The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

De Julio Cesare

By wisedom, manhede, and by greet labour,
     2671
From humble bed to roial magestee
     2672
Up roos he julius, the conquerour,
     2673
That wan al th' occident by land and see,
     2674
By strengthe of hand, or elles by tretee,
     2675
And unto rome made hem tributarie;
     2676
And sitthe of rome the emperour was he,
     2677
Til that fortune weex his adversarie.
     2678
O myghty cesar, that in thessalie
     2679
Agayn pompeus, fader thyn in lawe,
     2680
That of the orient hadde al the chivalrie
     2681
As fer as that the day bigynneth dawe,
     2682
Thou thurgh thy knyghthod hast hem take and slawe,
     2683
Save fewe folk that with pompeus fledde,
     2684
Thurgh which thou puttest al th' orient in awe.
     2685
Thanke fortune, that so wel thee spedde!
     2686
But now a litel while I wol biwaille
     2687
This pompeus, this noble governour
     2688
Of rome, which that fleigh at this bataille.
     2689
I seye, oon of his men, a fals traitour,
     2690
His heed of smoot, to wynnen hym favour
     2691
Of julius, and hym the heed he broghte.
     2692
Allas, pompeye, of th' orient conquerour,
     2693
That fortune unto swich a fyn thee broghte!
     2694
To rome agayn repaireth julius
     2695
With his triumphe, lauriat ful hey;
     2696
But on a tyme brutus cassius,
     2697
That evere hadde of his hye estaat envye,
     2698
Ful prively hath maad conspiracye
     2699
Agayns this julius in subtil wise,
     2700
And caste the place in which he sholde dye
     2701
With boydekyns, as I shal yow devyse.
     2702
This julius to the capitolie wente
     2703
Upon a day, as he was wont to goon,
     2704
And in the capitolie anon hym hente
     2705
This false brutus and his othere foon,
     2706
And stiked hym with boydekyns anoon
     2707
With many a wounde, and thus they lete hym lye;
     2708
But nevere gronte he at no strook but oon,
     2709
Or elles at two, but if his storie lye.
     2710
So manly was this julius of herte,
     2711
And so wel lovede estaatly honestee,
     2712
That though his deedly woundes soore smerte,
     2713
His mantel over his hypes caste he,
     2714
For no man sholde seen his privetee;
     2715
And he lay of diyng in a traunce,
     2716
And wiste verraily that deed was hee,
     2717
Of honestee yet hadde he remembraunce.
     2718
Lucan, to thee this storie I recomende,
     2719
And to swetoun, and to valerie also,
     2720
That of this storie writen word and ende,
     2721
How that to thise grete conqueroures two
     2722
Fortune was first freend, and sitthe foo.
     2723
No man ne truste upon hire favour longe,
     2724
But have hire in awayt for everemoo;
     2725
Witnesse on alle thise conqueroures stronge.
     2726