To drawen folk to hevene by fairnesse,
By good ensample, this was his bisynesse.

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

Meaning

“Fairnesse” : “Brightness, brilliance, clearness” or “justice”
The method by which the Parson draws people to heaven is through his own example and reflection of justice and purity. We can see in the second line that the Parson saw this task as not only his duty but as his occupation.

“Bisynesse”:“Application or devotion to a task or purpose”. Chaucer makes the Parson’s devotion to being a good example very clear in these two lines and presents the Parson as one who not only talks the talk but also walks the walk.

There is repetition of a couple of vowels in these two lines such as a long “o” and short “e” sound. I believe the constant repetition of these vowels emphasizes the Parson’s consistency of his actions with the words that he spoke and taught.

bisiness

fairnesse

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