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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Passing of the Fairies
By Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400)
 

IN th’ oldè dayès of the king Arthúr
Of which that Britons speaken great honóur,
All was this land fulfilled of faèrié;
The Elf-queen, with her jolly company,
Dancèd full oft in many a greenè mead;        5
This was the old opinion as I read:
I speak of many hundred years ago;
But now can no man see none elvès mo,
For now the greatè charity and prayérs
Of limitours 1 and other holy freres,        10
That searchen every land and every stream,
As thick as motès in the sunnè-beam,
Blessing halles, chambers, kitchenès, bowers,
Cities, boroughs, castles, highè towers,
Thorpès, barnès, shepens, 2 daìriés,        15
This maketh that there be no faèriés:
For there as wont to walken was an elf,
There walketh now the limitour himself,
In undermelès 3 and in morwèníngs,
And saith his matins and his holy things,        20
As he goeth in his limitatìón, 4
Women may go now safely up and down,
In every bush, and under every tree;
There is none other incubus but he.
 
Note 1. Begging friars. [back]
Note 2. Stables. [back]
Note 3. Afternoons. [back]
Note 4. Begging district. [back]
 
 
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