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And, after that, to all hire company

“ And tho that were chapelets, on hir hede, She made to purvey horse, and every thing Of fresh wodebind, be such as never were That they neded; and then, full hastily,

To Love untrue, in word, in thought, ne dede; Even by the herber, where I was sitting,

But ay stedfast; ne for plesance ne fere, They passed all, so merrily singing

Tho that they shulde hir bertes all to tere, That it would have comforted any wight.

Woud never flit, but ever were stedfast, -But then I se a passing wonder sight;

Till that hir lives there asunder brast."

For then the nightingale, that all the day
Had in the laurer sate, and did hire might
The whole service to sing longing to May ;
All sodainly began to take hire flight;
And to the lady of the Lefe forthright,
She flew, and set hire on hire hand softly;
Which was a thing I mervail'd at gretly.

The goldfinch, eke, that fro the medlar tre
Was fled, for hete, unto the bushes cold,
Unto the lady of the Flowre gan fle,
And on hire hond he set him, as he wold;
And plesauntly his winges gan to fold.
And for to sing they peine hem both as sore,
As they had do of all the day before.
And so these ladies rode forth a grete pace,
And all the rout of knightes eke in fere,
And I, that had sene all this wonder case,
Thought that I would assay, in some manere,
To know fully the trouth of this matere,
And what they were that rode so plesauntly.
And when they were the herber passed by,

“ Now, fair Madam!” (quod 1) “ yet woud I pray
Your ladiship, (if that it mighten be,)
That I might knowe, by some maner of way,
(Sithen that it hath liked your beaute
The trouth of these ladies for to tell me,)
What that these knightes be in rich armour,
And what tho be in grene and were the Flour 3
* And why that some did rev'rence to the tre,
And some unto the plot of foures faire?" [she)
· With right gode will, my daughter fair!” (quod

Sith your desire is gode and debonaire:
The nine, crouned, be very exemplaire
Of all honour longing to chivalry;
And those, certain, be clept the Nine Worthy,
“ Which that ye may se riding all before,
That in hir time did many a noble dede,
And for hir worthiness full oft have bore
The crown of laurer leves on hir hede,
As ye may in your olde bokes rede;
And how that he, that was a conqueror,
Ilad by laurer alway his most honour.
· And tho that baren bowes in hir hond,
Of the precious laurer, so notable,
Be such as were (I woll ye understond)
Most noble Knightes of the Round Table,
And eke the Dousepares honourable;
Which they bere in the sign of victory,
As witness of hir dedes mightily.

I drest me forth; and happed mete, anon,
A right fair lady, I do you ensure;
And she came riding by hireself, alone,
Alle in white, with semblaunce full demure.
I hire salued, bad hire gode aventure
Mote hire befall, as I coud most humbly.
And she answered, “ My daughter! gramercy!"

“ Madame!” (quoth I) “ if that I durst enquere
Of you, I wold, fain, of that company
Wit what they be that passed by this herbere."
And she ayen answered, right frendly:
* My daughter! all tho, that passed hereby,
la white clothing, be servants everichone,
L'ato the Lefe, and I myself am one.

“ Eke there be Knightes old of the Garter,
That in hir times did right worthily:
And the honour they did to the laurer
Is, for by it they have hir laud wholly,
Hir triumph eke and martial glory:
Which unto him is more perfite riches
That any wight imagin can or gesse.

“ For one Lefe given of that noble tre
To any wight, that hath done worthily,
(An it be done so as it ought to be,)
Is more honour than any thing erthly;
Witness of Rome, that founder was, truly,
Of all knighthode and dedes marvelous;
Record I take of Titus Livius.

Se ye not hire that crowned is” (quod she) * Alle in white ?" “ Madame!" (then quod I)“yes. * That is Dian, goddess of Chastity, And, for because that she a maiden is, Into hire hond the branch she beareth this, That agnus castus men call properly; And all the ladies, in hire company, * Which ye se of that herbe chaplets were, Be such as han alway kept maidenhede. And all they that of laurer chaplets bere, Be such as hardy were in manly dede, Victorious names which never may be dede; And all they were so worthy of hir honde, in hir time, that no one might hem withstonde.

c 2

“ And as for hire that crouned is in grene,
It is Flora, of these floures goddesse.
And all that here, on hire awaiting, bene,-
It are such folk that loved idlenesse,
And not delite in no kind besinesse
But for to hunt, and hawkc, and play in medes,
And many other such like idle dedes,


“ And for the great delite, and the plesaunce,
They have to the Flour, and so reverently
They unto it doen such obeisaunce,
As ye may se." “ Now, fair Madame!" (quod I,)
“ If I durst ask what is the cause, and why,
That knightes have the enseigne of honour
Rather by the Lefe than by the Flour?"
" Sothly, doughter,” (quod she) “ this is the trouth;
For knightes, ever, should be persevering
To seke honour, without feintise or slouth,
Fro wele to better in all maner thing;
In sign of which, with leves ay lasting
They be rewarded, after hir degre,
Whose lusty grene may not apaired be,
“ But ay keeping hir beauty fresh and grene;
For ther n'is no storme that may hem deface,
Ne hail nor snowe, ne wind nor frostes kene;
Wherfore they have this property and grace.
And, for the Flour, within a litel space,
Wollen be lost, so simple of nature
They be that they no grevaunce may endure:

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“ And every storme woll blawe hem sone away, Ne they laste not but for a seson, That is the cause (the very trouth to say) That they may not, by no way of reson, Be put to no such occupation." “ Madame!” (quod I) “ with all mine whole servise I thank you now in my most humble wise ; « For now I am ascertain'd thoroughly Of every thing I desired to knowe.” “ I am right glad that I have said, sothly, Ought to your plesure, if ye will me trow.” (Quod she ayen.) “ But to whom do ye owe Your service, and which wollen ye honour (Pray tell me) this year, the Lefe or the Flour ?" “ Madam!” (quod I) “ although I lest worthy, Unto the Lefe I ow mine observaunce." 6 That is,” (quod she) “ right well done, certainly; And I pray God to honour you advance, And kepe you fro the wicked remembraunce Of Malebouch, and all his crueltie; And all that gode and well conditioned be.

PART OF THE KNIGHTES TALE. I trowe men wolde deme it negligence, If I foryette to tellen the dispence Of Theseus, that got so besily To maken up the listes really, That swiche a noble theatre as it was, I dare wel sayn, in all this world ther n'as. The circuite a mile was about, Walled of stone, and diched all withoute. Round was the shape, in manere of a compas Ful of degrees, the hight of sixty pas, That whan a man was set on o degree He letted not his felaw for to see. Estward ther stood a gate of marbel white, Westward right swiche another in th' opposite. And shortly to concluden, swiche a place Was never in erthe, in so litel a space, For in the lond ther n'as no craftes man, That geometrie, or ersmetrike can, Ne portreiour, ne kerver of images, That Theseus ne yaf him mete and wages The theatre for to maken and devise.

And for to don his rite and sacrifice,
He estward hath upon the gate above,
In worship of Venus goddesse of love,
Don make an auter and an oratorie;
And westward in the minde and in memorie
Of Mars he maked hath right swiche another,
That coste largely of gold a fother.
And northward, in a touret on the wall,
Of alabastre white and red corall
An oratorie riche for to see,
In worship of Diane of chastitee,
Hath Theseus don wrought in noble wise.

But yet had I foryetten to devise
The noble kerving, and the portreitures,
The shape, the countenance of the figures
That weren in these oratories three.

First in the temple of Venus maist thou see
Wrought on the wall, ful pitous to beholde,
The broken slepes, and the sikes colde,
The sacred teres, and the waimentinges,
The firy strokes of the desiringes,
That Loves servants in this lif enduren;
The othes, that hir covenants assuren.
Plesance and hope, desire, foolhardinesse,
Beaute and youthe, baudrie and richesse,
Charmes and force, lesinges and Aaterie,
Dispence, besinesse, and jalousie,
That wered of yelwe goldes a gerlond,
And hadde a cuckow sitting on hire hond,
Festes, instruments, and caroles and dances,
Lust and array, and all the circumstances
Of love, which that I reken and reken shall,
By ordre weren peinted on the wall,
And mo than I can make of mention.
For sothly all the mount of Citheron,
Ther Venus hath hire principal dwelling,
Was shewed on the wall in purtreying,
With all the gardin, and the lustinesse.
Nought was foryetten the porter Idelnesse,

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6 For here I may no lenger now abide,
But I must follow the grete company
That ye may se yonder before you ride."
And forthwith, as I couth, most humily
I take my leve of hire. And she gan hie
After hem as fast as ever she might,
And I drew homeward, for it was nigh night,

And put all that I had sene in writing,
Under support of hem that lust it rede.
O little boke! thou art so unconning,
How darst thou put thyself in prees for drede ?
It is wonder that thou wexest not rede,
Sith that thou wost ful lite who shall behold
Thy rude langage full boistrously unfold.


Ne Narcissus the fayre of yore agon,

Conteke with blody knif, and sharp manace: Ne yet the folie of king Salomon,

All full of chirking was that sory place. yet the grete strengthe of Hercules,

The sleer of himself yet saw I there, Th' enchantment of Medea and Circes,

His herte-blood hath bathed all his here: Ne of Turnus the hardy fiers corage,

The naile ydriven in the shode on hight, The riche Cresus caitis in servage.

The colde deth, with mouth gaping upright, Thus may ye seen, that wisdom ne richesse, Amiddes of the temple sate mischance, Beaute ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardinesse, With discomfort and sory countenance. Ne may with Venus holden champartie,

Yet saw I woodnesse laughing in his rage. For as hire liste the world may she gie.

Armed complaint, outhees, and fiers outrage; Lo, all these folk so caught were in hire las The carraine in the bush, with throte ycorven, 151 they for wo ful often said Alas.

A thousand slain, and not of qualme ystorven ; Sufficeth here ensamples on or two,

The tirant, with the prey by force yraft; And yet I coude reken a thousand mo.

The toun destroied, ther was nothing last. The statue of Venus glorious for to see,

Yet saw I brent the shippes hoppesteres, Was naked fleeting in the large see.

The hunte ystrangled with the wilde beres: And fro the navel doun all covered was

The sow freting the child right in the cradel; With waves grene, and bright as any glas.. The coke yscalled, for all his long ladel. A citole in hire right hond hadde she,

Nought was foryete by th' infortune of Marte And on hire hed, ful semely for to see,

The carter overridden with his carte; A rose gerlond fresh, and wel smelling,

Under the wheel ful low he lay adoun. Above hire hed hire doves fleckering.

Ther were also of Martes division, Before hire stood hire sone Cupido,

Th’armerer, and the bowyer, and the smith, Upon his shoulders winges had he two;

That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his stith.
And blind he was, as it is often sene;

And all above depeinted in a tour
A bow he bare and arwes bright and kene. Saw I conquest, sitting in gret honour.

Why shulde I not as wel eke tell you all With thilke sharp swerd over his hed
The purtreiture, that was upon the wall

Yhanging by a subtil twined thred.
Within the temple of mighty Mars the rede? Depeinted was the slaughter of Julius,
All peinted was the wall in length and brede Of gret Nero, and of Antonius:
Like to the estres of the grisly place,

All be that thilke time they were unborne,
That highte the gret temple of Mars in Trace, Yet was hir deth depeinted therbeforne,
In thilke colde and frosty region,

By manacing of Mars, right by figure, Ther as Mars hath his sovereine mansion.

So was it shewed in that purtreiture First on the wall was peinted a forest,

As is depeinted in the cercles above, In which ther wonneth neyther man ne best,

Who shal be slaine or elles ded for love. With knotty knarry barrein trees old

Sufficeth on ensample in stories olde, Of stubbes sharp and hidous to behold;

I may not reken hem alle, though I wolde. In which ther ran a romble and a swough,

The statue of Mars upon a carte stood As though a storme shuld bresten every bough:

Armed, and loked grim as he were wood, And dounward from an hill under a bent,

And over his hed ther shinen two figures
Ther stood the temple of Mars armipotent,

Of sterres, that ben eleped in scriptures,
Wrought all of burned stele, of which th' entree That on Puella, that other Rubeus.
Was longe and streite, and gastly for to see. This god of armes was arraied thus :
And therout came a rage and swiche a vise, A wolf ther stood beforne him at his fete
That it made all the gates for to rise.

With eyen red, and of a man he ete:
The northern light in at the dore słone,

With subtil pensil peinted was this storie, For window on the wall ne was ther none,

In redouting of Mars and of his glorie. Thurgh which men mighten any light discerne. Now to the temple of Diane the chaste The dore was all of athamant eterne,

As shortly as I can I wol me haste, Yclenched overthwart and endelong

To tellen you of the descriptioun, With yren tough, and for to make it strong, Depeinted by the walles up and doun, Every piler the temple to sustene

Of hunting and of shamefast chastitee. Was tonne-gret, of yren bright and shene.

Ther saw I how woful Calistope, Ther saw I first the derke imagining

Whan that Diane agreved was with here, Of felonie, aud alle the compassing:

Was turned from a woman til a bere, The cruel ire, red as any glede,

And after was she made the lodesterre: The pikepurse, and eke the pale drede;

Thus was it peinted, I can say no ferre;
The smiler with the knifunder the cloke,

Hire sone is eke a sterre as men may see.
The shepen brenning with the blake smoke; Ther saw I Dane yturned til a tree,
The treson of the mordring in the bedde,

I mene not hire the goddesse Diane,
The open werre, with woundes all bebledde ; But Peneus daughter, which that highte Dane


Ther saw I Atteon an hart ymaked,

Everich after his opinion. For vengeance that he saw Diane all naked:

There maist thou se coming with Palamon I saw how that his houndes have him caught, Licurge himself, the grete king of Trace: And freten him, for that they knew him naught. Blake was his berd, and manly was his face. Yet peinted was a litel forthermore,

The cercles of his eyen in his hed Ilow Athalante hunted the wilde bore,

They gloweden betwixen yelwe and red,
And Meleagre, and many another mo,

And like a griffon loked he about.
For which Diane wroughte hem care and wo. With kemped heres on bis browes stout :
Ther saw I many another wonder storie,

His limmes gret, his braunes hard and stronge, The which me liste not drawen to memorie.

His shouldres brode, his armes round and longe. This goddesse on an hart ful heye sete,

And as the guise was in his contree, With smale houndes all about hire fete,

Ful highe upon a char of gold stood he, And undernethe hire feet she hadde a mone,

With four white bolles in the trais. Wexing it was, and shulde wanen sone.

Instede of cote-armure on his harnais, In gaudy grene hire statue clothed was,

With nayles yelwe, and bright as any gold, With bow in hond, and arwes in a cas.

He hadde a beres skin, cole-blake for old. Hire eyen caste she ful low adoun,

His longe here was kempt behind his bak, Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.

As any ravenes fether it shone for blake. A woman travailling was hire beforne,

A wreth of gold arın-gret, of huge weight, But for hire childe so long was unborno

Upon his hed sate full of stones bright,
Ful pitously Lucina gan she call,

Of fine rubins and of diamants.
And sayed; “ Helpe, for thou mayst beste of all.” About his char ther wenten white alauns,
Wel coude he peinten lifly that it wrought,

Twenty and mo, as gret as any stere,
With many a florein he the hewes bought.

To hunten at the leon or the dere, Now hen these listes made, and Theseus

And folwed him, with mosel fast ybound, That at his grete cost arraied thus

Colered with gold, and torettes filed round. The temples, and the theatre everidel,

An hundred lordes had he in his route Whan it was don, him liked wonder wel.

Armed ful wel, with hertes sterne and stoute. But stint I wol of Theseus a lite,

With Arcita, in stories as men find, And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.

The gret Emetrius the king of Inde, The day approcheth of hir returning,

Upon a stede bay, trapped in stele, That everich shuld an hundred knightes bring,

Covered with cloth of gold diapred wele, The bataille to darreine, as I you told;

Came riding like the god of armes Mars. And til Athenes, hir covenant for to hold,

His cote-armure was of a cloth of Tars, Ilath everich of hem brought an hundred knightes,

Couched with perles, white, and round and grete. Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.

His sadel was of brent gold new ybete; And sikerly ther trowed many a man,

A mantelet upon his shouldres hanging That neyer, sithen that the world began,

Bret-ful of rubies red, as fire sparkling. As for to speke of knighthood of hir hond,

His crispe here like ringes was yronne, As fer as God hath maked see and lond,

And that was yelwe, and glitered as the Sonne. N'as, of so fewe, so noble a compagnie.

His nose was high, his eyen bright citrin, For every wight that loved chevalrie,

His lippes round, his colour was sanguin,
And wold, his thankes, han a passant name,

A fewe fraknes in his face ysprent,
Hath praied, that he might ben of that game, Betwixen yelwe and blake somdel ymeint,
And wel was him, that therto chosen was.

And as a leon he his loking caste.
For if ther fell to-morwe swiche a cas,

Of five and twenty yere his age I caste. Ye knowen wel, that every lusty hnight,

His berd was wel begonnen for to spring; That loveth par amour, and hath his might, His vois was as a trompe thondering. Were it in Englelond, or elleswher,

Upon his hed he wered of laurer grene They wold, hir thankes, willen to be ther,

A gerlond freshe and lusty for to sene. To fight for a lady, a! benedicite,

Upon his hond he bare for his deduit It were a lusty sighte for to se.

An egle tame, as any lily whit. And right so ferden they with Palamon.

An hundred lordes had he with him there, With him ther wenten knightes many on.

All armed save hir hedes in all hire gere, Som wel ben armed in an habergeon,

Ful richely in alle manere thinges. And in a brest plate, and in a gipon ;

For trusteth wel, that erles, dukes, kinges, And som wol have a pair of plates large;

Were gathered in this noble compagnie, And som wol have a Pruce shield, or a targe; For love, and for encrease of chevalrie. Some wol ben armed on his legges wele,

About this king ther ran on every part And have an axe, and som a mace of stele.

Ful many a tame leon and leopart. Ther n'is no newe guise, that it n'as old.

And in this wise, these lordes all and some Armed they weren, as I have you told,

Ben on the Sonday to the citce come


Abouten prime, and in the town alight.

This Theseus, this duk, this worthy knight, Whan he had brought hem into his citce, And inned hem, everich at his degree, He festeth hem, and doth so gret labour To esen hem, and don hem all honour, That yet men wenen that no mannes wit Of non estat ne coud amenden it. The minstralcie, the service at the feste, The grete yeftes to the most and leste, The riche array of Theseus paleis, Ne who sate first, ne last upon the deis, What ladies fayrest ben or best dancing, Or which of hem can carole best or sing, Ne who most felingly speketh of love; What haukes sitten on the perche above, What houndes liggen on the floor adoun, Of all this now make I no mentioun ; But of the effect; that thinketh me the beste; Now cometh the point, and herkeneth if you leste. The Sonday night, or day began to spring, Whan Palamon the larke herde sing, Although it n'ere not day by houres two, Yet sang the larke, and Palamon right tho With holy herte, and with an high corage He rose, to wenden on his pilgrimage Unto the blissful Citherea benigne, I mene Venus, honourable and digne. And in hire houre, he walketh forth a pas Unto the listes, ther hire temple was. And doun he kneleth, and with humble chere And herte sore, he sayde as ye shul here. “Fayrest of fayre, o lady min Venus, Daughter to Jove, and of Vulcanus, spouse Thou glader of the mount of Citheron, For thilke love thou haddest to Adon Have pitee on my bitter teres smert, And take myn humble praier at thin herte.

"Alas! I ne have no langage to tell The effecte, ne the torment of min Hell; Min herte may min harmes not bewrey: I am so confuse, that I cannot say. But mercy, lady bright, that knowest wele My thought, and seest what harmes that I fele, Consider all this, and rue upon my sore, As wisly as I shall for evermore Emforth my might thy trewe servant be, And holden werre alway with chastite: That make I min avow, so ye me helpe. I kepe nought of armes for to yelpe, Ne axe I nat to-morwe to have victorie, Ne renoun in this cas, ne vaine glorie Of pris of armes, blowen up and doun, But I wold have fully possessioun

Of Emelie, and die in hire servise;
Find thou the manere how, and in what wise.
I rekke not, but it may better be,
To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
So that I have my lady in min armes.
For though so be that Mars is god of armes,
Your vertue is so grete in Heven above,
That if you liste, I shal wel have my love.

Thy temple wol I worship evermo,
And on thin auter, wher I ride or go,
I wol don sacrifice, and fires bete.
And if ye wol not so, my lady swete,
Than pray I you, to-morwe with a spere
That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
Than rekke I not, whan I have lost my lif,
Though that Arcita win hire to his wif.
This is the effecte and ende of my praiere;
Yeve me my love, thou blissful lady dere."
Whan the orison was don of Palamon,
His sacrifice he did, and that anon,
Full pitously, with alle circumstances,
All tell I not as now his observances.
But at the last the statue of Venus shoke,
And made a signe, wherby that he toke,
That his praiere accepted was that day.
For though the signe shewed a delay,
Yet wist he wel that granted was his bone;
And with glad herte he went him home ful sone.
The thridde houre inequal that Palamon
Began to Venus temple for to gon,

Up rose the Sonne, and up rose Emelie,
And to the temple of Diane
Hire maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
Ful redily with hem the fire they hadde,

Th' encense, the clothes, and the remenant all
That to the sacrifice longen shall,
The hornes ful of mede, as was the gise,
Ther lakked nought to don hire sacrifise.
Smoking the temple, ful of clothes fayro,
This Emelie with herte debonaire
Hire body wesshe with water of a well.
But how she did hire rite I dare not tell;
But it be any thing in general;

And yet it were a game to heren all;
To him that meneth wel it n'ere no charge:
But it is good a man to ben at large.
Hire bright here kembed was, untressed all.
A coroune of a grene oke cerial

Upon hire hed was set ful fayre and mete.
Two fires on the auter gan she bete,
And did hire thinges, as men may behold
In Stace of Thebes, and these bokes old.

Whan kindled was the fire, with pitous chere Unto Diane she spake, as ye may here.

"O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene, To whom both Heven and erthe and see is sene, Quene of the regne of Pluto, derke and lowe, Goddesse of maydens, that min herte hast knowe Ful many a yere, and wost what I desire, As kepe me fro thy vengeance and thin ire, That Atteon aboughte cruelly: Chaste goddesse, wel wotest thou that I Desire to ben a mayden all my lif, Ne never wol I be no love ne wif. I am (thou wost) yet of thy compagnie, A mayde, and love hunting and venerie, And for to walken in the wodes wilde, And not to ben a wif, and be with childe, Nought wol I knowen compagnie of man. Now help me, lady, sith ye may and can,

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