Prologue to the Lai le Frain

(This is often printed as an introduction to Sir Orfeo).


For words not glossed in the margins see the glossary in The Riverside Chaucer





We redeth oft and findeth y-write,
And this clerkes wele it wite,
Layes that ben in harping
Ben y-founde of ferli thing:
Sum bethe of wer and sum of wo,
And sum of joie and mirthe also,
And sum of trecherie and of gile,
Of old aventours that fel while;
And sum of bourdes and ribaudy,
And mani ther beth of fairy.
Of al thinges that men seth,
Mest o love, forsothe, they beth.
In Breteyne this layes were wrought,
First y-founde and forth y-brought,
Of aventours that fel bi dayes,
Wherof Bretouns maked her layes.
When kinges might our y-here
Of ani mervailes that ther were,
Thai token an harp in gle and game
And maked a lay and gaf it name.
Now of this aventours that weren y-falle
Y can tel sum, ac nought alle.
Ac herkneth, lordinges that ben trewe,
Ichil you telle of "Lei de Frain."

these scholars know it well

Are composed of marvelous things

adventures that happened once
jokes; ribaldry

Most of love
In Brittany these
composed; produced
happened in olden times
anywhere (our = o-wher) hear
have happened
But hearken
I will

Glossed and edited from the edition on pp. 117-18 in Sir Orfeo: ein englisches Feenmaerchen, ed. Oscar Zielke. Breslau, 1880. [Widener 27283.54].