Quando in Aprile le dolci piogge cadono
e penetrano la siccità (drought) di Marzo fino alla radice, e tutte
le vene (degli alberi, piante) vengono immerse in una linfa
che possiede una forza tale da provocare/generare la nascita dei fiori,
quando anche Zeffiro (vento dell’ovest) col suo dolce soffio esala un alito
in ogni boschetto e in ogni brughiera
sopra i teneri germogli, e il giovane sole
ha percorso la seconda metà del suo tragitto nel segno dell’Ariete
e gli uccellini che passano la notte senza chiudere occhio
(così li spinge a fare la natura)
cantano con grande melodia
allora la gente desidera andare in pellegrinaggio
e i palmieri desiderano cercare i lidi stranieri
di santi lontani, venerati in varie terre
e specialmente, si dirigono
verso Canterbury da ogni contea dell’Inghilterra
per cercare il santo martire benedetto, che presto
diede loro il suo aiuto/che fu sollecito a dare il suo aiuto
quando erano malati.
· The first eighteen lines are a very long sentence, beginning with a secondary clause introduced by “when”, followed by another time-clause, which begins in the same way. The main-clause is introduced in line 12: its subject is “people” and verb is “long”. “To long” means to “to desire in a very intense way”, “to desire deeply”.
· In the original version, which was written in middle English, the month of April is personified and the sweet showers fall as if April was intent on bringing the whole world back to life.
· Zephyrus: just as April is personified, so is Zephyrus, which is here given its Latin name. Zephyrus is the west wind.
· The young sun: it’s called “young” because it’s near the beginning of its course (percorso). The sun was thought to enter Aries/the Ram on the 12th of March and it was reckoned to remain (si calcolava che rimanesse) in this sign until the 11th of April, so during the month of April the sun has to finish its time/its half-run in the Ram, and then it has to move on (passare a) to Taurus/the Bull.
· Chaucer says that the sun has already run its half-course in the Ram, so the date of the start of pilgrimages is after the 11th of April. He often gives his dates indirectly in terms of Zodiac or in astronomical terms. In the Middle Ages there was a sophisticated knowledge of astrology and times and days were often measured by the system of Zodiac. The sun begins its course in the Ram in the second half of March and completes it in the first half of April.
· Nature so stimulates (stimola) their hearts (line 11).
· In the Middle Ages people went on pilgrimages for various reasons: to fulfil (sciogliere) a vow (voto) they made in time of sickness (malattia) or trouble, to sick (cercare) a cure, in the hope of spiritual refreshment (rinnovamento spirituale), to expiate some crime or in the case of rogues (ladri) to exploit a gathering (sfruttare una compagine) for their own ends (per i propri scopi), for example to rob people.
· The line 12 suggests that spring brings about (determina) a renewal (un rinnovamento) of love for pilgrimiges.
· Palmers were pilgrims who went to the Holy Land (Terra Santa). They were given this name because they came back from the Holy Land carrying a brunch of palm.
· The shrines (santuari) that were usually frequented by pilgrims in the Middle Ages were in Westminister, Walsingham and Canterbury. Canterbury was the most popular of them. In Canterbury cathedral was the tomb of Saint Thomas à Becket.
· Thomas à Becket was the archbishop (arcivescovo) of Canterbury and legate of the Pope (nunzio apostolic). He was killed in his own cathedral in 1170 and was canonized four years later.
The shrine of Saint Thomas à Becket remained one of the favourite centres of pilgrimages until 1538, when it was destroyed by order (per ordine) of King Henry the VIII.
Accadde in quella stagione che un giorno
a Southwark, nella locanda del Tabarro (= mantello), mentre ero pronto
ad andare in pellegrinaggio per partire per Canterbury
pieno di devozione,
accadde che alla sera giunse in quella taverna
una compagnia di circa ventinove persone di diversa provenienza
che per caso si erano incontrate,
ed erano tutti pellegrini che
avevano intenzione di andare (a cavallo) a Canterbury.
· Southwark was at the south end (estremità sud) of London Bridge. The road to Canterbury started in Southwark. In the Middle Ages London was a walled city (città circondata dalle mura) and the gates were closed at night. Anyone who wanted to leave for Canterbury early in the morning stayed the night in Southwark, where there were many inns.
· The Tabard was one of the most important. Nothing of this inn remains nowadays/today, but we can get an idea of what it was like from some of the old inns which are still standing. The Tabard was a fairly big building (edificio abbastanza grande), probably with two storeys (piani)/it was a two-storied building. The kitchens, the eating rooms and the bedrooms were probably in three sides of the building. The horse’s stables (stalle) occupied the fourth side. The building also had to/must have had a balcony (terrazzo) running (che percorreva) a round inner courtyard (cortile interno circolare). The host of the inn kept horses to hire to those who didn’t ride their own horses.
Le stanze e le stalle della locanda erano grandi;
ci misero a nostro agio, tutto era nel migliore dei modi.
E in breve, quando il sole se ne fu andato a riposare,
io avevo parlato con tutti loro del viaggio
e ben presto fui uno della loro compagnia.
Ci accordammo di alzarci presto e di avviarci sulla via
per Canterbury, come mi avete sentito dire.
Ma tuttavia, mentre ho tempo e spazio,
prima che la mia storia prosegua,
mi sembra una cosa ragionevole dire
quale fosse la loro condizione, tutto l’abbigliamento
di ciascuno di loro come sembrava a me
in base alla loro professione e al loro grado sociale
e con quali vesti stavano cavalcando;
e perciò inizierò da un Cavaliere.
C’era un cavaliere, un uomo alquanto distinto,
che dal giorno in cui aveva iniziato a combattere
in altre terre aveva seguito le regole della cavalleria,
l’integrità, l’onore, la generosità e le maniere cortesi.
Si era comportato in modo nobile nella guerra del suo
sovrano ed era andato in battaglia come nessun altro uomo
sia in luoghi cristiani che in luoghi pagani
ed era sempre stato onorato per le sue nobili virtù.
Quando abbiamo conquistato Alessandria, lui c’era.
Sedette spesso a capo tavola al posto d’onore,
al di sopra dei cavalieri provenienti da altre terre, quando era in Prussia.
Era stato in Lituania e in Russia,
tanto spesso quanto nessun altro cristiano del suo rango.
Quando nel Regno di Granada Algezir cadde sotto
assedio, lui c’era stato, e nel
Regno di Nord Africa attaccando la città/il regno di Benamarin,
in Anatolia era pure stato
e aveva combattuto quando Ayas e Attalia caddero,
tutto lungo la costa del Mediterraneo.
Si era arruolato con molti eserciti nobili. (verso 20 della scheda)
· Lines 9-12: these were the places where medieval knights went to fight when in need of employment, when they didn’t fight for their overlord (feudatario).
· Lines 10 and 11: he was often placed at the head of table as the guest most to be behaved (come l’ospite che doveva essere maggiormente onorato). Above all nations (= the knights coming from other countries).
· Lines 14-16: this lines refer to attacks of the Moors. These were attempts to drive the Moors out of Spain and to stop the Moorish raids against Christian merchant ships.
· Algeciras: Algezir was near cape Trafalgar in the south of Spain. It was taken from Moorish king of Granada in 1344. English knights are known to have been there (in Algezir) at the moment of its surrender (si sa che i cavalieri inglesi erano presenti ad Algezir nel momento della sua arresa).
· Lines 17-21: the knight also talks about his adventures in Turkey/Asia minor. He mentions wealthy cities (ricche città) and trade routes (rotte commerciali) with strongly fortified harbours (porti). These cities were very useful to the crusaders on their way to Palestine.
· Lines 22-23: the knight says that he fought three times one to one against heathen opponents (avversari pagani) in Tramissene (another national kingdom) and that he always killed the contestants.
· Bay of Ballat (line 25), the sultan of Turkey: around 1365 there were friendly relations between him and Pierre de Lusignam. Most of the attacks on the Saracens were carried out under the general command of Pierre de Lusignam, who reigned as Peter the I of Cyprus. He visited all the courts of western Europe to recruit for his crusades. Chaucer probably met him when he was received at the court of Edward III in 1363.
CARATTERISTICHE DEL CAVALIERE
There was a knight, a worthy man, who the time when he first started to ride out on military exploits had loved chivalry (comportamento cavalleresco), integrity and honour, liberality and courteous manners (courtesy). He had conducted himself (si era comportato) in a praiseworthy (degno di lode) manner. He had behaved nobly in his master’s wars, where he had ridden as far as any man (più lontano di qualsiasi altro uomo) both in Christian and heathen land. He had always been honoured for his worthiness. He had always won the highest renown and although he was valiant, he was prudent. And he had always behaved as meekly (in modo mite) as a young girl. He had never said a coarse thing to anybody. He was a truly perfect well-mannered (dalle buone maniere) knight. He possessed fine horses, but he was not gaily (in modo vistoso) dressed. He wore a thick (spessa) tunic which was dirty from his chainmail (maglia di ferro) as (poiché) he had just come back from an expedition (spedizione) and was going on his pilgrimage to give thanks to Saint Thomas à Becket for his help when he was in battle/for the help he had received when he was fighting.
 NOT “IN THE LINE 12”
 to enter + complemento oggetto (tranne per le università)
 Cure = guarigione (non “cura”)
Cura = treatment (curare = to treat)
 NOT “the Canterbury cathedral”
NOT “in Canterbury cathedral there was” perché la frase inizia con un complemento di luogo
 1170 (anno): si legge “eleven seventy”
1170 soldati: si legge “one thousand, one houndred and seventy soldiers”