Gilbert White Poems

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Gilbert White
Gilbert White (July 18, 1720 June 26, 1793) was a pioneering naturalist and ornithologist. White was born in his grandfather's vicarage at Selborne in Hampshire. He was educated by a private tutor in Basingstoke before going to Oriel College, Oxford. He obtained his deacon's orders in 1746, being fully ordained in 1749, and subsequently held several curacies in Hampshire and Wiltshire, including Selborne's neighbouring parishes of Newton Valence and Farringdon, as well as Selborne itself on four separate occasions. In 1752/53 White held the office of Junior Proctor at Oxford and was Dean of Oriel. In 1757 he became non-resident perpetual curate of Moreton Pinkney in Northamptonshire. After the death of his father in 1758, White moved back into the family home at The Wakes in Selborne, which he eventually inherited in 1763. In 1784 he became curate of Selborne for the fourth time, remaining so until his death. Having studied at Oriel at the behest of his uncle, he was ineligible to be considered for the permanent living of Selborne, which was in the gift of Magdalen College. White is best known for his The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789). This was a compilation of his letters to Thomas Pennant, the leading British zoologist of the day, and the Hon. Daines Barrington, an English barrister and another Fellow of the Royal Society. These letters contained White's discoveries about local birds, animals and plants. He believed in distinguishing birds by observation rather than by collecting specimens, and was thus one of the first people to separate the similar-looking Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Wood Warbler by means of their song. White is regarded by many as England's first ecologist and one of the founders of modern respect for nature. He said of the earthworm (1770): Earthworms, though in appearance a small and despicable link in the chain of nature, yet, if lost, would make a lamentable chasm [...] worms seem to be the great promoters of vegetation, which would proceed but lamely without them... White and William Markwick collected records of the dates of emergence of more than 400 plant and animal species, White recording in Hampshire and Markwick in Sussex between 1768 and 1793. These data, summarised in The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne as the earliest and latest dates for each event over the 25-year period, are among the earliest examples of modern phenology. His 1783/4 diary corroborates the dramatic climatic impacts of the volcanic 'Laki haze' that spread from Iceland with lethal consequences across Europe. White's frequent accounts of a tortoise inherited from his aunt in The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne form the basis for Verlyn Klinkenborg's book, Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile (2006), as well as for Sylvia Townsend Warner's The Portrait of a Tortoise (1946). His house in Selborne, The Wakes, now contains the Gilbert White Museum, as well as the Oates Memorial Museum, commemorating Frank and Lawrence Oates. A biography of White, by Richard Mabey was published by Century Hutchinson in 1986, and won the Whitbread Biography of the Year award. A documentary about White, presented by historian Michael Wood, was broadcast by BBC Four in 2006. Gilbert White's famous work has been continuously in print since its first publication and is one of the most frequently published books in the English language. The paperback edition of The Illustrated Natural History of Selborne was last reprinted by Thames & Hudson in 2007.

the wife of bath's prologue and tale in the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
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¶Here bigynneth the prologe of the tale
of the Wyf of Bathe
... [read poem]
the general prologue from the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
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Whan that Aueryll |with| his Shoures soote
The droghte of March... [read poem]
the summoner's prologue and tale in the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
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¶The Prologe of the Somnours tale

This Somnour in his Sti... [read poem]
troilus and criseyde: book i
From Book I

And so bifel, whan comen was the tyme
Of Aperil, whan cloth&eacu... [read poem]
the shipman's tale in the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
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¶Here bigynneth the Shipmannes tale

A Marchant whilom /... [read poem]
a harvest scene
Wak'd by the gentle gleamings of the morn,
Soon clad, the reaper, provident of want
Hies c... [read poem]
Fle fro the pres, and dwelle with sothefastnesse,
Suffise thin owen thing, thei it be sm... [read poem]
the miller's prologue and tale from the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
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¶The prologe of the Milleres tale

WHan that the knyght/ h... [read poem]
the pardoner's introduction, prologue, and tale in the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
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¶The myry talkyng/ of the hoo{s}t/ to the Phi{s}cien

Our... [read poem]
the canterbury tales: general prologue
Here bygynneth the Book of the tales of Caunterbury

Whan that Aprille with his s... [read poem]
troilus and criseyde: book ii
From Book II

With this he took his leve, and hom he wente;
And lord, so he w... [read poem]
the reeve's prologue and tale from the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
¶The |pro|loge / of the Reues tale

Whan folk hadde laughen / at this nyce cas... [read poem]
troilus and criseyde: book v
From Book V

The morwen com, and gostly for to speke,
This Diomede is come un... [read poem]
yowr yen two woll sle me sodenly
Yowr yen two woll sle me sodenly.
I may the beaute of them not sustene
So wondeth it thoro... [read poem]
the friar's prologue and tale in the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
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¶The prologe of the ffreres tale

This worthy ly... [read poem]
the parlement of fowls
Now welcome, somer, with thy sonne softe,
That hast this wintres wedres ov... [read poem]
the cook's prologue and tale in the hengwrt manuscript of the canterbury tales
¶The prologe of the Cookes tale

The Cook / of Londo|un| / whil the Reue spak/... [read poem]
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