Not a member?     Existing members login below:
Checkout our recommended Summer Reading in our new Book Lists here

The Canterbury Tales

Notes to the Miller's Tale
NOTES TO THE PROLOGUE
1. Pilate, an unpopular personage in the mystery-plays of the middle ages, was probably
represented as having a gruff, harsh voice.
2. Wite: blame; in Scotland, "to bear the wyte," is to bear the blame.
NOTES TO THE TALE
1. Almagest: The book of Ptolemy the astronomer, which formed the canon of astrological
science in the middle ages.
2. Astrolabe: "Astrelagour," "astrelabore"; a mathematical instrument for taking the altitude of
the sun or stars.
3. "Augrim" is a corruption of algorithm, the Arabian term for numeration; "augrim stones,"
therefore were probably marked with numerals, and used as counters.
4. Angelus ad virginem: The Angel's salutation to Mary; Luke i. 28. It was the "Ave Maria" of the
Catholic Church service.
5. Cato: Though Chaucer may have referred to the famous Censor, more probably the
reference is merely to the "Moral Distichs," which go under his name, though written after his
time; and in a supplement to which the quoted passage may be found.
6. Barm-cloth: apron; from Anglo-Saxon "barme," bosom or lap.
7. Volupere: Head-gear, kerchief; from French, "envelopper," to wrap up.
8. Popelet: Puppet; but chiefly; young wench.
9. Noble: nobles were gold coins of especial purity and brightness; "Ex auro nobilissimi, unde
nobilis vocatus," (made from the noblest (purest) gold, and therefore called nobles) says
Vossius.
10. Yern: Shrill, lively; German, "gern," willingly, cheerfully.
11. Braket: bragget, a sweet drink made of honey, spices, &c. In some parts of the country, a
drink made from honeycomb, after the honey is extracted, is still called "bragwort."
12. Piggesnie: a fond term, like "my duck;" from Anglo-Saxon, "piga," a young maid; but Tyrwhitt
associates it with the Latin, "ocellus," little eye, a fondling term, and suggests that the "pigs-
eye," which is very small, was applied in the same sense. Davenport and Butler both use the
word pigsnie, the first for "darling," the second literally for "eye;" and Bishop Gardner, "On True
Obedience," in his address to the reader, says: "How softly she was wont to chirpe him under
 
Remove