The canterbury tales, p.16
The Canterbury Tales,
And Meleagree, and many another mo,
For which Diane wroghte him care and wo 2072.
Ther saugh I many another wonder storye,
The which me list nat drawen to memorye.2074
2075 This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet 2075,
With smale houndes al aboute hir feet,
And undernethe 2077 hir feet she hadde a moone;
Wexinge it was and sholde wanie soone 2078.
In gaude grene 2079 hir statue clothed was,
2080 With bowe in honde, and arwes in a cas.
Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun,
Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.
A womman travailling 2083 was hir biforn;
But, for hir child so longe was unborn,
2085 Ful pitously 2085 Lucina gan she calle,
And seide, ‘Help, for thow mayst best of alle 2086!’
Wel koude he peinten lifly 2087 that it wroghte;
With many a florin he the hewes 2088 boghte.
Now been thise listes maad, and Theseus,
2090 That at his grete cost arrayed 2090 thus
The temples and the theatre every del 2091,
Whan it was doon, him liked 2092 wonder wel.
But stinte 2093 I wol of Theseus a lite,
And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
2095 The day approcheth of hir retourninge,
That everich sholde an hundred knightes bringe,
The bataille to darreine 2097, as I yow tolde.
And til 2098 Atthenes, hir covenant for to holde,
Hath everich of hem broght an hundred knightes,
2100 Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes 2100.
And sikerly2101, ther trowed many a man
That nevere, sithen 2102 that the world bigan,
As for to speke of knighthod of hir hond 2103,
As fer as God hath maked see and lond,
2105 Nas of so fewe so noble a compaignye.2105
For every wight that loved chivalrye,
And wolde his thankes han a passant name,2107
Hath preyed that he mighte been of that game 2108,
And wel was him that therto 2109 chosen was.
2110 For if ther fille 2110 tomorwe swich a cas,
Ye knowen wel that every lusty knight
That loveth paramours 2112 and hath his might,
Were it 2113 in Engelond or elleswhere,
They wolde hir thankes wilnen 2114 to be there.
2115 To fighten for a lady, benedicitee! –
It were 2116 a lusty sighte for to see.
And right so ferden they with Palamon.
With him ther wenten knightes many oon;
Som wol ben 2119 armed in an haubergeoun,
2120 And in a brestplate and a light gipoun 2120,
And som wol have a peire plates 2121 large,
And som wol have a Pruce 2122 sheeld, or a targe,
Som wol be armed on his legges weel
And have an ax, and som a mace of steel.
2125 Ther nis no newe gise that it nas old!2125
Armed were they as I have yow told,
Everich after his opinioun.2127
Ther maystow seen cominge with Palamoun
Lygurge himself, the grete king of Trace.
2130 Blak was his berd and manly was his face.
The cercles of his eyen in his heed,
They gloweden bitwixen yelow and reed,
And lik a griffoun 2133 loked he aboute,
With kempe 2134 heres on his browes stoute.
2135 His limes grete 2135, his brawnes harde and stronge,
His shuldres brode, his armes rounde and longe.
And as the gise 2137 was in his contree,
Ful hye upon a chaar 2138 of gold stood he,
With foure white boles 2139 in the trais.
2140 In stede of cote-armure 2140 over his harnais,
With nailes yelwe 2141 and brighte as any gold,
He hadde a beres skin, col-blak for old 2142.
His longe heer was kembd 2143 bihinde his bak;
As any ravenes fethere it shoon for blak 2144.
2145 A wrethe 2145 of gold, arm-greet, of huge wighte,
Upon his heed, set ful of stones brighte,
Of fine rubies and of diamauntz 2147.
Aboute his chaar ther wenten white alauntz 2148,
Twenty and mo 2149, as grete as any steer,
2150 To hunten at the leoun or the deer,
And folwed him, with mosel 2151 faste ybounde,
Colered 2152 of gold and turrettes filed rounde.
An hundred lordes hadde he in his route 2153,
Armed ful wel, with hertes sterne and stoute 2154.
2155 With Arcita, in stories as men finde2156,
The grete Emetreus, the king of Inde,
Upon a steede bay 2157, trapped in steel,
Covered in clooth of gold diapred 2158 weel,
Cam ridinge lik the god of armes, Mars.
2160 His cote-armure was of clooth of Tars 2160,
Couched 2161 with perles white and rounde and grete.
His sadel was of brend gold 2162 newe ybete,
A mantelet 2163 upon his shulder hanginge,
Bret-ful 2164 of rubies rede, as fir sparklinge.
2165 His crispe heer lik ringes was yronne 2165,
And that was yelow and glitred as the sonne.
His nose was heigh 2167, his eyen bright citrin,
His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwin 2168.
A fewe fraknes 2169 in his face yspreind,
2170 Bitwixen yelow and somdel 2170 blak ymeind,
And as a leoun he his looking caste 2171.
Of five-and-twenty yeer his age I caste 2172.
His berd was wel bigonne for to springe 2173;
His vois was as a trompe thonderinge 2174.
2175 Upon his heed he wered 2175 of laurer grene
A gerland, fressh and lusty 2176 for to sene.
Upon his hand he bar for his deduit 2177
An egle tame, as any lilye whit.
An hundred lordes hadde he with him there,
2180 Al armed, save 2180 hir heddes, in al hir gere,
Ful richely in alle manere thinges.
For trusteth 2182 wel that dukes, erles, kinges,
Were gadred 2183 in this noble compaignye,
For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
2185 Aboute this king ther ran on every part 2185
Ful many a tame leoun and leopart 2186.
And in this wise thise lordes, alle and some 2187,
Been on the Sonday to the citee come
Aboute prime 2189, and in the toun alight.
2190 This Theseus, this duc, this worthy knight,
Whan he had broght hem into his citee,
And inned 2192 hem, everich at his degree,
He festeth 2193 hem, and dooth so gret labour
To esen 2194 hem and doon hem al honour,
2195 That yet men wenen 2195 that no mannes wit
Of noon estaat ne koude amenden 2196 it.
The minstralcye, the service at the feeste,
The grete yiftes to the meeste 2198 and leeste,
The riche array 2199 of Theseus paleis,
2200 Ne who sat first ne last upon the deis,
What ladies fairest been, or best daunsinge,
Or which of hem kan chaunten best and singe,
Ne who moost felingly 2203 speketh of love,
What haukes sitten on the perche above,
2205 What houndes liggen 2205 on the floor adoun –
Of al this make I now no mencioun,
But al th’effect 2207; that thinketh me the beste.
Now comth the point, and herkneth if yow leste 2208.
The Sonday night, er day bigan to springe,
2210 Whan Palamon the larke herde singe –
Althogh it nere nat day 2211 by houres two
Yet song the larke – and Palamon right
With holy herte and with an heigh corage 2213,
He roos to wenden on his pilgrimage
2215 Unto the blisful Citherea 2215 benigne;
I mene Venus, honurable and digne 2216.
And in hir hour he walketh forth a paas 2217,
Unto the listes ther 2218 hir temple was,
And doun he kneleth, and with humble cheere 2219
2220 And herte soor 2220, he seide as ye shal heere:
‘Faireste of faire, O lady min Venus,
Doghter to Jove and spouse to Vulcanus,
Thow gladere 2223 of the mount of Citheron,
For thilke love thow haddest to Adoon,
2225 Have pitee of my bittre teeres smerte 2225,
And taak min humble prayere at 2226 thin herte.
Allas, I ne have no langage to telle
Th’effectes, ne the tormentz of min helle,
Min herte may mine harmes nat biwreye 2229;
2230 I am so confus 2230 that I kan noght seye
But 2231 “mercy, lady bright, that knowest wele
My thoght, and seest what harmes that I feele!”
Considre al this and rewe 2233 upon my soore,
As wysly 2234 as I shal for everemoore,
2235 Emforth my might 2235, thy trewe servaunt be,
And holden werre alwey with chastitee.
That make I min avow, so2237 ye me helpe!
I kepe noght 2238 of armes for to yelpe,
Ne I n’axe noght tomorwe to have victorye,
2240 No renoun in this cas, ne veine glorye
Of pris 2241 of armes blowen up and doun;
But I wolde have fully possessioun
Of Emelye, and die in thy servise.
Find thow the maner how and in what wise;
2245 I recche nat, but it may bettre be,2245
To have victorye of hem, or they of me,
So that 2247 I have my lady in min armes.
For thogh so be 2248 that Mars is god of armes,
Youre vertu 2249 is so greet in hevene above,
2250 That if yow list, I shal wel have my love.
Thy temple wol I worshipe everemo,
And on thin auter 2252, wher I ride or go,
I wol doon sacrifice and fires beete 2253.
And if ye wol noght so, my lady sweete,
2255 Than praye I thee tomorwe with a spere
That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
Thanne rekke 2257 I noght, whan I have lost my lif,
Thogh that Arcita winne hire to his wif.
This is th’effect 2259 and ende of my prayere:
2260 Yif 2260 me my love, thow blisful lady deere!’
Whan th’orisoun 2261 was doon of Palamon,
His sacrifice he dide, and that anon 2262,
Ful pitously, with alle circumstaunces,2263
Al telle I nat 2264 as now his observaunces.
2265 But at the laste the statue of Venus shook,
And made a signe, wherby that he took 2266
That his prayere accepted was that day.
For thogh the signe shewed a delay,
Yet wiste 2269 he wel that graunted was his boone,
2270 And with glad herte he wente him hoom ful soone.
The thridde hour inequal 2271 that Palamon
Bigan to Venus temple for to gon,
Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye,
And to the temple of Diane gan hie 2274.
2275 Hir maidens that she thider with hire ladde 2275,
Ful redily with hem the fir they hadde,
Th’encens, the clothes 2277, and the remenant al
That to the sacrifice longen 2278 shal,
The hornes ful of meeth 2279, as was the gise;
2280 Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifise,
Smokinge 2281 the temple, ful of clothes faire.
This Emelye, with herte debonaire 2282,
Hir body wessh 2283 with water of a welle.
But how she dide hir rite I dar nat telle,
2285 But it be anything in general –2285
And yet it were a game to heren al!
To him that meneth wel it were no charge 2287;
But it is good a man been at his large 2288.
Hir brighte heer was kembd, untressed 2289 al;
2290 A corone of a grene ook cerial 2290
Upon hir heed was set, ful fair and meete 2291.
Two fires on the auter gan 2292 she beete,
And dide hir thinges 2293, as men may biholde
In Stace of Thebes, and thise bokes olde.
2295 Whan kindled was the fir, with pitous cheere2295
Unto Diane she spak, as ye may heere:
‘O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene 2298,
Queene of the regne of Pluto, derk and lowe,
2300 Goddesse of maidens, that min herte hast knowe
Ful many a yeer, and woost 2301 what I desire,
As keep me fro 2302 thy vengeaunce and thin ire,
That Attheon 2303 aboughte cruelly!
Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
2305 Desire to been a maiden al my lif,
Ne nevere wol I be no love ne wif.
I am, thow woost, yet 2307 of thy compaignye,
A maide, and love hunting and venerye 2308,
And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
2310 And noght to been a wif and be with childe.
Noght wol I knowe compaignye of man 2311.
Now help me, lady, sith ye may 2312 and kan,
For tho 2313 thre formes that thow hast in thee,
And Palamon, that hath swich love to me,
2315 And eek Arcite, that loveth me so soore 2315.
This grace I preye thee, withoute moore:
As sende love and pees bitwix hem two,
And fro me turne awey hir hertes so,
That 2319 al hir hote love and hir desir,
2320 And al hir bisy 2320 torment and hir fir
Be queint 2321, or turned in another place.
And if so be thow wolt noght do me grace,
Or if my destinee be shapen 2323 so
That I shal nedes 2324 have oon of hem two,
2325 As send me him that moost desireth me.
Bihoold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
The bittre teeres that on my chekes falle!
Sin thow art maide and kepere of us alle,
My maidenhode thow kepe and wel conserve,
2330 And whil I live, a maide 2330 I wol thee serve.’
The fires brenne 2331 upon the auter clere
Whil Emelye was thus in hir prayere,
But sodeinly she saugh a sighte queinte 2333.
For right anon oon of the fires queinte 2334,
2335 And quiked 2335 again, and after that anon
That oother fir was queint and al agon 2336.
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