He was a lord ful fat and in good poynt;
His eyen stepe, and rollynge in his heed,
That stemed as a forneys of a leed;
His bootes souple, his hors in greet estaat.

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


(= He was a very plump lord, and in good health / His eyes prominent, and rolling in his head / That gleamed like a furnace under a lead cauldron / His boots flexible, his horse in excellent condition.)

‘Stepe’ is usually taken to mean ‘prominent’ though noted Chaucer scholar W. W. Skeat has it meaning ‘bright’. Either way, the comparison with a glowing furnace is an interesting one. Chaucer seems to admire his robustness and gleaming eyes, but he does this through yet another food-based metaphor.

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