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"The drought of March"

Britain seems to be experiencing a drought this March, but it is not quite as unique as some may think.

Below, because it is always wonderful to hear his voice, is Chaucer, the Father of English literature, writing in the latter half of the fourteenth century in his book, the Tales of Canterbury:


WHEN that Aprilis, with his showers swoot,
The drought of March hath pierced to the root,
And bathed every vein in such licour,
Of which virtue engender'd is the flower;
When Zephyrus eke with his swoote breath
Inspired hath in every holt and heath,
The tender croppes and the younge sun
Hath in the Ram his halfe course y-run,
And smalle fowles make melody,
That sleepen all the night with open eye,
(So pricketh them nature in their corages);
Then longe folk to go on pilgrimages, . . .

One does 'long. . .to go on pilgrimages'. For a steady walk, over the downs, to Canterbury and beyond.

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