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Hajj to Canterbury

  Geoffrey Chaucer, known as the father of English poetry, wrote between 1387 and 1400 his masterpiece The Canterbury Tales, the first great literary work written in Middle English, It describes the pilgrimage of Christians to Canterbury in the Middle Ages. The beginning of Chaucer’s story describes the spring of the revival of all things in England in beautiful language:
  ”When the April rains penetrated the dried up roots of March, drenched the stems, touched the vitality, and made buds spring up on the branches; When the gentle wind blows incense, making the mountains and forests spit out tender sprouts, the sun of youth has turned halfway over the constellation Aries, the birds sing tunes, sleepy eyes open all night, and nature is playing with their heartstrings: At this time, people Eager to worship the famous altars of the Quartet, the wandering monks also decided to travel to foreign lands. Especially in England, they set out from every corner of the state towards Canterbury, to make a pilgrimage to their saviour, the boundless martyrdom of the saints. “(Mr. Fang Zhong)
  Canterbury is located in Kent, southeast England, about an hour and a half by train from London. Along the railway line is a vast green field. The sun shines on the trees with different expressions. The trees are dotted with purple, pink, light green, bright yellow and white flower clusters. One or two dark green tarsus trees can be seen occasionally in the distance. Upright poplar trees, a natural park scenery. It is in this rolling field that pilgrims reminiscent of Chaucer’s time made their pilgrimage to Canterbury along country roads.
  Kent faces the European continent across the Strait of Dover. Due to its special geographical location, it has been attacked by Romans, Saxons and Normans from the European continent since the beginning of AD. In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, led his army across the sea from France into England, conquered England, and was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey in London. The French-speaking Norman aristocracy that came with William the Conqueror became the ruling class in England, and over the next few hundred years, three languages ​​coexisted in England: Latin for the church clergy, French for the aristocracy, and common people. speak English. When Chaucer lived, it was during the Hundred Years War between England and France. King Edward III and his eldest son, Edward, nicknamed the Black Prince, led the army to defeat the French in the war, which inspired the patriotic enthusiasm of the British people and awakened the national consciousness. , the people demanded to be freed from the shackles of French domination in politics and the shackles of Rome in ecclesiastical affairs. As a result, French and Latin gradually lost the noble status they once enjoyed, and English was no longer just the language of ordinary people, but also began to enter the upper class.
  Chaucer came from a middle-class family with French ancestry. His father was a London wine merchant, and his mother was a woman of social status close to the court aristocracy. Chaucer spent his childhood in London and received a good cultural education. He entered the court as a squire when he was a teenager. He fought in France with King Edward III, was captured in battle, and was redeemed by the king at the expense of him. He was a businessman and held a variety of public offices: tax collector, administrator of the King’s estate, MP for Kent, sheriff and diplomat. He was commissioned many times to travel to France and Italy, out of the closed British Isles, to travel on the European continent. Rich life experience, combined with profound knowledge and language talent, made him a multi-talented literati of that era, although he was not yet a professional writer. Chaucer’s early literary creation was influenced by French literature and Italian literature. In a sense, he was the first poet to understand the world outside the island. He felt the new atmosphere of the Italian Renaissance on the European continent and put this This spirit was brought back to England. Before Chaucer, there was an epic “Beowulf” in English literature, which is a legend about heroes and monsters; Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” is a portrayal of real life in medieval England. The book is 17,000 lines of verse, written by pilgrims. 25 stories to tell. In the Middle Ages, the day of worship was an important festival. The modern English word holiday (holiday, holiday) comes from Old English, with holy day (religious holiday, holy day, death day). Chaucer lived in a time when poor peasants were busy working in the fields and had no time to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land, so the pilgrims in the Canterbury Tales were mainly from the middle class: knights, monks, lawyers, doctors, merchants, sailors, millers, cooks etc., the stories they tell involve legends of saints, romantic love, legends of knights, animal fables, and humorous stories of ordinary people’s lives, showing the vast picture of life in the Middle Ages in England. Although many of Chaucer’s contemporaries and his successors still wrote in Latin and French, his Canterbury Tales do not use alliteration in Old English poetry, but rhyme at the end and use steps to make the poem The prose is full of rhythm, and this rhythm has had a profound impact on future generations of poetry. Shakespeare’s musical sonnets are a further improvement of this rhythm. Chaucer’s achievements made the Midlands dialect the British literary language, and he became the first great British poet to write in English. The manuscript of the Canterbury Tales that has survived to this day is printed with a portrait of Chaucer: a plump face, a cloth scarf, a robe, and a pony, but the horse is out of proportion to the human, which sets off the irony and wit of the work; The portrait of Chaucer in the history books is a gray-bearded old man with a thin face, sincere, simple and kind. He is a wise man who is sympathetic and tolerant to the world. Chaucer rented a house in the grounds of Westminster Abbey in London in December 1399, died the following year and was buried in the Cathedral’s Poets Corner. In 1555, a monument was erected in Westminster Abbey, and he became the greatest poet in the history of literature, as famous as Dante and Shakespeare.
  Canterbury has a special significance in British history because the ancient Romans established settlements here after crossing the sea to England, and the Romans’ administrative center was also located in Canterbury; but people rushed to Canterbury to worship, but it was Because here is the most famous cathedral in England, where the martyred saint, Archbishop Thomas Beckett, rests. Canterbury Cathedral was the first cathedral in England and was built shortly after St Augustine arrived in Canterbury in 597 AD. Legend has it that the foundation stone of the cathedral was laid in 597, but the original church was damaged by the fire in 1607 and was no longer complete. There is St. Augustine’s prayer room in the church. The window above the interior altar is decorated with a pattern depicting Pope Gregory I sending St. Augustine to England to preach, and the names of the archbishops of Canterbury are listed below the window. The nave and high altar of the cathedral are magnificent. Two rows of large columns support the dome. The wooden chairs in the nave hall can seat more than 1,300 people. There are transepts and niches on both sides. Relief. After passing through the nave, you can go down the stairs to the large Roman-style basement. The dim light in the basement illuminates several prayer rooms separated on both sides. In the middle is a hall with columns forming an arched portico. There are wooden chairs for priests and believers to sit and pray. The columns and walls are decorated with frescoes and carvings depicting the appearance of angels and the dancing of beasts. There is a high altar above the basement: go up the stairs to the chair of St. Augustine, on this marble chair, the Archbishop of Canterbury was appointed as the chief bishop of England. Walking from the high altar to the depths of the cathedral is the shrine of Archbishop Beckett and the tomb of Edward the Black Prince. The statue of the Black Prince lies on his back in a coffin in gilded armor, next to his black shield with three ostrich feathers. In the place where Beckett was killed, there are still devout priests who describe to believers and tourists the scene of Beckett’s tragic murder: at dusk, the archbishop entered the transept through the black wooden door of the cloister to prepare for vespers, when four of the king’s men A knight rushed through the wooden door, one blocked the other believers, and the other three murdered the archbishop in the solemn church. Today, a black cross hangs on the wall in the transept, with two long swords hanging on it. Under the light, the two swords cast two long shadows on the wall, like four swords, symbolizing the four killers.
  Beckett’s death was a major event in England at the time. Since St. Augustine was the first Archbishop of Canterbury in AD 598, there have been more than 100 Archbishops of Canterbury for more than 1,400 years. In the UK, the archbishop has a higher status than the bishop, governs the vast diocese, and enjoys the highest authority of the church, while the archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader of the Church of England. Thomas Beckett, from a family of Norman descent, was educated in London and Paris before studying canon law at churches in Bologna, Italy, and Auxerre, France. The medieval church was powerful and supported by the Holy See, so it often rivaled the kingship. King Henry II of England wanted to weaken the power of the church and the nobility and strengthen the kingship. In 1162, he appointed Thomas Beckett as the 40th Archbishop of Canterbury, hoping to control the Church of England. But Archbishop Beckett opposed the king’s control of church affairs, disagreed with Henry II, and quarreled frequently. Beckett’s popularity and the pope’s support for him prevented Henry II from achieving his goals. The king, displeased, once said in disappointment, “Can none of my cowardly diners help me get rid of this restless priest?” For his own responsibility, he rode to Canterbury and killed Beckett in the cathedral. The blood of martyrs is the seed of faith, and the death of Beckett shocked the Christian world, and believers went to Canterbury to worship and express their admiration and condolences to the saint. Because Beckett was a friend of King Henry II and had close ties to the Pope, he was murdered by the king’s knights, putting Henry II in a very embarrassing position. Henry argued that his words had been misunderstood, but he still expressed his remorse. There are different accounts of Henry II’s confession in historical materials. It is said that he went to Canterbury to worship barefoot, and after enduring humiliation and flogging in Avranches in France, he was pardoned by the Pope and restored his harmonious relationship with the Pope. This also reflects the delicate but harmonious relationship between the church and kingship at that time. In 1172, Pope Alexander III posthumously canonized Beckett as a saint. Since then, Beckett’s Shrine in Canterbury Cathedral has become one of the most famous places of worship in Christendom. Today, every major Christian festival, the nave of the cathedral is filled with pilgrims. Green trees and lawns are planted in the courtyard outside the cathedral, surrounded by walls, which is more religious than Westminster Abbey in downtown London.
  Beckett stimulated the imagination of writers and provided them with inspiration and sources of creation. Eliot and Tennyson in England and Anoui in France wrote the story of the martyred saint. Several British poets and writers also have various direct links to Canterbury. Although there is no conclusive evidence that Chaucer made a pilgrimage to Canterbury, due to his close ties to the family of John, Duke of Lancaster, he likely attended the funeral of the Duke’s brother, the Black Prince, in Canterbury: so he was in Beckett More than two hundred years after his martyrdom, he wrote the immortal Canterbury Tales. The lovely garden paths depicted in Jane Austen’s work are as if they were in Goodneston Gardens near her home during her many visits to Canterbury; Dickens’ David Copperfield has Canterbury City in the background; Keats also came to Canterbury to experience the antiquity of the Middle Ages; as well as more than a dozen writers such as Dannyton Defoe, Swift, Joseph Conrad, etc., are inextricably linked to this holy city. Known as the “Father of British Drama”, Marlowe was born and educated in Canterbury, and today his full-length statue stands in the square outside the Marlowe Theatre in the city.
  Today, Canterbury is famous for its many beautiful ancient buildings and cultural sites. Roman theatres and baths, the crumbling walls of Canterbury Castle, the remains of more than two dozen parish churches and Norman churches are scattered in and around the city. There are St Martin’s Church, one of the oldest churches in England, the ruins of St Augustine’s monastery built in AD 598, which was the cradle of Christianity in England, and the magnificent Canterbury Cathedral, which made Canterbury in 1988 become a world cultural heritage. Strolling on the streets of the city, the streetscape with green trees under the sun is quiet and beautiful: there are hedge-surrounded courtyards and delicate and elegant small buildings on both sides of the street; an ordinary hotel with a red brick building may have been a century of vicissitudes; stone paving There are exquisite antique shops and second-hand bookstores on both sides of the street, and the “Chaucer Bookstore” specializes in selling ancient books, which creates a quaint atmosphere. The Canterbury Heritage Museum on the banks of the River Stour has a 600-year-old roof made of red-brown oak beams, and the interior still retains its medieval style. The pictures and objects displayed in the museum show people the major events that took place in the city’s 2,000-year history.
  Climb the Roman-era city walls and see the ancient holy city of Canterbury in front of you, and the green fields of England in spring in the distance. Kent has excellent natural grasslands, rich in fruit and hop vines for brewing, and is known as the “Garden of England”. In this natural garden, Canterbury is like a wonderful herb, exuding a faint fragrance.

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