The Physician and His Tale

"In all this world ne was ther noon him lyk..."

The Physician and His Tale

"With us ther was a Doctour of Phisik;
In al this world ne was ther noon hym lik,
To speke of phisik and of surgerye,
For he was grounded in astronomye.
He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
In houres by his magyk natureel.
Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
Of his ymages for his pacient.
He knew the cause of everich maladye,
Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,
And where they engendred, and of what humour." (411-421)

The Physician's Tale tells the story of Virginius and his daughter Virginia.  Virginia's beauty attracts the attention of Appius, a judge of the city, who concocts a plan to steal her from her father by having an accomplice declare in court that Virginia is his runaway slave.  In order to preserve her honor, Virginius cuts off her head and brings it to the corrupt court.  This sparks an uprising against Appius, who eventually kills himself in prison.