On Tuesday evening, April 16, 1387, twenty-nine pilgrims gathered at the Tabard, an inn on the south bank of the Thames. Thus began a journey that immortalized the man who had envisaged it, as well as the society that produced him. The Canterbury Tales are perhaps the finest expression of Chaucer's genius, and his writings are a perpetual fountain of data concerning life and learning in medieval England.
Exceptionally endowed with abundant good sense and originality, Chaucer, like most educated men of his time, was also well grounded in the medical lore of the 14th century, as even a cursory reading of any of his longer works will demonstrate. Considering the wealth of this material, and the fact that elaborate scholarly scaffoldings have been erected on even seemingly insignificant details in his poems, it is surprising to find that relatively little attention has yet been directed toward numerous allusions to