The canterbury tales, p.18
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.18

           Geoffrey Chaucer

  In gooth the sharpe spore 2603 into the side.

  Ther seen men who kan juste and who kan ride;

  2605 Ther shiveren 2605 shaftes upon sheeldes thikke;

  He feeleth thurgh the herte-spoon 2606 the prikke.

  Up springen speres twenty foot on highte;

  Out goon the swerdes, as the silver brighte.

  The helmes they to-hewen and to-shrede 2609;

  2610 Out brest 2610 the blood with sterne stremes rede.

  With mighty maces the bones they to-breste2611;

  He thurgh the thikkest of the throng gan threste 2612.

  Ther stomblen 2613 steedes stronge, and doun gooth al;

  He rolleth under foot as dooth a bal;

  2615 He foineth 2615 on his feet with his tronchoun,

  And he him hurtleth 2616 with his hors adoun.

  He thurgh the body is hurt, and sithe ytake 2617,

  Maugree his heed 2618, and broght unto the stake;

  As forward 2619 was, right ther he moste abide.

  2620 Another lad is on that oother side.

  And somtime dooth hem 2621 Theseus to reste,

  Hem to refresshe, and drinken if hem leste 2622.

  Ful ofte a day 2623 have thise Thebanes two

  Togidre ymet, and wroght 2624 his felawe wo;

  2625 Unhorsed hath ech oother of hem tweye.

  Ther nas no tigre in the vale of Galgopheye 2626,

  Whan that hir whelp 2627 is stole whan it is lite,

  So cruel on the hunte 2628 as is Arcite,

  For jalous herte, upon this Palamoun;

  2630 N’in Belmarye 2630 ther nis so fel leoun,

  That hunted is, or for his hunger wood 2631,

  Ne of his praye desireth so the blood

  As Palamon to sleen 2633 his foo Arcite.

  The jalous 2634 strokes on hir helmes bite;

  2635 Out renneth blood on bothe hir sides rede.

  Somtime an ende ther is of every dede;

  For er the sonne unto the reste wente,

  The stronge king Emetreus gan hente 2638

  This Palamon, as he faught with Arcite

  2640 And made his swerd depe in his flessh to bite,

  And by the force of twenty is he take

  Unyolden 2642, and ydrawen to the stake.

  And in the rescus 2643 of this Palamoun

  The stronge king Lygurge is born adoun 2644,

  2645 And king Emetrius, for al his strengthe,

  Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,

  So hitte him Palamon er he were take.

  But al for noght; he was broght to the stake.

  His hardy herte mighte him helpe naught;

  2650 He moste abide 2650, whan that he was caught,

  By force, and eek by composicioun 2651.

  Who sorweth now but woful Palamoun,

  That moot namoore goon again to fighte?

  And whan that Theseus had seen this sighte,

  2655 Unto the folk that foghten thus echon

  He cride ‘Hoo 2656! Namoore, for it is doon!

  I wol be trewe juge and no partie 2657:

  Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelye,

  That by his fortune hath hir faire ywonne.’

  2660 Anon ther is a noise of peple bigonne

  For joye of this, so loude and heigh 2661 withalle,

  It semed that the listes sholde falle.

  What kan now faire Venus doon above?

  What seyth she now? What dooth this queene of love,

  2665 But wepeth so, for wanting 2665 of hir wille,

  Til that hir teeres in the listes fille 2666.

  She seide, ‘I am ashamed 2667, doutelees.’

  Saturnus seide, ‘Doghter, hoold thy pees!

  Mars hath his wille; his knight hath al his boone 2669.

  2670 And, by min heed, thow shalt been esed 2670 soone.’

  The trompours2671 with the loude minstralcye,

  The heraudes that ful loude yelle and crye,

  Been in hir wele 2673 for joye of daun Arcite.

  But herkneth me, and stinteth 2674 noise a lite,

  2675 Which a miracle ther bifel anon.

  This fierse Arcite hath of his helm ydon 2676,

  And on a courser 2677, for to shewe his face,

  He priketh endelong the large place 2678,

  Loking upward upon Emelye;

  2680 And she again 2680 him caste a freendlich eye

  (For wommen, as to speken in comune 2681,

  They folwen al the favour of Fortune),

  And she was al his cheere 2683 as in his herte.

  Out of the ground a furye infernal sterte,

  2685 From Pluto sent at requeste of Saturne;

  For which his hors for feere gan to turne 2686,

  And leep 2687 aside, and foundred as he leep,

  And er that Arcite may taken keep 2688

  He pighte him 2689 on the pomel of his heed,

  2690 That in the place he lay as he were deed,

  His brest to-brosten 2691 with his sadel-bowe.

  As blak he lay as any cole or crowe,

  So was the blood yronnen in his face.

  Anon he was yborn 2694 out of the place,

  2695 With herte soor 2695, to Theseus paleis.

  Tho 2696 was he corven out of his harneis,

  And in a bed ybroght ful faire and blive 2697,

  For he was yet in memorye 2698 and alive,

  And alwey cryinge after 2699 Emelye.

  2700 Duc Theseus, with al his compaignye,

  Is comen hoom to Atthenes his citee,

  With alle blisse and greet solempnitee 2702.

  Al be it that this aventure was falle,2703

  He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.

  2705 Men seide eek that Arcite shal nat die;

  He shal been heled of his maladye.

  And of another thing they were as fain 2707:

  That of hem al 2709le was ther noon yslain,

  Al were they sore yhurt, and namely oon,

  2710 That with a spere was thirled 2710 his brest-boon.

  To oothere woundes, and to broken armes,

  Somme hadden salves, and somme hadden charmes;

  Fermacies 2713 of herbes, and eek save

  They dronken, for they wolde hir limes have 2714.

  2715 For which this noble duc, as he wel kan,

  Conforteth and honoureth every man,

  And made revel al the longe night

  Unto the straunge lordes, as was right.

  Ne ther was holden no disconfitinge 2719,

  2720 But as a justes 2720 or a tourneyinge.

  For soothly ther was no disconfiture,

  For falling nis nat but an aventure 2722;

  Ne to be lad by force unto the stake,

  Unyolden 2724, and with twenty knightes take,

  2725 O2725persone allone, withouten mo,

  And haried 2726 forth by arm, foot, and too,

  And eek his steede driven forth with staves,

  With footmen, bothe yemen 2728 and eek knaves –

  It nas arretted him no vileinye;2729

  2730 Ther may no man clepe it cowardye 2730.

  For which anoon duc Theseus leet crye 2731,

  To stinten 2732 alle rancour and envye,

  The gree 2733 as wel of oo side as of oother,

  And either side ilik as otheres brother.

  2735 And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree 2735,

  And fully heeld a feeste dayes three,

  And conveyed 2737 the kinges worthily

  Out of his toun a journee largely 2738.

  And hoom wente every man the righte way 2739;

  2740 Ther was namoore but ‘Farewel, have good day!’

  Of this bataille I wol namoore endite 2741,

  But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.

  Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the soore

  Encreeseth at his herte moore and moore.

  2745 The clothered 2745 blood,
for any lechecraft,

  Corrupteth, and is in his bouk 2746 ylaft,

  That neither veine-blood 2747, ne ventusinge 2748,

  Ne drinke of herbes, may been his helpinge.

  The vertu expulsif, or animal,2749

  2750 Fro thilke vertu cleped natural

  Ne may the venim voiden 2751 ne expelle.

  The pipes of his longes 2752 gan to swelle,

  And every lacerte2753 in his brest adoun

  Is shent 2754 with venim and corrupcioun.

  2755 Him gaineth 2755 neither, for to gete his lif,

  Vomit upward, ne dounward laxatif.

  Al is to-brosten 2757 thilke regioun;

  Nature hath now no dominacioun 2758.

  And certainly, ther 2759 Nature wol nat werche,

  2760 Farewel physik 2760! Go ber the man to cherche!

  This al and som 2761: that Arcite moot die.

  For which he sendeth after 2762 Emelye,

  And Palamon that was his cosin deere.

  Thanne seide he thus, as ye shal after heere:

  2765 ‘Nat may 2765 the woful spirit in min herte

  Declare o point 2766 of alle my sorwes smerte

  To yow, my lady, that I love moost.

  But I biquethe the service of my goost 2768

  To yow aboven every creature,

  2770 Sin that 2770 my lif may no lenger dure.

  Allas, the wo! Allas, the peines stronge

  That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!

  Allas, the deeth! Allas, min Emelye!

  Allas, departing 2774 of oure compaignye!

  2775 Allas, min hertes queene! Allas, my wif,

  Min hertes lady, endere of my lif!

  What is this world? What axeth 2777 men to have?

  Now with his love, now in his colde grave,

  Allone, withouten any compaignye 2779.

  2780 Farewel, my swete foo 2780, min Emelye!

  And softe2781 take me in your armes tweye,

  For love of God, and herkneth what I seye.

  I have heer with my cosin Palamon

  Had strif and rancour, many a day agon,

  2785 For love of yow, and for my jalousye.

  And Juppiter so wys my soule gye,2786

  To speken of a servaunt proprely,

  With circumstances alle, trewely –

  That is to seyn, trouthe, honour, knighthede,

  2790 Wisdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kinrede,

  Fredom 2791, and al that longeth to that art –

  So Juppiter have of my soule part 2792,

  As in this world right now ne knowe I non

  So worthy to ben loved as Palamon,

  2795 That serveth yow, and wol doon al his lif.

  And if that evere ye shal been a wif,

  Foryet nat Palamon, the gentil 2797 man.’

  And with that word his speche faille gan 2798,

  For from his feet up to his brest was come

  2800 The coold of deeth, that hadde him overcome.

  And yet mooreover 2801, for in his armes two

  The vital strengthe is lost and al ago 2802.

  Oonly the intellect, withoute moore,

  That dwelled in his herte sik and soore 2804,

  2805 Gan faillen whan the herte felte deeth.

  Dusked 2806 his eyen two and failled breeth,

  But on his lady yet 2807 caste he his eye;

  His laste word was ‘Mercy, Emelye!’

  His spirit chaunged hous and wente ther 2809,

  2810 As I cam nevere, I kan nat tellen wher.

  Therfore I stinte; I nam no divinistre2811.

  Of soules finde I nat in this registre 2812,

  Ne me ne list thilke opinions to telle

  Of hem, thogh that they writen wher they dwelle.

  2815 Arcite is coold; ther Mars his soule gye 2815!

  Now wol I speken forth of Emelye.

  Shrighte 2817 Emelye, and howleth Palamon,

  And Theseus his suster took anon

  Swowninge, and baar hire fro the corps away.

  2820 What helpeth it to taryen forth the day 2820,

  To tellen how she weep 2821 bothe eve and morwe?

  For in swich caas wommen have swich sorwe,

  Whan that hir housbond is from hem ago,

  That for the moore part 2824 they sorwen so,

  2825 Or ellis fallen in swich maladye,

  That at the laste certeinly they die.

  Infinite been the sorwes and the teeres

  Of olde folk, and folk of tendre yeeres,

  In al the toun for deeth of this Theban.

  2830 For him ther wepeth bothe child and man.

  So greet weping was ther noon, certain,

  Whan Ector was ybroght al fressh 2832 yslain

  To Troye. Allas, the pitee that was ther! –

  Cracchinge 2834 of chekes, renting eek of heer.

  2835 ‘Why woldestow be deed?’ thise wommen crye,

  ‘And haddest gold inow 2836, and Emelye?’

  No man mighte gladen Theseus,

  Saving 2838 his olde fader Egeus,

  That knew this worldes transmutacioun 2839,

  2840 As he hadde seyn it chaunge, bothe up and doun,

  Joye after wo, and wo after gladnesse;

  And shewed hem ensample 2842 and liknesse.

  ‘Right as ther deyed nevere man,’ quod he,

  ‘That he ne lived in erthe in som degree 2844,

  2845 Right so ther lived nevere man,’ he seide,

  ‘In al this world, that somtime he ne deide.

  This world nis but a thurghfare ful of wo,

  And we been pilgrimes passinge to and fro.

  Deeth is an ende of every worldly soore 2849.’

  2850 And over al this yet seide he muchel moore

  To this effect, ful wisely to enhorte 2851

  The peple, that they sholde hem reconforte 2852.

  Duc Theseus, with al his bisy cure 2853,

  Caste 2854 now wher that the sepulture

  2855 Of good Arcite may best ymaked be,

  And eek moost honurable in his degree 2856.

  And at the laste he took conclusioun 2857

  That theras 2858 first Arcite and Palamoun

  Hadden for love the bataille hem bitwene,

  2860 That in the selve 2860 grove swoote and grene

  Theras he hadde his amorouse desires,

  His compleinte 2862, and for love his hote fires,

  He wolde make a fir in which th’office

  Funeral he mighte al acomplice 2864.

  2865 And leet 2865 anoon comaunde to hakke and hewe

  The okes olde and leye hem on a rewe 2866,

  In colpons 2867 wel arrayed for to brenne.

  His officers with swifte feet they renne

  And ride anoon at his comandement.

  2870 And after this, Theseus hath ysent2870

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