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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
`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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
`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
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,'
`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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
Proemium to Book 3
1 O blisful light of whiche the bemes
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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,'
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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