The canterbury tales, p.19
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       The Canterbury Tales, p.19

           Geoffrey Chaucer
 

  After a beere, and it al overspradde

  With clooth of gold, the richeste that he hadde.

  And of the same suite 2873 he cladde Arcite;

  Upon his handes hadde he gloves white,

  2875 Eek on his heed a croune of laurer 2875 greene,

  And in his hand a swerd ful bright and keene 2876.

  He leide him, bare the visage 2877, on the beere;

  Therwith he weep that pitee was to heere.

  And for the peple sholde seen him alle,

  2880 Whan it was day he broghte him to the halle,

  That roreth of 2881 the crying and the soun.

  Tho cam this woful Theban Palamoun,

  With flotry 2883 berd and ruggy asshy heeris,

  In clothes blake ydropped 2884 al with teeris,

  2885 And, passing othere of 2885 weping, Emelye,

  The rufulleste 2886 of al the compaignye.

  Inasmuche as the service sholde be

  The moore noble and riche in his degree,

  Duc Theseus leet forth 2889 thre steedes bringe

  2890 That trapped were in steel al gliteringe,

  And covered with the armes 2891 of daun Arcite.

  Upon thise steedes, that were grete and white,

  Ther seten 2893 folk, of which oon baar his sheeld,

  Another his spere up in his hondes heeld;

  2895 The thridde bar with him his bowe Turkeis 2895 –

  Of brend 2896 gold was the caas and eek the harneis –

  And riden forth a paas 2897 with sorweful cheere

  Toward the grove, as ye shul after heere.

  The nobleste of the Grekes that ther were

  2900 Upon hir shuldres carieden the beere,

  With slakke 2901 paas, and eyen rede and wete,

  Thurghout the citee by the maister strete 2902,

  That sprad 2903 was al with blak, and wonder hye

  Right of the same 2904 is the strete ywrye.

  2905 Upon the right hand wente olde Egeus,

  And on that oother side duc Theseus,

  With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fin,

  Al ful of hony, melk 2908, and blood, and win;

  Eek Palamon, with ful greet compaignye,

  2910 And after that cam woful Emelye,

  With fir in hande, as was that time the gise 2911,

  To do th’office of funeral servise.

  Heigh labour and greet apparaillinge 2913

  Was at the service and the fir-makinge,

  2915 That with his 2915 grene top the hevene raughte,

  And twenty fadme of brede 2916 the armes straughte –

  This is to seyn, the bowes were so brode.

  Of stree 2918 first was ther leid ful many a lode –

  But how the fir was maked upon highte 2920,

  2920 Ne eek the names how the trees highte –

  As ook, fir, birch, asp 2921, alder, holm, popler,

  Wilow, elm, plane, assh, box, chestain 2922, linde, laurer,

  Mapul 2923, thorn, beech, hasil, ew, whippultree,

  How they were feld – shal nat been told for me;

  2925 Ne how the goddes ronnen 2925 up and doun,

  Disherited of hir habitacioun,

  In which they woneden2927 in reste and pees –

  Nymphes, fawnes 2928, and amadrydes –

  Ne how the beestes and the briddes alle

  2930 Fledden forfered 2930 whan the wode was falle;

  Ne how the ground agast 2931 was of the light,

  That was nat wont 2932 to seen the sonne bright;

  Ne how the fir was couched 2933 first with stree,

  And than with drye stikkes cloven a-three 2934,

  2935 And thanne with grene wode and spicerye 2935,

  And thanne with clooth of gold and with perrye 2936,

  And gerlandes hanginge, ful of many a flour,

  The myrre 2938, th’encens, with al so greet savour;

  Ne how Arcite lay among al this;

  2940 Ne what richesse aboute his body is;

  Ne how that Emelye, as was the gise,

  Putte in the fir of funeral servise;

  Ne how she swowned whan men made the fir;

  Ne what she spak, ne what was hir desir,

  2945 Ne what juels 2945 in the fir men caste,

  Whan that the fir was greet and brente faste;

  Ne how somme caste hir sheeld, and somme hir spere,

  And of hir vestimentz 2948 whiche that they were,

  And coppes ful of milk and win and blood

  2950 Into the fir, that brente as it were wood 2950;

  Ne how the Grekes with an huge route 2951

  Thries 2952 riden al the fir aboute

  Upon the left hand, with a loud shoutinge,

  And thries with hir speres clateringe,

  2955 And thries how the ladies gonne crye 2955,

  And how that lad was homward Emelye;

  Ne how Arcite is brent to asshen colde;

  Ne how that lichewake 2958 was yholde

  Al thilke night; ne how the Grekes pleye

  2960 The wake-pleyes 2960, ne kepe I noght to seye –

  Who wrastleth best, naked with oille enoint 2961,

  Ne who that baar him 2962 best, in no disjoint;

  I wol nat tellen al how that they goon

  Hoom til Atthenes whan the pleye is doon,

  2965 But shortly to the point than wol I wende,

  And maken of my longe tale an ende.

  By proces, and by lengthe of certein 2967 yeris,

  Al stinted 2968 is the moorninge and the teris

  Of Grekes, by oon general assent.

  2970 Thanne semed me ther was a parlement 2970

  At Atthenes, upon certein pointes and caas,

  Among the whiche pointes yspoken was

  To have with certein contrees alliaunce,

  And have fully of Thebans obeisaunce 2974.

  2975 For which this noble Theseus anon

  Leet senden after gentil Palamon,2976

  Unwist of 2977 him what was the cause and why.

  But in his blake clothes sorwefully

  He cam at his comandement in hie 2979;

  2980 Tho sente Theseus for Emelye.

  Whan they were set, and hust 2981 was al the place,

  And Theseus abiden 2982 hadde a space

  Er any word cam from his wise brest,

  His eyen sette 2984 he theras was his lest,

  2985 And with a sad visage 2985 he siked stille,

  And after that, right thus he seide his wille 2986:

  ‘The Firste Moevere2987 of the cause above,

  Whan he first made the faire cheine of love,

  Greet was th’effect 2989 and heigh was his entente.

  2990 Wel wiste he why, and what therof he mente;

  For with that faire cheine of love he bond

  The fir, the eir, the water, and the lond,

  In certein 2993 boundes, that they may nat flee.

  That same prince and that Moevere’, quod he,

  2995 ‘Hath stabliced 2995 in this wrecched world adoun

  Certeine 2996 dayes and duracioun

  To al that is engendred in this place,

  Over the whiche day they may nat pace 2998,

  Al mowe they yet tho dayes wel abregge.2999

  3000 Ther nedeth noon auctoritee t’allegge,

  For it is proved by experience,

  But that me list declaren my sentence 3002.

  Thanne may men by this ordre wel discerne

  That thilke Moevere stable is and eterne.

  3005 Wel may men knowe, but 3005 it be a fool,

  That every part diriveth 3006 from his 3007 hool;

  For nature hath nat take his biginning

  Of no partie or cantel 3008 of a thing,

  But of a thing that parfit is and stable,

  3010 Descendinge so til it be corrumpable 3010.

  And therfore, of his wise purveiaunce 3011,

  He
hath so wel biset his ordinaunce 3012,

  That speces 3013 of thinges and progressiouns

  Shullen enduren by successiouns 3014,

  3015 And noght eterne, withouten any lie.

  This maystow understonde and seen at eye.

  ‘Lo, the ook, that hath so long a norisshinge,

  From time that it first biginneth springe,

  And hath so long a lif, as we may see,

  3020 Yet at the laste wasted 3020 is the tree.

  ‘Considereth eek how that the harde stoon,

  Under oure feet on which we ride and goon,

  Yit wasteth it as it lith by the weye.

  The brode river somtime wexeth 3024 dreye;

  3025 The grete townes se we wane and wende 3025.

  Than may ye se that al this thing hath ende.

  ‘Of man and womman se we wel also,

  That nedes 3028 in oon of thise termes two –

  This is to seyn, in youthe or elles age –

  3030 He moot be deed, the king as shal a page 3030.

  Som 3031 in his bed, som in the depe see,

  Som in the large feeld, as ye may se.

  Ther helpeth noght – al gooth that ilke weye.3033

  Thanne may I seyn that al this thing moot deye.

  3035 ‘What maketh this but Juppiter the king,

  That is prince and cause of alle thing,

  Converting al unto his propre welle3037

  From which it is derived, sooth to telle?

  And heeragains 3039 no creature on live,

  3040 Of no degree, availleth for to strive.

  ‘Thanne is it wisdom, as it thinketh me,

  To maken vertu of necessitee,3042

  And take it wel that we may nat eschue 3043,

  And nameliche 3044 that to us alle is due.

  3045 And whoso gruccheth oght3045, he dooth folye,

  And rebel is to him that al may gye 3046.

  And certeinly, a man hath moost honour

  To dien in his excellence and flour,

  Whan he is siker 3049 of his goode name.

  3050 Thanne hath he doon his freend ne him 3050 no shame,

  And gladder oghte his freend been of his deeth,

  Whan with honour up yolden 3052 is his breeth,

  Than whan his name appalled 3053 is for age,

  For al forgeten is his vasselage 3054.

  3055 Thanne is it best, as for a worthy fame,

  To dien whan that he is best of name.

  ‘The contrarye of al this is wilfulnesse.

  Why grucchen we? Why have we hevinesse 3058,

  That goode Arcite, of chivalrye flour,

  3060 Departed is with duetee 3060 and honour

  Out of this foule prisoun of this lif ?

  Why grucchen heere his cosin and his wif

  Of his welfare that loved hem so weel?

  Kan he hem thank? 3064 Nay, God wot, never a deel!

  3065 – That bothe his soule and eek hemself offende,

  And yet they mowe hir lustes 3066 nat amende.

  ‘What may I conclude of this longe serye 3067,

  But after wo I rede 3068 us to be merye,

  And thanken Juppiter of al his grace?

  3070 And er that we departen from this place,

  I rede that we make of sorwes two

  O parfit joye, lastinge everemo.

  And loketh now, wher moost sorwe is herinne,

  Ther wol I first amenden and biginne.

  3075 ‘Suster,’ quod he, ‘this is my ful assent3075,

  With al th’avis 3076 heer of my parlement,

  That gentil Palamon, youre owene knight,

  That serveth yow with wille, herte, and might,

  And evere hath doon, sin ye first him knewe,

  3080 That ye shul of youre grace 3080 upon him rewe,

  And taken him for housbonde and for lord.

  Lene me youre hond, for this is oure accord 3082;

  Lat se 3083 now of youre wommanly pitee.

  He is a kinges brother sone, pardee;

  3085 And thogh he were a povre bachiler,

  Sin he hath served yow so many a yeer,

  And had for yow so greet adversitee,

  It moste been 3088 considered, leveth me,

  For gentil mercy oghte to passen right 3089.’

  3090 Thanne seide he thus to Palamon the knight:

  ‘I trowe ther nedeth litel sermoning 3091

  To make yow assente to this thing!

  Com neer, and taak youre lady by the hond.’

  Bitwixen 3094 hem was maad anon the bond

  3095 That highte matrimoigne 3095 or mariage,

  By al the conseil 3096 and the baronage.

  And thus with alle blisse and melodye

  Hath Palamon ywedded Emelye;

  And God, that al this wide world hath wroght,

  3100 Sende him his love, that hath it deere aboght 3100!

  For now is Palamon in alle wele 3101,

  Livinge in blisse, in richesse, and in hele 3102.

  And Emelye him loveth so tendrely,

  And he hir serveth so gentilly 3104,

  3105 That nevere was ther no word hem bitwene

  Of jalousye, or any oother tene3106.

  Thus endeth Palamon and Emelye,

  And God save al this faire compaignye! Amen.

  Heere is ended the Knightes Tale.

  THE MILLER’S PROLOGUE

  Heere folwen the wordes bitwene the Hoost and the Millere.

  Whan that the Knight had thus his tale ytold,

  3110 In al the route3110 ne was ther yong ne old

  That he ne seide it was a noble storye

  And worthy for to drawen to memorye3112,

  And namely the gentils3113 everychon.

  Oure Hooste lough3114, and swoor, ‘So moot I gon,

  3115 This gooth aright; unbokeled is the male3115!

  Lat se now who shal telle another tale,

  For trewely the game is wel bigonne.

  Now telleth ye, sire Monk, if that ye konne,

  Somwhat to quite with3119 the Knightes tale.’

  3120 The Miller, that for dronken3120 was al pale,

  So that unnethe3121 upon his hors he sat,

  He nolde avalen3122 neither hood ne hat,

  N’abiden3123 no man for his curteisye,

  But in Pilates vois he gan to crye

  3125 And swoor, ‘By armes, and by blood and bones,

  I kan3126 a noble tale for the nones,

  With which I wol now quite the Knightes tale!’

  Oure Hooste saugh that he was dronke of ale,

  And seide, ‘Abide, Robin, leeve3129 brother;

  3130 Som bettre man shal telle us first another.

  Abide, and lat us werken thriftily3131.’

  ‘By Goddes soule,’ quod he, ‘that wol nat I!

  For I wol speke, or elles go my wey.’

 
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