The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

Sequitur pars tercia.

I trowe men wolde deme it necligence
     1881
If I foryete to tellen the dispence
     1882
Of theseus, that gooth so bisily
     1883
To maken up the lystes roially,
     1884
That swich a noble theatre as it was,
     1885
I dar wel seyen in this world ther nas.
     1886
The circuit a myle was aboute,
     1887
Walled of stoon, and dyched al withoute.
     1888
Round was the shap, in manere of compas,
     1889
Ful of degrees, the heighte of sixty pas,
     1890
That whan a man was set on o degree,
     1891
He letted nat his felawe for to see.
     1892
Estward ther stood a gate of marbul whit,
     1893
Westward right swich another in the opposit.
     1894
And shortly to concluden, swich a place
     1895
Was noon in erthe, as in so litel space;
     1896
For in the lond ther was no crafty man
     1897
That geometrie or ars-metrike kan,
     1898
Ne portreyour, ne kervere of ymages,
     1899
That theseus ne yaf him mete and wages,
     1900
The theatre for to maken and devyse.
     1901
And for to doon his ryte and sacrifise,
     1902
He estward hath, upon the gate above,
     1903
In worshipe of venus, goddesse of love,
     1904
Doon make an auter and an oratorie;
     1905
And on the gate westward, in memorie
     1906
Of mars, he maked hath right swich another,
     1907
That coste largely of gold a fother.
     1908
And northward, in a touret on the wal,
     1909
Of alabastre whit and reed coral,
     1910
An oratorie, riche for to see,
     1911
In worshipe of dyane of chastitee,
     1912
Hath theseus doon wroght in noble wyse.
     1913
But yet hadde I foryeten to devyse
     1914
The noble kervyng and the portreitures,
     1915
The shap, the contenaunce, and the figures,
     1916
That weren in thise oratories thre. Page  36
     1917
First in the temple of venus maystow se
     1918
Wroght on the wal, ful pitous to biholde,
     1919
The broken slepes, and the sikes colde,
     1920
The sacred teeris, and the waymentynge,
     1921
The firy strokes of the desirynge
     1922
That loves servantz in this lyf enduren;
     1923
The othes that hir covenantz assuren;
     1924
Plesaunce and hope, desir, foolhardynesse,
     1925
Beautee and youthe, bauderie, richesse,
     1926
Charmes and force, lesynges, flaterye,
     1927
Despense, bisynesse, and jalousye,
     1928
That wered of yelewe gooldes a gerland,
     1929
And a cokkow sittynge on hir hand;
     1930
Festes, instrumentz, caroles, daunces,
     1931
Lust and array, and alle the circumstaunces
     1932
Of love, which that I rekned and rekne shal,
     1933
By ordre weren peynted on the wal,
     1934
And mo than I kan make of mencioun.
     1935
For soothly al the mount of citheroun,
     1936
Ther venus hath hir principal dwellynge,
     1937
Was shewed on the wal in portreyynge,
     1938
With al the gardyn and the lustynesse.
     1939
Nat was foryeten the porter, ydelnesse,
     1940
Ne narcisus the faire of yore agon,
     1941
Ne yet the folye of kyng salomon,
     1942
Ne yet the grete strengthe of ercules --
     1943
Th-enchauntementz of medea and circes --
     1944
Ne of turnus, with the hardy fiers corage,
     1945
The riche cresus, kaytyf in servage.
     1946
Thus may ye seen that wysdom ne richesse,
     1947
Beautee ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardynesse,
     1948
Ne may with venus holde champartie,
     1949
For as hir list the world than may she gye.
     1950
Lo, alle thise folk so caught were in hir las,
     1951
Til they for wo ful ofte seyde allas!
     1952
Suffiseth heere ensamples oon or two,
     1953
And though I koude rekene a thousand mo.
     1954
The statue of venus, glorious for to se,
     1955
Was naked, fletynge in the large see,
     1956
And fro the navele doun al covered was
     1957
With wawes grene, and brighte as any glas.
     1958
A citole in hir right hand hadde she,
     1959
And on hir heed, ful semely for to se,
     1960
A rose gerland, fressh and wel smellynge;
     1961
Above hir heed hir dowves flikerynge.
     1962
Biforn hire stood hir sone cupido;
     1963
Upon his shuldres wynges hadde he two,
     1964
And blynd he was, as it is often seene;
     1965
A bowe he bar and arwes brighte and kene.
     1966
Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
     1967
The portreiture that was upon the wal
     1968
Withinne the temple of myghty mars the rede?
     1969
Al peynted was the wal, in lengthe and brede,
     1970
Lyk to the estres of the grisly place
     1971
That highte the grete temple of mars in trace,
     1972
In thilke colde, frosty regioun
     1973
Ther as mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.
     1974
First on the wal was peynted a forest,
     1975
In which ther dwelleth neither man ne best,
     1976
With knotty, knarry, bareyne trees olde,
     1977
Of stubbes sharpe and hidouse to biholde,
     1978
In which ther ran a rumbel in a swough,
     1979
As though a storm sholde bresten every bough.
     1980
And dounward from an hille, under a bente,
     1981
Ther stood the temple of mars armypotente,
     1982
Wroght al of burned steel, of which the entree
     1983
Was long and streit, and gastly for to see.
     1984
And therout came a rage and swich a veze
     1985
That it made al the gate for to rese.
     1986
The northren lyght in at the dores shoon,
     1987
For wyndowe on the wal ne was ther noon,
     1988
Thurgh which men myghten any light discerne.
     1989
The dore was al of adamant eterne,
     1990
Yclenched overthwart and endelong
     1991
With iren tough; and for to make it strong,
     1992
Every pyler, the temple to sustene,
     1993
Was tonne-greet, of iren bright and shene.
     1994
Ther saugh I first the derke ymaginyng
     1995
Of felonye, and al the compassyng;
     1996
The crueel ire, reed as any gleede;
     1997
The pykepurs, and eek the pale drede;
     1998
The smylere with the knyf under the cloke;
     1999
The shepne brennynge with the blake smoke;
     2000
The tresoun of the mordrynge in the bedde;
     2001
The open werre, with woundes al bibledde;
     2002
Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace.
     2003
Al ful of chirkyng was that sory place.
     2004
The sleere of hymself yet saugh I ther, --
     2005
His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer;
     2006
The nayl ydryven in the shode a-nyght;
     2007
The colde deeth, with mouth gapyng upright.
     2008
Amyddes of the temple sat meschaunce,
     2009
With disconfort and sory contenaunce.
     2010
Yet saugh I woodnesse, laughynge in his rage,
     2011
Armed compleint, outhees, and fiers outrage;
     2012
The careyne in the busk, with throte ycorve;
     2013
A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm ystorve;
     2014
The tiraunt, with the pray by force yraft;
     2015
The toun destroyed, ther was no thyng laft.
     2016
Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres;
     2017
The hunte strangled with the wilde beres;
     2018
The sowe freten the child right in the cradel;
     2019
The cook yscalded, for al his longe ladel.
     2020
Noght was foryeten by the infortune of marte
     2021
The cartere overryden with his carte:
     2022
Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
     2023
Ther were also, of martes divisioun, Page  37
     2024
The barbour, and the bocher, and the smyth,
     2025
That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his styth.
     2026
And al above, depeynted in a tour,
     2027
Saugh I conquest, sittynge in greet honour,
     2028
With the sharpe swerd over his heed
     2029
Hangynge by a soutil twynes threed.
     2030
Depeynted was the slaughtre of julius,
     2031
Of grete nero, and of antonius;
     2032
Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
     2033
Yet was hir deth depeynted ther-biforn
     2034
By manasynge of mars, right by figure.
     2035
So was it shewed in that portreiture,
     2036
As is depeynted in the sterres above
     2037
Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.
     2038
Suffiseth oon ensample in stories olde;
     2039
I may nat rekene hem alle though I wolde.
     2040
The statue of mars upon a carte stood
     2041
Armed, and looked grym as he were wood;
     2042
And over his heed ther shynen two figures
     2043
Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures,
     2044
That oon puella, that oother rubeus --
     2045
This God of armes was arrayed thus.
     2046
A wolf ther stood biforn hym at his feet
     2047
With eyen rede, and of a man he eet;
     2048
With soutil pencel depeynted was this storie
     2049
In redoutynge of mars and of his glorie.
     2050
Now to the temple of dyane the chaste,
     2051
As shortly as I kan, I wol me haste,
     2052
To telle yow al the descripsioun.
     2053
Depeynted been the walles up and doun
     2054
Of huntyng and of shamefast chastitee.
     2055
Ther saugh I how woful calistopee,
     2056
Whan that diane agreved was with here,
     2057
Was turned from a womman til a bere,
     2058
And after was she maad the loode-sterre;
     2059
Thus was it peynted, I kan sey yow no ferre.
     2060
Hir sone is eek a sterre, as men may see.
     2061
Ther saugh I dane, yturned til a tree, --
     2062
I mene nat the goddesse diane,
     2063
But penneus doghter, which that highte dane.
     2064
Ther saugh I attheon an hert ymaked,
     2065
For vengeaunce that he saugh diane al naked;
     2066
I saugh how that his houndes have hym caught
     2067
And freeten hym, for that they knewe hym naught.
     2068
Yet peynted was a litel forther moor
     2069
How atthalante hunted the wilde boor,
     2070
And meleagre, and many another mo,
     2071
For which dyane wroghte hym care and wo.
     2072
Ther saugh I many another wonder storie,
     2073
The which me list nat drawen to memorie.
     2074
This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet,
     2075
With smale houndes al aboute hir feet;
     2076
And undernethe hir feet she hadde a moone, --
     2077
Wexynge it was and sholde wanye soone.
     2078
In gaude grene hir statue clothed was,
     2079
With bowe in honde, and arwes in a cas.
     2080
Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun,
     2081
Ther pluto hath his derke regioun.
     2082
A womman travaillynge was hire biforn;
     2083
But for hir child so longe was unborn,
     2084
Ful pitously lucyna gan she calle,
     2085
And seyde, help, for thou mayst best of alle!
     2086
Wel koude he peynten lifly that it wroghte;
     2087
With many a floryn he the hewes boghte.
     2088
Now been thise lystes maad, and theseus,
     2089
That at his grete cost arrayed thus
     2090
The temples and the theatre every deel,
     2091
Whan it was doon, hym lyked wonder weel.
     2092
But stynte I wole of theseus a lite,
     2093
And speke of palamon and of arcite.
     2094
The day approcheth of hir retournynge,
     2095
That everich sholde an hundred knyghtes brynge
     2096
The bataille to darreyne, as I yow tolde.
     2097
And til atthenes, hir covenant for to holde,
     2098
Hath everich of hem broght an hundred knyghtes,
     2099
Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.
     2100
And sikerly ther trowed many a man
     2101
That nevere, sithen that the world bigan,
     2102
As for to speke of knyghthod of hir hond,
     2103
As fer as God hath maked see or lond,
     2104
Nas of so fewe so noble a compaignye.
     2105
For every wight that lovede chivalrye,
     2106
And wolde, his thankes, han a passant name,
     2107
Hath preyed that he myghte been of that game;
     2108
And wel was hym that therto chosen was.
     2109
For if ther fille tomorwe swich a cas,
     2110
Ye knowen wel that every lusty knyght
     2111
That loveth paramours and hath his myght,
     2112
Were it in engelond or elleswhere,
     2113
They wolde, hir thankes, wilnen to be there, --
     2114
To fighte for a lady, benedicitee!
     2115
It were a lusty sighte for to see.
     2116
And right so ferden they with palamon.
     2117
With hym ther wenten knyghtes many on;
     2118
Som wol ben armed in an haubergeoun,
     2119
And in a brestplate and light gypoun;
     2120
And som wol have a paire plates large;
     2121
And som wol have a pruce sheeld or a targe;
     2122
Som wol ben armed on his legges weel,
     2123
And have an ax, and som a mace of steel --
     2124
Ther is no newe gyse that it nas old.
     2125
Armed were they, as I have yow told,
     2126
Everych after his opinioun.
     2127
Ther maistow seen, comynge with palamoun,
     2128
Lygurge hymself, the grete kyng of trace. Page  38
     2129
Blak was his berd, and manly was his face;
     2130
The cercles of his eyen in his heed,
     2131
They gloweden bitwixen yelow and reed,
     2132
And lik a grifphon looked he aboute,
     2133
With kempe heeris on his browes stoute;
     2134
His lymes grete, his brawnes harde and stronge,
     2135
His shuldres brode, his armes rounde and longe;
     2136
And as the gyse was in his contree,
     2137
Ful hye upon a chaar of gold stood he,
     2138
With foure white boles in the trays.
     2139
In stede of cote-armure over his harnays,
     2140
With nayles yelewe and brighte as any gold,
     2141
He hadde a beres skyn, col-blak for old.
     2142
His longe heer was kembd bihynde his bak;
     2143
As any ravenes fethere it shoon for blak;
     2144
A wrethe of gold, arm-greet, of huge wighte,
     2145
Upon his heed, set ful of stones brighte,
     2146
Of fyne rubyes and of dyamauntz.
     2147
Aboute his chaar ther wenten white alauntz,
     2148
Twenty and mo, as grete as any steer,
     2149
To hunten at the leoun or the deer,
     2150
And folwed hym with mosel faste ybounde,
     2151
Colered of gold, and tourettes fyled rounde.
     2152
An hundred lordes hadde he in his route,
     2153
Armed ful wel, with hertes stierne and stoute.
     2154
With arcita, in stories as men fynde,
     2155
The grete emetreus, the kyng of inde,
     2156
Upon a steede bay trapped in steel,
     2157
Covered in clooth of gold, dyapred weel,
     2158
Cam ridynge lyk the God of armes, mars.
     2159
His cote-armure was of clooth of tars
     2160
Couched with perles white and rounde and grete;
     2161
His sadel was of brend gold newe ybete;
     2162
A mantelet upon his shulder hangynge,
     2163
Bret-ful of rubyes rede as fyr sparklynge;
     2164
His crispe heer lyk rynges was yronne,
     2165
And that was yelow, and glytered as the sonne.
     2166
His nose was heigh, his eyen bright citryn,
     2167
His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwyn;
     2168
A fewe frakenes in his face yspreynd,
     2169
Bitwixen yelow and somdel blak ymeynd;
     2170
And as a leon he his lookyng caste.
     2171
Of fyve and twenty yeer his age I caste.
     2172
His berd was wel bigonne for to sprynge;
     2173
His voys was as a trompe thonderynge.
     2174
Upon his heed he wered of laurer grene
     2175
A gerland, fressh and lusty for to sene.
     2176
Upon his hand he bar for his deduyt
     2177
An egle tame, as any lilye whyt.
     2178
An hundred lordes hadde he with hym there,
     2179
Al armed, save hir heddes, in al hir gere,
     2180
Ful richely in alle maner thynges.
     2181
For trusteth wel that dukes, erles, kynges
     2182
Were gadered in this noble compaignye,
     2183
For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
     2184
Aboute this kyng ther ran on every part
     2185
Ful many a tame leon and leopart.
     2186
And in this wise thise lordes, alle and some,
     2187
Been on the sonday to the citee come
     2188
Aboute pryme, and in the toun alight.
     2189
This theseus, this duc, this worthy knyght,
     2190
Whan he had broght hem into his citee,
     2191
And inned hem, everich at his degree,
     2192
He festeth hem, and dooth so greet labour
     2193
To esen hem and doon hem al honour,
     2194
That yet men wenen that no mannes wit
     2195
Of noon estaat ne koude amenden it.
     2196
The mynstralcye, the service at the feeste,
     2197
The grete yiftes to the meeste and leeste,
     2198
The riche array of theseus paleys,
     2199
Ne who sat first ne last upon the deys,
     2200
What ladyes fairest been or best daunsynge,
     2201
Or which of hem kan dauncen best and synge,
     2202
Ne who moost felyngly speketh of love;
     2203
What haukes sitten on the perche above,
     2204
What houndes liggen on the floor adoun, --
     2205
Of al this make I now no mencioun,
     2206
But al th' effect, that thynketh me the beste.
     2207
Now cometh the point, and herkneth if yow leste.
     2208
The sonday nyght, er day bigan to sprynge,
     2209
Whan palamon the larke herde synge,
     2210
(although it nere nat day by houres two,
     2211
Yet song the larke) and palamon right tho
     2212
With hooly herte and with an heigh corage,
     2213
He roos to wenden on his pilgrymage
     2214
Unto the blisful citherea benigne, --
     2215
I mene venus, honurable and digne.
     2216
And in hir houre he walketh forth a pas
     2217
Unto the lystes ther hire temple was,
     2218
And doun he kneleth, and with humble cheere
     2219
And herte soor, he seyde as ye shal heere:
     2220
Faireste of faire, o lady myn, venus,
     2221
Doughter to jove, and spouse of vulcanus,
     2222
Thow gladere of the mount of citheron,
     2223
For thilke love thow haddest to adoon,
     2224
Have pitee of my bittre teeris smerte,
     2225
And taak myn humble preyere at thyn herte.
     2226
Allas! I ne have no langage to telle
     2227
Th' effectes ne the tormentz of myn helle;
     2228
Myn herte may myne harmes nat biwreye;
     2229
I am so confus that I kan noght seye
     2230
But, -- mercy, lady bright, that knowest weele
     2231
My thought, and seest what harmes that feele!
     2232
Considere al this and rewe upon my soore,
     2233
As wisly as I shal for everemoore, Page  39
     2234
Emforth my myght, thy trewe servant be,
     2235
And holden werre alwey with chastitee.
     2236
That make I myn avow, so ye me helpe!
     2237
I kepe noght of armes for to yelpe,
     2238
Ne I ne axe nat tomorwe to have victorie,
     2239
Ne renoun in this cas, ne veyne glorie
     2240
Of pris of armes blowen up and doun;
     2241
But I wolde have fully possessioun
     2242
Of emelye, and dye in thy servyse.
     2243
Fynd thow the manere hou, and in what wyse:
     2244
I recche nat but it may bettre be
     2245
To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
     2246
So that I have my lady in myne armes.
     2247
For though so be that mars is God of armes,
     2248
Youre vertu is so greet in hevene above
     2249
That if yow list, I shal wel have my love.
     2250
Thy temple wol I worshipe everemo,
     2251
And on thyn auter, where I ride or go,
     2252
I wol doon sacrifice and fires beete.
     2253
And if ye wol nat so, my lady sweete,
     2254
Thanne preye I thee, tomorwe with a spere
     2255
That arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
     2256
Thanne rekke I noght, whan I have lost my lyf,
     2257
Though that arcita wynne hire to his wyf.
     2258
This is th' effect and ende of my preyere:
     2259
Yif me my love, thow blisful lady deere.
     2260
Whan the orison was doon of palamon,
     2261
His sacrifice he dide, and that anon,
     2262
Ful pitously, with alle circumstaunces,
     2263
Al telle I noght as now his observaunces;
     2264
But atte laste the statue of venus shook,
     2265
And made a signe, wherby that he took
     2266
That his preyere accepted was that day.
     2267
For thogh the signe shewed a delay,
     2268
Yet wiste he wel that graunted was his boone;
     2269
And with glad herte he wente hym hoom ful soone.
     2270
The thridde houre inequal that palamon
     2271
Bigan to venus temple for to gon,
     2272
Up roos the sonne, and up roos emelye,
     2273
And to the temple of dyane gan hye.
     2274
Hir maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
     2275
Ful redily with hem the fyr they hadde,
     2276
Th' encens, the clothes, and the remenant al
     2277
That to the sacrifice longen shal;
     2278
The hornes fulle of meeth, as was the gyse:
     2279
Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifise.
     2280
Smokynge the temple, ful of clothes faire,
     2281
This emelye, with herte debonaire,
     2282
Hir body wessh with water of a welle.
     2283
But hou she dide hir ryte I dar nat telle,
     2284
But it be any thing in general;
     2285
And yet it were a game to heeren al.
     2286
To hym that meneth wel it were no charge;
     2287
But it is good a man been at his large.
     2288
Hir brighte heer was kembd, untressed al;
     2289
A coroune of a grene ook cerial
     2290
Upon hir heed was set ful fair and meete.
     2291
Two fyres on the auter gan she beete,
     2292
And dide hir thynges, as men may biholde
     2293
In stace of thebes and thise bookes olde.
     2294
Whan kyndled was the fyr, with pitous cheere
     2295
Unto dyane she spak as ye may heere:
     2296
O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
     2297
To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,
     2298
Queene of the regne of pluto derk and lowe,
     2299
Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe
     2300
Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
     2301
As keepe me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
     2302
That attheon aboughte cruelly.
     2303
Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
     2304
Desire to ben a mayden al my lyf,
     2305
Ne nevere wol I be no love ne wyf.
     2306
I am, thow woost, yet of thy compaignye,
     2307
A mayde, and love huntynge and venerye,
     2308
And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
     2309
And noght to ben a wyf and be with childe.
     2310
Noght wol I knowe compaignye of man.
     2311
Now help me, lady, sith ye may and kan,
     2312
For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
     2313
And palamon, that hath swich love to me,
     2314
And eek arcite, that loveth me so soore,
     2315
(this grace I preye thee withoute moore)
     2316
As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two,
     2317
And from me turne awey hir hertes so
     2318
That al hire hoote love and hir desir,
     2319
And al hir bisy torment, and hir fir
     2320
Be queynt, or turned in another place.
     2321
And if so be thou wolt nat do me grace,
     2322
Or if my destynee be shapen so
     2323
That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
     2324
As sende me hym that moost desireth me.
     2325
Bihoold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
     2326
The bittre teeris that on my chekes falle.
     2327
Syn thou art mayde and kepere of us alle,
     2328
My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve
     2329
And whil I lyve, a mayde I wol thee serve.
     2330
The fires brenne upon the auter cleere,
     2331
Whil emelye was thus in hir preyere.
     2332
But sodeynly she saugh a sighte queynte,
     2333
For right anon oon of the fyres queynte,
     2334
And quyked agayn, and after that anon
     2335
That oother fyr was queynt and al agon;
     2336
And as it queynte it made a whistelynge,
     2337
As doon thise wete brondes in hir brennynge,
     2338
And at the brondes ende out ran anon Page  40
     2339
As it were blody dropes many oon;
     2340
For which so soore agast was emelye
     2341
That she was wel ny mad, and gan to crye,
     2342
For she ne wiste what it signyfied;
     2343
But oonly for the feere thus hath she cried,
     2344
And weep that it was pitee for to heere.
     2345
And therwithal dyane gan appeere,
     2346
With bowe in honde, right as an hunteresse,
     2347
And seyde, doghter, stynt thyn hevynesse.
     2348
Among the goddes hye it is affermed,
     2349
And by eterne word writen and confermed,
     2350
Thou shalt ben wedded unto oon of tho
     2351
That han for thee so muchel care and wo;
     2352
But unto which of hem I may nat telle.
     2353
Farwel, for I ne may no lenger dwelle.
     2354
The fires which that on myn auter brenne
     2355
Shulle thee declaren, er that thou go henne,
     2356
Thyn aventure of love, as in this cas.
     2357
And with that word, the arwes in the caas
     2358
Of the goddesse clateren faste and rynge,
     2359
And forth she wente, and made a vanysshynge;
     2360
For which this emelye astoned was,
     2361
And seyde, what amounteth this, allas?
     2362
I putte me in thy proteccioun,
     2363
Dyane, and in thy disposicioun.
     2364
And hoom she goth anon the nexte weye.
     2365
This is th' effect; ther is namoore to seye.
     2366
The nexte houre of mars folwynge this,
     2367
Arcite unto the temple walked is
     2368
Of fierse mars, to doon his sacrifise,
     2369
With alle the rytes of his payen wyse.
     2370
With pitous herte and heigh devocioun,
     2371
Right thus to mars he seyde his orisoun:
     2372
O stronge god, that in the regnes colde
     2373
Of trace honoured art and lord yholde,
     2374
And hast in every regne and every lond
     2375
Of armes al the brydel in thyn hond,
     2376
And hem fortunest as thee lyst devyse,
     2377
Accepte of me my pitous sacrifise.
     2378
If so be that my youthe may deserve,
     2379
And that my myght be worthy for to serve
     2380
Thy godhede, that I may been oon of thyne,
     2381
Thanne preye I thee to rewe upon my pyne.
     2382
For thilke peyne, and thilke hoote fir
     2383
In which thow whilom brendest for desir,
     2384
Whan that thow usedest the beautee
     2385
Of faire, yonge, fresshe venus free,
     2386
And haddest hire in armes at thy wille --
     2387
Although thee ones on a tyme mysfille,
     2388
Whan vulcanus hadde caught thee in his las,
     2389
And foond thee liggynge by his wyf, allas! --
     2390
For thilke sorwe that was in thyn herte,
     2391
Have routhe as wel upon my peynes smerte.
     2392
I am yong and unkonnynge, as thow woost,
     2393
And, as I trowe, with love offended moost
     2394
That evere was any lyves creature;
     2395
For she that dooth me al this wo endure
     2396
Ne reccheth nevere wher I synke or fleete.
     2397
And wel I woot, er she me mercy heete,
     2398
I moot with strengthe wynne hire in the place,
     2399
And, wel I woot, withouten help or grace
     2400
Of thee, ne may my strengthe noght availle.
     2401
Thanne help me, lord, tomorwe in my bataille,
     2402
For thilke fyr that whilom brente thee,
     2403
As wel as thilke fyr now brenneth me,
     2404
And do that I tomorwe have victorie.
     2405
Myn be the travaille, and thyn be the glorie!
     2406
Thy sovereyn temple wol I moost honouren
     2407
Of any place, and alwey moost labouren
     2408
In thy plesaunce and in thy craftes stronge,
     2409
And in thy temple I wol my baner honge
     2410
And alle the armes of my compaignye;
     2411
And everemo, unto that day I dye,
     2412
Eterne fir I wol bifore thee fynde.
     2413
And eek to this avow I wol me bynde:
     2414
My beerd, myn heer, that hongeth long adoun,
     2415
That nevere yet ne felte offensioun
     2416
Of rasour nor of shere, I wol thee yive,
     2417
And ben thy trewe servant whil I lyve.
     2418
Now, lord, have routhe upon my sorwes soore;
     2419
Yif me victorie, I aske thee namoore.
     2420
The preyere stynt of arcita the stronge,
     2421
The rynges on the temple dore that honge,
     2422
And eek the dores, clatereden ful faste,
     2423
Of which arcita somwhat hym agaste.
     2424
The fyres brenden upon the auter brighte,
     2425
That it gan al the temple for to lighte;
     2426
A sweete smel the ground anon up yaf,
     2427
And arcita anon his hand up haf,
     2428
And moore encens into the fyr he caste,
     2429
With othere rytes mo; and atte laste
     2430
The statue of mars bigan his hauberk rynge;
     2431
And with that soun he herde a murmurynge
     2432
Ful lowe and dym, and seyde thus, victorie!
     2433
For which he yaf to mars honour and glorie.
     2434
And thus with joye and hope wel to fare
     2435
Arcite anon unto his in is fare,
     2436
As fayn as fowel is of the brighte sonne.
     2437
And right anon swich strif ther is bigonne,
     2438
For thilke grauntyng, in the hevene above,
     2439
Bitwixe venus, the goddesse of love,
     2440
And mars, the stierne God armypotente,
     2441
That juppiter was bisy it to stente;
     2442
Til that the pale saturnus the colde,
     2443
That knew so manye of aventures olde,
     2444
Foond in his olde experience an art
     2445
That he ful soone hath plesed every part.
     2446
As sooth is seyd, elde hath greet avantage; Page  41
     2447
In elde is bothe wysdom and usage;
     2448
Men may the olde atrenne, and noght atrede.
     2449
Saturne anon, to stynten strif and drede,
     2450
Al be it that it is agayn his kynde,
     2451
Of al this strif he gan remedie fynde.
     2452
My deere doghter venus, quod saturne,
     2453
My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne,
     2454
Hath moore power than woot any man.
     2455
Myn is the drenchyng in the see so wan;
     2456
Myn is the prison in the derke cote;
     2457
Myn is the stranglyng and hangyng by the throte,
     2458
The murmure and the cherles rebellyng,
     2459
The groynynge, and the pryvee empoysonyng;
     2460
I do vengeance and pleyn correccioun,
     2461
Whil I dwelle in the signe of the leoun.
     2462
Myn is the ruyne of the hye halles,
     2463
The fallynge of the toures and of the walles
     2464
Upon the mynour or the carpenter.
     2465
I slow sampsoun, shakynge the piler;
     2466
And myne be the maladyes colde,
     2467
The derke tresons, and the castes olde;
     2468
My lookyng is the fader of pestilence.
     2469
Now weep namoore, I shal doon diligence
     2470
That palamon, that is thyn owene knyght,
     2471
Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight.
     2472
Though mars shal helpe his knyght, yet nathelees
     2473
Bitwixe yow ther moot be som tyme pees,
     2474
Al be ye noght of o compleccioun,
     2475
That causeth al day swich divisioun.
     2476
I am thyn aiel, redy at thy wille;
     2477
Weep now namoore, I wol thy lust fulfille.
     2478
Now wol I stynten of the goddes above,
     2479
Of mars, and of venus, goddesse of love,
     2480
And telle yow as pleynly as I kan
     2481
The grete effect, for which that I bygan.
     2482
Explicit tercia pars.