From The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer
KnT 859 Whilom, as olde stories tellen us,
KnT 860 Ther was a duc that highte Theseus;
KnT 861 Of Atthenes he was lord and governour,
KnT 862 And in his tyme swich a conquerour
KnT 863 That gretter was ther noon under the sonne.
KnT 864 Ful many a riche contree hadde he wonne;
KnT 865 What with his wysdom and his chivalrie,
KnT 866 He conquered al the regne of Femenye,
KnT 867 That whilom was ycleped Scithia,
KnT 868 And weddede the queene Ypolita,
KnT 869 And broghte hire hoom with hym in his contree
KnT 870 With muchel glorie and greet solempnytee,
KnT 871 And eek hir yonge suster Emelye.
KnT 872 And thus with victorie and with melodye
KnT 873 Lete I this noble duc to Atthenes ryde,
KnT 874 And al his hoost in armes hym bisyde.
KnT 875 And certes, if it nere to long to heere,
KnT 876 I wolde have toold yow fully the manere
KnT 877 How wonnen was the regne of Femenye
KnT 878 By Theseus and by his chivalrye;
KnT 879 And of the grete bataille for the nones
KnT 880 Bitwixen Atthenes and Amazones;
KnT 881 And how asseged was Ypolita,
KnT 882 The faire, hardy queene of Scithia;
KnT 883 And of the feste that was at hir weddynge,
KnT 884 And of the tempest at hir hoom-comynge;
KnT 885 But al that thyng I moot as now forbere.
KnT 886 I have, God woot, a large feeld to ere,
KnT 887 And wayke been the oxen in my plough.
KnT 888 The remenant of the tale is long ynough.
KnT 889 I wol nat letten eek noon of this route;
KnT 890 Lat every felawe telle his tale aboute,
KnT 891 And lat se now who shal the soper wynne;
KnT 892 And ther I lefte, I wol ayeyn bigynne.
KnT 893 This duc, of whom I make mencioun,
KnT 894 Whan he was come almoost unto the toun,
KnT 895 In al his wele and in his mooste pride,
KnT 896 He was war, as he caste his eye aside,
KnT 897 Where that ther kneled in the heighe weye
KnT 898 A compaignye of ladyes, tweye and tweye,
KnT 899 Ech after oother clad in clothes blake;
KnT 900 But swich a cry and swich a wo they make
KnT 901 That in this world nys creature lyvynge
KnT 902 That herde swich another waymentynge;
KnT 903 And of this cry they nolde nevere stenten
KnT 904 Til they the reynes of his brydel henten.
KnT 905 “What folk been ye, that at myn hom-comynge
KnT 906 Perturben so my feste with criynge?”
KnT 907 Quod Theseus. “Have ye so greet envye
KnT 908 Of myn honour, that thus compleyne and crye?
KnT 909 Or who hath yow mysboden or offended?
KnT 910 And telleth me if it may been amended,
KnT 911 And why that ye been clothed thus in blak.”
KnT 912 The eldeste lady of hem alle spak,
KnT 913 Whan she hadde swowned with a deedly cheere,
KnT 914 That it was routhe for to seen and heere;
KnT 915 She seyde, “Lord, to whom Fortune hath yiven
KnT 916 Victorie, and as a conqueror to lyven,
KnT 917 Nat greveth us youre glorie and youre honour,
KnT 918 But we biseken mercy and socour.
KnT 919 Have mercy on oure wo and oure distresse!
KnT 920 Som drope of pitee, thurgh thy gentillesse,
KnT 921 Upon us wrecched wommen lat thou falle,
KnT 922 For, certes, lord, ther is noon of us alle
KnT 923 That she ne hath been a duchesse or a queene.
KnT 924 Now be we caytyves, as it is wel seene,
KnT 925 Thanked be Fortune and hire false wheel,
KnT 926 That noon estaat assureth to be weel.
KnT 927 And certes, lord, to abyden youre presence,
KnT 928 Heere in this temple of the goddesse Clemence
KnT 929 We han ben waitynge al this fourtenyght.
KnT 930 Now help us, lord, sith it is in thy myght.
KnT 931 “I, wrecche, which that wepe and wayle thus,
KnT 932 Was whilom wyf to kyng Cappaneus,
KnT 933 That starf at Thebes — cursed be that day! —
KnT 934 And alle we that been in this array
KnT 935 And maken al this lamentacioun,
KnT 936 We losten alle oure housbondes at that toun,
KnT 937 Whil that the seege theraboute lay.
KnT 938 And yet now the olde Creon — weylaway! —
KnT 939 That lord is now of Thebes the citee,
KnT 940 Fulfild of ire and of iniquitee,
KnT 941 He, for despit and for his tirannye,
KnT 942 To do the dede bodyes vileynye
KnT 943 Of alle oure lordes whiche that been yslawe,
KnT 944 Hath alle the bodyes on an heep ydrawe,
KnT 945 And wol nat suffren hem, by noon assent,
KnT 946 Neither to been yburyed nor ybrent,
KnT 947 But maketh houndes ete hem in despit.”
KnT 948 And with that word, withouten moore respit,
KnT 949 They fillen gruf and criden pitously,
KnT 950 “Have on us wrecched wommen som mercy,
KnT 951 And lat oure sorwe synken in thyn herte.”
KnT 952 This gentil duc doun from his courser sterte
KnT 953 With herte pitous, whan he herde hem speke.
KnT 954 Hym thoughte that his herte wolde breke,
KnT 955 Whan he saugh hem so pitous and so maat,
KnT 956 That whilom weren of so greet estaat;
KnT 957 And in his armes he hem alle up hente,
KnT 958 And hem conforteth in ful good entente,
KnT 959 And swoor his ooth, as he was trewe knyght,
KnT 960 He wolde doon so ferforthly his myght
KnT 961 Upon the tiraunt Creon hem to wreke
KnT 962 That al the peple of Grece sholde speke
KnT 963 How Creon was of Theseus yserved
KnT 964 As he that hadde his deeth ful wel deserved.
KnT 965 And right anoon, withouten moore abood,
KnT 966 His baner he desplayeth, and forth rood
KnT 967 To Thebes-ward, and al his hoost biside.
KnT 968 No neer Atthenes wolde he go ne ride,
KnT 969 Ne take his ese fully half a day,
KnT 970 But onward on his wey that nyght he lay,
KnT 971 And sente anon Ypolita the queene,
KnT 972 And Emelye, hir yonge suster sheene,
KnT 973 Unto the toun of Atthenes to dwelle,
KnT 974 And forth he rit; ther is namoore to telle.
KnT 975 The rede statue of Mars, with spere and targe,
KnT 976 So shyneth in his white baner large
KnT 977 That alle the feeldes glyteren up and doun;
KnT 978 And by his baner born is his penoun
KnT 979 Of gold ful riche, in which ther was ybete
KnT 980 The Mynotaur, which that he wan in Crete.
KnT 981 Thus rit this duc, thus rit this conquerour,
KnT 982 And in his hoost of chivalrie the flour,
KnT 983 Til that he cam to Thebes and alighte
KnT 984 Faire in a feeld, ther as he thoughte to fighte.
KnT 985 But shortly for to speken of this thyng,
KnT 986 With Creon, which that was of Thebes kyng,
KnT 987 He faught, and slough hym manly as a knyght
KnT 988 In pleyn bataille, and putte the folk to flyght;
KnT 989 And by assaut he wan the citee after,
KnT 990 And rente adoun bothe wall and sparre and rafter;
KnT 991 And to the ladyes he restored agayn
KnT 992 The bones of hir freendes that were slayn,
KnT 993 To doon obsequies, as was tho the gyse.
KnT 994 But it were al to longe for to devyse
KnT 995 The grete clamour and the waymentynge
KnT 996 That the ladyes made at the brennynge
KnT 997 Of the bodies, and the grete honour
KnT 998 That Theseus, the noble conquerour,
KnT 999 Dooth to the ladyes, whan they from hym wente;
KnT 1000 But shortly for to telle is myn entente.
KnT 1001 Whan that this worthy duc, this Theseus,
KnT 1002 Hath Creon slayn and wonne Thebes thus,
KnT 1003 Stille in that feeld he took al nyght his reste,
KnT 1004 And dide with al the contree as hym leste.
KnT 1005 To ransake in the taas of bodyes dede,
KnT 1006 Hem for to strepe of harneys and of wede,
KnT 1007 The pilours diden bisynesse and cure
KnT 1008 After the bataille and disconfiture.
KnT 1009 And so bifel that in the taas they founde,
KnT 1010 Thurgh-girt with many a grevous blody wounde,
KnT 1011 Two yonge knyghtes liggynge by and by,
KnT 1012 Bothe in oon armes, wroght ful richely,
KnT 1013 Of whiche two Arcita highte that oon,
KnT 1014 And that oother knyght highte Palamon.
KnT 1015 Nat fully quyke, ne fully dede they were,
KnT 1016 But by hir cote-armures and by hir gere
KnT 1017 The heraudes knewe hem best in special
KnT 1018 As they that weren of the blood roial
KnT 1019 Of Thebes, and of sustren two yborn.
KnT 1020 Out of the taas the pilours han hem torn,
KnT 1021 And han hem caried softe unto the tente
KnT 1022 Of Theseus; and he ful soone hem sente
KnT 1023 To Atthenes, to dwellen in prisoun
KnT 1024 Perpetuelly — he nolde no raunsoun.
KnT 1025 And whan this worthy duc hath thus ydon,
KnT 1026 He took his hoost, and hoom he rit anon
KnT 1027 With laurer crowned as a conquerour;
KnT 1028 And ther he lyveth in joye and in honour
KnT 1029 Terme of his lyf; what nedeth wordes mo?
KnT 1030 And in a tour, in angwissh and in wo,
KnT 1031 This Palamon and his felawe Arcite
KnT 1032 For everemoore; ther may no gold hem quite.
KnT 1033 This passeth yeer by yeer and day by day,
KnT 1034 Till it fil ones, in a morwe of May,
KnT 1035 That Emelye, that fairer was to sene
KnT 1036 Than is the lylie upon his stalke grene,
KnT 1037 And fressher than the May with floures newe —
KnT 1038 For with the rose colour stroof hire hewe,
KnT 1039 I noot which was the fyner of hem two —
KnT 1040 Er it were day, as was hir wone to do,
KnT 1041 She was arisen and al redy dight,
KnT 1042 For May wole have no slogardie anyght.
KnT 1043 The sesoun priketh every gentil herte,
KnT 1044 And maketh it out of his slep to sterte,
KnT 1045 And seith “Arys, and do thyn observaunce.”
KnT 1046 This maked Emelye have remembraunce
KnT 1047 To doon honour to May, and for to ryse.
KnT 1048 Yclothed was she fressh, for to devyse:
KnT 1049 Hir yelow heer was broyded in a tresse
KnT 1050 Bihynde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse.
KnT 1051 And in the gardyn, at the sonne upriste,
KnT 1052 She walketh up and doun, and as hire liste
KnT 1053 She gadereth floures, party white and rede,
KnT 1054 To make a subtil gerland for hire hede;
KnT 1055 And as an aungel hevenysshly she soong.
KnT 1056 The grete tour, that was so thikke and stroong,
KnT 1057 Which of the castel was the chief dongeoun
KnT 1058 (Ther as the knyghtes weren in prisoun
KnT 1059 Of which I tolde yow and tellen shal),
KnT 1060 Was evene joynant to the gardyn wal
KnT 1061 Ther as this Emelye hadde hir pleyynge.
KnT 1062 Bright was the sonne and cleer that morwenynge,
KnT 1063 And Palamoun, this woful prisoner,
KnT 1064 As was his wone, by leve of his gayler,
KnT 1065 Was risen and romed in a chambre an heigh,
KnT 1066 In which he al the noble citee seigh,
KnT 1067 And eek the gardyn, ful of braunches grene,
KnT 1068 Ther as this fresshe Emelye the shene
KnT 1069 Was in hire walk, and romed up and doun.
KnT 1070 This sorweful prisoner, this Palamoun,
KnT 1071 Goth in the chambre romynge to and fro
KnT 1072 And to hymself compleynynge of his wo.
KnT 1073 That he was born, ful ofte he seyde, “allas!”
KnT 1074 And so bifel, by aventure or cas,
KnT 1075 That thurgh a wyndow, thikke of many a barre
KnT 1076 Of iren greet and square as any sparre,
KnT 1077 He cast his eye upon Emelya,
KnT 1078 And therwithal he bleynte and cride, “A!”
KnT 1079 As though he stongen were unto the herte.
KnT 1080 And with that cry Arcite anon up sterte
KnT 1081 And seyde, “Cosyn myn, what eyleth thee,
KnT 1082 That art so pale and deedly on to see?
KnT 1083 Why cridestow? Who hath thee doon offence?
KnT 1084 For Goddes love, taak al in pacience
KnT 1085 Oure prisoun, for it may noon oother be.
KnT 1086 Fortune hath yeven us this adversitee.
KnT 1087 Som wikke aspect or disposicioun
KnT 1088 Of Saturne, by som constellacioun,
KnT 1089 Hath yeven us this, although we hadde it sworn;
KnT 1090 So stood the hevene whan that we were born.
KnT 1091 We moste endure it; this is the short and playn.”
KnT 1092 This Palamon answerde and seyde agayn,
KnT 1093 “Cosyn, for sothe, of this opinioun
KnT 1094 Thow hast a veyn ymaginacioun.
KnT 1095 This prison caused me nat for to crye,
KnT 1096 But I was hurt right now thurghout myn ye
KnT 1097 Into myn herte, that wol my bane be.
KnT 1098 The fairnesse of that lady that I see
KnT 1099 Yond in the gardyn romen to and fro
KnT 1100 Is cause of al my criyng and my wo.
KnT 1101 I noot wher she be womman or goddesse,
KnT 1102 But Venus is it soothly, as I gesse.”
KnT 1103 And therwithal on knees doun he fil,
KnT 1104 And seyde, “Venus, if it be thy wil
KnT 1105 Yow in this gardyn thus to transfigure
KnT 1106 Bifore me, sorweful, wrecched creature,
KnT 1107 Out of this prisoun help that we may scapen.
KnT 1108 And if so be my destynee be shapen
KnT 1109 By eterne word to dyen in prisoun,
KnT 1110 Of oure lynage have som compassioun,
KnT 1111 That is so lowe ybroght by tirannye.”
KnT 1112 And with that word Arcite gan espye
KnT 1113 Wher as this lady romed to and fro,
KnT 1114 And with that sighte hir beautee hurte hym so,
KnT 1115 That, if that Palamon was wounded sore,
KnT 1116 Arcite is hurt as muche as he, or moore.
KnT 1117 And with a sigh he seyde pitously,
KnT 1118 “The fresshe beautee sleeth me sodeynly
KnT 1119 Of hire that rometh in the yonder place;
KnT 1120 And but I have hir mercy and hir grace,
KnT 1121 That I may seen hire atte leeste weye,
KnT 1122 I nam but deed; ther nis namoore to seye.”
KnT 1123 This Palamon, whan he tho wordes herde,
KnT 1124 Dispitously he looked and answerde,
KnT 1125 “Wheither seistow this in ernest or in pley?”
KnT 1126 “Nay,” quod Arcite, “in ernest, by my fey!
KnT 1127 God helpe me so, me list ful yvele pleye.”
KnT 1128 This Palamon gan knytte his browes tweye.
KnT 1129 “It nere,” quod he, “to thee no greet honour
KnT 1130 For to be fals, ne for to be traitour
KnT 1131 To me, that am thy cosyn and thy brother
KnT 1132 Ysworn ful depe, and ech of us til oother,
KnT 1133 That nevere, for to dyen in the peyne,
KnT 1134 Til that the deeth departe shal us tweyne,
KnT 1135 Neither of us in love to hyndre oother,
KnT 1136 Ne in noon oother cas, my leeve brother,
KnT 1137 But that thou sholdest trewely forthren me
KnT 1138 In every cas, as I shal forthren thee —
KnT 1139 This was thyn ooth, and myn also, certeyn;
KnT 1140 I woot right wel, thou darst it nat withseyn.
KnT 1141 Thus artow of my conseil, out of doute,
KnT 1142 And now thow woldest falsly been aboute
KnT 1143 To love my lady, whom I love and serve,
KnT 1144 And evere shal til that myn herte sterve.
KnT 1145 Nay, certes, false Arcite, thow shalt nat so.
KnT 1146 I loved hire first, and tolde thee my wo
KnT 1147 As to my conseil and my brother sworn
KnT 1148 To forthre me, as I have toold biforn.
KnT 1149 For which thou art ybounden as a knyght
KnT 1150 To helpen me, if it lay in thy myght,
KnT 1151 Or elles artow fals, I dar wel seyn.”
KnT 1152 This Arcite ful proudly spak ageyn:
KnT 1153 “Thow shalt,” quod he, “be rather fals than I;
KnT 1154 And thou art fals, I telle thee outrely,
KnT 1155 For paramour I loved hire first er thow.
KnT 1156 What wiltow seyen? Thou woost nat yet now
KnT 1157 Wheither she be a womman or goddesse!
KnT 1158 Thyn is affeccioun of hoolynesse,
KnT 1159 And myn is love as to a creature;
KnT 1160 For which I tolde thee myn aventure
KnT 1161 As to my cosyn and my brother sworn.
KnT 1162 I pose that thow lovedest hire biforn;
KnT 1163 Wostow nat wel the olde clerkes sawe,
KnT 1164 That `who shal yeve a lovere any lawe?’
KnT 1165 Love is a gretter lawe, by my pan,
KnT 1166 Than may be yeve to any erthely man;
KnT 1167 And therfore positif lawe and swich decree
KnT 1168 Is broken al day for love in ech degree.
KnT 1169 A man moot nedes love, maugree his heed;
KnT 1170 He may nat fleen it, thogh he sholde be deed,
KnT 1171 Al be she mayde, or wydwe, or elles wyf.
KnT 1172 And eek it is nat likly al thy lyf
KnT 1173 To stonden in hir grace; namoore shal I;
KnT 1174 For wel thou woost thyselven, verraily,
KnT 1175 That thou and I be dampned to prisoun
KnT 1176 Perpetuelly; us gayneth no raunsoun.
KnT 1177 We stryve as dide the houndes for the boon;
KnT 1178 They foughte al day, and yet hir part was noon.
KnT 1179 Ther cam a kyte, whil that they were so wrothe,
KnT 1180 And baar awey the boon bitwixe hem bothe.
KnT 1181 And therfore, at the kynges court, my brother,
KnT 1182 Ech man for hymself, ther is noon oother.
KnT 1183 Love, if thee list, for I love and ay shal;
KnT 1184 And soothly, leeve brother, this is al.
KnT 1185 Heere in this prisoun moote we endure,
KnT 1186 And everich of us take his aventure.”
KnT 1187 Greet was the strif and long bitwix hem tweye,
KnT 1188 If that I hadde leyser for to seye;
KnT 1189 But to th’ effect. It happed on a day,
KnT 1190 To telle it yow as shortly as I may,
KnT 1191 A worthy duc that highte Perotheus,
KnT 1192 That felawe was unto duc Theseus
KnT 1193 Syn thilke day that they were children lite,
KnT 1194 Was come to Atthenes his felawe to visite,
KnT 1195 And for to pleye as he was wont to do;
KnT 1196 For in this world he loved no man so,
KnT 1197 And he loved hym als tendrely agayn.
KnT 1198 So wel they lovede, as olde bookes sayn,
KnT 1199 That whan that oon was deed, soothly to telle,
KnT 1200 His felawe wente and soughte hym doun in helle —
KnT 1201 But of that storie list me nat to write.
KnT 1202 Duc Perotheus loved wel Arcite,
KnT 1203 And hadde hym knowe at Thebes yeer by yere,
KnT 1204 And finally at requeste and preyere
KnT 1205 Of Perotheus, withouten any raunsoun,
KnT 1206 Duc Theseus hym leet out of prisoun
KnT 1207 Frely to goon wher that hym liste over al,
KnT 1208 In swich a gyse as I you tellen shal.
KnT 1209 This was the forward, pleynly for t’ endite,
KnT 1210 Bitwixen Theseus and hym Arcite:
KnT 1211 That if so were that Arcite were yfounde
KnT 1212 Evere in his lif, by day or nyght, oo stounde
KnT 1213 In any contree of this Theseus,
KnT 1214 And he were caught, it was acorded thus,
KnT 1215 That with a swerd he sholde lese his heed.
KnT 1216 Ther nas noon oother remedie ne reed;
KnT 1217 But taketh his leve, and homward he him spedde.
KnT 1218 Lat hym be war! His nekke lith to wedde.
KnT 1219 How greet a sorwe suffreth now Arcite!
KnT 1220 The deeth he feeleth thurgh his herte smyte;
KnT 1221 He wepeth, wayleth, crieth pitously;
KnT 1222 To sleen hymself he waiteth prively.
KnT 1223 He seyde, “Allas that day that I was born!
KnT 1224 Now is my prisoun worse than biforn;
KnT 1225 Now is me shape eternally to dwelle
KnT 1226 Noght in purgatorie, but in helle.
KnT 1227 Allas, that evere knew I Perotheus!
KnT 1228 For elles hadde I dwelled with Theseus,
KnT 1229 Yfetered in his prisoun everemo.
KnT 1230 Thanne hadde I been in blisse and nat in wo.
KnT 1231 Oonly the sighte of hire whom that I serve,
KnT 1232 Though that I nevere hir grace may deserve,
KnT 1233 Wolde han suffised right ynough for me.
KnT 1234 O deere cosyn Palamon,” quod he,
KnT 1235 “Thyn is the victorie of this aventure.
KnT 1236 Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure —
KnT 1237 In prison? Certes nay, but in paradys!
KnT 1238 Wel hath Fortune yturned thee the dys,
KnT 1239 That hast the sighte of hire, and I th’ absence.
KnT 1240 For possible is, syn thou hast hire presence,
KnT 1241 And art a knyght, a worthy and an able,
KnT 1242 That by som cas, syn Fortune is chaungeable,
KnT 1243 Thow maist to thy desir somtyme atteyne.
KnT 1244 But I, that am exiled and bareyne
KnT 1245 Of alle grace, and in so greet dispeir
KnT 1246 That ther nys erthe, water, fir, ne eir,
KnT 1247 Ne creature that of hem maked is,
KnT 1248 That may me helpe or doon confort in this,
KnT 1249 Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse.
KnT 1250 Farwel my lif, my lust, and my gladnesse!
KnT 1251 “Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune
KnT 1252 On purveiaunce of God, or of Fortune,
KnT 1253 That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse
KnT 1254 Wel bettre than they kan hemself devyse?
KnT 1255 Som man desireth for to han richesse,
KnT 1256 That cause is of his mordre or greet siknesse;
KnT 1257 And som man wolde out of his prisoun fayn,
KnT 1258 That in his hous is of his meynee slayn.
KnT 1259 Infinite harmes been in this mateere.
KnT 1260 We witen nat what thing we preyen heere;
KnT 1261 We faren as he that dronke is as a mous.
KnT 1262 A dronke man woot wel he hath an hous,
KnT 1263 But he noot which the righte wey is thider,
KnT 1264 And to a dronke man the wey is slider.
KnT 1265 And certes, in this world so faren we;
KnT 1266 We seken faste after felicitee,
KnT 1267 But we goon wrong ful often, trewely.
KnT 1268 Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I,
KnT 1269 That wende and hadde a greet opinioun
KnT 1270 That if I myghte escapen from prisoun,
KnT 1271 Thanne hadde I been in joye and parfit heele,
KnT 1272 Ther now I am exiled fro my wele.
KnT 1273 Syn that I may nat seen you, Emelye,
KnT 1274 I nam but deed; ther nys no remedye.”
KnT 1275 Upon that oother syde Palamon,
KnT 1276 Whan that he wiste Arcite was agon,
KnT 1277 Swich sorwe he maketh that the grete tour
KnT 1278 Resouneth of his youlyng and clamour.
KnT 1279 The pure fettres on his shynes grete
KnT 1280 Weren of his bittre, salte teeres wete.
KnT 1281 “Allas,” quod he, “Arcita, cosyn myn,
KnT 1282 Of al oure strif, God woot, the fruyt is thyn.
KnT 1283 Thow walkest now in Thebes at thy large,
KnT 1284 And of my wo thow yevest litel charge.
KnT 1285 Thou mayst, syn thou hast wisdom and manhede,
KnT 1286 Assemblen alle the folk of oure kynrede,
KnT 1287 And make a werre so sharp on this citee
KnT 1288 That by som aventure or some tretee
KnT 1289 Thow mayst have hire to lady and to wyf
KnT 1290 For whom that I moste nedes lese my lyf.
KnT 1291 For, as by wey of possibilitee,
KnT 1292 Sith thou art at thy large, of prisoun free,
KnT 1293 And art a lord, greet is thyn avauntage
KnT 1294 Moore than is myn, that sterve here in a cage.
KnT 1295 For I moot wepe and wayle, whil I lyve,
KnT 1296 With al the wo that prison may me yive,
KnT 1297 And eek with peyne that love me yeveth also,
KnT 1298 That doubleth al my torment and my wo.”
KnT 1299 Therwith the fyr of jalousie up sterte
KnT 1300 Withinne his brest, and hente him by the herte
KnT 1301 So woodly that he lyk was to biholde
KnT 1302 The boxtree or the asshen dede and colde.
KnT 1303 Thanne seyde he, “O crueel goddes that governe
KnT 1304 This world with byndyng of youre word eterne,
KnT 1305 And writen in the table of atthamaunt
KnT 1306 Youre parlement and youre eterne graunt,
KnT 1307 What is mankynde moore unto you holde
KnT 1308 Than is the sheep that rouketh in the folde?
KnT 1309 For slayn is man right as another beest,
KnT 1310 And dwelleth eek in prison and arreest,
KnT 1311 And hath siknesse and greet adversitee,
KnT 1312 And ofte tymes giltelees, pardee.
KnT 1313 “What governance is in this prescience,
KnT 1314 That giltelees tormenteth innocence?
KnT 1315 And yet encresseth this al my penaunce,
KnT 1316 That man is bounden to his observaunce,
KnT 1317 For Goddes sake, to letten of his wille,
KnT 1318 Ther as a beest may al his lust fulfille.
KnT 1319 And whan a beest is deed he hath no peyne;
KnT 1320 But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne,
KnT 1321 Though in this world he have care and wo.
KnT 1322 Withouten doute it may stonden so.
KnT 1323 The answere of this lete I to dyvynys,
KnT 1324 But wel I woot that in this world greet pyne ys.
KnT 1325 Allas, I se a serpent or a theef,
KnT 1326 That many a trewe man hath doon mescheef,
KnT 1327 Goon at his large, and where hym list may turne.
KnT 1328 But I moot been in prisoun thurgh Saturne,
KnT 1329 And eek thurgh Juno, jalous and eek wood,
KnT 1330 That hath destroyed wel ny al the blood
KnT 1331 Of Thebes with his waste walles wyde;
KnT 1332 And Venus sleeth me on that oother syde
KnT 1333 For jalousie and fere of hym Arcite.”
KnT 1334 Now wol I stynte of Palamon a lite,
KnT 1335 And lete hym in his prisoun stille dwelle,
KnT 1336 And of Arcita forth I wol yow telle.
KnT 1337 The somer passeth, and the nyghtes longe
KnT 1338 Encressen double wise the peynes stronge
KnT 1339 Bothe of the lovere and the prisoner.
KnT 1340 I noot which hath the wofuller mester.
KnT 1341 For, shortly for to seyn, this Palamoun
KnT 1342 Perpetuelly is dampned to prisoun,
KnT 1343 In cheynes and in fettres to been deed;
KnT 1344 And Arcite is exiled upon his heed
KnT 1345 For everemo, as out of that contree,
KnT 1346 Ne nevere mo ne shal his lady see.
KnT 1347 Yow loveres axe I now this questioun:
KnT 1348 Who hath the worse, Arcite or Palamoun?
KnT 1349 That oon may seen his lady day by day,
KnT 1350 But in prison he moot dwelle alway;
KnT 1351 That oother wher hym list may ride or go,
KnT 1352 But seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
KnT 1353 Now demeth as yow liste, ye that kan,
KnT 1354 For I wol telle forth as I bigan.
KnT 1355 Whan that Arcite to Thebes comen was,
KnT 1356 Ful ofte a day he swelte and seyde “Allas!”
KnT 1357 For seen his lady shal he nevere mo.
KnT 1358 And shortly to concluden al his wo,
KnT 1359 So muche sorwe hadde nevere creature
KnT 1360 That is, or shal, whil that the world may dure.
KnT 1361 His slep, his mete, his drynke, is hym biraft,
KnT 1362 That lene he wex and drye as is a shaft;
KnT 1363 His eyen holwe and grisly to biholde,
KnT 1364 His hewe falow and pale as asshen colde,
KnT 1365 And solitarie he was and evere allone,
KnT 1366 And waillynge al the nyght, makynge his mone;
KnT 1367 And if he herde song or instrument,
KnT 1368 Thanne wolde he wepe, he myghte nat be stent.
KnT 1369 So feble eek were his spiritz, and so lowe,
KnT 1370 And chaunged so, that no man koude knowe
KnT 1371 His speche nor his voys, though men it herde.
KnT 1372 And in his geere for al the world he ferde
KnT 1373 Nat oonly lik the loveris maladye
KnT 1374 Of Hereos, but rather lyk manye,
KnT 1375 Engendred of humour malencolik
KnT 1376 Biforen, in his celle fantastik.
KnT 1377 And shortly, turned was al up so doun
KnT 1378 Bothe habit and eek disposicioun
KnT 1379 Of hym, this woful lovere daun Arcite.
KnT 1380 What sholde I al day of his wo endite?
KnT 1381 Whan he endured hadde a yeer or two
KnT 1382 This crueel torment and this peyne and wo,
KnT 1383 At Thebes, in his contree, as I seyde,
KnT 1384 Upon a nyght in sleep as he hym leyde,
KnT 1385 Hym thoughte how that the wynged god Mercurie
KnT 1386 Biforn hym stood and bad hym to be murie.
KnT 1387 His slepy yerde in hond he bar uprighte;
KnT 1388 An hat he werede upon his heris brighte.
KnT 1389 Arrayed was this god, as he took keep,
KnT 1390 As he was whan that Argus took his sleep;
KnT 1391 And seyde hym thus: “To Atthenes shaltou wende,
KnT 1392 Ther is thee shapen of thy wo an ende.”
KnT 1393 And with that word Arcite wook and sterte.
KnT 1394 “Now trewely, hou soore that me smerte,”
KnT 1395 Quod he, “to Atthenes right now wol I fare,
KnT 1396 Ne for the drede of deeth shal I nat spare
KnT 1397 To se my lady, that I love and serve.
KnT 1398 In hire presence I recche nat to sterve.”
KnT 1399 And with that word he caughte a greet mirour,
KnT 1400 And saugh that chaunged was al his colour,
KnT 1401 And saugh his visage al in another kynde.
KnT 1402 And right anon it ran hym in his mynde,
KnT 1403 That, sith his face was so disfigured
KnT 1404 Of maladye the which he hadde endured,
KnT 1405 He myghte wel, if that he bar hym lowe,
KnT 1406 Lyve in Atthenes everemoore unknowe,
KnT 1407 And seen his lady wel ny day by day.
KnT 1408 And right anon he chaunged his array,
KnT 1409 And cladde hym as a povre laborer,
KnT 1410 And al allone, save oonly a squier
KnT 1411 That knew his privetee and al his cas,
KnT 1412 Which was disgised povrely as he was,
KnT 1413 To Atthenes is he goon the nexte way.
KnT 1414 And to the court he wente upon a day,
KnT 1415 And at the gate he profreth his servyse
KnT 1416 To drugge and drawe, what so men wol devyse.
KnT 1417 And shortly of this matere for to seyn,
KnT 1418 He fil in office with a chamberleyn
KnT 1419 The which that dwellynge was with Emelye,
KnT 1420 For he was wys and koude soone espye,
KnT 1421 Of every servaunt, which that serveth here.
KnT 1422 Wel koude he hewen wode, and water bere,
KnT 1423 For he was yong and myghty for the nones,
KnT 1424 And therto he was long and big of bones
KnT 1425 To doon that any wight kan hym devyse.
KnT 1426 A yeer or two he was in this servyse,
KnT 1427 Page of the chambre of Emelye the brighte,
KnT 1428 And Philostrate he seyde that he highte.
KnT 1429 But half so wel biloved a man as he
KnT 1430 Ne was ther nevere in court of his degree;
KnT 1431 He was so gentil of condicioun
KnT 1432 That thurghout al the court was his renoun.
KnT 1433 They seyden that it were a charitee
KnT 1434 That Theseus wolde enhauncen his degree,
KnT 1435 And putten hym in worshipful servyse,
KnT 1436 Ther as he myghte his vertu excercise.
KnT 1437 And thus withinne a while his name is spronge,
KnT 1438 Bothe of his dedes and his goode tonge,
KnT 1439 That Theseus hath taken hym so neer
KnT 1440 That of his chambre he made hym a squier,
KnT 1441 And gaf hym gold to mayntene his degree.
KnT 1442 And eek men broghte hym out of his contree,
KnT 1443 From yeer to yeer, ful pryvely his rente;
KnT 1444 But honestly and slyly he it spente,
KnT 1445 That no man wondred how that he it hadde.
KnT 1446 And thre yeer in this wise his lif he ladde,
KnT 1447 And bar hym so, in pees and eek in werre,
KnT 1448 Ther was no man that Theseus hath derre.
KnT 1449 And in this blisse lete I now Arcite,
KnT 1450 And speke I wole of Palamon a lite.
KnT 1451 In derknesse and horrible and strong prisoun
KnT 1452 Thise seven yeer hath seten Palamoun
KnT 1453 Forpyned, what for wo and for distresse.
KnT 1454 Who feeleth double soor and hevynesse
KnT 1455 But Palamon, that love destreyneth so
KnT 1456 That wood out of his wit he goth for wo?
KnT 1457 And eek therto he is a prisoner
KnT 1458 Perpetuelly, noght oonly for a yer.
KnT 1459 Who koude ryme in Englyssh proprely
KnT 1460 His martirdom? For sothe it am nat I;
KnT 1461 Therfore I passe as lightly as I may.
KnT 1462 It fel that in the seventhe yer, of May
KnT 1463 The thridde nyght (as olde bookes seyn,
KnT 1464 That al this storie tellen moore pleyn),
KnT 1465 Were it by aventure or destynee —
KnT 1466 As, whan a thyng is shapen, it shal be —
KnT 1467 That soone after the mydnyght Palamoun,
KnT 1468 By helpyng of a freend, brak his prisoun
KnT 1469 And fleeth the citee faste as he may go.
KnT 1470 For he hadde yeve his gayler drynke so
KnT 1471 Of a clarree maad of a certeyn wyn,
KnT 1472 With nercotikes and opie of Thebes fyn,
KnT 1473 That al that nyght, thogh that men wolde him shake,
KnT 1474 The gayler sleep; he myghte nat awake.
KnT 1475 And thus he fleeth as faste as evere he may.
KnT 1476 The nyght was short and faste by the day
KnT 1477 That nedes cost he moot hymselven hyde,
KnT 1478 And til a grove faste ther bisyde
KnT 1479 With dredeful foot thanne stalketh Palamon.
KnT 1480 For, shortly, this was his opinion:
KnT 1481 That in that grove he wolde hym hyde al day,
KnT 1482 And in the nyght thanne wolde he take his way
KnT 1483 To Thebes-ward, his freendes for to preye
KnT 1484 On Theseus to helpe him to werreye;
KnT 1485 And shortly, outher he wolde lese his lif
KnT 1486 Or wynnen Emelye unto his wyf.
KnT 1487 This is th’ effect and his entente pleyn.
KnT 1488 Now wol I turne to Arcite ageyn,
KnT 1489 That litel wiste how ny that was his care,
KnT 1490 Til that Fortune had broght him in the snare.
KnT 1491 The bisy larke, messager of day,
KnT 1492 Salueth in hir song the morwe gray,
KnT 1493 And firy Phebus riseth up so bright
KnT 1494 That al the orient laugheth of the light,
KnT 1495 And with his stremes dryeth in the greves
KnT 1496 The silver dropes hangynge on the leves.
KnT 1497 And Arcita, that in the court roial
KnT 1498 With Theseus is squier principal,
KnT 1499 Is risen and looketh on the myrie day.
KnT 1500 And for to doon his observaunce to May,
KnT 1501 Remembrynge on the poynt of his desir,
KnT 1502 He on a courser, startlynge as the fir,
KnT 1503 Is riden into the feeldes hym to pleye,
KnT 1504 Out of the court, were it a myle or tweye.
KnT 1505 And to the grove of which that I yow tolde
KnT 1506 By aventure his wey he gan to holde
KnT 1507 To maken hym a gerland of the greves,
KnT 1508 Were it of wodebynde or hawethorn leves,
KnT 1509 And loude he song ayeyn the sonne shene:
KnT 1510 “May, with alle thy floures and thy grene,
KnT 1511 Welcome be thou, faire, fresshe May,
KnT 1512 In hope that I som grene gete may.”
KnT 1513 And from his courser, with a lusty herte,
KnT 1514 Into the grove ful hastily he sterte,
KnT 1515 And in a path he rometh up and doun,
KnT 1516 Ther as by aventure this Palamoun
KnT 1517 Was in a bussh, that no man myghte hym se,
KnT 1518 For soore afered of his deeth was he.
KnT 1519 No thyng ne knew he that it was Arcite;
KnT 1520 God woot he wolde have trowed it ful lite.
KnT 1521 But sooth is seyd, go sithen many yeres,
KnT 1522 That “feeld hath eyen and the wode hath eres.”
KnT 1523 It is ful fair a man to bere hym evene,
KnT 1524 For al day meeteth men at unset stevene.
KnT 1525 Ful litel woot Arcite of his felawe,
KnT 1526 That was so ny to herknen al his sawe,
KnT 1527 For in the bussh he sitteth now ful stille.
KnT 1528 Whan that Arcite hadde romed al his fille,
KnT 1529 And songen al the roundel lustily,
KnT 1530 Into a studie he fil sodeynly,
KnT 1531 As doon thise loveres in hir queynte geres,
KnT 1532 Now in the crope, now doun in the breres,
KnT 1533 Now up, now doun, as boket in a welle.
KnT 1534 Right as the Friday, soothly for to telle,
KnT 1535 Now it shyneth, now it reyneth faste,
KnT 1536 Right so kan geery Venus overcaste
KnT 1537 The hertes of hir folk; right as hir day
KnT 1538 Is gereful, right so chaungeth she array.
KnT 1539 Selde is the Friday al the wowke ylike.
KnT 1540 Whan that Arcite had songe, he gan to sike
KnT 1541 And sette hym doun withouten any moore.
KnT 1542 “Allas,” quod he, “that day that I was bore!
KnT 1543 How longe, Juno, thurgh thy crueltee,
KnT 1544 Woltow werreyen Thebes the citee?
KnT 1545 Allas, ybroght is to confusioun
KnT 1546 The blood roial of Cadme and Amphioun —
KnT 1547 Of Cadmus, which that was the firste man
KnT 1548 That Thebes bulte, or first the toun bigan,
KnT 1549 And of the citee first was crouned kyng.
KnT 1550 Of his lynage am I and his ofspryng
KnT 1551 By verray ligne, as of the stok roial,
KnT 1552 And now I am so caytyf and so thral,
KnT 1553 That he that is my mortal enemy,
KnT 1554 I serve hym as his squier povrely.
KnT 1555 And yet dooth Juno me wel moore shame,
KnT 1556 For I dar noght biknowe myn owene name;
KnT 1557 But ther as I was wont to highte Arcite,
KnT 1558 Now highte I Philostrate, noght worth a myte.
KnT 1559 Allas, thou felle Mars! Allas, Juno!
KnT 1560 Thus hath youre ire oure lynage al fordo,
KnT 1561 Save oonly me and wrecched Palamoun,
KnT 1562 That Theseus martireth in prisoun.
KnT 1563 And over al this, to sleen me outrely
KnT 1564 Love hath his firy dart so brennyngly
KnT 1565 Ystiked thurgh my trewe, careful herte
KnT 1566 That shapen was my deeth erst than my sherte.
KnT 1567 Ye sleen me with youre eyen, Emelye!
KnT 1568 Ye been the cause wherfore that I dye.
KnT 1569 Of al the remenant of myn oother care
KnT 1570 Ne sette I nat the montance of a tare,
KnT 1571 So that I koude doon aught to youre plesaunce.”
KnT 1572 And with that word he fil doun in a traunce
KnT 1573 A longe tyme, and after he up sterte.
KnT 1574 This Palamoun, that thoughte that thurgh his herte
KnT 1575 He felte a coold swerd sodeynliche glyde,
KnT 1576 For ire he quook; no lenger wolde he byde.
KnT 1577 And whan that he had herd Arcites tale,
KnT 1578 As he were wood, with face deed and pale,
KnT 1579 He stirte hym up out of the buskes thikke
KnT 1580 And seide: “Arcite, false traytour wikke,
KnT 1581 Now artow hent, that lovest my lady so,
KnT 1582 For whom that I have al this peyne and wo,
KnT 1583 And art my blood, and to my conseil sworn,
KnT 1584 As I ful ofte have told thee heerbiforn,
KnT 1585 And hast byjaped heere duc Theseus,
KnT 1586 And falsly chaunged hast thy name thus!
KnT 1587 I wol be deed, or elles thou shalt dye.
KnT 1588 Thou shalt nat love my lady Emelye,
KnT 1589 But I wol love hire oonly and namo;
KnT 1590 For I am Palamon, thy mortal foo.
KnT 1591 And though that I no wepene have in this place,
KnT 1592 But out of prison am astert by grace,
KnT 1593 I drede noght that outher thow shalt dye,
KnT 1594 Or thow ne shalt nat loven Emelye.
KnT 1595 Chees which thou wolt, or thou shalt nat asterte!”
KnT 1596 This Arcite, with ful despitous herte,
KnT 1597 Whan he hym knew, and hadde his tale herd,
KnT 1598 As fiers as leon pulled out his swerd,
KnT 1599 And seyde thus: “By God that sit above,
KnT 1600 Nere it that thou art sik and wood for love,
KnT 1601 And eek that thow no wepne hast in this place,
KnT 1602 Thou sholdest nevere out of this grove pace,
KnT 1603 That thou ne sholdest dyen of myn hond.
KnT 1604 For I defye the seurete and the bond
KnT 1605 Which that thou seist that I have maad to thee.
KnT 1606 What! Verray fool, thynk wel that love is free,
KnT 1607 And I wol love hire maugree al thy myght!
KnT 1608 But for as muche thou art a worthy knyght
KnT 1609 And wilnest to darreyne hire by bataille,
KnT 1610 Have heer my trouthe; tomorwe I wol nat faille,
KnT 1611 Withoute wityng of any oother wight,
KnT 1612 That heere I wol be founden as a knyght,
KnT 1613 And bryngen harneys right ynough for thee;
KnT 1614 And ches the beste, and leef the worste for me.
KnT 1615 And mete and drynke this nyght wol I brynge
KnT 1616 Ynough for thee, and clothes for thy beddynge.
KnT 1617 And if so be that thou my lady wynne,
KnT 1618 And sle me in this wode ther I am inne,
KnT 1619 Thow mayst wel have thy lady as for me.”
KnT 1620 This Palamon answerde, “I graunte it thee.”
KnT 1621 And thus they been departed til amorwe,
KnT 1622 Whan ech of hem had leyd his feith to borwe.
KnT 1623 O Cupide, out of alle charitee!
KnT 1624 O regne, that wolt no felawe have with thee!
KnT 1625 Ful sooth is seyd that love ne lordshipe
KnT 1626 Wol noght, his thankes, have no felaweshipe.
KnT 1627 Wel fynden that Arcite and Palamoun.
KnT 1628 Arcite is riden anon unto the toun,
KnT 1629 And on the morwe, er it were dayes light,
KnT 1630 Ful prively two harneys hath he dight,
KnT 1631 Bothe suffisaunt and mete to darreyne
KnT 1632 The bataille in the feeld bitwix hem tweyne;
KnT 1633 And on his hors, allone as he was born,
KnT 1634 He carieth al the harneys hym biforn.
KnT 1635 And in the grove, at tyme and place yset,
KnT 1636 This Arcite and this Palamon ben met.
KnT 1637 To chaungen gan the colour in hir face;
KnT 1638 Right as the hunters in the regne of Trace,
KnT 1639 That stondeth at the gappe with a spere,
KnT 1640 Whan hunted is the leon or the bere,
KnT 1641 And hereth hym come russhyng in the greves,
KnT 1642 And breketh bothe bowes and the leves,
KnT 1643 And thynketh, “Heere cometh my mortal enemy!
KnT 1644 Withoute faille, he moot be deed, or I,
KnT 1645 For outher I moot sleen hym at the gappe,
KnT 1646 Or he moot sleen me, if that me myshappe.”
KnT 1647 So ferden they in chaungyng of hir hewe,
KnT 1648 As fer as everich of hem oother knewe.
KnT 1649 Ther nas no good day, ne no saluyng,
KnT 1650 But streight, withouten word or rehersyng,
KnT 1651 Everich of hem heelp for to armen oother
KnT 1652 As freendly as he were his owene brother;
KnT 1653 And after that, with sharpe speres stronge
KnT 1654 They foynen ech at oother wonder longe.
KnT 1655 Thou myghtest wene that this Palamon
KnT 1656 In his fightyng were a wood leon,
KnT 1657 And as a crueel tigre was Arcite;
KnT 1658 As wilde bores gonne they to smyte,
KnT 1659 That frothen whit as foom for ire wood.
KnT 1660 Up to the ancle foghte they in hir blood.
KnT 1661 And in this wise I lete hem fightyng dwelle,
KnT 1662 And forth I wole of Theseus yow telle.
KnT 1663 The destinee, ministre general,
KnT 1664 That executeth in the world over al
KnT 1665 The purveiaunce that God hath seyn biforn,
KnT 1666 So strong it is that, though the world had sworn
KnT 1667 The contrarie of a thyng by ye or nay,
KnT 1668 Yet somtyme it shal fallen on a day
KnT 1669 That falleth nat eft withinne a thousand yeer.
KnT 1670 For certeinly, oure appetites heer,
KnT 1671 Be it of werre, or pees, or hate, or love,
KnT 1672 Al is this reuled by the sighte above.
KnT 1673 This mene I now by myghty Theseus,
KnT 1674 That for to hunten is so desirus,
KnT 1675 And namely at the grete hert in May,
KnT 1676 That in his bed ther daweth hym no day
KnT 1677 That he nys clad, and redy for to ryde
KnT 1678 With hunte and horn and houndes hym bisyde.
KnT 1679 For in his huntyng hath he swich delit
KnT 1680 That it is al his joye and appetit
KnT 1681 To been hymself the grete hertes bane,
KnT 1682 For after Mars he serveth now Dyane.
KnT 1683 Cleer was the day, as I have toold er this,
KnT 1684 And Theseus with alle joye and blis,
KnT 1685 With his Ypolita, the faire queene,
KnT 1686 And Emelye, clothed al in grene,
KnT 1687 On huntyng be they riden roially.
KnT 1688 And to the grove that stood ful faste by,
KnT 1689 In which ther was an hert, as men hym tolde,
KnT 1690 Duc Theseus the streighte wey hath holde.
KnT 1691 And to the launde he rideth hym ful right,
KnT 1692 For thider was the hert wont have his flight,
KnT 1693 And over a brook, and so forth on his weye.
KnT 1694 This duc wol han a cours at hym or tweye
KnT 1695 With houndes swiche as that hym list comaunde.
KnT 1696 And whan this duc was come unto the launde,
KnT 1697 Under the sonne he looketh, and anon
KnT 1698 He was war of Arcite and Palamon,
KnT 1699 That foughten breme as it were bores two.
KnT 1700 The brighte swerdes wenten to and fro
KnT 1701 So hidously that with the leeste strook
KnT 1702 It semed as it wolde felle an ook.
KnT 1703 But what they were, no thyng he ne woot.
KnT 1704 This duc his courser with his spores smoot,
KnT 1705 And at a stert he was bitwix hem two,
KnT 1706 And pulled out a swerd and cride, “Hoo!
KnT 1707 Namoore, up peyne of lesynge of youre heed!
KnT 1708 By myghty Mars, he shal anon be deed
KnT 1709 That smyteth any strook that I may seen.
KnT 1710 But telleth me what myster men ye been,
KnT 1711 That been so hardy for to fighten heere
KnT 1712 Withouten juge or oother officere,
KnT 1713 As it were in a lystes roially.”
KnT 1714 This Palamon answerde hastily
KnT 1715 And seyde, “Sire, what nedeth wordes mo?
KnT 1716 We have the deeth disserved bothe two.
KnT 1717 Two woful wrecches been we, two caytyves,
KnT 1718 That been encombred of oure owene lyves;
KnT 1719 And as thou art a rightful lord and juge,
KnT 1720 Ne yif us neither mercy ne refuge,
KnT 1721 But sle me first, for seinte charitee!
KnT 1722 But sle my felawe eek as wel as me;
KnT 1723 Or sle hym first, for though thow knowest it lite,
KnT 1724 This is thy mortal foo, this is Arcite,
KnT 1725 That fro thy lond is banysshed on his heed,
KnT 1726 For which he hath deserved to be deed.
KnT 1727 For this is he that cam unto thy gate
KnT 1728 And seyde that he highte Philostrate.
KnT 1729 Thus hath he japed thee ful many a yer,
KnT 1730 And thou hast maked hym thy chief squier;
KnT 1731 And this is he that loveth Emelye.
KnT 1732 For sith the day is come that I shal dye,
KnT 1733 I make pleynly my confessioun
KnT 1734 That I am thilke woful Palamoun
KnT 1735 That hath thy prisoun broken wikkedly.
KnT 1736 I am thy mortal foo, and it am I
KnT 1737 That loveth so hoote Emelye the brighte
KnT 1738 That I wol dye present in hir sighte.
KnT 1739 Wherfore I axe deeth and my juwise;
KnT 1740 But sle my felawe in the same wise,
KnT 1741 For bothe han we deserved to be slayn.”
KnT 1742 This worthy duc answerde anon agayn,
KnT 1743 And seyde, “This is a short conclusioun.
KnT 1744 Youre owene mouth, by youre confessioun,
KnT 1745 Hath dampned yow, and I wol it recorde;
KnT 1746 It nedeth noght to pyne yow with the corde.
KnT 1747 Ye shal be deed, by myghty Mars the rede!”
KnT 1748 The queene anon, for verray wommanhede,
KnT 1749 Gan for to wepe, and so dide Emelye,
KnT 1750 And alle the ladyes in the compaignye.
KnT 1751 Greet pitee was it, as it thoughte hem alle,
KnT 1752 That evere swich a chaunce sholde falle,
KnT 1753 For gentil men they were of greet estaat,
KnT 1754 And no thyng but for love was this debaat;
KnT 1755 And saugh hir blody woundes wyde and soore,
KnT 1756 And alle crieden, bothe lasse and moore,
KnT 1757 “Have mercy, Lord, upon us wommen alle!”
KnT 1758 And on hir bare knees adoun they falle
KnT 1759 And wolde have kist his feet ther as he stood;
KnT 1760 Til at the laste aslaked was his mood,
KnT 1761 For pitee renneth soone in gentil herte.
KnT 1762 And though he first for ire quook and sterte,
KnT 1763 He hath considered shortly, in a clause,
KnT 1764 The trespas of hem bothe, and eek the cause,
KnT 1765 And although that his ire hir gilt accused,
KnT 1766 Yet in his resoun he hem bothe excused,
KnT 1767 As thus: he thoghte wel that every man
KnT 1768 Wol helpe hymself in love, if that he kan,
KnT 1769 And eek delivere hymself out of prisoun.
KnT 1770 And eek his herte hadde compassioun
KnT 1771 Of wommen, for they wepen evere in oon,
KnT 1772 And in his gentil herte he thoughte anon,
KnT 1773 And softe unto hymself he seyde, “Fy
KnT 1774 Upon a lord that wol have no mercy,
KnT 1775 But been a leon, bothe in word and dede,
KnT 1776 To hem that been in repentaunce and drede,
KnT 1777 As wel as to a proud despitous man
KnT 1778 That wol mayntene that he first bigan.
KnT 1779 That lord hath litel of discrecioun,
KnT 1780 That in swich cas kan no divisioun
KnT 1781 But weyeth pride and humblesse after oon.”
KnT 1782 And shortly, whan his ire is thus agoon,
KnT 1783 He gan to looken up with eyen lighte
KnT 1784 And spak thise same wordes al on highte:
KnT 1785 “The god of love, a benedicite!
KnT 1786 How myghty and how greet a lord is he!
KnT 1787 Ayeyns his myght ther gayneth none obstacles.
KnT 1788 He may be cleped a god for his myracles,
KnT 1789 For he kan maken, at his owene gyse,
KnT 1790 Of everich herte as that hym list divyse.
KnT 1791 Lo heere this Arcite and this Palamoun,
KnT 1792 That quitly weren out of my prisoun,
KnT 1793 And myghte han lyved in Thebes roially,
KnT 1794 And witen I am hir mortal enemy,
KnT 1795 And that hir deth lith in my myght also,
KnT 1796 And yet hath love, maugree hir eyen two,
KnT 1797 Broght hem hyder bothe for to dye.
KnT 1798 Now looketh, is nat that an heigh folye?
KnT 1799 Who may been a fool but if he love?
KnT 1800 Bihoold, for Goddes sake that sit above,
KnT 1801 Se how they blede! Be they noght wel arrayed?
KnT 1802 Thus hath hir lord, the god of love, ypayed
KnT 1803 Hir wages and hir fees for hir servyse!
KnT 1804 And yet they wenen for to been ful wyse
KnT 1805 That serven love, for aught that may bifalle.
KnT 1806 But this is yet the beste game of alle,
KnT 1807 That she for whom they han this jolitee
KnT 1808 Kan hem therfore as muche thank as me.
KnT 1809 She woot namoore of al this hoote fare,
KnT 1810 By God, than woot a cokkow or an hare!
KnT 1811 But all moot ben assayed, hoot and coold;
KnT 1812 A man moot ben a fool, or yong or oold —
KnT 1813 I woot it by myself ful yore agon,
KnT 1814 For in my tyme a servant was I oon.
KnT 1815 And therfore, syn I knowe of loves peyne
KnT 1816 And woot hou soore it kan a man distreyne,
KnT 1817 As he that hath ben caught ofte in his laas,
KnT 1818 I yow foryeve al hoolly this trespaas,
KnT 1819 At requeste of the queene, that kneleth heere,
KnT 1820 And eek of Emelye, my suster deere.
KnT 1821 And ye shul bothe anon unto me swere
KnT 1822 That nevere mo ye shal my contree dere,
KnT 1823 Ne make werre upon me nyght ne day,
KnT 1824 But been my freendes in all that ye may.
KnT 1825 I yow foryeve this trespas every deel.”
KnT 1826 And they hym sworen his axyng faire and weel,
KnT 1827 And hym of lordshipe and of mercy preyde,
KnT 1828 And he hem graunteth grace, and thus he seyde:
KnT 1829 “To speke of roial lynage and richesse,
KnT 1830 Though that she were a queene or a princesse,
KnT 1831 Ech of you bothe is worthy, doutelees,
KnT 1832 To wedden whan tyme is; but nathelees —
KnT 1833 I speke as for my suster Emelye,
KnT 1834 For whom ye have this strif and jalousye —
KnT 1835 Ye woot yourself she may nat wedden two
KnT 1836 Atones, though ye fighten everemo,
KnT 1837 That oon of you, al be hym looth or lief,
KnT 1838 He moot go pipen in an yvy leef;
KnT 1839 This is to seyn, she may nat now han bothe,
KnT 1840 Al be ye never so jalouse ne so wrothe.
KnT 1841 And forthy I yow putte in this degree,
KnT 1842 That ech of yow shal have his destynee
KnT 1843 As hym is shape, and herkneth in what wyse;
KnT 1844 Lo, heere youre ende of that I shal devyse.
KnT 1845 My wyl is this, for plat conclusioun,
KnT 1846 Withouten any repplicacioun —
KnT 1847 If that you liketh, take it for the beste:
KnT 1848 That everich of you shal goon where hym leste
KnT 1849 Frely, withouten raunson or daunger,
KnT 1850 And this day fifty wykes, fer ne ner,
KnT 1851 Everich of you shal brynge an hundred knyghtes
KnT 1852 Armed for lystes up at alle rightes,
KnT 1853 Al redy to darreyne hire by bataille.
KnT 1854 And this bihote I yow withouten faille,
KnT 1855 Upon my trouthe, and as I am a knyght,
KnT 1856 That wheither of yow bothe that hath myght —
KnT 1857 This is to seyn, that wheither he or thow
KnT 1858 May with his hundred, as I spak of now,
KnT 1859 Sleen his contrarie, or out of lystes dryve,
KnT 1860 Thanne shal I yeve Emelya to wyve
KnT 1861 To whom that Fortune yeveth so fair a grace.
KnT 1862 The lystes shal I maken in this place,
KnT 1863 And God so wisly on my soule rewe
KnT 1864 As I shal evene juge been and trewe.
KnT 1865 Ye shul noon oother ende with me maken,
KnT 1866 That oon of yow ne shal be deed or taken.
KnT 1867 And if yow thynketh this is weel ysayd,
KnT 1868 Seyeth youre avys, and holdeth you apayd.
KnT 1869 This is youre ende and youre conclusioun.”
KnT 1870 Who looketh lightly now but Palamoun?
KnT 1871 Who spryngeth up for joye but Arcite?
KnT 1872 Who kouthe telle, or who kouthe it endite,
KnT 1873 The joye that is maked in the place
KnT 1874 Whan Theseus hath doon so fair a grace?
KnT 1875 But doun on knees wente every maner wight,
KnT 1876 And thonked hym with al hir herte and myght,
KnT 1877 And namely the Thebans often sithe.
KnT 1878 And thus with good hope and with herte blithe
KnT 1879 They taken hir leve, and homward gonne they ride
KnT 1880 To Thebes with his olde walles wyde.
KnT 1881 I trowe men wolde deme it necligence
KnT 1882 If I foryete to tellen the dispence
KnT 1883 Of Theseus, that gooth so bisily
KnT 1884 To maken up the lystes roially,
KnT 1885 That swich a noble theatre as it was
KnT 1886 I dar wel seyen in this world ther nas.
KnT 1887 The circuit a myle was aboute,
KnT 1888 Walled of stoon, and dyched al withoute.
KnT 1889 Round was the shap, in manere of compas,
KnT 1890 Ful of degrees, the heighte of sixty pas,
KnT 1891 That whan a man was set on o degree,
KnT 1892 He letted nat his felawe for to see.
KnT 1893 Estward ther stood a gate of marbul whit,
KnT 1894 Westward right swich another in the opposit.
KnT 1895 And shortly to concluden, swich a place
KnT 1896 Was noon in erthe, as in so litel space;
KnT 1897 For in the lond ther was no crafty man
KnT 1898 That geometrie or ars-metrike kan,
KnT 1899 Ne portreyour, ne kervere of ymages,
KnT 1900 That Theseus ne yaf him mete and wages
KnT 1901 The theatre for to maken and devyse.
KnT 1902 And for to doon his ryte and sacrifise,
KnT 1903 He estward hath, upon the gate above,
KnT 1904 In worshipe of Venus, goddesse of love,
KnT 1905 Doon make an auter and an oratorie;
KnT 1906 And on the gate westward, in memorie
KnT 1907 Of Mars, he maked hath right swich another,
KnT 1908 That coste largely of gold a fother.
KnT 1909 And northward, in a touret on the wal,
KnT 1910 Of alabastre whit and reed coral,
KnT 1911 An oratorie, riche for to see,
KnT 1912 In worshipe of Dyane of chastitee,
KnT 1913 Hath Theseus doon wroght in noble wyse.
KnT 1914 But yet hadde I foryeten to devyse
KnT 1915 The noble kervyng and the portreitures,
KnT 1916 The shap, the contenaunce, and the figures
KnT 1917 That weren in thise oratories thre.
KnT 1918 First in the temple of Venus maystow se
KnT 1919 Wroght on the wal, ful pitous to biholde,
KnT 1920 The broken slepes, and the sikes colde,
KnT 1921 The sacred teeris, and the waymentynge,
KnT 1922 The firy strokes of the desirynge
KnT 1923 That loves servantz in this lyf enduren;
KnT 1924 The othes that hir covenantz assuren;
KnT 1925 Plesaunce and Hope, Desir, Foolhardynesse,
KnT 1926 Beautee and Youthe, Bauderie, Richesse,
KnT 1927 Charmes and Force, Lesynges, Flaterye,
KnT 1928 Despense, Bisynesse, and Jalousye,
KnT 1929 That wered of yelewe gooldes a gerland,
KnT 1930 And a cokkow sittynge on hir hand;
KnT 1931 Festes, instrumentz, caroles, daunces,
KnT 1932 Lust and array, and alle the circumstaunces
KnT 1933 Of love, which that I rekned and rekne shal,
KnT 1934 By ordre weren peynted on the wal,
KnT 1935 And mo than I kan make of mencioun.
KnT 1936 For soothly al the mount of Citheroun,
KnT 1937 Ther Venus hath hir principal dwellynge,
KnT 1938 Was shewed on the wal in portreyynge,
KnT 1939 With al the gardyn and the lustynesse.
KnT 1940 Nat was foryeten the porter, Ydelnesse,
KnT 1941 Ne Narcisus the faire of yore agon,
KnT 1942 Ne yet the folye of kyng Salomon,
KnT 1943 Ne yet the grete strengthe of Ercules —
KnT 1944 Th’ enchauntementz of Medea and Circes —
KnT 1945 Ne of Turnus, with the hardy fiers corage,
KnT 1946 The riche Cresus, kaytyf in servage.
KnT 1947 Thus may ye seen that wysdom ne richesse,
KnT 1948 Beautee ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardynesse,
KnT 1949 Ne may with Venus holde champartie,
KnT 1950 For as hir list the world than may she gye.
KnT 1951 Lo, alle thise folk so caught were in hir las,
KnT 1952 Til they for wo ful ofte seyde “allas!”
KnT 1953 Suffiseth heere ensamples oon or two,
KnT 1954 And though I koude rekene a thousand mo.
KnT 1955 The statue of Venus, glorious for to se,
KnT 1956 Was naked, fletynge in the large see,
KnT 1957 And fro the navele doun al covered was
KnT 1958 With wawes grene, and brighte as any glas.
KnT 1959 A citole in hir right hand hadde she,
KnT 1960 And on hir heed, ful semely for to se,
KnT 1961 A rose gerland, fressh and wel smellynge;
KnT 1962 Above hir heed hir dowves flikerynge.
KnT 1963 Biforn hire stood hir sone Cupido;
KnT 1964 Upon his shuldres wynges hadde he two,
KnT 1965 And blynd he was, as it is often seene;
KnT 1966 A bowe he bar and arwes brighte and kene.
KnT 1967 Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
KnT 1968 The portreiture that was upon the wal
KnT 1969 Withinne the temple of myghty Mars the rede?
KnT 1970 Al peynted was the wal, in lengthe and brede,
KnT 1971 Lyk to the estres of the grisly place
KnT 1972 That highte the grete temple of Mars in Trace,
KnT 1973 In thilke colde, frosty regioun
KnT 1974 Ther as Mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.
KnT 1975 First on the wal was peynted a forest,
KnT 1976 In which ther dwelleth neither man ne best,
KnT 1977 With knotty, knarry, bareyne trees olde,
KnT 1978 Of stubbes sharpe and hidouse to biholde,
KnT 1979 In which ther ran a rumbel in a swough,
KnT 1980 As though a storm sholde bresten every bough.
KnT 1981 And dounward from an hille, under a bente,
KnT 1982 Ther stood the temple of Mars armypotente,
KnT 1983 Wroght al of burned steel, of which the entree
KnT 1984 Was long and streit, and gastly for to see.
KnT 1985 And therout came a rage and swich a veze
KnT 1986 That it made al the gate for to rese.
KnT 1987 The northren lyght in at the dores shoon,
KnT 1988 For wyndowe on the wal ne was ther noon,
KnT 1989 Thurgh which men myghten any light discerne.
KnT 1990 The dore was al of adamant eterne,
KnT 1991 Yclenched overthwart and endelong
KnT 1992 With iren tough; and for to make it strong,
KnT 1993 Every pyler, the temple to sustene,
KnT 1994 Was tonne-greet, of iren bright and shene.
KnT 1995 Ther saugh I first the derke ymaginyng
KnT 1996 Of Felonye, and al the compassyng;
KnT 1997 The crueel Ire, reed as any gleede;
KnT 1998 The pykepurs, and eek the pale Drede;
KnT 1999 The smylere with the knyf under the cloke;
KnT 2000 The shepne brennynge with the blake smoke;
KnT 2001 The tresoun of the mordrynge in the bedde;
KnT 2002 The open werre, with woundes al bibledde;
KnT 2003 Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace.
KnT 2004 Al ful of chirkyng was that sory place.
KnT 2005 The sleere of hymself yet saugh I ther —
KnT 2006 His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer —
KnT 2007 The nayl ydryven in the shode anyght;
KnT 2008 The colde deeth, with mouth gapyng upright.
KnT 2009 Amyddes of the temple sat Meschaunce,
KnT 2010 With disconfort and sory contenaunce.
KnT 2011 Yet saugh I Woodnesse, laughynge in his rage,
KnT 2012 Armed Compleint, Outhees, and fiers Outrage;
KnT 2013 The careyne in the busk, with throte ycorve;
KnT 2014 A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm ystorve;
KnT 2015 The tiraunt, with the pray by force yraft;
KnT 2016 The toun destroyed, ther was no thyng laft.
KnT 2017 Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres;
KnT 2018 The hunte strangled with the wilde beres;
KnT 2019 The sowe freten the child right in the cradel;
KnT 2020 The cook yscalded, for al his longe ladel.
KnT 2021 Noght was foryeten by the infortune of Marte.
KnT 2022 The cartere overryden with his carte —
KnT 2023 Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
KnT 2024 Ther were also, of Martes divisioun,
KnT 2025 The barbour, and the bocher, and the smyth,
KnT 2026 That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his styth.
KnT 2027 And al above, depeynted in a tour,
KnT 2028 Saugh I Conquest, sittynge in greet honour,
KnT 2029 With the sharpe swerd over his heed
KnT 2030 Hangynge by a soutil twynes threed.
KnT 2031 Depeynted was the slaughtre of Julius,
KnT 2032 Of grete Nero, and of Antonius;
KnT 2033 Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
KnT 2034 Yet was hir deth depeynted ther-biforn
KnT 2035 By manasynge of Mars, right by figure;
KnT 2036 So was it shewed in that portreiture,
KnT 2037 As is depeynted in the sterres above
KnT 2038 Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.
KnT 2039 Suffiseth oon ensample in stories olde;
KnT 2040 I may nat rekene hem alle though I wolde.
KnT 2041 The statue of Mars upon a carte stood
KnT 2042 Armed, and looked grym as he were wood;
KnT 2043 And over his heed ther shynen two figures
KnT 2044 Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures,
KnT 2045 That oon Puella, that oother Rubeus —
KnT 2046 This god of armes was arrayed thus.
KnT 2047 A wolf ther stood biforn hym at his feet
KnT 2048 With eyen rede, and of a man he eet;
KnT 2049 With soutil pencel was depeynted this storie
KnT 2050 In redoutynge of Mars and of his glorie.
KnT 2051 Now to the temple of Dyane the chaste,
KnT 2052 As shortly as I kan, I wol me haste,
KnT 2053 To telle yow al the descripsioun.
KnT 2054 Depeynted been the walles up and doun
KnT 2055 Of huntyng and of shamefast chastitee.
KnT 2056 Ther saugh I how woful Calistopee,
KnT 2057 Whan that Diane agreved was with here,
KnT 2058 Was turned from a womman til a bere,
KnT 2059 And after was she maad the loode-sterre.
KnT 2060 Thus was it peynted; I kan sey yow no ferre.
KnT 2061 Hir sone is eek a sterre, as men may see.
KnT 2062 Ther saugh I Dane, yturned til a tree —
KnT 2063 I mene nat the goddesse Diane,
KnT 2064 But Penneus doghter, which that highte Dane.
KnT 2065 Ther saugh I Attheon an hert ymaked,
KnT 2066 For vengeaunce that he saugh Diane al naked;
KnT 2067 I saugh how that his houndes have hym caught
KnT 2068 And freeten hym, for that they knewe hym naught.
KnT 2069 Yet peynted was a litel forther moor
KnT 2070 How Atthalante hunted the wilde boor,
KnT 2071 And Meleagre, and many another mo,
KnT 2072 For which Dyane wroghte hym care and wo.
KnT 2073 Ther saugh I many another wonder storie,
KnT 2074 The which me list nat drawen to memorie.
KnT 2075 This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet,
KnT 2076 With smale houndes al aboute hir feet,
KnT 2077 And undernethe hir feet she hadde a moone —
KnT 2078 Wexynge it was and sholde wanye soone.
KnT 2079 In gaude grene hir statue clothed was,
KnT 2080 With bowe in honde and arwes in a cas.
KnT 2081 Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun
KnT 2082 Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.
KnT 2083 A womman travaillynge was hire biforn;
KnT 2084 But for hir child so longe was unborn,
KnT 2085 Ful pitously Lucyna gan she calle
KnT 2086 And seyde, “Help, for thou mayst best of alle!”
KnT 2087 Wel koude he peynten lifly that it wroghte;
KnT 2088 With many a floryn he the hewes boghte.
KnT 2089 Now been thise lystes maad, and Theseus,
KnT 2090 That at his grete cost arrayed thus
KnT 2091 The temples and the theatre every deel,
KnT 2092 Whan it was doon, hym lyked wonder weel.
KnT 2093 But stynte I wole of Theseus a lite,
KnT 2094 And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
KnT 2095 The day approcheth of hir retournynge,
KnT 2096 That everich sholde an hundred knyghtes brynge
KnT 2097 The bataille to darreyne, as I yow tolde.
KnT 2098 And til Atthenes, hir covenant for to holde,
KnT 2099 Hath everich of hem broght an hundred knyghtes,
KnT 2100 Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.
KnT 2101 And sikerly ther trowed many a man
KnT 2102 That nevere, sithen that the world bigan,
KnT 2103 As for to speke of knyghthod of hir hond,
KnT 2104 As fer as God hath maked see or lond,
KnT 2105 Nas of so fewe so noble a compaignye.
KnT 2106 For every wight that lovede chivalrye
KnT 2107 And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
KnT 2108 Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game;
KnT 2109 And wel was hym that therto chosen was,
KnT 2110 For if ther fille tomorwe swich a cas,
KnT 2111 Ye knowen wel that every lusty knyght
KnT 2112 That loveth paramours and hath his myght,
KnT 2113 Were it in Engelond or elleswhere,
KnT 2114 They wolde, hir thankes, wilnen to be there —
KnT 2115 To fighte for a lady, benedicitee!
KnT 2116 It were a lusty sighte for to see.
KnT 2117 And right so ferden they with Palamon.
KnT 2118 With hym ther wenten knyghtes many on;
KnT 2119 Som wol ben armed in an haubergeoun,
KnT 2120 And in a brestplate and a light gypoun;
KnT 2121 And som wol have a paire plates large;
KnT 2122 And som wol have a Pruce sheeld or a targe;
KnT 2123 Som wol ben armed on his legges weel,
KnT 2124 And have an ax, and som a mace of steel —
KnT 2125 Ther is no newe gyse that it nas old.
KnT 2126 Armed were they, as I have yow told,
KnT 2127 Everych after his opinioun.
KnT 2128 Ther maistow seen, comynge with Palamoun,
KnT 2129 Lygurge hymself, the grete kyng of Trace.
KnT 2130 Blak was his berd, and manly was his face;
KnT 2131 The cercles of his eyen in his heed,
KnT 2132 They gloweden bitwixen yelow and reed,
KnT 2133 And lik a grifphon looked he aboute,
KnT 2134 With kempe heeris on his browes stoute;
KnT 2135 His lymes grete, his brawnes harde and stronge,
KnT 2136 His shuldres brode, his armes rounde and longe;
KnT 2137 And as the gyse was in his contree,
KnT 2138 Ful hye upon a chaar of gold stood he,
KnT 2139 With foure white boles in the trays.
KnT 2140 In stede of cote-armure over his harnays,
KnT 2141 With nayles yelewe and brighte as any gold,
KnT 2142 He hadde a beres skyn, col-blak for old.
KnT 2143 His longe heer was kembd bihynde his bak;
KnT 2144 As any ravenes fethere it shoon for blak;
KnT 2145 A wrethe of gold, arm-greet, of huge wighte,
KnT 2146 Upon his heed, set ful of stones brighte,
KnT 2147 Of fyne rubyes and of dyamauntz.
KnT 2148 Aboute his chaar ther wenten white alauntz,
KnT 2149 Twenty and mo, as grete as any steer,
KnT 2150 To hunten at the leoun or the deer,
KnT 2151 And folwed hym with mosel faste ybounde,
KnT 2152 Colered of gold, and tourettes fyled rounde.
KnT 2153 An hundred lordes hadde he in his route,
KnT 2154 Armed ful wel, with hertes stierne and stoute.
KnT 2155 With Arcita, in stories as men fynde,
KnT 2156 The grete Emetreus, the kyng of Inde,
KnT 2157 Upon a steede bay trapped in steel,
KnT 2158 Covered in clooth of gold, dyapred weel,
KnT 2159 Cam ridynge lyk the god of armes, Mars.
KnT 2160 His cote-armure was of clooth of Tars
KnT 2161 Couched with perles white and rounde and grete;
KnT 2162 His sadel was of brend gold newe ybete;
KnT 2163 A mantelet upon his shulder hangynge,
KnT 2164 Bret-ful of rubyes rede as fyr sparklynge;
KnT 2165 His crispe heer lyk rynges was yronne,
KnT 2166 And that was yelow, and glytered as the sonne.
KnT 2167 His nose was heigh, his eyen bright citryn,
KnT 2168 His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwyn;
KnT 2169 A fewe frakenes in his face yspreynd,
KnT 2170 Bitwixen yelow and somdel blak ymeynd;
KnT 2171 And as a leon he his lookyng caste.
KnT 2172 Of fyve and twenty yeer his age I caste.
KnT 2173 His berd was wel bigonne for to sprynge;
KnT 2174 His voys was as a trompe thonderynge.
KnT 2175 Upon his heed he wered of laurer grene
KnT 2176 A gerland, fressh and lusty for to sene.
KnT 2177 Upon his hand he bar for his deduyt
KnT 2178 An egle tame, as any lilye whyt.
KnT 2179 An hundred lordes hadde he with hym there,
KnT 2180 Al armed, save hir heddes, in al hir gere,
KnT 2181 Ful richely in alle maner thynges.
KnT 2182 For trusteth wel that dukes, erles, kynges
KnT 2183 Were gadered in this noble compaignye,
KnT 2184 For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
KnT 2185 Aboute this kyng ther ran on every part
KnT 2186 Ful many a tame leon and leopart.
KnT 2187 And in this wise thise lordes, alle and some,
KnT 2188 Been on the Sonday to the citee come
KnT 2189 Aboute pryme, and in the toun alight.
KnT 2190 This Theseus, this duc, this worthy knyght,
KnT 2191 Whan he had broght hem into his citee,
KnT 2192 And inned hem, everich at his degree,
KnT 2193 He festeth hem, and dooth so greet labour
KnT 2194 To esen hem and doon hem al honour
KnT 2195 That yet men wenen that no mannes wit
KnT 2196 Of noon estaat ne koude amenden it.
KnT 2197 The mynstralcye, the service at the feeste,
KnT 2198 The grete yiftes to the meeste and leeste,
KnT 2199 The riche array of Theseus paleys,
KnT 2200 Ne who sat first ne last upon the deys,
KnT 2201 What ladyes fairest been or best daunsynge,
KnT 2202 Or which of hem kan dauncen best and synge,
KnT 2203 Ne who moost felyngly speketh of love;
KnT 2204 What haukes sitten on the perche above,
KnT 2205 What houndes liggen on the floor adoun —
KnT 2206 Of al this make I now no mencioun,
KnT 2207 But al th’ effect; that thynketh me the beste.
KnT 2208 Now cometh the point, and herkneth if yow leste.
KnT 2209 The Sonday nyght, er day bigan to sprynge,
KnT 2210 Whan Palamon the larke herde synge
KnT 2211 (Although it nere nat day by houres two,
KnT 2212 Yet song the larke) and Palamon right tho
KnT 2213 With hooly herte and with an heigh corage,
KnT 2214 He roos to wenden on his pilgrymage
KnT 2215 Unto the blisful Citherea benigne —
KnT 2216 I mene Venus, honurable and digne.
KnT 2217 And in hir houre he walketh forth a pas
KnT 2218 Unto the lystes ther hire temple was,
KnT 2219 And doun he kneleth, and with humble cheere
KnT 2220 And herte soor he seyde as ye shal heere:
KnT 2221 “Faireste of faire, O lady myn, Venus,
KnT 2222 Doughter to Jove and spouse of Vulcanus,
KnT 2223 Thow gladere of the mount of Citheron,
KnT 2224 For thilke love thow haddest to Adoon,
KnT 2225 Have pitee of my bittre teeris smerte,
KnT 2226 And taak myn humble preyere at thyn herte.
KnT 2227 Allas! I ne have no langage to telle
KnT 2228 Th’ effectes ne the tormentz of myn helle;
KnT 2229 Myn herte may myne harmes nat biwreye;
KnT 2230 I am so confus that I kan noght seye
KnT 2231 But `Mercy, lady bright, that knowest weele
KnT 2232 My thought and seest what harmes that I feele!’
KnT 2233 Considere al this and rewe upon my soore,
KnT 2234 As wisly as I shal for everemoore,
KnT 2235 Emforth my myght, thy trewe servant be,
KnT 2236 And holden werre alwey with chastitee.
KnT 2237 That make I myn avow, so ye me helpe!
KnT 2238 I kepe noght of armes for to yelpe,
KnT 2239 Ne I ne axe nat tomorwe to have victorie,
KnT 2240 Ne renoun in this cas, ne veyne glorie
KnT 2241 Of pris of armes blowen up and doun;
KnT 2242 But I wolde have fully possessioun
KnT 2243 Of Emelye, and dye in thy servyse.
KnT 2244 Fynd thow the manere hou and in what wyse:
KnT 2245 I recche nat but it may bettre be
KnT 2246 To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
KnT 2247 So that I have my lady in myne armes.
KnT 2248 For though so be that Mars is god of armes,
KnT 2249 Youre vertu is so greet in hevene above
KnT 2250 That if yow list, I shal wel have my love.
KnT 2251 Thy temple wol I worshipe everemo,
KnT 2252 And on thyn auter, where I ride or go,
KnT 2253 I wol doon sacrifice and fires beete.
KnT 2254 And if ye wol nat so, my lady sweete,
KnT 2255 Thanne preye I thee, tomorwe with a spere
KnT 2256 That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
KnT 2257 Thanne rekke I noght, whan I have lost my lyf,
KnT 2258 Though that Arcita wynne hire to his wyf.
KnT 2259 This is th’ effect and ende of my preyere:
KnT 2260 Yif me my love, thow blisful lady deere.”
KnT 2261 Whan the orison was doon of Palamon,
KnT 2262 His sacrifice he dide, and that anon,
KnT 2263 Ful pitously, with alle circumstaunces,
KnT 2264 Al telle I noght as now his observaunces;
KnT 2265 But atte laste the statue of Venus shook,
KnT 2266 And made a signe, wherby that he took
KnT 2267 That his preyere accepted was that day.
KnT 2268 For thogh the signe shewed a delay,
KnT 2269 Yet wiste he wel that graunted was his boone,
KnT 2270 And with glad herte he wente hym hoom ful soone.
KnT 2271 The thridde houre inequal that Palamon
KnT 2272 Bigan to Venus temple for to gon,
KnT 2273 Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye
KnT 2274 And to the temple of Dyane gan hye.
KnT 2275 Hir maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
KnT 2276 Ful redily with hem the fyr they hadde,
KnT 2277 Th’ encens, the clothes, and the remenant al
KnT 2278 That to the sacrifice longen shal;
KnT 2279 The hornes fulle of meeth, as was the gyse —
KnT 2280 Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifise.
KnT 2281 Smokynge the temple, ful of clothes faire,
KnT 2282 This Emelye, with herte debonaire,
KnT 2283 Hir body wessh with water of a welle.
KnT 2284 But hou she dide hir ryte I dar nat telle,
KnT 2285 But it be any thing in general;
KnT 2286 And yet it were a game to heeren al.
KnT 2287 To hym that meneth wel it were no charge;
KnT 2288 But it is good a man been at his large.
KnT 2289 Hir brighte heer was kembd, untressed al;
KnT 2290 A coroune of a grene ook cerial
KnT 2291 Upon hir heed was set ful fair and meete.
KnT 2292 Two fyres on the auter gan she beete,
KnT 2293 And dide hir thynges, as men may biholde
KnT 2294 In Stace of Thebes and thise bookes olde.
KnT 2295 Whan kyndled was the fyr, with pitous cheere
KnT 2296 Unto Dyane she spak as ye may heere:
KnT 2297 “O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
KnT 2298 To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,
KnT 2299 Queene of the regne of Pluto derk and lowe,
KnT 2300 Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe
KnT 2301 Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
KnT 2302 As keepe me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
KnT 2303 That Attheon aboughte cruelly.
KnT 2304 Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
KnT 2305 Desire to ben a mayden al my lyf,
KnT 2306 Ne nevere wol I be no love ne wyf.
KnT 2307 I am, thow woost, yet of thy compaignye,
KnT 2308 A mayde, and love huntynge and venerye,
KnT 2309 And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
KnT 2310 And noght to ben a wyf and be with childe.
KnT 2311 Noght wol I knowe compaignye of man.
KnT 2312 Now help me, lady, sith ye may and kan,
KnT 2313 For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
KnT 2314 And Palamon, that hath swich love to me,
KnT 2315 And eek Arcite, that loveth me so soore,
KnT 2316 This grace I preye thee withoute moore,
KnT 2317 As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two,
KnT 2318 And fro me turne awey hir hertes so
KnT 2319 That al hire hoote love and hir desir,
KnT 2320 And al hir bisy torment, and hir fir
KnT 2321 Be queynt, or turned in another place.
KnT 2322 And if so be thou wolt nat do me grace,
KnT 2323 Or if my destynee be shapen so
KnT 2324 That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
KnT 2325 As sende me hym that moost desireth me.
KnT 2326 Bihoold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
KnT 2327 The bittre teeris that on my chekes falle.
KnT 2328 Syn thou art mayde and kepere of us alle,
KnT 2329 My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve,
KnT 2330 And whil I lyve, a mayde I wol thee serve.”
KnT 2331 The fires brenne upon the auter cleere,
KnT 2332 Whil Emelye was thus in hir preyere.
KnT 2333 But sodeynly she saugh a sighte queynte,
KnT 2334 For right anon oon of the fyres queynte
KnT 2335 And quyked agayn, and after that anon
KnT 2336 That oother fyr was queynt and al agon;
KnT 2337 And as it queynte it made a whistelynge,
KnT 2338 As doon thise wete brondes in hir brennynge,
KnT 2339 And at the brondes ende out ran anon
KnT 2340 As it were blody dropes many oon;
KnT 2341 For which so soore agast was Emelye
KnT 2342 That she was wel ny mad and gan to crye,
KnT 2343 For she ne wiste what it signyfied,
KnT 2344 But oonly for the feere thus hath she cried,
KnT 2345 And weep that it was pitee for to heere.
KnT 2346 And therwithal Dyane gan appeere,
KnT 2347 With bowe in honde, right as an hunteresse,
KnT 2348 And seyde, “Doghter, stynt thyn hevynesse.
KnT 2349 Among the goddes hye it is affermed,
KnT 2350 And by eterne word writen and confermed,
KnT 2351 Thou shalt ben wedded unto oon of tho
KnT 2352 That han for thee so muchel care and wo,
KnT 2353 But unto which of hem I may nat telle.
KnT 2354 Farwel, for I ne may no lenger dwelle.
KnT 2355 The fires which that on myn auter brenne
KnT 2356 Shulle thee declaren, er that thou go henne,
KnT 2357 Thyn aventure of love, as in this cas.”
KnT 2358 And with that word, the arwes in the caas
KnT 2359 Of the goddesse clateren faste and rynge,
KnT 2360 And forth she wente and made a vanysshynge;
KnT 2361 For which this Emelye astoned was,
KnT 2362 And seyde, “What amounteth this, allas?
KnT 2363 I putte me in thy proteccioun,
KnT 2364 Dyane, and in thy disposicioun.”
KnT 2365 And hoom she goth anon the nexte weye.
KnT 2366 This is th’ effect; ther is namoore to seye.
KnT 2367 The nexte houre of Mars folwynge this,
KnT 2368 Arcite unto the temple walked is
KnT 2369 Of fierse Mars to doon his sacrifise,
KnT 2370 With alle the rytes of his payen wyse.
KnT 2371 With pitous herte and heigh devocioun,
KnT 2372 Right thus to Mars he seyde his orisoun:
KnT 2373 “O stronge god, that in the regnes colde
KnT 2374 Of Trace honoured art and lord yholde,
KnT 2375 And hast in every regne and every lond
KnT 2376 Of armes al the brydel in thyn hond,
KnT 2377 And hem fortunest as thee lyst devyse,
KnT 2378 Accepte of me my pitous sacrifise.
KnT 2379 If so be that my youthe may deserve,
KnT 2380 And that my myght be worthy for to serve
KnT 2381 Thy godhede, that I may been oon of thyne,
KnT 2382 Thanne preye I thee to rewe upon my pyne.
KnT 2383 For thilke peyne and thilke hoote fir
KnT 2384 In which thow whilom brendest for desir,
KnT 2385 Whan that thow usedest the beautee
KnT 2386 Of faire, yonge, fresshe Venus free,
KnT 2387 And haddest hire in armes at thy wille —
KnT 2388 Although thee ones on a tyme mysfille,
KnT 2389 Whan Vulcanus hadde caught thee in his las
KnT 2390 And foond thee liggynge by his wyf, allas! —
KnT 2391 For thilke sorwe that was in thyn herte,
KnT 2392 Have routhe as wel upon my peynes smerte.
KnT 2393 I am yong and unkonnynge, as thow woost,
KnT 2394 And, as I trowe, with love offended moost
KnT 2395 That evere was any lyves creature,
KnT 2396 For she that dooth me al this wo endure
KnT 2397 Ne reccheth nevere wher I synke or fleete.
KnT 2398 And wel I woot, er she me mercy heete,
KnT 2399 I moot with strengthe wynne hire in the place,
KnT 2400 And wel I woot, withouten help or grace
KnT 2401 Of thee ne may my strengthe noght availle.
KnT 2402 Thanne help me, lord, tomorwe in my bataille,
KnT 2403 For thilke fyr that whilom brente thee,
KnT 2404 As wel as thilke fyr now brenneth me,
KnT 2405 And do that I tomorwe have victorie.
KnT 2406 Myn be the travaille, and thyn be the glorie!
KnT 2407 Thy sovereyn temple wol I moost honouren
KnT 2408 Of any place, and alwey moost labouren
KnT 2409 In thy plesaunce and in thy craftes stronge,
KnT 2410 And in thy temple I wol my baner honge
KnT 2411 And alle the armes of my compaignye,
KnT 2412 And everemo, unto that day I dye,
KnT 2413 Eterne fir I wol bifore thee fynde.
KnT 2414 And eek to this avow I wol me bynde:
KnT 2415 My beerd, myn heer, that hongeth long adoun,
KnT 2416 That nevere yet ne felte offensioun
KnT 2417 Of rasour nor of shere, I wol thee yive,
KnT 2418 And ben thy trewe servant whil I lyve.
KnT 2419 Now, lord, have routhe upon my sorwes soore;
KnT 2420 Yif me [victorie]; I aske thee namoore.”
KnT 2421 The preyere stynt of Arcita the stronge,
KnT 2422 The rynges on the temple dore that honge,
KnT 2423 And eek the dores, clatereden ful faste,
KnT 2424 Of which Arcita somwhat hym agaste.
KnT 2425 The fyres brenden upon the auter brighte
KnT 2426 That it gan al the temple for to lighte;
KnT 2427 A sweete smel the ground anon up yaf,
KnT 2428 And Arcita anon his hand up haf,
KnT 2429 And moore encens into the fyr he caste,
KnT 2430 With othere rytes mo; and atte laste
KnT 2431 The statue of Mars bigan his hauberk rynge,
KnT 2432 And with that soun he herde a murmurynge
KnT 2433 Ful lowe and dym, and seyde thus, “Victorie!”
KnT 2434 For which he yaf to Mars honour and glorie.
KnT 2435 And thus with joye and hope wel to fare
KnT 2436 Arcite anon unto his in is fare,
KnT 2437 As fayn as fowel is of the brighte sonne.
KnT 2438 And right anon swich strif ther is bigonne,
KnT 2439 For thilke grauntyng, in the hevene above,
KnT 2440 Bitwixe Venus, the goddesse of love,
KnT 2441 And Mars, the stierne god armypotente,
KnT 2442 That Juppiter was bisy it to stente,
KnT 2443 Til that the pale Saturnus the colde,
KnT 2444 That knew so manye of aventures olde,
KnT 2445 Foond in his olde experience an art
KnT 2446 That he ful soone hath plesed every part.
KnT 2447 As sooth is seyd, elde hath greet avantage;
KnT 2448 In elde is bothe wysdom and usage;
KnT 2449 Men may the olde atrenne and noght atrede.
KnT 2450 Saturne anon, to stynten strif and drede,
KnT 2451 Al be it that it is agayn his kynde,
KnT 2452 Of al this strif he gan remedie fynde.
KnT 2453 “My deere doghter Venus,” quod Saturne,
KnT 2454 “My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne,
KnT 2455 Hath moore power than woot any man.
KnT 2456 Myn is the drenchyng in the see so wan;
KnT 2457 Myn is the prison in the derke cote;
KnT 2458 Myn is the stranglyng and hangyng by the throte,
KnT 2459 The murmure and the cherles rebellyng,
KnT 2460 The groynynge, and the pryvee empoysonyng;
KnT 2461 I do vengeance and pleyn correccioun,
KnT 2462 Whil I dwelle in the signe of the leoun.
KnT 2463 Myn is the ruyne of the hye halles,
KnT 2464 The fallynge of the toures and of the walles
KnT 2465 Upon the mynour or the carpenter.
KnT 2466 I slow Sampsoun, shakynge the piler;
KnT 2467 And myne be the maladyes colde,
KnT 2468 The derke tresons, and the castes olde;
KnT 2469 My lookyng is the fader of pestilence.
KnT 2470 Now weep namoore; I shal doon diligence
KnT 2471 That Palamon, that is thyn owene knyght,
KnT 2472 Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight.
KnT 2473 Though Mars shal helpe his knyght, yet nathelees
KnT 2474 Bitwixe yow ther moot be som tyme pees,
KnT 2475 Al be ye noght of o compleccioun,
KnT 2476 That causeth al day swich divisioun.
KnT 2477 I am thyn aiel, redy at thy wille;
KnT 2478 Weep now namoore; I wol thy lust fulfille.”
KnT 2479 Now wol I stynten of the goddes above,
KnT 2480 Of Mars, and of Venus, goddesse of love,
KnT 2481 And telle yow as pleynly as I kan
KnT 2482 The grete effect, for which that I bygan.
KnT 2483 Greet was the feeste in Atthenes that day,
KnT 2484 And eek the lusty seson of that May
KnT 2485 Made every wight to been in swich plesaunce
KnT 2486 That al that Monday justen they and daunce,
KnT 2487 And spenden it in Venus heigh servyse.
KnT 2488 But by the cause that they sholde ryse
KnT 2489 Eerly, for to seen the grete fight,
KnT 2490 Unto hir reste wenten they at nyght.
KnT 2491 And on the morwe, whan that day gan sprynge,
KnT 2492 Of hors and harneys noyse and claterynge
KnT 2493 Ther was in hostelryes al aboute,
KnT 2494 And to the paleys rood ther many a route
KnT 2495 Of lordes upon steedes and palfreys.
KnT 2496 Ther maystow seen devisynge of harneys
KnT 2497 So unkouth and so riche, and wroght so weel
KnT 2498 Of goldsmythrye, of browdynge, and of steel;
KnT 2499 The sheeldes brighte, testeres, and trappures,
KnT 2500 Gold-hewen helmes, hauberkes, cote-armures;
KnT 2501 Lordes in parementz on hir courseres,
KnT 2502 Knyghtes of retenue, and eek squieres
KnT 2503 Nailynge the speres, and helmes bokelynge;
KnT 2504 Giggynge of sheeldes, with layneres lacynge —
KnT 2505 There as nede is they weren no thyng ydel;
KnT 2506 The fomy steedes on the golden brydel
KnT 2507 Gnawynge, and faste the armurers also
KnT 2508 With fyle and hamer prikynge to and fro;
KnT 2509 Yemen on foote, and communes many oon
KnT 2510 With shorte staves, thikke as they may goon;
KnT 2511 Pypes, trompes, nakers, clariounes,
KnT 2512 That in the bataille blowen blody sounes;
KnT 2513 The paleys ful of peple up and doun,
KnT 2514 Heere thre, ther ten, holdynge hir questioun,
KnT 2515 Dyvynynge of thise Thebane knyghtes two.
KnT 2516 Somme seyden thus, somme seyde “it shal be so”;
KnT 2517 Somme helden with hym with the blake berd,
KnT 2518 Somme with the balled, somme with the thikke herd;
KnT 2519 Somme seyde he looked grymme, and he wolde fighte:
KnT 2520 “He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte.”
KnT 2521 Thus was the halle ful of divynynge,
KnT 2522 Longe after that the sonne gan to sprynge.
KnT 2523 The grete Theseus, that of his sleep awaked
KnT 2524 With mynstralcie and noyse that was maked,
KnT 2525 Heeld yet the chambre of his paleys riche
KnT 2526 Til that the Thebane knyghtes, bothe yliche
KnT 2527 Honured, were into the paleys fet.
KnT 2528 Duc Theseus was at a wyndow set,
KnT 2529 Arrayed right as he were a god in trone.
KnT 2530 The peple preesseth thiderward ful soone
KnT 2531 Hym for to seen, and doon heigh reverence,
KnT 2532 And eek to herkne his heste and his sentence.
KnT 2533 An heraud on a scaffold made an “Oo!”
KnT 2534 Til al the noyse of peple was ydo,
KnT 2535 And whan he saugh the peple of noyse al stille,
KnT 2536 Tho shewed he the myghty dukes wille:
KnT 2537 “The lord hath of his heigh discrecioun
KnT 2538 Considered that it were destruccioun
KnT 2539 To gentil blood to fighten in the gyse
KnT 2540 Of mortal bataille now in this emprise.
KnT 2541 Wherfore, to shapen that they shal nat dye,
KnT 2542 He wol his firste purpos modifye.
KnT 2543 No man therfore, up peyne of los of lyf,
KnT 2544 No maner shot, ne polax, ne short knyf
KnT 2545 Into the lystes sende or thider brynge;
KnT 2546 Ne short swerd, for to stoke with poynt bitynge,
KnT 2547 No man ne drawe, ne bere it by his syde.
KnT 2548 Ne no man shal unto his felawe ryde
KnT 2549 But o cours with a sharpe ygrounde spere;
KnT 2550 Foyne, if hym list, on foote, hymself to were.
KnT 2551 And he that is at meschief shal be take
KnT 2552 And noght slayn, but be broght unto the stake
KnT 2553 That shal ben ordeyned on either syde;
KnT 2554 But thider he shal by force, and there abyde.
KnT 2555 And if so falle the chieftayn be take
KnT 2556 On outher syde, or elles sleen his make,
KnT 2557 No lenger shal the turneiynge laste.
KnT 2558 God spede you! Gooth forth and ley on faste!
KnT 2559 With long swerd and with mace fighteth youre fille.
KnT 2560 Gooth now youre wey; this is the lordes wille.”
KnT 2561 The voys of peple touchede the hevene,
KnT 2562 So loude cride they with murie stevene,
KnT 2563 “God save swich a lord, that is so good
KnT 2564 He wilneth no destruccion of blood!”
KnT 2565 Up goon the trompes and the melodye,
KnT 2566 And to the lystes rit the compaignye,
KnT 2567 By ordinance, thurghout the citee large,
KnT 2568 Hanged with clooth of gold, and nat with sarge.
KnT 2569 Ful lik a lord this noble duc gan ryde,
KnT 2570 Thise two Thebans upon either syde,
KnT 2571 And after rood the queene and Emelye,
KnT 2572 And after that another compaignye
KnT 2573 Of oon and oother, after hir degree.
KnT 2574 And thus they passen thurghout the citee,
KnT 2575 And to the lystes come they by tyme.
KnT 2576 It nas nat of the day yet fully pryme
KnT 2577 Whan set was Theseus ful riche and hye,
KnT 2578 Ypolita the queene, and Emelye,
KnT 2579 And othere ladys in degrees aboute.
KnT 2580 Unto the seetes preesseth al the route.
KnT 2581 And westward, thurgh the gates under Marte,
KnT 2582 Arcite, and eek the hondred of his parte,
KnT 2583 With baner reed is entred right anon;
KnT 2584 And in that selve moment Palamon
KnT 2585 Is under Venus, estward in the place,
KnT 2586 With baner whyt and hardy chiere and face.
KnT 2587 In al the world, to seken up and doun,
KnT 2588 So evene, withouten variacioun,
KnT 2589 Ther nere swiche compaignyes tweye,
KnT 2590 For ther was noon so wys that koude seye
KnT 2591 That any hadde of oother avauntage
KnT 2592 Of worthynesse, ne of estaat, ne age,
KnT 2593 So evene were they chosen, for to gesse.
KnT 2594 And in two renges faire they hem dresse.
KnT 2595 Whan that hir names rad were everichon,
KnT 2596 That in hir nombre gyle were ther noon,
KnT 2597 Tho were the gates shet, and cried was loude:
KnT 2598 “Do now youre devoir, yonge knyghtes proude!”
KnT 2599 The heraudes lefte hir prikyng up and doun;
KnT 2600 Now ryngen trompes loude and clarioun.
KnT 2601 Ther is namoore to seyn, but west and est
KnT 2602 In goon the speres ful sadly in arrest;
KnT 2603 In gooth the sharpe spore into the syde.
KnT 2604 Ther seen men who kan juste and who kan ryde;
KnT 2605 Ther shyveren shaftes upon sheeldes thikke;
KnT 2606 He feeleth thurgh the herte-spoon the prikke.
KnT 2607 Up spryngen speres twenty foot on highte;
KnT 2608 Out goon the swerdes as the silver brighte;
KnT 2609 The helmes they tohewen and toshrede;
KnT 2610 Out brest the blood with stierne stremes rede;
KnT 2611 With myghty maces the bones they tobreste.
KnT 2612 He thurgh the thikkeste of the throng gan threste;
KnT 2613 Ther stomblen steedes stronge, and doun gooth al,
KnT 2614 He rolleth under foot as dooth a bal;
KnT 2615 He foyneth on his feet with his tronchoun,
KnT 2616 And he hym hurtleth with his hors adoun;
KnT 2617 He thurgh the body is hurt and sithen ytake,
KnT 2618 Maugree his heed, and broght unto the stake;
KnT 2619 As forward was, right there he moste abyde.
KnT 2620 Another lad is on that oother syde.
KnT 2621 And some tyme dooth hem Theseus to reste,
KnT 2622 Hem to refresshe and drynken, if hem leste.
KnT 2623 Ful ofte a day han thise Thebanes two
KnT 2624 Togydre ymet, and wroght his felawe wo;
KnT 2625 Unhorsed hath ech oother of hem tweye.
KnT 2626 Ther nas no tygre in the vale of Galgopheye,
KnT 2627 Whan that hir whelp is stole whan it is lite,
KnT 2628 So crueel on the hunte as is Arcite
KnT 2629 For jelous herte upon this Palamon.
KnT 2630 Ne in Belmarye ther nys so fel leon,
KnT 2631 That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
KnT 2632 Ne of his praye desireth so the blood,
KnT 2633 As Palamon to sleen his foo Arcite.
KnT 2634 The jelous strokes on hir helmes byte;
KnT 2635 Out renneth blood on bothe hir sydes rede.
KnT 2636 Som tyme an ende ther is of every dede.
KnT 2637 For er the sonne unto the reste wente,
KnT 2638 The stronge kyng Emetreus gan hente
KnT 2639 This Palamon, as he faught with Arcite,
KnT 2640 And made his swerd depe in his flessh to byte,
KnT 2641 And by the force of twenty is he take
KnT 2642 Unyolden, and ydrawen to the stake.
KnT 2643 And in the rescus of this Palamoun
KnT 2644 The stronge kyng Lygurge is born adoun,
KnT 2645 And kyng Emetreus, for al his strengthe,
KnT 2646 Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
KnT 2647 So hitte him Palamoun er he were take.
KnT 2648 But al for noght; he was broght to the stake.
KnT 2649 His hardy herte myghte hym helpe naught:
KnT 2650 He moste abyde, whan that he was caught,
KnT 2651 By force and eek by composicioun.
KnT 2652 Who sorweth now but woful Palamoun,
KnT 2653 That moot namoore goon agayn to fighte?
KnT 2654 And whan that Theseus hadde seyn this sighte,
KnT 2655 Unto the folk that foghten thus echon
KnT 2656 He cryde, “Hoo! namoore, for it is doon!
KnT 2657 I wol be trewe juge, and no partie.
KnT 2658 Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelie,
KnT 2659 That by his fortune hath hire faire ywonne.”
KnT 2660 Anon ther is a noyse of peple bigonne
KnT 2661 For joye of this, so loude and heighe withalle
KnT 2662 It semed that the lystes sholde falle.
KnT 2663 What kan now faire Venus doon above?
KnT 2664 What seith she now? What dooth this queene of love,
KnT 2665 But wepeth so, for wantynge of hir wille,
KnT 2666 Til that hir teeres in the lystes fille?
KnT 2667 She seyde, “I am ashamed, doutelees.”
KnT 2668 Saturnus seyde, “Doghter, hoold thy pees!
KnT 2669 Mars hath his wille, his knyght hath al his boone,
KnT 2670 And, by myn heed, thow shalt been esed soone.”
KnT 2671 The trompours, with the loude mynstralcie,
KnT 2672 The heraudes, that ful loude yelle and crie,
KnT 2673 Been in hire wele for joye of daun Arcite.
KnT 2674 But herkneth me, and stynteth noyse a lite,
KnT 2675 Which a myracle ther bifel anon.
KnT 2676 This fierse Arcite hath of his helm ydon,
KnT 2677 And on a courser, for to shewe his face,
KnT 2678 He priketh endelong the large place
KnT 2679 Lokynge upward upon this Emelye;
KnT 2680 And she agayn hym caste a freendlich ye
KnT 2681 (For wommen, as to speken in comune,
KnT 2682 Thei folwen alle the favour of Fortune)
KnT 2683 And was al his chiere, as in his herte.
KnT 2684 Out of the ground a furie infernal sterte,
KnT 2685 From Pluto sent at requeste of Saturne,
KnT 2686 For which his hors for fere gan to turne,
KnT 2687 And leep aside, and foundred as he leep;
KnT 2688 And er that Arcite may taken keep,
KnT 2689 He pighte hym on the pomel of his heed,
KnT 2690 That in the place he lay as he were deed,
KnT 2691 His brest tobrosten with his sadel-bowe.
KnT 2692 As blak he lay as any cole or crowe,
KnT 2693 So was the blood yronnen in his face.
KnT 2694 Anon he was yborn out of the place,
KnT 2695 With herte soor, to Theseus paleys.
KnT 2696 Tho was he korven out of his harneys
KnT 2697 And in a bed ybrought ful faire and blyve,
KnT 2698 For he was yet in memorie and alyve,
KnT 2699 And alwey criynge after Emelye.
KnT 2700 Duc Theseus, with al his compaignye,
KnT 2701 Is comen hoom to Atthenes his citee,
KnT 2702 With alle blisse and greet solempnitee.
KnT 2703 Al be it that this aventure was falle,
KnT 2704 He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.
KnT 2705 Men seyde eek that Arcite shal nat dye;
KnT 2706 He shal been heeled of his maladye.
KnT 2707 And of another thyng they weren as fayn,
KnT 2708 That of hem alle was ther noon yslayn,
KnT 2709 Al were they soore yhurt, and namely oon,
KnT 2710 That with a spere was thirled his brest boon.
KnT 2711 To othere woundes and to broken armes
KnT 2712 Somme hadden salves, and somme hadden charmes;
KnT 2713 Fermacies of herbes, and eek save
KnT 2714 They dronken, for they wolde hir lymes have.
KnT 2715 For which this noble duc, as he wel kan,
KnT 2716 Conforteth and honoureth every man,
KnT 2717 And made revel al the longe nyght
KnT 2718 Unto the straunge lordes, as was right.
KnT 2719 Ne ther was holden no disconfitynge
KnT 2720 But as a justes or a tourneiynge;
KnT 2721 For soothly ther was no disconfiture.
KnT 2722 For fallyng nys nat but an aventure,
KnT 2723 Ne to be lad by force unto the stake
KnT 2724 Unyolden, and with twenty knyghtes take,
KnT 2725 O persone allone, withouten mo,
KnT 2726 And haryed forth by arme, foot, and too,
KnT 2727 And eke his steede dryven forth with staves
KnT 2728 With footmen, bothe yemen and eek knaves —
KnT 2729 It nas arretted hym no vileynye;
KnT 2730 Ther may no man clepen it cowardye.
KnT 2731 For which anon duc Theseus leet crye,
KnT 2732 To stynten alle rancour and envye,
KnT 2733 The gree as wel of o syde as of oother,
KnT 2734 And eyther syde ylik as ootheres brother;
KnT 2735 And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree,
KnT 2736 And fully heeld a feeste dayes three,
KnT 2737 And conveyed the kynges worthily
KnT 2738 Out of his toun a journee largely.
KnT 2739 And hoom wente every man the righte way.
KnT 2740 Ther was namoore but “Fare wel, have good day!”
KnT 2741 Of this bataille I wol namoore endite,
KnT 2742 But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
KnT 2743 Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the soore
KnT 2744 Encreesseth at his herte moore and moore.
KnT 2745 The clothered blood, for any lechecraft,
KnT 2746 Corrupteth, and is in his bouk ylaft,
KnT 2747 That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusynge,
KnT 2748 Ne drynke of herbes may ben his helpynge.
KnT 2749 The vertu expulsif, or animal,
KnT 2750 Fro thilke vertu cleped natural
KnT 2751 Ne may the venym voyden ne expelle.
KnT 2752 The pipes of his longes gonne to swelle,
KnT 2753 And every lacerte in his brest adoun
KnT 2754 Is shent with venym and corrupcioun.
KnT 2755 Hym gayneth neither, for to gete his lif,
KnT 2756 Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif.
KnT 2757 Al is tobrosten thilke regioun;
KnT 2758 Nature hath now no dominacioun.
KnT 2759 And certeinly, ther Nature wol nat wirche,
KnT 2760 Fare wel phisik! Go ber the man to chirche!
KnT 2761 This al and som, that Arcita moot dye;
KnT 2762 For which he sendeth after Emelye,
KnT 2763 And Palamon, that was his cosyn deere.
KnT 2764 Thanne seyde he thus, as ye shal after heere:
KnT 2765 “Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte
KnT 2766 Declare o point of alle my sorwes smerte
KnT 2767 To yow, my lady, that I love moost,
KnT 2768 But I biquethe the servyce of my goost
KnT 2769 To yow aboven every creature,
KnT 2770 Syn that my lyf may no lenger dure.
KnT 2771 Allas, the wo! Allas, the peynes stronge,
KnT 2772 That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
KnT 2773 Allas, the deeth! Allas, myn Emelye!
KnT 2774 Allas, departynge of oure compaignye!
KnT 2775 Allas, myn hertes queene! Allas, my wyf,
KnT 2776 Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
KnT 2777 What is this world? What asketh men to have?
KnT 2778 Now with his love, now in his colde grave
KnT 2779 Allone, withouten any compaignye.
KnT 2780 Fare wel, my sweete foo, myn Emelye!
KnT 2781 And softe taak me in youre armes tweye,
KnT 2782 For love of God, and herkneth what I seye.
KnT 2783 “I have heer with my cosyn Palamon
KnT 2784 Had strif and rancour many a day agon
KnT 2785 For love of yow, and for my jalousye.
KnT 2786 And Juppiter so wys my soule gye,
KnT 2787 To speken of a servaunt proprely,
KnT 2788 With alle circumstances trewely —
KnT 2789 That is to seyen, trouthe, honour, knyghthede,
KnT 2790 Wysdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kynrede,
KnT 2791 Fredom, and al that longeth to that art —
KnT 2792 So Juppiter have of my soule part,
KnT 2793 As in this world right now ne knowe I non
KnT 2794 So worthy to ben loved as Palamon,
KnT 2795 That serveth yow, and wol doon al his lyf.
KnT 2796 And if that evere ye shul ben a wyf,
KnT 2797 Foryet nat Palamon, the gentil man.”
KnT 2798 And with that word his speche faille gan,
KnT 2799 For from his feet up to his brest was come
KnT 2800 The coold of deeth, that hadde hym overcome,
KnT 2801 And yet mooreover, for in his armes two
KnT 2802 The vital strengthe is lost and al ago.
KnT 2803 Oonly the intellect, withouten moore,
KnT 2804 That dwelled in his herte syk and soore,
KnT 2805 Gan faillen whan the herte felte deeth.
KnT 2806 Dusked his eyen two, and failled breeth,
KnT 2807 But on his lady yet caste he his ye;
KnT 2808 His laste word was, “Mercy, Emelye!”
KnT 2809 His spirit chaunged hous and wente ther,
KnT 2810 As I cam nevere, I kan nat tellen wher.
KnT 2811 Therfore I stynte; I nam no divinistre;
KnT 2812 Of soules fynde I nat in this registre,
KnT 2813 Ne me ne list thilke opinions to telle
KnT 2814 Of hem, though that they writen wher they dwelle.
KnT 2815 Arcite is coold, ther Mars his soule gye!
KnT 2816 Now wol I speken forth of Emelye.
KnT 2817 Shrighte Emelye, and howleth Palamon,
KnT 2818 And Theseus his suster took anon
KnT 2819 Swownynge, and baar hire fro the corps away.
KnT 2820 What helpeth it to tarien forth the day
KnT 2821 To tellen how she weep bothe eve and morwe?
KnT 2822 For in swich cas wommen have swich sorwe,
KnT 2823 Whan that hir housbondes ben from hem ago,
KnT 2824 That for the moore part they sorwen so,
KnT 2825 Or ellis fallen in swich maladye
KnT 2826 That at the laste certeinly they dye.
KnT 2827 Infinite been the sorwes and the teeres
KnT 2828 Of olde folk and folk of tendre yeeres
KnT 2829 In al the toun for deeth of this Theban.
KnT 2830 For hym ther wepeth bothe child and man;
KnT 2831 So greet wepyng was ther noon, certayn,
KnT 2832 Whan Ector was ybroght, al fressh yslayn,
KnT 2833 To Troye. Allas, the pitee that was ther,
KnT 2834 Cracchynge of chekes, rentynge eek of heer.
KnT 2835 “Why woldestow be deed,” thise wommen crye,
KnT 2836 “And haddest gold ynough, and Emelye?”
KnT 2837 No man myghte gladen Theseus,
KnT 2838 Savynge his olde fader Egeus,
KnT 2839 That knew this worldes transmutacioun,
KnT 2840 As he hadde seyn it chaunge bothe up and doun,
KnT 2841 Joye after wo, and wo after gladnesse,
KnT 2842 And shewed hem ensamples and liknesse.
KnT 2843 “Right as ther dyed nevere man,” quod he,
KnT 2844 “That he ne lyvede in erthe in some degree,
KnT 2845 Right so ther lyvede never man,” he seyde,
KnT 2846 “In al this world, that som tyme he ne deyde.
KnT 2847 This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo,
KnT 2848 And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro.
KnT 2849 Deeth is an ende of every worldly soore.”
KnT 2850 And over al this yet seyde he muchel moore
KnT 2851 To this effect, ful wisely to enhorte
KnT 2852 The peple that they sholde hem reconforte.
KnT 2853 Duc Theseus, with al his bisy cure,
KnT 2854 Caste now wher that the sepulture
KnT 2855 Of goode Arcite may best ymaked be,
KnT 2856 And eek moost honurable in his degree.
KnT 2857 And at the laste he took conclusioun
KnT 2858 That ther as first Arcite and Palamoun
KnT 2859 Hadden for love the bataille hem bitwene,
KnT 2860 That in that selve grove, swoote and grene,
KnT 2861 Ther as he hadde his amorouse desires,
KnT 2862 His compleynte, and for love his hoote fires,
KnT 2863 He wolde make a fyr in which the office
KnT 2864 Funeral he myghte al accomplice.
KnT 2865 And leet comande anon to hakke and hewe
KnT 2866 The okes olde, and leye hem on a rewe
KnT 2867 In colpons wel arrayed for to brenne.
KnT 2868 His officers with swifte feet they renne
KnT 2869 And ryde anon at his comandement.
KnT 2870 And after this, Theseus hath ysent
KnT 2871 After a beere, and it al overspradde
KnT 2872 With clooth of gold, the richeste that he hadde.
KnT 2873 And of the same suyte he cladde Arcite;
KnT 2874 Upon his hondes hadde he gloves white,
KnT 2875 Eek on his heed a coroune of laurer grene,
KnT 2876 And in his hond a swerd ful bright and kene.
KnT 2877 He leyde hym, bare the visage, on the beere;
KnT 2878 Therwith he weep that pitee was to heere.
KnT 2879 And for the peple sholde seen hym alle,
KnT 2880 Whan it was day, he broghte hym to the halle,
KnT 2881 That roreth of the criyng and the soun.
KnT 2882 Tho cam this woful Theban Palamoun,
KnT 2883 With flotery berd and ruggy, asshy heeres,
KnT 2884 In clothes blake, ydropped al with teeres;
KnT 2885 And, passynge othere of wepynge, Emelye,
KnT 2886 The rewefulleste of al the compaignye.
KnT 2887 In as muche as the servyce sholde be
KnT 2888 The moore noble and riche in his degree,
KnT 2889 Duc Theseus leet forth thre steedes brynge,
KnT 2890 That trapped were in steel al gliterynge,
KnT 2891 And covered with the armes of daun Arcite.
KnT 2892 Upon thise steedes, that weren grete and white,
KnT 2893 Ther seten folk, of whiche oon baar his sheeld,
KnT 2894 Another his spere up on his hondes heeld,
KnT 2895 The thridde baar with hym his bowe Turkeys
KnT 2896 (Of brend gold was the caas and eek the harneys);
KnT 2897 And riden forth a paas with sorweful cheere
KnT 2898 Toward the grove, as ye shul after heere.
KnT 2899 The nobleste of the Grekes that ther were
KnT 2900 Upon hir shuldres caryeden the beere,
KnT 2901 With slakke paas and eyen rede and wete,
KnT 2902 Thurghout the citee by the maister strete,
KnT 2903 That sprad was al with blak, and wonder hye
KnT 2904 Right of the same is the strete ywrye.
KnT 2905 Upon the right hond wente olde Egeus,
KnT 2906 And on that oother syde duc Theseus,
KnT 2907 With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fyn,
KnT 2908 Al ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wyn;
KnT 2909 Eek Palamon, with ful greet compaignye;
KnT 2910 And after that cam woful Emelye,
KnT 2911 With fyr in honde, as was that tyme the gyse,
KnT 2912 To do the office of funeral servyse.
KnT 2913 Heigh labour and ful greet apparaillynge
KnT 2914 Was at the service and the fyr-makynge,
KnT 2915 That with his grene top the hevene raughte;
KnT 2916 And twenty fadme of brede the armes straughte —
KnT 2917 This is to seyn, the bowes weren so brode.
KnT 2918 Of stree first ther was leyd ful many a lode.
KnT 2919 But how the fyr was maked upon highte,
KnT 2920 Ne eek the names that the trees highte,
KnT 2921 As ook, firre, birch, aspe, alder, holm, popler,
KnT 2922 Wylugh, elm, plane, assh, box, chasteyn, lynde, laurer,
KnT 2923 Mapul, thorn, bech, hasel, ew, whippeltree —
KnT 2924 How they weren feld shal nat be toold for me;
KnT 2925 Ne hou the goddes ronnen up and doun,
KnT 2926 Disherited of hire habitacioun,
KnT 2927 In which they woneden in reste and pees,
KnT 2928 Nymphes, fawnes and amadrides;
KnT 2929 Ne hou the beestes and the briddes alle
KnT 2930 Fledden for fere, whan the wode was falle;
KnT 2931 Ne how the ground agast was of the light,
KnT 2932 That was nat wont to seen the sonne bright;
KnT 2933 Ne how the fyr was couched first with stree,
KnT 2934 And thanne with drye stikkes cloven a thre,
KnT 2935 And thanne with grene wode and spicerye,
KnT 2936 And thanne with clooth of gold and with perrye,
KnT 2937 And gerlandes, hangynge with ful many a flour;
KnT 2938 The mirre, th’ encens, with al so greet odour;
KnT 2939 Ne how Arcite lay among al this,
KnT 2940 Ne what richesse aboute his body is;
KnT 2941 Ne how that Emelye, as was the gyse,
KnT 2942 Putte in the fyr of funeral servyse;
KnT 2943 Ne how she swowned whan men made the fyr,
KnT 2944 Ne what she spak, ne what was hir desir;
KnT 2945 Ne what jeweles men in the fyre caste,
KnT 2946 Whan that the fyr was greet and brente faste;
KnT 2947 Ne how somme caste hir sheeld, and somme hir spere,
KnT 2948 And of hire vestimentz, whiche that they were,
KnT 2949 And coppes fulle of wyn, and milk, and blood,
KnT 2950 Into the fyr, that brente as it were wood;
KnT 2951 Ne how the Grekes, with an huge route,
KnT 2952 Thries riden al the fyr aboute
KnT 2953 Upon the left hand, with a loud shoutynge,
KnT 2954 And thries with hir speres claterynge;
KnT 2955 And thries how the ladyes gonne crye;
KnT 2956 And how that lad was homward Emelye;
KnT 2957 Ne how Arcite is brent to asshen colde;
KnT 2958 Ne how that lyche-wake was yholde
KnT 2959 Al thilke nyght; ne how the Grekes pleye
KnT 2960 The wake-pleyes; ne kepe I nat to seye
KnT 2961 Who wrastleth best naked with oille enoynt,
KnT 2962 Ne who that baar hym best, in no disjoynt.
KnT 2963 I wol nat tellen eek how that they goon
KnT 2964 Hoom til Atthenes, whan the pley is doon;
KnT 2965 But shortly to the point thanne wol I wende
KnT 2966 And maken of my longe tale an ende.
KnT 2967 By processe and by lengthe of certeyn yeres,
KnT 2968 Al stynted is the moornynge and the teres
KnT 2969 Of Grekes, by oon general assent.
KnT 2970 Thanne semed me ther was a parlement
KnT 2971 At Atthenes, upon certein pointz and caas;
KnT 2972 Among the whiche pointz yspoken was,
KnT 2973 To have with certein contrees alliaunce,
KnT 2974 And have fully of Thebans obeisaunce.
KnT 2975 For which this noble Theseus anon
KnT 2976 Leet senden after gentil Palamon,
KnT 2977 Unwist of hym what was the cause and why,
KnT 2978 But in his blake clothes sorwefully
KnT 2979 He cam at his comandement in hye.
KnT 2980 Tho sente Theseus for Emelye.
KnT 2981 Whan they were set, and hust was al the place,
KnT 2982 And Theseus abiden hadde a space
KnT 2983 Er any word cam fram his wise brest,
KnT 2984 His eyen sette he ther as was his lest.
KnT 2985 And with a sad visage he siked stille,
KnT 2986 And after that right thus he seyde his wille:
KnT 2987 “The Firste Moevere of the cause above,
KnT 2988 Whan he first made the faire cheyne of love,
KnT 2989 Greet was th’ effect, and heigh was his entente.
KnT 2990 Wel wiste he why, and what thereof he mente,
KnT 2991 For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
KnT 2992 The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
KnT 2993 In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee.
KnT 2994 That same Prince and that Moevere,” quod he,
KnT 2995 “Hath stablissed in this wrecched world adoun
KnT 2996 Certeyne dayes and duracioun
KnT 2997 To al that is engendred in this place,
KnT 2998 Over the whiche day they may nat pace,
KnT 2999 Al mowe they yet tho dayes wel abregge.
KnT 3000 Ther nedeth noght noon auctoritee t’ allegge,
KnT 3001 For it is preeved by experience,
KnT 3002 But that me list declaren my sentence.
KnT 3003 Thanne may men by this ordre wel discerne
KnT 3004 That thilke Moevere stable is and eterne.
KnT 3005 Wel may men knowe, but it be a fool,
KnT 3006 That every part dirryveth from his hool,
KnT 3007 For nature hath nat taken his bigynnyng
KnT 3008 Of no partie or cantel of a thyng,
KnT 3009 But of a thyng that parfit is and stable,
KnT 3010 Descendynge so til it be corrumpable.
KnT 3011 And therfore, of his wise purveiaunce,
KnT 3012 He hath so wel biset his ordinaunce
KnT 3013 That speces of thynges and progressiouns
KnT 3014 Shullen enduren by successiouns,
KnT 3015 And nat eterne, withouten any lye.
KnT 3016 This maystow understonde and seen at ye.
KnT 3017 “Loo the ook, that hath so long a norisshynge
KnT 3018 From tyme that it first bigynneth to sprynge,
KnT 3019 And hath so long a lif, as we may see,
KnT 3020 Yet at the laste wasted is the tree.
KnT 3021 “Considereth eek how that the harde stoon
KnT 3022 Under oure feet, on which we trede and goon,
KnT 3023 Yet wasteth it as it lyth by the weye.
KnT 3024 The brode ryver somtyme wexeth dreye;
KnT 3025 The grete tounes se we wane and wende.
KnT 3026 Thanne may ye se that al this thyng hath ende.
KnT 3027 “Of man and womman seen we wel also
KnT 3028 That nedes, in oon of thise termes two —
KnT 3029 This is to seyn, in youthe or elles age —
KnT 3030 He moot be deed, the kyng as shal a page;
KnT 3031 Som in his bed, som in the depe see,
KnT 3032 Som in the large feeld, as men may see;
KnT 3033 Ther helpeth noght; al goth that ilke weye.
KnT 3034 Thanne may I seyn that al this thyng moot deye.
KnT 3035 “What maketh this but Juppiter, the kyng,
KnT 3036 That is prince and cause of alle thyng,
KnT 3037 Convertynge al unto his propre welle
KnT 3038 From which it is dirryved, sooth to telle?
KnT 3039 And heer-agayns no creature on lyve,
KnT 3040 Of no degree, availleth for to stryve.
KnT 3041 “Thanne is it wysdom, as it thynketh me,
KnT 3042 To maken vertu of necessitee,
KnT 3043 And take it weel that we may nat eschue,
KnT 3044 And namely that to us alle is due.
KnT 3045 And whoso gruccheth ought, he dooth folye,
KnT 3046 And rebel is to hym that al may gye.
KnT 3047 And certeinly a man hath moost honour
KnT 3048 To dyen in his excellence and flour,
KnT 3049 Whan he is siker of his goode name;
KnT 3050 Thanne hath he doon his freend, ne hym, no shame.
KnT 3051 And gladder oghte his freend been of his deeth,
KnT 3052 Whan with honour up yolden is his breeth,
KnT 3053 Than whan his name apalled is for age,
KnT 3054 For al forgeten is his vassellage.
KnT 3055 Thanne is it best, as for a worthy fame,
KnT 3056 To dyen whan that he is best of name.
KnT 3057 “The contrarie of al this is wilfulnesse.
KnT 3058 Why grucchen we, why have we hevynesse,
KnT 3059 That goode Arcite, of chivalrie flour,
KnT 3060 Departed is with duetee and honour
KnT 3061 Out of this foule prisoun of this lyf?
KnT 3062 Why grucchen heere his cosyn and his wyf
KnT 3063 Of his welfare, that loved hem so weel?
KnT 3064 Kan he hem thank? Nay, God woot, never a deel,
KnT 3065 That both his soule and eek hemself offende,
KnT 3066 And yet they mowe hir lustes nat amende.
KnT 3067 “What may I conclude of this longe serye,
KnT 3068 But after wo I rede us to be merye
KnT 3069 And thanken Juppiter of al his grace?
KnT 3070 And er that we departen from this place
KnT 3071 I rede that we make of sorwes two
KnT 3072 O parfit joye, lastynge everemo.
KnT 3073 And looketh now, wher moost sorwe is herinne,
KnT 3074 Ther wol we first amenden and bigynne.
KnT 3075 “Suster,” quod he, “this is my fulle assent,
KnT 3076 With al th’ avys heere of my parlement,
KnT 3077 That gentil Palamon, youre owene knyght,
KnT 3078 That serveth yow with wille, herte, and myght,
KnT 3079 And ever hath doon syn ye first hym knewe,
KnT 3080 That ye shul of youre grace upon hym rewe,
KnT 3081 And taken hym for housbonde and for lord.
KnT 3082 Lene me youre hond, for this is oure accord.
KnT 3083 Lat se now of youre wommanly pitee.
KnT 3084 He is a kynges brother sone, pardee;
KnT 3085 And though he were a povre bacheler,
KnT 3086 Syn he hath served yow so many a yeer,
KnT 3087 And had for yow so greet adversitee,
KnT 3088 It moste been considered, leeveth me,
KnT 3089 For gentil mercy oghte to passen right.”
KnT 3090 Thanne seyde he thus to Palamon the knight:
KnT 3091 “I trowe ther nedeth litel sermonyng
KnT 3092 To make yow assente to this thyng.
KnT 3093 Com neer, and taak youre lady by the hond.”
KnT 3094 Bitwixen hem was maad anon the bond
KnT 3095 That highte matrimoigne or mariage,
KnT 3096 By al the conseil and the baronage.
KnT 3097 And thus with alle blisse and melodye
KnT 3098 Hath Palamon ywedded Emelye.
KnT 3099 And God, that al this wyde world hath wroght,
KnT 3100 Sende hym his love that hath it deere aboght;
KnT 3101 For now is Palamon in alle wele,
KnT 3102 Lyvynge in blisse, in richesse, and in heele,
KnT 3103 And Emelye hym loveth so tendrely,
KnT 3104 And he hire serveth so gentilly,
KnT 3105 That nevere was ther no word hem bitwene
KnT 3106 Of jalousie or any oother teene.
KnT 3107 Thus endeth Palamon and Emelye;
KnT 3108 And God save al this faire compaignye! Amen.