The pilgrimage begins in April, when all of nature is starting to flower and people are experiencing reawakening of both religious and sexual zeal. Springtime appears as a symbol of both courtly and erotic love throughout many of the Tales. Both the Knight’s Tale and the Nun’s Priest’s Tale are set in May, the time of courtly love and wooing.
Springtime Quotes in The Canterbury Tales
The The Canterbury Tales quotes below all refer to the symbol of Springtime. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:).
The General Prologue Quotes
Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendered is the flour;
Thanne longen folk to goon pilgrimages
And specially from every shires ende
OF Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blissful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they they were seeke.
Related Characters: Chaucer (speaker)
Related Symbols: Springtime
Springtime Symbol Timeline in The Canterbury Tales
The timeline below shows where the symbol Springtime appears in The Canterbury Tales. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The General Prologue
...has gone through the second half of the zodiacal sign Aires, the “Ram.” Budding, lust-filled springtime is also the time when people desire to go on pilgrimage, and travelers from all... (full context)
The Knight’s Tale
One morning in May, Palamon is looking out the window of the tower where the knights have been imprisoned... (full context)
...for seven years, living as a martyr in an unimaginable hell. Finally, one night in May, he drugs his jailer and flees the city. Palamon finds a grove to hide in... (full context)
By chance, Arcite comes to the very same grove to pay respects to May. Arcite weaves himself a garland, sings praises to the spring, lapses into a melancholy stupor,... (full context)
The Tale of Sir Thopas
Sir Thopas goes out riding with his sword by his side one day in springtime, when all the flora and fauna are in heat, and he is filled with “love-longynge”... (full context)
The Nun’s Priest’s Tale
One day in May, just as Chaunticleer has declared his perfect happiness, an inexplicable wave of sorrow comes over... (full context)