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July 1959

A Case for Diagnosis, by Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?—1400)

Author Affiliations

Washington, D. C.

AMA Arch Derm. 1959;80(1):87. doi:10.1001/archderm.1959.01560190089013

From General Prologue, "The Canterbury Tales."

A Somnour was ther with us in that place. That hadde a fyr-reed cherubinnes face, For sawceflem he was, with eyen narwe. As hoot he was, and lecherous as a sparwe, With scalled browes blake, and piled berd; Of his visage children were aferd.

There nas quik-silver, litarge, ne brimstoon, Boras, ceruce, ne oille of tartre noon, Ne oynement that wolde clense and byte, That him mighte helpen of his whelkes whyte, Ne of the knobbes sittinge on his chekes. Wel loved he garleek, oynons, and eek lekes, And for to drinken strong wyn, reed as blood.


A Summoner* was with us in that place That had a fiery-red cherubic face, For pimpled all he was, with eyes narrow. As hot he was and lech'rous as a sparrow, With black brows scabby and a scanty beard; And of his visage children were afeard.

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