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