Proemium. to Book 4
But al to litel, weylaway
Lasteth swich Ioye, y-thonked be Fortune!
That semeth trewest, whan she wol bygyle,
And can to foles so hir song entune,
5 That she hem hent and blent, traytour comune;
And whan a wight is from hir wheel y-throwe,
Than laugheth she, and maketh him the mowe.
From Troilus she gan hir brighte
Awey to wrythe, and took of him non hede,
10 But caste him clene out of his lady grace,
And on hir wheel she sette up Diomede;
For which right now myn herte ginneth blede,
And now my penne, allas! With which I wryte,
Quaketh for drede of that I moot endyte.
15 For how Criseyde Troilus forsook,
Or at the leste, how that she was unkinde,
Mot hennes-forth ben matere of my book,
As wryten folk through which it is in minde.
Allas! That they sholde ever cause finde
20 To speke hir harm; and if they on hir lye,
Y-wis, hem-self sholde han the vilanye.
O ye Herines, Nightes doughtren
That endelees compleynen ever in pyne,
Megera, Alete, and eek Thesiphone;
25 Thou cruel Mars eek, fader to Quiryne,
This ilke ferthe book me helpeth fyne,
So that the los of lyf and love y-fere
Of Troilus be fully shewed here.
End of Proemium.
Suddenly Criseyde's father arranges for her to leave Troy and join him, as part of an exchange of prisoners. Ironically, the Trojan prisoner the Greeks offer in exchange is Antenor, who is depicted in some stories as betraying Troy at the end of the siege. Troilus dares say nothing, in case his secret love be discovered. The Trojans agree to the exchange. Troilus is in great distress.
He rist him up, and every dore he shette
And windowe eek, and tho this sorweful man
Up-on his beddes syde a-doun him sette,
235 Ful lyk a deed image pale and wan;
And in his brest the heped wo bigan
Out-breste, and he to werken in this wyse
In his woodnesse, as I shal yow devyse.
Right as the wilde bole biginneth
240 Now here, now there, y-darted to the herte,
And of his deeth roreth in compleyninge,
Right so gan he aboute the chaumbre sterte,
Smyting his brest ay with his festes smerte;
His heed to the wal, his body to the grounde
245 Ful ofte he swapte, him-selven to confounde.
His eyen two, for pitee of his
Out stremeden as swifte welles tweye;
The heighe sobbes of his sorwes smerte
His speche him refte, unnethes mighte he seye,
250 `O deeth, allas! Why niltow do me deye?
A-cursed be the day which that nature
Shoop me to ben a lyves creature!'
But after, whan the furie and the
Which that his herte twiste and faste threste,
255 By lengthe of tyme somwhat gan asswage,
Up-on his bed he leyde him doun to reste;
But tho bigonne his teres more out-breste,
That wonder is, the body may suffyse
To half this wo, which that I yow devyse.
260 Than seyde he thus, `Fortune! Allas the whyle!
What have I doon, what have I thus a-gilt?
How mightestow for reuthe me bigyle?
Is ther no grace, and shal I thus be spilt?
Shal thus Criseyde awey, for that thou wilt?
265 Allas! How maystow in thyn herte finde
To been to me thus cruel and unkinde?
`Have I thee nought honoured al
As thou wel wost, above the goddes alle?
Why wiltow me fro Ioye thus depryve?
270 O Troilus, what may men now thee calle
But wrecche of wrecches, out of honour falle
In-to miserie, in which I wol biwayle
Criseyde, allas! Til that the breeth me fayle?
`Allas, Fortune! If that my lyf
275 Displesed hadde un-to thy foule envye,
Why ne haddestow my fader, king of Troye,
By-raft the lyf, or doon my bretheren dye,
Or slayn my-self, that thus compleyne and crye,
I, combre-world, that may of no-thing serve,
280 But ever dye, and never fully sterve?
`If that Criseyde allone were me
Nought roughte I whider thou woldest me stere;
And hir, allas! Than hastow me biraft.
But ever-more, lo! This is thy manere,
285 To reve a wight that most is to him dere,
To preve in that thy gerful violence.
Thus am I lost, ther helpeth no defence!
`O verray lord of love, O god,
That knowest best myn herte and al my thought,
290 What shal my sorwful lyf don in this cas
If I for-go that I so dere have bought?
Sin ye Cryseyde and me han fully brought
In-to your grace, and bothe our hertes seled,
How may ye suffre, allas! It be repeled?
295 `What I may doon, I shal, whyl I may dure
On lyve in torment and in cruel peyne,
This infortune or this disaventure,
Allone as I was born, y-wis, compleyne;
Ne never wil I seen it shyne or reyne;
300 But ende I wil, as Edippe, in derknesse
My sorwful lyf, and dyen in distresse.
`O wery goost, that errest to and
Why niltow fleen out of the wofulleste
Body, that ever mighte on grounde go?
305 O soule, lurkinge in this wo, unneste,
Flee forth out of myn herte, and lat it breste,
And folwe alwey Criseyde, thy lady dere;
Thy righte place is now no lenger here!
`O wofulle eyen two, sin your disport
310 Was al to seen Criseydes eyen brighte,
What shal ye doon but, for my discomfort,
Stonden for nought, and wepen out your sighte?
Sin she is queynt, that wont was yow to lighte,
In veyn fro-this-forth have I eyen tweye
315 Y-formed, sin your vertue is a-weye.
`O my Criseyde, O lady sovereyne
Of thilke woful soule that thus cryeth,
Who shal now yeven comfort to the peyne?
Allas, no wight; but when myn herte dyeth,
320 My spirit, which that so un-to yow hyeth,
Receyve in gree, for that shal ay yow serve;
For-thy no fors is, though the body sterve.
`O ye loveres, that heighe upon
Ben set of Fortune, in good aventure,
325 God leve that ye finde ay love of steel,
And longe mot your lyf in Ioye endure!
But whan ye comen by my sepulture,
Remembreth that your felawe resteth there;
For I lovede eek, though I unworthy were.
330 `O olde, unholsom, and mislyved man,
Calkas I mene, allas! What eyleth thee
To been a Greek, sin thou art born Troian?
O Calkas, which that wilt my bane be,
In cursed tyme was thou born for me!
335 As wolde blisful Iove, for his Ioye,
That I thee hadde, where I wolde, in Troye!'
A thousand sykes, hottere than
Out of his brest ech after other wente,
Medled with pleyntes newe, his wo to fede,
340 For which his woful teres never stente;
And shortly, so his peynes him to-rente,
And wex so mat, that Ioye nor penaunce
He feleth noon, but lyth forth in a traunce.
Pandare comments on the strange ways of Fortune, then tries to encourage Troilus by pointing out that there are plenty of other women in Troy. He will surely find some one more beautiful than Criseyde. Troilus rejects his advice, insisting that he will love Criseyde faithfully untuil he dies. Pandare suggests that they elope, or get married publicly but Troilus insists that it is not possible, both because of his father and because of her reputation. Pandare asks if he has discussed this with her; he says he has not and Pandare promises to arrange a meeting between them soon. Meanwhile women come to congratulate Criseyde on her coming reunion with her father. She withdraws and begins to lament, swearing to starve herself to death, and always wear black. Then Pandare comes:
And in hir aspre pleynte than she
`Pandare first of Ioyes mo than two
Was cause causinge un-to me, Criseyde,
830 That now transmuwed been in cruel wo.
Wher shal I seye to yow "wel come" or no,
That alderfirst me broughte in-to servyse
Of love, allas! That endeth in swich wyse?
`Endeth than love in wo? Ye, or
835 And alle worldly blisse, as thinketh me.
The ende of blisse ay sorwe it occupyeth;
And who-so troweth not that it so be,
Lat him upon me, woful wrecche, y-see,
That my-self hate, and ay my birthe acorse,
840 Felinge alwey, fro wikke I go to worse.
`Who-so me seeth, he seeth sorwe
al at ones,
Peyne, torment, pleynte, wo, distresse.
Out of my woful body harm ther noon is,
As anguish, langour, cruel bitternesse,
845 A-noy, smert, drede, fury, and eek siknesse.
I trowe, y-wis, from hevene teres reyne,
For pitee of myn aspre and cruel peyne! '
`And thou, my suster, ful of discomfort,'
Quod Pandarus, `what thenkestow to do?
850 Why ne hastow to thy-selven som resport,
Why woltow thus thy-selve, allas, for-do?
Leef al this werk and tak now hede to
That I shal seyn, and herkne, of good entente,
This, which by me thy Troilus thee sente.'
855 Torned hir tho Criseyde, a wo makinge
So greet that it a deeth was for to see: --
`Allas!' quod she, `what wordes may ye bringe?
What wol my dere herte seyn to me,
Which that I drede never-mo to see?
860 Wol he have pleynte or teres, er I wende?
I have y-nowe, if he ther-after sende!'
She was right swich to seen in
As is that wight that men on bere binde;
Hir face, lyk of Paradys the image,
865 Was al y-chaunged in another kinde.
The pleye, the laughtre men was wont to finde
On hir, and eek hir Ioyes everychone,
Ben fled, and thus lyth now Criseyde allone.
Aboute hir eyen two a purpre ring
870 Bi-trent, in sothfast tokninge of hir peyne,
That to biholde it was a dedly thing,
For which Pandare mighte not restreyne
The teres from his eyen for to reyne.
But nathelees, as he best mighte, he seyde
875 From Troilus thise wordes to Criseyde.
Troilus laments at great length in Boethian terms; Pandare joins in too. Then at last they come to Criseyde:
Goth Pandarus, and Troilus he soughte,
Til in a temple he fond him allone,
As he that of his lyf no lenger roughte;
But to the pitouse goddes everichone
950 Ful tendrely he preyde, and made his mone,
To doon him sone out of this world to pace;
For wel he thoughte ther was non other grace.
And shortly, al the sothe for to
He was so fallen in despeyr that day,
955 That outrely he shoop him for to deye.
For right thus was his argument alwey:
He seyde, he nas but loren, waylawey!
`For al that comth, comth by necessitee;
Thus to be lorn, it is my destinee.
960 `For certaynly, this wot I wel,' he seyde,
`That for-sight of divyne purveyaunce
Hath seyn alwey me to for-gon Criseyde,
Sin god seeth every thing, out of doutaunce,
And hem disponeth, thourgh his ordenaunce,
965 In hir merytes sothly for to be,
As they shul comen by predestinee.
`But nathelees, allas! Whom shal
For ther ben grete clerkes many oon,
That destinee thorugh argumentes preve;
970 And som men seyn that nedely ther is noon;
But that free chois is yeven us everichoon.
O, welaway! So sleye arn clerkes olde,
That I not whos opinion I may holde.
`For som men seyn, if god seth
975 Ne god may not deceyved ben, pardee,
Than moot it fallen, though men hadde it sworn,
That purveyaunce hath seyn bifore to be.
Wherfor I seye, that from eterne if he
Hath wist biforn our thought eek as our dede,
980 We have no free chois, as these clerkes rede.
`For other thought nor other dede
Might never be, but swich as purveyaunce,
Which may not ben deceyved never-mo,
Hath feled biforn, with-outen ignoraunce.
985 For if ther mighte been a variaunce
To wrythen out fro goddes purveyinge,
Ther nere no prescience of thing cominge;
`But it were rather an opinioun
Uncerteyn, and no stedfast forseinge;
990 And certes, that were an abusioun,
That god shuld han no parfit cleer witinge
More than we men that han doutous weninge.
But swich an errour up-on god to gesse
Were fals and foul, and wikked corsednesse.
995 `Eek this is an opinioun of somme
That han hir top ful heighe and smothe y-shore;
They seyn right thus, that thing is not to come
For that the prescience hath seyn bifore
That it shal come; but they seyn that therfore
1000 That it shal come, therfore the purveyaunce
Wot it biforn with-outen ignoraunce;
`And in this manere this necessitee
Retorneth in his part contrarie agayn.
For needfully bihoveth it not to be
1005 That thilke thinges fallen in certayn
That ben purveyed; but nedely, as they seyn,
Bihoveth it that thinges, whiche that falle,
That they in certayn ben purveyed alle.
`I mene as though I laboured me
1010 To enqueren which thing cause of which thing be;
As whether that the prescience of god is
The certayn cause of the necessitee
Of thinges that to comen been, pardee;
Or if necessitee of thing cominge
1015 Be cause certeyn of the purveyinge.
`But now ne enforce I me nat in
How the ordre of causes stant; but wel wot I,
That it bihoveth that the bifallinge
Of thinges wist biforen certeynly
1020 Be necessarie, al seme it not ther-by
That prescience put falling necessaire
To thing to come, al falle it foule or faire.
`For if ther sit a man yond on
Than by necessitee bihoveth it
1025 That, certes, thyn opinioun soth be,
That wenest or coniectest that he sit;
And ferther-over now ayenward yit,
Lo, right so it is of the part contrarie,
As thus; (now herkne, for I wol not tarie):
1030 `I seye, that if the opinioun of thee
Be sooth, for that he sit, than seye I this,
That he mot sitten by necessitee;
And thus necessitee in either is.
For in him nede of sittinge is, y-wis,
1035 And in thee nede of sooth; and thus, forsothe,
Ther moot necessitee ben in yow bothe.
`But thou mayst seyn, the man sit
That thyn opinioun of sitting soth is;
But rather, for the man sit ther bifore,
1040 Therfore is thyn opinioun sooth, y-wis.
And I seye, though the cause of sooth of this
Comth of his sitting, yet necessitee
Is entrechaunged, bothe in him and thee.
`Thus on this same wyse, out of
1045 I may wel maken, as it semeth me,
My resoninge of goddes purveyaunce,
And of the thinges that to comen be;
By whiche reson men may wel y-see,
That thilke thinges that in erthe falle,
1050 That by necessitee they comen alle.
`For al-though that, for thing
shal come, y-wis,
Therfore is it purveyed, certaynly,
Nat that it comth for it purveyed is:
Yet nathelees, bihoveth it nedfully,
1055 That thing to come be purveyed, trewely;
Or elles, thinges that purveyed be,
That they bityden by necessitee.
`And this suffyseth right y-now,
For to destroye our free chois every del. --
1060 But now is this abusion, to seyn,
That fallinge of the thinges temporel
Is cause of goddes prescience eternel.
Now trewely, that is a fals sentence,
That thing to come sholde cause his prescience.
1065 `What mighte I wene, and I hadde swich a thought,
But that god purveyth thing that is to come
For that it is to come, and elles nought?
So mighte I wene that thinges alle and some,
That whylom been bifalle and over-come,
1070 Ben cause of thilke sovereyn purveyaunce,
That for-wot al with-outen ignoraunce.
`And over al this, yet seye I more
That right as whan I woot ther is a thing,
Y-wis, that thing mot nedefully be so;
1075 Eek right so, whan I woot a thing coming,
So mot it come; and thus the bifalling
Of thinges that ben wist bifore the tyde,
They mowe not been eschewed on no syde.'
Than seyde he thus, `Almighty Iove
1080 That wost of al this thing the soothfastnesse,
Rewe on my sorwe, or do me deye sone,
Or bring Criseyde and me fro this distresse.'
And whyl he was in al this hevinesse,
Disputinge with him-self in this matere,
1085 Com Pandare in, and seyde as ye may here.
`O mighty god,' quod Pandarus,
Ey! Who seigh ever a wys man faren so?
Why, Troilus, what thenkestow to done?
Hastow swich lust to been thyn owene fo?
1090 What, parde, yet is not Criseyde a-go!
Why list thee so thy-self for-doon for drede,
That in thyn heed thyn eyen semen dede?
`Hastow not lived many a yeer biforn
With-outen hir, and ferd ful wel at ese?
1095 Artow for hir and for non other born?
Hath kinde thee wroughte al-only hir to plese?
Lat be, and thenk right thus in thy disese.
That, in the dees right as ther fallen chaunces,
Right so in love, ther come and goon plesaunces.
1100 `And yet this is a wonder most of alle,
Why thou thus sorwest, sin thou nost not yit,
Touching hir goinge, how that it shal falle,
Ne if she can hir-self distorben it.
Thou hast not yet assayed al hir wit.
1105 A man may al by tyme his nekke bede
Whan it shal of, and sorwen at the nede.
`For-thy take hede of that that
I shal seye;
I have with hir y-spoke and longe y-be,
So as accorded was bitwixe us tweye.
1110 And ever-mor me thinketh thus, that she
Hath som-what in hir hertes prevetee,
Wher-with she can, if I shal right arede,
Distorbe al this, of which thou art in drede.
`For which my counseil is, whan
it is night,
1115 Thou to hir go, and make of this an ende;
And blisful Iuno, thourgh hir grete mighte,
Shal, as I hope, hir grace un-to us sende.
Myn herte seyth, "Certeyn, she shal not wende;"
And for-thy put thyn herte a whyle in reste;
1120 And hold this purpos, for it is the beste.'
This Troilus answerde, and sighte
`Thou seyst right wel, and I wil do right so;'
And what him liste, he seyde un-to it more.
And whan that it was tyme for to go,
1125 Ful prevely him-self, with-outen mo,
Un-to hir com, as he was wont to done;
And how they wroughte, I shal yow telle sone.
The emotional climax, with Troilus thinking that Criseyde is dead and about to kill himself:
Soth is, that whan they gonne first
So gan the peyne hir hertes for to twiste,
1130 That neither of hem other mighte grete,
But hem in armes toke and after kiste.
The lasse wofulle of hem bothe niste
Wher that he was, ne mighte o word out-bringe,
As I seyde erst, for wo and for sobbinge.
1135 Tho woful teres that they leten falle
As bittre weren, out of teres kinde,
For peyne, as is ligne aloes or galle.
So bittre teres weep nought, as I finde,
The woful Myrra through the bark and rinde.
1140 That in this world ther nis so hard an herte,
That nolde han rewed on hir peynes smerte.
But whan hir woful wery gostes
Retorned been ther-as hem oughte dwelle,
And that som-what to wayken gan the peyne
1145 By lengthe of pleynte, and ebben gan the welle
Of hire teres, and the herte unswelle,
With broken voys, al hoors for-shright, Criseyde
To Troilus thise ilke wordes seyde:
`O Iove, I deye, and mercy I beseche!
1150 Help, Troilus!' And ther-with-al hir face
Upon his brest she leyde, and loste speche;
Hir woful spirit from his propre place,
Right with the word, alwey up poynt to pace.
And thus she lyth with hewes pale and grene,
1155 That whylom fresh and fairest was to sene.
This Troilus, that on hir gan biholde,
Clepinge hir name, (and she lay as for deed,
With-oute answere, and felte hir limes colde,
Hir eyen throwen upward to hir heed),
1160 This sorwful man can now noon other reed,
But ofte tyme hir colde mouth he kiste;
Wher him was wo, god and him-self it wiste!
He rist him up, and long streight
he hir leyde;
For signe of lyf, for ought he can or may,
1165 Can he noon finde in no-thing on Criseyde,
For which his song ful ofte is `weylaway!'
But whan he saugh that specheles she lay,
With sorwful voys and herte of blisse al bare,
He seyde how she was fro this world y-fare!
1170 So after that he longe hadde hir compleyned,
His hondes wrong, and seyde that was to seye,
And with his teres salte hir brest bireyned,
He gan tho teris wypen of ful dreye,
And pitously gan for the soule preye,
1175 And seyde, `O lord, that set art in thy trone,
Rewe eek on me, for I shal folwe hir sone!'
She cold was and with-outen sentement,
For aught he woot, for breeth ne felte he noon;
And this was him a preignant argument
1180 That she was forth out of this world agoon;
And whan he seigh ther was non other woon,
He gan hir limes dresse in swich manere
As men don hem that shul be leyd on bere.
And after this, with sterne and
1185 His swerd a-noon out of his shethe he twighte,
Him-self to sleen, how sore that him smerte,
So that his sowle hir sowle folwen mighte,
Ther-as the doom of Mynos wolde it dighte;
Sin love and cruel Fortune it ne wolde,
1190 That in this world he lenger liven sholde.
Thanne seyde he thus, fulfild of
`O cruel Iove, and thou, Fortune adverse,
This al and som, that falsly have ye slayn
Criseyde, and sin ye may do me no werse,
1195 Fy on your might and werkes so diverse!
Thus cowardly ye shul me never winne;
Ther shal no deeth me fro my lady twinne.
`For I this world, sin ye han slayn
Wol lete, and folowe hir spirit lowe or hye;
1200 Shal never lover seyn that Troilus
Dar not, for fere, with his lady dye;
For certeyn, I wol bere hir companye.
But sin ye wol not suffre us liven here,
Yet suffreth that our soules ben y-fere.
1205 `And thou, citee, whiche that I leve in wo,
And thou, Pryam, and bretheren al y-fere,
And thou, my moder, farwel! For I go;
And Attropos, make redy thou my bere!
And thou, Criseyde, o swete herte dere,
1210 Receyve now my spirit!' wolde he seye,
With swerd at herte, al redy for to deye
But as god wolde, of swough ther-with
And gan to syke, and `Troilus' she cryde;
And he answerde, `Lady myn Criseyde,
1215 Live ye yet?' and leet his swerd doun glyde.
`Ye, herte myn, that thanked be Cupyde!'
Quod she, and ther-with-al she sore sighte;
And he bigan to glade hir as he mighte;
Took hir in armes two, and kiste
1220 And hir to glade he dide al his entente;
For which hir goost, that flikered ay on-lofte,
In-to hir woful herte ayein it wente.
But at the laste, as that hir eyen glente
A-syde, anoon she gan his swerd aspye,
1225 As it lay bare, and gan for fere crye,
And asked him, why he it hadde
And Troilus anoon the cause hir tolde,
And how himself ther-with he wolde have slawe.
For which Criseyde up-on him gan biholde,
1230 And gan him in hir armes faste folde,
And seyde, `O mercy, god, lo, which a dede!
Allas! How neigh we were bothe dede!
`Thanne if I ne hadde spoken, as
Ye wolde han slayn your-self anoon?' quod she.
1235 `Ye, douteless;' and she answerde, `Allas!
For, by that ilke lord that made me,
I nolde a forlong wey on-lyve han be,
After your deeth, to han been crouned quene
Of al the lond the sonne on shyneth shene.
1240 `But with this selve swerd, which that here is,
My-selve I wolde han slayn!' -- quod she tho;
`But ho, for we han right y-now of this,
And late us ryse and streight to bedde go
And there lat ys speken of oure wo.
1245 For, by the morter which that I see brenne,
Knowe I ful wel that day is not fer henne.'
Whan they were in hir bedde, in
Nought was it lyk tho nightes here-biforn;
For pitously ech other gan biholde,
1250 As they that hadden al hir blisse y-lorn,
Biwaylinge ay the day that they were born.
Til at the last this sorwful wight Criseyde
To Troilus these ilke wordes seyde: --
Criseyde's parting message, promising to come back in a few days:
`Lo, herte myn, wel wot ye this,'
1255 `That if a wight alwey his wo compleyne,
And seketh nought how holpen for to be,
It nis but folye and encrees of peyne;
And sin that here assembled be we tweyne
To finde bote of wo that we ben inne,
1260 It were al tyme sone to biginne.
`I am a womman, as ful wel ye woot,
And as I am avysed sodeynly,
So wol I telle yow, whyl it is hoot.
Me thinketh thus, that nouther ye nor I
1265 Oughte half this wo to make skilfully.
For there is art y-now for to redresse
That yet is mis, and sleen this hevinesse.
`Sooth is, the wo, the whiche that
we ben inne,
For ought I woot, for no-thing elles is
1270 But for the cause that we sholden twinne.
Considered al, ther nis no-more amis.
But what is thanne a remede un-to this,
But that we shape us sone for to mete?
This al and som, my dere herte swete.
1275 `Now that I shal wel bringen it aboute
To come ayein, sone after that I go,
Ther-of am I no maner thing in doute.
For dredeles, with-inne a wouke or two,
I shal ben here; and, that it may be so
1280 By alle right, and in a wordes fewe,
I shal yow wel an heep of weyes shewe.
`For which I wol not make long
For tyme y-lost may not recovered be;
But I wol gon to my conclusioun,
1285 And to the beste, in ought that I can see.
And, for the love of god, for-yeve it me
If I speke ought ayein your hertes reste;
For trewely, I speke it for the beste;
`Makinge alwey a protestacioun,
1290 That now these wordes, whiche that I shal seye,
Nis but to shewe yow my mocioun,
To finde un-to our helpe the beste weye;
And taketh it non other wyse, I preye.
For in effect what-so ye me comaunde,
1295 That wol I doon, for that is no demaunde.
`Now herkneth this, ye han wel
My goinge graunted is by parlement
So ferforth, that it may not be with-stonde
For al this world, as by my Iugement.
1300 And sin ther helpeth noon avysement
To letten it, lat it passe out of minde;
And lat us shape a bettre wey to finde.
`The sothe is, that the twinninge
of us tweyne
Wol us disese and cruelliche anoye.
1305 But him bihoveth som-tyme han a peyne,
That serveth love, if that he wol have Ioye.
And sin I shal no ferthere out of Troye
Than I may ryde ayein on half a morwe,
It oughte lesse causen us to sorwe.
1310 `So as I shal not so ben hid in muwe,
That day by day, myn owene herte dere,
Sin wel ye woot that it is now a trewe,
Ye shal ful wel al myn estat y-here.
And er that truwe is doon, I shal ben here,
1315 And thanne have ye bothe Antenor y-wonne
And me also; beth glad now, if ye conne;
`And thenk right thus, "Criseyde
is now agoon,
But what! She shal come hastely ayeyn;"
And whanne, allas? By god, lo, right anoon,
1320 Er dayes ten, this dar I saufly seyn.
And thanne at erste shul we been so fayn,
So as we shulle to-gederes ever dwelle,
That al this world ne mighte our blisse telle.
`I see that ofte, ther-as we ben
1325 That for the beste, our counseil for to hyde,
Ye speke not with me, nor I with yow
In fourtenight; ne see yow go ne ryde.
May ye not ten dayes thanne abyde,
For myn honour, in swich an aventure?
1330 Y-wis, ye mowen elles lite endure!
`Ye knowe eek how that al my kin
But-if that onliche it my fader be;
And eek myn othere thinges alle y-fere,
And nameliche, my dere herte, ye,
1335 Whom that I nolde leven for to see
For al this world, as wyd as it hath space;
Or elles, see ich never Ioves face!
`Why trowe ye my fader in this
Coveiteth so to see me, but for drede
1340 Lest in this toun that folkes me dispyse
By-cause of him, for his unhappy dede?
What woot my fader what lyf that I lede?
For if he wiste in Troye how wel I fare,
Us neded for my wending nought to care.
1345 `Ye seen that every day eek, more and more,
Men trete of pees; and it supposed is,
That men the quene Eleyne shal restore,
And Grekes us restore that is mis.
So though ther nere comfort noon but this,
1350 That men purposen pees on every syde,
Ye may the bettre at ese of herte abyde.
`For if that it be pees, myn herte
The nature of the pees mot nedes dryve
That men moste entrecomunen y-fere,
1355 And to and fro eek ryde and gon as blyve
Alday as thikke as been flen from an hyve;
And every wight han libertee to bleve
Where-as him list the bet, with-outen leve.
`And though so be that pees ther
may be noon,
1360 Yet hider, though ther never pees ne were,
I moste come; for whider sholde I goon,
Or how mischaunce sholde I dwelle there
Among tho men of armes ever in fere?
For which, as wisly god my soule rede,
1365 I can not seen wher-of ye sholden drede.
`Have here another wey, if it so
That al this thing ne may yow not suffyse.
My fader, as ye knowen wel, pardee,
Is old, and elde is ful of coveityse,
1370 And I right now have founden al the gyse,
With-oute net, wher-with I shal him hente;
And herkeneth how, if that ye wole assente.
`Lo, Troilus, men seyn that hard
The wolf ful, and the wether hool to have;
1375 This is to seyn, that men ful ofte, y-wis,
Mot spenden part, the remenant for to save.
For ay with gold men may the herte grave
Of him that set is up-on coveityse;
And how I mene, I shal it yow devyse.
1380 `The moeble which that I have in this toun
Un-to my fader shal I take, and seye,
That right for trust and for savacioun
It sent is from a freend of his or tweye,
The whiche freendes ferventliche him preye
1385 To senden after more, and that in hye,
Whyl that this toun stant thus in Iupartye.
`And that shal been an huge quantitee,
Thus shal I seyn, but, lest it folk aspyde,
This may be sent by no wight but by me;
1390 I shal eek shewen him, if pees bityde,
What frendes that ich have on every syde
Toward the court, to doon the wrathe pace
Of Priamus, and doon him stonde in grace.
`So what for o thing and for other,
1395 I shal him so enchaunten with my sawes,
That right in hevene his sowle is, shal he mete!
For al Appollo, or his clerkes lawes,
Or calculinge avayleth nought three hawes;
Desyr of gold shal so his sowle blende,
1400 That, as me lyst, I shal wel make an ende.
`And if he wolde ought by his sort
If that I lye, in certayn I shal fonde
Distorben him, and plukke him by the sleve,
Makinge his sort, and beren him on honde,
1405 He hath not wel the goddes understonde.
For goddes speken in amphibologyes,
And, for o sooth they tellen twenty lyes.
`Eek drede fond first goddes, I
Thus shal I seyn, and that his cowarde herte
1410 Made him amis the goddes text to glose,
Whan he for ferde out of his Delphos sterte.
And but I make him sone to converte,
And doon my reed with-inne a day or tweye,
I wol to yow oblige me to deye.'
1415 And treweliche, as writen wel I finde,
That al this thing was seyd of good entente;
And that hir herte trewe was and kinde
Towardes him, and spak right as she mente,
And that she starf for wo neigh, whan she wente,
1420 And was in purpos ever to be trewe;
Thus writen they that of hir werkes knewe.
Troilus expresses some doubt about her plans, and suggests other ways, such as elopement. Criseyde tries to reassure him by earnest vows:
with a syk, right in this wyse
Answerde, `Y-wis, my dere herte trewe,
We may wel stele away, as ye devyse,
1530 And finde swich unthrifty weyes newe;
But afterward, ful sore it wol us rewe.
And help me god so at my moste nede
As causeles ye suffren al this drede!
`For thilke day that I for cherisshinge
1535 Or drede of fader, or of other wight,
Or for estat, delyt, or for weddinge,
Be fals to yow, my Troilus, my knight,
Saturnes doughter, Iuno, thorugh hir might,
As wood as Athamante do me dwelle
1540 Eternaly in Stix, the put of helle!
`And this on every god celestial
I swere it yow; and eek on eche goddesse,
On every Nymphe and deite infernal,
On Satiry and Fauny more and lesse,
1545 That halve goddes been of wildernesse;
And Attropos my threed of lyf to-breste
If I be fals; now trowe me if thow leste!
`And thou, Simoys, that as an arwe
Thorugh Troye rennest ay downward to the see,
1550 Ber witnesse of this word that seyd is here,
That thilke day that ich untrewe be
To Troilus, myn owene herte free,
That thou retorne bakwarde to thy welle,
And I with body and soule sinke in helle!
1555 `But that ye speke, awey thus for to go
And leten alle your freendes, god for-bede,
For any womman, that ye sholden so,
And namely, sin Troye hath now swich nede
Of help; and eek of o thing taketh hede,
1560 If this were wist, my lif laye in balaunce,
And your honour; god shilde us fro mischaunce!
`And if so be that pees her-after
As alday happeth, after anger, game,
Why, lord! The sorwe and wo ye wolden make,
1565 That ye ne dorste come ayein for shame!
And er that ye Iuparten so your name,
Beth nought to hasty in this hote fare;
For hasty man ne wanteth never care.
`What trowe ye the peple eek al
1570 Wolde of it seye? It is ful light to arede.
They wolden seye, and swere it, out of doute,
That love ne droof yow nought to doon this dede,
But lust voluptuous and coward drede.
Thus were al lost, y-wis, myn herte dere,
1575 Your honour, which that now shyneth so clere.
`And also thenketh on myn honestee,
That floureth yet, how foule I sholde it shende,
And with what filthe it spotted sholde be,
If in this forme I sholde with yow wende.
1580 Ne though I livede un-to the worldes ende,
My name sholde I never ayeinward winne;
Thus were I lost, and that were routhe and sinne.
`And for-thy slee with reson al
Men seyn, "The suffraunt overcometh," pardee;
1585 Eek "Who-so wol han leef, he lief mot lete;"
Thus maketh vertue of necessitee
By pacience, and thenk that lord is he
Of fortune ay, that nought wol of hir recche;
And she ne daunteth no wight but a wrecche.
1590 `And trusteth this, that certes, herte swete,
Er Phebus suster, Lucina the shene,
The Leoun passe out of this Ariete,
I wol ben here, with-outen any wene.
I mene, as helpe me Iuno, hevenes quene,
1595 The tenthe day, but-if that deeth me assayle,
I wol yow seen with-outen any fayle.'
The debate continues but at last they must part.
And after that they longe y-pleyned hadde,
And ofte y-kist, and streite in armes folde,
1690 The day gan ryse, and Troilus him cladde,
And rewfulliche his lady gan biholde,
As he that felte dethes cares colde,
And to hir grace he gan him recomaunde;
Wher him was wo, this holde I no demaunde.
1695 For mannes heed imaginen ne can,
Ne entendement considere, ne tonge telle
The cruel peynes of this sorwful man,
That passen every torment doun in helle.
For whan he saugh that she ne mighte dwelle,
1700 Which that his soule out of his herte rente,
With-outen more, out of the chaumbre he wente.
Aprochen gan the fatal destinee
That Ioves hath in disposicioun,
And to yow, angry Parcas, sustren three,
Committeth, to don execucioun;
5 For which Criseyde moste out of the toun,
And Troilus shal dwelle forth in pyne
Til Lachesis his threed no lenger twyne. --
The golden-tressed Phebus heighe
Thryes hadde alle with his bemes shene
10 The snowes molte, and Zephirus as ofte
Y-brought ayein the tendre leves grene,
Sin that the sone of Ecuba the quene
Bigan to love hir first, for whom his sorwe
Was al, that she departe sholde a-morwe.
15 Ful redy was at pryme Dyomede,
Criseyde un-to the Grekes ost to lede,
For sorwe of which she felt hir herte blede,
As she that niste what was best to rede.
And trewely, as men in bokes rede,
20 Men wiste never womman han the care,
Ne was so looth out of a toun to fare.
This Troilus, with-outen reed or
As man that hath his Ioyes eek forlore,
Was waytinge on his lady ever-more
25 As she that was the soothfast crop and more
Of al his lust, or Ioyes here-tofore.
But Troilus, now farewel al thy Ioye,
For shaltow never seen hir eft in Troye!
Soth is, that whyl he bood in this
30 He gan his wo ful manly for to hyde.
That wel unnethe it seen was in his chere;
But at the yate ther she sholde oute ryde
With certeyn folk, he hoved hir tabyde,
So wo bigoon, al wolde he nought him pleyne,
35 That on his hors unnethe he sat for peyne.
For ire he quook, so gan his herte
Whan Diomede on horse gan him dresse,
And seyde un-to him-self this ilke sawe,
`Allas,' quod he, `thus foul a wrecchednesse
40 Why suffre ich it, why nil ich it redresse?
Were it not bet at ones for to dye
Than ever-more in langour thus to drye?
`Why nil I make at ones riche and
To have y-nough to done, er that she go?
45 Why nil I bringe al Troye upon a rore?
Why nil I sleen this Diomede also?
Why nil I rather with a man or two
Stele hir a-way? Why wol I this endure?
Why nil I helpen to myn owene cure?'
50 But why he nolde doon so fel a dede,
That shal I seyn, and why him liste it spare;
He hadde in herte alweyes a maner drede,
Lest that Criseyde, in rumour of this fare,
Sholde han ben slayn; lo, this was al his care.
55 And ellis, certeyn, as I seyde yore,
He hadde it doon, with-outen wordes more.
Criseyde, whan she redy was to
Ful sorwfully she sighte, and seyde `Allas!'
But forth she moot, for ought that may bityde,
60 And forth she rit ful sorwfully a pas.
Ther nis non other remedie in this cas.
What wonder is though that hir sore smerte,
Whan she forgoth hir owene swete herte?
This Troilus, in wyse of curteisye,
65 With hauke on hond, and with an huge route
Of knightes, rood and dide hir companye,
Passinge al the valey fer with-oute,
And ferther wolde han riden, out of doute,
Ful fayn, and wo was him to goon so sone;
70 But torne he moste, and it was eek to done.
And right with that was Antenor
Out of the Grekes ost, and every wight
Was of it glad, and seyde he was wel-come.
And Troilus, al nere his herte light,
75 He peyned him with al his fulle might
Him to with-holde of wepinge at the leste,
And Antenor he kiste, and made feste.
And ther-with-al he moste his leve
And caste his eye upon hir pitously,
80 And neer he rood, his cause for to make,
To take hir by the honde al sobrely.
And lord! So she gan wepen tendrely!
And he ful softe and sleighly gan hir seye,
`Now hold your day, and dooth me not to deye.'
85 With that his courser torned he a-boute
With face pale, and un-to Diomede
No word he spak, ne noon of al his route;
Of which the sone of Tydeus took hede,
As he that coude more than the crede
90 In swich a craft, and by the reyne hir hente;
And Troilus to Troye homwarde he wente.
Criseyde is now left with Diomede, who begins to feel interest in her.
This Diomede, that ladde hir by
Whan that he saw the folk of Troye aweye,
Thoughte, `Al my labour shal not been on ydel,
95 If that I may, for somwhat shal I seye,
For at the worste it may yet shorte our weye.
I have herd seyd, eek tymes twyes twelve,
"He is a fool that wol for-yete him-selve."'
But natheles this thoughte he wel
100 `That certaynly I am aboute nought,
If that I speke of love, or make it tough;
For douteles, if she have in hir thought
Him that I gesse, he may not been y-brought
So sone awey; but I shal finde a mene,
105 That she not wite as yet shal what I mene.'
This Diomede, as he that coude
Whan this was doon, gan fallen forth in speche
Of this and that, and asked why she stood
In swich disese, and gan hir eek biseche,
110 That if that he encrese mighte or eche
With any thing hir ese, that she sholde
Comaunde it him, and seyde he doon it wolde.
For trewely he swoor hir, as a
That ther nas thing with whiche he mighte hir plese,
115 That he nolde doon his peyne and al his might
To doon it, for to doon hir herte an ese.
And preyede hir, she wolde hir sorwe apese,
And seyde, `Y-wis, we Grekes con have Ioye
To honouren yow, as wel as folk of Troye.'
120 He seyde eek thus, `I woot, yow thinketh straunge,
No wonder is, for it is to yow newe,
Thaqueintaunce of these Troianis to chaunge,
For folk of Grece, that ye never knewe.
But wolde never god but-if as trewe
125 A Greek ye shulde among us alle finde
As any Troian is, and eek as kinde.
`And by the cause I swoor yow right,
To been your freend, and helply, to my might,
And for that more aqueintaunce eek of yow
130 Have ich had than another straunger wight,
So fro this forth, I pray yow, day and night,
Comaundeth me, how sore that me smerte,
To doon al that may lyke un-to your herte;
`And that ye me wolde as your brother
135 And taketh not my frendship in despyt;
And though your sorwes be for thinges grete,
Noot I not why, but out of more respyt,
Myn herte hath for to amende it greet delyt.
And if I may your harmes not redresse,
140 I am right sory for your hevinesse,
`And though ye Troians with us
Han many a day be, alwey yet, pardee,
O god of love in sooth we serven bothe.
And, for the love of god, my lady free,
145 Whom so ye hate, as beth not wroth with me.
For trewely, ther can no wight yow serve,
That half so looth your wraththe wolde deserve.
`And nere it that we been so neigh
Of Calkas, which that seen us bothe may,
150 I wolde of this yow telle al myn entente;
But this enseled til another day.
Yeve me your hond, I am, and shal ben ay,
God help me so, whyl that my lyf may dure,
Your owene aboven every creature.
155 `Thus seyde I never er now to womman born;
For god myn herte as wisly glade so,
I lovede never womman here-biforn
As paramours, ne never shal no mo.
And, for the love of god, beth not my fo;
160 Al can I not to yow, my lady dere,
Compleyne aright, for I am yet to lere.
`And wondreth not, myn owene lady
Though that I speke of love to you thus blyve;
For I have herd or this of many a wight,
165 Hath loved thing he never saugh his lyve.
Eek I am not of power for to stryve
Ayens the god of love, but him obeye
I wol alwey, and mercy I yow preye.
`Ther been so worthy knightes in
170 And ye so fair, that everich of hem alle
Wol peynen him to stonden in your grace.
But mighte me so fair a grace falle,
That ye me for your servaunt wolde calle,
So lowly ne so trewely you serve
175 Nil noon of hem, as I shal, til I sterve.'
Criseide un-to that purpos lyte
As she that was with sorwe oppressed so
That, in effect, she nought his tales herde,
But here and there, now here a word or two.
180 Hir thoughte hir sorwful herte brast a-two.
For whan she gan hir fader fer aspye,
Wel neigh doun of hir hors she gan to sye.
But natheles she thonked Diomede
Of al his travaile, and his goode chere,
185 And that him liste his friendship hir to bede;
And she accepteth it in good manere,
And wolde do fayn that is him leef and dere;
And trusten him she wolde, and wel she mighte,
As seyde she, and from hir hors she alighte.
190 Hir fader hath hir in his armes nome,
And tweynty tyme he kiste his doughter swete,
And seyde, `O dere doughter myn, wel-come!'
She seyde eek, she was fayn with him to mete,
And stood forth mewet, milde, and mansuete.
195 But here I leve hir with hir fader dwelle,
And forth I wol of Troilus yow telle.
Troilus is full of grief, and laments in great anguish. The narrator makes a disclaimer:
Who coude telle aright or ful discryve
His wo, his pleynt, his langour, and his pyne?
Nought al the men that han or been on-lyve.
270 Thou, redere, mayst thy-self ful wel devyne
That swich a wo my wit can not defyne.
On ydel for to wryte it sholde I swinke,
Whan that my wit is wery it to thinke.
Troilus thinks he is about to die of grief, and tells Pandare how to arrange his funeral. Pandare tells him not to be silly but to get up and wait for the tenth day. They go on a visit to Sarpedon but Troilus spends the time miserably, moping and rereading her letters to him. After four days he wants to leave but Pandare forces him to stay the whole week. Returning home, they go to see the palace of Criseyde but the sight of the house closed only makes him more unhappy.
540 Than seyde he thus; `O paleys desolat,
O hous, of houses whylom best y-hight,
O paleys empty and disconsolat,
O thou lanterne, of which queynt is the light,
O paleys, whylom day, that now art night,
545 Wel oughtestow to falle, and I to dye,
Sin she is went that wont was us to gye!
`O paleys, whylom croune of houses
Enlumined with sonne of alle blisse!
O ring, fro which the ruby is out-falle,
550 O cause of wo, that cause hast been of lisse!
Yet, sin I may no bet, fayn wolde I kisse
Thy colde dores, dorste I for this route;
And fare-wel shryne, of which the seynt is oute!'
Ther-with he caste on Pandarus
555 With chaunged face, and pitous to biholde;
And whan he mighte his tyme aright aspye,
Ay as he rood, to Pandarus he tolde
His newe sorwe, and eek his Ioyes olde,
So pitously and with so dede an hewe,
560 That every wight mighte on his sorwe rewe.
Fro thennesforth he rydeth up and
And every thing com him to remembraunce
As he rood forbi places of the toun
In whiche he whylom hadde al his plesaunce.
565 `Lo, yond saugh I myn owene lady daunce;
And in that temple, with hir eyen clere,
Me coughte first my righte lady dere.
`And yonder have I herd ful lustily
My dere herte laugh, and yonder pleye
570 Saugh I hir ones eek ful blisfully.
And yonder ones to me gan she seye,
"Now goode swete, love me wel, I preye."
And yond so goodly gan she me biholde,
That to the deeth myn herte is to hir holde.
575 `And at that corner, in the yonder hous,
Herde I myn alderlevest lady dere
So wommanly, with voys melodious,
Singen so wel, so goodly, and so clere,
That in my soule yet me thinketh I here
580 The blisful soun; and, in that yonder place,
My lady first me took un-to hir grace.'
Thanne thoughte he thus, `O blisful
Whanne I the proces have in my memorie,
How thou me hast wereyed on every syde,
585 Men might a book make of it, lyk a storie.
What nede is thee to seke on me victorie,
Sin I am thyn, and hoolly at thy wille?
What Ioye hastow thyn owene folk to spille?
`Wel hastow, lord, y-wroke on me
590 Thou mighty god, and dredful for to greve!
Now mercy, lord, thou wost wel I desire
Thy grace most, of alle lustes leve,
And live and deye I wol in thy bileve,
For which I naxe in guerdon but a bone,
595 That thou Criseyde ayein me sende sone.
`Distreyne hir herte as faste to
As thou dost myn to longen hir to see;
Than woot I wel, that she nil nought soiorne.
Now, blisful lord, so cruel thou ne be
600 Un-to the blood of Troye, I preye thee,
As Iuno was un-to the blood Thebane,
For which the folk of Thebes caughte hir bane.'
And after this he to the yates
Ther-as Criseyde out-rood a ful good paas,
605 And up and doun ther made he many a wente,
And to him-self ful ofte he seyde `Allas!
From hennes rood my blisse and my solas!
As wolde blisful god now, for his Ioye,
I mighte hir seen ayein come in-to Troye!
610 `And to the yonder hille I gan hir gyde,
Allas! And there I took of hir my leve!
And yond I saugh hir to hir fader ryde,
For sorwe of which myn herte shal to-cleve.
And hider hoom I com whan it was eve;
615 And here I dwelle out-cast from alle Ioye,
And shal, til I may seen hir eft in Troye.'
And of him-self imagened he ofte
To ben defet, and pale, and waxen lesse
Than he was wont, and that men seyden softe,
620 `What may it be? Who can the sothe gesse
Why Troilus hath al this hevinesse?'
And al this nas but his malencolye,
That he hadde of him-self swich fantasye.
Another tyme imaginen he wolde
625 That every wight that wente by the weye
Had of him routhe, and that they seyen sholde,
`I am right sory Troilus wole deye.'
And thus he droof a day yet forth or tweye.
As ye have herd, swich lyf right gan he lede,
630 As he that stood bitwixen hope and drede.
For which him lyked in his songes
Thencheson of his wo, as he best mighte,
And made a song of wordes but a fewe,
Somwhat his woful herte for to lighte.
635 And whan he was from every mannes sighte,
With softe voys he, of his lady dere,
That was absent, gan singe as ye may here.
`O sterre, of which I lost have
al the light,
With herte soor wel oughte I to bewayle,
640 That ever derk in torment, night by night,
Toward my deeth with wind in stere I sayle;
For which the tenthe night if that I fayle
The gyding of thy bemes brighte an houre,
My ship and me Caribdis wole devoure.'
645 This song whan he thus songen hadde, sone
He fil ayein in-to his sykes olde;
And every night, as was his wone to done,
He stood the brighte mone to beholde,
And al his sorwe he to the mone tolde;
650 And seyde, `Y-wis, whan thou art horned newe,
I shal be glad, if al the world be trewe!
`I saugh thyn hornes olde eek by
Whan hennes rood my righte lady dere,
That cause is of my torment and my sorwe;
655 For whiche, O brighte Lucina the clere,
For love of god, ren faste aboute thy spere!
For whan thyn hornes newe ginne springe,
Than shal she come, that may my blisse bringe!'
The day is more, and lenger every
660 Than they be wont to be, him thoughte tho;
And that the sonne wente his course unright
By lenger wey than it was wont to go;
And seyde, `Y-wis, me dredeth ever-mo,
The sonnes sone, Pheton, be on-lyve,
665 And that his fadres cart amis he dryve.'
Upon the walles faste eek wolde
And on the Grekes ost he wolde see,
And to him-self right thus he wolde talke,
`Lo, yonder is myn owene lady free,
670 Or elles yonder, ther tho tentes be!
And thennes comth this eyr, that is so sote,
That in my soule I fele it doth me bote.
`And hardely this wind, that more
Thus stoundemele encreseth in my face,
675 Is of my ladyes depe sykes sore.
I preve it thus, for in non othere place
Of al this toun, save onliche in this space,
Fele I no wind that souneth so lyk peyne;
It seyth, "Allas! Why twinned be we tweyne?"'
680 This longe tyme he dryveth forth right thus,
Til fully passed was the nynthe night;
And ay bi-syde him was this Pandarus,
That bisily dide alle his fulle might
Him to comforte, and make his herte light;
685 Yevinge him hope alwey, the tenthe morwe
That she shal come, and stinten al his sorwe.
The narrator now turns to Criseyde and through her laments informs us that her father will not let her return to Troy (as she had promised Troilus she would). Instead, Diomede begins to take Troilus's place in her heart.
This Diomede, of whom yow telle I gan,
Goth now, with-inne him-self ay arguinge
With al the sleighte and al that ever he can,
How he may best, with shortest taryinge,
775 In-to his net Criseydes herte bringe.
To this entente he coude never fyne;
To fisshen hir, he leyde out hook and lyne.
But natheles, wel in his herte
That she nas nat with-oute a love in Troye,
780 For never, sithen he hir thennes broughte,
Ne coude he seen her laughe or make Ioye.
He nist how best hir herte for tacoye.
`But for to assaye,' he seyde, `it nought ne greveth;
For he that nought nassayeth, nought nacheveth.'
785 Yet seide he to him-self upon a night,
`Now am I not a fool, that woot wel how
Hir wo for love is of another wight,
And here-up-on to goon assaye hir now?
I may wel wite, it nil not been my prow.
790 For wyse folk in bokes it expresse,
"Men shal not wowe a wight in hevinesse."
`But who-so mighte winnen swich
From him, for whom she morneth night and day,
He mighte seyn, he were a conquerour.'
795 And right anoon, as he that bold was ay,
Thoughte in his herte, `Happe how happe may,
Al sholde I deye, I wole hir herte seche;
I shal no more lesen but my speche.'
This Diomede, as bokes us declare,
800 Was in his nedes prest and corageous;
With sterne voys and mighty limes square,
Hardy, testif, strong, and chevalrous
Of dedes, lyk his fader Tideus.
And som men seyn, he was of tunge large;
805 And heir he was of Calidoine and Arge.
Criseyde mene was of hir stature,
Ther-to of shap, of face, and eek of chere,
Ther mighte been no fairer creature.
And ofte tyme this was hir manere,
810 To gon y-tressed with hir heres clere
Doun by hir coler at hir bak bihinde,
Which with a threde of gold she wolde binde.
And, save hir browes ioyneden y-fere,
Ther nas no lak, in ought I can espyen;
815 But for to speken of hir eyen clere,
Lo, trewely, they writen that hir syen,
That Paradys stood formed in hir yen.
And with hir riche beautee ever-more
Strof love in hir, ay which of hem was more.
820 She sobre was, eek simple, and wys with-al,
The beste y-norisshed eek that mighte be,
And goodly of hir speche in general,
Charitable, estatliche, lusty, and free;
Ne never-mo ne lakkede hir pitee;
825 Tendre-herted, slydinge of corage;
But trewely, I can not telle hir age.
And Troilus wel waxen was in highte,
And complet formed by proporcioun
So wel, that kinde it not amenden mighte;
830 Yong, fresshe, strong, and hardy as lyoun;
Trewe as steel in ech condicioun;
On of the beste enteched creature,
That is, or shal, whyl that the world may dure.
And certainly in storie it is y-founde,
835 That Troilus was never un-to no wight,
As in his tyme, in no degree secounde
In durring don that longeth to a knight.
Al mighte a geaunt passen him of might,
His herte ay with the firste and with the beste
840 Stood paregal, to durre don that him leste.
On the tenth day, Diomede pretends to visit Calkas in order to talk with Criseyde. He begins to offer his love, she says that she is too sorrowful, thinking of her dead husband... but in the end she yields completely, the narrator compressing the time-scheme to tell everything:
`Myn herte is now in tribulacioun,
And ye in armes bisy, day by day.
990 Here-after, whan ye wonnen han the toun,
Paraunter, thanne so it happen may,
That whan I see that I never er say,
Than wole I werke that I never wroughte!
This word to yow y-nough suffysen oughte.
995 `To-morwe eek wol I speken with yow fayn,
So that ye touchen nought of this matere.
And whan yow list, ye may come here ayeyn;
And, er ye gon, thus muche I seye yow here;
As help me Pallas with hir heres clere,
1000 If that I sholde of any Greek han routhe,
It sholde be your-selven, by my trouthe!
`I sey not therfore that I wol
Ne I sey not nay, but in conclusioun,
I mene wel, by god that sit above:' --
1005 And ther-with-al she caste hir eyen doun,
And gan to syke, and seyde, `O Troye toun,
Yet bidde I god, in quiete and in reste
I may yow seen, or do myn herte breste.'
But in effect, and shortly for
1010 This Diomede al freshly newe ayeyn
Gan pressen on, and faste hir mercy preye;
And after this, the sothe for to seyn,
Hir glove he took, of which he was ful fayn.
And fynally, whan it was waxen eve,
1015 And al was wel, he roos and took his leve.
The brighte Venus folwede and ay
The wey, ther brode Phebus doun alighte;
And Cynthea hir char-hors over-raughte
To whirle out of the Lyon, if she mighte;
1020 And Signifer his candelse shewed brighte,
Whan that Criseyde un-to hir bedde wente
In-with hir fadres faire brighte tente.
Retorning in hir soule ay up and
The wordes of this sodein Diomede,
1025 His greet estat, and peril of the toun,
And that she was allone and hadde nede
Of freendes help; and thus bigan to brede
The cause why, the sothe for to telle,
That she tok fully purpos for to dwelle.
1030 The morwe com, and goostly for to speke,
This Diomede is come un-to Criseyde,
And shortly, lest that ye my tale breke,
So wel he for him-selve spak and seyde,
That alle hir sykes sore adoun he leyde.
1035 And fynally, the sothe for to seyne,
He refte hir of the grete of al hir peyne.
And after this the story telleth
That she him yaf the faire baye stede,
The which he ones wan of Troilus;
1040 And eek a broche (and that was litel nede)
That Troilus was, she yaf this Diomede.
And eek, the bet from sorwe him to releve,
She made him were a pencel of hir sleve.
I finde eek in stories elles-where,
1045 Whan through the body hurt was Diomede
Of Troilus, tho weep she many a tere,
Whan that she saugh his wyde woundes blede;
And that she took to kepen him good hede,
And for to hele him of his sorwes smerte.
1050 Men seyn, I not, that she yaf him hir herte.
But trewely, the story telleth
Ther made never womman more wo
Than she, whan that she falsed Troilus.
She seyde, `Allas! For now is clene a-go
1055 My name of trouthe in love, for ever-mo!
For I have falsed oon, the gentileste
That ever was, and oon the worthieste!
`Allas, of me, un-to the worldes
Shal neither been y-writen nor y-songe
1060 No good word, for thise bokes wol me shende.
O, rolled shal I been on many a tonge;
Through-out the world my belle shal be ronge;
And wommen most wol hate me of alle.
Allas, that swich a cas me sholde falle!
1065 `They wol seyn, in as muche as in me is,
I have hem don dishonour, weylawey!
Al be I not the first that dide amis,
What helpeth that to do my blame awey?
But sin I see there is no bettre way,
1070 And that to late is now for me to rewe,
To Diomede algate I wol be trewe.
`But Troilus, sin I no better may,
And sin that thus departen ye and I,
Yet preye I god, so yeve yow right good day
1075 As for the gentileste, trewely,
That ever I say, to serven feithfully,
And best can ay his lady honour kepe:' --
And with that word she brast anon to wepe.
`And certes yow ne haten shal I
1080 And freendes love, that shal ye han of me,
And my good word, al mighte I liven ever.
And, trewely, I wolde sory be
For to seen yow in adversitee.
And giltelees, I woot wel, I yow leve;
1085 But al shal passe; and thus take I my leve.'
But trewely, how longe it was bitwene,
That she for-sook him for this Diomede,
Ther is non auctor telleth it, I wene.
Take every man now to his bokes hede;
1090 He shal no terme finden, out of drede.
For though that he bigan to wowe hir sone,
Er he hir wan, yet was ther more to done.
Ne me ne list this sely womman
Ferther than the story wol devyse.
1095 Hir name, allas! Is publisshed so wyde,
That for hir gilt it oughte y-noe suffyse.
And if I mighte excuse hir any wyse,
For she so sory was for hir untrouthe,
Y-wis, I wolde excuse hir yet for routhe.
Meanwhile, on the tenth day, Troilus goes up on to the walls to look for her, in vain...
The laurer-crouned Phebus, with his hete,
Gan, in his course ay upward as he wente,
To warmen of the est see the wawes wete,
1110 And Nisus doughter song with fresh entente,
Whan Troilus his Pandare after sente;
And on the walles of the toun they pleyde,
To loke if they can seen ought of Criseyde.
Til it was noon, they stoden for
1115 Who that ther come; and every maner wight,
That cam fro fer, they seyden it was she,
Til that they coude knowen him a-right.
Now was his herte dul, now was it light;
And thus by-iaped stonden for to stare
1120 Aboute nought, this Troilus and Pandare.
To Pandarus this Troilus tho seyde,
`For ought I wot, bi-for noon, sikerly,
In-to this toun ne comth nought here Criseyde.
She hath y-now to done, hardily,
1125 To winnen from hir fader, so trowe I;
Hir olde fader wol yet make hir dyne
Er that she go; god yeve his herte pyne!'
Pandare answerde, `It may wel be,
And for-thy lat us dyne, I thee biseche;
1130 And after noon than maystw thou come ayeyn.'
And hoom they go, with-oute more speche;
And comen ayein, but longe may they seche
Er that they finde that they after cape;
Fortune hem bothe thenketh for to Iape.
1135 Quod Troilus, `I see wel now, that she
Is taried with hir olde fader so,
That er she come, it wole neigh even be.
Com forth, I wol un-to the yate go.
Thise portours been unkonninge ever-mo;
1140 And I wol doon hem holden up the yate
As nought ne were, al-though she come late.'
The day goth faste, and after that
And yet com nought to Troilus Criseyde.
He loketh forth by hegge, by tree, by greve,
1145 And fer his heed over the wal he leyde.
And at the laste he torned him, and seyde.
`By god, I woot hir mening now, Pandare!
Al-most, y-wis, al newe was my care.
`Now douteles, this lady can hir
1150 I woot, she meneth ryden prively.
I comende hir wysdom, by myn hood!
She wol not maken peple nycely
Gaure on hir, whan she comth; but softely
By nighte in-to the toun she thenketh ryde.
1155 And, dere brother, thenk not longe to abyde.
`We han nought elles for to don,
And Pandarus, now woltow trowen me?
Have here my trouthe, I see hir! Yond she is.
Heve up thyn eyen, man! Maystow not see?'
1160 Pandare answerde, `Nay, so mote I thee!
Al wrong, by god; what seystow, man, wher art?
That I see yond nis but a fare-cart.'
`Allas, thou seist right sooth,'
`But, hardely, it is not al for nought
1165 That in myn herte I now reioyse thus.
It is ayein som good I have a thought.
Noot I not how, but sin that I was wrought,
Ne felte I swich a confort, dar I seye;
She comth to-night, my lyf, that dorste I leye!'
1170 Pandare answerde, `It may be wel, y-nough';
And held with him of al that ever he seyde;
But in his herte he thoughte, and softe lough,
And to him-self ful sobrely he seyde:
`From hasel-wode, ther Ioly Robin pleyde,
1175 Shal come al that thou abydest here;
Ye, fare-wel al the snow of ferne yere!'
The wardein of the yates gan to
The folk which that with-oute the yates were,
And bad hem dryven in hir bestes alle,
1180 Or al the night they moste bleven there.
And fer with-in the night, with many a tere,
This Troilus gan hoomward for to ryde;
For wel he seeth it helpeth nought tabyde.
But natheles, he gladded him in
1185 He thoughte he misacounted hadde his day,
And seyde, `I understonde have al a-mis.
For thilke night I last Criseyde say,
She seyde, "I shal ben here, if that I may,
Er that the mone, O dere herte swete!
1190 The Lyon passe, out of this Ariete."
`For which she may yet holde al
And on the morwe un-to the yate he wente,
And up and down, by west and eek by este,
Up-on the walles made he many a wente.
1195 But al for nought; his hope alwey him blente;
For which at night, in sorwe and sykes sore,
He wente him hoom, with-outen any more.
This hope al clene out of his herte
He nath wher-on now lenger for to honge;
1200 But for the peyne him thoughte his herte bledde,
So were his throwes sharpe and wonder stronge.
For when he saugh that she abood so longe,
He niste what he iuggen of it mighte,
Sin she hath broken that she him bihighte.
1205 The thridde, ferthe, fifte, sixte day
After tho dayes ten, of which I tolde,
Bitwixen hope and drede his herte lay,
Yet som-what trustinge on hir hestes olde.
But whan he saugh she nolde hir terme holde,
1210 He can now seen non other remedye,
But for to shape him sone for to dye.
Ther-with the wikked spirit, god
Which that men clepeth wode Ialousye,
Gan in him crepe, in al this hevinesse;
1215 For which, by-cause he wolde sone dye,
He ne eet ne dronk, for his malencolye,
And eek from every companye he fledde;
This was the lyf that al the tyme he ledde.
He so defet was, that no maner
1220 Unneth mighte him knowe ther he wente;
So was he lene, and ther-to pale and wan,
And feble, that he walketh by potente;
And with his ire he thus himselven shente.
But who-so axed him wher-of him smerte,
1225 He seyde, his harm was al aboute his herte.
Pryam ful ofte, and eek his moder
His bretheren and his sustren gonne him freyne
Why he so sorwful was in al his chere,
And what thing was the cause of al his peyne?
1230 But al for nought; he nolde his cause pleyne,
But seyde, he felte a grevous maladye
A-boute his herte, and fayn he wolde dye.
At last he dreams a symbolic dream:
So on a day he leyde him doun to
And so bifel that in his sleep him thoughte,
1235 That in a forest faste he welk to wepe
For love of hir that him these peynes wroughte;
And up and doun as he the forest soughte,
He mette he saugh a boor with tuskes grete,
That sleep ayein the brighte sonnes hete.
1240 And by this boor, faste in his armes folde,
Lay kissing ay his lady bright Criseyde:
For sorwe of which, whan he it gan biholde,
And for despyt, out of his slepe he breyde,
And loude he cryde on Pandarus, and seyde,
1245 `O Pandarus, now knowe I crop and rote!
I nam but deed; ther nis non other bote!
`My lady bright Criseyde hath me
In whom I trusted most of any wight,
She elles-where hath now hir herte apayed;
1250 The blisful goddes, through hir grete might,
Han in my dreem y-shewed it ful right.
Thus in my dreem Criseyde I have biholde' --
And al this thing to Pandarus he tolde.
`O my Criseyde, allas! What subtiltee.
1255 What newe lust, what beautee, what science,
What wratthe of iuste cause have ye to me?
What gilt of me, what fel experience
Hath fro me raft, allas! Thyn advertence?
O trust, O feyth, O depe aseuraunce,
1260 Who hath me reft Criseyde, al my plesaunce?
`Allas! Why leet I you from hennes
For which wel neigh out of my wit I breyde?
Who shal now trowe on any othes mo?
God wot I wende, O lady bright, Criseyde,
1265 That every word was gospel that ye seyde!
But who may bet bigylen, yf him liste,
Than he on whom men weneth best to triste?
`What shal I doon, my Pandarus,
I fele now so sharpe a newe peyne,
1270 Sin that ther is no remedie in this cas,
That bet were it I with myn hondes tweyne
My-selven slow, than alwey thus to pleyne.
For through my deeth my wo sholde han an ende,
Ther every day with lyf my-self I shende.'
1275 Pandare answerde and seyde, `Allas the whyle
That I was born; have I not seyd er this,
That dremes many a maner man bigyle?
And why? For folk expounden hem a-mis.
How darstow seyn that fals thy lady is,
1280 For any dreem, right for thyn owene drede?
Lat be this thought, thou canst no dremes rede.
`Paraunter, ther thou dremest of
It may so be that it may signifye
Hir fader, which that old is and eek hoor,
1285 Ayein the sonne lyth, on poynt to dye,
And she for sorwe ginneth wepe and crye,
And kisseth him, ther he lyth on the grounde;
Thus shuldestow thy dreem a-right expounde.'
`How mighte I thanne do?' quod
1290 `To knowe of this, ye, were it never so lyte?'
`Now seystow wysly,' quod this Pandarus,
`My reed is this, sin thou canst wel endyte,
That hastely a lettre thou hir wryte,
Thorugh which thou shalt wel bringen it aboute,
1295 To knowe a sooth of that thou art in doute.
`And see now why; for this I dar
That if so is that she untrewe be,
I can not trowe that she wol wryte ayeyn.
And if she wryte, thou shalt ful sone see,
1300 As whether she hath any libertee
To come ayein, or ellis in som clause,
If she be let, she wol assigne a cause.
`Thou hast not writen hir sin that
Nor she to thee, and this I dorste leye,
1305 Ther may swich cause been in hir entente,
That hardely thou wolt thy-selven seye,
That hir a-bood the beste is for yow tweye.
Now wryte hir thanne, and thou shalt fele sone
A sothe of al; ther is no more to done.'
We are given the full text of Troilus's first letter.
This lettre forth was sent un-to Criseyde,
Of which hir answere in effect was this;
Ful pitously she wroot ayein, and seyde,
1425 That also sone as that she might, y-wis,
She wolde come, and mende al that was mis.
And fynally she wroot and seyde him thanne,
She wolde come, ye, but she niste whenne.
But in hir lettre made she swich
1430 That wonder was, and swereth she loveth him best,
Of which he fond but botmelees bihestes.
But Troilus, thou mayst now, est or west,
Pype in an ivy leef, if that thee lest;
Thus gooth the world; god shilde us fro mischaunce,
1435 And every wight that meneth trouthe avaunce!
Encresen gan the wo fro day to
Of Troilus, for taryinge of Criseyde;
And lessen gan his hope and eek his might,
For which al doun he in his bed him leyde;
1440 He ne eet, ne dronk, ne sleep, ne word he seyde,
Imagininge ay that she was unkinde;
For which wel neigh he wex out of his minde.
This dreem, of which I told have
May never come out of his remembraunce;
1445 He thoughte ay wel he hadde his lady lorn,
And that Ioves, of his purveyaunce,
Him shewed hadde in sleep the signifiaunce
Of hir untrouthe and his disaventure,
And that the boor was shewed him in figure.
1450 For which he for Sibille his suster sente,
That called was Cassandre eek al aboute;
And al his dreem he tolde hir er he stente,
And hir bisoughte assoilen him the doute
Of the stronge boor, with tuskes stoute;
1455 And fynally, with-inne a litel stounde,
Cassandre him gan right thus his dreem expounde.
She gan first smyle, and seyde,
`O brother dere,
If thou a sooth of this desyrest knowe,
Thou most a fewe of olde stories here,
1460 To purpos, how that fortune over-throwe
Hath lordes olde; through which, with-inne a throwe,
Thou wel this boor shalt knowe, and of what kinde
He comen is, as men in bokes finde.
`Diane, which that wrooth was and
1465 For Grekes nolde doon hir sacrifyse,
Ne encens up-on hir auter sette a-fyre,
She, for that Grekes gonne hir so dispyse,
Wrak hir in a wonder cruel wyse.
For with a boor as greet as oxe in stalle
1470 She made up frete hir corn and vynes alle.
`To slee this boor was al the contree
A-monges which ther com, this boor to see,
A mayde, oon of this world the best y-preysed;
And Meleagre, lord of that contree,
1475 He lovede so this fresshe mayden free
That with his manhod, er he wolde stente,
This boor he slow, and hir the heed he sente;
`Of which, as olde bokes tellen
Ther roos a contek and a greet envye;
1480 And of this lord descended Tydeus
By ligne, or elles olde bokes lye;
But how this Meleagre gan to dye
Thorugh his moder, wol I yow not telle,
For al to long it were for to dwelle.'
1485 She tolde eek how Tydeus, er she stente,
Un-to the stronge citee of Thebes,
To cleyme kingdom of the citee, wente,
For his felawe, daun Polymites,
Of which the brother, daun Ethyocles,
1490 Ful wrongfully of Thebes held the strengthe;
This tolde she by proces, al by lengthe.
She tolde eek how Hemonides asterte,
Whan Tydeus slough fifty knightes stoute.
She tolde eek al the prophesyes by herte,
1495 And how that sevene kinges, with hir route,
Bisegeden the citee al aboute;
And of the holy serpent, and the welle,
And of the furies, al she gan him telle.
Of Archimoris buryinge and the
1500 And how Amphiorax fil through the grounde,
How Tydeus was slayn, lord of Argeyes,
And how Ypomedoun in litel stounde
Was dreynt, and deed Parthonope of wounde;
And also how Cappaneus the proude
1505 With thonder-dint was slayn, that cryde loude.
She gan eek telle him how that
Ethyocles and Polimyte also,
At a scarmyche, eche of hem slough other,
And of Argyves wepinge and hir wo;
1510 And how the town was brent she tolde eek tho.
And so descendeth doun from gestes olde
To Diomede, and thus she spak and tolde.
`This ilke boor bitokneth Diomede,
Tydeus sone, that doun descended is
1515 Fro Meleagre, that made the boor to blede.
And thy lady, wher-so she be, y-wis,
This Diomede hir herte hath, and she his.
Weep if thou wolt, or leef; for, out of doute,
This Diomede is inne, and thou art oute.'
1520 `Thou seyst nat sooth,' quod he, `thou sorceresse,
With al thy false goost of prophesye!
Thou wenest been a greet devyneresse;
Now seestow not this fool of fantasye
Peyneth hir on ladyes for to lye?
1525 Awey!' quod he. `Ther Ioves yeve thee sorwe!
Thou shalt be fals, paraunter, yet to-morwe!
`As wel thou mightest lyen on Alceste,
That was of creatures, but men lye,
That ever weren, kindest and the beste.
1530 For whanne hir housbonde was in Iupartye
To dye him-self, but-if she wolde dye,
She chees for him to dye and go to helle,
And starf anoon, as us the bokes telle.'
Cassandre goth, and he with cruel
1535 For-yat his wo, for angre of hir speche;
And from his bed al sodeinly he sterte,
As though al hool him hadde y-mad a leche.
And day by day he gan enquere and seche
A sooth of this, with al his fulle cure;
1540 And thus he dryeth forth his aventure.
Fortune, whiche that permutacioun
Of thinges hath, as it is hir committed
Through purveyaunce and disposicioun
Of heighe Iove, as regnes shal ben flitted
1545 Fro folk in folk, or whan they shal ben smitted,
Gan pulle awey the fetheres brighte of Troye
Fro day to day, til they ben bare of Ioye.
Among al this, the fyn of the parodie
Of Ector gan approchen wonder blyve;
1550 The fate wolde his soule sholde unbodie,
And shapen hadde a mene it out to dryve;
Ayeins which fate him helpeth not to stryve;
But on a day to fighten gan he wende,
At which, allas! He coughte his lyves ende.
1555 For which me thinketh every maner wight
That haunteth armes oughte to biwayle
The deeth of him that was so noble a knight;
For as he drough a king by thaventayle,
Unwar of this, Achilles through the mayle
1560 And through the body gan him for to ryve;
And thus this worthy knight was brought of lyve.
For whom, as olde bokes tellen
Was mad swich wo, that tonge it may not telle;
And namely, the sorwe of Troilus,
1565 That next him was of worthinesse welle.
And in this wo gan Troilus to dwelle,
That, what for sorwe, and love, and for unreste,
Ful ofte a day he bad his herte breste.
But natheles, though he gan him
1570 And dradde ay that his lady was untrewe,
Yet ay on hir his herte gan repeyre.
And as these loveres doon, he soughte ay newe
To gete ayein Criseyde, bright of hewe.
And in his herte he wente hir excusinge,
1575 That Calkas causede al hir taryinge.
And ofte tyme he was in purpos
Him-selven lyk a pilgrim to disgyse,
To seen hir; but he may not contrefete
To been unknowen of folk that weren wyse,
1580 Ne finde excuse aright that may suffyse,
If he among the Grekes knowen were;
For which he weep ful ofte many a tere.
Criseyde writes a letter in reply, and soon the story is finished:
1590 `Cupydes sone, ensample of goodlihede,
O swerd of knighthod, sours of gentilesse!
How might a wight in torment and in drede
And helelees, yow sende as yet gladnesse?
I hertelees, I syke, I in distresse;
1595 Sin ye with me, nor I with yow may dele,
Yow neither sende ich herte may nor hele.
`Your lettres ful, the papir al
Conceyved hath myn hertes pietee;
I have eek seyn with teres al depeynted
1600 Your lettre, and how that ye requeren me
To come ayein, which yet ne may not be.
But why, lest that this lettre founden were,
No mencioun ne make I now, for fere.
`Grevous to me, god woot, is your
1605 Your haste, and that, the goddes ordenaunce,
It semeth not ye take it for the beste.
Nor other thing nis in your remembraunce,
As thinketh me, but only your plesaunce.
But beth not wrooth, and that I yow biseche;
1610 For that I tarie, is al for wikked speche.
`For I have herd wel more than
Touchinge us two, how thinges han y-stonde;
Which I shal with dissimulinge amende.
And beth nought wrooth, I have eek understonde,
1615 How ye ne doon but holden me in honde.
But now no fors, I can not in yow gesse
But alle trouthe and alle gentilesse.
`Comen I wol, but yet in swich
I stonde as now, that what yeer or what day
1620 That this shal be, that can I not apoynte.
But in effect, I prey yow, as I may,
Of your good word and of your frendship ay.
For trewely, whyl that my lyf may dure,
As for a freend, ye may in me assure.
1625 `Yet preye I yow on yvel ye ne take,
That it is short which that I to yow wryte;
I dar not, ther I am, wel lettres make,
Ne never yet ne coude I wel endyte.
Eek greet effect men wryte in place lite.
1630 Thentente is al, and nought the lettres space;
And fareth now wel, god have you in his grace!
La vostre C.'
This Troilus this lettre thoughte
Whan he it saugh, and sorwefully he sighte;
Him thoughte it lyk a kalendes of chaunge;
1635 But fynally, he ful ne trowen mighte
That she ne wolde him holden that she highte;
For with ful yvel wil list him to leve
That loveth wel, in swich cas, though him greve.
But natheles, men seyn that, at
1640 For any thing, men shal the sothe see;
And swich a cas bitidde, and that as faste,
That Troilus wel understood that she
Nas not so kinde as that hir oughte be.
And fynally, he woot now, out of doute,
1645 That al is lost that he hath been aboute.
Stood on a day in his malencolye
This Troilus, and in suspecioun
Of hir for whom he wende for to dye.
And so bifel, that through-out Troye toun,
1650 As was the gyse, y-bore was up and doun
A maner cote-armure, as seyth the storie,
Biforn Deiphebe, in signe of his victorie,
The whiche cote, as telleth Lollius,
Deiphebe it hadde y-rent from Diomede
1655 The same day; and whan this Troilus
It saugh, he gan to taken of it hede,
Avysing of the lengthe and of the brede,
And al the werk; but as he gan biholde,
Ful sodeinly his herte gan to colde,
1660 As he that on the coler fond with-inne
A broche, that he Criseyde yaf that morwe
That she from Troye moste nedes twinne,
In remembraunce of him and of his sorwe;
And she him leyde ayein hir feyth to borwe
1665 To kepe it ay; but now, ful wel he wiste,
His lady nas no lenger on to triste.
He gooth him hoom, and gan ful
For Pandarus; and al this newe chaunce,
And of this broche, he tolde him word and ende,
1670 Compleyninge of hir hertes variaunce,
His longe love, his trouthe, and his penaunce;
And after deeth, with-outen wordes more,
Ful faste he cryde, his reste him to restore.
Than spak he thus, `O lady myn
1675 Wher is your feyth, and wher is your biheste?
Wher is your love, wher is your trouthe,' he seyde;
`Of Diomede have ye now al this feste!
Allas, I wolde have trowed at the leste.
That, sin ye nolde in trouthe to me stonde,
1680 That ye thus nolde han holden me in honde!
`Who shal now trowe on any othes
Allas, I never wolde han wend, er this,
That ye, Criseyde, coude han chaunged so;
Ne, but I hadde a-gilt and doon amis,
1685 So cruel wende I not your herte, y-wis,
To slee me thus; allas, your name of trouthe
Is now for-doon, and that is al my routhe.
`Was ther non other broche yow
To feffe with your newe love,' quod he,
1690 `But thilke broche that I, with teres wete,
Yow yaf, as for a remembraunce of me?
Non other cause, allas, ne hadde ye
But for despyt, and eek for that ye mente
Al-outrely to shewen your entente!
1695 `Through which I see that clene out of your minde
Ye han me cast, and I ne can nor may,
For al this world, with-in myn herte finde
To unloven yow a quarter of a day!
In cursed tyme I born was, weylaway!
1700 That ye, that doon me al this wo endure,
Yet love I best of any creature.
`Now god,' quod he, `me sende yet
That I may meten with this Diomede!
And trewely, if I have might and space,
1705 Yet shal I make, I hope, his sydes blede.
O god,' quod he, `that oughtest taken hede
To fortheren trouthe, and wronges to punyce,
Why niltow doon a vengeaunce of this vyce?
`O Pandare, that in dremes for
1710 Me blamed hast, and wont art oft up-breyde,
Now maystow see thy-selve, if that thee liste,
How trewe is now thy nece, bright Criseyde!
In sondry formes, god it woot,' he seyde,
`The goddes shewen bothe Ioye and tene
1715 In slepe, and by my dreme it is now sene.
`And certaynly, with-oute more
From hennes-forth, as ferforth as I may,
Myn owene deeth in armes wol I seche;
I recche not how sone be the day!
1720 But trewely, Criseyde, swete may,
Whom I have ay with al my might y-served,
That ye thus doon, I have it nought deserved.'
This Pandarus, that alle these
And wiste wel he seyde a sooth of this,
1725 He nought a word ayein to him answerde;
For sory of his frendes sorwe he is,
And shamed, for his nece hath doon a-mis;
And stant, astoned of these causes tweye,
As stille as stoon; a word ne coude he seye.
1730 But at the laste thus he spak, and seyde,
`My brother dere, I may thee do no-more.
What shulde I seyn? I hate, y-wis, Criseyde!
And, god wot, I wol hate hir evermore!
And that thou me bisoughtest doon of yore,
1735 Havinge un-to myn honour ne my reste
Right no reward, I dide al that thee leste.
`If I dide ought that mighte lyken
It is me leef; and of this treson now,
God woot, that it a sorwe is un-to me!
1740 And dredelees, for hertes ese of yow,
Right fayn wolde I amende it, wiste I how.
And fro this world, almighty god I preye,
Delivere hir sone; I can no-more seye.'
Gret was the sorwe and pleynt of
1745 But forth hir cours fortune ay gan to holde.
Criseyde loveth the sone of Tydeus,
And Troilus mot wepe in cares colde.
Swich is this world; who-so it can biholde,
In eche estat is litel hertes reste;
1750 God leve us for to take it for the beste!
In many cruel batayle, out of drede,
Of Troilus, this ilke noble knight,
As men may in these olde bokes rede,
Was sene his knighthod and his grete might.
1755 And dredelees, his ire, day and night,
Ful cruelly the Grekes ay aboughte;
And alwey most this Diomede he soughte.
And ofte tyme, I finde that they
With blody strokes and with wordes grete,
1760 Assayinge how hir speres weren whette;
And god it woot, with many a cruel hete
Gan Troilus upon his helm to bete.
But natheles, fortune it nought ne wolde,
Of others hond that either deyen sholde. --
1765 And if I hadde y-taken for to wryte
The armes of this ilke worthy man,
Than wolde I of his batailles endyte.
But for that I to wryte first bigan
Of his love, I have seyd as that I can.
1770 His worthy dedes, who-so list hem here,
Reed Dares, he can telle hem alle y-fere.
Bisechinge every lady bright of
And every gentil womman, what she be,
That al be that Criseyde was untrewe,
1775 That for that gilt she be not wrooth with me.
Ye may hir gilt in othere bokes see;
And gladlier I wole wryten, if yow leste,
Penolopees trouthe and good Alceste.
Ne I sey not this al-only for these
1780 But most for wommen that bitraysed be
Through false folk; god yeve hem sorwe, amen!
That with hir grete wit and subtiltee
Bitrayse yow! And this commeveth me
To speke, and in effect yow alle I preye,
1785 Beth war of men, and herkeneth what I seye! --
Go, litel book, go litel myn tragedie,
Ther god thy maker yet, er that he dye,
So sende might to make in som comedie!
But litel book, no making thou nenvye,
1790 But subgit be to alle poesye;
And kis the steppes, wher-as thou seest pace
Virgile, Ovyde, Omer, Lucan, and Stace.
And for ther is so greet diversitee
In English and in wryting of our tonge,
1795 So preye I god that noon miswryte thee,
Ne thee mismetre for defaute of tonge.
And red wher-so thou be, or elles songe,
That thou be understonde I god beseche!
But yet to purpos of my rather speche. --
1800 The wraththe, as I began yow for to seye,
Of Troilus, the Grekes boughten dere;
For thousandes his hondes maden deye,
As he that was with-outen any pere,
Save Ector, in his tyme, as I can here.
1805 But weylawey, save only goddes wille,
Dispitously him slough the fiers Achille.
And whan that he was slayn in this
His lighte goost ful blisfully is went
Up to the holownesse of the seventh spere,
1810 In convers letinge every element;
And ther he saugh, with ful avysement,
The erratik sterres, herkeninge armonye
With sownes fulle of hevenish melodye.
And doun from thennes faste he
1815 This litel spot of erthe, that with the see
Embraced is, and fully gan despyse
This wrecched world, and held al vanitee
To respect of the pleyn felicitee
That is in hevene above; and at the laste,
1820 Ther he was slayn, his loking doun he caste;
And in him-self he lough right
at the wo
Of hem that wepten for his deeth so faste;
And dampned al our werk that folweth so
The blinde lust, the which that may not laste,
1825 And sholden al our herte on hevene caste.
And forth he wente, shortly for to telle,
Ther as Mercurie sorted him to dwelle. --
Swich fyn hath, lo, this Troilus
Swich fyn hath al his grete worthinesse;
1830 Swich fyn hath his estat real above,
Swich fyn his lust, swich fyn hath his noblesse;
Swich fyn hath false worldes brotelnesse.
And thus bigan his lovinge of Criseyde,
As I have told, and in this wyse he deyde.
1835 O yonge fresshe folkes, he or she,
In which that love up groweth with your age,
Repeyreth hoom from worldly vanitee,
And of your herte up-casteth the visage
To thilke god that after his image
1840 Yow made, and thinketh al nis but a fayre
This world, that passeth sone as floures fayre.
And loveth him, the which that
right for love
Upon a cros, our soules for to beye,
First starf, and roos, and sit in hevene a-bove;
1845 For he nil falsen no wight, dar I seye,
That wol his herte al hoolly on him leye.
And sin he best to love is, and most meke,
What nedeth feyned loves for to seke?
Lo here, of Payens corsed olde
1850 Lo here, what alle hir goddes may availle;
Lo here, these wrecched worldes appetytes;
Lo here, the fyn and guerdon for travaille
Of Iove, Appollo, of Mars, of swich rascaille!
Lo here, the forme of olde clerkes speche
1855 In poetrye, if ye hir bokes seche. --
O moral Gower, this book I directe
To thee, and to the philosophical Strode,
To vouchen sauf, ther nede is, to corecte,
Of your benignitees and zeles gode.
1860 And to that sothfast Crist, that starf on rode,
With al myn herte of mercy ever I preye;
And to the lord right thus I speke and seye:
Thou oon, and two, and three, eterne
That regnest ay in three and two and oon,
1865 Uncircumscript, and al mayst circumscryve,
Us from visible and invisible foon
Defende; and to thy mercy, everichoon,
So make us, Iesus, for thy grace digne,
For love of mayde and moder thyn benigne! Amen.