Sir Thopas Notes from The Canterbury Tales

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The Canterbury Tales Sir Thopas

Sir Thopas was born in Flanders, with red lips and a comely nose. He was an excellent hunter, and despite his popularity among the women, was chaste. One day, he rode out into the wild open on his stallion following a glorious female voice. After riding so heavily for the day, he decided to give his horse a rest, and then spoke to the heavens for answers. He declares that he must fall for an elf-queen, for no women in town would make his match. "Alle othere wommen I forsake, / And to an elf-queene I me take / By dale and eek by downe." Tale of Sir Thopas, l. 83-85

Sir Thopas continued to ride until he came across the fairy world and a giant named Sir Oliphant. Oliphant threatened to slay his horse and then warned him of the queen. Sir Oliphant began to throw stones at Thopas, who miraculously escaped the treachery to return home. At home, Sir Thopas requested the aid of several of his men to return and fight for love: the elf-queen. They helped him prepare in his regal battle gear to fight the giant. As he prepares with elaboration, his chivalric description trails off into silence before the tales concludes.

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