And over-al, ther as profit sholde arise,
Curteis he was and lowely of servyse.
(= But above all, wherever profit should arise / He was courteous, and humble in his bearing.)
This couplet explains how the friar was courteous and humble wherever there was profit to be won, thus implying a somewhat greedy side to his supposedly abstinent soul. The depiction of the friar here is created in the lines' interpretation as well as their pronunciation.
Within these two lines it is notable that vowel sounds are dominant. The usage of “a” sounds is particularly prevalent. Short “a” sounds, which have an abrupt “awh” sound much like the “o” in “hot”, are used in the words “al”, “as”, and “profit” (prAWH-fit). Long “a” sounds, where the “a” is drawn out to produce the “ah” sound like in “father”, are used in the words “was”, “of”, “arise” (AH-ris-AH), and “servyse” (ser-vis-AH).There are also other reoccurring vowel sounds, like the long open “o” (used in “over”, “sholde”, and “lowely) and the long "e,” often accompanied with “r” (used in “over”, “there”,“curteis”, “servyse”).
This variety of vowel pronunciations requires different speaking patterns of opening the mouth, causing the speaker to feel as though they are excessively moving their mouth to reproduce such sounds. This therefore mimics how the Friar constantly uses his talent of eloquence wherever and whenever he could to gain profit.
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