After the Summoner concludes his story, the Host turns to the Clerk from Oxford saying, "You haven't said a word since we left . . . for goodness sake cheer and tell us a lively tale." The Clerk agrees and says he will tell a story he heard from a great gentleman from Padua named Francis Petrarch. On the western shores of Italy lives Walter, the noble and gracious king who is handsome, young, and strong. Walter loves his freedom and has refused to be bound by marriage; his subjects, however, long for an heir to the throne. One day, a delegation of lords of the kingdom humbly beseeches Walter to seek a wife. The king is so impressed with their petition that he agrees to marry. To confirm the agreement, the lords ask him to set a wedding date. Walter grants the lords the right to choose the wedding day, and he will choose his own bride. The day of the wedding arrives, and all preparations are complete. A very poor man named Janicula,
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