Book 4

Proemium. to Book 4

         But al to litel, weylaway the whyle,
       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 face
       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 three,
       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 springe
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 herte,
       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 rage
       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 my lyve,
       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 in Ioye
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 laft,
       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, allas!
       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 fro,
       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 the wheel
       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 the glede,
       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 seyde,
       `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 men lyeth!
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 hir visage
       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 seye,
       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 I leve?
       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 al biforn,
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 also
       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 in this,
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 shewinge
       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 a see,
       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 not therfore,
       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 doutaunce,
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, certeyn,
       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 herto,
       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 in trone,
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, `in trone,
       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 sore,
       `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 to mete,
       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 tweyne
       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 cruel herte,
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 heigh desdayn,
       `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 hir thus,
       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 she abreyde,
       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 hir ofte,
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 out-drawe?
       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 grace was,
       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 armes folde,
       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,' quod she,
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 sermoun,
       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 understonde,
       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 now,
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 is here,
       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 wyse
       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 dere,
       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 be
       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 it is
       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, swete,
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 it preve
       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 suppose,
       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:

           Criseyde, 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 clere
       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 take,
       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 aboute
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 this hete;
       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.

Book 5

(No Proemium)

       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 on-lofte
       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 lore,
       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 manere,
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 gnawe,
       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 pore
       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 ryde,
       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 y-come
       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 take,
       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 the brydel,
       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 ynough,
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 his good,
       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 knight,
       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, lo, now,
       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 trete,
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 Grekes wrothe
       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 the tente
       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 bright,
       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 this place,
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 answerde,
       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 alle,
       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 his ye
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 doun,
       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 lord Cupyde,
       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 thyn ire,
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 retorne
       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 wente
       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 shewe
       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 the morwe,
       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 night,
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 he walke,
       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 and 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 he thoughte,
       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 a flour
       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 yow love,
       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 to seye,
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 taughte
       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 doun
       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 us,
       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 us,
       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 ende,
       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 never,
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 chyde
       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 to see
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, certeyn;
       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 comth eve,
       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 good;
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, y-wis.
       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,' quod Troilus;
       `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 calle
       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 this;
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 hir biheste.'
       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 fledde,
       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 us blesse,
       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 man
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 dere,
       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 slepe,
       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 bitrayed,
       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 go,
       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, allas!
       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 this boor,
       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 Troilus,
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 wel seyn,
       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 she wente,
       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 festes,
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 night
       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 eek biforn,
       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 in ire
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 reysed,
       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 us,
       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 pleyes,
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 either brother,
       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 herte
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 us,
       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 dispeyre,
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 grete
       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 y-pleynted,
       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 unreste,
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 I wende,
       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 disioynte
       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 al straunge,
       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 the laste,
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 sone sende
       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 Criseyde,
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 mo?
       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 liste lete
       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 the grace
       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 to triste
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 speche,
       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 thinges herde,
       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 thee,
       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 Troilus;
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 mette
       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 hewe,
       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 men,
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 manere,
       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 gan avyse
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 for love,
       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 rytes,
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 on-lyve,
       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.