Troilus and Criseyde

Troilus and Criseyde is a work on a large scale, 8239 lines of rhyme-royal (seven-line stanzas rhyming ababbcc) in five books, the first major work of English literature and sometimes called the first English novel on account of its concern with the characters' psychology.

The story comes from Boccaccio's Il Filostrato, and it is most intriguing that Chaucer nowhere mentions the name Boccaccio. Instead, in Troilus, he claims to be simply translating a work by a certain Lollius, wrongly assumed in the Middle Ages to have written about Troy, whereas he is in fact radically altering Boccaccio's story to make it deeper and more poetic.

When he began to write Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer was already fully aware of the need to make the English language into a poetic diction that would be as powerful in expressing emotion and reflexion as the other literary languages he knew. He was familiar with the writings of Ovid, Cicero, Virgil, Statius, Macrobius, Boethius, and Alain de Lisle in Latin, with Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio in Italian, with the Romance of the Rose and other French works, as well as with the native English romances. He had travelled, too, his mind was European. The opening lines of Troilus and Criseyde show why John Dryden called Chaucer the "father of English poetry" (in the Preface to his Fables Ancient and Modern of 1700):

The first four books of the poem each begin with a 'Proemium' (Preface)

Book 1

1   The double sorwe of Troilus to tellen,
     That was the king Priamus sone of Troye,
     In lovinge, how his aventures fellen
     Fro woe to wele, and after out of joie,
5   My purpos is, er that I parte fro ye.
     Thesiphone, thou help me for t'endite
     These woful vers, that wepen as I write.

     To thee clepe I, thou goddess of torment,
     Thou cruel Furie, sorwing ever in peyne,
10 Help me, that am the sorwful instrument,
     That helpeth loveres, as I can, to pleyne.
     For wel sit it, the sothe for to seyne,
     A woful wight to han a drery feere,
     And to a sorwful tale, a sory chere.

15     For I, that god of Loves servaunts serve,
       Ne dar to Love, for myn unlyklinesse,
       Preyen for speed, al sholde I therfor sterve,
       So fer am I fro his help in derknesse;
       But nathelees, if this may doon gladnesse
20     To any lover, and his cause avayle,
       Have he my thank, and myn be this travayle!

       But ye loveres, that bathen in gladnesse,
       If any drope of pitee in yow be,
       Remembreth yow on passed hevinesse
25     That ye han felt, and on the adversitee
       Of othere folk, and thenketh how that ye
       Han felt that Love dorste yow displese;
       Or ye han wonne hym with to greet an ese.

       And preyeth for hem that ben in the cas
30     Of Troilus, as ye may after here,
       That love hem bringe in hevene to solas,
       And eek for me preyeth to god so dere,
       That I have might to shewe, in som manere,
       Swich peyne and wo as Loves folk endure,
35     In Troilus unsely aventure.

       And biddeth eek for hem that been despeyred
       In love, that never nil recovered be,
       And eek for hem that falsly been apeyred
       Thorugh wikked tonges, be it he or she;
40     Thus biddeth god, for his benignitee,
       So graunte hem sone out of this world to pace,
       That been despeyred out of Loves grace.

       And biddeth eek for hem that been at ese,
       That god hem graunte ay good perseveraunce,
45     And sende hem might hir ladies so to plese,
       That it to Love be worship and plesaunce.
       For so hope I my soule best avaunce,
       To preye for hem that Loves servaunts be,
       And wryte hir wo, and live in charitee.

50     And for to have of hem compassioun
       As though I were hir owene brother dere.
       Now herkeneth with a gode entencioun,
       For now wol I gon streight to my matere,
       In whiche ye may the double sorwes here
55     Of Troilus, in loving of Criseyde,
       And how that she forsook him er she deyde.

End of the first Proemium

Troilus and Criseyde is set inside Troy during the Trojan War. After this Proemium, Book 1 begins with the news that the soothsayer (prophet) Calkas (Criseyde's father), foreseeing  the end of Troy, has left the city to join the Greek camp.

       Criseyde was this lady name a-right;
100    As to my dome, in al Troyes citee
       Nas noon so fair, for passing every wight
       So aungellyk was hir natyf beautee,
       That lyk a thing immortal semed she,
       As doth an hevenish parfit creature,
105    That doun were sent in scorning of nature.

       This lady, which that al-day herde at ere
       Hir fadres shame, his falsnesse and tresoun,
       Wel nigh out of hir wit for sorwe and fere,
       In widewes habit large of samit broun,
110    On knees she fil biforn Ector a-doun;
       With pitous voys, and tendrely wepinge,
       His mercy bad, hir-selven excusinge.

Hector reassures her that she will be respected, despite her father's act. In April the people of Troy celebrate the Palladium festival and go the temples.

       Among thise othere folk was Criseyda,
170    In widewes habite blak; but nathelees,
       Right as our firste lettre is now an A,
       In beautee first so stood she, makelees;
       Hir godly looking gladede al the prees.
       Nas never seyn thing to ben preysed derre,
175    Nor under cloude blak so bright a sterre

       As was Criseyde, as folk seyde everichoon
       That hir behelden in hir blake wede;
       And yet she stood ful lowe and stille alloon,
       Bihinden othere folk, in litel brede,
180    And neigh the dore, ay under shames drede,
       Simple of a-tyr, and debonaire of chere,
       With ful assured loking and manere.

Troilus is shown mocking love:

       This Troilus, as he was wont to gyde
       His yonge knightes, ladde hem up and doun
185    In thilke large temple on every syde,
       Biholding ay the ladyes of the toun,
       Now here, now there, for no devocioun
       Hadde he to noon, to reven him his reste,
       But gan to preyse and lakken whom him leste.

190    And in his walk ful fast he gan to wayten
       If knight or squyer of his companye
       Gan for to syke, or lete his eyen bayten
       On any woman that he coude aspye;
       He wolde smyle, and holden it folye,
195    And seye him thus, `god wot, she slepeth softe
       For love of thee, whan thou tornest ful ofte!

       `I have herd told, pardieux, of your livinge,
       Ye lovers, and your lewede observaunces,
       And which a labour folk han in winninge
200    Of love, and, in the keping, which doutaunces;
       And whan your preye is lost, wo and penaunces;
       O verrey foles! nyce and blinde be ye;
       Ther nis not oon can war by other be.'

       And with that word he gan cast up the browe,
205    Ascaunces, `Lo! is this nought wysly spoken?'
       At which the god of love gan loken rowe
       Right for despyt, and shoop for to ben wroken;
       He kidde anoon his bowe nas not broken;
       For sodeynly he hit him at the fulle;
210    And yet as proud a pekok can he pulle.

       O blinde world, O blinde entencioun!
       How ofte falleth al theffect contraire
       Of surquidrye and foul presumpcioun;
       For caught is proud, and caught is debonaire.
215    This Troilus is clomben on the staire,
       And litel weneth that he moot descenden.
       But al-day falleth thing that foles ne wenden.

       As proude Bayard ginneth for to skippe
       Out of the wey, so priketh him his corn,
220    Til he a lash have of the longe whippe,
       Than thenketh he, `Though I praunce al biforn
       First in the trays, ful fat and newe shorn,
       Yet am I but an hors, and horses lawe
       I moot endure, and with my feres drawe.'

225    So ferde it by this fers and proude knight;
       Though he a worthy kinges sone were,
       And wende nothing hadde had swiche might
       Ayens his wil that sholde his herte stere,
       Yet with a look his herte wex a-fere,
230    That he, that now was most in pryde above,
       Wex sodeynly most subget un-to love.

       For-thy ensample taketh of this man,
       Ye wyse, proude, and worthy folkes alle,
       To scornen Love, which that so sone can
235    The freedom of your hertes to him thralle;
       For ever it was, and ever it shal bifalle,
       That Love is he that alle thing may binde;
       For may no man for-do the lawe of kinde.

       That this be sooth, hath preved and doth yet;
240    For this trowe I ye knowen, alle or some,
       Men reden not that folk han gretter wit
       Than they that han be most with love y-nome;
       And strengest folk ben therwith overcome,
       The worthiest and grettest of degree:
245    This was, and is, and yet men shal it see.

       And trewelich it sit wel to be so;
       For alderwysest han ther-with ben plesed;
       And they that han ben aldermost in wo,
       With love han ben conforted most and esed;
250    And ofte it hath the cruel herte apesed,
       And worthy folk maad worthier of name,
       And causeth most to dreden vyce and shame.

       Now sith it may not goodly be withstonde,
       And is a thing so vertuous in kinde,
255    Refuseth not to Love for to be bonde,
       Sin, as him-selven list, he may yow binde.
       The yerde is bet that bowen wole and winde
       Than that that brest; and therfor I yow rede
       To folwen him that so wel can yow lede.

260    But for to tellen forth in special
       As of this kinges sone of which I tolde,
       And leten other thing collateral,
       Of him thenke I my tale for to holde,
       Both of his Ioye, and of his cares colde;
265    And al his werk, as touching this matere,
       For I it gan, I wol ther-to refere.

Suddenly Troilus sees Criseyde

       With-inne the temple he wente him forth pleyinge,
       This Troilus, of every wight aboute,
       On this lady and now on that lokinge,
270    Wher-so she were of toune, or of with-oute:
       And up-on cas bifel, that thorugh a route
       His eye perced, and so depe it wente,
       Til on Criseyde it smoot, and ther it stente.

       And sodeynly he wax ther-with astoned,
275    And gan hire bet biholde in thrifty wyse:
       `O mercy, god!' thoughte he, `wher hastow woned,
       That art so fair and goodly to devyse?'
       Ther-with his herte gan to sprede and ryse,
       And softe sighed, lest men mighte him here,
280    And caughte a-yein his firste pleyinge chere.

       She nas nat with the leste of hir stature,
       But alle hir limes so wel answeringe
       Weren to womanhode, that creature
       Was neuer lasse mannish in seminge.
285    And eek the pure wyse of here meninge
       Shewede wel, that men might in hir gesse
       Honour, estat, and wommanly noblesse.

       To Troilus right wonder wel with-alle
       Gan for to lyke hir meninge and hir chere,
290    Which somdel deynous was, for she leet falle
       Hir look a lite a-side, in swich manere,
       Ascaunces, `What! May I not stonden here?'
       And after that hir loking gan she lighte,
       That never thoughte him seen so good a sighte.

295    And of hir look in him ther gan to quiken
       So greet desir, and swich affeccioun,
       That in his herte botme gan to stiken
       Of hir his fixe and depe impressioun:
       And though he erst hadde poured up and doun,
300    He was tho glad his hornes in to shrinke;
       Unnethes wiste he how to loke or winke.

       Lo, he that leet him-selven so konninge,
       And scorned hem that loves peynes dryen,
       Was ful unwar that love hadde his dwellinge
305    With-inne the subtile stremes of hir yen;
       That sodeynly him thoughte he felte dyen,
       Right with hir look, the spirit in his herte;
       Blissed be love, that thus can folk converte!

       She, this in blak, likinge to Troylus,
310    Over alle thyng, he stood for to biholde;
       Ne his desir, ne wherfor he stood thus,
       He neither chere made, ne worde tolde;
       But from a-fer, his maner for to holde,
       On other thing his look som-tyme he caste,
315    And eft on hir, whyl that servyse laste.

       And after this, not fulliche al awhaped,
       Out of the temple al esiliche he wente,
       Repentinge him that he hadde ever y-iaped
       Of loves folk, lest fully the descente
320    Of scorn fille on him-self; but, what he mente,
       Lest it were wist on any maner syde,
       His wo he gan dissimulen and hyde.

       Whan he was fro the temple thus departed,
       He streyght anoon un-to his paleys torneth,
325    Right with hir look thurgh-shoten and thurgh-darted,
       Al feyneth he in lust that he soiorneth;
       And al his chere and speche also he borneth;
       And ay, of loves servants every whyle,
       Him-self to wrye, at hem he gan to smyle.

He withdraws to think about what has happened:

365    Thus gan he make a mirour of his minde,
       In which he saugh al hoolly hir figure;
       And that he wel coude in his herte finde,
       It was to him a right good aventure
       To love swich oon, and if he dide his cure
370    To serven hir, yet mighte he falle in grace,
       Or elles, for oon of hir servaunts pace.

       Imagininge that travaille nor grame
       Ne mighte, for so goodly oon, be lorn
       As she, ne him for his desir ne shame,
375    Al were it wist, but in prys and up-born
       Of alle lovers wel more than biforn;
       Thus argumented he in his ginninge,
       Ful unavysed of his wo cominge.

       Thus took he purpos loves craft to suwe,
380    And thoughte he wolde werken prively,
       First, to hyden his desir in muwe
       From every wight y-born, al-outrely,
       But he mighte ought recovered be therby;
       Remembring him, that love to wyde y-blowe
385    Yelt bittre fruyt, though swete seed be sowe.

       And over al this, yet muchel more he thoughte
       What for to speke, and what to holden inne,
       And what to arten hir to love he soughte,
       And on a song anoon-right to biginne,
390    And gan loude on his sorwe for to winne;
       For with good hope he gan fully assente
       Criseyde for to love, and nought repente.

       And of his song nought only the sentence,
       As writ myn autour called Lollius,
395    But pleynly, save our tonges difference,
       I dar wel sayn, in al that Troilus
       Seyde in his song, lo! every word right thus
       As I shal seyn; and who-so list it here,
       Lo! next this vers, he may it finden here.

          Cantus Troili. (Song of Troilus, actually a sonnet by Petrarch added by Chaucer)

400    `If no love is, O god, what fele I so?
       And if love is, what thing and whiche is he!
       If love be good, from whennes comth my wo?
       If it be wikke, a wonder thinketh me,
       Whenne every torment and adversitee
405    That cometh of him, may to me savory thinke;
       For ay thurst I, the more that I it drinke.

       `And if that at myn owene lust I brenne,
       Fro whennes cometh my wailing and my pleynte?
       If harme agree me, wher-to pleyne I thenne?
410    I noot, ne why unwery that I feynte.
       O quike deeth, O swete harm so queynte,
       How may of thee in me swich quantitee,
       But-if that I consente that it be?

       `And if that I consente, I wrongfully
415    Compleyne, y-wis; thus possed to and fro,
       Al sterelees with inne a boot am I
       A-mid the see, by-twixen windes two,
       That in contrarie stonden ever-mo.
       Allas! what is this wonder maladye?
420    For hete of cold, for cold of hete, I deye.'

       And to the god of love thus seyde he
       With pitous voys, `O lord, now youres is
       My spirit, which that oughte youres be.
       Yow thanke I, lord, that han me brought to this;
425    But whether goddesse or womman, y-wis,
       She be, I noot, which that ye do me serve;
       But as hir man I wole ay live and sterve.

       `Ye stonden in hire eyen mightily,
       As in a place un-to youre vertu digne;
430    Wherfore, lord, if my servyse or I
       May lyke yow, so beth to me benigne;
       For myn estat royal here I resigne
       In-to hir hond, and with ful humble chere
       Bicome hir man, as to my lady dere.'

Soon he falls sick with the contradictions of his love:

       And fro this forth tho refte him love his sleep,
485    And made his mete his foo; and eek his sorwe
       Gan multiplye, that, who-so toke keep,
       It shewed in his hewe, bothe eve and morwe;
       Therfor a title he gan him for to borwe
       Of other syknesse, lest of him men wende
490    That the hote fyr of love him brende,

       And seyde, he hadde a fever and ferde amis;
       But how it was, certayn, can I not seye,
       If that his lady understood not this,
       Or feyned hir she niste, oon of the tweye;
495    But wel I rede that, by no maner weye,
       Ne semed it as that she of him roughte,
       Nor of his peyne, or what-so-ever he thoughte.

       But than fel to this Troylus such wo,
       That he was wel neigh wood; for ay his drede
500    Was this, that she som wight had loved so,
       That never of him she wolde have taken hede;
       For whiche him thoughte he felte his herte blede.
       Ne of his wo ne dorste he not biginne
       To tellen it, for al this world to winne.

505    But whanne he hadde a space fro his care,
       Thus to him-self ful ofte he gan to pleyne;
       He sayde, `O fool, now art thou in the snare,
       That whilom Iapedest at loves peyne;
       Now artow hent, now gnaw thyn owene cheyne;
510    Thou were ay wont eche lovere reprehende
       Of thing fro which thou canst thee nat defende.

       `What wol now every lover seyn of thee,
       If this be wist, but ever in thyn absence
       Laughen in scorn, and seyn, `Lo, ther gooth he,
515    That is the man of so gret sapience,
       That held us lovers leest in reverence!
       Now, thonked be god, he may goon in the daunce
       Of hem that Love list febly for to avaunce!'

       `But, O thou woful Troilus, god wolde,
520    Sin thou most loven thurgh thi destinee,
       That thow beset were on swich oon that sholde
       Knowe al thy wo, al lakkede hir pitee:
       But al so cold in love, towardes thee,
       Thy lady is, as frost in winter mone,
525    And thou fordoon, as snow in fyr is sone.'

       `God wolde I were aryved in the port
       Of deth, to which my sorwe wil me lede!
       A, lord, to me it were a gret comfort;
       Than were I quit of languisshing in drede.
530    For by myn hidde sorwe y-blowe on brede
       I shal bi-Iaped been a thousand tyme
       More than that fool of whos folye men ryme.

       `But now help god, and ye, swete, for whom
       I pleyne, y-caught, ye, never wight so faste!
535    O mercy, dere herte, and help me from
       The deeth, for I, whyl that my lyf may laste,
       More than my-self wol love yow to my laste.
       And with som freendly look gladeth me, swete,
       Though never more thing ye me bi-hete!'

540    This wordes and ful manye an-other to
       He spak, and called ever in his compleynte
       Hir name, for to tellen hir his wo,
       Til neigh that he in salte teres dreynte.
       Al was for nought, she herde nought his pleynte;
545    And whan that he bithoughte on that folye,
       A thousand fold his wo gan multiplye.

A friend of his, Pandare, overhears him. He tries for a long time to force Troilus to tell him who the lady is, guessing he is in love, but Troilus believes that it will not help to tell him. Pandare mocks him on learning that he has not told the lady about his feelings. At last he admits he is in love with Criseyde:

      `Thou mayst allone here wepe and crye and knele;
       But, love a woman that she woot it nought,
       And she wol quyte that thou shalt not fele;
       Unknowe, unkist, and lost that is un-sought.
810    What! Many a man hath love ful dere y-bought
       Twenty winter that his lady wiste,
       That never yet his lady mouth he kiste.

       `What? Shulde be therfor fallen in despeyr,
       Or be recreaunt for his owene tene,
815    Or sleen him-self, al be his lady fayr?
       Nay, nay, but ever in oon be fresh and grene
       To serve and love his dere hertes quene,
       And thenke it is a guerdoun hir to serve
       A thousand-fold more than he can deserve.'

820    Of that word took hede Troilus,
       And thoughte anoon what folye he was inne,
       And how that sooth him seyde Pandarus,
       That for to sleen him-self mighte he not winne,
       But bothe doon unmanhod and a sinne,
825    And of his deeth his lady nought to wyte;
       For of his wo, god woot, she knew ful lyte.

       And with that thought he gan ful sore syke,
       And seyde, `Allas! What is me best to do?'
       To whom Pandare answered, `If thee lyke,
830    The best is that thou telle me thy wo;
       And have my trouthe, but thou it finde so,
       I be thy bote, or that it be ful longe,
       To peces do me drawe, and sithen honge!'

       `Ye, so thou seyst,' quod Troilus tho, `allas!
835    But, god wot, it is not the rather so;
       Ful hard were it to helpen in this cas,
       For wel finde I that Fortune is my fo,
       Ne alle the men that ryden conne or go
       May of hir cruel wheel the harm withstonde;
840    For, as hir list, she pleyeth with free and bonde.'

       Quod Pandarus, `Than blamestow Fortune
       For thou art wrooth, ye, now at erst I see;
       Wostow nat wel that Fortune is commune
       To every maner wight in som degree?
845    And yet thou hast this comfort, lo, pardee!
       That, as hir Ioyes moten over-goon,
       So mote hir sorwes passen everichoon.

       `For if hir wheel stinte any-thing to torne,
       Than cessed she Fortune anoon to be:
850    Now, sith hir wheel by no wey may soiorne,
       What wostow if hir mutabilitee
       Right as thy-selven list, wol doon by thee,
       Or that she be not fer fro thyn helpinge?
       Paraunter, thou hast cause for to singe!

855    `And therfor wostow what I thee beseche?
       Lat be thy wo and turning to the grounde;
       For who-so list have helping of his leche,
       To him bihoveth first unwrye his wounde.
       To Cerberus in helle ay be I bounde,
860    Were it for my suster, al thy sorwe,
       By my wil, she sholde al be thyn to-morwe.

       `Loke up, I seye, and tel me what she is
       Anoon, that I may goon aboute thy nede;
       Knowe ich hir ought? For my love, tel me this;
865    Than wolde I hopen rather for to spede.'
       Tho gan the veyne of Troilus to blede,
       For he was hit, and wex al reed for shame;
       `A ha!' quod Pandare, `Here biginneth game!'

       And with that word he gan him for to shake,
870    And seyde, `Theef, thou shalt hir name telle.'
       But tho gan sely Troilus for to quake
       As though men sholde han led him in-to helle,
       And seyde, `Allas! Of al my wo the welle,
       Than is my swete fo called Criseyde!'
875    And wel nigh with the word for fere he deyde.

       And whan that Pandare herde hir name nevene,
       Lord, he was glad, and seyde, `Freend so dere,
       Now fare a-right, for Ioves name in hevene,
       Love hath biset the wel, be of good chere;
880    For of good name and wysdom and manere
       She hath y-nough, and eek of gentilesse;
       If she be fayr, thou wost thy-self, I gesse,

       `Ne I never saw a more bountevous
       Of hir estat, ne a gladder, ne of speche
885    A freendlier, ne a more gracious
       For to do wel, ne lasse hadde nede to seche
       What for to doon; and al this bet to eche,
       In honour, to as fer as she may strecche,
       A kinges herte semeth by hirs a wrecche.

890    `And for-thy loke of good comfort thou be;
       For certeinly, the firste poynt is this
       Of noble corage and wel ordeyne,
       A man to have pees with him-self, y-wis;
       So oughtest thou, for nought but good it is
895    To loven wel, and in a worthy place;
       Thee oghte not to clepe it hap, but grace.

    Pandare offers to help Troilus meet her, which makes him very happy. He returns to society.

       But Troilus lay tho no lenger doun,
       But up anoon up-on his stede bay,
       And in the feld he pleyde tho leoun;
1075   Wo was that Greek that with him mette that day.
       And in the toun his maner tho forth ay
       So goodly was, and gat him so in grace,
       That ech him lovede that loked on his face.

       For he bicom the frendlyeste wight,
1080   The gentileste, and eek the moste free,
       The thriftieste and oon the beste knight,
       That in his tyme was, or mighte be.
       Dede were his Iapes and his crueltee,
       His heighe port and his manere estraunge,
1085   And ech of tho gan for a vertu chaunge.

       Now lat us stinte of Troilus a stounde,
       That fareth lyk a man that hurt is sore,
       And is somdel of akinge of his wounde
       Y-lissed wel, but heled no del more:
1090   And, as an esy pacient, the lore
       Abit of him that gooth aboute his cure;
       And thus he dryveth forth his aventure.

Book 2

         Out of these blake wawes for to sayle,
       O wind, O wind, the weder ginneth clere;
       For in this see the boot hath swich travayle,
       Of my conning, that unnethe I it stere:
5      This see clepe I the tempestous matere
       Of desespeyr that Troilus was inne:
       But now of hope the calendes biginne.

       O lady myn, that called art Cleo,
       Thou be my speed fro this forth, and my muse,
10     To ryme wel this book, til I have do;
       Me nedeth here noon other art to use.
       For-why to every lovere I me excuse,
       That of no sentement I this endyte,
       But out of Latin in my tonge it wryte.

15     Wherfore I nil have neither thank ne blame
       Of al this werk, but prey yow mekely,
       Disblameth me if any word be lame,
       For as myn auctor seyde, so seye I.
       Eek though I speke of love unfelingly,
20     No wondre is, for it no-thing of newe is;
       A blind man can nat Iuggen wel in hewis.

       Ye knowe eek, that in forme of speche is chaunge
       With-inne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho
       That hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge
25     Us thinketh hem; and yet they spake hem so,
       And spedde as wel in love as men now do;
       Eek for to winne love in sondry ages,
       In sondry londes, sondry ben usages.

       And for-thy if it happe in any wyse,
30     That here be any lovere in this place
       That herkneth, as the storie wol devyse,
       How Troilus com to his lady grace,
       And thenketh, so nolde I nat love purchace,
       Or wondreth on his speche or his doinge,
35     I noot; but it is me no wonderinge;

       For every wight which that to Rome went,
       Halt nat o path, or alwey o manere;
       Eek in som lond were al the gamen shent,
       If that they ferde in love as men don here,
40     As thus, in open doing or in chere,
       In visitinge, in forme, or seyde hire sawes;
       For-thy men seyn, ech contree hath his lawes.

       Eek scarsly been ther in this place three
       That han in love seid lyk and doon in al;
45     For to thy purpos this may lyken thee,
       And thee right nought, yet al is seyd or shal;
       Eek som men grave in tree, som in stoon wal,
       As it bitit; but sin I have begonne,
       Myn auctor shal I folwen, if I conne.

End of Proemium to Book 2

50     In May, that moder is of monthes glade,
       That fresshe floures, blewe, and whyte, and rede,
       Ben quike agayn, that winter dede made,
       And ful of bawme is fleting every mede;
       Whan Phebus doth his brighte bemes sprede
55     Right in the whyte Bole, it so bitidde
       As I shal singe, on Mayes day the thridde,

       That Pandarus, for al his wyse speche,
       Felt eek his part of loves shottes kene,
       That, coude he never so wel of loving preche,
60     It made his hewe a-day ful ofte grene;
       So shoop it, that hym fil that day a tene
       In love, for which in wo to bedde he wente,
       And made, er it was day, ful many a wente.

       The swalwe Proigne, with a sorwful lay,
65     Whan morwe com, gan make hir waymentinge,
       Why she forshapen was; and ever lay
       Pandare a-bedde, half in a slomeringe,
       Til she so neigh him made hir chiteringe
       How Tereus gan forth hir suster take,
70     That with the noyse of hir he gan a-wake;

       And gan to calle, and dresse him up to ryse,
       Remembringe him his erand was to done
       From Troilus, and eek his greet empryse;
       And caste and knew in good plyt was the mone
75     To doon viage, and took his wey ful sone
       Un-to his neces paleys ther bi-syde;
       Now Ianus, god of entree, thou him gyde!

       Whan he was come un-to his neces place,
       `Wher is my lady?' to hir folk seyde he;
80     And they him tolde; and he forth in gan pace,
       And fond, two othere ladyes sete and she,
       With-inne a paved parlour; and they three
       Herden a mayden reden hem the geste
       Of the Sege of Thebes, whyl hem leste.

85     Quod Pandarus, `Ma dame, god yow see,
       With al your book and al the companye!'
       `Ey, uncle myn, welcome y-wis,' quod she,
       And up she roos, and by the hond in hye
       She took him faste, and seyde, `This night thrye,
90     To goode mote it turne, of yow I mette!'
       And with that word she doun on bench him sette.

       `Ye, nece, ye shal fare wel the bet,
       If god wole, al this yeer,' quod Pandarus;
       `But I am sory that I have yow let
95     To herknen of your book ye preysen thus;
       For goddes love, what seith it? tel it us.
       Is it of love? O, som good ye me lere!'
       `Uncle,' quod she, `your maistresse is not here!'

       With that they gonnen laughe, and tho she seyde,
100    `This romaunce is of Thebes, that we rede;
       And we han herd how that king Laius deyde
       Thurgh Edippus his sone, and al that dede;
       And here we stenten at these lettres rede,
       How the bisshop, as the book can telle,
105    Amphiorax, fil thurgh the ground to helle.'

       Quod Pandarus, `Al this knowe I my-selve,
       And al the assege of Thebes and the care;
       For her-of been ther maked bokes twelve: --
       But lat be this, and tel me how ye fare;
110    Do wey your barbe, and shew your face bare;
       Do wey your book, rys up, and lat us daunce,
       And lat us don to May som observaunce.'

       `A! God forbede!' quod she. `Be ye mad?
       Is that a widewes lyf, so god you save?
115    By god, ye maken me right sore a-drad,
       Ye ben so wilde, it semeth as ye rave!
       It sete me wel bet ay in a cave
       To bidde, and rede on holy seyntes lyves;
       Lat maydens gon to daunce, and yonge wyves.'

120    `As ever thryve I,' quod this Pandarus,
       `Yet coude I telle a thing to doon you pleye.'
       `Now, uncle dere,' quod she, `tel it us
       For goddes love; is than the assege aweye?
       I am of Grekes so ferd that I deye.'
125    `Nay, nay,' quod he, `as ever mote I thryve!
       It is a thing wel bet than swiche fyve.'

Having awoken her curiosity, Pandare refuses to tell her anything more. Instead, he casually turns the conversation to Hector and Troilus, praising them for their valor:

      `Of Ector nedeth it nought for to telle:
       In al this world ther nis a bettre knight
       Than he, that is of worthinesse welle;
       And he wel more vertu hath than might.
180    This knoweth many a wys and worthy wight.
       The same prys of Troilus I seye,
       God help me so, I knowe not swiche tweye.'

       `By god,' quod she, `of Ector that is sooth;
       Of Troilus the same thing trowe I;
185    For, dredelees, men tellen that he dooth
       In armes day by day so worthily,
       And bereth him here at hoom so gentilly
       To every wight, that al the prys hath he
       Of hem that me were levest preysed be.'

190    `Ye sey right sooth, y-wis,' quod Pandarus;
       `For yesterday, who-so hadde with him been,
       He might have wondred up-on Troilus;
       For never yet so thikke a swarm of been
       Ne fleigh, as Grekes fro him gonne fleen;
195    And thorugh the feld, in everi wightes ere,
       Ther nas no cry but "Troilus is there!"

       `Now here, now there, he hunted hem so faste,
       Ther nas but Grekes blood; and Troilus,
       Now hem he hurte, and hem alle doun he caste;
200    Ay where he wente, it was arayed thus:
       He was hir deeth, and sheld and lyf for us;
       That as that day ther dorste noon with-stonde,
       Whyl that he held his blody swerd in honde.

       `Therto he is the freendlieste man
205    Of grete estat, that ever I saw my lyve;
       And wher him list, best felawshipe can
       To suche as him thinketh able for to thryve.'
       And with that word tho Pandarus, as blyve,
       He took his leve, and seyde, `I wol go henne.'
210    `Nay, blame have I, myn uncle,' quod she thenne.

She begs him to stay, they talk of other things. At last, when they are alone, he pursues his plan:

       Than thoughte he thus: `If I my tale endyte
       Ought hard, or make a proces any whyle,
       She shal no savour han ther-in but lyte,
270    And trowe I wolde hir in my wil bigyle.
       For tendre wittes wenen al be wyle
       Ther-as they can nat pleynly understonde;
       For-thy hir wit to serven wol I fonde --'

       And loked on hir in a besy wyse,
275    And she was war that he byheld hir so,
       And seyde, `Lord! So faste ye me avyse!
       Sey ye me never er now? What sey ye, no?'
       `Yes, yes,' quod he, `and bet wole er I go;
       But, by my trouthe, I thoughte now if ye
280    Be fortunat, for now men shal it see.

       `For to every wight som goodly aventure
       Som tyme is shape, if he it can receyven;
       And if that he wol take of it no cure,
       Whan that it commeth, but wilfully it weyven,
285    Lo, neither cas nor fortune him deceyven,
       But right his verray slouthe and wrecchednesse;
       And swich a wight is for to blame, I gesse.

       `Good aventure, O bele nece, have ye
       Ful lightly founden, and ye conne it take;
290    And, for the love of god, and eek of me,
       Cacche it anoon, lest aventure slake.
       What sholde I lenger proces of it make?
       Yif me your hond, for in this world is noon,
       If that yow list, a wight so wel begoon.

295    `And sith I speke of good entencioun,
       As I to yow have told wel here-biforn,
       And love as wel your honour and renoun
       As creature in al this world y-born;
       By alle the othes that I have yow sworn,
300    And ye be wrooth therfore, or wene I lye,
       Ne shal I never seen yow eft with ye.

       `Beth nought agast, ne quaketh nat; wher-to?
       Ne chaungeth nat for fere so your hewe;
       For hardely the werste of this is do;
305    And though my tale as now be to yow newe,
       Yet trist alwey, ye shal me finde trewe;
       And were it thing that me thoughte unsittinge,
       To yow nolde I no swiche tales bringe.'

       `Now, my good eem, for goddes love, I preye,'
310    Quod she, `com of, and tel me what it is;
       For bothe I am agast what ye wol seye,
       And eek me longeth it to wite, y-wis.
       For whether it be wel or be amis,
       Say on, lat me not in this fere dwelle:'
315    `So wol I doon; now herkneth, I shal telle:

He tells her of Troilus's feelings.

       `Now, nece myn, the kinges dere sone,
       The goode, wyse, worthy, fresshe, and free,
       Which alwey for to do wel is his wone,
       The noble Troilus, so loveth thee,
320    That, bot ye helpe, it wol his bane be.
       Lo, here is al, what sholde I more seye?
       Doth what yow list, to make him live or deye.

       `But if ye lete him deye, I wol sterve;
       Have her my trouthe, nece, I nil not lyen;
325    Al sholde I with this knyf my throte kerve --'
       With that the teres braste out of his yen,
       And seyde, `If that ye doon us bothe dyen,
       Thus giltelees, than have ye fisshed faire;
       What mende ye, though that we bothe apeyre?

330    `Allas! He which that is my lord so dere,
       That trewe man, that noble gentil knight,
       That nought desireth but your freendly chere,
       I see him deye, ther he goth up-right,
       And hasteth him, with al his fulle might,
335    For to be slayn, if fortune wol assente;
       Allas! That god yow swich a beautee sente!

       `If it be so that ye so cruel be,
       That of his deeth yow liste nought to recche,
       That is so trewe and worthy, as ye see,
340    No more than of a Iapere or a wrecche,
       If ye be swich, your beautee may not strecche
       To make amendes of so cruel a dede;
       Avysement is good bifore the nede.

       `Wo worth the faire gemme vertulees!
345    Wo worth that herbe also that dooth no bote!
       Wo worth that beautee that is routhelees!
       Wo worth that wight that tret ech under fote!
       And ye, that been of beautee crop and rote,
       If therwith-al in you ther be no routhe,
350    Than is it harm ye liven, by my trouthe!

Crisseyde's response is not very positive:

       Criseyde, which that herde him in this wyse,
       Thoughte, `I shal fele what he meneth, y-wis.'
       `Now, eem,' quod she, `what wolde ye devyse?
       What is your reed I sholde doon of this?'
390    `That is wel seyd,' quod be. `certayn, best is
       That ye him love ayein for his lovinge,
       As love for love is skilful guerdoninge.

       `Thenk eek, how elde wasteth every houre
       In eche of yow a party of beautee;
395    And therfore, er that age thee devoure,
       Go love, for, olde, ther wol no wight of thee.
       Lat this proverbe a lore un-to yow be;
       "To late y-war, quod Beautee, whan it paste;"
       And elde daunteth daunger at the laste.

400    `The kinges fool is woned to cryen loude,
       Whan that him thinketh a womman bereth hir hye,
       "So longe mote ye live, and alle proude,
       Til crowes feet be growe under your ye,
       And sende yow thanne a mirour in to prye
405    In whiche that ye may see your face a-morwe!"
       Nece, I bidde wisshe yow no more sorwe.'

       With this he stente, and caste adoun the heed,
       And she bigan to breste a-wepe anoon,
       And seyde, `Allas, for wo! Why nere I deed?
410    For of this world the feith is al agoon!
       Allas! What sholden straunge to me doon,
       Whan he, that for my beste freend I wende,
       Ret me to love, and sholde it me defende?

       `Allas! I wolde han trusted, doutelees,
415    That if that I, thurgh my disaventure,
       Had loved other him or Achilles,
       Ector, or any mannes creature,
       Ye nolde han had no mercy ne mesure
       On me, but alwey had me in repreve;
420    This false world, allas! Who may it leve?

       `What? Is this al the Ioye and al the feste?
       Is this your reed, is this my blisful cas?
       Is this the verray mede of your beheste?
       Is al this peynted proces seyd, allas!
425    Right for this fyn? O lady myn, Pallas!
       Thou in this dredful cas for me purveye;
       For so astonied am I that I deye!'

Pandare brings presssure to bear.

     With that she gan ful sorwfully to syke;
       `A! May it be no bet?' quod Pandarus;
430    `By god, I shal no-more come here this wyke,
       And god to-forn, that am mistrusted thus;
       I see ful wel that ye sette lyte of us,
       Or of our deeth! Allas! I woful wrecche!
       Mighte he yet live, of me is nought to recche.

435    `O cruel god, O dispitouse Marte,
       O Furies three of helle, on yow I crye!
       So lat me never out of this hous departe,
       If that I mente harm or vilanye!
       But sith I see my lord mot nedes dye,
440    And I with him, here I me shryve, and seye
       That wikkedly ye doon us bothe deye.

       `But sith it lyketh yow that I be deed,
       By Neptunus, that god is of the see,
       Fro this forth shal I never eten breed
445    Til I myn owene herte blood may see;
       For certayn, I wole deye as sone as he --'
       And up he sterte, and on his wey he raughte,
       Til she agayn him by the lappe caughte.

       Criseyde, which that wel neigh starf for fere,
450    So as she was the ferfulleste wight
       That mighte be, and herde eek with hir ere,
       And saw the sorwful ernest of the knight,
       And in his preyere eek saw noon unright,
       And for the harm that mighte eek fallen more,
455    She gan to rewe and dredde hir wonder sore;

       And thoughte thus, `Unhappes fallen thikke
       Alday for love, and in swich maner cas,
       As men ben cruel in hem-self and wikke;
       And if this man slee here him-self, allas!
460    In my presence, it wol be no solas.
       What men wolde of hit deme I can nat seye;
       It nedeth me ful sleyly for to pleye.'

       And with a sorwful syk she seyde thrye,
       `A! Lord! What me is tid a sory chaunce!
465    For myn estat lyth in Iupartye,
       And eek myn emes lyf lyth in balaunce;
       But nathelees, with goddes governaunce,
       I shal so doon, myn honour shal I kepe,
       And eek his lyf;' and stinte for to wepe.

470    `Of harmes two, the lesse is for to chese;
       Yet have I lever maken him good chere
       In honour, than myn emes lyf to lese;
       Ye seyn, ye no-thing elles me requere?'
       `No, wis,' quod he, `myn owene nece dere.'
475    `Now wel,' quod she, `and I wol doon my peyne;
       I shal myn herte ayeins my lust constreyne.

       `But that I nil not holden him in honde,
       Ne love a man, ne can I not, ne may
       Ayeins my wil; but elles wol I fonde,
480    Myn honour sauf, plese him fro day to day;
       Ther-to nolde I nought ones have seyd nay,
       But that I dredde, as in my fantasye;
       But cesse cause, ay cesseth maladye.

       `And here I make a protestacioun,
485    That in this proces if ye depper go,
       That certaynly, for no savacioun
       Of yow, though that ye sterve bothe two,
       Though al the world on o day be my fo,
       Ne shal I never on him han other routhe. --'
490    `I graunte wel,' quod Pandare, `by my trouthe.

       `But may I truste wel ther-to,' quod he,
       `That of this thing that ye han hight me here,
       Ye wol it holden trewly un-to me?'
       `Ye, doutelees,' quod she, `myn uncle dere.'
495    `Ne that I shal han cause in this matere,'
       Quod he, `to pleyne, or after yow to preche?'
       `Why, no, parde; what nedeth more speche?'

He tells her a much changed version of the way in which he learned Troilus's secret, and leaves her. Fortune brings Troilus before her eyes at this crucial moment.

       With this he took his leve, and hoom he wente;
       And lord, he was glad and wel bigoon!
       Criseyde aroos, no lenger she ne stente,
       But straught in-to hir closet wente anoon,
600    And sette here doun as stille as any stoon,
       And every word gan up and doun to winde,
       That he hadde seyd, as it com hir to minde;

       And wex somdel astonied in hir thought,
       Right for the newe cas; but whan that she
605    Was ful avysed, tho fond she right nought
       Of peril, why she oughte afered be.
       For man may love, of possibilitee,
       A womman so, his herte may to-breste,
       And she nought love ayein, but-if hir leste.

610    But as she sat allone and thoughte thus,
       Thascry aroos at skarmish al with-oute,
       And men cryde in the strete, `See, Troilus
       Hath right now put to flight the Grekes route!'
       With that gan al hir meynee for to shoute,
615    `A! Go we see, caste up the latis wyde;
       For thurgh this strete he moot to palays ryde;

       `For other wey is fro the yate noon
       Of Dardanus, ther open is the cheyne.'
       With that com he and al his folk anoon
620    An esy pas rydinge, in routes tweyne,
       Right as his happy day was, sooth to seyne,
       For which, men say, may nought disturbed be
       That shal bityden of necessitee.

       This Troilus sat on his baye stede,
625    Al armed, save his heed, ful richely,
       And wounded was his hors, and gan to blede,
       On whiche he rood a pas, ful softely;
       But swych a knightly sighte, trewely,
       As was on him, was nought, with-outen faile,
630    To loke on Mars, that god is of batayle.

       So lyk a man of armes and a knight
       He was to seen, fulfild of heigh prowesse;
       For bothe he hadde a body and a might
       To doon that thing, as wel as hardinesse;
635    And eek to seen him in his gere him dresse,
       So fresh, so yong, so weldy semed he,
       It was an heven up-on him for to see.

       His helm to-hewen was in twenty places,
       That by a tissew heng, his bak bihinde,
640    His sheld to-dasshed was with swerdes and maces,
       In which men mighte many an arwe finde
       That thirled hadde horn and nerf and rinde;
       And ay the peple cryde, `Here cometh our Ioye,
       And, next his brother, holdere up of Troye!'

645    For which he wex a litel reed for shame,
       Whan he the peple up-on him herde cryen,
       That to biholde it was a noble game,
       How sobreliche he caste doun his yen.
       Cryseyda gan al his chere aspyen,
650    And leet so softe it in hir herte sinke,
       That to hir-self she seyde, `Who yaf me drinke?'

       For of hir owene thought she wex al reed,
       Remembringe hir right thus, `Lo, this is he
       Which that myn uncle swereth he moot be deed,
655    But I on him have mercy and pitee;'
       And with that thought, for pure a-shamed, she
       Gan in hir heed to pulle, and that as faste,
       Whyl he and al the peple for-by paste,

       And gan to caste and rollen up and doun
660    With-inne hir thought his excellent prowesse,
       And his estat, and also his renoun,
       His wit, his shap, and eek his gentillesse;
       But most hir favour was, for his distresse
       Was al for hir, and thoughte it was a routhe
665    To sleen swich oon, if that he mente trouthe.

       Now mighte som envyous Iangle thus,
       `This was a sodeyn love; how mighte it be
       That she so lightly lovede Troilus
       Right for the firste sighte; ye, pardee?'
670    Now who-so seyth so, mote he never thee!
       For every thing, a ginning hath it nede
       Er al be wrought, with-outen any drede.

       For I sey nought that she so sodeynly
       Yaf him hir love, but that she gan enclyne
675    To lyke him first, and I have told yow why;
       And after that, his manhod and his pyne
       Made love with-inne hir for to myne,
       For which, by proces and by good servyse,
       He gat hir love, and in no sodeyn wyse.

680    And also blisful Venus, wel arayed,
       Sat in hir seventhe hous of hevene tho,
       Disposed wel, and with aspectes payed,
       To helpen sely Troilus of his wo.
       And, sooth to seyn, she nas not al a fo
685    To Troilus in his nativitee;
       God woot that wel the soner spedde he.

       Now lat us stinte of Troilus a throwe,
       That rydeth forth, and lat us tourne faste
       Un-to Criseyde, that heng hir heed ful lowe,
690    Ther-as she sat allone, and gan to caste
       Wher-on she wolde apoynte hir at the laste,
       If it so were hir eem ne wolde cesse,
       For Troilus, up-on hir for to presse.

The sudden sight of Troilus, unexpected, has convinced her that she should act, but then we are given a long insight into her private thoughts:

      And, lord! So she gan in hir thought argue
695    In this matere of which I have yow told,
       And what to doon best were, and what eschue,
       That plyted she ful ofte in many fold.
       Now was hir herte warm, now was it cold,
       And what she thoughte somwhat shal I wryte,
700    As to myn auctor listeth for to endyte.

       She thoughte wel that Troilus persone
       She knew by sighte and eek his gentillesse,
       And thus she seyde, `Al were it nought to done,
       To graunte him love, yet, for his worthinesse,
705    It were honour, with pley and with gladnesse,
       In honestee, with swich a lord to dele,
       For myn estat, and also for his hele.

       `Eek, wel wot I my kinges sone is he;
       And sith he hath to see me swich delyt,
710    If I wolde utterly his sighte flee,
       Peraunter he mighte have me in dispyt,
       Thurgh which I mighte stonde in worse plyt;
       Now were I wys, me hate to purchace,
       With-outen nede, ther I may stonde in grace?

715    `In every thing, I woot, ther lyth mesure.
       For though a man forbede dronkenesse,
       He nought for-bet that every creature
       Be drinkelees for alwey, as I gesse;
       Eek sith I woot for me is his distresse,
720    I ne oughte not for that thing him despyse,
       Sith it is so, he meneth in good wyse.

       `And eek I knowe, of longe tyme agoon,
       His thewes goode, and that he is not nyce.
       Ne avauntour, seyth men, certein, he is noon;
725    To wys is he to do so gret a vyce;
       Ne als I nel him never so cheryce,
       That he may make avaunt, by Iuste cause;
       He shal me never binde in swiche a clause.

       `Now set a cas, the hardest is, y-wis,
730    Men mighten deme that he loveth me;
       What dishonour were it un-to me, this?
       May I him lette of that? Why nay, pardee!
       I knowe also, and alday here and see,
       Men loven wommen al this toun aboute;
735    Be they the wers? Why, nay, with-outen doute.

       `I thenk eek how he able is for to have
       Of al this noble toun the thriftieste,
       To been his love, so she hir honour save;
       For out and out he is the worthieste,
740    Save only Ector, which that is the beste.
       And yet his lyf al lyth now in my cure,
       But swich is love, and eek myn aventure.

       `Ne me to love, a wonder is it nought;
       For wel wot I my-self, so god me spede,
745    Al wolde I that noon wiste of this thought,
       I am oon the fayreste, out of drede,
       And goodlieste, who-so taketh hede;
       And so men seyn in al the toun of Troye.
       What wonder is it though he of me have Ioye?

750    `I am myn owene woman, wel at ese,
       I thank it god, as after myn estat;
       Right yong, and stonde unteyd in lusty lese,
       With-outen Ialousye or swich debat;
       Shal noon housbonde seyn to me "Chekmat!"
755    For either they ben ful of Ialousye,
       Or maisterful, or loven novelrye.

       `What shal I doon? To what fyn live I thus?
       Shal I nat loven, in cas if that me leste?
       What, par dieux! I am nought religious!
760    And though that I myn herte sette at reste
       Upon this knight, that is the worthieste,
       And kepe alwey myn honour and my name,
       By alle right, it may do me no shame.'

       But right as whan the sonne shyneth brighte,
765    In March, that chaungeth ofte tyme his face,
       And that a cloud is put with wind to flighte
       Which over-sprat the sonne as for a space,
       A cloudy thought gan thorugh hir soule pace,
       That over-spradde hir brighte thoughtes alle,
770    So that for fere almost she gan to falle.

       That thought was this: `Allas! Sin I am free,
       Sholde I now love, and putte in Iupartye
       My sikernesse, and thrallen libertee?
       Allas! How dorste I thenken that folye?
775    May I nought wel in other folk aspye
       Hir dredful Ioye, hir constreynt, and hir peyne?
       Ther loveth noon, that she nath why to pleyne.

       `For love is yet the moste stormy lyf,
       Right of him-self, that ever was bigonne;
780    For ever som mistrust, or nyce stryf,
       Ther is in love, som cloud is over that sonne:
       Ther-to we wrecched wommen no-thing conne,
       Whan us is wo, but wepe and sitte and thinke;
       Our wreche is this, our owene wo to drinke.

785    `Also these wikked tonges been so prest
       To speke us harm, eek men be so untrewe,
       That, right anoon as cessed is hir lest,
       So cesseth love, and forth to love a newe:
       But harm y-doon, is doon, who-so it rewe.
790    For though these men for love hem first to-rende,
       Ful sharp biginning breketh ofte at ende.

       `How ofte tyme hath it y-knowen be,
       The treson, that to womman hath be do?
       To what fyn is swich love, I can nat see,
795    Or wher bicometh it, whan it is ago;
       Ther is no wight that woot, I trowe so,
       Wher it bycomth; lo, no wight on it sporneth;
       That erst was no-thing, in-to nought it torneth.

       `How bisy, if I love, eek moste I be
800    To plesen hem that Iangle of love, and demen,
       And coye hem, that they sey non harm of me?
       For though ther be no cause, yet hem semen
       Al be for harm that folk hir freendes quemen;
       And who may stoppen every wikked tonge,
805    Or soun of belles whyl that they be ronge?'

       And after that, hir thought bigan to clere,
       And seyde, `He which that no-thing under-taketh,
       No thing ne acheveth, be him looth or dere.'
       And with an other thought hir herte quaketh;
810    Than slepeth hope, and after dreed awaketh;
       Now hoot, now cold; but thus, bi-twixen tweye,
       She rist hir up, and went hir for to pleye.

She goes into the garden, where by chance Antigone sings a song in praise of love:

820    This yerd was large, and rayled alle the aleyes,
       And shadwed wel with blosmy bowes grene,
       And benched newe, and sonded alle the weyes,
       In which she walketh arm in arm bi-twene;
       Til at the laste Antigone the shene
825    Gan on a Troian song to singe clere,
       That it an heven was hir voys to here. --

       She seyde, `O love, to whom I have and shal
       Ben humble subgit, trewe in myn entente,
       As I best can, to yow, lord, yeve ich al
830    For ever-more, myn hertes lust to rente.
       For never yet thy grace no wight sente
       So blisful cause as me, my lyf to lede
       In alle Ioye and seurtee, out of drede.

       `Ye, blisful god, han me so wel beset
835    In love, y-wis, that al that bereth lyf
       Imaginen ne cowde how to ben bet;
       For, lord, with-outen Ialousye or stryf,
       I love oon which that is most ententyf
       To serven wel, unwery or unfeyned,
840    That ever was, and leest with harm distreyned.

       `As he that is the welle of worthinesse,
       Of trouthe ground, mirour of goodliheed,
       Of wit Appollo, stoon of sikernesse,
       Of vertu rote, of lust findere and heed,
845    Thurgh which is alle sorwe fro me deed,
       Y-wis, I love him best, so doth he me;
       Now good thrift have he, wher-so that he be!

       `Whom sholde I thanke but yow, god of love,
       Of al this blisse, in which to bathe I ginne?
850    And thanked be ye, lord, for that I love!
       This is the righte lyf that I am inne,
       To flemen alle manere vyce and sinne:
       This doth me so to vertu for to entende,
       That day by day I in my wil amende.

855    `And who-so seyth that for to love is vyce,
       Or thraldom, though he fele in it distresse,
       He outher is envyous, or right nyce,
       Or is unmighty, for his shrewednesse,
       To loven; for swich maner folk, I gesse,
860    Defamen love, as no-thing of him knowe;
       Thei speken, but they bente never his bowe.

       `What is the sonne wers, of kinde righte,
       Though that a man, for feblesse of his yen,
       May nought endure on it to see for brighte?
865    Or love the wers, though wrecches on it cryen?
       No wele is worth, that may no sorwe dryen.
       And for-thy, who that hath an heed of verre,
       Fro cast of stones war him in the werre!

       `But I with al myn herte and al my might,
870    As I have seyd, wol love, un-to my laste,
       My dere herte, and al myn owene knight,
       In which myn herte growen is so faste,
       And his in me, that it shal ever laste.
       Al dredde I first to love him to biginne,
875    Now woot I wel, ther is no peril inne.'

       And of hir song right with that word she stente,
       And therwith-al, `Now, nece,' quod Criseyde,
       `Who made this song with so good entente?'
       Antigone answerde anoon, and seyde,
880    `Ma dame, y-wis, the goodlieste mayde
       Of greet estat in al the toun of Troye;
       And let hir lyf in most honour and Ioye.'

       `Forsothe, so it semeth by hir song,'
       Quod tho Criseyde, and gan ther-with to syke,
885    And seyde, `Lord, is there swich blisse among
       These lovers, as they conne faire endyte?'
       `Ye, wis,' quod freshe Antigone the whyte,
       `For alle the folk that han or been on lyve
       Ne conne wel the blisse of love discryve.

890    `But wene ye that every wrecche woot
       The parfit blisse of love? Why, nay, y-wis;
       They wenen al be love, if oon be hoot;
       Do wey, do wey, they woot no-thing of this!
       Men mosten axe at seyntes if it is
895    Aught fair in hevene; Why? For they conne telle;
       And axen fendes, is it foul in helle.'

       Criseyde un-to that purpos nought answerde,
       But seyde, `Y-wis, it wol be night as faste.'
       But every word which that she of hir herde,
900    She gan to prenten in hir herte faste;
       And ay gan love hir lasse for to agaste
       Than it dide erst, and sinken in hir herte,
       That she wex somwhat able to converte.

She goes to bed, and dreams a symbolic dream:

     A nightingale, upon a cedre grene,
       Under the chambre-wal ther as she lay,
920    Ful loude sang ayein the mone shene,
       Paraunter, in his briddes wyse, a lay
       Of love, that made hir herte fresh and gay.
       That herkned she so longe in good entente,
       Til at the laste the dede sleep hir hente.

925    And as she sleep, anoon-right tho hir mette,
       How that an egle, fethered whyt as boon,
       Under hir brest his longe clawes sette,
       And out hir herte he rente, and that a-noon,
       And dide his herte in-to hir brest to goon,
930    Of which she nought agroos, ne no-thing smerte,
       And forth he fleigh, with herte left for herte.

Pandarus comes to Troilus

       This Pandarus com leping in at ones,
940    And seiyde thus: `Who hath ben wel y-bete
       To-day with swerdes, and with slinge-stones,
       But Troilus, that hath caught him an hete?'
       And gan to Iape, and seyde, `Lord, so ye swete!
944    But rys, and lat us soupe and go to reste;'
       And he answerde him, `Do we as thee leste.'

       With al the haste goodly that they mighte,
       They spedde hem fro the souper un-to bedde;
       And every wight out at the dore him dighte,
       And wher him liste upon his wey him spedde;
950    But Troilus, that thoughte his herte bledde
       For wo, til that he herde som tydinge,
       He seyde, `Freend, shal I now wepe or singe?'

       Quod Pandarus, `Ly stille and lat me slepe,
       And don thyn hood, thy nedes spedde be;
955    And chese, if thou wolt singe or daunce or lepe;
       At shorte wordes, thow shal trowe me. --
       Sire, my nece wol do wel by thee,
       And love thee best, by god and by my trouthe,
       But lak of pursuit make it in thy slouthe.

960    `For thus ferforth I have thy work bigonne,
       Fro day to day, til this day, by the morwe,
       Hir love of freendship have I to thee wonne,
       And also hath she leyd hir feyth to borwe.
       Algate a foot is hameled of thy sorwe.'
965    What sholde I lenger sermon of it holde?
       As ye han herd bifore, al he him tolde.

       But right as floures, thorugh the colde of night
       Y-closed, stoupen on hir stalke lowe,
       Redressen hem a-yein the sonne bright,
970    And spreden on hir kinde cours by rowe,
       Right so gan tho his eyen up to throwe
       This Troilus, and seyde, `O Venus dere,
       Thy might, thy grace, y-heried be it here!'

       And to Pandare he held up bothe his hondes,
975    And seyde, `Lord, al thyn be that I have;
       For I am hool, al brosten been my bondes;
       A thousand Troians who so that me yave,
       Eche after other, god so wis me save,
       Ne mighte me so gladen; lo, myn herte,
980    It spredeth so for Ioye, it wol to-sterte!

       `But Lord, how shal I doon, how shal I liven?
       Whan shal I next my dere herte see?
       How shal this longe tyme a-wey be driven,
       Til that thou be ayein at hir fro me?
985    Thou mayst answere, "A-byd, a-byd," but he
       That hangeth by the nekke, sooth to seyne,
       In grete disese abydeth for the peyne.'

       `Al esily, now, for the love of Marte,'
       Quod Pandarus, `for every thing hath tyme;
990    So longe abyd til that the night departe;
       For al so siker as thow lyst here by me,
       And god toforn, I wol be there at pryme,
       And for thy werk somwhat as I shal seye,
       Or on som other wight this charge leye.

995    `For pardee, god wot, I have ever yit
       Ben redy thee to serve, and to this night
       Have I nought fayned, but emforth my wit
       Don al thy lust, and shal with al my might.
       Do now as I shal seye, and fare a-right;
1000   And if thou nilt, wyte al thy-self thy care,
       On me is nought along thyn yvel fare.

Pandare tells Troilus to write to Criseyde.

       `I woot wel that thow wyser art than I
       A thousand fold, but if I were as thou,
       God help me so, as I wolde outrely,
1005   Right of myn owene hond, wryte hir right now
       A lettre, in which I wolde hir tellen how
       I ferde amis, and hir beseche of routhe;
       Now help thy-self, and leve it not for slouthe.

       `And I my-self shal ther-with to hir goon;
1010   And whan thou wost that I am with hir there,
       Worth thou up-on a courser right anoon,
       Ye, hardily, right in thy beste gere,
       And ryd forth by the place, as nought ne were,
       And thou shalt finde us, if I may, sittinge
1015   At som windowe, in-to the strete lokinge.

       `And if thee list, than maystow us saluwe,
       And up-on me make thy contenaunce;
       But, by thy lyf, be war and faste eschuwe
       To tarien ought, god shilde us fro mischaunce!
1020   Ryd forth thy wey, and hold thy governaunce;
       And we shal speke of thee som-what, I trowe,
       Whan Thou art goon, to do thyne eres glowe!

       `Touching thy lettre, thou art wys y-nough,
       I woot thow nilt it digneliche endyte;
1025   As make it with thise argumentes tough;
       Ne scrivenish or craftily thou it wryte;
       Beblotte it with thy teres eek a lyte;
       And if thou wryte a goodly word al softe,
       Though it be good, reherce it not to ofte.

1030   `For though the beste harpour upon lyve
       Wolde on the beste souned Ioly harpe
       That ever was, with alle his fingres fyve,
       Touche ay o streng, or ay o werbul harpe,
       Were his nayles poynted never so sharpe,
1035   It shulde maken every wight to dulle,
       To here his glee, and of his strokes fulle.

       `Ne Iompre eek no discordaunt thing y-fere,
       As thus, to usen termes of phisyk;
       In loves termes, hold of thy matere
1040   The forme alwey, and do that it be lyk;
       For if a peyntour wolde peynte a pyk
       With asses feet, and hede it as an ape,
       It cordeth nought; so nere it but a Iape.'

       This counseyl lyked wel to Troilus;
1045   But, as a dreedful lover, he seyde this: --
       `Allas, my dere brother Pandarus,
       I am ashamed for to wryte, y-wis,
       Lest of myn innocence I seyde a-mis,
       Or that she nolde it for despyt receyve;
1050   Thanne were I deed, ther mighte it no-thing weyve.'

       To that Pandare answerde, `If thee lest,
       Do that I seye, and lat me therwith goon;
       For by that lord that formed est and west,
       I hope of it to bringe answere anoon
1055   Right of hir hond, and if that thou nilt noon,
       Lat be; and sory mote he been his lyve,
       Ayeins thy lust that helpeth thee to thryve.'

       Quod Troilus, `Depardieux, I assente;
       Sin that thee list, I will aryse and wryte;
1060   And blisful god preye ich, with good entente,
       The vyage, and the lettre I shal endyte,
       So spede it; and thou, Minerva, the whyte,
       Yif thou me wit my lettre to devyse:'
       And sette him doun, and wroot right in this wyse. --

1065   First he gan hir his righte lady calle,
       His hertes lyf, his lust, his sorwes leche,
       His blisse, and eek these othere termes alle,
       That in swich cas these loveres alle seche;
       And in ful humble wyse, as in his speche,
1070   He gan him recomaunde un-to hir grace;
       To telle al how, it axeth muchel space.

       And after this, ful lowly he hir prayde
       To be nought wrooth, though he, of his folye,
       So hardy was to hir to wryte, and seyde,
1075   That love it made, or elles moste he dye,
       And pitously gan mercy for to crye;
       And after that he seyde, and ley ful loude,
       Him-self was litel worth, and lesse he coude;

       And that she sholde han his conning excused,
1080   That litel was, and eek he dredde hir so,
       And his unworthinesse he ay acused;
       And after that, than gan he telle his woo;
       But that was endeles, with-outen ho;
       And seyde, he wolde in trouthe alwey him holde; --
1085   And radde it over, and gan the lettre folde.

       And with his salte teres gan he bathe
       The ruby in his signet, and it sette
       Upon the wex deliverliche and rathe;
       Ther-with a thousand tymes, er he lette,
1090   He kiste tho the lettre that he shette,
       And seyde, `Lettre, a blisful destenee
       Thee shapen is, my lady shal thee see.'

Pandare brings the letter to Criseyde but she is ashamed to take it. He thrusts it into her bosom and she hurries into her closet to read it. Pandare urges her to write a reply; again she protests but finally consents to write a note.

       Of which to telle in short is myn entente
1220   Theffect, as fer as I can understonde: --
       She thonked him of al that he wel mente
       Towardes hir, but holden him in honde
       She nolde nought, ne make hir-selven bonde
       In love, but as his suster, him to plese,
1225   She wolde fayn to doon his herte an ese.

She gives the reply to Pandare, and again Troilus happens to ride by, this time according to Pandare's plan.

       And right as they declamed this matere,
       Lo, Troilus, right at the stretes ende,
       Com ryding with his tenthe some y-fere,
1250   Al softely, and thiderward gan bende
       Ther-as they sete, as was his way to wende
       To paleys-ward; and Pandare him aspyde,
       And seyde, `Nece, y-see who cometh here ryde!

       `O flee not in, he seeth us, I suppose;
1255   Lest he may thinke that ye him eschuwe.'
       `Nay, nay,' quod she, and wex as reed as rose.
       With that he gan hir humbly to saluwe
       With dreedful chere, and oft his hewes muwe;
       And up his look debonairly he caste,
1260   And bekked on Pandare, and forth he paste.

       God woot if he sat on his hors a-right,
       Or goodly was beseyn, that ilke day!
       God woot wher he was lyk a manly knight!
       What sholde I drecche, or telle of his aray?
1265   Criseyde, which that alle these thinges say,
       To telle in short, hir lyked al y-fere,
       His persone, his aray, his look, his chere,

       His goodly manere, and his gentillesse,
       So wel, that never, sith that she was born,
1270   Ne hadde she swich routhe of his distresse;
       And how-so she hath hard ben her-biforn,
       To god hope I, she hath now caught a thorn,
       She shal not pulle it out this nexte wyke;
       God sende mo swich thornes on to pyke!

1275   Pandare, which that stood hir faste by,
       Felte iren hoot, and he bigan to smyte,
       And seyde, `Nece, I pray yow hertely,
       Tel me that I shal axen yow a lyte:
       A womman, that were of his deeth to wyte,
1280   With-outen his gilt, but for hir lakked routhe,
       Were it wel doon?' Quod she, `Nay, by my trouthe!'

       `God help me so,' quod he, `ye sey me sooth.
       Ye felen wel your-self that I not lye;
       Lo, yond he rit!' Quod she, `Ye, so he dooth!'
1285   `Wel,' quod Pandare, `as I have told yow thrye,
       Lat be youre nyce shame and youre folye,
       And spek with him in esing of his herte;
       Lat nycetee not do yow bothe smerte.'

Troilus reads the note and decides that it is encouraging. He longs for closer contact.

       But as we may alday our-selven see,
       Through more wode or col, the more fyr;
       Right so encrees hope, of what it be,
       Therwith ful ofte encreseth eek desyr;
1335   Or, as an ook cometh of a litel spyr,
       So through this lettre, which that she him sente,
       Encresen gan desyr, of which he brente.

       Wherfore I seye alwey, that day and night
       This Troilus gan to desiren more
1340   Than he dide erst, thurgh hope, and dide his might
       To pressen on, as by Pandarus lore,
       And wryten to hir of his sorwes sore
       Fro day to day; he leet it not refreyde,
       That by Pandare he wroot somwhat or seyde;

1345   And dide also his othere observaunces
       That to a lovere longeth in this cas;
       And, after that these dees turnede on chaunces,
       So was he outher glad or seyde `Allas!'
       And held after his gestes ay his pas;
1350   And aftir swiche answeres as he hadde,
       So were his dayes sory outher gladde.

       But to Pandare alwey was his recours,
       And pitously gan ay til him to pleyne,
       And him bisoughte of rede and som socours;
1355   And Pandarus, that sey his wode peyne,
       Wex wel neigh deed for routhe, sooth to seyne,
       And bisily with al his herte caste
       Som of his wo to sleen, and that as faste;

Pandare knows that Criseyde is thinking that Troilus can be kept at a distance, that they do not have to meet. He invents a complicated trick to bring them together. He asks Troilus's brother Deiphebus to help Criseyde in a difficulty he says she has; he suggests that he invite her to his house to talk about the matter, and that he askHelen and  his brothers to be there too, including Troilus. The he tells Criseyde about the difficulty and suggests she ask Deiphebus to help her. Troilus he tells to go to Deiphebus' house the night before, then pretend to be sick in his room there. All is duly arranged, and Criseyde hears them praising Troilus during the meal. They begin to talk of her problem.

1625   Spak than Eleyne, and seyde, `Pandarus,
       Woot ought my lord, my brother, this matere,
       I mene, Ector? Or woot it Troilus?'
       He seyde, `Ye, but wole ye now me here?
       Me thinketh this, sith Troilus is here,
1630   It were good, if that ye wolde assente,
       She tolde hir-self him al this, er she wente.

       `For he wole have the more hir grief at herte,
       By cause, lo, that she a lady is;
       And, by your leve, I wol but right in sterte,
1635   And do yow wite, and that anoon, y-wis,
       If that he slepe, or wole ought here of this.'
       And in he lepte, and seyde him in his ere,
       `God have thy soule, y-brought have I thy bere!'

       To smylen of this gan tho Troilus,
1640   And Pandarus, with-oute rekeninge,
       Out wente anoon to Eleyne and Deiphebus,
       And seyde hem, `So there be no taryinge,
       Ne more pres, he wol wel that ye bringe
       Criseyda, my lady, that is here;
1645   And as he may enduren, he wole here.

       `But wel ye woot, the chaumbre is but lyte,
       And fewe folk may lightly make it warm;
       Now loketh ye, (for I wol have no wyte,
       To bringe in prees that mighte doon him harm
1650   Or him disesen, for my bettre arm),
       Wher it be bet she byde til eft-sones;
       Now loketh ye, that knowen what to doon is.

       `I sey for me, best is, as I can knowe,
       That no wight in ne wente but ye tweye,
1655   But it were I, for I can, in a throwe,
       Reherce hir cas unlyk that she can seye;
       And after this, she may him ones preye
       To ben good lord, in short, and take hir leve;
       This may not muchel of his ese him reve.

1660   `And eek, for she is straunge, he wol forbere
       His ese, which that him thar nought for yow;
       Eek other thing that toucheth not to here,
       He wol me telle, I woot it wel right now,
       That secret is, and for the tounes prow.'
1665   And they, that no-thing knewe of his entente,
       With-oute more, to Troilus in they wente.

       Eleyne, in al hir goodly softe wyse,
       Gan him saluwe, and womanly to pleye,
       And seyde, `Ywis, ye moste alweyes aryse!
1670   Now fayre brother, beth al hool, I preye!'
       And gan hir arm right over his sholder leye,
       And him with al hir wit to recomforte;
       As she best coude, she gan him to disporte.

       So after this quod she, `We yow biseke,
1675   My dere brother, Deiphebus and I,
       For love of god, and so doth Pandare eke,
       To been good lord and freend, right hertely,
       Un-to Criseyde, which that certeinly
       Receyveth wrong, as woot wel here Pandare,
1680   That can hir cas wel bet than I declare.'

       This Pandarus gan newe his tunge affyle,
       And al hir cas reherce, and that anoon;
       Whan it was seyd, sone after, in a whyle,
       Quod Troilus, `As sone as I may goon,
1685   I wol right fayn with al my might ben oon,
       Have god my trouthe, hir cause to sustene.'
       `Good thrift have ye,' quod Eleyne the quene.

       Quod Pandarus, `And it your wille be
       That she may take hir leve, er that she go?'
1690   `O, elles god for-bede,' tho quod he,
       `If that she vouche sauf for to do so.'
       And with that word quod Troilus, `Ye two,
       Deiphebus, and my suster leef and dere,
       To yow have I to speke of o matere,

1695   `To been avysed by your reed the bettre': --
       And fond, as hap was, at his beddes heed,
       The copie of a tretis and a lettre,
       That Ector hadde him sent to axen reed,
       If swich a man was worthy to ben deed,
1700   Woot I nought who; but in a grisly wyse
       He preyede hem anoon on it avyse.

       Deiphebus gan this lettre to unfolde
       In ernest greet; so did Eleyne the quene;
       And rominge outward, fast it gan biholde,
1705   Downward a steyre, in-to an herber grene.
       This ilke thing they redden hem bi-twene;
       And largely, the mountaunce of an houre,
       Thei gonne on it to reden and to poure.

       Now lat hem rede, and turne we anoon
1710   To Pandarus, that gan ful faste prye
       That al was wel, and out he gan to goon
       In-to the grete chambre, and that in hye,
       And seyde, `God save al this companye!
       Com, nece myn; my lady quene Eleyne
1715   Abydeth yow, and eek my lordes tweyne.

       `Rys, take with yow your nece Antigone,
       Or whom yow list, or no fors, hardily;
       The lesse prees, the bet; com forth with me,
       And loke that ye thonke humblely
1720   Hem alle three, and, whan ye may goodly
       Your tyme y-see, taketh of hem your leve,
       Lest we to longe his restes him bireve.'

       Al innocent of Pandarus entente,
       Quod tho Criseyde, `Go we, uncle dere';
1725   And arm in arm inward with him she wente,
       Avysed wel hir wordes and hir chere;
       And Pandarus, in ernestful manere,
       Seyde, `Alle folk, for goddes love, I preye,
       Stinteth right here, and softely yow pleye.

1730   `Aviseth yow what folk ben here with-inne,
       And in what plyt oon is, god him amende!
       And inward thus ful softely biginne;
       Nece, I conjure and heighly yow defende,
       On his half, which that sowle us alle sende,
1735   And in the vertue of corounes tweyne,
       Slee nought this man, that hath for yow this peyne!

       `Fy on the devel! Thenk which oon he is,
       And in what plyt he lyth; com of anoon;
       Thenk al swich taried tyd, but lost it nis!
1740   That wol ye bothe seyn, whan ye ben oon.
       Secoundelich, ther yet devyneth noon
       Up-on yow two; come of now, if ye conne;
       Whyl folk is blent, lo, al the tyme is wonne!

       `In titering, and pursuite, and delayes,
1745   The folk devyne at wagginge of a stree;
       And though ye wolde han after merye dayes,
       Than dar ye nought, and why? For she, and she
       Spak swich a word; thus loked he, and he;
       Lest tyme I loste, I dar not with yow dele;
1750   Com of therfore, and bringeth him to hele.'

       But now to yow, ye lovers that ben here,
       Was Troilus nought in a cankedort,
       That lay, and mighte whispringe of hem here,
       And thoughte, `O lord, right now renneth my sort
1755   Fully to dye, or han anoon comfort';
       And was the firste tyme he shulde hir preye
       Of love; O mighty god, what shal he seye?

Book 3

Proemium to Book 3

1      O blisful light of whiche the bemes clere
       Adorneth al the thridde hevene faire!
       O sonnes lief, O Ioves doughter dere,
       Plesaunce of love, O goodly debonaire,
5      In gentil hertes ay redy to repaire!
       O verray cause of hele and of gladnesse,
       Y-heried be thy might and thy goodnesse!

       In hevene and helle, in erthe and salte see
       Is felt thy might, if that I wel descerne;
10     As man, brid, best, fish, herbe and grene tree
       Thee fele in tymes with vapour eterne.
       God loveth, and to love wol nought werne;
       And in this world no lyves creature,
       With-outen love, is worth, or may endure.

15     Ye Ioves first to thilke effectes glade,
       Thorugh which that thinges liven alle and be,
       Comeveden, and amorous him made
       On mortal thing, and as yow list, ay ye
       Yeve him in love ese or adversitee;
20     And in a thousand formes doun him sente
       For love in erthe, and whom yow liste, he hente.

       Ye fierse Mars apeysen of his ire,
       And, as yow list, ye maken hertes digne;
       Algates, hem that ye wol sette a-fyre,
25     They dreden shame, and vices they resigne;
       Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne,
       And hye or lowe, after a wight entendeth;
       The Ioyes that he hath, your might him sendeth.

       Ye holden regne and hous in unitee;
30     Ye soothfast cause of frendship been also;
       Ye knowe al thilke covered qualitee
       Of thinges which that folk on wondren so,
       Whan they can not construe how it may io,
       She loveth him, or why he loveth here;
35     As why this fish, and nought that, comth to were.

       Ye folk a lawe han set in universe,
       And this knowe I by hem that loveres be,
       That who-so stryveth with yow hath the werse:
       Now, lady bright, for thy benignitee,
40     At reverence of hem that serven thee,
       Whos clerk I am, so techeth me devyse
       Som Ioye of that is felt in thy servyse.

       Ye in my naked herte sentement
       Inhelde, and do me shewe of thy swetnesse. --
45     Caliope, thy vois be now present,
       For now is nede; sestow not my destresse,
       How I mot telle anon-right the gladnesse
       Of Troilus, to Venus heryinge?
       To which gladnes, who nede hath, god him bringe!

End of Proemium

50     Lay al this mene whyle Troilus,
       Recordinge his lessoun in this manere,
       `Ma fey!' thought he, `Thus wole I seye and thus;
       Thus wole I pleyne unto my lady dere;
       That word is good, and this shal be my chere;
55     This nil I not foryeten in no wyse.'
       God leve him werken as he can devyse!

       And, lord, so that his herte gan to quappe,
       Heringe hir come, and shorte for to syke!
       And Pandarus, that ledde hir by the lappe,
60     Com ner, and gan in at the curtin pyke,
       And seyde, `God do bote on alle syke!
       See, who is here yow comen to visyte;
       Lo, here is she that is your deeth to wyte.'

       Ther-with it semed as he wepte almost;
65     `A ha,' quod Troilus so rewfully,
       `Wher me be wo, O mighty god, thow wost!
       Who is al there? I se nought trewely.'
       `Sire,' quod Criseyde, `it is Pandare and I.'
       `Ye, swete herte? Allas, I may nought ryse
70     To knele, and do yow honour in som wyse.'

       And dressede him upward, and she right tho
       Gan bothe here hondes softe upon him leye,
       `O, for the love of god, do ye not so
       To me,' quod she, `Ey! What is this to seye?
75     Sire, come am I to yow for causes tweye;
       First, yow to thonke, and of your lordshipe eke
       Continuance I wolde yow biseke.'

       This Troilus, that herde his lady preye
       Of lordship him, wex neither quik ne deed,
80     Ne mighte a word for shame to it seye,
       Al-though men sholde smyten of his heed.
       But lord, so he wex sodeinliche reed,
       And sire, his lesson, that he wende conne,
       To preyen hir, is thurgh his wit y-ronne.

85     Cryseyde al this aspyede wel y-nough,
       For she was wys, and lovede him never-the-lasse,
       Al nere he malapert, or made it tough,
       Or was to bold, to singe a fool a masse.
       But whan his shame gan somwhat to passe,
90     His resons, as I may my rymes holde,
       I yow wole telle, as techen bokes olde.

       In chaunged vois, right for his verray drede,
       Which vois eek quook, and ther-to his manere
       Goodly abayst, and now his hewes rede,
95     Now pale, un-to Criseyde, his lady dere,
       With look doun cast and humble yolden chere,
       Lo, the alderfirste word that him asterte
       Was, twyes, `Mercy, mercy, swete herte!'

       And stinte a whyl, and whan he mighte out-bringe,
100    The nexte word was, `God wot, for I have,
       As feyfully as I have had konninge,
       Ben youres, also god so my sowle save;
       And shal til that I, woful wight, be grave.
       And though I dar ne can un-to yow pleyne,
105    Y-wis, I suffre nought the lasse peyne.

       `Thus muche as now, O wommanliche wyf,
       I may out-bringe, and if this yow displese,
       That shal I wreke upon myn owne lyf
       Right sone, I trowe, and doon your herte an ese,
110    If with my deeth your herte I may apese.
       But sin that ye han herd me som-what seye,
       Now recche I never how sone that I deye.'

       Ther-with his manly sorwe to biholde,
       It mighte han maad an herte of stoon to rewe;
115    And Pandare weep as he to watre wolde,
       And poked ever his nece newe and newe,
       And seyde, `Wo bigon ben hertes trewe!
       For love of god, make of this thing an ende,
       Or slee us bothe at ones, er that ye wende.'

120    `I? What?' quod she, `By god and by my trouthe,
       I noot nought what ye wilne that I seye.'
       `I? What?' quod he, `That ye han on him routhe,
       For goddes love, and doth him nought to deye.'
       `Now thanne thus,' quod she, `I wolde him preye
125    To telle me the fyn of his entente;
       Yet wist I never wel what that he mente.'

       `What that I mene, O swete herte dere?'
       Quod Troilus, `O goodly, fresshe free!
       That, with the stremes of your eyen clere,
130    Ye wolde som-tyme freendly on me see,
       And thanne agreen that I may ben he,
       With-oute braunche of vyce on any wyse,
       In trouthe alwey to doon yow my servyse,

       `As to my lady right and chief resort,
135    With al my wit and al my diligence,
       And I to han, right as yow list, comfort,
       Under your yerde, egal to myn offence,
       As deeth, if that I breke your defence;
       And that ye deigne me so muche honoure,
140    Me to comaunden ought in any houre.

       `And I to ben your verray humble trewe,
       Secret, and in my paynes pacient,
       And ever-mo desire freshly newe,
       To serven, and been y-lyke ay diligent,
145    And, with good herte, al holly your talent
       Receyven wel, how sore that me smerte,
       Lo, this mene I, myn owene swete herte.'

       Quod Pandarus, `Lo, here an hard request,
       And resonable, a lady for to werne!
150    Now, nece myn, by natal Ioves fest,
       Were I a god, ye sholde sterve as yerne,
       That heren wel, this man wol no-thing yerne
       But your honour, and seen him almost sterve,
       And been so looth to suffren him yow serve.'

Criseyde accepts Troilus' love-service.

155    With that she gan hir eyen on him caste
       Ful esily, and ful debonairly,
       Avysing hir, and hyed not to faste
       With never a word, but seyde him softely,
       `Myn honour sauf, I wol wel trewely,
160    And in swich forme as he can now devyse,
       Receyven him fully to my servyse,

       `Biseching him, for goddes love, that he
       Wolde, in honour of trouthe and gentilesse,
       As I wel mene, eek mene wel to me,
165    And myn honour, with wit and besinesse
       Ay kepe; and if I may don him gladnesse,
       From hennes-forth, y-wis, I nil not feyne:
       Now beeth al hool; no lenger ye ne pleyne.

       `But nathelees, this warne I yow,' quod she,
170    `A kinges sone al-though ye be, y-wis,
       Ye shal na-more have soverainetee
       Of me in love, than right in that cas is;
       Ne I nil forbere, if that ye doon a-mis,
       To wrathen yow; and whyl that ye me serve,
175    Cherycen yow right after ye deserve.

       `And shortly, dere herte and al my knight,
       Beth glad, and draweth yow to lustinesse,
       And I shal trewely, with al my might,
       Your bittre tornen al in-to swetenesse.
180    If I be she that may yow do gladnesse,
       For every wo ye shal recovere a blisse';
       And him in armes took, and gan him kisse.

       Fil Pandarus on knees, and up his eyen
       To hevene threw, and held his hondes hye,
185    `Immortal god!' quod he, `That mayst nought dyen,
       Cupide I mene, of this mayst glorifye;
       And Venus, thou mayst maken melodye;
       With-outen hond, me semeth that in the towne,
       For this merveyle, I here ech belle sowne.

190    `But ho! No more as now of this matere,
       For-why this folk wol comen up anoon,
       That han the lettre red; lo, I hem here.
       But I coniure thee, Criseyde, and oon,
       And two, thou Troilus, whan thow mayst goon,
195    That at myn hous ye been at my warninge,
       For I ful wel shal shape youre cominge;

       `And eseth ther your hertes right y-nough;
       And lat see which of yow shal bere the belle
       To speke of love a-right!' ther-with he lough,
200    `For ther have ye a layser for to telle.'
       Quod Troilus, `How longe shal I dwelle
       Er this be doon?' Quod he, `Whan thou mayst ryse,
       This thing shal be right as I yow devyse.'

The others leave and Pandare goes in to talk to Troilus. He seems already aware of the negative reputation to be associated with his name in times to come.

    Whan every wight was voided but they two,
       And alle the dores were faste y-shette,
       To telle in short, with-oute wordes mo,
235    This Pandarus, with-outen any lette,
       Up roos, and on his beddes syde him sette,
       And gan to speken in a sobre wyse
       To Troilus, as I shal yow devyse:

       `Myn alderlevest lord, and brother dere,
240    God woot, and thou, that it sat me so sore,
       When I thee saw so languisshing to-yere,
       For love, of which thy wo wex alwey more;
       That I, with al my might and al my lore,
       Have ever sithen doon my bisinesse
245    To bringe thee to Ioye out of distresse,

       `And have it brought to swich plyt as thou wost,
       So that, thorugh me, thow stondest now in weye
       To fare wel, I seye it for no bost,
       And wostow which? For shame it is to seye,
250    For thee have I bigonne a gamen pleye
       Which that I never doon shal eft for other,
       Al-though he were a thousand fold my brother.

       `That is to seye, for thee am I bicomen,
       Bitwixen game and ernest, swich a mene
255    As maken wommen un-to men to comen;
       Al sey I nought, thou wost wel what I mene.
       For thee have I my nece, of vyces clene,
       So fully maad thy gentilesse triste,
       That al shal been right as thy-selve liste.

260    `But god, that al wot, take I to witnesse,
       That never I this for coveityse wroughte,
       But only for to abregge that distresse,
       For which wel nygh thou deydest, as me thoughte.
       But, gode brother, do now as thee oughte,
265    For goddes love, and kep hir out of blame,
       Sin thou art wys, and save alwey hir name.

       `For wel thou wost, the name as yet of here
       Among the peple, as who seyth, halwed is;
       For that man is unbore, I dar wel swere,
270    That ever wiste that she dide amis.
       But wo is me, that I, that cause al this,
       May thenken that she is my nece dere,
       And I hir eem, and trattor eek y-fere!

       `And were it wist that I, through myn engyn,
275    Hadde in my nece y-put this fantasye,
       To do thy lust, and hoolly to be thyn,
       Why, al the world up-on it wolde crye,
       And seye, that I the worste trecherye
       Dide in this cas, that ever was bigonne,
280    And she for-lost, and thou right nought y-wonne.

       `Wher-fore, er I wol ferther goon a pas,
       Yet eft I thee biseche and fully seye,
       That privetee go with us in this cas;
       That is to seye, that thou us never wreye;
285    And be nought wrooth, though I thee ofte preye
       To holden secree swich an heigh matere;
       For skilful is, thow wost wel, my preyere.

       `And thenk what wo ther hath bitid er this,
       For makinge of avantes, as men rede;
290    And what mischaunce in this world yet ther is,
       Fro day to day, right for that wikked dede;
       For which these wyse clerkes that ben dede
       Han ever yet proverbed to us yonge,
       That "Firste vertu is to kepe tonge."

295    `And, nere it that I wilne as now tabregge
       Diffusioun of speche, I coude almost
       A thousand olde stories thee alegge
       Of wommen lost, thorugh fals and foles bost;
       Proverbes canst thy-self y-nowe, and wost,
300    Ayeins that vyce, for to been a labbe,
       Al seyde men sooth as often as they gabbe.

       `O tonge, allas! So often here-biforn
       Hastow made many a lady bright of hewe
       Seyd, "Welawey! The day that I was born!"
305    And many a maydes sorwes for to newe;
       And, for the more part, al is untrewe
       That men of yelpe, and it were brought to preve;
       Of kinde non avauntour is to leve.

       `Avauntour and a lyere, al is on;
310    As thus: I pose, a womman graunte me
       Hir love, and seyth that other wol she non,
       And I am sworn to holden it secree,
       And after I go telle it two or three;
       Y-wis, I am avauntour at the leste,
315    And lyere, for I breke my biheste.

       `Now loke thanne, if they be nought to blame,
       Swich maner folk; what shal I clepe hem, what,
       That hem avaunte of wommen, and by name,
       That never yet bihighte hem this ne that,
320    Ne knewe hem more than myn olde hat?
       No wonder is, so god me sende hele,
       Though wommen drede with us men to dele.

       `I sey not this for no mistrust of yow,
       Ne for no wys man, but for foles nyce,
325    And for the harm that in the world is now,
       As wel for foly ofte as for malyce;
       For wel wot I, in wyse folk, that vyce
       No womman drat, if she be wel avysed;
       For wyse ben by foles harm chastysed.

330    `But now to purpos; leve brother dere,
       Have al this thing that I have seyd in minde,
       And keep thee clos, and be now of good chere,
       For at thy day thou shalt me trewe finde.
       I shal thy proces sette in swich a kinde,
335    And god to-forn, that it shall thee suffyse,
       For it shal been right as thou wolt devyse.

       `For wel I woot, thou menest wel, parde;
       Therfore I dar this fully undertake.
       Thou wost eek what thy lady graunted thee,
340    And day is set, the chartres up to make.
       Have now good night, I may no lenger wake;
       And bid for me, sin thou art now in blisse,
       That god me sende deeth or sone lisse.'

       Who mighte telle half the Ioye or feste
345    Which that the sowle of Troilus tho felte,
       Heringe theffect of Pandarus biheste?
       His olde wo, that made his herte swelte,
       Gan tho for Ioye wasten and to-melte,
       And al the richesse of his sykes sore
350    At ones fledde, he felte of hem no more.

Troilus is very grateful. So time passes, and his desire grows stronger.

      But certeyn is, to purpos for to go,
450    That in this whyle, as writen is in geste,
       He say his lady som-tyme; and also
       She with him spak, whan that she dorste or leste,
       And by hir bothe avys, as was the beste,
       Apoynteden ful warly in this nede,
455    So as they dorste, how they wolde procede.

       But it was spoken in so short a wyse,
       In swich awayt alwey, and in swich fere,
       Lest any wyght devynen or devyse
       Wolde of hem two, or to it leye an ere,
460    That al this world so leef to hem ne were
       As that Cupido wolde hem grace sende
       To maken of hir speche aright an ende.

       But thilke litel that they spake or wroughte,
       His wyse goost took ay of al swich hede,
465    It semed hir, he wiste what she thoughte
       With-outen word, so that it was no nede
       To bidde him ought to done, or ought for-bede;
       For which she thought that love, al come it late,
       Of alle Ioye hadde opned hir the yate.

470    And shortly of this proces for to pace,
       So wel his werk and wordes he bisette,
       That he so ful stood in his lady grace,
       That twenty thousand tymes, or she lette,
       She thonked god she ever with him mette;
475    So coude he him governe in swich servyse,
       That al the world ne might it bet devyse.

       For-why she fond him so discreet in al,
       So secret, and of swich obeisaunce,
       That wel she felte he was to hir a wal
480    Of steel, and sheld from every displesaunce;
       That, to ben in his gode governaunce,
       So wys he was, she was no more afered,
       I mene, as fer as oughte ben requered.

       And Pandarus, to quike alwey the fyr,
485    Was evere y-lyke prest and diligent;
       To ese his frend was set al his desyr.
       He shof ay on, he to and fro was sent;
       He lettres bar whan Troilus was absent.
       That never man, as in his freendes nede,
490    Ne bar him bet than he, with-outen drede.

Pandare sees that they need more time to talk together in private. He sets about arranging a longer, closer meeting. This quickly leads to the climax of their relationship, thanks to Pandare's skill in astrological weather-forecasting; Pandare assures her that Troilus is away and invites her to his house when he knows it is going to rain very hard. Troilus is in fact hidden ready to join Criseyde when the moment comes.

  610    And after souper gonnen they to ryse,
       At ese wel, with hertes fresshe and glade,
       And wel was him that coude best devyse
       To lyken hir, or that hir laughen made.
       He song; she pleyde; he tolde tale of Wade.
615    But at the laste, as every thing hath ende,
       She took hir leve, and nedes wolde wende.

       But O, Fortune, executrice of wierdes,
       O influences of thise hevenes hye!
       Soth is, that, under god, ye ben our hierdes,
620    Though to us bestes been the causes wrye.
       This mene I now, for she gan hoomward hye,
       But execut was al bisyde hir leve,
       At the goddes wil, for which she moste bleve.

       The bente mone with hir hornes pale,
625    Saturne, and Iove, in Cancro ioyned were,
       That swich a rayn from hevene gan avale
       That every maner womman that was there
       Hadde of that smoky reyn a verray fere;
       At which Pandare tho lough, and seyde thenne,
630    `Now were it tyme a lady to go henne!

       `But goode nece, if I mighte ever plese
       Yow any-thing, than prey I yow,' quod he,
       `To doon myn herte as now so greet an ese
       As for to dwelle here al this night with me,
635    For-why this is your owene hous, pardee.
       For, by my trouthe, I sey it nought a-game,
       To wende as now, it were to me a shame.'

       Criseyde, which that coude as muche good
       As half a world, tok hede of his preyere;
640    And sin it ron, and al was on a flood,
       She thoughte, as good chep may I dwellen here,
       And graunte it gladly with a freendes chere,
       And have a thank, as grucche and thanne abyde;
       For hoom to goon, it may nought wel bityde.'

645    `I wol,' quod she, `myn uncle leef and dere,
       Sin that yow list, it skile is to be so;
       I am right glad with yow to dwellen here;
       I seyde but a-game, I wolde go.'
       `Y-wis, graunt mercy, nece!' quod he tho;
650    `Were it a game or no, soth for to telle,
       Now am I glad, sin that yow list to dwelle.'

       Thus al is wel; but tho bigan aright
       The newe Ioye, and al the feste agayn;
       But Pandarus, if goodly hadde he might,
655    He wolde han hyed hir to bedde fayn,
       And seyde, `Lord, this is an huge rayn!
       This were a weder for to slepen inne;
       And that I rede us son to biginne.

Pandare arranges for Criseyde to sleep alone.

       `And nece, woot ye wher I wol yow leye,
660    For that we shul not liggen fer asonder,
       And for ye neither shullen, dar I seye,
       Heren noise of reynes nor of thondre?
       By god, right in my lyte closet yonder.
       And I wol in that outer hous allone
665    Be wardeyn of your wommen everichone.

       `And in this middel chaumbre that ye see
       Shal youre wommen slepen wel and softe;
       And ther I seyde shal your-selve be;
       And if ye liggen wel to-night, com ofte,
670    And careth not what weder is on-lofte.
       The wyn anon, and whan so that yow leste,
       So go we slepe, I trowe it be the beste.'

       Ther nis no more, but here-after sone,
       The voyde dronke, and travers drawe anon,
675    Gan every wight, that hadde nought to done
       More in the place, out of the chaumber gon.
       And ever-mo so sternelich it ron,
       And blew ther-with so wonderliche loude,
       That wel neigh no man heren other coude.

680    Tho Pandarus, hir eem, right as him oughte,
       With women swiche as were hir most aboute,
       Ful glad un-to hir beddes syde hir broughte,
       And toke his leve, and gan ful lowe loute,
       And seyde, `Here at this closet-dore with-oute,
685    Right over-thwart, your wommen liggen alle,
       That, whom yow list of hem, ye may here calle.'

       So whan that she was in the closet leyd,
       And alle hir wommen forth by ordenaunce
       A-bedde weren, ther as I have seyd,
690    There was no more to skippen nor to traunce,
       But boden go to bedde, with mischaunce,
       If any wight was steringe any-where,
       And late hem slepe that a-bedde were.

       But Pandarus, that wel coude eche a del
695    The olde daunce, and every poynt ther-inne,
       Whan that he sey that alle thing was wel,
       He thoughte he wolde up-on his werk biginne,
       And gan the stewe-dore al softe un-pinne;
       And stille as stoon, with-outen lenger lette,
700    By Troilus a-doun right he him sette.

Troilus is afraid of too much bliss.

       And, shortly to the poynt right for to gon,
       Of al this werk he tolde him word and ende,
       And seyde, `Make thee redy right anon,
       For thou shalt in-to hevene blisse wende.'
705    `Now blisful Venus, thou me grace sende,'
       Quod Troilus, `for never yet no nede
       Hadde I er now, ne halvendel the drede.'

       Quod Pandarus, `Ne drede thee never a del,
       For it shal been right as thou wilt desyre;
710    So thryve I, this night shal I make it wel,
       Or casten al the gruwel in the fyre.'
       `Yit blisful Venus, this night thou me enspyre,'
       Quod Troilus, `as wis as I thee serve,
       And ever bet and bet shal, til I sterve.

715    `And if I hadde, O Venus ful of murthe,
       Aspectes badde of Mars or of Saturne,
       Or thou combust or let were in my birthe,
       Thy fader prey al thilke harm disturne
       Of grace, and that I glad ayein may turne,
720    For love of him thou lovedest in the shawe,
       I mene Adoon, that with the boor was slawe.

       `O Iove eek, for the love of faire Europe,
       The whiche in forme of bole awey thou fette;
       Now help, O Mars, thou with thy blody cope,
725    For love of Cipris, thou me nought ne lette;
       O Phebus, thenk whan Dane hir-selven shette
       Under the bark, and laurer wex for drede,
       Yet for hir love, O help now at this nede!

       `Mercurie, for the love of Hierse eke,
730    For which Pallas was with Aglauros wrooth,
       Now help, and eek Diane, I thee biseke
       That this viage be not to thee looth.
       O fatal sustren, which, er any clooth
       Me shapen was, my destene me sponne,
735    So helpeth to this werk that is bi-gonne!'

       Quod Pandarus, `Thou wrecched mouses herte,
       Art thou agast so that she wol thee byte?
       Why, don this furred cloke up-on thy sherte,
       And folowe me, for I wol have the wyte;
740    But byd, and lat me go bifore a lyte.'
       And with that word he gan un-do a trappe,
       And Troilus he broughte in by the lappe.

       The sterne wind so loude gan to route
       That no wight other noyse mighte here;
745    And they that layen at the dore with-oute,
       Ful sykerly they slepten alle y-fere;
       And Pandarus, with a ful sobre chere,
       Goth to the dore anon with-outen lette,
       Ther-as they laye, and softely it shette.

750    And as he com ayeinward prively,
       His nece awook, and asked, `Who goth there?'
       `My dere nece,' quod he, `it am I;
       Ne wondreth not, ne have of it no fere;'
       And ner he com, and seyde hir in hir ere,
755    `No word, for love of god I yow biseche;
       Lat no wight ryse and heren of oure speche.'

       `What! Which wey be ye comen, benedicite?'
       Quod she; `And how thus unwist of hem alle?'
       `Here at this secre trappe-dore,' quod he.
760    Quod tho Criseyde, `Lat me som wight calle.'
       `Ey! God forbede that it sholde falle,'
       Quod Pandarus, `that ye swich foly wroughte!
       They mighte deme thing they never er thoughte!

       `It is nought good a sleping hound to wake,
765    Ne yeve a wight a cause to devyne;
       Your wommen slepen alle, I under-take,
       So that, for hem, the hous men mighte myne;
       And slepen wolen til the sonne shyne.
       And whan my tale al brought is to an ende,
770    Unwist, right as I com, so wol I wende.

       `Now, nece myn, ye shul wel understonde,'
       Quod he, `so as ye wommen demen alle,
       That for to holde in love a man in honde,
       And him hir "leef" and "dere herte" calle,
775    And maken him an howve above a calle,
       I mene, as love an other in this whyle,
       She doth hir-self a shame, and him a gyle.

       `Now wherby that I telle yow al this?
       Ye woot your-self, as wel as any wight,
780    How that your love al fully graunted is
       To Troilus, the worthieste knight,
       Oon of this world, and ther-to trouthe plyght,
       That, but it were on him along, ye nolde
       Him never falsen, whyle ye liven sholde.

785    `Now stant it thus, that sith I fro yow wente,
       This Troilus, right platly for to seyn,
       Is thurgh a goter, by a prive wente,
       In-to my chaumbre come in al this reyn,
       Unwist of every maner wight, certeyn,
790    Save of my-self, as wisly have I Ioye,
       And by that feith I shal Pryam of Troye!

He tells Criseyde that Troilus has been told she loves another and is in the house, full of distress. She must comfort him and reassure him. She says that she will do so tomorrow. Pandare convinces her that she must see him at once and brings Troilus to her.

       This Troilus ful sone on knees him sette
       Ful sobrely, right be hir beddes heed,
955    And in his beste wyse his lady grette;
       But lord, so she wex sodeynliche reed!
       Ne, though men sholden smyten of hir heed,
       She coude nought a word a-right out-bringe
       So sodeynly, for his sodeyn cominge.

960    But Pandarus, that so wel coude fele
       In every thing, to pleye anoon bigan,
       And seyde, `Nece, see how this lord can knele!
       Now, for your trouthe, seeth this gentil man!'
       And with that word he for a quisshen ran,
965    And seyde, `Kneleth now, whyl that yow leste,
       Ther god your hertes bringe sone at reste!'

       Can I not seyn, for she bad him not ryse,
       If sorwe it putte out of hir remembraunce,
       Or elles that she toke it in the wyse
970    Of duetee, as for his observaunce;
       But wel finde I she dide him this plesaunce,
       That she him kiste, al-though she syked sore;
       And bad him sitte a-doun with-outen more.

       Quod Pandarus, `Now wol ye wel biginne;
975    Now doth him sitte, gode nece dere,
       Upon your beddes syde al there with-inne,
       That ech of yow the bet may other here.'
       And with that word he drow him to the fere,
       And took a light, and fond his contenaunce,
980    As for to loke up-on an old romaunce.

       Criseyde, that was Troilus lady right,
       And cleer stood on a ground of sikernesse,
       Al thoughte she, hir servaunt and hir knight
       Ne sholde of right non untrouthe in hir gesse,
985    Yet nathelees, considered his distresse,
       And that love is in cause of swich folye,
       Thus to him spak she of his Ialousye:

       `Lo, herte myn, as wolde the excellence
       Of love, ayeins the which that no man may,
990    Ne oughte eek goodly maken resistence
       And eek bycause I felte wel and say
       Youre grete trouthe, and servyse every day;
       And that your herte al myn was, sooth to seyne,
       This droof me for to rewe up-on your peyne.

995    `And your goodnesse have I founde alwey yit,
       Of whiche, my dere herte and al my knight,
       I thonke it yow, as fer as I have wit,
       Al can I nought as muche as it were right;
       And I, emforth my conninge and my might,
1000   Have and ay shal, how sore that me smerte,
       Ben to yow trewe and hool, with a myn herte;

       `And dredelees, that shal be founde at preve. --
       But, herte myn, what al this is to seyne
       Shal wel be told, so that ye noght yow greve,
1005   Though I to yow right on your-self compleyne.
       For ther-with mene I fynally the peyne,
       That halt your herte and myn in hevinesse,
       Fully to sleen, and every wrong redresse.

       `My goode, myn, not I for-why ne how
1010   That Ialousye, allas! That wikked wivere,
       Thus causelees is cropen in-to yow;
       The harm of which I wolde fayn delivere!
       Allas! That he, al hool, or of him slivere,
       Shuld have his refut in so digne a place,
1015   Ther Iove him sone out of your herte arace!

       `But O, thou Iove, O auctor of nature,
       Is this an honour to thy deitee,
       That folk ungiltif suffren here iniure,
       And who that giltif is, al quit goth he?
1020   O were it leful for to pleyne on thee,
       That undeserved suffrest Ialousye,
       Of that I wolde up-on thee pleyne and crye!

       `Eek al my wo is this, that folk now usen
       To seyn right thus, "Ye, Ialousye is love!"
1025   And wolde a busshel venim al excusen,
       For that o greyn of love is on it shove!
       But that wot heighe god that sit above,
       If it be lyker love, or hate, or grame;
       And after that, it oughte bere his name.

1030   `But certeyn is, som maner Ialousye
       Is excusable more than som, y-wis.
       As whan cause is, and som swich fantasye
       With pietee so wel repressed is,
       That it unnethe dooth or seyth amis,
1035   But goodly drinketh up al his distresse;
       And that excuse I, for the gentilesse.

       `And som so ful of furie is and despyt
       That it sourmounteth his repressioun;
       But herte myn, ye be not in that plyt,
1040   That thanke I god, for whiche your passioun
       I wol not calle it but illusioun,
       Of habundaunce of love and bisy cure,
       That dooth your herte this disese endure.

       `Of which I am right sory but not wrooth;
1045   But, for my devoir and your hertes reste,
       Wher-so yow list, by ordal or by ooth,
       By sort, or in what wyse so yow leste,
       For love of god, lat preve it for the beste!
       And if that I be giltif, do me deye,
1050   Allas! What mighte I more doon or seye?'

       With that a fewe brighte teres newe
       Owt of hir eyen fille, and thus she seyde,
       `Now god, thou wost, in thought ne dede untrewe
       To Troilus was never yet Criseyde.'
1055   With that hir heed doun in the bed she leyde,
       And with the shete it wreigh, and syghed sore,
       And held hir pees; not o word spak she more.

       But now help god to quenchen al this sorwe,
       So hope I that he shal, for he best may;
1060   For I have seyn, of a ful misty morwe
       Folwen ful ofte a mery someres day;
       And after winter folweth grene May.
       Men seen alday, and reden eek in stories,
       That after sharpe shoures been victories.

1065   This Troilus, whan he hir wordes herde,
       Have ye no care, him liste not to slepe;
       For it thoughte him no strokes of a yerde
       To here or seen Criseyde, his lady wepe;
       But wel he felte aboute his herte crepe,
1070   For every teer which that Criseyde asterte,
       The crampe of deeth, to streyne him by the herte.

       And in his minde he gan the tyme acurse
       That he cam there, and that that he was born;
       For now is wikke y-turned in-to worse,
1075   And al that labour he hath doon biforn,
       He wende it lost, he thoughte he nas but lorn.
       `O Pandarus,' thoughte he, `allas! Thy wyle
       Serveth of nought, so weylaway the whyle!'

       And therwithal he heng a-doun the heed,
1080   And fil on knees, and sorwfully he sighte;
       What mighte he seyn? He felte he nas but deed,
       For wrooth was she that shulde his sorwes lighte.
       But nathelees, whan that he speken mighte,
       Than seyde he thus, `God woot, that of this game,
1085   Whan al is wist, than am I not to blame!'

       Ther-with the sorwe so his herte shette,
       That from his eyen fil there not a tere,
       And every spirit his vigour in-knette,
       So they astoned or oppressed were.
1090   The feling of his sorwe, or of his fere,
       Or of ought elles, fled was out of towne;
       And doun he fel al sodeynly a-swowne.

       This was no litel sorwe for to see;
       But al was hust, and Pandare up as faste,
1095   `O nece, pees, or we be lost,' quod he,
       `Beth nought agast;' But certeyn, at the laste,
       For this or that, he in-to bedde him caste,
       And seyde, `O theef, is this a mannes herte?'
       And of he rente al to his bare sherte;

1100   And seyde, `Nece, but ye helpe us now,
       Allas, your owne Troilus is lorn!'
       `Y-wis, so wolde I, and I wiste how,
       Ful fayn,' quod she; `Allas! That I was born!'
       `Ye, nece, wole ye pullen out the thorn
1105   That stiketh in his herte?' quod Pandare;
       `Sey "Al foryeve," and stint is al this fare!'

       `Ye, that to me,' quod she, `ful lever were
       Than al the good the sonne aboute gooth';
       And therwith-al she swoor him in his ere,
1110   `Y-wis, my dere herte, I am nought wrooth,
       Have here my trouthe and many another ooth;
       Now speek to me, for it am I, Cryseyde!'
       But al for nought; yet mighte he not a-breyde.

       Therwith his pous and pawmes of his hondes
1115   They gan to frote, and wete his temples tweyne,
       And, to deliveren him from bittre bondes,
       She ofte him kiste; and, shortly for to seyne,
       Him to revoken she dide al hir peyne.
       And at the laste, he gan his breeth to drawe,
1120   And of his swough sone after that adawe,

       And gan bet minde and reson to him take,
       But wonder sore he was abayst, y-wis.
       And with a syk, whan he gan bet a-wake,
       He seyde, `O mercy, god, what thing is this?'
1125   `Why do ye with your-selven thus amis?'
       Quod tho Criseyde, `Is this a mannes game?
       What, Troilus! Wol ye do thus, for shame?'

       And therwith-al hir arm over him she leyde,
       And al foryaf, and ofte tyme him keste.
1130   He thonked hir, and to hir spak, and seyde
       As fil to purpos for his herte reste.
       And she to that answerde him as hir leste;
       And with hir goodly wordes him disporte
       She gan, and ofte his sorwes to comforte.

1135   Quod Pandarus, `For ought I can espyen,
       This light, nor I ne serven here of nought;
       Light is not good for syke folkes yen.
       But for the love of god, sin ye be brought
       In thus good plyt, lat now non hevy thought
1140   Ben hanginge in the hertes of yow tweye:'
       And bar the candele to the chimeneye.

       Sone after this, though it no nede were,
       Whan she swich othes as hir list devyse
       Hadde of him take, hir thoughte tho no fere,
1145   Ne cause eek non, to bidde him thennes ryse.
       Yet lesse thing than othes may suffyse
       In many a cas; for every wight, I gesse,
       That loveth wel meneth but gentilesse.

       But in effect she wolde wite anoon
1150   Of what man, and eek where, and also why
       He Ielous was, sin ther was cause noon;
       And eek the signe, that he took it by,
       She bad him that to telle hir bisily,
       Or elles, certeyn, she bar him on honde,
1155   That this was doon of malis, hir to fonde.

       With-outen more, shortly for to seyne,
       He moste obeye un-to his lady heste;
       And for the lasse harm, he moste feyne.
       He seyde hir, whan she was at swiche a feste,
1160   She mighte on him han loked at the leste;
       Not I not what, al dere y-nough a risshe,
       As he that nedes moste a cause fisshe.

       And she answerde, `Swete, al were it so,
       What harm was that, sin I non yvel mene?
1165   For, by that god that boughte us bothe two,
       In alle thinge is myn entente clene.
       Swich arguments ne been not worth a bene;
       Wol ye the childish Ialous contrefete?
       Now were it worthy that ye were y-bete.'

1170   Tho Troilus gan sorwfully to syke,
       Lest she be wrooth, him thoughte his herte deyde;
       And seyde, `Allas! Up-on my sorwes syke
       Have mercy, swete herte myn, Cryseyde!
       And if that, in tho wordes that I seyde,
1175   Be any wrong, I wol no more trespace;
       Do what yow list, I am al in your grace.'

       And she answerde, `Of gilt misericorde!
       That is to seyn, that I foryeve al this;
       And ever-more on this night yow recorde,
1180   And beth wel war ye do no more amis.'
       `Nay, dere herte myn,' quod he, `y-wis.'
       `And now,' quod she, `that I have do yow smerte,
       Foryeve it me, myn owene swete herte.'

       This Troilus, with blisse of that supprysed,
1185   Put al in goddes hond, as he that mente
       No-thing but wel; and, sodeynly avysed,
       He hir in armes faste to him hente.
       And Pandarus, with a ful good entente,
       Leyde him to slepe, and seyde, `If ye ben wyse,
1190   Swowneth not now, lest more folk aryse.'

       What mighte or may the sely larke seye,
       Whan that the sperhauk hath it in his foot?
       I can no more, but of thise ilke tweye,
       To whom this tale sucre be or soot,
1195   Though that I tarie a yeer, som-tyme I moot,
       After myn auctor, tellen hir gladnesse,
       As wel as I have told hir hevinesse.

       Criseyde, which that felte hir thus y-take,
       As writen clerkes in hir bokes olde,
1200   Right as an aspes leef she gan to quake,
       Whan she him felte hir in his armes folde.
       But Troilus, al hool of cares colde,
       Gan thanken tho the blisful goddes sevene;
       Thus sondry peynes bringen folk in hevene.

1205   This Troilus in armes gan hir streyne,
       And seyde, `O swete, as ever mote I goon,
       Now be ye caught, now is ther but we tweyne;
       Now yeldeth yow, for other boot is noon.'
       To that Criseyde answerde thus anoon,
1210   `Ne hadde I er now, my swete herte dere,
       Ben yolde, y-wis, I were now not here!'

       O! Sooth is seyd, that heled for to be
       As of a fevre or othere greet syknesse,
       Men moste drinke, as men may often see,
1215   Ful bittre drink; and for to han gladnesse,
       Men drinken often peyne and greet distresse;
       I mene it here, as for this aventure,
       That thourgh a peyne hath founden al his cure.

       And now swetnesse semeth more sweet,
1220   That bitternesse assayed was biforn;
       For out of wo in blisse now they flete;
       Non swich they felten, sith they were born;
       Now is this bet, than bothe two be lorn!
       For love of god, take every womman hede
1225   To werken thus, if it comth to the nede.

       Criseyde, al quit from every drede and tene,
       As she that iuste cause hadde him to triste,
       Made him swich feste, it Ioye was to sene,
       Whan she his trouthe and clene entente wiste.
1230   And as aboute a tree, with many a twiste,
       Bitrent and wryth the sote wode-binde,
       Gan eche of hem in armes other winde.

       And as the newe abaysshed nightingale,
       That stinteth first whan she biginneth to singe,
1235   Whan that she hereth any herde tale,
       Or in the hegges any wight steringe,
       And after siker dooth hir voys out-ringe;
       Right so Criseyde, whan hir drede stente,
       Opned hir herte and tolde him hir entente.

1240   And right as he that seeth his deeth y-shapen,
       And deye moot, in ought that he may gesse,
       And sodeynly rescous doth him escapen,
       And from his deeth is brought in sikernesse,
       For al this world, in swich present gladnesse
1245   Was Troilus, and hath his lady swete;
       With worse hap god lat us never mete!

       Hir armes smale, hir streyghte bak and softe,
       Hir sydes longe, fleshly, smothe, and whyte
       He gan to stroke, and good thrift bad ful ofte
1250   Hir snowish throte, hir brestes rounde and lyte;
       Thus in this hevene he gan him to delyte,
       And ther-with-al a thousand tyme hir kiste;
       That, what to done, for Ioye unnethe he wiste.

       Than seyde he thus, `O, Love, O, Charitee,
1255   Thy moder eek, Citherea the swete,
       After thy-self next heried be she,
       Venus mene I, the wel-willy planete;
       And next that, Imeneus, I thee grete;
       For never man was to yow goddes holde
1260   As I, which ye han brought fro cares colde.

       `Benigne Love, thou holy bond of thinges,
       Who-so wol grace, and list thee nought honouren,
       Lo, his desyr wol flee with-outen winges.
       For, noldestow of bountee hem socouren
1265   That serven best and most alwey labouren,
       Yet were al lost, that dar I wel seyn, certes,
       But-if thy grace passed our desertes.

       `And for thou me, that coude leest deserve
       Of hem that nombred been un-to thy grace,
1270   Hast holpen, ther I lykly was to sterve,
       And me bistowed in so heygh a place
       That thilke boundes may no blisse pace,
       I can no more, but laude and reverence
       Be to thy bounte and thyn excellence!'

1275   And therwith-al Criseyde anoon he kiste,
       Of which, certeyn, she felte no disese,
       And thus seyde he, `Now wolde god I wiste,
       Myn herte swete, how I yow mighte plese!
       What man,' quod he, `was ever thus at ese
1280   As I, on whiche the faireste and the beste
       That ever I say, deyneth hir herte reste.

       `Here may men seen that mercy passeth right;
       The experience of that is felt in me,
       That am unworthy to so swete a wight.
1285   But herte myn, of your benignitee,
       So thenketh, though that I unworthy be,
       Yet mot I nede amenden in som wyse,
       Right thourgh the vertu of your heyghe servyse.

       `And for the love of god, my lady dere,
1290   Sin god hath wrought me for I shal yow serve,
       As thus I mene, that ye wol be my stere,
       To do me live, if that yow liste, or sterve,
       So techeth me how that I may deserve
       Your thank, so that I, thurgh myn ignoraunce,
1295   Ne do no-thing that yow be displesaunce.

       `For certes, fresshe wommanliche wyf,
       This dar I seye, that trouthe and diligence,
       That shal ye finden in me al my lyf,
       Ne wol not, certeyn, breken your defence;
1300   And if I do, present or in absence,
       For love of god, lat slee me with the dede,
       If that it lyke un-to your womanhede.'

       `Y-wis,' quod she, `myn owne hertes list,
       My ground of ese, and al myn herte dere,
1305   Graunt mercy, for on that is al my trist;
       But late us falle awey fro this matere;
       For it suffyseth, this that seyd is here.
       And at o word, with-outen repentaunce,
       Wel-come, my knight, my pees, my suffisaunce!'

1310   Of hir delyt, or Ioyes oon the leste
       Were impossible to my wit to seye;
       But iuggeth, ye that han ben at the feste,
       Of swich gladnesse, if that hem liste pleye!
       I can no more, but thus thise ilke tweye
1315   That night, be-twixen dreed and sikernesse,
       Felten in love the grete worthinesse.

       O blisful night, of hem so longe y-sought,
       How blithe un-to hem bothe two thou were!
       Why ne hadde I swich on with my soule y-bought,
1320   Ye, or the leeste Ioye that was there?
       A-wey, thou foule daunger and thou fere,
       And lat hem in this hevene blisse dwelle,
       That is so heygh, that al ne can I telle!

       But sooth is, though I can not tellen al,
1325   As can myn auctor, of his excellence,
       Yet have I seyd, and, god to-forn, I shal
       In every thing al hoolly his sentence.
       And if that I, at loves reverence,
       Have any word in eched for the beste,
1330   Doth therwith-al right as your-selven leste.

       For myne wordes, here and every part,
       I speke hem alle under correccioun
       Of yow, that feling han in loves art,
       And putte it al in your discrecioun
1335   To encrese or maken diminucioun
       Of my langage, and that I yow bi-seche;
       But now to purpos of my rather speche.

       Thise ilke two, that ben in armes laft,
       So looth to hem a-sonder goon it were,
1340   That ech from other wende been biraft,
       Or elles, lo, this was hir moste fere,
       That al this thing but nyce dremes were;
       For which ful ofte ech of hem seyde, `O swete,
       Clippe ich yow thus, or elles I it mete?'

1345   And, lord! So he gan goodly on hir see,
       That never his look ne bleynte from hir face,
       And seyde, `O dere herte, may it be
       That it be sooth, that ye ben in this place?'
       `Ye, herte myn, god thank I of his grace!'
1350   Quod tho Criseyde, and therwith-al him kiste,
       That where his spirit was, for Ioye he niste.

       This Troilus ful ofte hir eyen two
       Gan for to kisse, and seyde, `O eyen clere,
       It were ye that wroughte me swich wo,
1355   Ye humble nettes of my lady dere!
       Though ther be mercy writen in your chere,
       God wot, the text ful hard is, sooth, to finde,
       How coude ye with-outen bond me binde?'

       Therwith he gan hir faste in armes take,
1360   And wel an hundred tymes gan he syke,
       Nought swiche sorwfull sykes as men make
       For wo, or elles whan that folk ben syke,
       But esy sykes, swiche as been to lyke,
       That shewed his affeccioun with-inne;
1365   Of swiche sykes coude he nought bilinne.

       Sone after this they speke of sondry thinges,
       As fil to purpos of this aventure,
       And pleyinge entrechaungeden hir ringes,
       Of which I can nought tellen no scripture;
1370   But wel I woot, a broche, gold and asure,
       In whiche a ruby set was lyk an herte,
       Criseyde him yaf, and stak it on his sherte.

       Lord! trowe ye, a coveitous, a wreccbe,
       That blameth love and holt of it despyt,
1375   That, of tho pens that he can mokre and kecche,
       Was ever yet y-yeve him swich delyt,
       As is in love, in oo poynt, in som plyt?
       Nay, doutelees, for also god me save,
       So parfit Ioye may no nigard have!

1380   They wol sey `Yis,' but lord! So that they lye,
       Tho bisy wrecches, ful of wo and drede!
       They callen love a woodnesse or folye,
       But it shal falle hem as I shal yow rede;
       They shul forgo the whyte and eke the rede,
1385   And live in wo, ther god yeve hem mischaunce,
       And every lover in his trouthe avaunce!

       As wolde god, tho wrecches, that dispyse
       Servyse of love, hadde eres al-so longe
       As hadde Myda, ful of coveityse,
1390   And ther-to dronken hadde as hoot and stronge
       As Crassus dide for his affectis wronge,
       To techen hem that they ben in the vyce,
       And loveres nought, al-though they holde hem nyce!

       Thise ilke two, of whom that I yow seye,
1395   Whan that hir hertes wel assured were,
       Tho gonne they to speken and to pleye,
       And eek rehercen how, and whanne, and where,
       They knewe hem first, and every wo and fere
       That passed was; but al swich hevinesse,
1400   I thanke it god, was tourned to gladnesse.

       And ever-mo, whan that hem fel to speke
       Of any thing of swich a tyme agoon,
       With kissing al that tale sholde breke,
       And fallen in a newe Ioye anoon,
1405   And diden al hir might, sin they were oon,
       For to recoveren blisse and been at ese,
       And passed wo with Ioye countrepeyse.

       Reson wil not that I speke of sleep,
       For it accordeth nought to my matere;
1410   God woot, they toke of that ful litel keep,
       But lest this night, that was to hem so dere,
       Ne sholde in veyn escape in no manere,
       It was biset in Ioye and bisinesse
       Of al that souneth in-to gentilnesse.

1415   But whan the cok, comune astrologer,
       Gan on his brest to bete, and after crowe,
       And Lucifer, the dayes messager,
       Gan for to ryse, and out hir bemes throwe;
       And estward roos, to him that coude it knowe,
1420   Fortuna maior, than anoon Criseyde,
       With herte sore, to Troilus thus seyde: --

       `Myn hertes lyf, my trist and my plesaunce,
       That I was born, allas! What me is wo,
       That day of us mot make desseveraunce!
1425   For tyme it is to ryse, and hennes go,
       Or elles I am lost for evermo!
       O night, allas! Why niltow over us hove,
       As longe as whanne Almena lay by Iove?

       `O blake night, as folk in bokes rede,
1430   That shapen art by god this world to hyde
       At certeyn tymes with thy derke wede,
       That under that men mighte in reste abyde,
       Wel oughte bestes pleyne, and folk thee chyde,
       That there-as day with labour wolde us breste,
1435   That thou thus fleest, and deynest us nought reste!

       `Thou dost, allas! To shortly thyn offyce,
       Thou rakel night, ther god, makere of kinde,
       Thee, for thyn hast and thyn unkinde vyce,
       So faste ay to our hemi-spere binde.
1440   That never-more under the ground thou winde!
       For now, for thou so hyest out of Troye,
       Have I forgon thus hastily my Ioye!'

       This Troilus, that with tho wordes felte,
       As thoughte him tho, for pietous distresse,
1445   The blody teres from his herte melte,
       As he that never yet swich hevinesse
       Assayed hadde, out of so greet gladnesse,
       Gan therwith-al Criseyde his lady dere
       In armes streyne, and seyde in this manere: --

1450   `O cruel day, accusour of the Ioye
       That night and love han stole and faste y-wryen,
       A-cursed be thy coming in-to Troye,
       For every bore hath oon of thy bright yen!
       Envyous day, what list thee so to spyen?
1455   What hastow lost, why sekestow this place,
       Ther god thy lyght so quenche, for his grace?

       `Allas! What han thise loveres thee agilt,
       Dispitous day? Thyn be the pyne of helle!
       For many a lovere hastow shent, and wilt;
1460   Thy pouring in wol no-wher lete hem dwelle.
       What proferestow thy light here for to selle?
       Go selle it hem that smale seles graven,
       We wol thee nought, us nedeth no day haven.'

       And eek the sonne Tytan gan he chyde,
1465   And seyde, `O fool, wel may men thee dispyse,
       That hast the Dawing al night by thy syde,
       And suffrest hir so sone up fro thee ryse,
       For to disesen loveres in this wyse.
       What! Holde your bed ther, thou, and eek thy Morwe!
1470   I bidde god, so yeve yow bothe sorwe!'

       Therwith ful sore he sighte, and thus he seyde,
       `My lady right, and of my wele or wo
       The welle and rote, O goodly myn, Criseyde,
       And shal I ryse, allas! And shal I go?
1475   Now fele I that myn herte moot a-two!
       For how sholde I my lyf an houre save,
       Sin that with yow is al the lyf I have?

       `What shal I doon, for certes, I not how,
       Ne whanne, allas! I shal the tyme see,
1480   That in this plyt I may be eft with yow;
       And of my lyf, god woot, how that shal be,
       Sin that desyr right now so byteth me,
       That I am deed anoon, but I retourne.
       How sholde I longe, allas! Fro yow soiourne?

1485   `But nathelees, myn owene lady bright,
       Yit were it so that I wiste outrely,
       That I, your humble servaunt and your knight,
       Were in your herte set so fermely
       As ye in myn, the which thing, trewely,
1490   Me lever were than thise worldes tweyne,
       Yet sholde I bet enduren al my peyne.'

       To that Cryseyde answerde right anoon,
       And with a syk she seyde, `O herte dere,
       The game, y-wis, so ferforth now is goon,
1495   That first shal Phebus falle fro his spere,
       And every egle been the dowves fere,
       And every roche out of his place sterte,
       Er Troilus out of Criseydes herte!

       `Ye he so depe in-with myn herte grave,
1500   That, though I wolde it turne out of my thought,
       As wisly verray god my soule save,
       To dyen in the peyne, I coude nought!
       And, for the love of god that us bath wrought,
       Lat in your brayn non other fantasye
1505   So crepe, that it cause me to dye!

       `And that ye me wolde han as faste in minde
       As I have yow, that wolde I yow bi-seche;
       And, if I wiste soothly that to finde,
       God mighte not a poynt my Ioyes eche!
1510   But, herte myn, with-oute more speche,
       Beth to me trewe, or elles were it routhe;
       For I am thyn, by god and by my trouthe!

       `Beth glad for-thy, and live in sikernesse;
       Thus seyde I never er this, ne shal to mo;
1515   And if to yow it were a gret gladnesse
       To turne ayein, soone after that ye go,
       As fayn wolde I as ye, it were so,
       As wisly god myn herte bringe at reste!'
       And him in armes took, and ofte keste.

1520   Agayns his wil, sin it mot nedes be,
       This Troilus up roos, and faste him cledde,
       And in his armes took his lady free
       An hundred tyme, and on his wey him spedde,
       And with swich wordes as his herte bledde,
1525   He seyde, `Farewel, mr dere herte swete,
       Ther god us graunte sounde and sone to mete!'

       To which no word for sorwe she answerde,
       So sore gan his parting hir destreyne;
       And Troilus un-to his palays ferde,
1530   As woo bigon as she was, sooth to seyne;
       So hard him wrong of sharp desyr the peyne
       For to ben eft there he was in plesaunce,
       That it may never out of his remembraunce.

     Retorned to his real palais, sone
1535   He softe in-to his bed gan for to slinke,
       To slepe longe, as he was wont to done,
       But al for nought; he may wel ligge and winke,
       But sleep ne may ther in his herte sinke;
       Thenkinge how she, for whom desyr him brende,
1540   A thousand-fold was worth more than he wende.

       And in his thought gan up and doun to winde
       Hir wordes alle, and every countenaunce,
       And fermely impressen in his minde
       The leste poynt that to him was plesaunce;
1545   And verrayliche, of thilke remembraunce,
       Desyr al newe him brende, and lust to brede
       Gan more than erst, and yet took he non hede.

       Criseyde also, right in the same wyse,
       Of Troilus gan in hir herte shette
1550   His worthinesse, his lust, his dedes wyse,
       His gentilesse, and how she with him mette,
       Thonkinge love he so wel hir bisette;
       Desyring eft to have hir herte dere
       In swich a plyt, she dorste make him chere.

1555   Pandare, a-morwe which that comen was
       Un-to his nece, and gan hir fayre grete,
       Seyde, `Al this night so reyned it, allas!
       That al my drede is that ye, nece swete,
       Han litel layser had to slepe and mete;
1560   Al night,' quod he, `hath reyn so do me wake,
       That som of us, I trowe, hir hedes ake.'

       And ner he com, and seyde, `How stont it now
       This mery morwe, nece, how can ye fare?'
       Criseyde answerde, `Never the bet for yow,
1565   Fox that ye been, god yeve youre herte care!
       God help me so, ye caused al this fare,
       Trow I,' quod she, `for alle your wordes whyte;
       O! Who-so seeth yow knoweth yow ful lyte!'

       With that she gan hir face for to wrye
1570   With the shete, and wex for shame al reed;
       And Pandarus gan under for to prye,
       And seyde, `Nece, if that I shal be deed,
       Have here a swerd, and smyteth of myn heed.'
       With that his arm al sodeynly he thriste
1575   Under hir nekke, and at the laste hir kiste.

       I passe al that which chargeth nought to seye,
       What! God foryaf his deeth, and she al-so
       Foryaf, and with hir uncle gan to pleye,
       For other cause was ther noon than so.
1580   But of this thing right to the effect to go,
       Whan tyme was, hom til hir hous she wente,
       And Pandarus hath fully his entente.

Pandare gives Troilus  a  'Boethian' warning:

     `My dere frend, if I have doon for thee
       In any cas, god wot, it is me leef;
1620   And am as glad as man may of it be,
       God help me so; but tak now a-greef
       That I shal seyn, be war of this myscheef,
       That, there-as thou now brought art in-to blisse,
       That thou thy-self ne cause it nought to misse.

1625   `For of fortunes sharpe adversitee
       The worst kinde of infortune is this,
       A man to have ben in prosperitee,
       And it remembren, whan it passed is.
       Thou art wys y-nough, for-thy do nought amis;
       Be not to rakel, though thou sitte warme,
1631   For if thou be, certeyn, it wol thee harme.

       `Thou art at ese, and holde the wel ther-inne.
       For also seur as reed is every fyr,
       As greet a craft is kepe wel as winne;
1635   Brydle alwey wel thy speche and thy desyr,
       For worldly Ioye halt not but by a wyr;
       That preveth wel, it brest alday so ofte;
       For-thy nede is to werke with it softe.'

       Quod Troilus, `I hope, and god to-forn,
1640   My dere frend, that I shal so me bere,
       That in my gilt ther shal no thing be lorn,
       Ne I nil not rakle as for to greven here;
       It nedeth not this matere ofte tere;
       For wistestow myn herte wel, Pandare,
1645   God woot, of this thou woldest litel care.'

Soon after, they are able to meet again in the same place. They are forced to part when morning comes, but after that they often meet and sleep together. Troilus is very happy, and full of courage.

 In suffisaunce, in blisse, and in singinges,
       This Troilus gan al his lyf to lede;
       He spendeth, Iusteth, maketh festeynges;
       He yeveth frely ofte, and chaungeth wede,
1720   And held aboute him alwey, out of drede,
       A world of folk, as cam him wel of kinde,
       The fressheste and the beste he coude fynde;

       That swich a voys was of hym and a stevene
       Thorugh-out the world, of honour and largesse,
1725   That it up rong un-to the yate of hevene.
       And, as in love, he was in swich gladnesse,
       That in his herte he demede, as I gesse,
       That there nis lovere in this world at ese
       So wel as he, and thus gan love him plese.

1730   The godlihede or beautee which that kinde
       In any other lady hadde y-set
       Can not the mountaunce of a knot unbinde,
       A-boute his herte, of al Criseydes net.
       He was so narwe y-masked and y-knet,
1735   That it undon on any manere syde,
       That nil not been, for ought that may betyde.

       And by the hond ful ofte he wolde take
       This Pandarus, and in-to gardin lede,
       And swich a feste and swich a proces make
1740   Him of Criseyde, and of hir womanhede,
       And of hir beautee, that, with-outen drede,
       It was an hevene his wordes for to here;
       And thanne he wolde singe in this manere.

       `Love, that of erthe and see hath governaunce,
1745   Love, that his hestes hath in hevene hye,
       Love, that with an holsom alliaunce
       Halt peples ioyned, as him list hem gye,
       Love, that knetteth lawe of companye,
       And couples doth in vertu for to dwelle,
1750   Bind this acord, that I have told and telle;

       `That that the world with feyth, which that is stable,
       Dyverseth so his stoundes concordinge,
       That elements that been so discordable
       Holden a bond perpetuely duringe,
1755   That Phebus mote his rosy day forth bringe,
       And that the mone hath lordship over the nightes,
       Al this doth Love; ay heried be his mightes!

       `That, that the see, that gredy is to flowen,
       Constreyneth to a certeyn ende so
1760   His flodes, that so fersly they ne growen
       To drenchen erthe and al for ever-mo;
       And if that Love ought lete his brydel go,
       Al that now loveth a-sonder sholde lepe,
       And lost were al, that Love halt now to-hepe.

1765   `So wolde god, that auctor is of kinde,
       That, with his bond, Love of his vertu liste
       To cerclen hertes alle, and faste binde,
       That from his bond no wight the wey out wiste.
       And hertes colde, hem wolde I that he twiste
1770   To make hem love, and that hem leste ay rewe
       On hertes sore, and kepe hem that ben trewe.'

   In alle nedes, for the tounes werre,
       He was, and ay the firste in armes dight;
       And certeynly, but-if that bokes erre,
1775   Save Ector, most y-drad of any wight;
       And this encrees of hardinesse and might
       Cam him of love, his ladies thank to winne,
       That altered his spirit so with-inne.

       In tyme of trewe, on haukinge wolde he ryde,
1780   Or elles hunten boor, bere, or lyoun;
       The smale bestes leet he gon bi-syde.
       And whan that he com rydinge in-to toun,
       Ful ofte his lady, from hir window doun,
       As fresh as faucon comen out of muwe,
1785   Ful redy was, him goodly to saluwe.

       And most of love and vertu was his speche,
       And in despyt hadde alle wrecchednesse;
       And doutelees, no nede was him biseche
       To honouren hem that hadde worthinesse,
1790   And esen hem that weren in distresse.
       And glad was he if any wight wel ferde,
       That lover was, whan he it wiste or herde.

       For sooth to seyn, he lost held every wight
       But-if he were in loves heigh servyse,
1795   I mene folk that oughte it been of right.
       And over al this, so wel coude he devyse
       Of sentement, and in so unkouth wyse
       Al his array, that every lover thoughte,
       That al was wel, what-so he seyde or wroughte.

1800   And though that he be come of blood royal,
       Him liste of pryde at no wight for to chase;
       Benigne he was to ech in general,
       For which he gat him thank in every place.
       Thus wolde love, y-heried be his grace,
1805   That Pryde, Envye, Ire, and Avaryce
       He gan to flee, and every other vyce.

       Thou lady bright, the doughter to Dione,
       Thy blinde and winged sone eek, daun Cupyde;
       Ye sustren nyne eek, that by Elicone
1810   In hil Parnaso listen for to abyde,
       That ye thus fer han deyned me to gyde,
       I can no more, but sin that ye wol wende,
       Ye heried been for ay, with-outen ende!

       Thourgh yow have I seyd fully in my song
1815   Theffect and Ioye of Troilus servyse,
       Al be that ther was som disese among,
       As to myn auctor listeth to devyse.
       My thridde book now ende ich in this wyse;
       And Troilus in luste and in quiete
1820   Is with Criseyde, his owne herte swete.

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