That first he wroghte and afterward he taughte.
Out of the gospel he tho wordes caughte;

from Geoffrey Chaucer – The Canterbury Tales (General Prologue) on Rap Genius


The first line confirms the Parson’s knowledge. According to the Middle English Dictionary, “wroghte” indicates a form of practice. Chaucer continues with the word “taughte,” which means the same as the modern “taught”. Therefore, this completed line states, “first he practiced and afterward he taught the knowledge he gained to others”.

The second line describes how the Parson came about his knowledge. The MED defines “tho” as similar to the modern term, “those.“ Further on, "caughte” can also be defined similarly to the modern rendition, “caught”. This completed line reads, “out of the gospel, he took those words”.

When piecing these two lines together and repeating them aloud, there is a distinct sound pattern. When repeating these lines aloud, a lot of the “t” sound is heard. The “T” sound gives the reader a sense of strict enunciation, which then gives the audience an image of an incredibly dedicated and studious Parson, who takes his craft incredibly seriously.

To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “The Canterbury Tales (General Prologue)” by Geoffrey Chaucer and leave a comment on the lyrics box