Although not many people could read or write during the Middle-ages, this included the nobility some people who studied literature were taught how to. Some of these people went on to write texts, and some of these texts became very famous. Below are extracts in their original form from various books and texts.
THE CANTERBURY TALES - THE SQUIRE'S INTRODUCTION
, come neer, if it your wille be,
And sey somwhat of love, for certes
ye Konnen theron as muche as any man."
"Nay sir," quod
he, "but I wol seye as I kan,
With hertly wyl, for I wol nat rebelle Agayn your lust
. A tale wol I telle, Have me excused if I speke amys;
My wyl is good, and lo, my tale is this."
THE CANTERBURY TALES - THE MERCHANTS INTRODUCTION
"Wepyng and waylyng, care and oother sorwe
I knowe ynogh
, on even and a-morwe," Quod
, "and so doon other mo
been. I trowe
that it be so,
For wel I woot
it fareth so with me.
I have a wyf
, the worste that may be;
For thogh the feend
to hire ycoupled were,
She sholde hym overmacche
, I dar wel swere.
What sholde I yow reherce
0Hir hye malice? She is a shrewe at al.
Ther is a long and large difference Bitwix
Grisildis grete pacience
And of my wyf the passyng crueltee
Were I unbounden, also moot
I wolde nevere eft
comen in the snare.
We wedded men lyven in sorwe and care. Assaye
whoso wole, and he shal fynde
That I seye sooth
, by Seint Thomas of Ynde,
As for the moore part
- I sey nat alle.
God shilde that it sholde so bifalle!
A! goode sire hoost, I have ywedded bee
Thise monthes two, and moore nat, pardee
And yet, I trowe
, he that al his lyve
Wyflees hath been, though that men wolde him ryve
Unto the herte
, ne koude
in no manere
Tellen so muchel
sorwe as I now heere Koude
tellen of my wyves cursednesse!"
oure hoost, "Marchaunt, so God yow blesse
ye so muchel
knowen of that artFul
hertely I pray yow telle us part."
he, "but of myn owene soore
For soory herte
, I telle may namoore."
THE SONG OF ROLAND - VERSE I
Carles li reis, nostre emperere magnes,
Set anz tuz pleins ad estet en Espaigne.
Tresqu'en la mer cunquist la tere altaigne,
N'i ad castel ki devant lui remaigne
Mur ne citet n'i est remés a fraindre,
Fors Sarraguce, ki est en une muntaingne.
Li reis Marsilie la tient, ki Deu nen aimet,
Mahumet sert e Apollin recleimet:
Nes poet quarder que mals ne l'i ateignet.
Charles the King, our Lord and Sovereign,
Full seven years hath sojourned in Spain,
Conquered the land, and won the western main,
Now no fortress against him doth remain,
No city walls are left for him to gain,
Save Sarraguce, that sits on high mountain.
Marsile its King, who feareth not God's name,
Mahumet's man, he invokes Apollin's aid,
Nor wards off ills that shall to him attain.
THE SONG OF ROLAND - VERSE LXVI
Halt sunt li pui e li val tenebrus,
Les roches bises, les destreiz merveillus.
Le jur passerent Franceis a grant dulur,
De .XV. lius en ot hom la rimur.
Puis que il venent a la Tere Majur,
Virent Guascuigne, la tere lur seignur.
Dunc le remembret des fius e des honurs
E des pulcele e des gentilz oixurs:
Cel nen i ad ki de pitet ne plurt.
Sur tuz le altres est Carles anguissus,
As proz d'Espaigne ad lesset sun nevold.
Pitet l'en prent, ne poet muër n'en plurt.
High are the peaks, the valleys shadowful,
Swarthy the rocks, the narrows wonderful.
Franks passed that day all very sorrowful,
Fifteen leagues round the rumour of them grew.
When they were come, and Terra Major knew,
Saw Gascony their land and their seigneur's,
Remembering their fiefs and their honours,
Their little maids, their gentle wives and true;
There was not one that shed not tears for rue.
Beyond the rest Charles was of anguish full,
In Spanish Pass he'd left his dear nephew;
Pity him seized; he could but weep for rue.