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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,
Ther see men who can juste, and who can ride Til that hire teres in the listes fill:
Ther shiveren shaftes upon sheldes thicke;

She sayde: “I am ashamed douteless."
He feleth thurgh the herte-spone the pricke.

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 !
Som hadden salves, and some hadden charmes : Alas departing of our compagnie!
And fermacies of herbes, and eke save

Alas min hertes quene! alas my wif!
They dronken, for they wold hir lives have. Min hertes ladie, ender of my lif!
For which this noble duk, as he wel can,

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
Out of his toun a journee largely.

The cold of deth, that had him overnome.
And home went every man the righte way, And yet moreover in his armes two
Ther n'as no more, but farewel, have good day. The vital strength is lost, and all ago.
Of this battaille I wol no inore endite,

Only the intellect, withouten more,
But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.

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 As I came never I cannot tellen wher,

Of shrewed Lamech, and his bigamie ? Therfore I stent, I am no divinistre;

I wot wel Abraham was an holy man, Of soules find I not in this registre.

And Jacob eke, as fer as ever I ean, Ne me lust not th' opinions to telle

And eche of hem bad wives mo than two,
Of hem, though that they writen wher they dweHe. 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? “Experience, though non auctoritee

“I wot as wel as ye, it is no drede, Were in this world, is right ynough for me The apostle, whan he spake of maidenhede, To speke of wo that is in mariage:

He said, that precept therof had he non For, lordings, sin I twelf yere was of age,

Men may conseille a woman to ben on, (Thanked be God thrat is eterne on live)

But conseilling is no commandement; Husbondes at chirche dore have I had five,

He put it in our owen jugement. (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,

“ Now sires; than wol I tell you forth


tale. That sithen Crist ne went never but onis

As ever mote I drinken win or ale To wedding, in the Cane of Galilee,

I shal say soth, the husbondes that I had That by that ilke ensample taught he me,

As three of them were good, and two were bad. That I ne shulde wedded be but ones.

The three were goode men and riche and olde. Lo, herke eke, which a sharpe word for the nones, Unethes mighten they the statute holde, Beside a welle Jesu, God and man,

In which that they were bounden unto me. Spake in reprefe of the Samaritan :

Ye wot wel what I mene of this parde. “Thou hast yhadde five husbonds, sayde he; As God me helpe, I laugh whan that I thinke, And thilke man, that now hath wedded thee, How pitously a-night I made hem swinke, Is not thyn husbond:” thus said he certain; But by my fay, I tolde of it no store: What that he ment therby, I can not sain,

They had me yeven hir lond and hir tresore, But that I aske, why that the fifthe man

Me neded not do lenger diligence Was non husbond to the Samaritan :

To win hir love, or don hem reverenee. How many might she have in mariage ?

They loved me so wel by God above, Yet herd I never tellen in min age

That I ne tolde no deintee of bir love. Upon this noumbre diffinitioun ;

A wise woman wol besy hire ever in on Men may devine, and glosen up and doun.

To geten hir love, ther as she hath non. “But wel I wot, expresse withouten lio

But sith I had hem holly in min hond, God bad us for to wex and multiplie;

And that they hadde yeven me all hir lond, That gentil text can I wel understond.

What shuld I taken kepe hem for to plese, Eke wel I wot, he sayd, that min husbond

But it were for my profit, or min ese ? Shuld leve fader and moder, and take to me;

I set hem so a-werke by my fay, But of no noumbre mention made he,

That many a night they songen “Wala wa.” Of bigamie or of octogamie ;

The bacon was not fit for hem, I trow, Why shulde men than speke of it vilanie?

That som men have in Essex at Donmow. “Lo here the wise king dan Solomon,

I governed hem so wel after my lawe, I trow he hadde wives mo than on,

That eche of hem ful blisful was and fawe (As wolde God it leful were to me

To bringen me gay thinges fro the feyre. To be refreshed half so oft as he)

They were ful glade whan I spake hem fayre. Which a gift of God had he for alle his wives? For God it wot, I chidde hem spitously. No man hath swiche, that in this world on live is. Now herkeneth how I bare me proprely. Got wot, this noble king, as to my witte,

“ Ye wise wives, that can understone, The firste night had many a mery fitte

Thus shul ye speke, and bere hem wrong on hond, With eche of hem, so wel was him on live.

For half so boldely can ther no man Blessed be God that I have wedded five,

Sweren and lien as a woman can. Welcome the sixthe whan that ever he shall. (I say not this by wives that ben wise, For sith I wol not kepe me chaste in all,

But if it be whan they hem misavise.) Whan min husbond is fro the world ygon,

A wise wif if that she can hire good, Som Cristen man shal wedden me anon.

Shal beren hem on hond the cow is wood, For than the apostle saith, that I am fre

And taken witnesse of hire owen mayd To wedde, a' Goddes half, wher it liketh me. Of hir assent: but herkeneth how I sayd. He saith that to be wedded is no sinne ;

“Sire olde Kaynard, is this thin aray ? Better is to be wedded than to brinne,

Why is my neigheboures wif so gay?

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She is honoured over al wher she goth,

And but thou do to my norice honour, I sit at home, I have no thrifty cloth.

And to my chamberere within my bour, What dost thou at my neigheboures hous?

And to my faders folk, and myn allies; Is she so faire ? art thou so amorous ?

Thus sayst thou, olde barel ful of lies. What rownest thou with our maide ? benedicite, “ • And yet also of our prentis Jankin, Sire olde lechour, let thy japes be.

For his crispe here, shining as gold so fin, * * And if I have a gossib, or a frend,

And for he squiereth me both up and doun, (Withouten gilt) thou chidest as a fend,

Yet hast thou caught a false suspection : If that I walke or play unto his hous.

I wol him nat, though thou were ded to-morwe. “ • Thou comest home as dronken as a mous, * « But tell me this, why hidest thou with sorwe And prechest on thy benche, with evil prefe: The keies of thy chest away fro me? Thou sayst to me, it is a gret meschiefe

It is my good as wel as thin parde, To wed a poure woman, for costage:

What, wenest thou make an idiot of our dame? And if that she be riche of high paragę,

Now by that lord that cleped is Seint Jame, Than sayst thou, that it is a tourmentrie

Thou shalt not bothe, though that thou were wood, To soffre kire pride and hire melancolie.

Be maister of my body and of my good, And if that she be faire, thou veray kuave,

That on thou shalt forgo maugre thin eyen. Thou sayst that every holour wol hire have, What helpeth it of me to enquere and spien? She may no while in chastitee abide,

I trow thou woldest locke me in thy cheste. That is assailled upon every side.

Thou shuldest say, fayr wif, go wher thee leste; Thou sayst som folk desire us for richesse,

Take your disport; I wol nat leve no tales; Some for our shape, and some for our fairnesse, I know you for a trewe wif, dame Ales. And som, for she can other sing or dance,

“• We love no man, that taketh kepe or charge And som for gentillesse and daliance,

Wher that we gon, we wol be at our large.
Some for hire hondes and hire armes smale: Of alle men yblessed mote he be
Thus goth all to the devil by thy tale.

The wise astrologien dan Ptholomee,
Thou sayst, men may not kepe a castel wal, That sayth this proverbe in his Almageste :
It may so long assailled be over al.

• Of alle men his wisdom is higheste, And if that she be foul, thou sayst, that she

That rekketh not who hath the world in hond.' Coveteth every man that she may see;

“ * By this proverbe thou shalt wel understond, For as a spaniel, she wol on him lepe,

Have thou ynough, what thar thee rekke or care Til she may finden some man hire to chepe. How merily that other folkes fare? Ne non so grey goos goth ther in the lake,

For certes, olde dotard, by your leve, (As sayst thou) that wol ben withoute a make. Ye shullen have queint right ynough at eve. And sayst, it is an hard thing for to welde

He is to gret a nigard that wol werne
A thing, that no man wol his thankes helde. A man to light a candel at his lanterne ;

* • Thus sayst thou, lorel, whan thou gost to bed He shall have never the lesse lighte parde. And that no wise man nedeth for to wed,

Have thou ynough, thee thar not plainen thee. Ne no man that entendeth unto Heven.

“ • Thou sayst also, if that we make us gay With wilde thonder diut and firy leven

With clothing and with precious array, Mote thy welked nekke be to-broke. (smoke, That it is peril of our chastitee.

" "Thou sayst, that dropping houses, and eke And yet, with sorwe, thou enforcest thee, And chiding wives maken men to flee

And sayst thise wordes in the apostles name: Out of hir owen house ; a, benedicite,

• In habit made with chastitee and shame What aileth swiche an old man for to chide ? Ye women shul appareile you,' (quod he)

“Thou sayst, we wives wol our vices hide, And nat in tressed here, and gay perrie, Til we be fast, and than we wol hem shewe. As perles, ne with gold, ne clothes riche.' Wel may that be a proverbe of a shrewe.

66 6 After thy text, ne after thy rubriche “ Thou sayst, that oxen, asses, hors, and houndes, I wol not work as mochel as a gnat. They ben assaied at diverse stoundes,

6 • Thou sayst also, I walke out like a cat;

466 Basins, lavoures, or that men hem bie,

For who so wolde senge the cattes skin, Spones, stooles, and all swiche husbondrie,

Than wol the cat wel dwellen in hire in ; And so ben pottes, clothes, and aray,

And if the cattes skin be sleke and gay, But folk of wives maken non assay,

She wol nat dwellen in hous half a day, Til they ben wedded, olde dotard shrewe!

But forth she wol, or any day be dawed, And than, sayst thou, we wol our vices shewe. To shew hire skin, and gon a caterwaved.

** Thou sayst also, that it displeseth me, This is to say, if I be gay, sire shrewe, But if that thou wolt preisen my beautee,

I wol rehne out, my borel for to shewe. And but thou pore alway upon my face,

Sire olde fool, what helpeth thee to spien ? And clepe me faire dame in every place;

Though thou pray Argus with his hundred eyen And but thou make a feste on thilke day

To be my wardecorps, as he can best. That I was borne, and make me fresh and gay; In faithe he shal not kepe me but me lest:


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Yet coude I make his berd, ko mote I the.

“ . Thou sayest eke, that ther ben thinges three, Which thinges gretly troublen all this erthe, And that no wight ne may endure the ferthe: O lefe sire shrewe, Jesu short thy lif.

« «Yet prechest thou, and sayst, an hateful wif Yrekened is for on of thise meschances. Be ther non other maner resemblances That ye may liken your parables to, But if a sely wif be on of tho?

6 • Thou likenest eke womans love to Helle, To barrein lond, ther water may not dwelle.

6 • Thou likenest it also to wilde fire; The more it brenneth, the more it hath desire To consume every thing, that brent wol be.

" • Thou sayest right as wormes shende a tre,
Right so a wif destroieth hire husbond ;
This knowen they that ben to wives bond.'

“ Lordings, right thus, as ye han understond,
Bare I stifly min old husbondes on hond,
That thus they saiden in hir dronkennesse ;
And all was false, but as I toke witnesse
On Jankin, and upon my nece also.
O Lord, the peine I did hem, and the wo,
Ful gilteles, by Goddes swete pine;
For as an hors, I coude bite and whine;
I coude plain, and I was in the gilt,
Or elles oftentime I had ben spilt.
Who so first cometh to the mill, first grint;
I plained first, so was our werre ystint.
They were ful glad to excusen hem ful blive
Of thing, the which they never agilt hir live.
Of wenches wold I beren hem on hond,
Whan that for sike unnethes might they stond,
Yet tikeled I his herte for that he
Wend that I had of him so gret chiertee:
I swore that all my walking out by night
Was for to espien wenches that he dight:
Under that colour had I many a mirth;
For all swiche wit is yeven us in our birth ;
Deceite, weping, spinning, God hath yeven
To woman kind, while that they may liven.
And thus of o thing I may avaunten me,
At th' ende I had the beter in eche degree,
By sleight or force, or by som maner thing,
As by continual murmur or grutching,
Namely a-bed, ther hadden they meschance,
Ther wold I chide, and don hem no plesance :
I wold no lenger in the bed abide,
If that I felt his arme over my side,
Til he had made his raunson unto me,
Than wold 1 soffre him do his nicetee.
And therfore every man this tale I tell,
Winne who so may, for all is for to sell :
With empty hond men may no haukes lure,
For winning wold I all his lust endure,
And maken me a feined appetit,
And yet in bacon had I never delit:
That maked me that ever I wold hem chide.
For though the Pope had sitten hem beside,
I wold not spare hem at hir owen bord,
For by my trouthe I quitte hem word for word.

As helpe mo veray God omnipotent,
Tho I right now shuld make my testament,
I ne owe hem not a word, that it n'is quit,
I brought it so abouten by my wit,
That they must yeve it up, as for the best,
Or elles had we never ben in rest.
For though he loked as a wood leon,
Yet shuld he faille of his conclusion.

" Than wold I say, · Now, goode lefe, take kepe,
How mekely loketh Wilkin oure shepe!
Come ner my spouse, and let me ba thy cheke.
Ye shulden be al patient and meke,
And han a swete spiced conscience,
Sith ye so preche of Jobes patience.
Suffreth alway, sin ye so wel can preche,
And but ye do, certain we shal you teche
That it is faire to han a wif in pees.
On of us two moste bowen doutelees:
And, sith a man is more resonable
Than woman is, ye mosten ben suffrable.
What aileth you to grutchen thus and grone?
Is it for ye wold have my queint alone?
Why take it all: lo, have it every del.
Peter, I shrew you but ye love it wel.
For if I wolde sell my belle chose,
I coude walke as freshe as is a rose,
But I wol kepe it for your owen toth.
Ye be to blame, by God, I say you soth.'

“ Swiche maner wordes hadden we on hond. Now wol I speken of iny fourthe husbond.

“My fourthe husbonde was a revellour,
This is to sayn, he had a paramour,
And I was yonge and ful of ragerie,
Stibborne and strong, and joly as a pie.
Tho coude I dancen to an harpe smale, .
And sing ywis as any nightingale,
Whan I had dronke a draught of swete wine.
Metellius, the foule cherle, the swine,
That with a staf berast his wif hire lif
For she drank wine, though I had ben his wif,
Ne shuld he not have daunted me fro drinke:
And after wine of Venus most I thinke.
For al so siker as cold engendreth hayl,
A liherous mouth most han a likerous tayl.
In woman vinolent is no defence,
This knowen lechours by experience.

“ But, Lord Crist, whan that it remembreth me
Upon my youth, and on my jolitee,
It tikleth me about myn herte-rote.
Unto this day it doth myn herte bote,
That I have had my world as in my time.
But age, alas ! that all wol envenime,
Hath me beraft my beautee and my pith:
Let go, farewel, the devil go therwith.
The four is gon, ther n'is no more to tell,
The bren, as I best may, now moste I sell.
But yet to be right mery wol I fond,
Now forth to tellen of my fourthe husbond,

“ I say, I had in herte gret despit,
That he of any other had delit;
But he was quit by God and by Seint Joce:
I made him of the same wood a croce,

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