The Canterbury Tales of Geoffrey Chaucer/Prioress’ Tale/Prologue
The Prologue of the Prioress' Tale
Domine, dominus noster.
"O LORD, our lord," quoth she, "how marvelous is thy name spread in this large world, for not only is thy precious laud performed by men of dignity, but by the mouths of children thy goodness is celebrated, for sucking on the breast sometime they show thy praise. Wherefore, as I best can, in laud of thee and of the white lily-flower which bore thee and is alway a maid, I will do my diligence to tell a story, not that I may increase her honour, for she is herself honour and the root of goodness next to her son, and soul's redemption.
"O mother-maid! O maid-mother bounteous! O unburnt bush burning before Moses' eyes, that through thine humbleness didst draw down from the deity the Ghost that alighted in thee, of whose virtue, when he illumined thy heart, was conceived the father's sapience, help me to tell it in thine honour. Lady, thy magnificence, thy great humility, thy goodness and thy power, no tongue may express by any wisdom; for sometimes, ere men pray to thee, lady, thou goest before of thy graciousness, and through thy prayer gettest us the light to guide us unto thy dear son. O blessed queen, so weak is my cunning to declare thy worth, that I may not bear the weight ; but as a child of twelve months old that can scarcely express a word, even so fare I, and therefore I pray you guide my story that I shall tell of you."
Therewith he brought us out of Town..