3- "THE ABBOT OF CANTERBURY."

REFERENCE:

These lines have been taken from the Abbot of Canterbury, written by unknown poet.

CONTEXT:

In this poem the poet has told the story of the Abbot of Canterbury and King John of England who was very cruel to his people. He called the Abbot of Canterbury to his court and asked him three questions, which he could not answer. The king told the Abbot that if he failed to answer his question, he would be killed.

The Abbot was much worried. He came home and told his shepherd the three questions asked by the king. The shepherd requested the Abbot to lend him his clothes and gown and he would go to the king and answer his questions. Thus the shepherd appeared before the king disguised as the Abbot and answered the questions. The king was pleased and pardoned the Abbot.

STANZA NO. 1: "An ancient----------------------------------------------- maintained little right."

In these lines the poet tells us that he is going to tell an old story about the famous king, called King John. He was very cruel and did little for the welfare of the people.

STANZA NO. 2: "And I, ll tell you---------------------------------------- fair London town."

In these lines the poet says that he is going to tell us a story about the Abbot of Canterbury who was very famous because he had beautiful house like palace. He was so famous that posts had been built for him while going from Canterbury to London.

STANZA NO. 3: "And hundred men----------------------------------- the Abbot about."

In these lines the poet tells us the king John came to know that the Abbot entertained a hundred men in his house every day. Fifty servants dressed in velvet and gold chains were ready for his service. This showed that the Abbot was a rich and powerful man.

STANZA NO. 4: "How now father-------------------------------------- against my crown."

In these lines the poet says that the king summoned the Abbot to his court and asked him how he could keep a better house than the king. The king told him that for his house keeping and great fame he feared that the Abbot rebel against his crown.

STANZA NO. 5: "My liege----------------------------------------------- true-gotten gear."

In these lines the poet says that Abbot answered the king that he wanted to make it clear that whatever he spent was earned by honest means. He said that he hoped that the king would do him no harm because he had earned his wealth by honest means.

STANZA NO. 6: "Yes yes father------------------------------------- smitten from thy body."

In these lines the poet says that after hearing the Abbot’s reply, the king told the old man that his crime was unpardonable for which the Abbot was sure to be killed. If he failed to answer, his head would be cut off from his body.

STANZA NO. 7: "And first quoth ------------------------------------ what I am worth."

In these lines the poet tells us about the first question asked by the king. The king asked the Abbot to tell him what was his price in pennies, while he was sitting among his courtiers, who belonged to high families and was wearing a beautiful crown of gold on his head.

STANZA NO. 8: "Secondly tell me ------------------------------------what I do think."

In these lines the poet tells us about the second question asked by the king. The king wanted to know how soon he would be able to go around the whole world on his horse. Asking the third question king told the Abbot tell him exactly what he was thinking at that time.

STANZA NO. 9: "O, these are hard ---------------------------------- to answer your grace."

In these lines the poet says that on hearing the questions of the king the Abbot was worried. He told the king that those were very difficult questions for a man of poor intelligence like him. Moreover he said he could not answer him at once. Therefore he requested for three weeks time and said he would try to answer him after that.

STANZA NO. 10: "Now three weeks ---------------------------------- are forfeit to me."

In the given lines the poet says that the king agreed to give three weeks time to the Abbot. He told the Abbot that it was the longest time for him to live. He warned that if he failed to answer the questions all his property would be forfeited and he would be killed.

STANZA NO. 11: "Away rode the -------------------------------------- an answer devise."

In the given lines the poet says that after hearing the questions of the king, the Abbot became very sad. To find the answers to the questions, he went to the universities of Cambridge and Oxford. He met many wise men, but he did not find any scholar who could answer these questions.

STANZA NO. 12: "Then home rode ---------------------------------- from good king John."

In the given lines the poet says that the Abbot became very sad when he could not find answers to the questions. When he was coming back home, he met his shepherd who was going to the fold. The shepherd welcomed him and asked his master what good news he had brought from good king John.

(P.T.O.)

STANZA NO. 13: "sad news ---------------------------------------------- smitten from my body."

In these lines the poet says that when the shepherd asked the Abbot what news he had brought from King John, the Abbot replied that he had very sad news. He had only three days to live because if he failed to answer the king’s three questions, his head would be cut off from his body.

STANZA NO. 14: "The first is to ---------------------------------------- noble of birth."

In these lines the poet tells us how the Abbot repeated the questions asked by the king to his shepherd. He told the shepherd that the king wanted to know his price in Pennies while he was sitting among his noble men and was wearing the beautiful crown of gold on his head.

STANZA NO. 15: "The second, to tell ----------------------------------- what he does think."

In these lines the Abbot is telling his shepherd about the second and third questions asked by the king. He told the shepherd that the king wanted to know how soon he would be able to ride around the whole world. The third question is that to tell the king clearly what he was thinking at that time.

STANZA NO. 16: "Now cheer up --------------------------------------- answer your quarrel."

In these lines the poet says that when the shepherd heard the questions of the king, he told the Abbot not to worry at all. He told him that sometimes a fool could also talk like a wise man. He requested his master to lend him his horse, his servants and his dress and then he would go to London and answer the questions of the king.

STANZA NO. 17: "Nay, from not ----------------------------------------- fair London Town."

In these lines the poet says that the shepherd requested the Abbot not to feel angry if he was told by the people that he resembled the Abbot after wearing his dress. He requested the Abbot to lend him his gown too. After wearing the gown nobody would recognize him in the beautiful city of London.

STANZA NO. 18: "Now horses --------------------------------------------- father the Pope."

In these lines the poet says that the Abbot agreed to give the shepherd to his horses and servants dressed in smart clothes. He gave him also his hat, his gown and his cloak. After wearing these clothes he would be fit to appear before the Pope.

STANZA NO. 19: "Now welcome ------------------------------------------ saved shall be."

In these lines the poet says that when the shepherd appeared before the king, the king welcomed him and said that it was good that the Abbot had come on the appointed day. He added that if he failed to answer his three questions, his life and property would be forfeited.

STANZA NO. 20: "And first, when ----------------------------------------- what I am worth."

In the given lines the poet says that when the shepherd appeared before the king in the guise of the Abbot, the king repeated his first question. He asked the Abbot what is his price while he was wearing the beautiful crown of gold and was sitting among his noble men who belonged to high families.

STANZA NO. 21: "For thirty -------------------------------------------------- worse then he."

In these lines the poet tells us about the answer given by the shepherd to the first question of the king. The shepherd told the king that he had heard that Jesus Christ was sold among the false Jews for thirty Pence, therefore the price of the king would be twenty-nine Pence.

STANZA NO. 22: "The king he ------------------------------------------------- whole world about."

In these lines the poet says that the king felt very happy and laughed when he heard the answer to his first question. He swore by Saint Bittel and said that he had never thought that his price would be so little. Then he repeated his second question and asked the shepherd to tell him exactly how soon he would be able to ride around the whole world.

STANZA NO. 23: "You must rise---------------------------------------------- ride it about."

In these lines the poet is telling us about the answer to the second question of the king given by the shepherd. The shepherd told the king that he should get up with the sunrise and ride his horse at the same time. He told him to continue riding until the sun rose again next morning. Then he should not be in doubt that he would be able to ride around the whole world only in twenty-four hours.

STANZA NO. 24: "The king he laughed-------------------------------------- what do I think."

In these lines the poet says that the king laughed when he heard the answer to his second question. He swore by Saint John and said that he had never thought that would be able to ride around the whole world so soon. Then he repeated his third question and asked the shepherd to tell him what he was thinking at that time.

STANZA NO. 25: "Yes that shall ---------------------------------- him and for me."

In these lines the poet telling us the reply of the shepherd to the third question of the king. The shepherd told the king that he would answer him and make him happy. He told the king that he was thinking that he was talking to the Abbot of Canterbury, but in fact he was not the Abbot, but his poor shepherd. The shepherd begged the king’s pardon for himself as well as for his master.

STANZA NO. 26: "The king he ------------------------------------- write nor read."

In these lines the poet says that the king laughed when he heard the answer to his third question. He swore by the Church and told the shepherd that he would appoint him the Abbot of Canterbury instead of the old Abbot. But the shepherd requested him not to be in a hurry because he was illiterate and he could neither read nor write.

STANZA NO. 27: Four nobles------------------------------------------ good king John."

In these lines the poet says that when the shepherd told him that he was illiterate and could not run the office of the Abbot, the king said that he would pay him four noble every week, because he had made him happy. He told the shepherd to inform the old Abbot that the king had granted him pardon.

=====

MANSOOR ALI SHAH.


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