The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

De Alexandro

The storie of alisaundre is so commune
That every wight that hath discrecioun
Hath herd somwhat or al of his fortune.
This wyde world, as in conclusioun,
He wan by strengthe, or for his hye renoun
They weren glad for pees unto hym sende.
The pride of man and beest he leyde adoun,
Wherso he cam, unto the worldes ende. Page  197
Comparisoun myghte nevere yet maked
Bitwixe hym and another conquerour;
For al this world for drede of hym hath quaked.
He was of knyghthod and of fredom flour;
Fortune hym made the heir of hire honour.
Save wyn and wommen, no thing myghte aswage
His hye entente in armes and labour,
So was he ful of leonyn corage.
What pris were it to hym, though I yow tolde
Of darius, and an hundred thousand mo
Of kynges, prices, dukes, erles bolde
Whiche he conquered, and broghte hem into wo?
I seye, as fer as man may ryde or go,
The world was his, -- what sholde I moore devyse?
For though I write or tolde yow everemo
Of his knyghthod, it myghte nat suffise.
Twelf yeer he regned, as seith machabee.
Philippes sone of macidoyne he was,
That first was kyng in grece the contree.
O worthy, gentil alisandre, allas,
That evere sholde fallen swich a cas!
Empoysoned of thyn owene folk thou weere;
Thy sys fortune hath turned into aas,
And yet for thee ne weep she never a teere.
Who shal me yeven teeris to compleyne
The deeth of gentillesse and of franchise,
That al the world weelded in his demeyne,
And yet hym thoughte it myghte nat suffise?
So ful was his corage of heigh emprise.
Allas! who shal me helpe to endite
False fortune, and poyson to despise,
The whiche two of al this wo I wyte?