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For tho three formes that thou hast in thee.
And hast in every regne and every lond And Palamon, that hath swiche love to me,
Of armes all the bridel in thin hond, And eke Arcite, that loveth me so sore,
And hem fortunest as thee list devise, This grace I praie thee withouten more;
Accept of me my pitous sacrifise. As sende love and pees betwix hem two:
If so be that my youthe may deserve, And fro me torne away hir hertes so,
And that my might be worthy for to serve That all hir hote love, and hir desire,
Thy godhed, that I may ben on of thine, And all hir besy torment, and hir fire
Than praie I thee to rewe upon my pine, Be queinte, or torned in another place.
For thilke peine, and thilke hote fire, And if so be thou wolt not do me grace,
In which thou whilom brendest for desire Or if my destinee be shapen so,
Whanne that thou usedst the beautee That I shal nedes have on of hem two,
Of fayre yonge Venus, freshe and free, As send me him that most desireth me.
And haddest hire in armes at thy wille: “ Behold, goddesse of clene chastito,
Although thee ones on a time misfille, The bitter teres, that on my chekes fall.
Whan Vulcanus had caught thee in his las, Sin thou art mayde, and keper of us all,
And fond the ligging by his wif, alas! My maydenhed thou kepe and wel conserve, For thilke sorwe that was tho in thin herte, And while I live, a mayde I wol thee serve.” Have reuthe as wel upon my peines smerte. The fires brenne upon the auter clere,
“I am yonge and unkonning, as thou wost, While Emelie was thus in hire praiere:
And, as I trow, with love offended most, But sodenly she saw a sighte queinte.
That ever was ony lives creature : For right anon on of the fires queinte,
For she, that doth me all this wo endure, And quiked again, and after that anon
Ne recceth never, whether I sinke or flete. That other fire was queinte, and all agon:
And wel I wot, or she me mercy hete, And as it queinte, it made a whisteling,
I moste with strengthe win hire in the place: As don these brondes wet in hir brenning.
And wel I wot, withouten helpe or grace And at the brondes ende outran anon
Of thee, he may my strengthe not availle: As it were blody dropes many on:
Than helpe me, lord, to-morwe in my bataille. For which so sore agast was Emelie,
Fore thilke fire that whilom brenned thee, That she was wel neigh mad, and gan to crie,
As wel as that this fire now brenneth me ; For she ne wiste what it signified ;
And do, that I to-morwe may han victorie. But only for the fere thus she cried,
Min be the travaille, and thin be the glorie. And wept, that it was pittee for to here.
Thy soveraine temple wol I most honouren And therwithall Diane gan appere
Of ony place, and alway most labouren With bowe in hond, right as an hunteresse, In thy plesance and in thy craftes strong. And sayde; “ Doughter, stint thin hevinesse. And in thy temple I wol my baner hong, Among the goddes highe it is affermed,
And all the armes of my compagnie, And by eterne word written and confermed, And evermore, until that day I die, Thou shalt be wedded unto on of tho,
Eterne fire I wol beforne thee finde, That han for thee so mochel care and wo:
And eke to this avow I wol me binde. But unto which of hem I may not tell,
My berd, my here that hangeth long adoun, Farewel, for here I may no longer dwell.
That never yet felt non offensioun The fires which that on min auter brenne,
Of rasour ne of shere, I wol thee yeve, Shal thee declaren er that thou go henne,
And ben thy trewe servant while I live. Thin aventure of love, as in this cas."
Now, lord, have reuthe upon my sorwes sore, And with that word, the arwes in the cas Yeve me the victorie, I axe thee no more." Of the goddesse clatteren fast and ring,
The praier stint of Arcita the stronge, Aud forth she went, and made a vanishing, The ringes on the temple dore that honge, For which this Emelie astonied was,
And eke the dores clattereden ful faste, And sayde; " What amounteth this, alas!
Of which Arcita somwhat him agaste. I putte me in thy protection,
The fires brent upon the auter bright, Diane, and in thy disposition."
That it gan all the temple for to light; And home she goth anon the nexte way.
A sweete smell anon the ground up yaf, This is the effecte, ther n'is no more to say.
And Arcita anon his hond up haf, The nexte houre of Mars folwing this,
And more encense into the fire he cast, Arcite unto the temple walked is
With other rites mo, and at the last Of fierce Mars, to don his sacrifise
The statue of Mars began his hauberke ring; With all the rites of his payen wise.
And with that soun he herd a murmuring With pitous herte and high devotion,
Ful low and dim, that sayde thus,“ Victorie." Right thus to Mars he sayde his orison.
For which he yaf to Mars lionour and glorie. “ O stronge god, that in the regnes cold
And thus with joye, and hope wel to fare, Of Trace honoured art, and lord yhold,
Arcite anon unto his inne is fare,
As fayn as foul is of the brighte Sonne.
The sheldes brighte, testeres, and trappures ; And right anon swiche strif ther is begonne Gold-hewen helmes, hauberkes, cote-armures; For thilke granting, in the Heve above,
Lordes in parementes on hir courseres, Betwixen Venus the goddesse of love,
Knightes of retenue, and eke squieres, And Mars the sterne god armi potent,
Nailing the speres, and helmes bokeling, That Jupiter was besy it to stent:
Gniding of sheldes, with lainers lacing; Til that the pale Saturnus the colde,
Ther as nede is, they weren nothing idel: That knew so many of aventures olde,
The fomy stedes on the golden bridel Fond in his olde experience and art,
Gnawing, and fast the armureres also That he ful sone hath plesed every part.
With file and hammer priking to and fro; As sooth is sayd, elde hath gret avantage,
Yemen on foot, and communes many on In elde is bothe wisdom and usage:
With shorte staves, thicke as they may gon;
Saturne anon, to stenten strife and drede, That in the bataille blowen bloody sounes;
The paleis ful of peple up and doun,
Here three, ther ten, holding hir questioun, “My dere doughter Venus, quod Saturne, Devining of these Theban knightes two. “ My cours, that hath so wide for to turne,
Som sayden thus, som sayde it shal be so; Hath more power than wot any man.
Som helden with him with the blacke berd, Min is the drenching in the see so wan,
Som with the balled, som with the thick herd; Min is the prison in the derke cote,
Som saide he loked grim, and wolde fighte: Min is the strangel and hanging by the throte, He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte. The murmure, and the cherles rebelling,
Thus was the halle full of devining The groyning, and the prive empoysoning. Long after that the Sonne gan up spring. I do vengeance and pleine correction,
The gret Theseus that of his slepe is waked While I dwell in the sign of the Leon.
Withi minstralcie and noise that was maked, Min is the ruine of the highe halles,
Held yet the chambre of his paleis riche, The falling of the toures and of the walles Til that the Theban knightes bothe yliche Upon the minour, or the carpenter:
Honoured were, and to the paleis fette. I slew Sampson in shaking the piler.
Duk Theseus is at a window sette, Min ben also the maladies colde,
Araied right as he were a god in trone: The derke tresons, and the castes olde:
The peple preseth thiderward ful sone My loking is the fader of pestilence.
Him for to seen, and don high reverence, Now wepe no more, I shal do diligence,
And eke to herken his heste and his sentence.
An heraud on a scaffold made an O,
Thus shewed he the mighty dukes will.
“The lord hath of his high discretion That causeth all day swiche division.
Considered, that it were destruction I am thin ayel, redy at thy will;
To gentil blood, to fighten in the gise Wepe now no more, I shal thy lust fulfill.” Of mortal bataille now in this emprise : Now wol I stenten of the goddes above,
Wherfore to shapen that they shul not die, Of Mars, and of Venus goddesse of love,
He wol his firste purpos modifie. And tellen you as plainly as I can
“No man therfore up peine of losse of lif, The gret effect, for which that I began.
No maner shot, ne pollax, ne short knif
Ne short swerd for to stike with point biting
But o cours, with a sharpe ygrounden spere:
Foin if him list on foot, himself to were. Erly a-morwe for to seen the fight,
And he that is at meschief, shal be take, Unto hir reste wenten they at night.
And not slaine, but be brought unto the stake, And on the morwe whan the day gan spring, That shal ben ordeined on eyther side, Of hors and harneis noise and clattering
Thider he shal by force, and ther abide. Ther was in the hostelries all aboute :
And if so fall, the chevetain be take And to the paleis rode ther many a route
On eyther side, or elles sleth his make, Of lordes, upon stedes and palfreis.
No longer shal the tourneying ylast. Ther mayst thou see devising of harneis
God spede you ; goth forth and lay on fast. So uncouth and so riche, and wrought so wele With longe swerd and with mase fighteth your fill. Of goldsmithry, of brouding, and of stele;
Goth now your way; this is the lordes will.”
Tho vois of the peple touched to the Heven, Ful oft a day han thilke Thebanes two So loude crieden they with mery steven ;
Togeder met, and wrought eche other wo: “God save swiche a lord that is so good,
Unhorsed hath eche other of hem twey. He wilneth no destruction of blood.”
Ther n'as no tigre in the vale of Galaphey, Up gon the trompes and the melodie,
Whan that hire whelpe is stole, whan it is lite, And to the listes rit the compagnie
So cruel on the hunt, as is Arcite By ordinance, thurghout the cite large,
For jalous herte upon this Palamon: Hanged with cloth of gold, and not with sarge.
Ne in Belmarie ther n'is so fell leon, Ful like a lord this noble duk gan ride,
That hunted is, or for his hunger wood, And these two Thebans upon eyther side:
Ne of his prey desireth so the blood, And after rode the quene and Emelie,
As Palamon to sleen his foo Arcite. And after that another compagnie
The jalous strokes on hir helmes bite; Of on and other, after his degree.
Out renneth blood on both hir sides rede. And thus they passen thurghout the citec,
Somtime an ende ther is of every dede. And to the listes comen they be time:
For er the Sonne unto the reste went, It n'as not of the day yet fully prime.
The stronge king Emetrius gan hent Whan set was Theseus ful rich and hie,
This Palamon, as he fought with Arcite, Ipolita the quene, and Emelie,
And made his swerd depe in his flesh to bite. And other ladies in degrees aboute,
And by the force of twenty is he take Unto the sethes preseth all the route.
Unyolden, and ydrawen to the stake. And westward, thurgh the gates under Mart, And in the rescous of this Palamon Areite, and eke the hundred of his part,
The strong king Licurge is borne adoun: With baner red, is entred right anon;
And king Emetrius for all his strengthe And in the selve moment Palamon
Is borne out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe, Is, under Venus, estward in the place,
So bitte him Palamon or he were take: With baner white, and hardy chere and face. But all for nouglit, he was brought to the stake: In all the world, to scken up and doun,
His hardy herte might him helpen naught, So even without variatioun
He moste abiden, whan that he was caught, Ther n'ere swiche compagnies never twey.
By force, and eke by composition. For ther was non so wise that coude sey,
Who sorweth now but woful Palamon? That any hadde of other avantage
That moste no more gon again to fight. Of worthinesse, ne of estat, ne age,
And whan that Theseus had seen that sight, So even were they chosen for to gesse.
Unto the folk that foughten thus eche on, And in two renges fayre they hem dresse.
lle cried, “ Ho! no more, for it is don. Whan that hir names red were everich on,
I wol be trewe juge, and not partie. That in hir nombre gile were ther non,
Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelie, Tho were the gates shette, and cried was loude: That by his fortune hath hire fayre ywonne.” “Do now your devoir, yonge knightes proude.” Anon ther is a noise of peple begonne
The heraudes left hir priking up and doun. For joye of this, so loud and high withall, Now ringen trompes loud and clarioun.
It semed that the listes shulden fall. Ther is no more to say, but est and west
What can now fayre Venus don above? In gon the speres sadly in the rest;
What saith she now? what doth this quene of love? In goth the sharpe spore into the side.
But wepeth so, for wanting of hire will,
She sayde: “I am ashamed douteless."
Saturnus sayde: “ Daughter, hold thy pees. Up springen speres twenty foot on highte;
Mars hath his will, his knight hath all his bone, Out gon the swerdes as the silver brighte.
And by min hed thou shalt ben esed sone." The helmes they to-hewen, and to-shrede;
The trompoures with the loude minstralcie, Out brest the blod, with sterne stremes rede. The heraudes, that so loude yell and crie, With mighty maces the bones they to-breste. Ben in hir joye for wele of Dan Arcite. He thurgh the thickest of the throng gan threste. But herkeneth me, and stenteth noise a lite, Ther stomblen stedes strong, and doun goth all. Whiche a miracle ther befell anon. Ile rolleth under foot as doth a ball.
This fierce Arcite hath of his helme ydon, He foineth on his foo with a tronchoun,
And on a courser for to shew his face And he him hurtleth with his hors adoun.
He priketh endelong the large place, He thurgh the body is hurt, and sith ytake
Loking upward upon this Emelie; Maugre his hed, and brought unto the stake, And she again him cast a friendlich eye, As forword was, right ther he must abide.
(For women, as to speken in commune, Another lad is on that other side.
They folwen all the favour of fortune) And somtime doth hem Theseus to rest,
And was all his in chere, as his in herte. llem to refresh, and drinken if licm lest.
Out of the ground a fury infernal sterte,
From Pluto sent, at requeste of Saturno,
That neyther veine-blood, ne ventousing, For which his hors for fere gan to turne.
Ne drinke of herbes may ben bis helping. And lepte aside, and foundred as he lepe:
The vertue expulsif, or animal, And er that Arcite may take any kepe,
Fro thilke vertue cleped natural, He pight him on the pomel of his hed,
Ne may the venime voiden, ne expell. That in the place he lay as he were ded,
The pipes of his longes gan to swell, His brest to-brosten with his sadel bow.
And every lacerte in his brest adoun As blake he lay as any cole or crow,
Is shent with venime and corruptioun. So was the blood yronnen in his face.
Him gaineth neyther, for to get his lif, Anon he was yborne out of the place
Vomit upward, ne dounward laxatif; With herte sore, to Theseus paleis.
All is to-brosten thilke region ; Tho was he corven out of his harneis,
Nature hath now no domination And in a bed ybrought ful fayre and blive,
And certainly ther nature wol not werche, For he was yet in memorie, and live,
Farewel physike: go bere the man to cherche, And alway crying after Emelie.
This is all and som, that Arcite moste die. Duk Theseus, with all his compagnic,
For which he sendeth after Emelie, Is comen home to Athenes his citee,
And Palamon, that was his cosin dere. With alle blisse and gret solempnite.
Than sayd he thus, as ye shuln after bere. Al be it that this aventure was falle,
Nought may the woful spirit in myn herte He n olde not discomforten hem alle.
Declare o point of all my sorwes smerte Men sayden eke, that Arcite shal not die,
To you, my lady, that I love most; He shal ben heled of his maladie.
But I bequethe the service of my gost And of another thing they were as fayn,
To you aboven every creature, That of hem alle was ther non yslain,
Sin that my lif ne may no lenger dure. Al were they sore yhurt, and namely on,
“ Alas the wo! alas the peines stronge, That with a spere was thirled his brest bone. That I for you have suffered, and so longe! To other woundes, and to broken armes,
Alas the deth ! alas min Emelie !
Alas min hertes quene! alas my wif!
What is this world ? what axen men to have? Comforteth and honoureth every man,
Now with his love, now in his colde grave And made revel all the longe night,
Alone withouten any compagnie. Unto the strange lordes, as was right. ,
Farewel my swete, farewel min Emelie, Ne ther n'as holden no discomforting,
And softe take me in your armes twey, But as at justes or a tourneying;
For love of God, and herkeneth what I sey. For sothly ther n'as no discomfiture,
“I have here with my cosin Palamon For falling n'is not but an aventure.
Had strif and rancour many a day agon Ne to be lad by force unto a stake
For love of you, and for my jalousie. Unyolden, and with twenty knightes take,
And Jupiter so wis my soule gie, person all alone, withouten mo,
To speken of a servant proprely, And haried forth by armes, foot, and too,
With alle circumstances trewely, And eke his stede driven forth with staves,
That is to sayn, trouth, honour, and knighthede, With footmen, bothe yemen and eke knaves, Wisdom, humblessc, estat, and high kinrede, It was aretted him no vilanie:
Fredom, and all that longeth to that art, Ther may no man clepen it cowardie.
So Jupiter have of my soule part, For which anon duk Theseus let crie,
As in this world right now ne know I non, To stenten alle rancour and envie,
So worthy to be loved as Palamon, The gree as wel of o side as of other,
That serveth you, and wol don all his lif: And eyther side ylike, as others brother:
And if that ever ye shall ben a wif, And yave hem giftes after hir degree,
Foryete not Palamon the gentil man.” And helde a feste fully dayes three:
And with that word his speche faille began. And conveyed the kinges worthily
For from his feet up to his brest was come
The cold of deth, that had him overnome.
Only the intellect, withouten more,
That dwelled in his herte sike and sore, Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the sure
Gan feillen, whan the herte felte deth; Encreseth at his herte more and more.
Dusked his eyen two, and failled his brethi. The clotered blood, for any leche-craft,
But on his ladie yet cast he lis eye ; Corrumpeth, and is in his bouke ylaft,
His laste word was;
“ Mercy, Emelie !"
His spirit changed house, and wente ther,
“What rekketh me though folk say
vilanie Of shrewed Lamech, and his bigamie ? I wot wel Abraham was an holy man, And Jacob eke, as fer as ever I can, And eche of hem bad wives mo than two, And many another holy man also. Wher can ye seen in any maner age That highe God defended mariage By expresse word? I pray you telleth me, Or wher commanded he virginitee?
“I wot as wel as ye, it is no drede, The apostle, whan he spake of maidenhede, He said, that precept therof had he non: Men may conseille a woman to ben on, But conseilling is no commandement; He put it in our owen jugement.
THE WIF OF BATHES PROLOGUE. “Experience, though non auctoritee Were in this world, is right ynough for me To speke of wo that is in mariage: For, lordings, sin I twelf yere was of age, (Thanked be God thrat is eterne on live) Husbondes at chirche dore have I had five, (If I so often might han wedded be) And all were worthy men in hir degree.
“But me was told, not longe time agon is,
“But wel I wot, expresse withouten lie
“Lo here the wise king dan Solomon,
“ Now sires; than wol I tell you forth my tale. As ever mote I drinken win or ale I shal say soth, the husbondes that I had As three of them were good, and two were bad. The three were goode men and riche and olde. Unethes mighten they the statute holde, In which that they were bounden unto me. Ye wot wel what I mene of this parde. As God me helpe, I laugh whan that I thinke, How pitously a-night I made hem swinke, But by my fay, I tolde of it no store: They had me yeven hir lond and hir tresore, Me neded not do lenger diligence To win hir love, or don hem reverence. They loved me so wel by God above, That I ne tolde no deintee of hir love. A wise woman wol besy hire ever in on To geten hir love, ther as she hath non. But sith I had hem holly in min hond, And that they hadde yeven me all hir lond, What shuld I taken kepe hem for to plese, But it were for my profit, or min ese ? I set hem so a-werke by my fay, That many a night they songen “Wala wa. The bacon was not fit for hem, I trow, That som men have in Essex at Donmow. I governed hem so wel after my lawe, That eche of hem ful blisful was and fawe To bringen me gay thinges fro the feyre. They were ful glade whan I spake hem fayre. For God it wot, I chidde hem spitously. Now herkeneth how I bare me proprely.
“ Ye wise wives, that can understond, Thus shul ye speke, and bere hem wrong on hond, For half so boldely can ther no man Sweren and lien as a woman can. (I say not this by wives that ben wise, But if it be whan they hem misavise.) A wise wif if that she can hire good, Shal beren hem on hond the cow is wood, And taken witnesse of hire owen mayd Of hir assent: but herkeneth how I sayd.
“ Sire olde Kaynard, is this thin aray ? Why is my neigheboures wif so gay?