Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde
Stanzas 251 through 260
Gret was the sorwe and pleynte of Troilus;
But forth hire cours fortune ay gan to holde.
Criseyde loueth the sone of Tideus,
And Troilus moot wepe in cares colde.
Swich is this world, who-so it kan byholde;
In ech estat is litel hertes reste;
God leue vs forto take it for the beste.
In many cruel bataille, out of drede,
Of Troilus, this ilke noble knyght,
As men may in thise olde bokes rede,
Was seen his knyghthod and his grete myght;
And dredeles, his ire day and nyght
fful cruwely the Grekis ay aboughte,
And alwey moost this Diomede he soughte.
And ofte tyme I fynde that they mette
With blody strokes and with wordes grete,
Assayinge how hire speres weren whette;
And god it woot, with many a cruel hete
Gan Troilus vp-on his helm to bete.
But natheles, fortune it naught ne wolde
Of oothers hond that eyther deyen sholde.
And if I hadde ytaken forto write
The armes of this ilke worthi man,
Than wolde ich of his batailles endite;
But for that I to writen first bigan
Of his loue, I haue seyd as I kan --
Hise worthi dedes, who-so list hem heere,
Rede Dares, he kan telle hem alle i-feere --
Bysechyng euery lady bright of hewe,
And euery gentil womman, what she be,
That al be that Criseyde was vntrewe,
That for that gilt she be nat wroth with me:
Ȝe may hire gilt in other bokes se,
And gladlier I wol write, if ȝow leste,
Penelopes trouthe and good Alceste.
Ny sey nat this al oonly for thise men,
But moost for wommen that bitraised be
Thorugh false folk; god ȝeue hem sorwe, amen!
That with hire grete wit and subtilte
Bytraise ȝow; and this commeueth me
To speke, and in effect ȝow alle I preye,
Beth war of men, and herkneth what I seye.
Go, litel boke, go, litel myn tragedye,
Ther god thi makere ȝet, er that he dye,
So sende myght to make in some comedye;
But litel book, no makyng thow nenvie,
But subgit be to alle Poyesye,
And kis the steppes where as thow seest space
Uirgile, Ouide, Omer, Lucan and Stace.
And for ther is so gret diuersite
In Englissh and in writyng of oure tonge,
So prey I god that non myswrite the,
Ne the mysmetre for defaute of tonge.
And red wher-so thow [MS ȝow] or elles songe,
That thow be vnderstonde, god I biseche.
But ȝet to purpos of my rather speche --
The wrath as I bigan ȝow for to seye
Of Troilus the Grekis boughten deere;
ffor thousandes hise hondes maden deye,
As he that was with-outen any peere,
Saue Ector in his tyme as I kan heere;
But weilawey, saue only goddes wille,
Despitously hym slough the fierse Achille.
And whan that he was slayn in this manere,
His lighte goost ful blisfully is went
Up to the holughnesse of the eighthe spere,
In conuers letyng euerich element;
And ther he saugh with ful auysement
The erratik sterres, herkenyng armonye
With sownes ful of heuenyssh melodie.