The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

Sequitur pars quarta.

Greet was the feeste in atthenes that day,
     2483
And eek the lusty seson of that may
     2484
Made every wight to been in swich plesaunce
     2485
That al that monday justen they and daunce,
     2486
And spenden it in venus heigh servyse.
     2487
But by the cause that they sholde ryse
     2488
Eerly, for to seen the grete fight,
     2489
Unto hir reste wenten they at nyght.
     2490
And on the morwe, whan that day gan sprynge,
     2491
Of hors and harneys noyse and claterynge
     2492
Ther was in hostelryes al aboute;
     2493
And to the paleys rood ther many a route
     2494
Of lordes upon steedes and palfreys.
     2495
Ther maystow seen devisynge of harneys
     2496
So unkouth and so riche, and wroght so weel
     2497
Of goldsmythrye, of browdynge, and of steel;
     2498
The sheeldes brighte, testeres, and trappures,
     2499
Gold-hewen helmes, hauberkes, cote-armures;
     2500
Lordes in parementz on hir courseres,
     2501
Knyghtes of retenue, and eek squieres
     2502
Nailynge the speres, and helmes bokelynge;
     2503
Giggynge of sheeldes, with layneres lacynge
     2504
(there as nede is they weren no thyng ydel);
     2505
The fomy steedes on the golden brydel
     2506
Gnawynge, and faste the armurers also
     2507
With fyle and hamer prikynge to and fro;
     2508
Yemen on foote, and communes many oon
     2509
With fyle and hamer prikynge to and fro;
     2510
Pypes, trompes, nakers, clariounes,
     2511
That in the bataille blowen blody sounes;
     2512
The paleys ful of peple up and doun,
     2513
Heere thre, ther ten, holdynge hir questioun,
     2514
Dyvynynge of thise thebane knyghtes two.
     2515
Somme seyden thus, somme seyde it shal be so;
     2516
Somme helden with hym with the blake berd,
     2517
Somme with the balled, somme with the thikke herd;
     2518
Somme seyde he looked grymme, and he wolde fighte;
     2519
He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte.
     2520
Thus was the halle ful of divynynge,
     2521
Longe after that the sonne gan to sprynge.
     2522
The grete theseus, that of his sleep awaked
     2523
With mynstralcie and noyse that was maked,
     2524
Heeld yet the chambre of his paleys riche,
     2525
Til that the thebane knyghtes, bothe yliche
     2526
Honured, were into the paleys fet.
     2527
Duc theseus was at a wyndow set,
     2528
Arrayed right as he were a God in trone.
     2529
The peple preesseth thiderward ful soone
     2530
Hym for to seen, and doon heigh reverence,
     2531
And eek to herkne his heste and his sentence.
     2532
And heraud on a scaffold made an oo!
     2533
Til al the noyse of peple was ydo,
     2534
And whan he saugh the peple of noyse al stille,
     2535
Tho shewed he the myghty dukes wille.
     2536
The lord hath of his heigh discrecioun
     2537
Considered that it were destruccioun
     2538
To gentil blood to fighten in the gyse
     2539
Of mortal bataille now in this emprise.
     2540
Wherfore, to shapen that they shal nat dye,
     2541
He wol his firste purpos modifye.
     2542
No man therfore, up peyne of los of lyf,
     2543
No maner shot, ne polax, ne short knyf Page  42
     2544
Into the lystes sende, or thider brynge;
     2545
Ne short swerd, for to stoke with poynt bitynge,
     2546
No man ne drawe, ne bere it by his syde.
     2547
Ne no man shal unto his felawe ryde
     2548
But o cours, with a sharpe ygrounde spere;
     2549
Foyne, if hym list, on foote, hymself to were.
     2550
And he that is at meschief shal be take
     2551
And noght slayn, but be broght unto the stake
     2552
That shal ben ordeyned on either syde;
     2553
But thider he shal by force, and there abyde.
     2554
And if so falle the chieftayn be take
     2555
On outher syde, or elles sleen his make,
     2556
No lenger shal the turneiynge laste.
     2557
God spede you! gooth forth, and ley on faste!
     2558
With long swerd and with maces fighteth youre fille.
     2559
Gooth now youre wey, this is the lordes wille.
     2560
The voys of peple touchede the hevene,
     2561
So loude cride they with murie stevene,
     2562
God save swich a lord, that is so good,
     2563
He wilneth no destruccion of blood!
     2564
Up goon the trompes and the melodye,
     2565
And to the lystes rit the compaignye,
     2566
By ordinance, thurghout the citee large,
     2567
Hanged with clooth of gold, and nat with sarge.
     2568
Ful lik a lord this noble duc gan ryde,
     2569
Thise two thebans upon either syde;
     2570
And after rood the queene, and emelye,
     2571
And after that another compaignye
     2572
Of oon and oother, after hir degree.
     2573
And thus they passen thurghout the citee,
     2574
And to the lystes come they by tyme.
     2575
It nas nat of the day yet fully pryme
     2576
Whan set was theseus ful riche and hye,
     2577
Ypolita the queene, and emelye,
     2578
And othere ladys in degrees aboute.
     2579
Unto the seetes preesseth al the route.
     2580
And westward, thurgh the gates under marte,
     2581
Arcite, and eek the hondred of his parte,
     2582
With baner reed is entred right anon;
     2583
And in that selve moment palamon
     2584
Is under venus, estward in the place,
     2585
With baner whyt, and hardy chiere and face.
     2586
In al the world, to seken up and doun,
     2587
So evene, withouten variacioun,
     2588
Ther nere swiche compaignyes tweye;
     2589
For ther was noon so wys that koude seye
     2590
That any hadde of oother avauntage
     2591
Of worthynesse, ne of estaat, ne age,
     2592
So evene were they chosen, for to gesse.
     2593
And in two renges faire they hem dresse.
     2594
Whan that hir names rad were everichon,
     2595
That in hir nombre gyle were ther noon,
     2596
Tho were the gates shet, and cried was loude:
     2597
Do now youre devoir, yonge knyghtes proude!
     2598
The heraudes lefte hir prikyng up and doun;
     2599
Now ryngen trompes loude and clarioun.
     2600
Ther is namoore to seyn, but west and est
     2601
In goon the speres ful sadly in arrest;
     2602
In gooth the sharpe spore into the syde.
     2603
Ther seen men who kan juste and who kan ryde;
     2604
Ther shyveren shaftes upon sheeldes thikke;
     2605
He feeleth thurgh the herte-spoon the prikke.
     2606
Up spryngen speres twenty foot on highte;
     2607
Out goon the swerdes as the silver brighte;
     2608
The helmes they tohewen and toshrede;
     2609
Out brest the blood with stierne stremes rede;
     2610
With myghty maces the bones they tobreste.
     2611
He thurgh the thikkeste of the throng gan threste;
     2612
Ther stomblen steedes stronge, and doun gooth al;
     2613
He rolleth under foot as dooth a bal;
     2614
He foyneth on his feet with his tronchoun,
     2615
And he hym hurtleth with hors adoun;
     2616
He thurgh the body is hurt and sither take,
     2617
Maugree his heed, and broght unto the stake:
     2618
As forward was, right there he moste abyde.
     2619
Another lad is on that oother syde.
     2620
And some tyme dooth hem theseus to reste,
     2621
Hem to refresshe and drynken, if hem leste.
     2622
Ful ofte a day han thise thebanes two
     2623
Togydre ymet, and wroght his felawe wo;
     2624
Unhorsed hath ech oother of hem tweye.
     2625
Ther nas no tygre in the vale of galgopheye,
     2626
Whan that hir whelp is stole whan it is lite,
     2627
So crueel on the hunte as is arcite
     2628
For jelous herte upon this palamon.
     2629
Ne in belmarye ther nys so fel leon,
     2630
That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
     2631
Ne of his praye desireth so the blood,
     2632
As palamon to sleen his foo arcite.
     2633
The jelous strokes on hir helmes byte;
     2634
Out renneth blood on bothe hir sydes rede.
     2635
Som tyme an ende ther is of every dede.
     2636
For er the sonne unto the reste wente,
     2637
The stronge kyng emetreus gan hente
     2638
This palamon, as he faught with arcite,
     2639
And made his swerd depe in his flessh to byte;
     2640
And by the force of twenty is he take
     2641
Unyolden, and ydrawe unto the stake.
     2642
And in the rescus of this palamoun
     2643
The stronge kyng lygurge is born adoun,
     2644
And kyng emetreus, for al his strengthe, Page  43
     2645
Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
     2646
So hitte him palamoun er he were take;
     2647
But al for noght, he was broght to the stake.
     2648
His hardy herte myghte hym helpe naught:
     2649
He moste abyde, whan that he was caught,
     2650
By force and eek by composicioun.
     2651
Who sorweth now but woful palamoun,
     2652
That moot namoore goon agayn to fighte?
     2653
And whan that theseus hadde seyn this sighte,
     2654
Unto the folk that foghten thus echon
     2655
He cryde, hoo! namoore, for it is doon!
     2656
I wol be trewe juge, and no partie.
     2657
Arcite of thebes shal have emelie,
     2658
That by his fortune hath hire faire ywonne.
     2659
Anon ther is a noyse of peple bigonne
     2660
For joye of this, so loude and heighe withalle,
     2661
It semed that the lystes sholde falle.
     2662
What kan now faire venus doon above?
     2663
What seith she now? what dooth this queene of love,
     2664
But wepeth so, for wantynge of hir wille,
     2665
Til that hir teeres in the lystes fille?
     2666
She seyde, I am ashamed, douteless.
     2667
Saturnus seyde, doghter, hoold thy pees!
     2668
Mars hath his wille, his knyght hath al his boone,
     2669
And, by myn heed, thow shalt been esed soone.
     2670
The trompours, with the loude mynstralcie,
     2671
The heraudes, that ful loude yelle and crie,
     2672
Been in hire wele for joye of daun arcite.
     2673
But herkneth me, and stynteth noyse a lite,
     2674
Which a myracle ther bifel anon.
     2675
This fierse arcite hath of his helm ydon,
     2676
And on a courser, for to shewe his face,
     2677
He priketh endelong the large place
     2678
Lokynge upward upon this emelye;
     2679
And she agayn hym caste a freendlich ye
     2680
(for wommen, as to speken in comune,
     2681
Thei folwen alle the favour of fortune)
     2682
And was al his chiere, as in his herte.
     2683
Out of the ground a furie infernal sterte,
     2684
From pluto sent at requeste of saturne,
     2685
For which his hors for fere gan to turne,
     2686
And leep aside, and foundred as he leep;
     2687
And er that arcite may taken keep,
     2688
He pighte hym on the pomel of his heed,
     2689
That in the place he lay as he were deed,
     2690
His brest tobrosten with his sadel-bowe.
     2691
As blak he lay as any cole or crowe,
     2692
So was the blood yronnen in his face.
     2693
Anon he was yborn out of the place,
     2694
With herte soor, to theseus paleys.
     2695
Tho was he korven out of his harneys,
     2696
And in a bed ybrought ful faire and blyve;
     2697
For he was yet in memorie and alyve,
     2698
And alwey criynge after emelye.
     2699
Duc theseus, with al his compaignye,
     2700
Is comen hoom to atthenes his citee,
     2701
With alle blisse and greet solempnitee.
     2702
Al be it that this aventure was falle,
     2703
He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.
     2704
Men seyde eek that arcite shal nat dye;
     2705
He shal been heeled of his maladye.
     2706
And of another thyng they weren as fayn,
     2707
That of hem alle was ther noon yslayn,
     2708
Al were they soore yhurt, and namely oon,
     2709
That with a spere was thirled his brest boon.
     2710
To othere woundes and to broken armes
     2711
Somme hadden salves, and somme hadden charmes;
     2712
Fermacies of herbes, and eek save
     2713
They dronken, for they wolde hir lymes have.
     2714
For which this noble duc, as he wel kan,
     2715
Conforteth and honoureth every man,
     2716
And made revel al the longe nyght
     2717
Unto the straunge lordes, as was right.
     2718
Ne ther was holden no disconfitynge
     2719
But as a justes, or a tourneiynge;
     2720
For soothly ther was no disconfiture.
     2721
For fallyng nys nat but an aventure,
     2722
Ne to be lad by force unto the stake
     2723
Unyolden, and with twenty knyghtes take,
     2724
O persone allone, withouten mo,
     2725
And haryed forth by arme, foot, and too,
     2726
And eke his steede dryven forth with staves
     2727
With footmen, bothe yemen and eek knaves, --
     2728
It nas arretted hym no vileynye;
     2729
Ther may no man clepen it cowardye.
     2730
For which anon duc theseus leet crye,
     2731
To stynten alle rancour and envye,
     2732
The gree as wel of o syde as of oother,
     2733
And eyther syde ylik as ootheres brother;
     2734
And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree,
     2735
And fully heeld a feeste dayes three,
     2736
And conveyed the kynges worthily
     2737
Out of his toun a journee largely.
     2738
And hoom wente every man the righte way.
     2739
Ther was namoore but fare wel, have good day!
     2740
Of this bataille I wol namoore endite,
     2741
But speke of palamon and of arcite.
     2742
Swelleth the brest of arcite, and the soore
     2743
Encreesseth at his herte moore and moore.
     2744
The clothered blood, for any lechecraft,
     2745
Corrupteth, and is in his bouk ylaft,
     2746
That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusynge,
     2747
Ne drynke of herbes may ben his helpynge.
     2748
The vertu expulsif, or animal, Page  44
     2749
Fro thilke vertu cleped natural
     2750
Ne may the venym voyden ne expelle.
     2751
The pipes of his longes gonne to swelle,
     2752
And every lacerte in his brest adoun
     2753
Is shent with venym and corrupcioun.
     2754
Hym gayneth neither, for to gete his lif,
     2755
Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif.
     2756
Al is tobrosten thilke regioun;
     2757
Nature hath now no dominacioun.
     2758
And certeinly, ther nature wol nat wirche,
     2759
Fare wel phisik! go ber the man to chirche!
     2760
This al and som, that arcita moot dye;
     2761
For which he sendeth after emelye,
     2762
And palamon, that was his cosyn deere.
     2763
Thanne seyde he thus, as ye shal after heere:
     2764
Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte
     2765
Declare o point of alle my sorwes smerte
     2766
To yow, my lady, that I love moost;
     2767
But I biquethe the servyce of my goost
     2768
To yow aboven every creature,
     2769
Syn that my lyf may no lenger dure.
     2770
Allas, the wo! allas, the peynes stronge,
     2771
That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
     2772
Allas, the deeth! allas, myn emelye!
     2773
Allas, departynge of oure compaignye!
     2774
Allas, myn hertes queene! allas, my wyf!
     2775
Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
     2776
What is this world? what asketh men to have?
     2777
Now with his love, now in his colde grave
     2778
Allone, withouten any compaignye.
     2779
Fare wel, my sweete foo, myn emelye!
     2780
And softe taak me in youre armes tweye,
     2781
For love of god, and herkneth what I seye.
     2782
I have heer with my cosyn palamon
     2783
Had strif and rancour many a day agon
     2784
For love of yow, and for my jalousye.
     2785
And juppiter so wys my soule gye,
     2786
To speken of a servaunt proprely,
     2787
With alle circumstances trewely --
     2788
That is to seyen, trouthe, honour, knyghthede,
     2789
Wysdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kynrede,
     2790
Fredom, and al that longeth to that art --
     2791
So juppiter have of my soule part,
     2792
As in this world right now ne knowe I non
     2793
So worthy to ben loved as palamon,
     2794
That serveth yow, and wol doon al his lyf.
     2795
And if that evere ye shul ben a wyf,
     2796
Foryet nat palamon, the gentil man.
     2797
And with that word his speche faille gan,
     2798
For from his feet up to his brest was come
     2799
The coold of deeth, that hadde hym overcome,
     2800
And yet mooreover, for in his armes two
     2801
The vital strengthe is lost and al ago.
     2802
Oonly the intellect, withouten moore,
     2803
That dwelled in his herte syk and soore,
     2804
Gan faillen whan the herte felte deeth.
     2805
Dusked his eyen two, and failled breeth,
     2806
But on his lady yet caste he his ye;
     2807
His laste word was, mercy, emelye!
     2808
His spirit chaunged hous and wente ther,
     2809
As I cam nevere, I kan nat tellen wher.
     2810
Therfore I stynte, I nam no divinistre;
     2811
Of soules fynde I nat in this registre,
     2812
Ne me ne list thilke opinions to telle
     2813
Of hem, though that they writen wher they dwelle.
     2814
Arcite is coold, ther mars his soule gye!
     2815
Now wol I speken forth of emelye.
     2816
Shrighte emelye, and howleth palamon,
     2817
And theseus his suster took anon
     2818
Swownynge, and baar hire fro the corps away.
     2819
What helpeth it to tarien forth the day
     2820
To tellen how she weep bothe eve and morwe?
     2821
For in swich cas wommen have swich sorwe,
     2822
Whan that hir housbondes ben from hem ago,
     2823
That for the moore part they sorwen so,
     2824
Or ellis fallen in swich maladye,
     2825
That at the laste certeinly they dye.
     2826
Infinite been the sorwes and the teeres
     2827
Of olde folk, and folk of tendre yeeres,
     2828
In al the toun for deeth of this theban.
     2829
For hym ther wepeth bothe child and man;
     2830
So greet wepyng was ther noon, certayn,
     2831
Whan ector was ybroght, al fressh yslayn,
     2832
To troye. Allas, the pitee that was ther,
     2833
Cracchynge of chekes, rentynge eek of heer.
     2834
Why woldestow be deed, thise wommen crye,
     2835
And haddest gold ynough, and emelye?
     2836
No man myghte gladen theseus,
     2837
Savynge his olde fader egeus,
     2838
That knew this worldes transmutacioun,
     2839
As he hadde seyn it chaunge bothe up and doun,
     2840
Joye after wo, and wo after gladnesse,
     2841
And shewed hem ensamples and liknesse.
     2842
Right as ther dyed nevere man, quod he,
     2843
That he ne lyvede in erthe in some degree,
     2844
Right so ther lyvede never man, he seyde,
     2845
In al this world, that som tyme he ne deyde.
     2846
This world nys but a thurghfare ful of wo,
     2847
And we been pilgrymes, passynge to and fro.
     2848
Deeth is an ende of every worldly soore.
     2849
And over al this yet seyde he muchel moore
     2850
To this effect, ful wisely to enhorte
     2851
The peple that they sholde hem reconforte.
     2852
Duc theseus, with al his bisy cure, Page  45
     2853
Caste now wher that the sepulture
     2854
Of goode arcite may best ymaked be,
     2855
And eek moost honurable in his degree.
     2856
And at the laste he took conclusioun
     2857
That ther as first arcite and palamoun
     2858
Hadden for love the bataille hem bitwene,
     2859
That in that selve grove, swoote and grene,
     2860
Ther as he hadde his amorouse desires,
     2861
His compleynte, and for love his hoote fires,
     2862
He wolde make a fyr in which the office
     2863
Funeral he myghte al accomplice.
     2864
And leet comande anon to hakke and hewe
     2865
The okes olde, and leye hem on a rewe
     2866
In colpons wel arrayed for to brenne.
     2867
His officers with swifte feet they renne
     2868
And ryde anon at his comandement.
     2869
And after this, theseus hath ysent
     2870
After a beere, and it al over spradde
     2871
With clooth of gold, the richeste that he hadde.
     2872
And of the same suyte he cladde arcite;
     2873
Upon his hondes hadde he gloves white,
     2874
Eek on his heed a coroune of laurer grene,
     2875
And in his hond a swerd ful bright and kene.
     2876
He leyde hym, bare the visage, on the beere;
     2877
Therwith he weep that pitee was to heere.
     2878
And for the peple sholde seen hym alle,
     2879
Whan it was day, he broghte hym to the halle,
     2880
That roreth of the criyng and the soun.
     2881
Tho cam this woful theban palamoun,
     2882
With flotery berd and ruggy, asshy heeres,
     2883
In clothes blake, ydropped al with teeres;
     2884
And, passynge othere of wepynge, emelye,
     2885
The rewefulleste of al the compaignye.
     2886
In as muche as the servyce sholde be
     2887
The moore noble and riche in his degree,
     2888
Duc theseus leet forth thre steedes brynge,
     2889
That trapped were in steel al gliterynge,
     2890
And covered with the armes of daun arcite.
     2891
Upon thise steedes, that weren grete and white,
     2892
Ther seten folk, of whiche oon baar his sheeld,
     2893
Another his spere up on his hondes heeld,
     2894
The thridde baar with hym his bowe turkeys
     2895
(of brend gold was the caas and eek the harneys);
     2896
And riden forth a paas with sorweful cheere
     2897
Toward the grove, as ye shul after heere.
     2898
The nobleste of the grekes that ther were
     2899
Upon hir shuldres caryeden the beere,
     2900
With slakke paas, and eyen rede and wete,
     2901
Thurghout the citee by the maister strete,
     2902
That sprad was al with blak, and wonder hye
     2903
Right of the same is the strete ywrye.
     2904
Upon the right hond wente olde egeus,
     2905
And on that oother syde duc theseus,
     2906
With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fyn,
     2907
Al ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wyn;
     2908
Eek palamon, with ful greet compaignye;
     2909
And after that cam woful emelye,
     2910
With fyr in honde, as was that tyme the gyse,
     2911
To do the office of funeral servyse.
     2912
Heigh labour and ful greet apparaillynge
     2913
Was at the service and the fyr-makynge,
     2914
That with his grene top the hevene raughte;
     2915
And twenty fadme of brede the armes straughte --
     2916
This is to seyn, the bowes weren so brode.
     2917
Of stree first ther was leyd ful many a lode.
     2918
But how the fyr was maked upon highte,
     2919
Ne eek the names that the trees highte,
     2920
As ook, firre, birch, aspe, alder, holm, popler,
     2921
Wylugh, elm, plane, assh, box, chasteyn, lynde, laurer,
     2922
Mapul, thorn, bech, hasel, ew, whippeltree, --
     2923
How they weren feld, shal nat be toold for me;
     2924
Ne hou the goddes ronnen up and doun,
     2925
Disherited of hire habitacioun,
     2926
In which they woneden in reste and pees,
     2927
Nymphes, fawnes and amadrides;
     2928
Ne hou the beestes and the briddes alle
     2929
Fledden for fere, whan the wode was falle;
     2930
Ne how the ground agast was of the light,
     2931
That was nat wont to seen the sonne bright;
     2932
Ne how the fyr was couched first with stree,
     2933
And thanne with drye stikkes cloven a thre,
     2934
And thanne with grene wode and spicerye,
     2935
And thanne with clooth of gold and with perrye,
     2936
And gerlandes, hangynge with ful many a flour;
     2937
The mirre, th' encens, with al so greet odour;
     2938
Ne how arcite lay among al this,
     2939
Ne what richesse aboute his body is;
     2940
Ne how that emelye, as was the gyse,
     2941
Putte in the fyr of funeral servyse;
     2942
Ne how she swowned whan men made the fyr,
     2943
Ne what she spak, ne what was hir desir;
     2944
Ne what jeweles men in the fyre caste,
     2945
Whan that the fyr was greet and brente faste;
     2946
Ne how somme caste hir sheeld, and somme hir spere,
     2947
And of hire vestimentz, whiche that they were,
     2948
And coppes fulle of wyn, and milk, and blood,
     2949
Into the fyr, that brente as it were wood;
     2950
Ne how the grekes, with an huge route,
     2951
Thries riden al the fyr aboute
     2952
Upon the left hand, with a loud shoutynge,
     2953
And thries with hir speres claterynge;
     2954
And thries how the ladyes gonne crye; Page  46
     2955
Ne how that lad was homward emelye;
     2956
Ne how arcite is brent to asshen colde;
     2957
Ne how that lyche-wake was yholde
     2958
Al thilke nyght; ne how the grekes pleye
     2959
The wake-pleyes, ne kepe I nat to seye;
     2960
Who wrastleth best naked with oille enoynt,
     2961
Ne who that baar hym best, in no disjoynt.
     2962
I wol nat tellen eek how that they goon
     2963
Hoom til atthenes, whan the pley is doon;
     2964
But shortly to the point thanne wol I wende,
     2965
And maken of my longe tale an ende.
     2966
By processe and by lengthe of certeyn yeres,
     2967
Al stynted is the moornynge and the teres
     2968
Of grekes, by oon general assent.
     2969
Thanne semed me ther was a parlement
     2970
At atthenes, upon certein pointz and caas;
     2971
Among the whiche pointz yspoken was,
     2972
To have with certein contrees alliaunce,
     2973
And have fully of thebans obeisaunce.
     2974
For which this noble theseus anon
     2975
Leet senden after gentil palamon,
     2976
Unwist of hym what was the cause and why;
     2977
But in his blake clothes sorwefully
     2978
He cam at his comandement in hye.
     2979
Tho sente theseus for emelye.
     2980
Whan they were set, and hust was al the place,
     2981
And theseus abiden hadde a space
     2982
Er any word cam fram his wise brest,
     2983
His eyen sette he ther as was his lest.
     2984
And with a sad visage he siked stille,
     2985
And after that right thus he seyde his wille:
     2986
The firste moevere of the cause above,
     2987
Whan he first made the faire cheyne of love,
     2988
Greet was th' effect, and heigh was his entente.
     2989
Wel wiste he why, and what thereof he mente;
     2990
For with that faire cheyne of love he bond
     2991
The fyr, the eyr, the water, and the lond
     2992
In certeyn boundes, that they may nat flee.
     2993
That same prince and that moevere, quod he,
     2994
Hath stablissed in this wrecched world adoun
     2995
Certeyne dayes and duracioun
     2996
To al that is engendred in this place,
     2997
Over the whiche day they may nat pace,
     2998
Al mowe they yet tho dayes wel abregge.
     2999
Ther nedeth noght noon auctoritee t' allegge,
     3000
For it is preeved by experience,
     3001
But that me list declaren my sentence.
     3002
Thanne may men by this ordre wel discerne
     3003
That thilke moevere stable is and eterne.
     3004
Wel may men knowe, but it be a fool,
     3005
That every part dirryveth from his hool;
     3006
For nature hath nat taken his bigynnyng
     3007
Of no partie or cantel of a thyng,
     3008
But of a thyng that parfit is and stable,
     3009
Descendynge so til it be corrumpable.
     3010
And therfore, of his wise purveiaunce,
     3011
He hath so wel biset his ordinaunce,
     3012
That speces of thynges and progressiouns
     3013
Shullen enduren by successiouns,
     3014
And nat eterne, withouten any lye.
     3015
This maystow understonde and seen at ye.
     3016
Loo the ook, that hath so long a norisshynge
     3017
From tyme that it first bigynneth to sprynge,
     3018
And hath so long a lif, as we may see,
     3019
Yet at the laste wasted is the tree.
     3020
Considereth eek how that the harde stoon
     3021
Under oure feet, on which we trede and goon,
     3022
Yet wasteth it as it lyth by the weye.
     3023
The brode ryver somtyme wexeth dreye;
     3024
The grete tounes se we wane and wende.
     3025
Thanne may ye se that al this thyng hath ende.
     3026
Of man and womman seen we wel also
     3027
That nedes, in oon of thise termes two,
     3028
This is to seyn, in youthe or elles age,
     3029
He moot be deed, the kyng as shal a page;
     3030
Som in his bed, som in the depe see,
     3031
Som in the large feeld, as men may see;
     3032
Ther helpeth noght, al goth that ilke weye.
     3033
Thanne may I seyn that al this thyng moot deye.
     3034
What maketh this but juppiter, the kyng,
     3035
That is prince and cause of alle thyng,
     3036
Convertynge al unto his propre welle
     3037
From which it is dirryved, sooth to telle?
     3038
And heer-agayns no creature on lyve,
     3039
Of no degree, availleth for to stryve.
     3040
Thanne is it wysdom, as it thynketh me,
     3041
To maken vertu of necessitee,
     3042
And take it weel that we may nat eschue,
     3043
And namely that to us alle is due.
     3044
And whoso gruccheth ought, he dooth folye,
     3045
And rebel is to hym that al may gye.
     3046
And certeinly a man hath moost honour
     3047
To dyen in his excellence and flour,
     3048
Whan he is siker of his goode name;
     3049
Thanne hath he doon his freend, ne hym, no shame.
     3050
And gladder oghte his freend been of his deeth,
     3051
Whan with honour up yolden is his breeth,
     3052
Than whan his name apalled is for age,
     3053
For al forgeten is his vassellage.
     3054
Thanne is it best, as for a worthy fame,
     3055
To dyen whan that he is best of name.
     3056
The contrarie of al this is wilfulnesse.
     3057
Why grucchen we, why have we hevynesse,
     3058
That goode arcite, of chivalrie the flour,
     3059
Departed is with duetee and honour
     3060
Out of this foule prisoun of this lyf? Page  47
     3061
Why grucchen heere his cosyn and his wyf
     3062
Of his welfare, that loved hem so weel?
     3063
Kan he hem thank? nay, God woot, never a deel,
     3064
That both his soule and eek hemself offende,
     3065
And yet they mowe hir lustes nat amende.
     3066
What may I conclude of this longe serye,
     3067
But after wo I rede us to be merye,
     3068
And thanken juppiter of al his grace?
     3069
And er that we departen from this place
     3070
I rede that we make of sorwes two
     3071
O parfit joye, lastynge everemo.
     3072
And looketh now, wher moost sorwe is herinne,
     3073
Ther wol we first amenden and bigynne.
     3074
Suster, quod he, this is my fulle assent,
     3075
With al th' avys heere of my parlement,
     3076
That gentil palamon, youre owene knyght,
     3077
That serveth yow with wille herte, and myght,
     3078
And ever hath doon syn ye first hym knewe,
     3079
That ye shul of youre grace upon hym rewe,
     3080
And taken hym for housbonde and for lord.
     3081
Lene me youre hond, for this is oure accord.
     3082
Lat se now of youre wommanly pitee.
     3083
He is kynges brother sone, pardee;
     3084
And though he were a povre bacheler,
     3085
Syn he hath served yow so many a yeer,
     3086
And had for yow so greet adversitee,
     3087
It moste been considered, leeveth me;
     3088
For gentil mercy oghte to passen right.
     3089
Thanne seyde he thus to palamon the knight:
     3090
I trowe ther nedeth litel sermonyng
     3091
To make yow assente to this thyng.
     3092
Com neer, and taak youre lady by the hond.
     3093
Bitwixen hem was maad anon the bond
     3094
That highte matrimoigne or mariage,
     3095
By al the conseil and the baronage.
     3096
And thus with alle blisse and melodye
     3097
Hath palamon ywedded emelye.
     3098
And god, that al this wyde world hath wroght,
     3099
Sende hym his love that hath it deere aboght;
     3100
For now is palamon in alle wele,
     3101
Lyvynge in blisse, in richesse, and in heele,
     3102
And emelye hym loveth so tendrely,
     3103
And he hire serveth al so gentilly,
     3104
That nevere was ther no word hem bitwene
     3105
Of jalousie or any oother teene.
     3106
Thus endeth palamon and emelye;
     3107
And God save al this faire compaignye! amen.
     3108