste my tale schull ȝe here
Attributed Title: Incipit fabula (f. 154); Capitulum x[trimmed] (f. 154, margin)
14.Source: Cambridge UK, Fitzwilliam Museum McClean 181 [olim Ashburnham 127], f. 118
First Lines:
[T]hese olde gentell brytons in her dayes
Of dyuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spyryte feleth not of such mater
But and ye lyke my tale schull ye here
Note: V.721-2 omitted.
Attributed Title: The tale of þe ffrancleyn (f. 118)
15.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.3 (582), f. 108ra
First Lines:
This olde gentill bretons in her dayes
Of diuers auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleth nat of such matere
But if you list my tale shul ye here
Attributed Title: Hic incipit Prolgus de ffran / keleyn cum fabula sua de Rokkes de Brytaine (f. 108ra)
16.Source: London, British Library Addit. 5140, f. 184v
First Lines:
Thes olde gentyl Brytouns in her days
Of dyvers aventurs maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spyryt felyth nat of suche mater
But if ye list my tale shul ye heer
Attributed Title: & Incipit fabula eiusdem (f. 184)
17.Source: London, British Library Addit. 35286 [olim Ashburnham 125], f. 132v
First Lines:
Thise olde gentil bretons in hir dayes
Of diuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleth nat of swich matere
But yif yow list my tale shul ye here
Attributed Title: Here bigynneth the frankeleyns tale (f. 132v); the frankeleyn (RT)
Editions:
Horobin, Simon. “A Transcription and Study of British Library MS Additional 35286 of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.” Diss. Univ. of Sheffield, 1997.
18.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2726 [olim Haistwell], ff. 147v-148
First Lines:
Thise old gentle Bretons in her dayes
Of diuers auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleth nat of soch matere
But yf you list my tale shull ye here
Attributed Title: & / incipit fabula sua de Rokkes de Bretayn (f. 147v)
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).
19.Source: London, British Library Egerton 2864 [olim Ingilby, post Compton Hall], f. 155
First Lines:
Thes olde gentil Britons in her dayes
Of dyvers aventures maade layes…
Last Lines:
…My spyrit feeleth nat of such mateer
But yif ye liste my tale shul ye heere
Attributed Title: …and begynneth his tale (f. 154v); Here bgynneth the tale of the ffrankeleyn (f. 155); The ffrankeleyn (FT)
20.Source: London, British Library Harley 1758, f. 127v
First Lines:
THeses olde gentill Britouns in her daies
Of dyuerse auenturis maden laies…
Last Lines:
…Myn spirit felith nought of suche matere
But if you lust my tale schull ye here
Attributed Title: Here begynneth the ffrankeleyns tale (f. 127v); The ffrankeleyn (RT)
21.Source: London, British Library Harley 7333, f. 82vb
First Lines:
Thes olde gentil barownes in hir dayes
Of Diuerse Auntrous made hir layes…
Last Lines:
…My spret felithe not suche matere
but yf yow list my tale schul ye here
Attributed Title: Here begynnithe the ffrankeleyne his prolog (f. 82vb, rubric)
22.Source: London, British Library Harley 7335, f. 140v
First Lines:
[T]His olde gentil Bretons in hir dayes
Of diuesse auentures made layes…
Last Lines:
…Mi spirit felith nat of swiche matere
But yf you lust my tale shul ye here
Attributed Title: The ffrankeleyns tale / of rokkes of (f. 140v, margin); The ffrankleynes tale (f. 140v, added later)
23.Source: London, British Library Lansdowne 851, ff. 141-141v
First Lines:
THis olde gentil bretons in hire daies
Of diuers auentures maden laies…
Last Lines:
…My sprite feleþ nouȝt of suche Matier
Bot if þou lust my tale shal þou ȝe nouht here
Attributed Title: Incipit prologus de le ffrankeleyne (f. 141); þe ffrenkeleyne (RT); Explicit prologus… (f. 141v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. The Lansdowne Manuscript of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Chaucer Society Series 1, nos. 7, 13, 20, 36, 43, 55, 69. London: Trübner, 1868-79.
24.Source: London, British Library Royal 17 D.XV, f. 177
First Lines:
[tear]d gentil Bretons in theyr dayes
[torn]f dyuers aduentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit felith nat of suche matier
But if ye lust my tale shul ye here
25.Source: London, British Library Royal 18 C.II, f. 146
First Lines:
THese olde gentil Bretons in here dayes
Of diuers auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spyryt fieleþ nat of suche matiere
But if ȝou lust my tale schul ȝe here
Attributed Title: …And begynneth the tale (f. 146); The ffrankleyn (RT)
26.Source: London, British Library Sloane 1685, f. 145v
First Lines:
Thys olde gentell Brytouns in hir dayes
Of dyuerse auentures madenlayes…
Last Lines:
…Myne sperit feliþe nouȝt of suche matere
But yif you luste my tale shalle ȝe not here
Attributed Title: …and bygynnethe þe tale (f. 145v); The ffrenkeleyne (RT)
27.Source: London, British Library Sloane 1686, ff. 193-193v
First Lines:
This olde gentill bretons in her daies
Of diuerse aduentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…Myn spirit felyth not of soche matere
But yf ye lust my tale shalle ye not here
Attributed Title: …And here begynneth the Prolog of the ffrankeleyn (f. 193); [a] Prolog of the ffrankelyn (RT); Here endith the Prolog of the ffrankeleyn… (f. 193v)
28.Source: Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales Peniarth 392 D [‘Hengwrt’], ff. 153v-154
First Lines:
THise olde gentil Britons in hir days
Of diuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My Spirit feeleth nat of swich mater
But if yow list my tale shul ye heere
Attributed Title: Here bigynneth the ffrankeleyns tale (f. 153v); The ffrankeleyn (RT)
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.
29.Source: Alnwick Castle, Duke of Northumberland MS 455, ff. 130v
First Lines:
These old gentill Bretons in hir dayis
Of diuers aventureis maden layis…
Last Lines:
…My spirite felith of no such matere
But yf yee like me tale shul yee here
Note: V.721-2 omitted.
Attributed Title: Here begynnyth the ffranklen his tale (f. 130v)
30.Source: Glasgow, Glasgow University Library Hunterian 197 (U.1.1), ff. 81rb-81va
First Lines:
THese olde gentil bretons in her days
Of dyuers auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirite feleth nout of suche matier
But if ye lyste my tale ye may here
Attributed Title: Here begynneth the prologe of the frenkeleyn (f. 81rb); the ffrankeleyn (RT)
31.Source: Holkham Hall, Earl of Leicester MS 667, ff. 31vb-32ra
First Lines:
Thise olde gentill britons in her dayes
Of diuers auctours maden her layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleth naught such matere
But yf ye luste my tale shull ye here
32.Source: Lichfield, Lichfield Cathedral Library 29, f. 153v
First Lines:
Thise olde gentile britons in her dayes
Of diuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirite feleth nouȝt of suche matere
But ȝif ȝow liste my tale shul ȝe here
Attributed Title: …And bigynneth the tale (f. 153v, rubric); The ffrankeleyn (RT)
33.Source: Lincoln, Lincoln Cathedral Library 110, ff. 137v-138
First Lines:
THis olde gentil britons in hir daies
Off dyuers auenturs maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feliþ not of suche matere
But if ȝe lust my tale shul ȝe here
Attributed Title: Sir frankl[eyn] (f. 137v, margin, by second hand); The ffrankleyn (RT)
34.Source: London, Royal College of Physicians 388 (13), ff. 186-186v
First Lines:
Thiese old gentil Bretons in theyr dayes
Of dyuers aduentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit felt nat of suche matiere
But if yow liste my tale shul ye here
Attributed Title: Incipit fabula (f. 186)
35.Source: Manchester, John Rylands Library Eng. 113 [olim Hodson 39], f. 104v
First Lines:
[T]His olde gentle Britons in here dayes
Of dyuerse auenturs maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirite felith not of such matere
but and ye list my tale shal ye here
Note: No break between this text and the Tale proper.
Attributed Title: …And begynnyth his tale (f. 104v) ffrankleyn (RT)
36.Source: Petworth House, Lord Leconfield MS 7, ff. 178-178v
First Lines:
Thise olde gentile bretoynes in her daies
Of dyuers auentures maden laies…
Last Lines:
…Mi spirit feleþ not of such matiere
But if ȝow lust my tale shul ȝe here
Attributed Title: …And here bygynneþ þe ffraunkeleyns tale (f. 178)
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.
37.Source: Austin, University of Texas, Humanities Research Center HRC Pre-1700 MS 143 [olim Deene Park; post Cardigan-Brudenell, sold Sotheby’s, Feb. 1959], ff. 130-130v
First Lines:
Thise olde Ientill Brutons in there daies
Of dyers aventures maden laies…
Last Lines:
…My spirite feleth nought of suche matere
But and you lust my tale shull ye here
Note: V.713 inserted in margin. Only a paraph marks the beginning of the Tale proper.
Attributed Title: …And here begynneth his tale (f. 130); ffrankeleyne (RT)
38.Source: New York, Columbia University Library Plimpton 253 [olim Phillipps 9970], ff. 1-1v
First Lines:
This old gentil Brytons in here dayes
of diuers auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleth noȝt of suche matere
But ȝeff ȝow luste my tale shall ȝe here
Attributed Title: The ffrankeleyn (RT)
Facsimiles:
Digital Scriptorium: Facsimile of Plimpton MS 253. Columbia University, 1996-.
39.Source: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library M249 [olim Ashburnham 124, post Compton Hall], f. 152v
First Lines:
Thise olde gentile britons in her dayes
Of diuerse auenture maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirite feleth nouȝt of suche matere
But ȝif you liste my tale shul ȝe here
Attributed Title: …And here bygynneth his tale (F. 152v)
40.Source: Philadelphia, Rosenbach Museum and Library 1084/1 [olim Rosenbach 157; prior Phillipps 8137], ff. 176-176v
First Lines:
These olde gentell bretons in here dayes
Of diuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spyryte feleth not of suche matere
Thys ys my tale yf ȝe leste to here
Note: V.716 omitted.
Attributed Title: …And begynneþ the tale of the / ffrankleyn (f. 176); The ffrankleyn (RT)
41.Source: Princeton, Princeton University Library 100 [olim Helmingham Hall], f. 122v
First Lines:
THese old gentil bretouns in her dayis
Of divers autours madyn here layis…
Last Lines:
…My sperit felith not such matere
But and yee list my tale shul yee here
Attributed Title: Here begynnyth the ffranklen his prolog (f. 122v); Here endith he his prologg… (f. 122v)
42.Source: San Marino, CA, Henry Huntington Library EL 26.C.9 [‘Ellesmere’], f. 123v
First Lines:
Thise olde gentil Britons in hir dayes
Of diuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feeleth noght of swich mateere
But if yow list my tale shul ye heere
Attributed Title: The Prologe of the ffrankeleyns tale (f. 123v); ffrankeleyn (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.
43.Source: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale angl. 39, ff. 57rb-57va
First Lines:
Thise olde gentil bretons in þeir dayes
Of dyuersez aduenturoez made her layes…
Last Lines:
…my spiryte felith not of such matere
but yif yow list my tale shul yee here
Attributed Title: & subsequenter narrat fabulam (f. 57ra)
44.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 24 [olim Chatsworth, Duke of Devonshire], f. 139v
First Lines:
These olde gentil Bretons in her dayes
Of diuers auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit feleth nat of such mater
But if you lust my tale shul ye hiere
Attributed Title: Et incipit ffabula sua de la Rokkes / de Britayne (f. 139)
45.Source: New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, Takamiya Deposit 32 [olim Penrose 6; prior Delamere], f. 81va-81vb
First Lines:
This Oolde gentill Bretonnis in her dayis
Of devers Aventuris they Maden layis…
Last Lines:
…My spirit felyht nowght of swiche Matere
But yif that yow lyste My tale schal yee here
Attributed Title: Here bee gynnyht thee tale of the frankeleyn (f. 81va); the frankeleynis tale (RT)
46.Source: Geneva, Bibl. Bodmer, Geneva 48 [olim Rosenbach 156, prior Phillipps 8136], f. 118
First Lines:
These olde gentil Britons in her daies
Of diuerse auentures maden layes…
Last Lines:
…my spirit felith not of such matere
But and ye list my tale shul ye now her
Note: V.721-2 omitted.
Attributed Title: The prolog of the ffrankleyns tale (f. 118, rubric)
Facsimiles:
Digital Facsimile of Cologny, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cod. Bodmer 48” .



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 5082. Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, [Westminster, William Caxton, 1476] , f. 191
First Lines:
[T]Hese olde gentil britons in her dayes
Of diuers auctours maden her layes…
Last Lines:
…My spirit felith in no suche matere
But and ye list my tale shul ye here
Attributed Title: …And begynneth the Frankeleynes prolog (f. 191); Here endith the Frankeleyns prolog… (f. 191v)
Facsimiles:
Bordalejo, Barbara, ed. Caxton’s Canterbury Tales: The British Library Copies. Leicester: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2003.
2.Source: STC 5083. Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, [Westminster], W. Caxton, [1483] , sigs. p.2-p.2v
First Lines:
[T]Hyse old gentyl britons in her dayes
Of dyuers auctours maden her layes…
Last Lines:
…My spyrite felyth in no suche matere
But and ye lyst my tale shul ye here
Attributed Title: …Here begynneth the Frankeleyns prologe (sig. p.2); The Frankeleyns Prologe (RT); Here endyth the Frankeleyns prologe… (sig. p.2v)
Facsimiles:
The Canterbury Tales (a facsimile of the Pepys copy of Caxton’s Second Edition). London: Cornmarket Reprints in association with Magdalene College, Cambridge, 1972.
Bordalejo, Barbara, ed. Caxton’s Canterbury Tales: The British Library Copies. Leicester: Scholarly Digital Editions, 2003.
3.Source: STC 5084. Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, R. Pynson, [1492] , sigs. n.3v-n.4
First Lines:
[T]Hese olde gentyl brytons in theire daies
Of dyuers auctours maden theire layes…
Last Lines:
…My spiryte felith in no suche matere
But and ye lyst my tale shalle ye here
Attributed Title: Here begynneth the frankleyns prologue (sig. n.3v); The Frankleyns prologue (RT); Here endith the Frankleyns prologue (sig. n.4)
4.Source: STC 5085. Chaucer, Geoffrey, Canterbury Tales, Westminster, W. de Worde, 1498 , sigs. m.6rb-m.6vb
First Lines:
[T]Hyse olde gentyll brytons In her dayes
Of dyuers auctours maden her layes…
Last Lines:
…My spyrite felyth in no suche matere
But and ye lyst my tale shall ye here
Attributed Title: Here begynneth the frankle / yns prologue (sig. m.6); The frankeleyns prologe (RT); Here endyth the frankeleyns prologue (sig. m.6v)