Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde
Incipit liber quartus
Stanzas 5 through 20
Liggyng in oost, as I haue seyd er this,
The Grekes stronge a-boute Troie town,
Byfel that whan that Phebus shynyng is
Upon the breste of Ercules lyoun,
That Ector, with ful many a bold baroun,
Caste on a day with Grekis forto fighte,
As he was wont to greue hem what he myghte.
Not I how longe or short it was bitwene
This purpos and that day they fighten mente;
But on a day, wel armed brighte and shene,
Ector and many a worthi wight out wente,
With spere in honde and bigge bowes bente;
And in the berd, with-outen lenger lette,
Hire fomen in the felde anon hem mette.
The longe day, with speres sharpe i-grounde,
With arwes, dartes, swerdes, maces felle,
They fighte and bringen hors and man to grounde,
And with hire axes out the braynes quelle;
But in the laste shour, soth for to telle,
The folk of Troie hem seluen so mysledden
That with the wors at nyght homward they fledden.
At whiche day was taken Antenore,
Maugre Polydamas or Monesteo,
Santippe, Sarpedoun, Polynestore,
Polite, or ek the Troian daun Rupheo,
And other lasse folk as Phebuseo;
So that for harm that day the folk of Troie
Dredden to lese a gret part of hire ioie.
Of Priamus was ȝeue at Grekes requeste
A tyme of trewe, and tho they gonnen trete
Hire prisoners to chaungen, meste and leste,
And for the surplus ȝeuen sommes grete.
This thing anon was couth in euery strete,
Bothe in thassege, in town and euery where,
And with the firste it com to Calkas ere.
Whan Calkas knew this tretis sholde holde,
In consistorie among the Grekes soone
He gan in thringe forth with lordes olde,
And sette hym there as he was wont to doone,
And with a chaunged face hem bad a boone,
ffor loue of god, to don that reuerence,
To stynte noyse and ȝeue hym audience.
Than seyde he thus, "lo, lordes myn, ich was
Troian, as it is knowen out of drede;
And if that ȝow remembre, I am Calkas,
That alderfirst ȝaf comfort to ȝoure nede,
And tolde wel how that ȝe shulden spede --
ffor dredeles, thorugh ȝow shal in a stownde
Ben Troie y-brend and beten down to grownde.
"And in what fourme or in what manere wise
This town to shende and al ȝoure lust tacheue,
Ȝe han er this wel herd me ȝow deuyse;
This knowe ȝe, my lordes, as I leue.
And for the Grekis weren me so leeue,
I com my self in my propre persone,
To teche in this how ȝow was best to doone,
"Hauyng vn-to my tresore ne my rente
Right no resport to respect of ȝoure ese;
Thus al my good I lefte and to ȝow wente,
Wenyng in this, my lordes, ȝow to plese.
But al that los ne doth me no disese --
I vouche-sauf as wisly haue I ioie,
ffor ȝow to lese al that I haue in Troie,
"Saue of a doughter that I lefte, allas,
Slepyng at hom whan out of Troie I sterte.
O sterne, O cruel fader that I was!
How myghte I haue in that so hard an herte?
Allas, I ne hadde i-brought hire in hire sherte!
ffor sorwe of whiche I wol nought lyue to-morwe,
But if ȝe lordes rewe vp-on my sorwe.
"ffor by that cause I say no tyme er now
Hire to deliuere, ich holden haue my pees;
But now or neuere, if that it like ȝow,
I may hire haue right soone, douteles;
O help and grace amonges al this prees --
Rewe on this olde caytif in destresse,
Syn I thorugh ȝow haue al this heuynesse.
"Ȝe haue now kaught and fetered in prisoun
Troians ynowe, and if ȝoure willes be,
My child with oon may han redempcioun.
Now for the loue of god and of bounte,
Oon of so fele, allas, so ȝeue hym me.
What nede were it this preiere forto werne,
Syn ȝe shul bothe han folk and town as ȝerne?
"On peril of my lif I shal nat lye,
Appollo hath me told it feithfullye;
I haue ek founde it be astronomye,
By sort and by augurye ek trewelye,
And dar wel say the tyme is faste by
That fire and flaumbe on al the town shal sprede,
And thus shal Troie torne to asshen dede.
"ffor certein, Phebus and Neptunus bothe,
That makeden the walles of the town,
Ben with the folk of Troie alwey so wrothe,
That they wol brynge it to confusioun,
Right in despit of kyng Lameadoun:
By-cause he nolde payen hem here hire,
The town of Troie shal ben set on fire."
Tellyng his tale alwey, this olde greye,
Humble in his speche and in his lokyng eke,
The salte teris from his eyen tweye
fful faste ronnen down by either cheke.
So longe he gan of socour hem biseke,
That forto hele hym of his sorwes soore,
They ȝaue hym Antenor with-outen moore.
But who was glad ynough but Calkas tho?
And of this thyng ful soone hise nedes leyde
On hem that sholden for the tretis go;
And hem for Antenor ful ofte preyde
To bryngen hom kyng Toas and Criseyde;
And whan Priam his saue garde sente,
Thembassadours to Troie streight they wente.
Stanzas 21 through 30
The cause i-tolde of hire comyng, the olde
Priam the kyng ful soone in general
Let her-vpon his perlement to holde,
Of which theffect rehercen ȝow I shal:
Thembassadours ben answerd for fynal,
Theschaunge of prisoners and al this nede
Hem liketh wel, and forth in they procede.
This Troilus was present in the place,
Whan axed was for Antenor Criseyde,
ffor which ful soone chaungen gan his face,
As he that with tho wordes wel neigh deyde;
But natheles he no word to it seyde,
Lest men sholde his affeccioun espye;
With mannes herte he gan his sorwes drye,
And ful of angwissh and of grisly drede
Abod what lordes wolde vnto it seye;
And if they wolde graunte, as god forbede,
Theschaunge of hire, than thoughte he thynges tweye:
ffirst, how to saue hire honour, and what weye
He myghte best theschaunge of hire withstonde;
fful faste he caste how al this myghte stonde.
Loue hym made al prest to don hire byde,
And rather dyen than she sholde go;
But resoun seyde hym on that other syde:
"With-outen assent of hire ne do nat so,
If thow debate it, lest she be thy fo,
And seyn that thorugh thy medlynge is i-blowe
Ȝoure bother loue, ther it was erst vnknowe.'
ffor which he gan deliberen for the beste,
That though the lordes wolde that she wente,
He wolde lat hem graunte what hem leste,
And telle his lady first what that they mente;
And whan that she hadde seyd hym hire entente,
Ther-after wolde he werken also blyue,
Theigh al the world aȝeyn it wolde stryue.
Ector, which that wel the Grekes herde,
ffor Antenor how they wolde han Criseyde,
Gan it withstonde and sobrely answerde:
"Syres, she nys no prisonere," he seyde;
"I not on ȝow who that this charge leyde,
But on my part ȝe may eft-sones hem telle,
We vsen here no wommen forto selle."
The noyse of peple vp stirte thanne at ones,
As breme as blase of straw i-set on fire;
ffor infortune it wolde for the nones
They sholden hire confusioun desire.
"Ector," quod they, "what goost may ȝow enspyre,
This womman thus to shilde and don vs leese
Daun Antenor -- a wrong wey now ȝe chese --
"That is so wys and ek so bold baroun?
And we han nede of folk, as men may se:
He is ek on the grettest of this town.
O Ector, lat tho fantasies be.
O kyng Priam,' quod they, "thus sygge we,
That al oure vois is to forgon Criseyde."
And to deliueren Antenor they preyde.
O Iuuenal, lord, soth is thy sentence,
That litel wyten folk what is to ȝerne,
That they ne fynde in hire desire offence;
ffor cloude of errour lat hem nat discerne
What best is; and lo, here ensample as ȝerne:
This folk desiren now deliueraunce
Of Antenor that brought hem to meschaunce.
ffor he was after traitour to the town
Of Troye; allas, they quytte hym out to rathe.
O nyce world, lo thy discrecioun!
Criseyde, which that neuere dide hem scathe,
Shal now no lenger in hire blisse bathe;
But Antenor, he shal com hom to towne,
And she shal out; thus seyde here and howne.
Stanzas 31 through 40
ffor which delibered was by perlement,
ffor Antenor to ȝelden out Criseyde,
And it pronounced by the president,
Al-theigh that Ector nay ful ofte preyde.
And fynaly, what wight that it with-seyde,
It was for nought; it moste ben and sholde,
ffor substaunce of the perlement it wolde.
Deperted out of parlement echone,
This Troilus with-outen wordes mo
Into his chambre spedde hym faste allone,
But if it were a man of his or two,
The which he bad out faste forto go,
By-cause he wolde slepen as he seyde,
And hastily vp-on his bedde hym leyde.
And as in wynter leues ben birafte,
Ech after other til the tree be bare,
So that ther nys but bark and braunche i-lafte,
Lith Troilus byraft of eche welfare,
I-bounden in the blake bark of care,
Disposed wood out of his wit to breyde,
So sore hym sat the chaungynge of Criseyde.
He rist hym vp, and euery dore he shette
And wyndow ek, and tho this sorwful man
Up-on his beddes syde adown hym sette,
fful like a dede ymage, pale and wan;
And in his brest the heped wo bygan
Out breste, and he to werken in this wise
In his woodnesse, as I shal ȝow deuyse.
Right as the wylde bole bygynneth sprynge,
Now her, now ther, i-darted to the herte,
And of his deth roreth in compleynynge,
Right so gan he aboute the chambre sterte,
Smytyng his brest ay with his fistes smerte;
His hed to the wal, his body to the grounde,
fful ofte he swapte, hym seluen to confounde.
His eyen two, for piete of herte,
Out stremeden as swifte welles tweye;
The heighe sobbes of his sorwes smerte
His speche hym refte; vnnethes myghte he seye,
"O deth, allas, why nyltow do me deye?
Acorsed be that day which that nature
Shop me to ben a lyues creature."
But after, whan the furie and al the rage
Which that his herte twiste and faste threste,
By lengthe of tyme somwhat gan aswage,
Upon his bed he leyde hym down to reste;
But tho bygonne his teeris more out breste,
That wonder is the body may suffise
To half this wo which that I ȝow deuyse.
Than seyde he thus, "fortune, allas the while!
What haue I don, what haue I thus a-gylte?
How myghtestow for rowthe me by-gile?
Is ther no grace, and shal I thus be spilte?
Shal thus Creiseyde awey for that thow wilte?
Allas, how maistow in thyn herte fynde
To ben to me thus cruwel and vnkynde?
"Haue I the nought honoured al my lyue,
As thow wel woost, aboue the goddes alle?
Whi wiltow me fro ioie thus depriue?
O Troilus, what may men now the calle
But wrecche of wrecches, out of honour falle
Into miserie, in which I wol be-waille
Creiseyde, allas, til that the breth me faille?
"Allas, fortune, if that my lif in ioie
Displesed hadde vnto thi foule enuye,
Why ne haddestow my fader, kyng of Troye,
Byraft the lif or don my bretheren dye,
Or slayn my self that thus compleyne and crye,
I, combre-world, that may of no thyng serue,
But euere dye and neuere fulli sterue?
Stanzas 41 through 50
If that Criseyde allone were me laft,
Nought roughte I whider thow woldest me steere;
And hire, allas, than hastow me biraft.
But euere more, lo, this is thi manere,
To reue a wight that most is to hym deere,
To preue in that thi gerful violence:
Thus am I lost, ther helpeth no diffence.
"O verrey lord of loue, O god, allas,
That knowest best myn herte and al my thoughte,
What shal my sorwful lif don in this cas,
If I for-go that I so deere haue boughte?
Syn ȝe Criseyde and me han fully broughte
In-to ȝoure grace and bothe oure hertes seled,
How may ȝe suffre, allas, it be repeled?
"What shal I don? I shal, while I may dure
On lyue in torment and in cruwel peyne,
This in-fortune or this disauenture
Allone as I was born, i-wys, compleyne;
Ne neuere wol I seen it shyne or reyne,
But ende I wol as Edippe in derknesse
My sorwful lif and dyen in distresse.
"O wery goost that errest to and fro,
Why nyltow fleen out of the wofulleste
Body that euere myghte on grounde go?
O soule, lurkynge in this wo, vnneste,
ffle forth out of myn herte and lat it breste,
And folwe alwey Criseyde, thi lady dere;
Thi righte place is now no lenger here.
"O woful eyen two, syn ȝoure disport
Was al to sen Criseydes eyen brighte,
What shal ȝe don but, for my discomfort,
Stonden for naught and wepen out ȝoure sighte,
Syn she is queynt that wont was ȝow to lighte?
In vayn fro this forth haue ich eyen tweye
I-fourmed, syn ȝoure vertue is aweye.
"O my Criseyde, O lady souereigne
Of thilke woful soule that thus crieth,
Who shal now ȝeuen comfort to the peyne?
Allas, no wight; but whan myn herte dieth,
My spirit, which that so vnto ȝow hieth,
Receyue in gree, for that shal ay ȝow serue;
ffor-thi no fors is though the body sterue.
"O ȝe loueris, that heigh vp on the whiel
Ben set of fortune in good auenture,
God leue that ȝe fynde ay loue of stiel,
And longe mote ȝoure lif in ioie endure!
But whan ȝe comen by my sepulture,
Remembreth that ȝoure felawe resteth there,
ffor I loued ek, though ich vnworthi were.
"O oold, vnholsom and myslyued man --
Calkas I mene -- allas, what eiled the
To ben a Grek, syn thow art born Troian?
O Calkas, which that wolt my bane be,
In corsed tyme was thow born for me.
As wolde blisful Ioue for his ioie
That I the hadde wher I wolde in Troie."
A thousand sikes hotter than the gleede
Out of his brest ech after other wente,
Medled with pleyntes new his wo to feede,
ffor which his woful teris neuere stente;
And shortly, so his peynes hym to-rente
And wex so mat, that ioie nor penaunce
He feleth non, but lith forth in a traunce.
Pandare, which that in the parlement
Hadde herd what euery lord and burgeys seyde,
And how ful graunted was by oon assent
ffor Antenor to ȝelden so Criseyde,
Gan wel neigh wood out of his wit to breyde,
So that for wo he nyste what he mente,
But in a rees to Troilus he wente.
Stanzas 51 through 60
A certeyn knyght that for the tyme kepte
The chambre door vndid it hym anon;
And Pandare, that ful tendreliche wepte,
In-to the derke chambre, as stille as ston,
Toward the bed gan softely to gon,
So confus that he nyste what to seye --
ffor verray wo his wit was neigh aweye.
And with his chiere and lokyng al to-torne
ffor sorwe of this, and with his armes folden,
He stood this woful Troilus by-forne,
And on his pitous face he gan byholden;
But, lord, so ofte gan his herte colden,
Seyng his frend in wo, whos heuynesse
His herte slough, as thoughte hym, for destresse.
This woful wight, this Troilus, that felte
His frend Pandare y-comen hym to se,
Gan as the snow aȝeyn the sonne melte,
ffor which this sorwful Pandare of pitee
Gan forto wepe as tendreliche as he;
And specheles thus ben thise ilke tweye,
That neither myghte o word for sorwe seye.
But at the laste this woful Troilus,
Neigh ded for smert gan bresten out to rore,
And with a sorwful noise he seyde thus,
Amonge hise sobbes and his sikes sore:
"Lo, pandare, I am ded with-outen more.
Hastow nat herd at parlement," he seyde,
"ffor Antenore how lost is my Criseyde?"
This Pandarus, ful dede and pale of hewe,
fful pitously answerde and seyde, "ȝis,
As wisly were it fals as it is trewe,
That I haue herd and woot al how it is.
O mercy, god, who wolde haue trowed this?
Who wolde haue wend that in so litel a throwe
ffortune oure ioie wold han ouere-throwe?
"ffor in this world ther is no creature,
As to my dome, that euere saugh ruyne
Straunger than this thorugh cas or auenture.
But who may all eschue or al deuyne?
Swich is this world; forthi I thus diffyne:
Ne trust no wight to fynden in fortune
Ay propretee -- hire ȝiftes ben comune.
"But telle me this, whi thow art now so mad
To sorwen thus? Whi listow in this wise,
Syn thi desire al holly hastow had,
So that by right it oughte ynough suffise?
But I that neuere felte in my seruyse
A frendly cheere or lokyng of an eye,
Lat me thus wepe and wailen til I deye.
"And ouere al this, as thow wel woost thi selue,
This town is ful of ladys al aboute;
And to my doom, fairer than swiche twelue
As euere she was shal I fynde in some route,
Ȝee, on or two, with-outen any doute.
ffor-thi be glad, myn owen deere brother;
If she be lost, we shal recouere an other.
"What, god forbede alwey that eche plesaunce
In o thing were and in non other wight:
If oon kan synge, an other kan wel daunce;
If this be goodly, she is glad and light;
And this is faire, and that kan good aright:
Eche for his vertue holden is for deere,
Both herouner and faucoun for ryuere.
"And ek as writ Zanzis, that was ful wys,
'The newe loue out chaceth ofte the olde',;
And vp-on newe cas lith newe auys.
Thenk ek thi lif to sauen artow holde.
Swich fir by proces shal of kynde colde;
ffor syn it is but casuel plesaunce,
Som cas shal putte it out of remembraunce.
Stanzas 61 through 70
"ffor also seur as day comth after nyght,
The newe loue, labour, or oother wo,
Or elles selde seynge of a wight,
Don olde affecciouns alle ouere-go.
And for thi part thow shalt haue oon of tho
Tabregge with thi bittre peynes smerte;
Absence of hire shal dryue hire out of herte."
Thise wordes seyde he for the nones alle,
To help his frend lest he for sorwe deyde;
ffor douteles to don his wo to falle
He roughte nought what vnthrift that he seyde.
But Troilus, that neigh for sorwe deyde,
Took litel heede of al that euere he mente;
Oon ere it herde, at tother out it wente.
But at the laste he answerde and seyde, "frende,
This lechecraft, or heeled thus to be,
Were wel sittyng if that I were a fende --
To traysen a wight that trewe is vnto me.
I pray god lat this conseil neuere y-the;
But do me rather sterue anon right here,
Er I thus do as thow me woldest leere.
"She that I serue, i-wis, what so thow seye,
To whom myn herte enhabit is by right,
Shal han me holly hires til that I deye.
ffor Pandarus, syn I haue trouthe hire hight,
I wol nat ben vntrewe for no wight;
But as hire man I wol ay lyue and sterue,
And neuere other creature serue.
"And ther thow seist thow shalt as faire fynde
As she -- lat be, make no comparisoun
To creature y-formed here by kynde.
O leue Pandare, in conclusioun
I wol nat ben of thyn opynyoun
Touchyng al this; for which I the biseche,
So holde thi pees: thow sleest me with thi speche.
"Thow biddest me I shulde loue an other
Al fresshly newe and lat Criseyde go.
It lith nat in my power, leeue brother;
And though I myght, I wolde nat do so.
But kanstow playen raket to and fro,
Nettle in, dok out, now this, now that, Pandare?
Now foule falle hire for thi wo that care.
"Thow farest ek by me, thow Pandarus,
As he that whan a wight is wo bygon,
He cometh to hym a paas and seith right thus,
"Thynk nat on smert and thow shalt fele non.'
Thow moost me first transmewen in a ston,
And reue me my passiones alle,
Er thow so lightly do my wo to falle.
"The deth may wel out of my brest departe
The lif, so longe may this sorwe myne;
But fro my soule shal Criseydes darte
Out neuere mo, but down with Proserpyne,
Whan I am ded, I wol go wone in pyne;
And ther I wol eternaly compleyne
My wo and how that twynned be we tweyne.
"Thow hast here made an argument for fyne,
How that it sholde lasse peyne be
Criseyde to forgon, for she was myne,
And lyued in ese and in felicite --
Whi gabbestow, that seydest vn-to me,
That hym is wors that is fro wele ythrowe,
Than he hadde erst noon of that wele y-knowe?
"But telle me now syn that the thynketh so light
To changen so in loue ay to and fro,
Whi hastow nat don bisily thi myght
To chaungen hire that doth the al thi wo?
Whi nyltow lete hire fro thyn herte go?
Whi nyltow loue an othere lady swete,
That may thyn herte setten in quiete?
Stanzas 71 through 80
["If thow hast had in loue ay yet myschaunce,
And kanst it not out of thyn herte dryue,
I that leuede yn lust and in plesaunce
With here as muche as creature on lyue,
How sholde I that foryete and that so blyue?
O where hastow ben hid so longe in muwe,
That kanst so wel and formely arguwe?
"Nay, nay, god wot, nought worth is al thi red,
ffor which, for what that euere may by-falle,
With-outen wordes mo I wol be ded.
O deth that endere art of sorwes alle,
Com now syn I so ofte after the calle;
ffor sely is that deth, soth for to seyne,
That ofte ycleped cometh and endeth peyne.
"Wel wot I, whil my lyf was in quyete,
Er thow me slowe I wolde haue yeuen hire;
But now thi comynge is to me so swete
That in this world I no thing so desire:
O deth, syn with this sorwe I am a-fyre,
Thou other do me anoon yn teris drenche,
Or with thi colde strok myn hete quenche.
"Syn that thow sleest so fele in sondry wyse
A-yens hire wil vnpreyed day and nyght,
Do me at my requeste this seruice:
Delyuere now the world, so dostow right,
Of me that am the wofulleste wyght
That euere was; for tyme is that I sterue,
Syn in this world of right nought may I serue."
This Troylus in teris gan distille,
As licour out of a lambyc ful faste;
And Pandarus gan holde his tunge stille,
And to the ground his eyen doun he caste;
But natheles, thus thought he at the laste:
"What, parde, rather than my felawe deye,
Yet shal I som-what more vn-to hym seye."
And seyde, "frend, syn thow hast swych distresse,
And syn the list myn argumentz to blame,
Why nylt thi seluen helpen don redresse,
And with thy manhod letten al this grame?
Go rauysshe here ne kanstow not for shame?
And other lat here out of towne fare,
Or hold here stille and leue thi nyce fare.]
"Artow in Troie and hast non hardymente
To take a womman which that loueth the,
And wolde hire seluen ben of thyn assente?
Now is nat this a nyce vanitee?
Ris vp anon and lat this wepyng be,
And kith thow art a man, for in this houre
I wol ben ded or she shal bleuen oure."
To this answerde hym Troilus ful softe
And seyde, "perde, leue brother deere,
Al this haue I my self ȝet thought ful ofte,
And more thyng than thow deuysest here.
But whi this thing is laft thow shalt wel here,
And whan thow me hast ȝeue an audience,
I her-after maystow telle al thi sentence.
"ffirst, syn thow woost this town hath al this werre
ffor rauysshyng of wommen so by myght,
It sholde nought be suffred me to erre,
As it stant now, ne don so gret vnright:
I sholde han also blame of euery wight,
My fadres graunt if that I so with-stoode,
Syn she is chaunged for the townes goode.
"I haue ek thought, so it were hire assent,
To axe hire at my fader of his grace;
Than thynke I this were hire accusement,
Syn wel I woot I may hire nought purchace:
ffor syn my fader in so heigh a place
As parlement hath hire eschaunge enseled,
He nyl for me his lettre be repeled.
Stanzas 81 through 90
"Ȝet drede I moost hire herte to pertorbe
With violence, if I do swich a game;
ffor if I wolde it openly destorbe,
It mooste be disclaundre to hire name.
And me were leuere ded than hire diffame --
As nolde god but if I sholde haue
Hire honour leuere than my lif to saue.
"Thus am I lost for aught that I kan see;
ffor certeyn is, syn that I am hire knyght,
I moste hire honour leuere han than me
In euery cas, as louere ought of right.
Thus am I with desire and reson twight:
Desire forto destourben hire me redeth,
And reson nyl nat, so myn herte dredeth."
Thus wepyng that he koude neuere cesse,
He seyde, "allas, how shal I, wrecche, fare?
ffor wel fele I alwey my loue encresse,
And hope is lasse and lasse alway, Pandare;
Encressen ek the causes of my care.
So weilaway, whi nyl myn herte breste?
ffor as in loue ther is but litel reste."
Pandare answerde, "frend, thow maist for me
Don as the list; but hadde ich it so hoote,
And thyn estat, she sholde go with me,
Though al this town cride on this thyng by note:
I nolde sette at al that noys a grote,
ffor whan men han wel cryed, than wol they rowne;
Ek wonder last but nyne nyght neuere in towne.
"Deuyne nat in resoun ay so depe
Ne corteisly, but help thi selue anon.
Bet is that othere than thi seluen wepe,
And namely, syn ȝe two ben al on,
Ris vp, for by myn hed she shal not goon;
And rather be in blame a lite i-founde
Than sterue here as a gnat with-outen wounde.
"It is no shame vn-to ȝow ne no vice
Hire to witholden that ȝe loue moost.
Peraunter she myghte holde the for nyce
To late hire go thus to the Grekis oost.
Thenk ek fortune, as wel thi seluen woost,
Helpeth hardy man to his enprise
And weyueth wrecches for hire cowardise.
"And though thy lady wolde a lite hire greue,
Thow shalt thi self thi pees here-after make;
But as for me, certeyn, I kan nat leue
That she wolde it as now for yuel take.
Whi sholde thanne of fered thyn herte quake?
Thenk ek how Paris hath, that is thi brother,
A loue, and whi shaltow nat haue another?
"And Troilus, o thyng I dar the swere,
That if Criseyde, which that is thi lief,
Now loueth the as wel as thow dost here,
God help me so, she nyl nat take a-grief
Theigh thow do boote a-non in this meschief;
And if she wilneth fro the for to passe,
Thanne is she fals, so loue hire wel the lasse.
"ffor-thi take herte and thynk right as a knyght,
Thorugh loue is broken al day euery lawe.
Kith now somwhat thi corage and thi myght;
Haue mercy on thi self, for eny awe.
Lat nat this wrecched wo thyn herte gnawe,
But manly sette the world on six and seuene,
And if thow deye a martyr, go to heuene.
"I wol my self ben with the at this dede,
Theigh ich and al my kyn vp-on a stownde
Shulle in a strete as dogges liggen dede,
Thorugh-girt with many a wide and blody wownde;
In euery cas I wol a frend be founde.
And if the list here steruen as a wrecche,
A-dieu, the deuel spede hym that it recche."
Stanzas 91 through 100
This Troilus gan with tho wordes quyken,
And seyde, "frend, graunt mercy, ich assente.
But certeynly thow maist nat so me priken,
Ne peyne non ne may me so tormente,
That for no cas it is nat myn entente,
At shorte wordes, though I deyen sholde,
To rauysshe hire, but if hire self it wolde."
"Whi so mene I," quod Pandare, "al this day.
But telle me thanne, hastow hire wil assayed,
That sorwest thus?" and he answerde hym, "nay."
"Wherof artow," quod Pandare," thanne amayed --
That nost nat that she wol ben yuele appayed --
To rauysshe hire, syn thow hast nought ben there,
But if that Ioue tolde it in thyn ere?
"fforthi ris vp as nought ne were anon,
And wasshe thi face and to the kyng thow wende,
Or he may wondren whider thow art goon.
Thow most with wisdom hym and othere blende,
Or vp-on cas he may after the sende
Er thow be war; and shortly, brother deere,
Be glad, and lat me werke in this matere.
"ffor I shal shape it so that sikerly
Thow shalt this nyght som tyme, in som manere,
Com speken with thi lady pryuely,
And by hire wordes ek as by hire cheere
Thow shalt ful sone aperceyue and wel here
Al hire entente, and in this cas the beste;
And fare now wel, for in this point I reste."
The swifte fame, which that false thynges
Egal reporteth lik the thynges trewe,
Was thorugh-out Troye y-fled with preste wynges
ffro man to man and made this tale al newe,
How Calkas doughter with hire brighte hewe,
At parlement with-outen wordes more
Y-graunted was in chaunge of Antenore.
The whiche tale anon right as Criseyde
Hadde herd, she which that of hire fader roughte,
As in this cas, right nought, ne whan he deyde,
fful bisily to Iupiter bisoughte
Ȝeue hem meschaunce that this tretis broughte;
But shortly, lest thise tales sothe were,
She dorst at no wight asken it for fere,
As she that hadde hire herte and al hire mynde
On Troilus i-set so wonder faste,
That al this world ne myghte hire loue vnbynde,
Ne Troilus out of hire herte caste;
She wol ben his while that hire lif may laste.
And thus she brenneth both in loue and drede,
So that she nyste what was best to reede.
But as men seen in towne and al aboute
That wommen vsen frendes to visite,
So to Criseyde of wommen com a route
ffor pitous ioie and wenden hire delite;
And with hire tales deere ynough a myte,
Thise wommen which that in the Cite dwelle,
They sette hem down and seyde as I shall telle.
Quod first that oon, "I am glad, trewely,
By-cause of ȝow that shal ȝoure fader see.',
Another seyde, "ywis, so nam nat I,
ffor al to litel hath she with vs be."
Quod tho the thridde, "I hope, ywis, that she
Shal bryngen vs the pees on euery syde,
That, whan she goth, almyghty god hire gide."
Tho wordes and tho wommanysshe thynges,
She herde hem right as though she thennes were;
ffor, god it woot, hire herte on othir thyng is:
Al-though the body sat among hem there,
Hire aduertence is alwey elles-where;
ffor Troilus ful faste hire soule soughte;
With-outen word on hym alwey she thoughte.
Stanzas 101 through 110
Thise wommen, that thus wenden hire to plese,
Aboute naught gonne alle hire tales spende;
Swich vanyte ne kan don hire non ese,
As she that al this mene while brende
Of other passioun than that they wende,
So that she felte almost hire herte dye,
ffor wo and wery of that compaignie.
[ffor which no lenger myghte she restreyne
Hir teeris, so they gonnen vp to welle,
That yauen signes of the bittre peyne
In which hir spirit was and moste dwelle,
Remembryng hir fro heuen into which helle
She fallen was, syn she forgoth the syghte
Of Troilus, and sorwfully she sighte.]
And thilke fooles sittynge hire a-boute
Wenden that she wepte and siked sore
By-cause that she sholde out of that route
Deperte and neuere pleye with hem more.
And they that hadde y-knowen hire of ȝore
Seigh hire so wepe and thoughte it kyndenesse,
And ech of hem wepte ek for hire destresse.
And bisyly they gonnen hire comforten
Of thyng, god woot, on which she litel thoughte,
And with hire tales wenden hire disporten,
And to be glad they often hire bysoughte.
But swiche an ese therwith they hire wroughte
Right as a man is esed forto feele,
ffor ache of hed to clawen hym on his heele.
But after al this nyce vanyte
They toke hire leue and hom they wenten alle.
Criseyde, ful of sorweful pite,
In-to hire chambre vp went out of the halle,
And on hire bed she gan for ded to falle,
In purpos neuere thennes for to rise;
And thus she wroughte, as I shal ȝow deuyse.
Hire ownded heer that sonnyssh was of hewe
She rente, and ek hire fyngeres longe and smale
She wrong ful ofte and bad god on hire rewe,
And with the deth to doon boote on hire bale;
Hire hewe whilom bright, that tho was pale,
Bar witnesse of hire wo and hire constreynte;
And this she spak, sobbyng in hire compleynte,
"Allas,' quod she, "out of this regioun
I, woful wrecche and in-fortuned wight,
And born in corsed constellacioun,
Moot goon and thus deperten from my knyght.
Wo worth, allas, that ilke dayes light
On which I saugh hym first with eyen tweyne,
That causeth me -- and ich hym -- al this peyne!"
Ther-with the teris from hire eyen two
Down fille as shoure in Aperil ful swithe;
Hire white brest she bet and for the wo
After the deth she cryed a thousand sithe,
Syn he that wont hire wo was for to lithe,
She moot forgon; for which disauenture
She held hire self a forlost creature.
She seyde, "how shal he don and ich also?
How sholde I lyue if that I from hym twynne?
O deere herte eke, that I loue so,
Who shal that sorwe slen that ȝe ben inne?
O Calkas, fader, thyn be al this synne!
O moder myn, that cleped were Argyue,
Wo worth that day that thow me bere on lyue!
"To what fyn sholde I lyue and sorwen thus?
How sholde a fissh with-outen water dure?
What is Criseyde worth from Troilus?
How sholde a plaunte or lyues creature
Lyue with-outen his kynde noriture?
ffor which ful ofte a byword here I seye,
That "rooteles moot grene soone deye.'
Stanzas 111 through 120
"I shal doon thus, syn neither swerd ne darte
Dar I noon handle for the crueltee,
That ilke day that I from ȝow departe,
If sorwe of that nyl nat my bane be,
Thanne shal no mete or drynke come in me
Til I my soule out of my breste vnshethe,
And thus my seluen wol I don to dethe.
"And Troilus, my clothes euerychon
Shul blake ben in tokennyng, herte swete,
That I am as out of this world agon,
That wont was ȝow to setten in quiete;
And of myn ordre ay til deth me mete,
The obseruance euere in ȝoure absence
Shal sorwe ben, compleynt and abstinence.
"Myn herte and ek the woful goost ther-inne
Byquethe I with ȝoure spirit to compleyne
Eternaly for they shal neuere twynne;
ffor though in erthe y-twynned be we tweyne,
Ȝet in the feld of pite, out of peyne,
That highte Elisos, shal we ben y-feere,
As Orpheus with Erudice his feere.
"Thus, herte myn, for Antenor, allas,
I soone shal be chaunged, as I wene.
But how shul ȝe don in this sorwful cas?
How shal ȝoure tendre herte this sustene?
But, herte myn, forȝete this sorwe and tene,
And me also, for sothly forto seye,
So ȝe wel fare, I recche naught to deye."
How myghte it euere y-red ben or y-songe,
The pleynte that she made in hire destresse?
I not; but as for me, my litel tonge,
If I discryuen wolde hire heuynesse,
It sholde make hire sorwe seme lesse
Than that it was, and childisshly deface
Hire heigh compleynte, and therfore ich it pace.
Pandare, which that sent from Troilus
Was to Criseyde -- as ȝe han herd deuyse,
That for the beste it was acorded thus,
And he ful glad to doon hym that seruyse --
Unto Criseyde in a ful secree wise,
Ther as she lay in torment and in rage,
Come hire to telle al holly his message.
And fond that she hire seluen gan to trete
fful pitously, for with hire salte teris
Hire brest, hire face, y-bathed was ful wete;
The myghty tresses of hire sonnysshe heeris
Unbroiden hangen al aboute hire eeris,
Which ȝaf hym verray signal of martire
Of deth which that hire herte gan desire.
Whan she hym saugh she gan for sorwe anon
Hire tery face atwixe hire armes hide,
ffor which this Pandare is so wo-bygon
That in the hous he myghte vnnethe abyde,
As he that pite felt on euery syde:
ffor if Criseyde hadde erst compleyned soore,
Tho gan she pleyne a thousand tymes more.
And in hire aspre pleynte thus she seyde,
"Pandare first of ioies mo than two
Was cause causyng vnto me, Criseyde,
That now transmewed ben in cruel wo.
Wher shal I seye to ȝow welcom or no,
That alderfirst me broughte vnto seruyse
Of loue, allas, that endeth in swich wise?
"Endeth thanne loue in wo? ȝe, or men lieth,
And alle worldly blisse as thynketh me:
The ende of blisse ay sorwe it occupieth.
And who-so troweth nat that it so be,
Lat hym vp-on me, woful wrecche, ysee,
That my self hate and ay my burthe a-corse,
ffelyng alwey fro wikke I go to worse.
Stanzas 121 through 130
"Who-so me seeth, he seeth sorwe al atonys,
Peyne, torment, pleynte, wo, distresse.
Out of my woful body harm ther noon is,
As angwissh, langour, cruel bitternesse,
Anoy, smert, drede, fury and ek siknesse.
I trowe, ywys, from heuene teeris reyne
ffor pite of myn aspre and cruel peyne."
"And thow my suster, ful of discomfort,"
Quod Pandarus, "what thynkestow to do?
Whi ne hastow to thy seluen som resport?
Whi wiltow thus thi self, allas, for-do?
Leef al this werk and take now heede to
That I shal seyn, and herkne of good entente
This which by me thi Troilus the sente."
Tornede hire tho Criseyde, a wo makynge
So gret that it a deth was forto see.
"Allas," quod she, "what wordes may ȝe brynge?
What wol my deere herte seyn to me,
Which that I drede neuere mo to see?
Wol he han pleynte or teris er I wende?
I haue ynough if he ther-after sende."
She was right swich to seen in hire visage
As is that wight that men on beere bynde:
Hire face, lik of Paradys the ymage,
Was al ychaunged in a-nother kynde;
The pleye, the laughter, men was wont to fynde
In hire, and ek hire ioies euerichone,
Ben fled, and thus lith now Criseyde allone.
Aboute hire eyen two a purpre ryng
By-trent in sothfast tokenyng of hire peyne,
That to biholde it was a dedly thyng,
ffor which Pandare myghte nat restreyne
The teeris from hise eighen forto reyne.
But natheles, as he best myghte, he seyde
ffrom Troilus thise wordes to Criseyde.
"Lo, Nece, I trowe ȝe han herd al how
The kyng with othere lordes for the beste
Hath made eschaunge of Antenor and ȝow,
That cause is of this sorwe and this vnreste.
But how this cas dooth Troilus moleste,
That may non erthely mannes tonge seye;
ffor verray wo his wit is al aweye.
"ffor which we han so sorwed, he and I,
That in-to litel bothe it hadde vs slawe;
But thorugh my conseyl this day finaly,
He somwhat is fro wepynge now withdrawe,
And semeth me that he desireth fawe
With ȝow to ben al nyght forto deuyse
Remedie in this, if ther were any wyse.
"This, shorte and pleyn, theffect of my message,
As ferforth as my wit kan comprehende;
ffor ȝe that ben of torment in swich rage
May to no longe prologe as now entende;
And here-vpon ȝe may answere hym sende --
And for the loue of god, my Nece deere,
So leue this wo er Troilus be here."
"Gret is my wo," quod she and sighte soore,
As she that feleth dedly sharp distresse,
"But ȝit to me his sorwe is muchel more,
That loue hym bet than he hym self, I gesse.
Allas, for me hath he swich heuynesse?
Kan he for me so pitously compleyne?
I-wis, his sorwe doubleth al my peyne.
"Greuous to me, god woot, is forto twynne,"
Quod she, "but ȝet it harder is to me
To sen that sorwe which that he is inne,
ffor wel woot I it wol my bane be,
And deye I wol in certeyn," tho quod she;
"But bid hym come er deth, that thus me threteth,
Dryue out that goost which in myn herte beteth."
Stanzas 131 through 140
Thise wordes seyd, she on hire armes two
ffil gruf and gan to wepen pitously.
Quod Pandarus, "allas, whi do ȝe so,
Syn wel ȝe woot the tyme is faste by
That he shal come? Aris vp hastily,
That he ȝow nat bywopen thus ne fynde,
But ȝe wole haue him wood out of his mynde.
"ffor wiste he that ȝe ferde in this manere,
He wolde hym seluen sle; and if I wende
To han this fare, he sholde nat come here
ffor al the good that Priam may dispende.
ffor to what fyn he wolde anon pretende,
That knowe ich wel, and forthi ȝet I seye,
So lef this sorwe or platly he wol deye.
"And shapeth ȝow his sorwe for tabregge,
And nought encresse, leeue Nece swete;
Beth rather to hym cause of flat than egge,
And with som wisdom ȝe his sorwes bete.
What helpeth it to wepen ful a strete,
Or though ȝe bothe in salte teeris dreynte?
Bet is a tyme of cure ay than of pleynte.
"I mene thus: whan ich hym hider brynge,
Syn ȝe be wise and bothe of oon assente,
So shapeth how destourbe ȝoure goynge,
Or come aȝeyn soon after ȝe be wente --
Wommen ben wise in short auysemente --
And lat sen how ȝoure wit shal now auaille,
And what that I may helpe, it shal nat faille.
"Go," quod Criseyde, "and Uncle, trewely,
I shal don al my myght me to restreyne
ffrom wepyng in his sighte, and bisily
Hym forto glade I shal don al my peyne,
And in myn herte seken euery veyne;
If to his sore ther may be fonden salue,
It shal nat lakke, certeyn, on my halue."
Goth Pandarus and Troilus he soughte,
Til in a temple he fond hym al allone,
As he that of his lif no lenger roughte;
But to the pitouse goddes euerichone
fful tendrely he preyde and made his mone,
To doon hym sone out of this world to pace,
ffor wel he thoughte ther was non other grace.
And shortly, al the sothe forto seye,
He was so fallen in despeir that day,
That outrely he shop hym forto deye.
ffor right thus was his argument alway:
He seyde he nas but lorn, so weylaway --
"ffor al that comth, comth by necessitee,
Thus to ben lorn, it is my destinee.
"ffor certeynly, this wot I wel," he seyde,
"That for-sight of diuine purueyaunce
Hath seyn alwey me to forgon Criseyde,
Syn god seeth euery thyng, out of doutaunce,
And hem disponyth, thorugh his ordinaunce,
In hire merites sothly for to be,
As they shul comen by predestyne.
"But natheles, allas, whom shal I leeue?
ffor ther ben grete clerkes many oon,
That destyne thorugh argumentes preue;
And som men seyn that nedely ther is noon,
But that fre chois is ȝeuen vs euerychon.
O welaway, so sleighe arn clerkes olde
That I not whos opynyoun I may holde.
"ffor som men seyn, if god seth al biforn --
Ne god may nat deceyued ben, parde --
Than moot it fallen, theigh men hadde it sworn,
That purueiance hath seyn byfore to be.
Wherfore I sey that from eterne if he
Hath wist byforn oure thought ek as oure dede,
We han no fre chois, as thise clerkes rede.
Stanzas 141 through 150
"ffor other thought, nor other dede also,
Myghte neuere ben, but swich as purueyaunce,
Which may nat ben deceyued neuere mo,
Hath feled byforn, with-outen ignoraunce.
ffor if ther myghte ben a variaunce
To writhen out fro goddis purueyinge,
Ther nere no prescience of thyng comynge.
"But it were rather an opynyoun
Uncerteyn, and no stedfast forseynge;
And certes, that were an abusioun,
That god sholde han no parfit clere wytynge
More than we men that han doutous wenynge:
But swich an errour vp-on god to gesse
Were fals and foul and wikked corsednesse.
"Ek this is an opynyoun of some
That han hire top ful heigh and smothe yshore:
They seyn right thus, that thyng is nat to come
ffor that the prescience hath seyn by-fore
That it shal come; but they seyn that therfore
That it shal come, therfore the purueyaunce
Woot it byforn, with-outen ignoraunce.
"And in this manere this necessite
Retorneth in his part contrarie agayne;
ffor nedfully byhoueth it nat to bee
That thilke thynges fallen in certayne
That ben purueyed; but nedly, as they sayne,
Byhoueth it that thynges whiche that falle,
That they in certayn ben purueyed alle.
"I mene as though I laboured me in this
To enqueren which thyng cause of which thyng be:
As wheither that the prescience of god is
The certeyn cause of the necessite
Of thynges that to comen ben, parde;
Or if necessite of thyng comynge
Be cause certeyn of the purueyinge.
"But now nenforce I me nat in shewynge
How the ordre of causes stant; but wel woot I
That it byhoueth that the byfallynge
Of thynges wiste byforn certeynly
Be necessarie, al seme it nat therby
That prescience putte fallynge necessaire
To thyng to come, al falle it foule or faire.
"ffor if ther sitte a man ȝond on a see,
Than by necessite bihoueth it
That, certes, thyn opynyoun sooth be
That wenest or coniectest that he sit;
And further ouere now aȝeynward ȝit,
Lo, right so is it of the part contrarie,
As thus -- now herkne, for I wol nat tarie:
"I sey that if the opynyoun of the
Be soth for that he sitte, than sey I this:
That he mot siten by necessite;
And thus necessite in eyther is.
ffor in hym nede of sittynge is, ywys,
And in the nede of soth; aud thus, forsothe,
There mot necessite ben in ȝow bothe.
"But thow mayst seyn the man sit nat therfore
That thyn opynyoun of his sittynge soth is;
But rather for the man sit ther byfore,
Therfore is thyn opynyoun soth, ywys.
And I seye, though the cause of soth of this
Comth of his sittyng, ȝet necessite
Is entrechaunged both in hym and the.
"Thus in the same wise, out of doutaunce,
I may wel maken, as it semeth me,
My resonyng of goddes purueyaunce
And of the thynges that to comen be;
By which resoun men may wel y-se
That thilke thynges that in erthe falle,
That by necessite they comen alle.
Stanzas 151 through 160
"ffor al-though that, for thynge shal come, y-wys,
Therfore is it purueyed, certeynly --
Nat that it comth for it purueyed is --
Ȝet natheles bihoueth it nedfully
That thing to come be purueyd, trewely;
Or elles thynges that purueyed be,
That they bitiden by necessite.
"And this suffiseth right ynough, certeyn,
fforto destruye oure fre chois euery del.
But now is this abusioun to seyn
That fallyng of the thynges temporel
Is cause of goddes prescience eternel.
Now trewely, that is a fals sentence,
That thyng to come sholde cause his prescience.
"What myght I wene, and I hadde swich a thought,
But that god purueyeth thyng that is to come
ffor that it is to come, and ellis nought?
So myghte I wene that thynges alle and some,
That whilom ben byfalle and ouercome,
Ben cause of thilke souereyne purueyaunce
That for-woot al with-outen ignoraunce.
"And ouere al this, ȝet sey I more herto,
That right as whan I wot ther is a thyng,
I-wys, that thyng moot nedfully be so;
Ek right so whan I woot a thyng comyng,
So mot it come; and thus the bifallyng
Of thynges that ben wist bifore the tyde,
They mowe nat ben eschued on no syde."
Thanne seyde he thus, "al-myghty Ioue in trone,
That woost of al thys thyng the sothfastnesse,
Rewe on my sorwe and do me deyen sone,
Or bryng Criseyde and me fro this destresse."
And whil he was in al this heuynesse,
Disputyng with hym self in matere,
Com Pandare in and seyde as ȝe may here.
"O myghty god," quod Pandarus, "in trone,
I! who say euere a wis man faren so?
Whi Troilus, what thinkestow to doone?
Hastow swich lust to ben thyn owen fo?
What, perde, ȝet is nat Criseyde a-go!
Whi list the so thi self fordoon for drede,
That in thyn hed thyne eyen semen dede?
"Hastow nat lyued many a ȝer byforn
With-outen hire and ferd ful wel at ese?
Artow for hire and for noon other born?
Hath kynde the wrought al only hire to plese?
Lat be, and thynk right thus in thi disese:
That in the dees right as ther fallen chaunces,
Right so in loue ther come and gon plesaunces.
"And ȝet this is my wonder moste of alle,
Whi thow thus sorwest, syn thow nost nat ȝit,
Touchyng hire goyng, how that it shal falle,
Ne ȝif she kan hire self destourben it.
Thow hast nat ȝet assayed al hire wit;
A man may al by-tyme his nekke beede
Whan it shal of, and sorwen at the nede.
"ffor-thi tak hede of that I shal the seye:
I haue with hire y-spoke and longe y-be,
So as acorded was bitwixe vs tweye.
And euere mor me thynketh thus that she
Hath somwhat in hire hertes priuete,
Wher-with she kan, if I shal right arede,
Destourbe al this of which thow art in drede.
"ffor which my counseil is, what it is nyght,
Thow to hire go and make of this an ende,
And blisful Iuno thorugh hire grete myght
Shal as I hope hire grace vnto vs sende.
Myn herte seyth certeyn she shal nat wende;
And forthi put thyn herte a while in reste,
And holde this purpos, for it is the beste."
Stanzas 161 through 170
This Troilus answered and sighte soore,
"Thow seist right wel, and I wol don right so."
And what hym liste, he seyde vn-to it more.
And whan that it was tyme for to go,
fful pryuely hym self, with-outen mo,
Unto hire com as he was wont to doone,
And how they wroughte, I shal ȝow tellen soone.
Soth is, that whan they gonnen first mete,
So gan the peyne hire hertes forto twiste,
That neyther of hem other myghte grete,
But hem in armes toke and after kiste.
The lasse woful of hem bothe nyste
Wher that he was, ne myghte o word out bryng,
As I seyde erst, for wo and for sobbyng.
The woful teeris that they leten falle
As bittre weren out of teris kynde,
ffor peyne, as is ligne aloes or galle:
So bittre teeris weep nought, as I fynde,
The woful Mirra thorugh the bark and rynde;
That in this world ther nys so hard an herte
That nolde han rewed on hire peynes smerte.
But whan hire woful weri goostes tweyne
Retourned ben ther as hem owe to dwelle,
And that somwhat to wayken gan the peyne
By lengthe of pleynte, and ebben gan the welle
Of hire teeris and the herte vnswelle,
With broken vois, al hoors for-shright, Criseyde
To Troilus thise ilke wordes seyde:
"O Ioue, I deye, and mercy I beseche!
Help, Troilus!" and ther-with-al hire face
Up-on his brest she leyde and loste speche --
Hire woful spirit from his propre place,
Right with the word, alwey o poynt to pace --
And thus she lith with hewes pale and grene,
That whilom fresshe and fairest was to sene.
This Troilus, that on hire gan biholde,
Clepyng hire name -- and she lay as for dede,
Withoute answere, and felte hire lymes colde,
Hire eyen throwen vpward to hire hede --
This sorwful man kan now noon other rede,
But ofte tyme hire colde mowth he kiste:
Wher hym was wo, god and hym self it wiste!
He rist hym vp and long streght he hire leyde;
ffor signe of lif, for aught he kan or may,
Kan he non fynde in no thyng on Criseyde,
ffor which his song ful ofte is "weylaway."
But whan he saugh that specheles she lay,
With sorweful vois and herte of blisse al bare,
He seyde how she was fro this worlde y-fare.
So after that he longe hadde hire compleyned,
His hondes wrong and seyde that was to seye,
And with hise teeris salt hire brest byreyned,
He gan tho teeris wypen of ful dreye,
And pitously gan for the soule preye,
And seyde, "O lord that set art in thi trone,
Rewe ek on me, for I shal folwe hire sone."
She cold was and with-outen sentement,
ffor aught he woot, for breth ne felte he non;
And this was hym a pregnant argument
That she was forth out of this world a-gon.
And whan he say ther was non other woon,
He gan hire lymes dresse in swich manere
As men don hem that shal ben layde on beere.
And after this with sterne and cruel herte,
His swerd anon out of his shethe he twighte,
Hym self to slen, how sore that hym smerte,
So that his soule hire soule folwen myghte,
Ther as the doom of Mynos wolde it dighte;
Syn loue and cruel fortune it ne wolde,
That in this world he lenger lyuen sholde.
Stanzas 171 through 180
Than seyde he thus, fulfild of heigh desdayn,
"O cruel Ioue, and thow fortune aduerse,
This al and som, that falsly haue ȝe slayn
Criseyde, and syn ȝe may do me no werse,
ffy on ȝoure myghte and werkes so dyuerse!
Thus cowardly ȝe shul me neuere wynne;
Ther shal no deth me fro my lady twynne.
"ffor I this world, syn ȝe haue slayn hire thus,
Wol lete and folwe hire spirit low or hye;
Shal neuere louere seyn that Troilus
Dar nat for fere with his lady dye;
ffor certeyn, I wol beere hire compaignie.
But syn ȝe wol nat suffre vs lyuen here,
Ȝet suffreth that oure soules ben y-fere.
"And thow, Cite, which that I leue in wo,
And thow, Priam, and bretheren alle yfeere,
And thow, my Moder, far wel, for I go;
And Atropos, make redy thow my beere.
And thow Criseyde, O swete herte deere,
Receyue now my spirit," wolde he seye,
With swerd at herte, al redy forto deye.
But as god wolde, of swough therwith shabreyde,
And gan to sike and "Troilus" she cride,
And he answerde, "lady myn, Criseyde,
Lyue ȝe ȝeet?" and leet his swerd down glide.
"Ȝe, herte myn, that thonked be Cipride,"
Quod she, and ther-with-al she soore syghte,
And he bigan to glad hire as he myghte;
Took hire in armes two and kiste hire ofte,
And hire to glade he did al his entente;
ffor which hire goost, that flikered ay o-lofte,
In-to hire woful herte aȝeyn it wente.
But at the laste, as that hire eye glente
A-syde, anon she gan his swerd espie,
As it lay bare, and gan for fere crye,
And asked hym whi he it hadde out drawe?
And Troilus anon the cause hire tolde,
And how hym self therwith he wolde han slawe;
ffor which Criseyde vp-on hym gan biholde,
And gan hym in hire armes faste folde,
And seyde, "O mercy, god, lo, which a dede!
Ailas, how neigh we weren bothe dede!
"Than if I nadde spoken, as grace was,
Ȝe wolde han slayn ȝoure self auon?" quod she.
"Ȝee, douteles"; and she answerde, "allas,
ffor by that ilke lord that made me,
I nolde a forlong wey on lyue haue be
After ȝoure deth, to han ben crowned Queene
Of al that lond the sonne on shyneth sheene.
"But with this selue swerd which that here is,
My selue I wolde han slayne," quod she tho.
"But hoo, for we han right ynough of this,
And lat vs rise and streght to bedde go,
Aud there lat vs speken of oure wo --
ffor by the morter which that I se brenne,
Knowe I ful wel that day is nat far henne."
Whan they were in hire bed in armes folde,
Naught was it lik tho nyghtes here by-forn;
ffor pitously ech other gan by-holde,
As they that hadden al hire blisse y-lorn,
Bywaylinge ay the day that they were born,
Til at the laste this sorwful wight Criseyde
To Troilus thise ilke wordes seyde:
"Lo, herte myn, wel woot ȝe this," quod she,
"That if a wight alwey his wo compleyne,
And seketh nought how holpen forto be,
It nys but folie and encresse of peyne;
And syn that here assembled be we tweyne,
To fynde boote of wo that we ben inne,
It were al tyme soone to bygynne.
Stanzas 181 through 190
"I am a womman, as ful wel ȝe woot,
And as I am auysed sodeynly,
So wol I telle ȝow while it is hoot:
Me thynketh thus, that nouther ȝe nor I
Ought half this wo to maken skilfully;
ffor ther is art ynough forto redresse
That ȝet is mys and slen this heuynesse.
"Soth is, the wo the which that we ben inne,
ffor aught I woot, for no-thyng ellis is
But for the cause that we sholden twynne:
Considered al, ther nys namore amys.
But what is thanne a remede vnto this,
But that we shape vs soone forto meete?
This al and som, my deere herte sweete.
"Now that I shal wel bryngen it a-boute
To come aȝeyn soone after that I go,
Ther-of am I no manere thyng in doute;
ffor dredeles, with-inne a wowke or two,
I shal ben here; and that it may be so
By alle right and in a wordes fewe,
I shal ȝow wel an heep of weyes shewe.
"ffor which I wol nat make long sermoun,
ffor tyme y-lost may nought recouered be;
But I wol gon to my conclusioun,
And to the beste in aught that I kan see.
And for the loue of god forȝeue it me,
If I speke aught aȝeyns ȝoure hertes reste;
ffor trewely, I speke it for the beste,
"Makyng alwey a protestacioun
That now thise wordes which that I shal seye,
Nis but to shewen ȝow my mocioun
To fynde vnto oure help the beste weye;
And taketh it non other wise, I preye.
ffor in effect what so ȝe me comaunde,
That wol I don, for that is no demaunde.
"Now herkneth this: ȝe han wel vnderstonde,
My goyng graunted is by parlement
So ferforth that it may nat be withstonde
ffor al this world, as by my iugement;
And syn ther helpeth non auisement
To letten it, lat it passe out of mynde,
And lat vs shape a bettre wey to fynde.
"The soth is this: the twynnyng of vs tweyne
Wol vs disese and cruelich anoye;
But hym byhoueth som tyme han a peyne,
That serueth loue, if that he wol haue ioye.
And syn I shal no ferther out of Troie
Than I may ride aȝeyn on half a morwe,
It oughte lesse causen vs to sorwe.
"So as I shal not so ben hid in muwe,
That day by day, myn owne herte deere,
Syn wel ȝe woot that it is now a trewe,
Ȝe shal ful wel al myn estat y-heere.
And er that trewe is doon I shal ben heere;
And thanne haue ȝe both Antenore y-wonne,
And me also; beth glad now if ȝe konne.
"And thenk right thus, "Criseyde is now agon,
But what! she shal come hastiliche aȝeyn.'
And whanne, allas? by god, lo, right anon,
Er dayes ten, this dar I saufly seyn.
And than at erste shal we be so feyn,
So as we shal to-gideres euere dwelle,
That al this world ne myghte oure blisse telle.
"I se that ofte tyme there as we ben now,
That for the beste oure counseyl for to hide,
Ȝe speke nat with me nor I with ȝow
In fourtenyght, ne se ȝow go ne ride.
May ȝe naught ten dayes thanne abide,
ffor myn honour in swich an auenture?
I-wys, ȝe mowen ellis lite endure.
Stanzas 191 through 200
"Ȝe knowe ek how that al my kynne is heere,
But if that onliche it my fader be,
And ek myn othere thynges alle yfeere --
And nameliche, my deere herte, ȝe,
Whom that I nolde leuen forto se
ffor al this world, as wyde as it hath space --
Or ellis se ich neuere Ioues face.
"Whi trowe ȝe my fader in this wise
Coueyteth so to se me, but for drede
Lest in this town that folkes me despise
By-cause of hym for his vnhappy dede?
What woot my fader what lif that I lede?
ffor if he wiste in Troie how wel I fare,
Us neded for my wendyng nought to care.
"Ȝe sen that euery day ek more and more
Men trete of pees and it supposid is
That men the queene Eleyne shal restore,
And Grekis vs restoren that is mys;
So though ther nere comfort non but this,
That men purposen pees on euery syde,
Ȝe may the bettre at ese of herte abyde.
"ffor if that it be pees, myn herte deere,
The nature of the pees moot nedes dryue
That men moost entrecomunen yfeere,
And to and fro ek ride and gon as blyue
Alday as thikke as been fleen from an hyue,
And euery wight han liberte to bleue
Where-as hym liste the bet withouten leue.
"And though so be that pees ther may be non,
Ȝet hider, though ther neuere pees ne were,
I moste come; for whider sholde I gon,
Or how meschaunce sholde I dwelle there
Among tho men of armes euere in feere?
ffor which, as wisly god my soule rede,
I kan nat sen wher-of ȝe sholden drede.
"Haue here another wey, if it so be
That al this thyng ne may ȝow nat suffise:
My fader as ȝe knowen wel, parde,
Is old, and elde is ful of coueytise;
And I right now haue founden al the gise,
With-outen net, wherwith I shal hym hente;
And herkeneth how, if that ȝe wol assente.
"Lo, Troilus, men seyn that hard it is
The wolf ful and the wether hool to haue;
This is to seyn, that men ful ofte, i-wys,
Mote spenden part the remenant for to saue;
ffor ay with gold men may the herte graue
Of hym that set is vp-on coueytise;
And how I mene, I shal it ȝow deuyse.
"The moeble which that I haue in this town
Unto my fader shal I take and seye
That right for trust and for sauacioun
It sent is from a frend of his or tweye,
The whiche frendes feruentliche hym preye
To senden after more and that in hie,
Whil that this town stant thus in iupartie.
"And that shal ben an huge quantite --
Thus shal I seyn -- but lest it folk aspide,
This may be sent by no wyght but by me.
I shal ek shewen hym, yf pes by-tyde,
What frendes that ich haue on euery syde
Toward the Court, to don the wrathe pace
Of Priamus and don hym stonde in grace.
"So what for o thyng and for other, swete,
I shal hym so enchaunten with my sawes,
That right in heuene his sowle is, shal he mete;
ffor al Appollo or his clerkes lawes,
Or calkullynge, auayleth nought thre hawes;
Desir of gold shal so his soule blende,
That as me lyst I shal wel make an ende.
Stanzas 201 through 210
"And yf he wolde ought by hys sort it preue
If that I lye, in certayn I shal fonde
Distorben hym and plukke hym by the sleue,
Makynge his sort, and beren hym on honde
He hath not wel the goddes vnderstonde;
ffor goddes speken in amphibologies,
And for a soth they tellen twenty lyes.
"Eke drede fond first goddes, I suppose --
Thus shal I seyn -- and that his coward herte
Made hym amys the goddes text to glose,
Whan he for fered out of Delphos sterte.
And but I make hym soone to conuerte,
And don my rede with-inne a day or tweye,
I wol to ȝow oblige me to deye."
And treweliche, as writen wel I fynde,
That al this thyng was seyd of good entente;
And that hire herte trewe was and kynde
Towardes hym and spak right as she mente,
And that she starf for wo neigh whan she wente,
And was in purpos euere to be trewe:
Thus writen they that of hire werkes knewe.
This Troilus, with herte and erys spradde,
Herde al this thyng deuysen to and fro,
And verrayliche hym semed that he hadde
The selue wit, but ȝet to late hire go
His herte mys-forȝaf hym euere mo.
But fynaly he gan his herte wreste
To trusten hire and took it for the beste.
ffor which the grete furie of his penaunce
Was queynt with hope, and therwith hem bitwene
Bigan for ioie thamorouse daunce;
And as the briddes whanne the sonne is shene
Deliten in hire song in leues grene,
Right so the wordes that they spake y-feere
Delited hem and made hire hertes clere.
But natheles, the wendyng of Criseyde
ffor al this world may nat out of his mynde;
ffor which ful ofte he pitously hire preyde
That of hire heste he myghte hire trewe fynde,
And seyde hire, "certes, if ȝe be vnkynde,
And but ȝe come at day set in-to Troye,
Ne shal I neuere haue hele, honour ne ioye.
"ffor also soth as sonne vp-rist o-morwe,
And god so wisly thow me, woful wrecche,
To reste brynge out of this cruel sorwe,
I wol my seluen sle if that ȝe drecche.
But of my deth though litel be to recche,
Ȝet er that ȝe me causen so to smerte,
Dwelle rather here, myn owen swete herte.
"ffor trewely, myn owne lady deere,
Tho sleghtes ȝit that I haue herd ȝow stere
fful shaply ben to faylen alle y-feere.
ffor thus men seyth: "that on thenketh the beere,
But al another thenketh his ledere.'
Ȝoure syre is wys, and seyd is out of drede:
"Men may the wise at-renne and naught atrede.'
"It is ful hard to halten vnespied
Byfore a crepel, for he kan the crafte;
Ȝoure fader is in sleght as Argus eyed;
ffor al be that his moeble is hym birafte,
His olde sleighte is ȝet so with hym lafte:
Ȝe shal nat blende hym for ȝoure wommanhede,
Ne feyne aright, and that is al my drede.
"I not if pees shal euere mo bitide;
But pees or no, for ernest ne for game,
I woot, syn Calkas on the Grekis syde
Hath ones ben, and lost so foule his name,
He dar nomore come here aȝeyn for shame;
ffor which that wey, for aught I kan espie,
To trusten on nys but a fantasie.
Stanzas 211 through 220
"Ȝe shal ek sen ȝoure fader shal ȝow glose
To ben a wif and, as he kan wel preche,
He shal som Grek so preyse and wel allose,
That rauysshen he shal ȝow with his speche,
Or do ȝow don by force as he shal teche;
And Troilus, of whom ȝe nyl han routhe,
Shal causeles so steruen in his trouthe.
"And ouere al this, ȝoure fader shal despise
Us alle and seyn this Cite nys but lorne,
And that thassege neuere shal aryse,
ffor whi the Grekis han it alle sworne,
Tyl we be slayn and down oure walles torne.
And thus he shal ȝow with his wordes fere,
That ay drede I that ȝe wol bleuen there.
"Ȝe shal ek seen so many a lusty knyghte
Amonge the Grekis, ful of worthynesse,
And ech of hem with herte, wit and myghte,
To plesen ȝow don al his bisynesse,
That ȝe shul dullen of the rudenesse
Of vs sely Troians, but if routhe
Remorde ȝow or vertue of ȝoure trouthe.
"And this to me so greuous is to thynke,
That fro my brest it wol my soule rende;
Ne dredeles in me ther may nat synke
A good opynyoun if that ȝe wende;
ffor whi ȝoure fadres sleghte wol vs shende.
And if ȝe gon, as I haue told ȝow ȝore,
So thenk I nam but ded, with-oute more.
"ffor which with humble, trewe and pitous herte,
A thousand tymes mercy I ȝow preye;
So rueth on myn aspre peynes smerte,
And doth somwhat as that I shal ȝow seye,
And lat vs stele awey bitwixe vs tweye;
And thynk that folie is whan man may chese,
ffor accident his substaunce ay to lese.
"I mene thus, that syn we mowe er day
Wel stele awey and ben togidere so,
What wit were it to putten in assay,
In cas ȝe sholden to ȝoure fader go,
If that ȝe myghten come aȝeyn or no?
Thus mene I, that it were a gret folie
To putte that sikernesse in iupertie.
"And vulgarly to speken of substaunce,
Of tresour may we bothe with vs lede
I-nough to lyue in honour and plesaunce
Til in-to tyme that we shal ben dede;
And thus we may eschuen al this drede.
ffor euerich other wey ȝe kan recorde,
Myn herte, ywys, may therwith naught acorde.
"And hardily, ne dredeth no pouerte,
ffor I haue kyn and frendes elles-where,
That though we comen in oure bare sherte,
Us sholde neyther lakken gold ne gere,
But ben honured while we dwelten there.
And go we anon, for as in myn entente,
This is the beste, if that ȝe wol assente."
Criseyde, with a sik right in this wise,
Answerde, "y-wys, my deere herte trewe,
We may wel stele awey as ȝe deuyse,
And fynden swich vnthrifty weyes newe;
But afterward ful soore it wol vs rewe,
And helpe me god so at my mooste nede,
As causeles ȝe suffren al this drede.
"ffor thilke day that I for cherisyng
Or drede of fader, or for other wight,
Or for estat, delit or for weddyng,
Be fals to ȝow, my Troilus, my knyght,
Saturnes doughter, Iuno, thorugh hire myght,
As wood as Athamante do me dwelle
Eternalich in Stix, the put of helle.
Stanzas 221 through 230
"And this on euery god celestial
I swere it ȝow and ek on eche goddesse,
On euery nymphe and deite infernal,
On satiry and fawny more and lesse,
That halue goddes ben of wildernesse;
And Attropos my thred of lif to-breste,
If I be fals -- now trowe me if ȝow leste.
"And thow Symois, that as an arwe clere
Thorugh Troie ay rennest downward to the se,
Ber witnesse of this word that seyd is here,
That thilke day that ich vntrewe be
To Troilus, myn owene herte fre,
That thow retourne bakward to thi welle,
And I with body and soule synke in helle.
"But that ȝe speke awey thus forto go
And leten alle ȝoure frendes, god forbede,
ffor any womman that ȝe sholden so,
And namely syn Troie hath now swich nede
Of help; and ek of o thyng taketh hede:
If this were wist, my lif lay in balaunce,
And ȝoure honour -- god shilde us fro meschaunce!
"And if so be that pees heere after take,
As alday happeth after anger game,
Whi, lord, the sorwe and wo ȝe wolden make,
That ȝe ne dorste come aȝeyn for shame;
And er that ȝe iuperten so ȝoure name,
Beth naught to hastif in this hoote fare --
ffor hastif man ne wanteth neuere care.
"What trowe ȝe the peple ek al aboute
Wolde of it seye? It is ful light tarede:
They wolden seye and swere and it out of doute
That loue ne drof ȝow naught to don this dede,
But lust voluptuous and coward drede.
Thus were al lost, ywys, myn herte deere,
Ȝoure honour which that now shyneth so clere.
"And also thynketh on myn honeste,
That floureth ȝet, how foule I sholde it shende,
And with what filthe it spotted sholde be,
If in this forme I sholde with ȝow wende;
Ne though I lyued vnto the werldes ende,
My name sholde I neuere aȝeynward wynne:
Thus were I lost, and that were routhe and synne.
"And for-thi sle with resoun al this hete;
Men seyn, 'the suffrant ouercomith,' parde;
Ek 'who-so wole han lief, he lief moot lete.'
Thus maketh vertue of necessite
By pacience, and thynk that lord is he
Of fortune ay that naught wole of hire recche;
And she ne daunteth no wight but a wrecche.
"And trusteth this, that certes, herte swete,
Er Phebus suster, Lucina the sheene,
The leoun passe out of this Ariete,
I wol ben here withouten any wene:
I mene, as helpe me Iuno, heuenes quene,
The tenthe day, but if that deth messaile,
I wol ȝow sen with-outen any faille."
"And now, so this be soth," quod Troilus,
"I shal wel suffre vnto the tenthe day,
Syn that I se that nede it mot be thus.
But for the loue of god, if it be may,
So late vs stelen priueliche away;
ffor euere in oon, as forto liue in reste,
Myn herte seyth that it wol be the beste."
"O mercy, god, what lif is this?" quod she,
"Allas, ȝe sle me thus for verray tene.
I se wel now that ȝe mystrusten me,
ffor by ȝoure wordes it is wel yseene.
Now for the loue of Cinthia the sheene,
Mistrust me nought thus causeles for routhe,
Syn to be trewe I haue ȝow plight my trouthe.
Stanzas 231 through 243
"And thynketh wel that som tyme it is wit
To spende a tyme a tyme forto wynne;
Ne, parde, lorn am I naught fro ȝow ȝit,
Though that we ben a day or two atwynne.
Drif out tho fantasies ȝow with-inne,
And trusteth me and leueth ek ȝoure sorwe,
Or here my trouthe, I wol naught lyue tyl morwe.
"ffor if ȝe wiste how soore it doth me smerte,
Ȝe wolde cesse of this; for god thow woste,
The pure spirit wepeth in myn herte
To se ȝow wepen that I loue moste,
And that I mot gon to the Grekis ooste.
Ȝe, nere it that I wiste remedie
To come aȝeyn, right here I wolde dye.
"But certes, I am naught so nyce a wight
That I ne kan ymaginen a wey
To come aȝeyn that day that I haue hight,
ffor who may holde a thing that wol awey?
My fader naught, for al his queynte pley.
And by my thrift, my wendyng out of Troie
A-nother day shal torne vs alle to ioie.
"fforthi with al myn herte I ȝow biseke,
If that ȝow list don ought for my preyere,
And for that loue which that I loue ȝow eke,
That er that I deperte fro ȝow here,
That of so good a confort and a cheere
I may ȝow sen, that ȝe may brynge at reste
Myn herte which that is o poynt to breste.
"And ouere al this I prey ȝow," quod she tho,
"Myn owene hertes sothfast suffisaunce,
Syn I am thyn al hol with-outen mo,
That whil that I am absent no plesaunce
Of oother do me fro ȝoure remembraunce:
ffor I am euere agast, for why men rede
That loue is thyng ay ful of bisy drede.
"ffor in this world ther lyueth lady non,
If that ȝe were vntrewe, as god defende,
That so bitraised were or wo bigon
As I, that alle trouthe in ȝow entende.
And douteles, if that ich other wende,
I ner but ded, and er ȝe cause fynde,
ffor goddes loue, so beth me naught vnkynde."
To this answerde Troilus and seyde,
"Now god, to whom ther nys no cause y-wrye,
Me glad, as wys I neuere vnto Criseyde,
Syn thilke day I saugh hire first with ye,
Was fals ne neuere shal til that I dye.
At shorte wordes, wel ȝe may me leue;
I kan namore, it shal be founde at preue."
"Grant mercy, goode myn, i-wys," quod she,
"And blisful Venus lat me neuere sterue
Er I may stonde of plesaunce in degree
To quyte hym wel that so wel kan deserue;
And while that god my wit wol me conserue,
I shal so don, so trewe I haue ȝow founde,
That ay honour to meward shal rebounde.
"ffor trusteth wel that ȝoure estat roiale,
Ne veyn delit nor only worthinesse
Of ȝow in werre or torney marciale,
Ne pompe, array, nobleye or ek richesse,
Ne made me to rewe on ȝoure destresse;
But moral vertue grounded vp-on trouthe,
That was the cause I first hadde on ȝow routhe.
"Eke gentil herte and manhod that ȝe hadde,
And that ȝe hadde, as me thoughte, in despit
Euery thyng that souned in-to badde,
As rudenesse and poeplissh appetit,
And that ȝoure resoun bridlede ȝoure delit;
This made, abouen euery creature,
That I was ȝoure and shal while I may dure.
"And this may lengthe of ȝeres naught fordo,
Ne remuable fortune deface;
But Iuppiter that of his myght may do
The sorwful to be glad, so ȝeue vs grace,
Or nyghtes ten to meten in this place,
So that it may ȝoure herte and myn suffise;
And fareth now wel, for tyme is that ȝe rise."
And after that they longe ypleyned hadde,
And ofte ykist and streite in armes folde,
The day gan rise and Troilus hym cladde,
And rewfullich his lady gan byholde,
As he that felte dethes cares colde,
And to hire grace he gan hym recomaunde:
Wher hym was wo, this holde I no demaunde.
ffor mannes hed ymagynen ne kan,
Nentendement considere, ne tonge telle
The cruele peynes of this sorwful man,
That passen euery torment down in helle.
ffor whan he saugh that she ne myghte dwelle,
Which that his soule out of his herte rente,
With-outen more out of the chaumbre he wente.