Legends and Sagas
The Canterbury Tales and Other Works of Chaucer (Middle English), by Geoffery Chaucer, [14th cent.], at sacred-texts.com
Troilus and Criseyde
Book 3 O blisful light of which the bemes clere
Adorneth al the thridde heven faire!
O sonnes lief, O Joves doughter deere,
Plesance of love, O goodly debonaire,
In gentil hertes ay redy to repaire!
O veray cause of heele and of gladnesse,
Iheryed be thy myght and thi goodnesse!
In hevene and helle, in erthe and salte see
Is felt thi myght, if that I wel descerne,
10 As man, brid, best, fissh, 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
Withouten love is worth, or may endure.
Ye Joves first to thilke effectes glade,
Thorugh which that thynges lyven alle and be,
Comeveden, and amorous him made
On mortal thyng, and as yow list, ay ye
Yeve hym in love ese or adversitee,
20 And in a thousand formes down hym sente
For love in erthe, and whom yow liste he hente.
Ye fierse Mars apaisen of his ire,
And as yow list, ye maken hertes digne;
Algates hem that ye wol sette a-fyre,
They dreden shame, and vices they resygne;
Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne;
And heighe or lowe, after a wight entendeth,
The joies that he hath, youre myght it sendeth.
Ye holden regne and hous in unitee;
30 Ye sothfast cause of frendship ben also;
Ye knowe al thilke covered qualitee
Of thynges, which that folk on wondren so,
Whan they kan nought construe how it may jo
She loveth hym, or whi he loveth here,
As whi this fissh, and naught that, comth to were.
Ye folk a lawe han set in universe,
And this knowe I by hem that lovers be,
That whoso stryveth with yow hath the werse.
Now, lady bryght, for thi benignite,
40 At reverence of hem that serven the,
Whos clerc I am, so techeth me devyse
Som joye of that is felt in thi servyse.
Ye in my naked herte sentement
Inhielde, and do me shewe of thy swetnesse.
Caliope, thi vois be now present,
For now is nede: sestow nought my destresse,
How I mot telle anonright the gladnesse
Of Troilus, to Venus heryinge?
To which gladnesse, who nede hath, God hym brynge!
50 Lay al this mene while Troilus,
Recordyng his lesson in this manere:
"Mafay," thoughte he, "thus wol I sey, and thus;
Thus wol I pleyne unto my lady dere;
That word is good, and this shal be my cheere;
This nyl I nought foryeten in no wise."
God leve hym werken as he kan devyse!
And, Lord, so that his herte gan to quappe,
Heryng hire come, and shorte for to sike!
And Pandarus, that ledde hire by the lappe,
60 Com ner, and gan in at the curtyn pike,
And seyde, "God do boot on alle syke!
Se who is here yow comen to visite:
Lo, here is she that is youre deth to wite."
Therwith it semed as he wepte almost.
"Ha, a," quod Troilus so reufully,
"Wher me be wo, O myghty God, thow woost!
Who is al ther? I se nought trewely."
"Sire," quod Criseyde, "it is Pandare and I."
"Ye, swete herte? Allas, I may nought rise,
70 To knele and do yow honour in som wyse."
And dressed hym upward, and she right tho
Gan bothe hire hondes softe upon hym leye.
"O, for the love of God, do ye nought so
To me," quod she, "I! What is this to seye?
Sire, comen am I to yow for causes tweye:
First, yow to thonke, and of youre lordshipe eke
Continuance I wolde yow biseke."
This Troilus, that herde his lady preye
Of lordshipe hym, wax neither quyk ne ded,
80 Ne myghte o word for shame to it seye,
Although men sholde smyten of his hed.
But Lord, so he wex sodeynliche red,
And sire, his lessoun, that he wende konne
To preyen hire, is thorugh his wit ironne.
Criseyde al this aspied wel ynough,
For she was wis, and loved hym nevere the lasse,
Al nere he malapert, or made it tough,
Or was to bold, to synge a fool a masse.
But whan his shame gan somwhat to passe,
90 His resons, as I may my rymes holde,
I yow wol telle, as techen bokes olde.
In chaunged vois, right for his verray drede,
Which vois ek quook, and therto his manere
Goodly abaist, and now his hewes rede,
Now pale, unto Criseyde, his lady dere,
With look down cast and humble iyolden chere,
Lo, the alderfirste word that hym asterte
Was, twyes, "Mercy, mercy, swete herte!"
And stynte a while, and whan he myghte out brynge,
100 The nexte word was, "God woot, for I have,
As ferforthly as I have had konnynge,
Ben youres al, God so my soule save,
And shal til that I, woful wight, be grave!
And though I dar, ne kan, unto yow pleyne,
Iwis, I suffre nought the lasse peyne.
"Thus muche as now, O wommanliche wif,
I may out brynge, and if this yow displese,
That shal I wreke upon myn owen lif
Right soone, I trowe, and do youre herte an ese,
110 If with my deth youre wreththe may apese.
But syn that ye han herd me somwhat seye,
Now recche I nevere how soone that I deye."
Therwith his manly sorwe to biholde
It myghte han mad an herte of stoon to rewe;
And Pandare wep as he to water wolde,
And poked evere his nece new and newe,
And seyde, "Wo bygon ben hertes trewe!
For love of God, make of this thing an ende,
Or sle us both at ones er ye wende."
120 "I, what?" quod she, "by God and by my trouthe,
I not nat what ye wilne that I seye."
"I, what?" quod he, "That ye han on hym routhe,
For Goddes love, and doth hym nought to deye!"
"Now than thus," quod she, "I wolde hym preye
To telle me the fyn of his entente.
Yet wist I nevere wel what that he mente."
"What that I mene, O swete herte deere?"
Quod Troilus, "O goodly, fresshe free,
That with the stremes of youre eyen cleere
130 Ye wolde somtyme frendly on me see,
And thanne agreen that I may ben he,
Withouten braunche of vice on any wise,
In trouthe alwey to don yow my servise,
"As to my lady right and chief resort,
With al my wit and al my diligence;
And I to han, right as yow list, comfort,
Under yowre yerde, egal to myn offence,
As deth, if that I breke youre defence;
And that ye deigne me so muchel honoure
140 Me to comanden aught in any houre;
"And I to ben youre -- verray, humble, trewe,
Secret, and in my paynes pacient,
And evere mo desiren fresshly newe
To serve, and ben ylike diligent,
And with good herte al holly youre talent
Receyven wel, how sore that me smerte;
Lo, this mene I, myn owen swete herte."
Quod Pandarus, "Lo, here an hard requeste,
And resonable, a lady for to werne!
150 Now, nece myn, by natal Joves feste,
Were I a god, ye sholden sterve as yerne,
That heren wel this man wol nothing yerne
But youre honour, and sen hym almost sterve,
And ben so loth to suffren hym yow serve."
With that she gan hire eyen on hym caste
Ful esily and ful debonairly,
Avysyng hire, and hied nought to faste
With nevere a word, but seyde hym softely,
"Myn honour sauf, I wol wel trewely,
160 And in swich forme as he gan now devyse,
Receyven hym fully to my servyse,
"Bysechyng hym, for Goddes love, that he
Wolde, in honour of trouthe and gentilesse,
As I wel mene, ek menen wel to me,
And myn honour with wit and bisynesse
Ay kepe; and if I may don hym gladnesse,
From hennesforth, iwys, I nyl nought feyne.
Now beth al hool; no lenger ye ne pleyne.
"But natheles, this warne I yow," quod she,
170 "A kynges sone although ye be, ywys,
Ye shal namore han sovereignete
Of me in love, than right in that cas is.
N' y nyl forbere, if that ye don amys,
To wratthe yow; and whil that ye me serve,
Chericen yow right after ye disserve.
"And shortly, deere herte and al my knyght,
Beth glad, and draweth yow to lustinesse,
And I shal trewely, with al my myght,
Youre bittre tornen al into swetenesse.
180 If I be she that may yow do gladnesse,
For every wo ye shal recovere a blisse" --
And hym in armes took, and gan hym kisse.
Fil Pandarus on knees, and up his eyen
To heven threw, and held his hondes highe:
"Immortal god," quod he, "that mayst nought deyen,
Cupide I mene, of this mayst glorifie;
And Venus, thow mayst maken melodie!
Withouten hond, me semeth that in the towne,
For this merveille ich here ech belle sowne.
190 "But ho! namore as now of this matere;
For-whi this folk wol comen up anon,
That han the lettre red; lo, I hem here.
But I conjure the, Criseyde, anon,
And to, thow Troilus, whan thow mayst goon,
That at myn hous ye ben at my warnynge,
For I ful well shal shape youre comynge;
"And eseth there youre hertes right ynough;
And lat se which of yow shal bere the belle
To speke of love aright!" -- therwith he lough --
200 "For ther have ye a leiser for to telle."
Quod Troilus, "How longe shal I dwelle,
Er this be don?" Quod he, "Whan thow mayst ryse,
This thyng shal be right as I yow devyse."
With that Eleyne and also Deiphebus
Tho comen upward, right at the steires ende;
And Lord, so thanne gan gronen Troilus,
His brother and his suster for to blende.
Quod Pandarus, "It tyme is that we wende.
Tak, nece myn, youre leve at alle thre,
210 And lat hem speke, and cometh forth with me."
She took hire leve at hem ful thriftily,
As she wel koude, and they hire reverence
Unto the fulle diden, hardyly,
And wonder wel speken, in hire absence,
Of hire in preysing of hire excellence --
Hire governaunce, hire wit, and hire manere
Comendeden, it joie was to here.
Now lat hire wende unto hire owen place,
And torne we to Troilus ayein,
220 That gan ful lightly of the lettre pace
That Deiphebus hadde in the gardyn seyn;
And of Eleyne and hym he wolde feyn
Delivered ben, and seyde that hym leste
To slepe, and after tales have reste.
Eleyne hym kiste, and took hire leve blyve,
Deiphebus ek, and hom wente every wight;
And Pandarus, as faste as he may dryve,
To Troilus tho com, as lyne right,
And on a paillet al that glade nyght
230 By Troilus he lay, with mery chere,
To tale; and wel was hem they were yfeere.
Whan every wight was voided but they two,
And alle the dores weren faste yshette,
To telle in short, withouten wordes mo,
This Pandarus, withouten any lette,
Up roos, and on his beddes syde hym sette,
And gan to speken in a sobre wyse
To Troilus, as I shal yow devyse:
"Myn alderlevest lord, and brother deere,
240 God woot, and thow, that it sat me so soore,
Whan I the saugh so langwisshyng to-yere
For love, of which thi wo wax alwey moore,
That I, with al my myght and al my loore,
Have evere sithen don my bisynesse
To brynge the to joye out of distresse,
"And have it brought to swich plit as thow woost,
So that thorugh me thow stondest now in weye
To faren wel; I sey it for no bost,
And wostow whi? For shame it is to seye:
250 For the have I bigonne a gamen pleye
Which that I nevere do shal eft for other,
Although he were a thousand fold my brother.
"That is to seye, for the am I bicomen,
Bitwixen game and ernest, swich a meene
As maken wommen unto men to comen;
Al sey I nought, thow wost wel what I meene.
For the have I my nece, of vices cleene,
So fully maad thi gentilesse triste,
That al shal ben right as thiselven liste.
260 "But God, that al woot, take I to witnesse,
That nevere I this for coveitise wroughte,
But oonly for t' abregge that distresse
For which wel neigh thow deidest, as me thoughte.
But, goode brother, do now as the oughte,
For Goddes love, and kep hire out of blame,
Syn thow art wys, and save alwey hire name.
"For wel thow woost, the name as yet of here
Among the peeple, as who seyth, halwed is.
For that man is unbore, I dar wel swere,
270 That evere wiste that she dide amys.
But wo is me, that I, that cause al this,
May thynken that she is my nece deere,
And I hire em, and traitour ek yfeere!
"And were it wist that I, thorugh myn engyn,
Hadde in my nece yput this fantasie,
To doon thi lust and holly to ben thyn,
Whi, al the world upon it wolde crie,
And seyn that I the werste trecherie
Dide in this cas, that evere was bigonne,
280 And she forlost, and thow right nought ywonne.
"Wherfore, er I wol ferther gon a pas,
The preie ich eft, althogh thow shuldest deye,
That privete go with us in this cas;
That is to seyn, that thow us nevere wreye;
And be nought wroth, though I the ofte preye
To holden secree swich an heigh matere,
For skilfull is, thow woost wel, my praiere.
"And thynk what wo ther hath bitid er this,
For makyng of avantes, as men rede;
290 And what meschaunce in this world yet ther is,
Fro day to day, right for that wikked dede;
For which thise wise clerkes that ben dede
Han evere yet proverbed to us yonge,
That `firste vertu is to kepe tonge.'
"And nere it that I wilne as now t' abregge
Diffusioun of speche, I koude almoost
A thousand olde stories the allegge
Of wommen lost through fals and foles bost.
Proverbes kanst thiself ynowe and woost
300 Ayeins that vice, for to ben a labbe,
Al seyde men soth as often as thei gabbe.
"O tonge, allas, so often here-byforn
Hath mad ful many a lady bright of hewe
Seyd `Weilaway, the day that I was born!'
And many a maydes sorwe for to newe;
And for the more part, al is untrewe
That men of yelpe, and it were brought to preve.
Of kynde non avauntour is to leve.
"Avauntour and a lyere, al is on;
310 As thus: I pose, a womman grante me
Hire love, and seith that other wol she non,
And I am sworn to holden it secree,
And after I go telle it two or thre --
Iwis, I am avauntour at the leeste,
And lyere, for I breke my biheste.
"Now loke thanne, if they be nought to blame,
Swich manere folk -- what shal I clepe hem, what? --
That hem avaunte of wommen, and by name,
That nevere yet bihyghte hem this ne that,
320 Ne knewe hem more than myn olde hat!
No wonder is, so God me sende hele,
Though wommen dreden with us men to dele.
"I sey nought this for no mistrust of yow,
Ne for no wis-man, but for foles nyce,
And for the harm that in the werld is now,
As wel for folie ofte as for malice;
For wel woot I, in wise folk that vice
No womman drat, if she be wel avised;
For wyse ben by foles harm chastised.
330 "But now to purpos; leve brother deere,
Have al this thyng that I have seyd in mynde,
And kep the clos, and be now of good cheere,
For at thi day thow shalt me trewe fynde.
I shal thi proces set in swych a kynde,
And God toforn, that it shal the suffise,
For it shal be right as thow wolt devyse.
"For wel I woot, thow menest wel, parde;
Therfore I dar this fully undertake.
Thow woost ek what thi lady graunted the,
340 And day is set the chartres up to make.
Have now good nyght, I may no lenger wake;
And bid for me, syn thow art now in blysse,
That God me sende deth or soone lisse."
Who myghte tellen half the joie or feste
Which that the soule of Troilus tho felte,
Heryng th' effect of Pandarus byheste?
His olde wo, that made his herte swelte,
Gan tho for joie wasten and tomelte,
And al the richesse of his sikes sore
350 At ones fledde; he felte of hem namore.
But right so as thise holtes and thise hayis,
That han in wynter dede ben and dreye,
Revesten hem in grene whan that May is,
Whan every lusty liketh best to pleye;
Right in that selve wise, soth to seye,
Wax sodeynliche his herte ful of joie,
That gladder was ther nevere man in Troie.
And gan his look on Pandarus up caste
Ful sobrely, and frendly for to se,
360 And seyde, "Frend, in Aperil the laste --
As wel thow woost, if it remembre the --
How neigh the deth for wo thow fownde me,
And how thow dedest al thi bisynesse
To knowe of me the cause of my destresse.
"Thow woost how longe ich it forbar to seye
To the, that art the man that I best triste;
And peril non was it to the bywreye,
That wist I wel; but telle me, if the liste,
Sith I so loth was that thiself it wiste,
370 How dorst I mo tellen of this matere,
That quake now, and no wight may us here?
"But natheles, by that God I the swere,
That, as hym list, may al this world governe --
And, if I lye, Achilles with his spere
Myn herte cleve, al were my lif eterne,
As I am mortal, if I late or yerne
Wolde it bewreye, or dorst, or sholde konne,
For al the good that God made under sonne --
"That rather deye I wolde, and determyne,
380 As thynketh me, now stokked in prisoun,
In wrecchidnesse, in filthe, and in vermyne,
Caytif to cruel kyng Agamenoun;
And this in all the temples of this town
Upon the goddes alle, I wol the swere
To-morwe day, if that it liketh here.
"And that thow hast so muche ido for me
That I ne may it nevere more disserve,
This know I wel, al myghte I now for the
A thousand tymes on a morwe sterve.
390 I kan namore, but that I wol the serve
Right as thi sclave, whider so thow wende,
For evere more, unto my lyves ende.
"But here, with al myn herte, I the biseche
That nevere in me thow deme swich folie
As I shal seyn: me thoughte by thi speche
That this which thow me dost for compaignie,
I sholde wene it were a bauderye.
I am nought wood, al if I lewed be!
It is nought so, that woot I wel, parde!
400 "But he that gooth for gold or for ricchesse
On swich message, calle hym what the list;
And this that thow doost, calle it gentilesse,
Compassioun, and felawship, and trist.
Departe it so, for wyde-wher is wist
How that ther is diversite requered
Bytwixen thynges like, as I have lered.
"And that thow knowe I thynke nought ne wene
That this servise a shame be or jape,
I have my faire suster Polixene,
410 Cassandre, Eleyne, or any of the frape --
Be she nevere so fair or wel yshape,
Tel me which thow wilt of everychone,
To han for thyn, and lat me thanne allone.
"But, sith thow hast don me this servyse
My lif to save and for non hope of mede,
So for the love of God, this grete emprise
Perfourme it out, for now is moste nede;
For heigh and lough, withowten any drede,
I wol alwey thyn hestes alle kepe.
420 Have now good nyght, and lat us bothe slepe."
Thus held hym ech of other wel apayed,
That al the world ne myghte it bet amende;
And on the morwe, whan they were arayed,
Ech to his owen nedes gan entende.
But Troilus, though as the fir he brende
For sharp desir of hope and of plesaunce,
He nought forgat his goode governaunce,
But in hymself with manhod gan restreyne
Ech racle dede and ech unbridled cheere,
430 That alle tho that lyven, soth to seyne,
Ne sholde han wist, by word or by manere,
What that he mente, as touchyng this matere.
From every wight as fer as is the cloude
He was, so wel dissimilen he koude.
And al the while which that I yow devyse,
This was his lif: with all his fulle myght,
By day, he was in Martes heigh servyse --
This is to seyn, in armes as a knyght;
And for the more part, the longe nyght
440 He lay and thoughte how that he myghte serve
His lady best, hire thonk for to deserve.
Nil I naught swere, although he lay ful softe,
That in his thought he nas somwhat disesed,
Ne that he torned on his pilwes ofte,
And wold of that hym missed han ben sesed.
But in swich cas men is nought alwey plesed,
For aught I woot, namore than was he;
That kan I deme of possibilitee.
But certeyn is, to purpos for to go,
450 That in this while, as writen is in geeste,
He say his lady somtyme, and also
She with hym spak, whan that she dorst or leste;
And by hire bothe avys, as was the beste,
Apoynteden full warly in this nede,
So as they durste, how they wolde procede.
But it was spoken in so short a wise,
In swich await alwey, and in swich feere,
Lest any wight devynen or devyse
Wolde of hem two, or to it laye an ere,
460 That al this world so leef to hem ne were
As that Cupide wolde hem grace sende
To maken of hire speche aright an ende.
But thilke litel that they spake or wroughte,
His wise goost took ay of al swych heede,
It semed hire he wiste what she thoughte
Withouten word, so that it was no nede
To bidde hym ought to doon, or ought forbeede;
For which she thought that love, al come it late,
Of alle joie hadde opned hire 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, er she lette,
She thonked God that evere she with hym mette.
So koude he hym governe in swich servyse,
That al the world ne myght it bet devyse.
For whi she fond hym so discret in al,
So secret, and of swich obeisaunce,
That wel she felte he was to hire a wal
480 Of stiel, and sheld from every displesaunce;
That to ben in his goode governaunce,
So wis he was, she was namore afered --
I mene, as fer as oughte ben requered.
And Pandarus, to quike alwey the fir,
Was evere ylike prest and diligent;
To ese his frend was set al his desir.
He shof ay on, he to and fro was sent;
He lettres bar whan Troilus was absent;
That nevere man, as in his frendes nede,
490 Ne bar hym bet than he, withouten drede.
But now, paraunter, som man wayten wolde
That every word, or soonde, or look, or cheere
Of Troilus that I rehercen sholde,
In al this while unto his lady deere --
I trowe it were a long thyng for to here --
Or of what wight that stant in swich disjoynte,
His wordes alle, or every look, to poynte.
For sothe, I have naught herd it don er this
In story non, ne no man here, I wene;
500 And though I wolde, I koude nought, ywys;
For ther was som epistel hem bitwene,
That wolde, as seyth myn autour, wel contene
Neigh half this book, of which hym liste nought write.
How sholde I thanne a lyne of it endite?
But to the grete effect: than sey I thus,
That stondyng in concord and in quiete,
Thise ilke two, Criseyde and Troilus,
As I have told, and in this tyme swete --
Save only often myghte they nought mete,
510 Ne leiser have hire speches to fulfelle --
That it bifel right as I shal yow telle:
That Pandarus, that evere dide his myght
Right for the fyn that I shal speke of here,
As for to bryngen to his hows som nyght
His faire nece and Troilus yfere,
Wheras at leiser al this heighe matere,
Touchyng here love, were at the fulle upbounde,
Hadde out of doute a tyme to it founde.
For he with gret deliberacioun
520 Hadde every thyng that herto myght availle
Forncast and put in execucioun,
And neither left for cost ne for travaille.
Come if hem list, hem sholde no thyng faille;
And for to ben in ought aspied there,
That, wiste he wel, an impossible were.
Dredeles, it cler was in the wynd
Of every pie and every lette-game;
Now al is wel, for al the world is blynd
In this matere, bothe fremde and tame.
530 This tymbur is al redy up to frame;
Us lakketh nought but that we witen wolde
A certeyn houre, in which she comen sholde.
And Troilus, that al this purveiaunce
Knew at the fulle, and waited on it ay,
Hadde hereupon ek mad gret ordinaunce,
And found his cause, and therto his aray,
If that he were missed, nyght or day,
Ther-while he was aboute this servyse,
That he was gon to don his sacrifise,
540 And moste at swich a temple allone wake,
Answered of Apollo for to be;
And first to sen the holy laurer quake,
Er that Apollo spak out of the tree,
To telle hym next whan Grekes sholde flee --
And forthy lette hym no man, God forbede,
But prey Apollo helpen in this nede.
Now is ther litel more for to doone,
But Pandare up and, shortly for to seyne,
Right sone upon the chaungynge of the moone,
550 Whan lightles is the world a nyght or tweyne,
And that the wolken shop hym for to reyne,
He streght o morwe unto his nece wente --
Ye han wel herd the fyn of his entente.
Whan he was com, he gan anon to pleye
As he was wont, and of hymself to jape;
And finaly he swor and gan hire seye,
By this and that, she sholde hym nought escape,
Ne lenger don hym after hire to cape;
But certeynly she moste, by hire leve,
560 Come soupen in his hous with hym at eve.
At which she lough, and gan hire faste excuse,
And seyde, "It reyneth. lo, how sholde I gon?"
"Lat be," quod he, "ne stant nought thus to muse.
This moot be don! Ye shal be ther anon."
So at the laste herof they fille aton,
Or elles, softe he swor hire in hire ere,
He nolde nevere comen ther she were.
Soone after this, she to hym gan to rowne,
And axed hym if Troilus were there.
570 He swor hire nay, for he was out of towne,
And seyde, "Nece, I pose that he were;
Yow thurste nevere han the more fere;
For rather than men myghte hym ther aspie,
Me were levere a thousand fold to dye."
Nought list myn auctour fully to declare
What that she thoughte whan he seyde so,
That Troilus was out of towne yfare,
As if he seyde therof soth or no;
But that, withowten await, with hym to go,
580 She graunted hym, sith he hire that bisoughte,
And, as his nece, obeyed as hire oughte.
But natheles, yet gan she hym biseche,
Although with hym to gon it was no fere,
For to ben war of goosissh poeples speche,
That dremen thynges whiche as nevere were,
And wel avyse hym whom he broughte there;
And seyde hym, "Em, syn I moste on yow triste,
Loke al be wel, and do now as yow liste."
He swor hire yis, by stokkes and by stones,
590 And by the goddes that in hevene dwelle,
Or elles were hym levere, soule and bones,
With Pluto kyng as depe ben in helle
As Tantalus -- what sholde I more telle?
Whan al was wel, he roos and took his leve,
And she to soper com, whan it was eve,
With a certein of hire owen men,
And with hire faire nece Antigone,
And other of hire wommen nyne or ten.
But who was glad now, who, as trowe ye,
600 But Troilus, that stood and myght it se
Thorughout a litel wyndow in a stewe,
Ther he bishet syn mydnyght was in mewe,
Unwist of every wight but of Pandare?
But to the point: now whan that she was come,
With alle joie and alle frendes fare
Hire em anon in armes hath hire nome,
And after to the soper, alle and some,
Whan tyme was, ful softe they hem sette.
God woot, ther was no deynte for to fette!
610 And after soper gonnen they to rise,
At ese wel, with herte fresshe and glade;
And wel was hym that koude best devyse
To liken hire, or that hire laughen made:
He song; she pleyde; he tolde tale of Wade.
But at the laste, as every thyng hath ende,
She took hire leve, and nedes wolde wende.
But O Fortune, executrice of wierdes,
O influences of thise hevenes hye!
Soth is, that under God ye ben oure hierdes,
620 Though to us bestes ben the causez wrie.
This mene I now: for she gan homward hye,
But execut was al bisyde hire leve
The goddes wil, for which she moste bleve.
The bente moone with hire hornes pale,
Saturne, and Jove, in Cancro joyned were,
That swych a reyn from heven gan avale
That every maner womman that was there
Hadde of that smoky reyn a verray feere;
At which Pandare tho lough, and seyde thenne,
630 "Now were it tyme a lady to gon henne!
"But goode nece, if I myghte evere plese
Yow any thyng, than prey ich yow," quod he,
"To don myn herte as now so gret an ese
As for to dwelle here al this nyght with me,
For-whi this is youre owen hous, parde.
For by my trouthe, I sey it nought a-game,
To wende as now, it were to me a shame."
Criseyde, which that koude as muche good
As half a world, took hede of his preiere;
640 And syn it ron, and al was on a flod,
She thoughte, "As good chep may I dwellen here,
And graunte it gladly with a frendes chere,
And have a thonk, as grucche and thanne abide;
For hom to gon, it may nought wel bitide."
"I wol," quod she, "myn uncle lief and deere;
Syn 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."
"Iwys, graunt mercy, nece," quod he tho,
650 "Were it a game or no, soth for to telle,
Now am I glad, syn that yow list to dwelle."
Thus al is wel; but tho bigan aright
The newe joie and al the feste agayn.
But Pandarus, if goodly hadde he myght,
He wolde han hyed hire to bedde fayn,
And seyde, "Lord, this is an huge rayn!
This were a weder for to slepen inne --
And that I rede us soone to bygynne.
"And nece, woot ye wher I wol yow leye,
660 For that we shul nat liggen far asonder,
And for ye neither shullen, dar I seye,
Heren noyse of reynes nor of thonder?
By God, right in my litel closet yonder.
And I wol in that outer hous allone
Be wardein of youre wommen everichone.
"And in this myddel chambre that ye se
Shal youre wommen slepen, wel and softe;
And there I seyde shal youreselven be;
And if ye liggen wel to-nyght, com ofte,
670 And careth nought what weder is alofte.
The wyn anon, and whan so that yow leste,
So go we slepe: I trowe it be the beste."
Ther nys no more, but hereafter soone,
The voide dronke, and travers drawe anon,
Gan every wight that hadde nought to done
More in the place out of the chaumbre gon.
And evere mo so sterneliche it ron,
And blew therwith so wondirliche loude,
That wel neigh no man heren other koude.
680 Tho Pandarus, hire em, right as hym oughte,
With wommen swiche as were hire most aboute,
Ful glad unto hire beddes syde hire broughte,
And took his leve, and gan ful lowe loute,
And seyde, "Here at this closet dore withoute,
Right overthwart, youre wommen liggen alle,
That whom yow list of hem ye may here calle."
So whan that she was in the closet leyd,
And alle hire wommen forth by ordinaunce
Abedde weren, ther as I have seyd,
690 Ther was nomore to skippen nor to traunce,
But boden go to bedde, with meschaunce,
If any wight was steryng anywhere,
And lat hem slepen that abedde were.
But Pandarus, that wel koude ech a deel
Th' olde daunce, and every point therinne,
Whan that he sey that alle thyng was wel,
He thought he wolde upon his werk bigynne,
And gan the stuwe doore al softe unpynne;
And stille as stoon, withouten lenger lette,
700 By Troilus adown right he hym sette,
And shortly to the point right for to gon,
Of al this werk he tolde hym word and ende,
And seyde, "Make the redy right anon,
For thow shalt into hevene blisse wende."
"Now, blisful Venus, thow me grace sende!"
Quod Troilus, "For nevere yet no nede
Hadde ich er now, ne halvendel the drede."
Quod Pandarus, "Ne drede the nevere a deel,
For it shal be right as thow wolt desire;
710 So thryve I, this nyght shal I make it weel,
Or casten al the gruwel in the fire."
"Yet, blisful Venus, this nyght thow me enspire,"
Quod Troilus, "As wys as I the serve,
And evere bet and bet shal, til I sterve.
"And if ich hadde, O Venus ful of myrthe,
Aspectes badde of Mars or of Saturne,
Or thow 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 hym thow lovedest in the shawe --
I meene Adoun, that with the boor was slawe.
"O Jove ek, for the love of faire Europe,
The which in forme of bole awey thow fette,
Now help! O Mars, thow with thi blody cope,
For love of Cipris, thow me nought ne lette!
O Phebus, thynk whan Dane hireselven shette
Under the bark, and laurer wax for drede;
Yet for hire love, O help now at this nede!
"Mercurie, for the love of Hierse eke,
730 For which Pallas was with Aglawros wroth,
Now help! And ek Diane, I the biseke
That this viage be nought to the looth!
O fatal sustren which, er any cloth
Me shapen was, my destine me sponne,
So helpeth to this werk that is bygonne!"
Quod Pandarus, "Thow wrecched mouses herte,
Artow agast so that she wol the bite?
Wy! Don this furred cloke upon thy sherte,
And folwe me, for I wol have the wite.
740 But bid, and lat me gon biforn a lite."
And with that word he gan undon a trappe,
And Troilus he brought in by the lappe.
The sterne wynd so loude gan to route
That no wight oother noise myghte heere;
And they that layen at the dore withoute,
Ful sikerly they slepten alle yfere;
And Pandarus, with a ful sobre cheere,
Goth to the dore anon, withouten lette,
Ther as they laye, and softely it shette.
750 And as he com ayeynward pryvely,
His nece awook, and axed, "Who goth there?"
"My dere nece," quod he, "it am I.
Ne wondreth nought, ne have of it no fere."
And ner he com and seyde hire in hire ere,
"No word, for love of God, I yow biseche!
Lat no wight risen and heren of oure speche."
"What, which wey be ye comen, benedicite?"
Quod she; "And how, unwist of hem alle?"
"Here at this secre trappe-dore," quod he.
760 Quod tho Criseyde, "Lat me som wight calle!"
"I! God forbede that it sholde falle,"
Quod Pandarus, "that ye swich folye wroughte!
They myghte demen thyng they nevere er thoughte.
"It is nought good a slepyng hound to wake,
Ne yeve a wight a cause to devyne:
Youre wommen slepen alle, I undertake,
So that, for hem, the hous men myghte myne,
And slepen wollen til the sonne shyne.
And whan my tale 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 hym hire lief and deere herte calle,
And maken hym an howve above a calle --
I meene, as love another in this while --
She doth hireself a shame and hym a gyle.
"Now, wherby that I telle yow al this:
Ye woot youreself, as wel as any wight,
780 How that youre love al fully graunted is
To Troilus, the worthieste knyght,
Oon of this world, and therto trouthe yplight,
That, but it were on hym along, ye nolde
Hym nevere falsen while ye lyven sholde.
"Now stant it thus, that sith I fro yow wente,
This Troilus, right platly for to seyn,
Is thorugh a goter, by a pryve wente,
Into my chaumbre come in al this reyn,
Unwist of every manere wight, certeyn,
790 Save of myself, as wisly have I joye,
And by that feith I shal Priam of Troie.
"And he is come in swich peyne and distresse
That, but he be al fully wood by this,
He sodeynly mot falle into wodnesse,
But if God helpe; and cause whi this is.
He seith hym told is of a frend of his,
How that ye sholden love oon hatte Horaste;
For sorwe of which this nyght shal ben his laste."
Criseyde, which that al this wonder herde,
800 Gan sodeynly aboute hire herte colde,
And with a sik she sorwfully answerde,
"Allas! I wende, whoso tales tolde,
My deere herte wolde me nought holde
So lightly fals! Allas, conceytes wronge,
What harm they don! For now lyve I to longe!
"Horaste! Allas, and falsen Troilus?
I knowe hym nought, God helpe me so!" quod she.
"Allas, what wikked spirit tolde hym thus?
Now certes, em, tomorwe and I hym se,
810 I shal therof as ful excusen me,
As evere dide womman, if hym like."
And with that word she gan ful soore sike.
"O God," quod she, "so worldly selynesse,
Which clerkes callen fals felicitee,
Imedled is with many a bitternesse!
Ful angwissous than is, God woot," quod she,
"Condicioun of veyn prosperitee:
For either joies comen nought yfeere,
Or elles no wight hath hem alwey here.
820 "O brotel wele of mannes joie unstable!
With what wight so thow be, or how thow pleye,
Either he woot that thow, joie, art muable,
Or woot it nought; it mot ben oon of tweye.
Now if he woot it nought, how may he seye
That he hath verray joie and selynesse,
That is of ignoraunce ay in derknesse?
"Now if he woot that joie is transitorie,
As every joye of worldly thyng mot flee,
Than every tyme he that hath in memorie,
830 The drede of lesyng maketh hym that he
May in no perfit selynesse be;
And if to lese his joie he sette a myte,
Than semeth it that joie is worth ful lite.
"Wherfore I wol diffyne in this matere,
That trewely, for aught I kan espie,
Ther is no verray weele in this world heere.
But O thow wikked serpent, jalousie,
Thow mysbyleved envyous folie,
Why hastow Troilus mad to me untriste,
840 That nevere yet agylte hym, that I wiste?"
Quod Pandarus, "Thus fallen is this cas --"
"Wy! Uncle myn," quod she, "who tolde hym this?
Why doth my deere herte thus, allas?"
"Ye woot, ye, nece myn," quod he, "what is.
I hope al shal be wel that is amys,
For ye may quenche al this, if that yow leste --
And doth right so, for I holde it the beste."
"So shal I do to-morwe, ywys," quod she,
"And God toforn, so that it shal suffise."
850 "To-morwe? Allas, that were a fair!" quod he;
"Nay, nay, it may nat stonden in this wise,
For, nece myn, thus writen clerkes wise,
That peril is with drecchyng in ydrawe;
Nay, swiche abodes ben nought worth an hawe.
"Nece, alle thyng hath tyme, I dar avowe;
For whan a chaumbre afire is or an halle,
Wel more nede is, it sodeynly rescowe
Than to dispute and axe amonges alle
How this candel in the strawe is falle.
860 A, benedicite! For al among that fare
The harm is don, and fare-wel feldefare!
"And nece myn -- ne take it naught agrief --
If that ye suffre hym al nyght in this wo,
God help me so, ye hadde hym nevere lief!
That dar I seyn, now ther is but we two.
But wel I woot that ye wol nat do so;
Ye ben to wys to doon so gret folie,
To putte his lif al nyght in jupertie."
"Hadde I hym nevere lief? by God, I weene
870 Ye hadde nevere thyng so lief!" quod she.
"Now by my thrift," quod he, "that shal be seene!
For syn ye make this ensaumple of me,
If ich al nyght wolde hym in sorwe se,
For al the tresour in the town of Troie,
I bidde God I nevere mote have joie.
"Now loke thanne, if ye that ben his love
Shul putte his lif al night in jupertie
For thyng of nought, now by that God above,
Naught oonly this delay comth of folie,
880 But of malice, if that I shal naught lie.
What! Platly, and ye suffre hym in destresse,
Ye neyther bounte don ne gentilesse."
Quod tho Criseyde, "Wol ye don o thyng
And ye therwith shal stynte al his disese?
Have heere, and bereth hym this blewe ryng,
For ther is nothyng myghte hym bettre plese,
Save I myself, ne more hys herte apese;
And sey my deere herte that his sorwe
Is causeles; that shal be sene to-morwe."
890 "A ryng?" quod he, "Ye haselwodes shaken!
Ye, nece myn, that ryng moste han a stoon
That myghte dede men alyve maken;
And swich a ryng trowe I that ye have non.
Discrecioun out of youre hed is gon;
That fele I now," quod he, "and that is routhe.
O tyme ilost, wel maistow corsen slouthe!
"Woot ye not wel that noble and heigh corage
Ne sorweth nought, ne stynteth ek, for lite?
But if a fool were in a jalous rage,
900 I nolde setten at his sorwe a myte,
But feffe hym with a fewe wordes white
Anothir day, whan that I myghte hym fynde;
But this thyng stant al in another kynde.
"This is so gentil and so tendre of herte
That with his deth he wol his sorwes wreke;
For trusteth wel, how sore that hym smerte,
He wol to yow no jalous wordes speke.
And forthi, nece, er that his herte breke,
So speke youreself to hym of this matere,
910 For with o word ye may his herte stere.
"Now have I told what peril he is inne,
And his comynge unwist is to every wight;
Ne, parde, harm may ther be non, ne synne:
I wol myself be with yow al this nyght.
Ye knowe ek how it is youre owen knyght,
And that bi right ye moste upon hym triste,
And I al prest to fecche hym whan yow liste."
This accident so pitous was to here,
And ek so like a sooth at prime face,
920 And Troilus hire knyght to hir so deere,
His prive comyng, and the siker place,
That though that she did hym as thanne a grace,
Considered alle thynges as they stoode,
No wonder is, syn she did al for goode.
Criseyde answerde, "As wisly God at reste
My soule brynge, as me is for hym wo!
And em, iwis, fayn wolde I don the beste,
If that ich hadde grace to do so;
But whether that ye dwelle or for hym go,
930 I am, til God me bettre mynde sende,
At dulcarnoun, right at my wittes ende."
Quod Pandarus, "Yee, nece, wol ye here?
Dulcarnoun called is `flemyng of wrecches':
It semeth hard, for wrecches wol nought lere,
For verray slouthe or other wilfull tecches;
This seyd by hem that ben nought worth two fecches;
But ye ben wis, and that we han on honde
Nis neither hard, ne skilful to withstonde."
"Than, em," quod she, "doth herof as yow list.
940 But er he com, I wil up first arise,
And for the love of God, syn al my trist
Is on yow two, and ye ben bothe wise,
So werketh now in so discret a wise
That I honour may have, and he plesaunce:
For I am here al in youre governaunce."
"That is wel seyd," quod he, "my nece deere.
Ther good thrift on that wise gentil herte!
But liggeth stille, and taketh hym right here --
It nedeth nought no ferther for hym sterte.
950 And ech of yow ese otheres sorwes smerte,
For love of God! And Venus, I the herye;
For soone hope I we shul ben alle merye."
This Troilus ful soone on knees hym sette
Ful sobrely, right be hyre beddes hed,
And in his beste wyse his lady grette.
But Lord, so she wex sodeynliche red!
Ne though men sholde smyten of hire hed,
She kouth. nought a word aright out brynge
So sodeynly, for his sodeyn comynge.
960 But Pandarus, that so wel koude feele
In every thyng, to pleye anon bigan,
And seyde, "Nece, se how this lord kan knele!
Now for youre trouthe, se this gentil man!"
And with that word he for a quysshen ran,
And seyde, "Kneleth now, while that yow leste;
There God youre hertes brynge soone at reste!"
Kan I naught seyn, for she bad hym nought rise,
If sorwe it putte out of hire remembraunce,
Or elles that she took it in the wise
970 Of dewete, as for his observaunce;
But wel fynde I she dede hym this plesaunce,
That she hym kiste, although she siked sore,
And bad hym sitte adown withouten more.
Quod Pandarus, "Now wol ye wel bigynne.
Now doth hym sitte, goode nece deere,
Upon youre beddes syde al ther withinne,
That ech of yow the bet may other heere."
And with that word he drow hym to the feere,
And took a light, and fond his contenaunce,
980 As for to looke upon an old romaunce.
Criseyde, that was Troilus lady right,
And cler stood on a ground of sikernesse,
Al thoughte she hire servant and hire knyght
Ne sholde of right non untrouthe in hire gesse,
Yet natheles, considered his distresse,
And that love is in cause of swich folie,
Thus to hym spak she of his jalousie:
"Lo, herte myn, as wolde the excellence
Of love, ayeins the which that no man may --
990 Ne oughte ek -- goodly make resistence,
And ek bycause I felte wel and say
Youre grete trouthe and servise every day,
And that youre herte al myn was, soth to seyne,
This drof me for to rewe upon youre peyne.
"And youre goodnesse have I founde alwey yit,
Of which, my deere herte and al my knyght,
I thonke it yow, as fer as I have wit,
Al kan I nought as muche as it were right;
And I, emforth my connyng and my might,
1000 Have and ay shal, how sore that me smerte,
Ben to yow trewe and hool with al myn herte,
"And dredeles, that shal be founde at preve.
But, herte myn, what al this is to seyne
Shal wel be told, so that ye nought yow greve,
Though I to yow right on youreself compleyne,
For therwith mene I fynaly the peyne
That halt youre herte and myn in hevynesse
Fully to slen, and every wrong redresse.
"My goode myn, noot I for-why ne how
1010 That jalousie, allas, that wikked wyvere,
Thus causeles is cropen into yow,
The harm of which I wolde fayn delyvere.
Allas, that he, al hool or of hym slyvere,
Shuld han his refut in so digne a place;
Ther Jove hym sone out of youre herte arace!
"But O, thow Jove, O auctour of nature,
Is this an honour to thi deyte,
That folk ungiltif suffren hire injure,
And who that giltif is, al quyt goth he?
1020 O, were it lefull for to pleyn on the,
That undeserved suffrest jalousie,
Of that I wolde upon the pleyne and crie!
"Ek al my wo is this, that folk now usen
To seyn right thus, `Ye, jalousie is love!'
And wolde a busshel venym al excusen,
For that o greyn of love is on it shove.
But that woot heighe God that sit above,
If it be likkere love, or hate, or grame;
And after that, it oughte bere his name.
1030 "But certeyn is, som manere jalousie
Is excusable more than som, iwys;
As whan cause is, and som swich fantasie
With piete so wel repressed is
That it unnethe doth or seyth amys,
But goodly drynketh up al his distresse --
And that excuse I, for the gentilesse;
"And som so ful of furie is and despit
That it sourmounteth his repressioun.
But herte myn, ye be nat in that plit,
1040 That thonke I God; for which youre passioun
I wol nought calle it but illusioun
Of habundaunce of love and besy cure,
That doth youre herte this disese endure.
"Of which I am right sory but nought wroth;
But, for my devoir and youre hertes reste,
Wherso yow list, by ordal or by oth,
By sort, or in what wise 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 myght I more don or seye?"
With that a fewe brighte teris newe
Owt of hire eighen fille, and thus she seyde,
"Now God, thow woost, in thought ne dede untrewe
To Troilus was nevere yet Criseyde."
With that here heed down in the bed she leyde,
And with the sheete it wreigh, and sighte soore,
And held hire pees; nought o word spak she more.
But now help God to quenchen al this sorwe!
So hope I that he shal, for he best may.
1060 For I have seyn of a ful misty morwe
Folowen ful ofte a myrie someris day;
And after wynter foloweth grene May;
Men sen alday, and reden ek in stories,
That after sharpe shoures ben victories.
This Troilus, whan he hire wordes herde,
Have ye no care, hym liste nought to slepe;
For it thoughte hym no strokes of a yerde
To heere or seen Criseyde, his lady, wepe;
But wel he felt aboute his herte crepe,
1070 For everi tere which that Criseyde asterte,
The crampe of deth to streyne hym by the herte.
And in his mynde he gan the tyme acorse
That he com there, and that, that he was born;
For now is wikke torned into worse,
And al that labour he hath don byforn,
He wende it lost; he thoughte he nas but lorn.
"O Pandarus," thoughte he, "allas, thi wile
Serveth of nought, so weylaway the while!"
And therwithal he heng adown the heed,
1080 And fil on knees, and sorwfully he sighte.
What myghte he seyn? He felte he nas but deed,
For wroth was she that sholde his sorwes lighte.
But natheles, whan that he speken myghte,
Than seyde he thus, "God woot that of this game,
Whan al is wist, than am I nought to blame."
Therwith the sorwe so his herte shette
That from his eyen fil there nought a tere,
And every spirit his vigour in knette,
So they astoned or oppressed were.
1090 The felyng of his sorwe, or of his fere,
Or of aught elles, fled was out of towne;
And down he fel al sodeynly a-swowne.
This was no litel sorwe for to se;
But al was hust, and Pandare up as faste;
"O nece, pes, or we be lost!" quod he,
"Beth naught agast!" But certeyn, at the laste,
For this or that, he into bed hym caste,
And seyde, "O thef, is this a mannes herte?"
And of he rente al to his bare sherte,
1100 And seyde, "Nece, but ye helpe us now,
Allas, youre owen Troilus is lorn!"
"Iwis, so wolde I, and I wiste how,
Ful fayn," quod she. "Allas, that I was born"!
"Yee, nece, wol ye pullen out the thorn
That stiketh in his herte?" quod Pandare.
"Sey `Al foryeve,' and stynt is al this fare!"
"Ye, that to me," quod she, "ful levere were
Than al the good the sonne aboute gooth."
And therwithal she swor hym in his ere,
1110 "Iwys, my deere herte, I am nought wroth,
Have here my trouthe!" -- and many an other oth.
"Now speke to me, for it am I, Criseyde!"
But al for nought; yit myght he nought abreyde.
Therwith his pous and paumes of his hondes
They gan to frote, and wete his temples tweyne;
And to deliveren hym fro bittre bondes
She ofte hym kiste; and shortly for to seyne,
Hym to revoken she did al hire peyne;
And at the laste, he gan his breth to drawe,
1120 And of his swough sone after that adawe,
And gan bet mynde and reson to hym take,
But wonder soore he was abayst, iwis;
And with a sik, whan he gan bet awake,
He seyde, "O mercy, God, what thyng is this?"
"Why do ye with youreselven thus amys?"
Quod tho Criseyde, "Is this a mannes game?
What, Troilus, wol ye do thus for shame?"
And therwithal hire arm over hym she leyde,
And al foryaf, and ofte tyme hym keste.
1130 He thonked hire, and to hire spak, and seyde
As fil to purpos for his herte reste;
And she to that answerde hym as hire leste,
And with hire goodly wordes hym disporte
She gan, and ofte his sorwes to comforte.
Quod Pandarus, "For aught I kan aspien,
This light, nor I, ne serven here of nought.
Light is nought good for sike folkes yen!
But, for the love of God, syn ye ben brought
In thus good plit, lat now no hevy thought
1140 Ben hangyng in the hertes of yow tweye" --
And bar the candel to the chymeneye.
Soone after this, though it no nede were,
Whan she swiche othes as hire leste devyse
Hadde of hym take, hire thoughte tho no fere,
Ne cause ek non to bidde hym thennes rise.
Yet lasse thyng than othes may suffise
In many a cas, for every wyght, I gesse,
That loveth wel, meneth but gentilesse.
But in effect she wolde wite anon
1150 Of what man, and ek wheer, and also why
He jalous was, syn ther was cause non;
And ek the sygne that he took it by,
She badde hym that to telle hire bisily,
Or elles, certeyn, she bar hym on honde
That this was don of malice, hire to fonde.
Withouten more, shortly for to seyne,
He most obeye unto his lady heste;
And for the lasse harm, he moste feyne.
He seyde hire, whan she was at swich a feste,
1160 She myght on hym han loked at the leste --
Noot I nought what, al deere ynough a rysshe,
As he that nedes most a cause fisshe.
And she answerde, "Swete, al were it so,
What harm was that, syn I non yvel mene?
For, by that God that bought us bothe two,
In alle thyng is myn entente cleene.
Swiche argumentes ne ben naught worth a beene.
Wol ye the childissh jalous contrefete?
Now were it worthi that ye were ybete."
1170 Tho Troilus gan sorwfully to sike --
Lest she be wroth, hym thoughte his herte deyde --
And seyde, "Allas, upon my sorwes sike
Have mercy, swete herte myn, Criseyde!
And if that in tho wordes that I seyde
Be any wrong, I wol no more trespace.
Doth what yow list; I am al in youre grace."
And she answerde, "Of gilt misericorde!
That is to seyn, that I foryeve al this;
And evere more on this nyght yow recorde,
1180 And beth wel war ye do namore amys."
"Nay, dere herte myn," quod he, "iwys!"
"And now," quod she, "that I have don yow smerte,
Foryeve it me, myn owene swete herte."
This Troilus, with blisse of that supprised,
Putte al in Goddes hand, as he that mente
Nothing but wel; and sodeynly avysed,
He hire in armes faste to hym hente.
And Pandarus with a ful good entente
Leyde hym to slepe, and seyde, "If ye be wise,
1190 Swouneth nought now, lest more folk arise!"
What myghte or may the sely larke seye,
Whan that the sperhauk hath it in his foot?
I kan namore; but of thise ilke tweye --
To whom this tale sucre be or soot --
Though that I tarie a yer, somtyme I moot,
After myn auctour, tellen hire gladnesse,
As wel as I have told hire hevynesse.
Criseyde, which that felte hire thus itake,
As writen clerkes in hire bokes olde,
1200 Right as an aspes leef she gan to quake,
Whan she hym felte hire in his armes folde.
But Troilus, al hool of cares colde,
Gan thanken tho the bryghte goddes sevene;
Thus sondry peynes bryngen folk in hevene.
This Troilus in armes gan hire streyne,
And seyde, "O swete, as evere mot I gon,
Now be ye kaught; now is ther but we tweyne!
Now yeldeth yow, for other bote is non!"
To that Criseyde answerde thus anon,
1210 "Ne hadde I er now, my swete herte deere,
Ben yolde, ywis, I were now nought heere!"
O, sooth is seyd, that heled for to be
As of a fevre or other gret siknesse,
Men moste drynke, as men may ofte se,
Ful bittre drynke; and for to han gladnesse
Men drynken ofte peyne and gret distresse --
I mene it here, as for this aventure,
That thorugh a peyne hath founden al his cure.
And now swetnesse semeth more swete,
1220 That bitternesse assaied was byforn;
For out of wo in blisse now they flete;
Non swich they felten sithen they were born.
Now is this bet than bothe two be lorn.
For love of God, take every womman heede
To werken thus, if it comth to the neede.
Criseyde, al quyt from every drede and tene,
As she that juste cause hadde hym to triste,
Made hym swych feste it joye was to sene,
Whan she his trouthe and clene entente wiste;
1230 And as aboute a tree, with many a twiste,
Bytrent and writh the swote wodebynde,
Gan ech of hem in armes other wynde.
And as the newe abaysed nyghtyngale,
That stynteth first whan she bygynneth to synge,
Whan that she hereth any herde tale,
Or in the hegges any wyght stirynge,
And after siker doth hire vois out rynge,
Right so Criseyde, whan hire drede stente,
Opned hire herte and tolde hym hire entente.
1240 And right as he that seth his deth yshapen,
And dyen mot, in ought that he may gesse,
And sodeynly rescous doth hym escapen,
And from his deth is brought in sykernesse,
For al this world, in swych present gladnesse
Was Troilus, and hath his lady swete.
With worse hap God lat us nevere mete!
Hire armes smale, hire streghte bak and softe,
Hire sydes longe, flesshly, smothe, and white
He gan to stroke, and good thrift bad ful ofte
1250 Hire snowissh throte, hire brestes rounde and lite.
Thus in this hevene he gan hym to delite,
And therwithal a thousand tyme hire kiste,
That what to don, for joie unnethe he wiste.
Than seyde he thus: "O Love, O Charite!
Thi moder ek, Citheria the swete,
After thiself next heried be she --
Venus mene I, the wel-willy planete! --
And next that, Imeneus, I the grete,
For nevere man was to yow goddes holde
1260 As I, which ye han brought fro cares colde.
"Benigne Love, thow holy bond of thynges,
Whoso wol grace and list the nought honouren,
Lo, his desir wol fle withouten wynges;
For noldestow of bownte hem socouren
That serven best and most alwey labouren,
Yet were al lost, that dar I wel seyn, certes,
But if thi grace passed oure desertes.
"And for thow me, that koude leest disserve
Of hem that noumbred ben unto thi grace,
1270 Hast holpen, ther I likly was to sterve,
And me bistowed in so heigh a place
That thilke boundes may no blisse pace,
I kan namore; but laude and reverence
Be to thy bounte and thyn excellence!"
And therwithal Criseyde anon he kiste,
Of which certein she felte no disese,
And thus seyde he: "Now wolde God I wiste,
Myn herte swete, how I yow myght plese!
What man," quod he, "was evere thus at ese
1280 As I, on which the faireste and the beste
That evere I say deyneth hire herte reste?
"Here may men seen that mercy passeth right;
Th' experience of that is felt in me,
That am unworthi to so swete a wight.
But herte myn, of youre benignite,
So thynketh, though that I unworthi be,
Yet mot I nede amenden in som wyse,
Right thorugh the vertu of youre heigh servyse.
"And for the love of God, my lady deere,
1290 Syn God hath wrought me for I shall yow serve --
As thus I mene: he wol ye be my steere,
To do me lyve, if that yow liste, or sterve --
So techeth me how that I may disserve
Youre thonk, so that I thorugh myn ignoraunce
Ne do no thyng that yow be displesaunce.
"For certes, fresshe wommanliche wif,
This dar I seye, that trouth and diligence,
That shal ye fynden in me al my lif;
N' y wol nat, certein, breken youre defence;
1300 And if I do, present or in absence,
For love of God, lat sle me with the dede,
If that it like unto youre wommanhede."
"Iwys," quod she, "myn owen hertes list,
My ground of ese, and al myn herte deere,
Gramercy, for on that is al my trist!
But lat us falle awey fro this matere,
For it suffiseth, this that seyd is heere,
And at o word, withouten repentaunce,
Welcome, my knyght, my pees, my suffisaunce!"
1310 Of hire delit or joies oon the leeste
Were impossible to my wit to seye;
But juggeth ye that han ben at the feste
Of swich gladnesse, if that hem liste pleye!
I kan namore, but thus thise ilke tweye
That nyght, bitwixen drede and sikernesse,
Felten in love the grete worthynesse.
O blisful nyght, of hem so longe isought,
How blithe unto hem bothe two thow weere!
Why nad I swich oon with my soule ybought,
1320 Ye, or the leeste joie that was theere?
Awey, thow foule daunger and thow feere,
And lat hem in this hevene blisse dwelle,
That is so heigh that al ne kan I telle!
But sooth is, though I kan nat tellen al,
As kan myn auctour, of his excellence,
Yet have I seyd, and God toforn, and shal
In every thyng, al holly his sentence;
And if that ich, at Loves reverence,
Have any word in eched for the beste,
1330 Doth therwithal right as youreselven leste.
For myne wordes, heere and every part,
I speke hem alle under correccioun
Of yow that felyng han in loves art,
And putte it al in youre discrecioun
To encresse or maken dymynucioun
Of my langage, and that I yow biseche.
But now to purpos of my rather speche.
Thise ilke two, that ben in armes laft,
So loth to hem asonder gon it were,
1340 That ech from other wenden ben biraft,
Or elles -- lo, this was hir mooste feere --
That al this thyng but nyce dremes were;
For which ful ofte ech of hem seyde, "O swete,
Clippe ich yow thus, or elles I it meete?"
And Lord! So he gan goodly on hire se
That nevere his look ne bleynte from hire face,
And seyde, "O deere herte, may it be
That it be soth, that ye ben in this place?"
"Yee, herte myn, God thank I of his grace,"
1350 Quod tho Criseyde, and therwithal hym kiste,
That where his spirit was, for joie he nyste.
This Troilus ful ofte hire eyen two
Gan for to kisse, and seyde, "O eyen clere,
It weren ye that wroughte me swich wo,
Ye humble nettes of my lady deere!
Though ther be mercy writen in youre cheere,
God woot, the text ful hard is, soth, to fynde!
How koude ye withouten bond me bynde?"
Therwith he gan hire faste in armes take,
1360 And wel a thousand tymes gan he syke --
Naught swiche sorwfull sikes as men make
For wo, or elles when that folk ben sike,
But esy sykes, swiche as ben to like,
That shewed his affeccioun withinne;
Of swiche sikes koude he nought bilynne.
Soone after this they spake of sondry thynges,
As fel to purpos of this aventure,
And pleyinge entrechaungeden hire rynges,
Of whiche I kan nought tellen no scripture;
1370 But wel I woot, a broche, gold and asure,
In which a ruby set was lik an herte,
Criseyde hym yaf, and stak it on his sherte.
Lord, trowe ye a coveytous or a wrecche,
That blameth love and halt of it despit,
That of tho pens that he kan mokre and kecche
Was evere yit yyeven hym swich delit
As is in love, in o poynt, in som plit?
Nay, douteles, for also God me save,
So perfit joie may no nygard have.
1380 They wol seyn "Yis," but Lord, so they lye,
Tho besy wrecches, ful of wo and drede!
Thei callen love a woodnesse or folie,
But it shall falle hem as I shal yow rede:
They shal forgon the white and ek the rede,
And lyve in wo, ther God yeve hem meschaunce,
And every lovere in his trouthe avaunce!
As wolde God tho wrecches that dispise
Servise of love hadde erys also longe
As hadde Mida, ful of coveytise,
1390 And therto dronken hadde as hoot and stronge
As Crassus did for his affectis wronge,
To techen hem that they ben in the vice,
And loveres nought, although they holde hem nyce.
Thise ilke two of whom that I yow seye,
Whan that hire hertes wel assured were,
Tho gonne they to speken and to pleye,
And ek rehercen how, and whan, and where
Thei knewe hem first, and every wo and feere
That passed was; but al swich hevynesse --
1400 I thank it God -- was torned to gladnesse.
And evere mo, when that hem fel to speke
Of any wo of swich a tyme agoon,
With kissyng al that tale sholde breke
And fallen in a newe joye anoon;
And diden al hire myght, syn they were oon,
For to recoveren blisse and ben at eise,
And passed wo with joie contrepeise.
Resoun wol nought that I speke of slep,
For it acordeth nought to my matere.
1410 God woot, they took of that ful litel kep!
But lest this nyght, that was to hem so deere,
Ne sholde in veyn escape in no manere,
It was byset in joie and bisynesse
Of al that souneth into gentilesse.
But whan the cok, comune astrologer,
Gan on his brest to bete and after crowe,
And Lucyfer, the dayes messager,
Gan for to rise and out hire bemes throwe,
And estward roos -- to hym that koude it knowe --
1420 Fortuna Major, that anoon Criseyde,
With herte soor, to Troilus thus seyde:
"Myn hertes lif, my trist, al my plesaunce,
That I was born, allas, what me is wo,
That day of us moot make disseveraunce!
For tyme it is to ryse and hennes go,
Or ellis I am lost for evere mo!
O nyght, allas, why nyltow over us hove
As longe as whan Almena lay by Jove?
"O blake nyght, as folk in bokes rede,
1430 That shapen art by God this world to hide
At certeyn tymes wyth thi derke wede,
That under that men myghte in reste abide,
Wel oughten bestes pleyne and folk the chide,
That there as day wyth labour wolde us breste,
That thow thus fleest, and deynest us nought reste.
"Thow doost, allas, to shortly thyn office,
Thow rakle nyght! Ther God, maker of kynde,
The, for thyn haste and thyn unkynde vice,
So faste ay to oure hemysperie bynde
1440 That nevere more under the ground thow wynde!
For now, for thow so hiest out of Troie,
Have I forgon thus hastili my joie!"
This Troilus, that with tho wordes felte,
As thoughte hym tho, for pietous distresse
The blody teris from his herte melte,
As he that nevere yet swich hevynesse
Assayed hadde, out of so gret gladnesse,
Gan therwithal Criseyde, his lady deere,
In armes streyne, and seyde in this manere:
1450 "O cruel day, accusour of the joie
That nyght and love han stole and faste iwryen,
Acorsed be thi comyng into Troye,
For every bore hath oon of thi bryghte yen!
Envyous day, what list the so to spien?
What hastow lost? Why sekestow this place?
Ther God thi light so quenche, for his grace!
"Allas, what have thise loveris the agylt,
Dispitous day? Thyn be the peyne of helle!
For many a lovere hastow slayn, and wilt;
1460 Thy pourynge in wol nowher lat hem dwelle.
What profrestow thi light here for to selle?
Go selle it hem that smale selys grave;
We wol the nought; us nedeth no day have."
And ek the sonne, Titan, gan he chide,
And seyde, "O fool, wel may men the dispise,
That hast the dawyng al nyght by thi syde,
And suffrest hire so soone up fro the rise
For to disese loveris in this wyse.
What, holde youre bed ther, thow, and ek thi Morwe!
1470 I bidde God, so yeve yow bothe sorwe!"
Therwith ful soore he syghte, and thus he seyde:
"My lady right, and of my wele or wo
The welle and roote, O goodly myn Criseyde,
And shal I rise, allas, and shal I so?
Now fele I that myn herte moot a-two,
For how sholde I my lif an houre save,
Syn that with yow is al the lif ich have?
"What shal I don? For, certes, I not how,
Ne whan, allas, I shal the tyme see
1480 That in this plit I may ben eft with yow;
And of my lif, God woot how that shal be,
Syn that desir right now so streyneth me
That I am ded anon, but I retourne.
How sholde I longe, allas, fro yow sojourne?
"But natheles, myn owen lady bright,
Were it so that I wiste outrely
That I, youre humble servant and youre knyght,
Were in youre herte iset so fermely
As ye in myn -- the which thyng, trewely,
1490 Me levere were than thise worldes tweyne --
Yet sholde I bet enduren al my peyne."
To that Criseyde answerde right anon,
And with a sik she seyde, "O herte deere,
The game, ywys, so ferforth now is gon
That first shal Phebus fallen fro his speere,
And everich egle ben the dowves feere,
And everich roche out of his place sterte,
Er Troilus oute of Criseydes herte.
"Ye ben so depe in-with myn herte grave,
1500 That, though I wolde it torne out of my thought,
As wisly verray God my soule save,
To dyen in the peyne, I koude nought.
And, for the love of God that us hath wrought,
Lat in youre brayn non other fantasie
So crepe that it cause me to dye!
"And that ye me wolde han as faste in mynde
As I have yow, that wolde I yow biseche;
And if I wiste sothly that to fynde,
God myghte nought a poynt my joies eche.
1510 But herte myn, withouten more speche,
Beth to me trewe, or ellis were it routhe,
For I am thyn, by God and by my trouthe!
"Beth glad, forthy, and lyve in sikernesse!
Thus seyde I nevere er this, ne shal to mo;
And if to yow it were a gret gladnesse
To torne ayeyn soone after that ye go,
As fayn wolde I as ye that it were so,
As wisly God myn herte brynge at reste!"
And hym in armes tok, and ofte keste.
1520 Agayns his wil, sith it mot nedes be,
This Troilus up ros, and faste hym cledde,
And in his armes took his lady free
An hondred tyme, and on his wey hym spedde;
And with swich voys as though his herte bledde,
He seyde, "Farwel, dere herte swete;
Ther God us graunte sownde and soone to mete!"
To which no word for sorwe she answerde,
So soore gan his partyng hire distreyne;
And Troilus unto his paleys ferde,
1530 As wo-bygon as she was, soth to seyne.
So harde hym wrong of sharp desir the peyne
For to ben eft there he was in plesaunce,
That it may nevere out of his remembraunce.
Retorned to his real paleys soone,
He softe into his bed gan for to slynke,
To slepe longe, as he was wont to doone.
But al for nought; he may wel ligge and wynke,
But slep ne may ther in his herte synke,
Thynkyng how she for whom desir hym brende
1540 A thousand fold was worth more than he wende.
And in his thought gan up and down to wynde
Hire wordes alle, and every countenaunce,
And fermely impressen in his mynde
The leeste point that to him was plesaunce;
And verraylich of thilke remembraunce
Desir al newe hym brende, and lust to brede
Gan more than erst, and yet took he non hede.
Criseyde also, right in the same wyse,
Of Troilus gan in hire herte shette
1550 His worthynesse, his lust, his dedes wise,
His gentilesse, and how she with hym mette,
Thonkyng Love he so wel hire bisette,
Desiryng eft to han hire herte deere
In swich a plit, she dorste make hym cheere.
Pandare, o-morwe, which that comen was
Unto his nece and gan hire faire grete,
Seyde, "Al this nyght so reyned it, allas,
That al my drede is that ye, nece swete,
Han litel laiser had to slepe and mete.
1560 Al nyght," quod he, "hath reyn so do me wake,
That som of us, I trowe, hire hedes ake."
And ner he com, and seyde, "How stant it now
This mury morwe? Nece, how kan ye fare?"
Criseyde answerde, "Nevere the bet for yow,
Fox that ye ben! God yeve youre herte kare!
God help me so, ye caused al this fare,
Trowe I," quod she, "for al youre wordes white.
O, whoso seeth yow knoweth yow ful lite."
With that she gan hire face for to wrye
1570 With the shete, and wax for shame al reed;
And Pandarus gan under for to prie,
And seyde, "Nece, if that I shal be ded,
Have here a swerd and smyteth of myn hed!"
With that his arm al sodeynly he thriste
Under hire nekke, and at the laste hire kyste.
I passe al that which chargeth nought to seye.
What! God foryaf his deth, and she al so
Foryaf, and with here 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 here hous she wente,
And Pandarus hath fully his entente.
Now torne we ayeyn to Troilus,
That resteles ful longe abedde lay,
And pryvely sente after Pandarus,
To hym to com in al the haste he may.
He com anon -- nought ones seyde he nay --
And Troilus ful sobrely he grette,
And down upon his beddes syde hym sette.
1590 This Troilus, with al th' affeccioun
Of frendes love that herte may devyse,
To Pandarus on knowes fil adown,
And er that he wolde of the place arise
He gan hym thonken in his beste wise
An hondred sythe, and gan the tyme blesse
That he was born, to brynge hym fro destresse.
He seyde, "O frend of frendes the alderbeste
That evere was, the sothe for to telle,
Thow hast in hevene ybrought my soule at reste
1600 Fro Flegitoun, the fery flood of helle,
That, though I myght a thousand tymes selle
Upon a day my lif in thi servise,
It myghte naught a moote in that suffise.
"The sonne, which that al the world may se,
Saugh nevere yet my lif, that dar I leye,
So inly fair and goodly as is she
Whos I am al, and shal, tyl that I deye.
And that I thus am hires, dar I seye,
That thanked be the heighe worthynesse
1610 Of Love, and ek thi kynde bysynesse.
"Thus hastow me no litel thing yyive,
For which to the obliged be for ay
My lif. And whi? For thorugh thyn help I lyve,
Or elles ded hadde I ben many a day."
And with that word down in his bed he lay,
And Pandarus ful sobrely hym herde
Tyl al was seyd, and than he thus answerde:
"My deere frend, if I have don for the
In any cas, God wot, it is me lief,
1620 And am as glad as man may of it be,
God help me so; but tak now nat a-grief
That I shal seyn: be war of this meschief,
That, there as thow now brought art in thy blisse,
That thow thiself ne cause it nat to misse.
"For of fortunes sharpe adversitee
The worste kynde of infortune is this,
A man to han ben in prosperitee,
And it remembren whan it passed is.
Th' art wis ynough; forthi do nat amys:
1630 Be naught to rakel, theigh thow sitte warme,
For if thow be, certeyn it wol the harme.
"Thow art at ese, and hold the wel therinne;
For also seur as reed is every fir,
As gret a craft is kepe wel as wynne.
Bridle alwey wel thi speche and thi desir,
For worldly joie halt nought but by a wir.
That preveth wel, it brest al day so ofte;
Forthi nede is to werken with it softe."
Quod Troilus, "I hope, and God toforn,
1640 My deere frend, that I shal so me beere
That in my gylt ther shal nothyng be lorn,
N' y nyl nought rakle as for to greven heere.
It nedeth naught this matere ofte stere;
For wystestow myn herte wel, Pandare,
God woot, of this thow woldest litel care."
Tho gan he telle hym of his glade nyght,
And wherof first his herte dred, and how,
And seyde, "Frend, as I am trewe knyght,
And by that feyth I shal to God and yow,
1650 I hadde it nevere half so hote as now;
And ay the more that desir me biteth
To love hire best, the more it me deliteth.
"I not myself naught wisly what it is,
But now I feele a newe qualitee --
Yee, al another than I dide er this."
Pandare answerd, and seyde thus, that "he
That ones may in hevene blisse be,
He feleth other weyes, dar I leye,
Than thilke tyme he first herde of it seye."
1660 This is o word for al: this Troilus
Was nevere ful to speke of this matere,
And for to preisen unto Pandarus
The bounte of his righte lady deere,
And Pandarus to thanke and maken cheere.
This tale ay was span-newe to bygynne,
Til that the nyght departed hem atwynne.
Soon after this, for that Fortune it wolde,
Icomen was the blisful tyme swete
That Troilus was warned that he sholde,
1670 There he was erst, Criseyde his lady mete,
For which he felte his herte in joie flete
And feithfully gan alle the goddes herie.
And lat se now if that he kan be merie!
And holden was the forme and al the wise
Of hire commyng, and of his also,
As it was erst, which nedeth nought devyse.
But pleynly to th' effect right for to go:
In joie and suerte Pandarus hem two
Abedde brought, whan that hem bothe leste,
1680 And thus they ben in quyete and in reste.
Nought nedeth it to yow, syn they ben met,
To axe at me if that they blithe were;
For if it erst was wel, tho was it bet
A thousand fold; this nedeth nought enquere.
Ago was every sorwe and every feere;
And bothe, ywys, they hadde, and so they wende,
As muche joie as herte may comprende.
This is no litel thyng of for to seye;
This passeth every wit for to devyse;
1690 For ech of hem gan otheres lust obeye.
Felicite, which that thise clerkes wise
Comenden so, ne may nought here suffise;
This joie may nought writen be with inke;
This passeth al that herte may bythynke.
But cruel day -- so wailaway the stounde! --
Gan for t' aproche, as they by sygnes knewe,
For which hem thoughte feelen dethis wownde.
So wo was hem that chaungen gan hire hewe,
And day they gonnen to despise al newe,
1700 Callyng it traitour, envyous, and worse,
And bitterly the dayes light thei corse.
Quod Troilus, "Allas, now am I war
That Piros and tho swifte steedes thre,
Which that drawen forth the sonnes char,
Han gon som bi-path in dispit of me;
That maketh it so soone day to be;
And for the sonne hym hasteth thus to rise,
Ne shal I nevere don hire sacrifise."
But nedes day departe hem moste soone,
1710 And whan hire speche don was and hire cheere,
They twynne anon, as they were wont to doone,
And setten tyme of metyng eft yfeere;
And many a nyght they wroughte in this manere,
And thus Fortune a tyme ledde in joie
Criseyde and ek this kynges sone of Troie.
In suffisaunce, in blisse, and in singynges,
This Troilus gan al his lif to lede.
He spendeth, jousteth, maketh festeynges;
He yeveth frely ofte, and chaungeth wede,
1720 And held aboute hym alwey, out of drede,
A world of folk, as com hym wel of kynde,
The fresshest and the beste he koude fynde;
That swich a vois was of hym and a stevene,
Thorughout the world, of honour and largesse,
That it up rong unto the yate of hevene;
And, as in love, he was in swich gladnesse
That in his herte he demed, as I gesse,
That ther nys lovere in this world at ese
So wel as he; and thus gan love hym plese.
1730 The goodlihede or beaute which that kynde
In any other lady hadde yset
Kan nought the montance of a knotte unbynde
Aboute his herte of al Criseydes net.
He was so narwe ymasked and yknet,
That it undon on any manere syde,
That nyl naught ben, for aught that may bitide.
And by the hond ful ofte he wolde take
This Pandarus, and into gardyn lede,
And swich a feste and swich a proces make
1740 Hym of Criseyde, and of hire wommanhede,
And of hire beaute, that withouten drede
It was an hevene his wordes for to here;
And thanne he wolde synge in this manere:
"Love, that of erthe and se hath governaunce,
Love, that his hestes hath in hevene hye,
Love, that with an holsom alliaunce
Halt peples joyned, as hym lest hem gye,
Love, that knetteth lawe of compaignie,
And couples doth in vertu for to dwelle,
1750 Bynd this acord, that I have told and telle.
"That, that the world with feith which that is stable
Diverseth so his stowndes concordynge,
That elementz that ben so discordable
Holden a bond perpetuely durynge,
That Phebus mote his rosy day forth brynge,
And that the mone hath lordshipe over the nyghtes:
Al this doth Love, ay heried be his myghtes! --
"That, that the se, that gredy is to flowen,
Constreyneth to a certeyn ende so
1760 His flodes that so fiersly they ne growen
To drenchen erthe and al for evere mo;
And if that Love aught lete his bridel go,
Al that now loveth asondre sholde lepe,
And lost were al that Love halt now to-hepe.
"So wolde God, that auctour is of kynde,
That with his bond Love of his vertu liste
To cerclen hertes alle and faste bynde,
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 liste ay rewe
On hertes sore, and kepe hem that ben trewe!"
In alle nedes for the townes werre
He was, and ay, the first in armes dyght,
And certeynly, but if that bokes erre,
Save Ector most ydred of any wight;
And this encrees of hardynesse and myght
Com hym of love, his ladies thank to wynne,
That altered his spirit so withinne.
In tyme of trewe, on haukyng wolde he ride,
1780 Or elles honte boor, beer, or lyoun;
The smale bestes leet he gon biside.
And whan that he com ridyng into town,
Ful ofte his lady from hire wyndow down,
As fressh as faukoun comen out of muwe,
Ful redy was hym goodly to saluwe.
And moost of love and vertu was his speche,
And in despit hadde alle wrecchednesse;
And douteles, no nede was hym biseche
To honouren hem that hadde worthynesse,
1790 And esen hem that weren in destresse;
And glad was he if any wyght wel ferde,
That lovere was, whan he it wiste or herde.
For soth to seyne, he lost held every wyght,
But if he were in Loves heigh servise --
I mene folk that oughte it ben of right.
And over al this, so wel koude he devyse
Of sentement and in so unkouth wise
Al his array, that every lovere thoughte
That al was wel, what so he seyde or wroughte.
1800 And though that he be come of blood roial,
Hym liste of pride at no wight for to chace;
Benigne he was to ech in general,
For which he gat hym thank in every place.
Thus wolde Love -- yheried be his grace! --
That Pride, Envye, Ire, and Avarice
He gan to fle, and everich other vice.
Thow lady bryght, the doughter to Dyone,
Thy blynde and wynged sone ek, daun Cupide,
Yee sustren nyne ek, that by Elicone
1810 In hil Pernaso listen for t' abide,
That ye thus fer han deyned me to gyde --
I kan namore, but syn that ye wol wende,
Ye heried ben for ay withouten ende!
Thorugh yow have I seyd fully in my song
Th' effect and joie of Troilus servise,
Al be that ther was som disese among,
As to myn auctour listeth to devise.
My thridde bok now ende ich in this wyse,
And Troilus in lust and in quiete
1820 Is with Criseyde, his owen herte swete.
Next: Book 4