Ful worthy was he in his lordes werre,
And thereto hadde he riden, no man ferre

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

Meaning

The sounds of this particular couplet rely on assonance to convey the rhythm. The repetition of the “or” and the “er” sounds create a roughness in the mouth when speaking these lines outloud. This relates to the rough, yet valiant, nature a knight is expected to have; It is also interesting to note that the roughness within the lines bring about the sounds of a galloping horse. The sounds of the couplet also serve to transmit the image of a brave knight galloping away to fight enemies. Also, the line “ful worthy was he in his lordes werre” adds an interesting new aspect to the image of a knight. In this line, Chaucer describes a knight not only as brave man, but also as a man who must dutifully serve his lord. It displays the knight can not simply seek glory by defeating an enemy, but also must be a type of servant to the lord in order to be considered a “worthy man”. In the line “and thereto hadde he riden, no man ferre”, indicates how distinct a knight is from the common man. A knight is expected to be much braver than a regular citizen, and because this particular knight has traveled to places with his sword no other men would dare, it sets him apart from other men. The knight is described as a brave man who upholds the chivalrous nature a knight is expected to, but he is also cast in an inferior role next to his lord. It is indicated that the knight may be brave, but he also has a lord, whom he must serve. This line sheds a new light on the image of a knight by sharing the different roles and images a knight has to live up to. The topic of a class system comes into the image of a knight, and seeing a knight as a servant of sorts, is different from the usual expectations one has from the image of a knight.

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