Anelida and Arcite

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Anel 1 Thou ferse god of armes, Mars the rede,
Anel 2 That in the frosty contre called Trace,
Anel 3 Within thy grisly temple ful of drede
Anel 4 Honoured art as patroun of that place;
Anel 5 With thy Bellona, Pallas, ful of grace,
Anel 6 Be present and my song contynue and guye;
Anel 7 At my begynnyng thus to the I crye.
Anel 8 For hit ful depe is sonken in my mynde,
Anel 9 With pitous hert in Englyssh to endyte
Anel 10 This olde storie, in Latyn which I fynde,
Anel 11 Of quene Anelida and fals Arcite,
Anel 12 That elde, which that al can frete and bite,
Anel 13 As hit hath freten mony a noble storie,
Anel 14 Hath nygh devoured out of oure memorie.
Anel 15 Be favorable eke, thou Polymya,
Anel 16 On Parnaso that with thy sustres glade,
Anel 17 By Elycon, not fer from Cirrea,
Anel 18 Singest with vois memorial in the shade,
Anel 19 Under the laurer which that may not fade,
Anel 20 And do that I my ship to haven wynne.
Anel 21 First folowe I Stace, and after him Corynne.
Anel 22 When Theseus with werres longe and grete
Anel 23 The aspre folk of Cithe had overcome,
Anel 24 With laurer corouned, in his char gold-bete,
Anel 25 Hom to his contre-houses is he come,
Anel 26 For which the peple, blisful al and somme,
Anel 27 So cryeden that to the sterres hit wente,
Anel 28 And him to honouren dide al her entente.
Anel 29 Beforn this duk, in signe of victorie,
Anel 30 The trompes come, and in his baner large
Anel 31 The ymage of Mars, and in tokenyng of glorie
Anel 32 Men myghte sen of tresour many a charge,
Anel 33 Many a bright helm, and many a spere and targe,
Anel 34 Many a fresh knyght, and many a blysful route,
Anel 35 On hors, on fote, in al the feld aboute.
Anel 36 Ipolita his wif, the hardy quene
Anel 37 Of Cithia, that he conquered hadde,
Anel 38 With Emelye her yonge suster shene,
Anel 39 Faire in a char of gold he with him ladde,
Anel 40 That al the ground about her char she spradde
Anel 41 With brightnesse of the beaute in her face,
Anel 42 Fulfilled of largesse and of alle grace.
Anel 43 With his tryumphe and laurer-corouned thus,
Anel 44 In al the flour of Fortunes yevynge,
Anel 45 Let I this noble prince Theseus
Anel 46 Toward Athenes in his wey rydinge,
Anel 47 And founde I wol in shortly for to bringe
Anel 48 The slye wey of that I gan to write,
Anel 49 Of quene Anelida and fals Arcite.
Anel 50 Mars, which that through his furious cours of ire,
Anel 51 The olde wrathe of Juno to fulfille,
Anel 52 Hath set the peples hertes bothe on fire
Anel 53 Of Thebes and Grece, everich other to kille
Anel 54 With blody speres, ne rested never stille,
Anel 55 But throng now her, now ther, among hem bothe,
Anel 56 That everych other slough, so were they wrothe.
Anel 57 For when Amphiorax and Tydeus,
Anel 58 Ipomedon, Parthonope also
Anel 59 Were ded, and slayn proude Campaneus,
Anel 60 And when the wrecched Thebans, bretheren two,
Anel 61 Were slayn, and kyng Adrastus hom ago,
Anel 62 So desolat stod Thebes and so bare
Anel 63 That no wight coude remedie of his fare.
Anel 64 And when the olde Creon gan espye
Anel 65 How that the blood roial was broght a-doun,
Anel 66 He held the cite by his tyrannye
Anel 67 And dyde the gentils of that regioun
Anel 68 To ben his frendes and wonnen in the toun.
Anel 69 So, what for love of him and what for awe,
Anel 70 The noble folk were to the toun idrawe.
Anel 71 Among al these Anelida, the quene
Anel 72 Of Ermony, was in that toun dwellynge,
Anel 73 That fairer was then is the sonne shene.
Anel 74 Thurghout the world so gan her name springe
Anel 75 That her to seen had every wyght likynge,
Anel 76 For, as of trouthe, is ther noon her lyche
Anel 77 Of al the women in this worlde riche.
Anel 78 Yong was this quene, of twenty yer of elde,
Anel 79 Of mydel stature, and of such fairenesse
Anel 80 That Nature had a joye her to behelde;
Anel 81 And for to speken of her stidfastnesse,
Anel 82 She passed hath Penelope and Lucresse;
Anel 83 And shortly, yf she shal be comprehended,
Anel 84 In her ne myghte no thing been amended.
Anel 85 This Theban knyght Arcite eke, soth to seyn,
Anel 86 Was yong and therwithal a lusty knyght,
Anel 87 But he was double in love and no thing pleyn,
Anel 88 And subtil in that craft over any wyght,
Anel 89 And with his kunnyng wan this lady bryght;
Anel 90 For so ferforth he gan her trouthe assure
Anel 91 That she him trusted over any creature.
Anel 92 What shuld I seyn? She loved Arcite so
Anel 93 That when that he was absent any throwe,
Anel 94 Anon her thoghte her herte brast a-two;
Anel 95 For in her sight to her he bar hym lowe,
Anel 96 So that she wende have al his hert yknowe;
Anel 97 But he was fals; hit nas but feyned chere —
Anel 98 As nedeth not to men such craft to lere.
Anel 99 But nevertheles ful mykel besynesse
Anel 100 Had he er that he myghte his lady wynne,
Anel 101 And swor he wolde dyen for distresse
Anel 102 Or from his wit he seyde he wolde twynne.
Anel 103 Alas, the while! For hit was routhe and synne
Anel 104 That she upon his sorowes wolde rewe;
Anel 105 But nothing thinketh the fals as doth the trewe.
Anel 106 Her fredom fond Arcite in such manere
Anel 107 That al was his that she hath, moche or lyte;
Anel 108 Ne to no creature made she chere
Anel 109 Ferther then that hit lyked to Arcite.
Anel 110 Ther nas no lak with which he myghte her wite;
Anel 111 She was so ferforth yeven hym to plese
Anel 112 That al that lyked hym hit dyde her ese.
Anel 113 Ther nas to her no maner lettre sent
Anel 114 That touched love, from any maner wyght,
Anel 115 That she ne shewed hit him er hit was brent;
Anel 116 So pleyn she was and dide her fulle myght
Anel 117 That she nyl hiden nothing from her knyght,
Anel 118 Lest he of any untrouthe her upbreyde.
Anel 119 Withoute bode his heste she obeyde.
Anel 120 And eke he made him jelous over here,
Anel 121 That what that any man had to her seyd
Anel 122 Anoon he wolde preyen her to swere
Anel 123 What was that word or make him evel apaid.
Anel 124 Then wende she out of her wyt have breyd;
Anel 125 But al this nas but sleght and flaterie;
Anel 126 Withoute love he feyned jelousye.
Anel 127 And al this tok she so debonerly
Anel 128 That al his wil her thoghte hit skilful thing,
Anel 129 And ever the lenger she loved him tendirly
Anel 130 And dide him honour as he were a kyng.
Anel 131 Her herte was to him wedded with a ring;
Anel 132 So ferforth upon trouthe is her entente
Anel 133 That wher he gooth her herte with him wente.
Anel 134 When she shal ete, on him is so her thoght
Anel 135 That wel unnethe of mete tok she kep;
Anel 136 And when that she was to her reste broght,
Anel 137 On him she thoghte alwey til that she slep;
Anel 138 When he was absent, prevely she wep:
Anel 139 Thus lyveth feire Anelida the quene
Anel 140 For fals Arcite, that dide her al this tene.
Anel 141 This fals Arcite, of his newfanglenesse,
Anel 142 For she to him so lowly was and trewe,
Anel 143 Tok lesse deynte of her stidfastnesse
Anel 144 And saw another lady, proud and newe,
Anel 145 And ryght anon he cladde him in her hewe —
Anel 146 Wot I not whethir in white, rede, or grene —
Anel 147 And falsed fair Anelida the quene.
Anel 148 But neverthelesse, gret wonder was hit noon
Anel 149 Thogh he were fals, for hit is kynde of man
Anel 150 Sith Lamek was, that is so longe agoon,
Anel 151 To ben in love as fals as evere he can;
Anel 152 He was the firste fader that began
Anel 153 To loven two, and was in bigamye,
Anel 154 And he found tentes first, but yf men lye.
Anel 155 This fals Arcite, sumwhat moste he feyne,
Anel 156 When he wex fals, to covere his traitorie,
Anel 157 Ryght as an hors that can both bite and pleyne,
Anel 158 For he bar her on honde of trecherie,
Anel 159 And swor he coude her doublenesse espie,
Anel 160 And al was falsnes that she to him mente.
Anel 161 Thus swor this thef, and forth his way he wente.
Anel 162 Alas, what herte myght enduren hit,
Anel 163 For routhe and wo, her sorwe for to telle?
Anel 164 Or what man hath the cunnyng or the wit?
Anel 165 Or what man mighte within the chambre dwelle,
Anel 166 Yf I to him rehersen sholde the helle
Anel 167 That suffreth fair Anelida the quene
Anel 168 For fals Arcite, that dide her al this tene.
Anel 169 She wepith, waileth, swowneth pitously;
Anel 170 To grounde ded she falleth as a ston;
Anel 171 Craumpyssheth her lymes crokedly;
Anel 172 She speketh as her wit were al agon;
Anel 173 Other colour then asshen hath she noon;
Anel 174 Non other word speketh she, moche or lyte,
Anel 175 But ‘Merci, cruel herte myn, Arcite!’
Anel 176 And thus endureth til that she was so mat
Anel 177 That she ne hath foot on which she may sustene,
Anel 178 But forth languisshing evere in this estat,
Anel 179 Of which Arcite hath nouther routhe ne tene.
Anel 180 His herte was elleswhere, newe and grene,
Anel 181 That on her wo ne deyneth him not to thinke;
Anel 182 Him rekketh never wher she flete or synke.
Anel 183 His newe lady holdeth him so narowe
Anel 184 Up by the bridil, at the staves ende,
Anel 185 That every word he dredeth as an arowe;
Anel 186 Her daunger made him bothe bowe and bende,
Anel 187 And as her liste, made him turne or wende,
Anel 188 For she ne graunted him in her lyvynge
Anel 189 No grace whi that he hath lust to singe,
Anel 190 But drof hym forth. Unnethe liste her knowe
Anel 191 That he was servaunt unto her ladishippe;
Anel 192 But lest that he were proud, she held him lowe.
Anel 193 Thus serveth he withoute fee or shipe;
Anel 194 She sent him now to londe, now to shippe;
Anel 195 And for she yaf him daunger al his fille,
Anel 196 Therfor she hadde him at her owne wille.
Anel 197 Ensample of this, ye thrifty wymmen alle,
Anel 198 Take her of Anelida and Arcite,
Anel 199 That for her liste him ‘dere herte’ calle
Anel 200 And was so meke, therfor he loved her lyte.
Anel 201 The kynde of mannes herte is to delyte
Anel 202 In thing that straunge is, also God me save!
Anel 203 For what he may not gete, that wolde he have.
Anel 204 Now turne we to Anelida ageyn,
Anel 205 That pyneth day be day in langwisshinge,
Anel 206 But when she saw that her ne gat no geyn,
Anel 207 Upon a day, ful sorowfully wepinge,
Anel 208 She caste her for to make a compleynynge,
Anel 209 And of her owne hond she gan hit write,
Anel 210 And sente hit to her Theban knyght, Arcite.
Anel 211 So thirleth with the poynt of remembraunce
Anel 212 The swerd of sorowe, ywhet with fals plesaunce,
Anel 213 Myn herte, bare of blis and blak of hewe,
Anel 214 That turned is in quakyng al my daunce,
Anel 215 My surete in awhaped countenaunce,
Anel 216 Sith hit availeth not for to ben trewe;
Anel 217 For whoso trewest is, hit shal hir rewe
Anel 218 That serveth love and doth her observaunce
Anel 219 Alwey til oon, and chaungeth for no newe.
Anel 220 I wot myself as wel as any wight,
Anel 221 For I loved oon with al myn herte and myght,
Anel 222 More then myself an hundred thousand sithe,
Anel 223 And called him myn hertes lif, my knyght,
Anel 224 And was al his, as fer as hit was ryght;
Anel 225 And when that he was glad, then was I blithe,
Anel 226 And his disese was my deth as swithe;
Anel 227 And he ayein his trouthe hath me plyght
Anel 228 For evermore, his lady me to kythe.
Anel 229 Now is he fals, alas, and causeles,
Anel 230 And of my wo he is so routheles
Anel 231 That with a word him list not ones deyne
Anel 232 To bringe ayen my sorowful herte in pes,
Anel 233 For he is caught up in another les.
Anel 234 Ryght as him list, he laugheth at my peyne,
Anel 235 And I ne can myn herte not restreyne
Anel 236 For to love him alwey neveretheles;
Anel 237 And of al this I not to whom me pleyne.
Anel 238 And shal I pleyne — alas, the harde stounde! —
Anel 239 Unto my foo that yaf myn herte a wounde
Anel 240 And yet desireth that myn harm be more?
Anel 241 Nay, certis, ferther wol I never founde
Anel 242 Non other helpe, my sores for to sounde.
Anel 243 My destinee hath shapen hit so ful yore;
Anel 244 I wil non other medecyne ne lore;
Anel 245 I wil ben ay ther I was ones bounde.
Anel 246 That I have seid, be seid for evermore!
Anel 247 Alas! Wher is become your gentilesse,
Anel 248 Youre wordes ful of plesaunce and humblesse,
Anel 249 Youre observaunces in so low manere,
Anel 250 And your awayting and your besynesse
Anel 251 Upon me, that ye calden your maistresse,
Anel 252 Your sovereyne lady in this world here?
Anel 253 Alas! Is ther now nother word ne chere
Anel 254 Ye vouchen sauf upon myn hevynesse?
Anel 255 Alas! Youre love, I bye hit al to dere.
Anel 256 Now, certis, swete, thogh that ye
Anel 257 Thus causeles the cause be
Anel 258 Of my dedly adversyte,
Anel 259 Your manly resoun oghte hit to respite
Anel 260 To slen your frend, and namely me,
Anel 261 That never yet in no degre
Anel 262 Offended yow, as wisly He
Anel 263 That al wot, out of wo my soule quyte!
Anel 264 But for I shewed yow, Arcite,
Anel 265 Al that men wolde to me write,
Anel 266 And was so besy yow to delyte —
Anel 267 Myn honor save — meke, kynde, and fre,
Anel 268 Therfor ye put on me this wite,
Anel 269 And of me rekke not a myte,
Anel 270 Thogh that the swerd of sorwe byte
Anel 271 My woful herte through your cruelte.
Anel 272 My swete foo, why do ye so, for shame?
Anel 273 And thenke ye that furthered be your name
Anel 274 To love a newe, and ben untrewe? Nay!
Anel 275 And putte yow in sclaunder now and blame,
Anel 276 And do to me adversite and grame,
Anel 277 That love yow most — God, wel thou wost — alway?
Anel 278 Yet come ayein, and yet be pleyn som day,
Anel 279 And than shal this, that now is mys, be game,
Anel 280 And al foryive, while that I lyve may.
Anel 281 Lo, herte myn, al this is for to seyne
Anel 282 As whether shal I preye or elles pleyne?
Anel 283 Which is the wey to doon yow to be trewe?
Anel 284 For either mot I have yow in my cheyne
Anel 285 Or with the deth ye mote departe us tweyne;
Anel 286 Ther ben non other mene weyes newe.
Anel 287 For God so wisly upon my soule rewe,
Anel 288 As verrayly ye sleen me with the peyne;
Anel 289 That may ye se unfeyned of myn hewe.
Anel 290 For thus ferforth have I my deth y-soght?
Anel 291 Myself I mordre with my privy thoght;
Anel 292 For sorowe and routhe of your unkyndenesse
Anel 293 I wepe, I wake, I faste; al helpeth noght;
Anel 294 I weyve joye that is to speke of oght,
Anel 295 I voyde companye, I fle gladnesse.
Anel 296 Who may avaunte her beter of hevynesse
Anel 297 Then I? And to this plyte have ye me broght,
Anel 298 Withoute gilt — me nedeth no witnesse.
Anel 299 And shal I preye, and weyve womanhede? —
Anel 300 Nay! Rather deth then do so foul a dede! —
Anel 301 And axe merci, gilteles — what nede?
Anel 302 And yf I pleyne what lyf that I lede,
Anel 303 Yow rekketh not; that knowe I, out of drede;
Anel 304 And if that I to yow myne othes bede
Anel 305 For myn excuse, a skorn shal be my mede.
Anel 306 Your chere floureth, but it wol not sede;
Anel 307 Ful longe agoon I oghte have taken hede.
Anel 308 For thogh I hadde yow to-morowe ageyn,
Anel 309 I myghte as wel holde Aperill fro reyn
Anel 310 As holde yow, to make yow be stidfast.
Anel 311 Almyghty God, of trouthe sovereyn,
Anel 312 Wher is the trouthe of man? Who hath hit slayn?
Anel 313 Who that hem loveth, she shal hem fynde as fast
Anel 314 As in a tempest is a roten mast.
Anel 315 Is that a tame best that is ay feyn
Anel 316 To fleen away when he is lest agast?
Anel 317 Now merci, swete, yf I mysseye!
Anel 318 Have I seyd oght amys, I preye?
Anel 319 I noot; my wit is al aweye.
Anel 320 I fare as doth the song of Chaunte-pleure;
Anel 321 For now I pleyne, and now I pleye;
Anel 322 I am so mased that I deye;
Anel 323 Arcite hath born awey the keye
Anel 324 Of al my world, and my good aventure.
Anel 325 For in this world nis creature
Anel 326 Wakynge in more discomfiture
Anel 327 Then I, ne more sorowe endure.
Anel 328 And yf I slepe a furlong wey or tweye,
Anel 329 Then thynketh me that your figure
Anel 330 Before me stont, clad in asure,
Anel 331 To profren eft and newe assure
Anel 332 For to be trewe, and merci me to preye.
Anel 333 The longe nyght this wonder sight I drye,
Anel 334 And on the day for thilke afray I dye,
Anel 335 And of al this ryght noght, iwis, ye reche.
Anel 336 Ne nevere mo myn yen two be drie,
Anel 337 And to your routhe, and to your trouthe, I crie.
Anel 338 But welawey! To fer be they to feche;
Anel 339 Thus holdeth me my destinee a wreche.
Anel 340 But me to rede out of this drede, or guye,
Anel 341 Ne may my wit, so weyk is hit, not streche.
Anel 342 Then ende I thus, sith I may do no more.
Anel 343 I yeve hit up for now and evermore,
Anel 344 For I shal never eft putten in balaunce
Anel 345 My sekernes, ne lerne of love the lore.
Anel 346 But as the swan, I have herd seyd ful yore,
Anel 347 Ayeins his deth shal singen his penaunce,
Anel 348 So singe I here my destinee or chaunce,
Anel 349 How that Arcite Anelida so sore
Anel 350 Hath thirled with the poynt of remembraunce.
Anel 351 When that Anelida, this woful quene,
Anel 352 Hath of her hand ywriten in this wise,
Anel 353 With face ded, betwixe pale and grene,
Anel 354 She fel a-swowe; and sith she gan to rise,
Anel 355 And unto Mars avoweth sacrifise
Anel 356 Withinne the temple, with a sorowful chere,
Anel 357 That shapen was as ye shal after here.