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 4 But al to litel, weylaway the whyle,
Lasteth swich joie, ythonked be Fortune,
That semeth trewest whan she wol bygyle
And kan to fooles so hire song entune
That she hem hent and blent, traitour comune!
And whan a wight is from hire whiel ythrowe,
Than laugheth she, and maketh hym the mowe.
From Troilus she gan hire brighte face
Awey to writhe, and tok of hym non heede,
10 But caste hym clene out of his lady grace,
And on hire whiel she sette up Diomede;
For which myn herte right now gynneth blede,
And now my penne, allas, with which I write,
Quaketh for drede of that I moste endite.
For how Criseyde Troilus forsook --
Or at the leeste, how that she was unkynde --
Moot hennesforth ben matere of my book,
As writen folk thorugh which it is in mynde.
Allas, that they sholde evere cause fynde
20 To speke hire harm! And if they on hire lye,
Iwis, hemself sholde han the vilanye.
O ye Herynes, Nyghtes doughtren thre,
That endeles compleignen evere in pyne,
Megera, Alete, and ek Thesiphone,
Thow cruel Mars ek, fader to Quyryne,
This ilke ferthe book me helpeth fyne,
So that the losse of lyf and love yfeere
Of Troilus be fully shewed heere.
Liggyng in oost, as I have seyd er this,
30 The Grekys stronge aboute Troie town,
Byfel that, whan that Phebus shynyng is
Upon the brest of Hercules lyoun,
That Ector, with ful many a bold baroun,
Caste on a day with Grekis for to fighte,
As he was wont, to greve hem what he myghte.
Not I how longe or short it was bitwene
This purpos and that day they issen mente,
But on a day, wel armed, brighte, and shene,
Ector and many a worthi wight out wente,
40 With spere in honde and bigge bowes bente;
And in the berd, withouten lenger lette,
Hire fomen in the feld hem faste mette.
The longe day, with speres sharpe igrounde,
With arwes, dartes, swerdes, maces felle,
They fighte and bringen hors and man to grounde,
And with hire axes out the braynes quelle.
But in the laste shour, soth for to telle,
The folk of Troie hemselven so mysledden
That with the worse at nyght homward they fledden.
50 At which day was taken Antenore,
Maugre Polydamas or Monesteo,
Santippe, Sarpedoun, Polynestore,
Polite, or ek the Trojan daun Rupheo,
And other lasse folk as Phebuseo;
So that, for harm, that day the folk of Troie
Dredden to lese a gret part of hire joie.
Of Priamus was yeve, at Grek requeste,
A tyme of trewe, and tho they gonnen trete
Hire prisoners to chaungen, meste and leste,
60 And for the surplus yeven sommes grete.
This thing anon was couth in every strete,
Bothe in th' assege, in town, and everywhere,
And with the firste it com to Calkas ere.
Whan Calkas knew this tretis sholde holde,
In consistorie among the Grekes soone
He gan in thringe forth with lordes olde,
And sette hym there as he was wont to doone;
And with a chaunged face hem bad a boone,
For love of God, to don that reverence,
70 To stynte noyse and yeve hym audience.
Than seyde he thus: "Lo, lordes myn, ich was
Troian, as it is knowen out of drede;
And, if that yow remembre, I am Calkas,
That alderfirst yaf comfort to youre nede,
And tolde wel how that ye shulden spede.
For dredeles, thorugh yow shal in a stownde
Ben Troie ybrend and beten down to grownde.
"And in what forme, or in what manere wise,
This town to shende, and al youre lust t' acheve,
80 Ye han er this wel herd me yow devyse;
This knowe ye, my lordes, as I leve.
And for the Grekis weren me so leeve,
I com myself, in my propre persone,
To teche in this how yow was best to doone.
"Havyng unto my tresor ne my rente
Right no resport, to respect of youre ese,
Thus al my good I lefte and to yow wente,
Wenyng in this yow lordes for to plese.
But al that los ne doth me no disese.
90 I vouchesauf, as wisly have I joie,
For yow to lese al that I have in Troie,
"Save of a doughter that I lefte, allas,
Slepyng at hom, whanne out of Troie I sterte.
O sterne, O cruel fader that I was!
How myghte I have in that so hard an herte?
Allas, I ne hadde ibrought hire in hire sherte!
For sorwe of which I wol nought lyve to-morwe,
But if ye lordes rewe upon my sorwe.
"For by that cause I say no tyme er now
100 Hire to delivere, ich holden have my pees;
But now or nevere, if that it like yow,
I may hire have right soone, douteles.
O help and grace amonges al this prees!
Rewe on this olde caytyf in destresse,
Syn I thorugh yow have al this hevynesse.
"Ye have now kaught and fetered in prisoun
Troians ynowe, and if youre willes be,
My child with oon may han redempcioun;
Now for the love of God and of bounte,
110 Oon of so fele, allas, so yive hym me!
What nede were it this preiere for to werne,
Syn ye shul bothe han folk and town as yerne?
"On peril of my lif, I shal nat lye;
Appollo hath me told it feithfully;
I have ek founde it be astronomye,
By sort, and by augurye ek, trewely,
And dar wel say, the tyme is faste by
That fire and flaumbe on al the town shal sprede,
And thus shal Troie torne to asshen dede.
120 "For certein, Phebus and Neptunus bothe,
That makeden the walles of the town,
Ben with the folk of Troie alwey so wrothe
That they wol brynge it to confusioun,
Right in despit of kyng Lameadoun;
Bycause he nolde payen hem here hire,
The town of Troie shal ben set on-fire."
Tellyng his tale alwey, this olde greye,
Humble in his speche and in his lokyng eke,
The salte teris from his eyen tweye
130 Ful faste ronnen down by either cheke.
So longe he gan of socour hem biseke
That, for to hele hym of his sorwes soore,
They yave hym Antenor, withouten moore.
But who was glad ynough but Calkas tho?
And of this thyng ful soone his nedes leyde
On hem that sholden for the tretis go,
And hem for Antenor ful ofte preyde
To bryngen hom kyng Toas and Criseyde.
And whan Priam his save-garde sente,
140 Th' embassadours to Troie streight they wente.
The cause itold of hire comyng, the olde
Priam, the kyng, ful soone in general
Let her-upon his parlement to holde,
Of which th' effect rehercen yow I shal.
Th' embassadours ben answerd for fynal;
Th' eschaunge of prisoners and al this nede
Hem liketh wel, and forth in they procede.
This Troilus was present in the place
Whan axed was for Antenor Criseyde,
150 For which ful soone chaungen gan his face,
As he that with tho wordes wel neigh deyde.
But natheles he no word to it seyde,
Lest men sholde his affeccioun espye;
With mannes herte he gan his sorwes drye,
And ful of angwissh and of grisly drede
Abod what lordes wolde unto it seye;
And if they wolde graunte -- as God forbede --
Th' eschaunge of hire, than thoughte he thynges tweye:
First, how to save hire honour, and what weye
160 He myghte best th' eschaunge of hire withstonde.
Ful faste he caste how al this myghte stonde.
Love hym made al prest to don hire byde,
And rather dyen than she sholde go;
But Resoun seyde hym, on that other syde,
"Withouten assent of hire ne do nat so,
Lest for thi werk she wolde be thy fo,
And seyn that thorugh thy medlynge is iblowe
Youre bother love, ther it was erst unknowe."
For which he gan deliberen, for the beste,
170 That though the lordes wolde that she wente,
He wolde lat hem graunte what hem leste,
And telle his lady first what that they mente;
And whan that she hadde seyd hym hire entente,
Therafter wolde he werken also blyve,
Theigh al the world ayeyn it wolde stryve.
Ector, which that wel the Grekis herde,
For Antenor how they wolde han Criseyde,
Gan it withstonde, and sobrely answerde:
"Syres, she nys no prisonere," he seyde;
180 "I not on yow who that this charge leyde,
But, on my part, ye may eftsone hem telle,
We usen here no wommen for to selle."
The noyse of peple up stirte thanne at ones,
As breme as blase of straw iset on-fire;
For infortune it wolde, for the nones,
They sholden hire confusioun desire.
"Ector," quod they, "what goost may yow enspyre
This womman thus to shilde and don us leese
Daun Antenor -- a wrong wey now ye chese --
190 "That is so wys and ek so bold baroun?
And we han nede to folk, as men may se.
He is ek oon the grettest of this town.
O Ector, lat tho fantasies be!
O kyng Priam," quod they, "thus sygge we,
That al oure vois is to forgon Criseyde."
And to deliveren Antenor they preyde.
O Juvenal, lord, trewe is thy sentence,
That litel wyten folk what is to yerne,
That they ne fynde in hire desir offence;
200 For cloude of errour let hem to discerne
What best is. And lo, here ensample as yerne:
This folk desiren now deliveraunce
Of Antenor, that brought hem to meschaunce,
For he was after traitour to the town
Of Troye. Allas, they quytte hym out to rathe!
O nyce world, lo, thy discrecioun!
Criseyde, which that nevere dide hem scathe,
Shal now no lenger in hire blisse bathe;
But Antenor, he shal com hom to towne,
210 And she shal out; thus seyden here and howne.
For which delibered was by parlement
For Antenor to yelden out Criseyde,
And it pronounced by the president,
Altheigh that Ector "nay" ful ofte preyde.
And fynaly, what wight that it withseyde,
It was for nought; it moste ben and sholde,
For substaunce of the parlement it wolde.
Departed out of parlement echone,
This Troilus, withouten wordes mo,
220 Unto his chambre spedde hym faste allone,
But if it were a man of his or two
The which he bad out faste for to go
Bycause he wolde slepen, as he seyde,
And hastily upon his bed hym leyde.
And as in wynter leves ben biraft,
Ech after other, til the tree be bare,
So that ther nys but bark and braunche ilaft,
Lith Troilus, byraft of ech welfare,
Ibounden in the blake bark of care,
230 Disposed wood out of his wit to breyde,
So sore hym sat the chaungynge of Criseyde.
He rist hym up, and every dore he shette,
And wyndow ek, and tho this sorwful man
Upon his beddes syde adown hym sette,
Ful lik a ded ymage, pale and wan;
And in his brest the heped wo bygan
Out breste, and he to werken in this wise
In his woodnesse, as I shal yow devyse.
Right as the wylde bole bygynneth sprynge,
240 Now her, now ther, idarted to the herte,
And of his deth roreth in compleynynge,
Right so gan he aboute the chaumbre sterte,
Smytyng his brest ay with his fistes smerte;
His hed to the wal, his body to the grounde
Ful ofte he swapte, hymselven to confounde.
His eyen two, for piete of herte,
Out stremeden as swifte welles tweye;
The heighe sobbes of his sorwes smerte
His speche hym refte; unnethes myghte he seye,
250 "O deth, allas, why nyltow do me deye?
Acorsed be that day which that Nature
Shop me to ben a lyves creature!"
But after, whan the furie and al the rage,
Which that his herte twiste and faste threste,
By lengthe of tyme somwhat gan aswage,
Upon his bed he leyde hym down to reste.
But tho bygonne his teeris more out breste,
That wonder is the body may suffise
To half this wo which that I yow devyse.
260 Than seyde he thus: "Fortune, allas the while!
What have I don? What have I thus agylt?
How myghtestow for rowthe me bygile?
Is ther no grace, and shal I thus be spilt?
Shal thus Creiseyde awey, for that thow wilt?
Allas, how maistow in thyn herte fynde
To ben to me thus cruwel and unkynde?
"Have I the nought honoured al my lyve,
As thow wel woost, above the goddes alle?
Whi wiltow me fro joie thus deprive?
270 O Troilus, what may men now the calle
But wrecche of wrecches, out of honour falle
Into miserie, in which I wol bewaille
Criseyde -- allas! -- til that the breth me faille?
"Allas, Fortune, if that my lif in joie
Displesed hadde unto thi foule envye,
Why ne haddestow my fader, kyng of Troye,
Byraft the lif, or don my bretheren dye,
Or slayn myself, that thus compleyne and crye --
I, combre-world, that may of nothyng serve,
280 But evere dye and nevere fulli sterve.
"If that Criseyde allone were me laft,
Nought roughte I whiderward thow woldest me steere;
And hire, allas, than hastow me biraft.
But everemore, lo, this is thi manere,
To reve a wight that most is to hym deere,
To preve in that thi gerful violence.
Thus am I lost; ther helpeth no diffence.
"O verrey lord, O Love! O god, allas!
That knowest best myn herte and al my thought,
290 What shal my sorwful lif don in this cas,
If I forgo that I so deere have bought?
Syn ye Criseyde and me han fully brought
Into youre grace, and bothe oure hertes seled,
How may ye suffre, allas, it be repeled?
"What shal I don? I shal, while I may dure
On lyve in torment and in cruwel peyne
This infortune or this disaventure,
Allone as I was born, iwys, compleyne;
Ne nevere wol I seen it shyne or reyne,
300 But ende I wol, as Edippe, in derknesse
My sorwful lif, and dyen in distresse.
"O wery goost, that errest to and fro,
Why nyltow fleen out of the wofulleste
Body that evere myghte on grounde go?
O soule, lurkynge in this wo, unneste,
Fle forth out of myn herte, and lat it breste,
And folowe alwey Criseyde, thi lady dere.
Thi righte place is now no lenger here.
"O woful eyen two, syn youre disport
310 Was al to sen Criseydes eyen brighte,
What shal ye don but, for my discomfort,
Stonden for naught, and wepen out youre sighte,
Syn she is queynt that wont was yow to lighte?
In vayn fro this forth have ich eyen tweye
Ifourmed, syn youre vertu is aweye.
"O my Criseyde, O lady sovereigne
Of thilke woful soule that thus crieth,
Who shal now yeven comfort to my peyne?
Allas, no wight. But whan myn herte dieth,
320 My spirit, which that so unto yow hieth,
Receyve in gree, for that shal ay yow serve;
Forthi no fors is, though the body sterve.
"O ye loveris, that heigh upon the whiel
Ben set of Fortune, in good aventure,
God leve that ye fynde ay love of stiel,
And longe mote youre lif in joie endure!
But whan ye comen by my sepulture,
Remembreth that youre felawe resteth there;
For I loved ek, though ich unworthi were.
330 "O oold, unholsom, and myslyved man --
Calkas I mene -- allas, what eiled the
To ben a Grek, syn thow art born Troian?
O Calkas, which that wolt my bane be,
In corsed tyme was thow born for me!
As wolde blisful Jove, for his joie,
That I the hadde wher I wolde, in Troie!"
A thousand sikes, hotter than the gleede,
Out of his brest ech after other wente,
Medled with pleyntes new, his wo to feede,
340 For which his woful teris nevere stente;
And shortly, so his peynes hym torente,
And wex so mat, that joie nor penaunce
He feleth non, but lith forth in a traunce.
Pandare, which that in the parlement
Hadde herd what every lord and burgeys seyde,
And how ful graunted was by oon assent
For Antenor to yelden so Criseyde,
Gan wel neigh wood out of his wit to breyde,
So that for wo he nyste what he mente,
350 But in a rees to Troilus he wente.
A certeyn knyght that for the tyme kepte
The chambre door undide it hym anon;
And Pandare, that ful tendreliche wepte,
Into the derke chambre, as stille as ston,
Toward the bed gan softely to gon,
So confus that he nyste what to seye;
For verray wo his wit was neigh aweye.
And with his chiere and lokyng al totorn
For sorwe of this, and with his armes folden,
360 He stood this woful Troilus byforn,
And on his pitous face he gan byholden.
But Lord, so ofte gan his herte colden,
Seyng his frend in wo, whos hevynesse
His herte slough, as thoughte hym, for destresse.
This woful wight, this Troilus, that felte
His frend Pandare ycomen hym to se,
Gan as the snow ayeyn the sonne melte;
For which this sorwful Pandare, of pitee,
Gan for to wepe as tendreliche as he;
370 And specheles thus ben thise ilke tweye,
That neither myghte o word for sorwe seye.
But at the laste this woful Troilus,
Neigh ded for smert, gan bresten out to rore,
And with a sorwful noise he seyde thus,
Among hise sobbes and his sikes sore:
"Lo, Pandare, I am ded, withouten more.
Hastow nat herd at parlement," he seyde,
"For Antenor how lost is my Criseyde?"
This Pandarus, ful ded and pale of hewe,
380 Ful pitously answerde and seyde, "Yis!
As wisly were it fals as it is trewe,
That I have herd, and woot al how it is.
O mercy, God, who wolde have trowed this?
Who wolde have wend that in so litel a throwe
Fortune oure joie wold han overthrowe?
"For in this world ther is no creature,
As to my dom, that ever saugh ruyne
Straunger than this, thorugh cas or aventure.
But who may al eschue, or al devyne?
390 Swich is this world! Forthi I thus diffyne:
Ne trust no wight to fynden in Fortune
Ay propretee; hire yiftes ben comune.
"But telle me this: whi thow art now so mad
To sorwen thus? Whi listow in this wise,
Syn thi desir al holly hastow had,
So that, by right, it oughte ynough suffise?
But I, that nevere felte in my servyse
A frendly cheere or lokyng of an eye,
Lat me thus wepe and wailen til I deye.
400 "And over al this, as thow wel woost thiselve,
This town is ful of ladys al aboute;
And, to my doom, fairer than swiche twelve
As evere she was, shal I fynde in som route --
Yee, on or two, withouten any doute.
Forthi be glad, myn owen deere brother!
If she be lost, we shal recovere an other.
"What! God forbede alwey that ech plesaunce
In o thyng were and in non other wight!
If oon kan synge, an other kan wel daunce;
410 If this be goodly, she is glad and light;
And this is fair, and that kan good aright.
Ech for his vertu holden is for deere,
Both heroner and faucoun for ryvere.
"And ek, as writ Zanzis, that was ful wys,
`The newe love out chaceth ofte the olde';
And upon newe cas lith newe avys.
Thenk ek, thi lif to saven artow holde.
Swich fir, by proces, shal of kynde colde,
For syn it is but casuel plesaunce,
420 Som cas shal putte it out of remembraunce;
"For also seur as day comth after nyght,
The newe love, labour, or oother wo,
Or elles selde seynge of a wight,
Don olde affecciouns alle over-go.
And, for thi part, thow shalt have oon of tho
T' abregge with thi bittre peynes smerte;
Absence of hire shal dryve hire out of herte."
Thise wordes seyde he for the nones alle,
To help his frend, lest he for sorwe deyde;
430 For douteles, to don his wo to falle,
He roughte nought what unthrift that he seyde.
But Troilus, that neigh for sorwe deyde,
Took litel heede of al that evere he mente --
Oon ere it herde, at tother out it wente --
But at the laste answerde, and seyde, "Frend,
This lechecraft, or heeled thus to be,
Were wel sittyng, if that I were a fend --
To traysen a wight that trewe is unto me!
I pray God lat this conseil nevere ythe;
440 But do me rather sterve anon-right here,
Er I thus do as thow me woldest leere!
"She that I serve, iwis, what so thow seye,
To whom myn herte enhabit is by right,
Shal han me holly hires til that I deye.
For Pandarus, syn I have trouthe hire hight,
I wol nat ben untrewe for no wight,
But as hire man I wol ay lyve and sterve,
And nevere other creature serve.
"And ther thow seist thow shalt as faire fynde
450 As she, lat be; make no comparisoun
To creature yformed here by kynde!
O leve Pandare, in conclusioun,
I wol nat ben of thyn opynyoun
Touchyng al this. For which I the biseche,
So hold thi pees; thow sleest me with thi speche!
"Thow biddest me I shulde love another
Al fresshly newe, and lat Criseyde go!
It lith nat in my power, leeve brother;
And though I myght, I wolde nat do so.
460 But kanstow playen raket, to and fro,
Nettle in, dok out, now this, now that, Pandare?
Now foule falle hire for thi wo that care!
"Thow farest ek by me, thow Pandarus,
As he that, whan a wight is wo bygon,
He cometh to hym a paas and seith right thus:
`Thynk nat on smert, and thow shalt fele non.'
Thow moost me first transmewen in a ston,
And reve me my passiones alle,
Er thow so lightly do my wo to falle.
470 "The deth may wel out of my brest departe
The lif, so longe may this sorwe myne,
But fro my soule shal Criseydes darte
Out nevere mo; but down with Proserpyne,
Whan I am ded, I wol go wone in pyne,
And ther I wol eternaly compleyne
My wo, and how that twynned be we tweyne.
"Thow hast here made an argument for fyn,
How that it sholde a lasse peyne be
Criseyde to forgon, for she was myn
480 And lyved in ese and in felicite.
Whi gabbestow, that seydest unto me
That `hym is wors that is fro wele ythrowe,
Than he hadde erst noon of that wele yknowe'?
"But tel me now, syn that the thynketh so light
To changen so in love ay to and fro,
Whi hastow nat don bisily thi myght
To chaungen hire that doth the al thi wo?
Why nyltow lete hire fro thyn herte go?
Whi nyltow love an other lady swete,
490 That may thyn herte setten in quiete?
"If thou hast had in love ay yet myschaunce
And kanst it not out of thyn herte dryve,
I, that levede yn lust and in plesaunce
With here, as muche as creature on lyve,
How sholde I that foryete, and that so blyve?
O, where hastow ben hid so longe in muwe,
That kanst so wel and formely arguwe?
"Nay, God wot, nought worth is al thi red,
For which, for what that evere may byfalle,
500 Withouten wordes mo, I wol be ded.
O deth, that endere art of sorwes alle,
Com now, syn I so ofte after the calle;
For sely is that deth, soth for to seyne,
That, ofte ycleped, cometh and endeth peyne.
"Wel wot I, whil my lyf was in quyete,
Er thow me slowe, I wolde have yeven hire;
But now thi comynge is to me so swete
That in this world I nothing so desire.
O deth, syn with this sorwe I am a-fyre,
510 Thou other do me anoon yn teris drenche,
Or with thi colde strok myn hete quenche.
"Syn that thou sleest so fele in sondry wyse
Ayens hire wil, unpreyed, day and nyght,
Do me at my requeste this service:
Delyvere now the world -- so dostow right --
Of me, that am the wofulleste wyght
That evere was; for tyme is that I sterve,
Syn in this world of right nought may I serve."
This Troylus in teris gan distille,
520 As licour out of a lambyc ful faste;
And Pandarus gan holde his tunge stille,
And to the ground his eyen doun he caste.
But natheles, thus thought he at the laste:
"What! Parde, rather than my felawe deye,
Yet shal I somwhat more unto hym seye."
And seyde, "Frend, syn thow hast swych distresse,
And syn the list myn argumentz to blame,
Why nylt thiselven helpen don redresse
And with thy manhod letten al this grame?
530 Go ravysshe here! Ne kanstow nat, for shame?
And other lat here out of towne fare,
Or hold here stille, and leve thi nyce fare.
"Artow in Troie, and hast non hardyment
To take a womman which that loveth the
And wolde hireselven ben of thyn assent?
Now is nat this a nyce vanitee?
Ris up anon, and lat this wepyng be,
And kith thow art a man; for in this houre
I wol ben ded, or she shal bleven oure."
540 To this answerde hym Troilus ful softe,
And seyde, "Parde, leve brother deere,
Al this have I myself yet thought ful ofte,
And more thyng than thow devysest here.
But whi this thyng is laft, thow shalt wel here;
And whan thow me hast yeve an audience,
Therafter maystow telle al thi sentence.
"First, syn thow woost this town hath al this werre
For ravysshyng of wommen so by myght,
It sholde nought be suffred me to erre,
550 As it stant now, ne don so gret unright.
I sholde han also blame of every wight,
My fadres graunt if that I so withstoode,
Syn she is chaunged for the townes goode.
"I have ek thought, so it were hire assent,
To axe hire at my fader, of his grace;
Than thynke I this were hire accusement,
Syn wel I woot I may hire nought purchace;
For syn my fader, in so heigh a place
As parlement hath hire eschaunge enseled,
560 He nyl for me his lettre be repeled.
"Yet drede I moost hire herte to perturbe
With violence, if I do swich a game;
For if I wolde it openly desturbe,
It mooste be disclaundre to hire name.
And me were levere ded than hire diffame --
As nolde God but if I sholde have
Hire honour levere than my lif to save!
"Thus am I lost, for aught that I kan see.
For certeyn is, syn that I am hire knyght,
570 I moste hire honour levere han than me
In every cas, as lovere ought of right.
Thus am I with desir and reson twight:
Desir for to destourben hire me redeth,
And reson nyl nat; so myn herte dredeth."
Thus wepyng that he koude nevere cesse,
He seyde, "Allas, how shal I, wrecche, fare?
For wel fele I alwey my love encresse,
And hope is lasse and lasse alway, Pandare.
Encressen ek the causes of my care.
580 So weilaway, whi nyl myn herte breste?
For, as in love, ther is but litel reste."
Pandare answerde, "Frend, thow maist, for me,
Don as the list; but hadde ich it so hoote,
And thyn estat, she sholde go with me,
Though al this town cride on this thyng by note.
I nolde sette at al that noys a grote!
For whan men han wel cryd, than wol they rowne;
Ek wonder last but nyne nyght nevere in towne.
"Devyne not in resoun ay so depe
590 Ne preciously, but help thiself anon.
Bet is that othere than thiselven wepe,
And namely, syn ye two ben al on,
Ris up, for by myn hed, she shal not goon!
And rather be in blame a lite ifounde
Than sterve here as a gnat, withouten wounde.
"It is no rape, in my dom, ne no vice,
Hire to witholden that ye love moost;
Peraunter she myghte holde the for nyce
To late hire go thus unto the Grekis oost.
600 Thenk ek Fortune, as wel thiselven woost,
Helpeth hardy man unto his enprise,
And weyveth wrecches for hire cowardise.
"And though thy lady wolde a lite hire greve,
Thow shalt thiself thi pees hereafter make;
But as for me, certeyn, I kan nat leve
That she wolde it as now for yvel take.
Whi sholde thanne of ferd thyn herte quake?
Thenk ek how Paris hath, that is thi brother,
A love; and whi shaltow nat have another?
610 "And Troilus, o thyng I dar the swere:
That if Criseyde, which that is thi lief,
Now loveth the as wel as thow dost here,
God help me so, she nyl nat take a-grief,
Theigh thow do boote anon in this meschief;
And if she wilneth fro the for to passe,
Thanne is she fals; so love hire wel the lasse.
"Forthi tak herte, and thynk right as a knyght:
Thorugh love is broken al day every lawe.
Kith now somwhat thi corage and thi myght;
620 Have mercy on thiself for any awe.
Lat nat this wrecched wo thyn herte gnawe,
But manly sette the world on six and sevene;
And if thow deye a martyr, go to hevene!
"I wol myself ben with the at this dede,
Theigh ich and al my kyn upon a stownde
Shulle in a strete as dogges liggen dede,
Thorugh-girt with many a wid and blody wownde;
In every cas I wol a frend be founde.
And if the list here sterven as a wrecche,
630 Adieu, the devel spede hym that it recche!"
This Troilus gan with tho wordes quyken,
And seyde, "Frend, graunt mercy, ich assente.
But certeynly thow maist nat so me priken,
Ne peyne non ne may me so tormente,
That, for no cas, it is nat myn entente,
At shorte wordes, though I deyen sholde,
To ravysshe hire, but if hireself it wolde."
"Whi, so mene I," quod Pandare, "al this day.
But telle me thanne, hastow hire wil assayed,
640 That sorwest thus?" And he answerde hym, "Nay."
"Wherof artow," quod Pandare, "thanne amayed,
That nost nat that she wol ben yvele appayed
To ravysshe hire, syn thow hast nought ben there,
But if that Jove told it in thyn ere?
"Forthi ris up, as nought ne were, anon,
And wassh thi face, and to the kyng thow wende,
Or he may wondren whider thow art goon.
Thow most with wisdom hym and othere blende,
Or, upon cas, he may after the sende
650 Er thow be war; and shortly, brother deere,
Be glad, and lat me werke in this matere,
"For I shal shape it so, that sikerly
Thow shalt this nyght som tyme, in som manere,
Come speken with thi lady pryvely,
And by hire wordes ek, and by hire cheere,
Thow shalt ful sone aperceyve and wel here
Al hire entente, and in this cas the beste.
And far now wel, for in this point I reste."
The swifte Fame, which that false thynges
660 Egal reporteth lik the thynges trewe,
Was thorughout Troie yfled with preste wynges
Fro man to man, and made this tale al newe,
How Calkas doughter, with hire brighte hewe,
At parlement, withouten wordes more,
Ygraunted was in chaunge of Antenore.
The whiche tale anon-right as Criseyde
Hadde herd, she, which that of hire fader roughte,
As in this cas, right nought, ne whan he deyde,
Ful bisily to Jupiter bisoughte
670 Yeve hem meschaunce that this tretis broughte;
But shortly, lest thise tales sothe were,
She dorst at no wight asken it, for fere.
As she that hadde hire herte and al hire mynde
On Troilus iset so wonder faste
That al this world ne myghte hire love unbynde,
Ne Troilus out of hire herte caste,
She wol ben his, while that hire lif may laste.
And thus she brenneth both in love and drede,
So that she nyste what was best to reede.
680 But as men seen in towne and al aboute
That wommen usen frendes to visite,
So to Criseyde of wommen com a route,
For pitous joie, and wenden hire delite;
And with hire tales, deere ynough a myte,
Thise wommen, which that in the cite dwelle,
They sette hem down and seyde as I shall telle.
Quod first that oon, "I am glad, trewely,
Bycause of yow, that shal youre fader see."
Another seyde, "Ywis, so nam nat I,
690 For al to litel hath she with us be."
Quod tho the thridde, "I hope, ywis, that she
Shal bryngen us the pees on every syde,
That, whan she goth, almyghty God hire gide!"
Tho wordes and tho wommanysshe thynges,
She herde hem right as though she thennes were;
For God it woot, hire herte on othir thyng is.
Although the body sat among hem there,
Hire advertence is alwey elleswhere,
For Troilus ful faste hire soule soughte;
700 Withouten word, on hym alwey she thoughte.
Thise wommen, that thus wenden hire to plese,
Aboute naught gonne alle hire tales spende.
Swich vanyte ne kan don hire non ese,
As she that al this mene while brende
Of other passioun than that they wende,
So that she felte almost hire herte dye
For wo and wery of that compaignie.
For which no lenger myghte she restreyne
Hir teeris, so they gonnen up to welle,
710 That yaven signes of the bittre peyne
In which hir spirit was, and moste dwelle,
Remembryng hir, fro heven into which helle
She fallen was, syn she forgoth the syghte
Of Troilus, and sorwfully she sighte.
And thilke fooles sittynge hire aboute
Wenden that she wepte and siked sore
Bycause that she sholde out of that route
Departe, and nevere pleye with hem more.
And they that hadde yknowen hire of yore
720 Seigh hire so wepe and thoughte it kyndenesse,
And ech of hem wepte ek for hire destresse.
And bisyly they gonnen hire comforten
Of thyng, God woot, on which she litel thoughte;
And with hire tales wenden hire disporten,
And to be glad they often hire bysoughte;
But swich an ese therwith they hire wroughte,
Right as a man is esed for to feele
For ache of hed to clawen hym on his heele!
But after al this nyce vanyte
730 They toke hire leve, and hom they wenten alle.
Criseyde, ful of sorwful piete,
Into hire chambre up went out of the halle,
And on hire bed she gan for ded to falle,
In purpos nevere thennes for to rise;
And thus she wroughte, as I shal yow devyse.
Hire ownded heer, that sonnyssh was of hewe,
She rente, and ek hire fyngeres longe and smale
She wrong ful ofte, and bad God on hire rewe,
And with the deth to doon boote on hire bale.
740 Hire hewe, whilom bright, that tho was pale,
Bar witnesse of hire wo and hire constreynte;
And thus she spak, sobbyng in hire compleynte:
"Allas," quod she, "out of this regioun
I, woful wrecche and infortuned wight,
And born in corsed constellacioun,
Moot goon and thus departen fro my knyght!
Wo worth, allas, that ilke dayes light
On which I saugh hym first with eyen tweyne,
That causeth me, and ich hym, al this peyne!"
750 Therwith the teris from hire eyen two
Down fille, as shour in Aperil ful swithe;
Hire white brest she bet, and for the wo
After the deth she cryed a thousand sithe,
Syn he that wont hire wo was for to lithe
She moot forgon; for which disaventure
She held hireself a forlost creature.
She seyde, "How shal he don, and ich also?
How sholde I lyve if that I from hym twynne?
O deere herte eke, that I love so,
760 Who shal that sorwe slen that ye ben inne?
O Calkas, fader, thyn be al this synne!
O moder myn, that cleped were Argyve,
Wo worth that day that thow me bere on lyve!
"To what fyn sholde I lyve and sorwen thus?
How sholde a fissh withouten water dure?
What is Criseyde worth, from Troilus?
How sholde a plaunte or lyves creature
Lyve withouten his kynde noriture?
For which ful ofte a by-word here I seye,
770 That `rooteles moot grene soone deye.'
"I shal doon thus -- syn neither swerd ne darte
Dar I noon handle, for the crueltee --
That ilke day that I from yow departe,
If sorwe of that nyl nat my bane be:
Thanne shal no mete or drynke come in me
Til I my soule out of my breste unshethe,
And thus myselven wol I don to dethe.
"And, Troilus, my clothes everychon
Shul blake ben in tokenyng, herte swete,
780 That I am as out of this world agon,
That wont was yow to setten in quiete;
And of myn ordre, ay til deth me mete,
The observance evere, in youre absence,
Shal sorwe ben, compleynt, and abstinence.
"Myn herte and ek the woful goost therinne
Byqueth. I with youre spirit to compleyne
Eternaly, for they shal nevere twynne;
For though in erthe ytwynned be we tweyne,
Yet in the feld of pite, out of peyne,
790 That highte Elisos, shal we ben yfeere,
As Orpheus and Erudice, his fere.
"Thus, herte myn, for Antenor, allas,
I soone shal be chaunged, as I wene.
But how shul ye don in this sorwful cas?
How shal youre tendre herte this sustene?
But, herte myn, foryete this sorwe and tene,
And me also; for sothly for to seye,
So ye wel fare, I recche naught to deye."
How myghte it evere yred ben or ysonge,
800 The pleynte that she made in hire destresse?
I not; but, as for me, my litel tonge,
If I discryven wolde hire hevynesse,
It sholde make hire sorwe seme lesse
Than that it was, and childisshly deface
Hire heigh compleynte, and therfore ich it pace.
Pandare, which that sent from Troilus
Was to Criseyde -- as ye han herd devyse
That for the beste it was acorded thus,
And he ful glad to doon hym that servyse --
810 Unto Criseyde, in a ful secree wise,
Ther as she lay in torment and in rage,
Com hire to telle al hoolly his message,
And fond that she hireselven gan to trete
Ful pitously, for with hire salte teris
Hire brest, hire face, ybathed was ful wete;
The myghty tresses of hire sonnysshe heeris
Unbroiden hangen al aboute hire eeris,
Which yaf hym verray signal of martire
Of deth, which that hire herte gan desire.
820 Whan she hym saugh, she gan for shame anon
Hire tery face atwixe hire armes hide;
For which this Pandare is so wo-bygon
That in the hous he myghte unnethe abyde,
As he that pite felt on every syde;
For if Criseyde hadde erst compleyned soore,
Tho gan she pleyne a thousand tymes more.
And in hire aspre pleynte thus she seyde:
"Pandare first of joies mo than two
Was cause causyng unto me, Criseyde,
830 That now transmewed ben in cruel wo.
Wher shal I seye to yow welcom or no,
That alderfirst me broughte unto servyse
Of love -- allas! -- that endeth in swich wise?
"Endeth than love in wo? Ye, or men lieth,
And alle worldly blisse, as thynketh me.
The ende of blisse ay sorwe it occupieth.
And whoso troweth nat that it so be,
Lat hym upon me, woful wrecche, ysee,
That myself hate and ay my burthe acorse,
840 Felyng alwey fro wikke I go to worse.
"Whoso me seeth, he seeth sorwe al atonys --
Peyne, torment, pleynte, wo, distresse!
Out of my woful body harm ther noon is,
As angwissh, langour, cruel bitternesse,
Anoy, smert, drede, fury, and ek siknesse.
I trowe, ywys, from hevene teeris reyne
For pite of myn aspre and cruel peyne."
"And thow, my suster, ful of discomfort,"
Quod Pandarus, "what thynkestow to do?
850 Whi ne hastow to thyselven som resport?
Whi wiltow thus thiself, allas, fordo?
Leef al this werk, and tak now heede to
That I shal seyn; and herkne of good entente
This which by me thi Troilus the sente."
Tornede hire tho Criseyde, a wo makynge
So gret that it a deth was for to see.
"Allas," quod she, "what wordes may ye brynge?
What wol my deere herte seyn to me,
Which that I drede nevere mo to see?
860 Wol he han pleynte or teris er I wende?
I have ynough, if he therafter sende!"
She was right swich to seen in hire visage
As is that wight that men on beere bynde;
Hire face, lik of Paradys the ymage,
Was al ychaunged in another kynde.
The pleye, the laughter, men was wont to fynde
On hire, and ek hire joies everichone,
Ben fled; and thus lith now Criseyde allone.
Aboute hire eyen two a purpre ryng
870 Bytrent, in sothfast tokenyng of hire peyne,
That to biholde it was a dedly thyng;
For which Pandare myghte nat restreyne
The teeris from his eighen for to reyne;
But natheles, as he best myghte, he seyde
From Troilus thise wordes to Criseyde:
"Lo, nece, I trowe ye han herd al how
The kyng with othere lordes, for the beste,
Hath mad eschaunge of Antenor and yow,
That cause is of this sorwe and this unreste.
880 But how this cas dooth Troilus moleste,
That may non erthly mannes tonge seye --
As he that shortly shapith hym to deye.
"For which we han so sorwed, he and I,
That into litel bothe it hadde us slawe;
But thorugh my conseyl this day finaly
He somwhat is fro wepynge now withdrawe,
And semeth me that he desireth fawe
With yow to ben al nyght, for to devyse
Remedie in this, if ther were any wyse.
890 "This, short and pleyn, th' effect of my message,
As ferforth as my wit kan comprehende,
For ye that ben of torment in swich rage
May to no long prologe as now entende.
And hereupon ye may answere hym sende;
And for the love of God, my nece deere,
So lef this wo er Troilus be here!"
"Gret is my wo," quod she, and sighte soore
As she that feleth dedly sharp distresse;
"But yit to me his sorwe is muchel more,
900 That love hym bet than he hymself, I gesse.
Allas, for me hath he swich hevynesse?
Kan he for me so pitously compleyne?
Iwis, his sorwe doubleth al my peyne.
"Grevous to me, God woot, is for to twynne,"
Quod she, "but yet it harder is to me
To sen that sorwe which that he is inne;
For wel I woot it wol my bane be,
And deye I wol in certeyn," tho quod she;
"But bid hym come, er deth, that thus me threteth,
910 Dryve out that goost which in myn herte beteth."
Thise wordes seyd, she on hire armes two
Fil gruf, and gan to wepen pitously.
Quod Pandarus, "Allas, whi do ye so,
Syn wel ye woot the tyme is faste by
That he shal come? Aris up hastily,
That he yow nat bywopen thus ne fynde,
But ye wole have hym wood out of his mynde.
"For wiste he that ye ferde in this manere,
He wolde hymselven sle; and if I wende
920 To han this fare, he sholde nat come here
For al the good that Priam may dispende.
For to what fyn he wolde anon pretende,
That knowe ich wel; and forthi yet I seye:
So lef this sorwe, or platly he wol deye.
"And shapeth yow his sorwe for t' abregge,
And nought encresse, leeve nece swete!
Beth rather to hym cause of flat than egge,
And with som wisdom ye his sorwe bete.
What helpeth it to wepen ful a strete,
930 Or though ye bothe in salte teeris dreynte?
Bet is a tyme of cure ay than of pleynte.
"I mene thus: whan ich hym hider brynge,
Syn ye be wise and bothe of oon assent,
So shapeth how destourbe youre goynge,
Or come ayeyn soon after ye be went.
Women ben wise in short avysement;
And lat sen how youre wit shal now availle,
And that that I may helpe, it shal nat faille."
"Go," quod Criseyde, "and uncle, trewely,
940 I shal don al my myght me to restreyne
From wepyng in his sighte, and bisily
Hym for to glade I shal don al my peyne,
And in myn herte seken every veyne.
If to his sore ther may be fonden salve,
It shal nat lakke, certeyn, on my halve."
Goth Pandarus, and Troilus he soughte
Til in a temple he fond hym al allone,
As he that of his lif no lenger roughte;
But to the pitouse goddes everichone
950 Ful tendrely he preyde and made his mone,
To doon hym sone out of this world to pace,
For wel he thoughte ther was non other grace.
And shortly, al the sothe for to seye,
He was so fallen in despeir that day,
That outrely he shop hym for to deye.
For right thus was his argument alway:
He seyde he nas but lorn, weylaway!
"For al that comth, comth by necessitee:
Thus to ben lorn, it is my destinee.
960 "For certeynly, this wot I wel," he seyde,
"That forsight of divine purveyaunce
Hath seyn alwey me to forgon Criseyde,
Syn God seeth every thyng, out of doutaunce,
And hem disponyth, thorugh his ordinaunce,
In hire merites sothly for to be,
As they shul comen by predestyne.
"But natheles, allas, whom shal I leeve?
For ther ben grete clerkes many oon
That destyne thorugh argumentes preve;
970 And som men seyn that nedely ther is noon,
But that fre chois is yeven us everychon.
O, welaway! So sleighe arn clerkes olde
That I not whos opynyoun I may holde.
"For som men seyn, if God seth al biforn --
Ne God may nat deceyved ben, parde --
Than moot it fallen, theigh men hadde it sworn,
That purveiance hath seyn before to be.
Wherfore I sey, that from eterne if he
Hath wist byforn oure thought ek as oure dede,
980 We han no fre chois, as thise clerkes rede.
"For other thought, nor other dede also,
Myghte nevere ben, but swich as purveyaunce,
Which may nat ben deceyved nevere mo,
Hath feled byforn, withouten ignoraunce.
For yf ther myghte ben a variaunce
To writhen out fro Goddis purveyinge,
Ther nere no prescience of thyng comynge,
"But it were rather an opynyoun
Uncerteyn, and no stedfast forseynge;
990 And certes, that were an abusioun,
That God sholde han no parfit cler wytynge
More than we men that han doutous wenynge.
But swich an errour upon God to gesse
Were fals and foul, and wikked corsednesse.
"Ek this is an opynyoun of some
That han hire top ful heighe and smothe yshore:
They seyn right thus, that thyng is nat to come
For that the prescience hath seyn byfore
That it shal come; but they seyn that therfore
1000 That it shal come, therfore the purveyaunce
Woot it byforn, withouten ignoraunce;
"And in this manere this necessite
Retorneth in his part contrarie agayn.
For nedfully byhoveth it nat to bee
That thilke thynges fallen in certayn
That ben purveyed; but nedly, as they sayn,
Byhoveth it that thynges whiche that falle,
That they in certayn ben purveyed alle.
"I mene as though I laboured me in this
1010 To enqueren which thyng cause of which thyng be:
As wheither that the prescience of God is
The certeyn cause of the necessite
Of thynges that to comen ben, parde,
Or if necessite of thyng comynge
Be cause certeyn of the purveyinge.
"But now n' enforce I me nat in shewynge
How the ordre of causes stant; but wel woot I
That it byhoveth that the byfallynge
Of thynges wist byfore certeynly
1020 Be necessarie, al seme it nat therby
That prescience put fallynge necessaire
To thyng to come, al falle it foule or faire.
"For if ther sitte a man yond on a see,
Than by necessite bihoveth it
That, certes, thyn opynyoun sooth be
That wenest or conjectest that he sit.
And further over now ayeynward yit,
Lo, right so is it of the part contrarie,
As thus -- now herkne, for I wol nat tarie:
1030 "I sey that if the opynyoun of the
Be soth, for that he sitte, than sey I this:
That he mot sitten by necessite;
And thus necessite in eyther is.
For in hym, nede of sittynge is, ywys,
And in the, nede of soth; and thus, forsothe,
There mot necessite ben in yow bothe.
"But thow mayst seyn, the man sit nat therfore
That thyn opynyoun of his sittynge soth is,
But rather, for the man sit ther byfore,
1040 Therfore is thyn opynyoun soth, ywis.
And I seye, though the cause of soth of this
Comth of his sittyng, yet necessite
Is entrechaunged, both in hym and the.
"Thus in this same wise, out of doutaunce,
I may wel maken, as it semeth me,
My resonyng of Goddes purveyaunce
And of the thynges that to comen be;
By which resoun men may wel yse
That thilke thynges that in erthe falle,
1050 That by necessite they comen alle.
"For although that for thyng shal come, ywys,
Therfore is it purveyed, certeynly --
Nat that it comth for it purveyed is --
Yet natheles, bihoveth it nedfully
That thing to come be purveyd, trewely,
Or elles, thynges that purveyed be,
That they bitiden by necessite.
"And this suffiseth right ynough, certeyn,
For to destruye oure fre chois every del.
1060 But now is this abusioun, to seyn
That fallyng of the thynges temporel
Is cause of Goddes prescience eternel.
Now trewely, that is a fals sentence,
That thyng to come sholde cause his prescience.
"What myght I wene, and I hadde swich a thought,
But that God purveyeth thyng that is to come
For that it is to come, and ellis nought?
So myghte I wene that thynges alle and some
That whilom ben byfalle and overcome
1070 Ben cause of thilke sovereyne purveyaunce
That forwoot al withouten ignoraunce.
"And over al this, yet sey I more herto:
That right as whan I wot ther is a thyng,
Iwys, that thyng moot nedfully be so;
Ek right so, whan I woot a thyng comyng,
So mot it come; and thus the bifallyng
Of thynges that ben wist bifore the tyde,
They mowe nat ben eschued on no syde."
Thanne seyde he thus: "Almyghty Jove in trone,
1080 That woost of al thys thyng the sothfastnesse,
Rewe on my sorwe: or do me deyen sone,
Or bryng Criseyde and me fro this destresse!"
And whil he was in al this hevynesse,
Disputyng with hymself in this matere,
Com Pandare in, and seyde as ye may here:
"O myghty God," quod Pandarus, "in trone,
I! Who say evere a wis man faren so?
Whi, Troilus, what thinkestow to doone?
Hastow swich lust to ben thyn owen fo?
1090 What, parde, yet is nat Criseyde ago!
Whi list the so thiself fordoon for drede
That in thyn hed thyne eyen semen dede?
"Hastow nat lyved many a yer byforn
Withouten hire, and ferd ful wel at ese?
Artow for hire and for noon other born?
Hath Kynde the wrought al only hire to plese?
Lat be, and thynk right thus in thi disese:
That, in the dees right as ther fallen chaunces,
Right so in love ther come and gon plesaunces.
1100 "And yet this is a wonder most of alle,
Whi thow thus sorwest, syn thow nost nat yit,
Touchyng hire goyng, how that it shal falle,
Ne yif she kan hireself destourben it.
Thow hast nat yet assayed al hire wit.
A man may al bytyme his nekke beede
Whan it shal of, and sorwen at the nede.
"Forthi tak hede of that that I shal seye:
I have with hire yspoke and longe ybe,
So as acorded was bitwixe us tweye;
1110 And evere mor me thynketh thus, that she
Hath somwhat in hire hertes privete
Wherwith she kan, if I shal right arede,
Destourbe al this of which thow art in drede.
"For which my counseil is, whan it is nyght
Thow to hire go and make of this an ende;
And blisful Juno thorugh hire grete myght
Shal, as I hope, hire grace unto us sende.
Myn herte seyth, `Certeyn, she shal nat wende.'
And forthi put thyn herte a while in reste,
1120 And hold this purpos, for it is the beste."
This Troilus answerd, and sighte soore:
"Thow seist right wel, and I wol don right so."
And what hym liste, he seyde unto it more.
And whan that it was tyme for to go,
Ful pryvely hymself, withouten mo,
Unto hire com, as he was wont to doone;
And how they wroughte, I shal yow tellen soone.
Soth is, that whan they gonnen first to mete,
So gan the peyne hire hertes for to twiste
1130 That neyther of hem other myghte grete,
But hem in armes toke, and after kiste.
The lasse woful of hem bothe nyste
Wher that he was, ne myghte o word out brynge,
As I seyde erst, for wo and for sobbynge.
The woful teeris that they leten falle
As bittre weren, out of teris kynde,
For peyne, as is ligne aloes or galle --
So bittre teeris weep nought, as I fynde,
The woful Mirra thorugh the bark and rynde --
1140 That in this world ther nys so hard an herte
That nolde han rewed on hire peynes smerte.
But whan hire woful weri goostes tweyne
Retourned ben ther as hem oughte dwelle,
And that somwhat to wayken gan the peyne
By lengthe of pleynte, and ebben gan the welle
Of hire teeris, and the herte unswelle,
With broken vois, al hoors forshright, Criseyde
To Troilus thise ilke wordes seyde:
"O Jove, I deye, and mercy I beseche!
1150 Help, Troilus!" And therwithal hire face
Upon his brest she leyde and loste speche --
Hire woful spirit from his propre place,
Right with the word, alwey o poynt to pace.
And thus she lith with hewes pale and grene,
That whilom fressh and fairest was to sene.
This Troilus, that on hire gan biholde,
Clepyng hire name -- and she lay as for ded --
Without answere, and felte hire lymes colde,
Hire eyen throwen upward to hire hed,
1160 This sorwful man kan now noon other red,
But ofte tyme hire colde mowth he kiste.
Wher hym was wo, God and hymself it wiste!
He rist hym up, and long streght he hire leyde;
For signe of lif, for aught he kan or may,
Kan he non fynde in nothyng on Criseyde,
For which his song ful ofte is "weylaway!"
But whan he saugh that specheles she lay,
With sorweful vois and herte of blisse al bare,
He seyde how she was fro this world yfare.
1170 So after that he longe hadde hire compleyned,
His hondes wrong, and seyd that was to seye,
And with his teeris salt hire brest byreyned,
He gan tho teeris wypen of ful dreye,
And pitously gan for the soule preye,
And seyde, "O Lord, that set art in thi trone,
Rewe ek on me, for I shal folwe hire sone!"
She cold was, and withouten sentement
For aught he woot, for breth ne felte he non,
And this was hym a pregnant argument
1180 That she was forth out of this world agon.
And whan he say ther was non other woon,
He gan hire lymes dresse in swich manere
As men don hem that shal ben layd on beere.
And after this, with sterne and cruel herte,
His swerd anon out of his shethe he twighte
Hymself to slen, how sore that hym smerte,
So that his soule hire soule folwen myghte
Ther as the doom of Mynos wolde it dighte,
Syn Love and cruel Fortune it ne wolde
1190 That in this world he lenger lyven sholde.
Than seyde he thus, fulfild of heigh desdayn:
"O cruel Jove, and thow, Fortune adverse,
This al and som: that falsly have ye slayn
Criseyde, and syn ye may do me no werse,
Fy on youre myght and werkes so dyverse!
Thus cowardly ye shul me nevere wynne;
Ther shal no deth me fro my lady twynne.
"For I this world, syn ye have slayn hire thus,
Wol lete and folwe hire spirit low or hye.
1200 Shal nevere lovere seyn that Troilus
Dar nat for fere with his lady dye;
For certeyn I wol beere hire compaignie.
But syn ye wol nat suffre us lyven here,
Yet suffreth that oure soules ben yfere.
"And thow, cite, which that I leve in wo,
And thow, Priam, and bretheren alle yfeere,
And thow, my moder, farwel, for I go;
And Atropos, make redy thow my beere;
And thow, Criseyde, o swete herte deere,
1210 Receyve now my spirit!" wolde he seye,
With swerd at herte, al redy for to deye.
But as God wolde, of swough therwith sh' abreyde,
And gan to sike, and "Troilus" she cride;
And he answerde, "Lady myn, Criseyde,
Lyve ye yet?" and leet his swerd down glide.
"Ye, herte myn, that thonked be Cipride!"
Quod she; and therwithal she soore syghte,
And he bigan conforte hire as he myghte,
Took hire in armes two, and kiste hire ofte,
1220 And hire to glade he did al his entente;
For which hire goost, that flikered ay o-lofte,
Into hire woful herte ayeyn it wente.
But at the laste, as that hire eye glente
Asyde, anon she gan his swerd espie,
As it lay bare, and gan for fere crye,
And asked hym, whi he it hadde out drawe.
And Troilus anon the cause hire tolde,
And how hymself therwith he wolde han slawe;
For which Criseyde upon hym gan biholde,
1230 And gan hym in hire armes faste folde,
And seyde, "O mercy, God! Lo, which a dede!
Allas, how neigh we weren bothe dede!
"Than if I nadde spoken, as grace was,
Ye wolde han slayn youreself anon?" quod she.
"Yee, douteles"; and she answerde, "Allas,
For by that ilke Lord that made me,
I nolde a forlong wey on lyve have be
After youre deth, to han ben crowned queene
Of al that lond the sonne on shyneth sheene.
1240 "But with this selve swerd, which that here is,
Myselve I wolde han slawe," quod she tho.
"But hoo, for we han right ynough of this,
And lat us rise, and streght to bedde go,
And there lat us speken of oure wo;
For, by the morter which that I se brenne,
Knowe I ful wel that day is nat far henne."
Whan they were in hire bed, in armes folde,
Naught was it lik tho nyghtes here-byforn.
For pitously ech other gan byholde,
1250 As they that hadden al hire blisse ylorn,
Bywaylinge ay the day that they were born;
Til at the laste this sorwful wight, Criseyde,
To Troilus thise ilke wordes seyde:
"Lo, herte myn, wel woot ye this," quod she,
"That if a wight alwey his wo compleyne
And seketh nought how holpen for to be,
It nys but folie and encrees of peyne;
And syn that here assembled be we tweyne
To fynde boote of wo that we ben inne,
1260 It were al tyme soone to bygynne.
"I am a womman, as ful wel ye woot,
And as I am avysed sodeynly,
So wol I telle yow, whil it is hoot.
Me thynketh thus: that nouther ye nor I
Ought half this wo to maken, skilfully;
For ther is art ynough for to redresse
That yet is mys, and slen this hevynesse.
"Soth is, the wo, the which that we ben inne,
For aught I woot, for nothyng ellis is
1270 But for the cause that we sholden twynne.
Considered al, ther nys namore amys.
But what is thanne a remede unto this,
But that we shape us soone for to meete?
This al and som, my deere herte sweete.
"Now, that I shal wel bryngen it aboute
To come ayeyn, soone after that I go,
Therof am I no manere thyng in doute;
For, dredeles, withinne a wowke or two
I shal ben here; and that it may be so
1280 By alle right and in a wordes fewe,
I shal yow wel an heep of weyes shewe.
"For which I wol nat make long sermoun --
For tyme ylost may nought recovered be --
But I wol gon to my conclusioun,
And to the beste, in aught that I kan see.
And for the love of God, foryeve it me
If I speke aught ayeyns youre hertes reste;
For trewely, I speke it for the beste,
"Makyng alwey a protestacioun
1290 That now thise wordes which that I shal seye
Nis but to shewen yow my mocioun
To fynde unto oure help the beste weye;
And taketh it non other wise, I preye,
For in effect, what so ye me comaunde,
That wol I don, for that is no demaunde.
"Now herkneth this: ye han wel understonde
My goyng graunted is by parlement
So ferforth that it may nat be withstonde
For al this world, as by my jugement.
1300 And syn ther helpeth non avisement
To letten it, lat it passe out of mynde,
And lat us shape a bettre wey to fynde.
"The soth is this: the twynnyng of us tweyne
Wol us disese and cruelich anoye,
But hym byhoveth somtyme han a peyne
That serveth Love, if that he wol have joye.
And syn I shal no ferther out of Troie
Than I may ride ayeyn on half a morwe,
It oughte lesse causen us to sorwe;
1310 "So as I shal not so ben hid in muwe,
That day by day, myn owne herte deere --
Syn wel ye woot that it is now a trewe --
Ye shal ful wel al myn estat yheere.
And er that trewe is doon, I shal ben heere;
And thanne have ye both Antenore ywonne
And me also. Beth glad now, if ye konne,
"And thenk right thus: `Criseyde is now agon.
But what, she shal come hastiliche ayeyn!'
And whanne, allas? By God, lo, right anon,
1320 Er dayes ten, this dar I saufly seyn.
And than at erste shal we be so feyn,
So as we shal togideres evere dwelle,
That al this world ne myghte oure blisse telle.
"I se that oft-tyme, there as we ben now,
That for the beste, oure counseyl for to hide,
Ye speke nat with me, nor I with yow
In fourtenyght, ne se yow go ne ride.
May ye naught ten dayes thanne abide,
For myn honour, in swich an aventure?
1330 Iwys, ye mowen ellis lite endure!
"Ye knowe ek how that al my kyn is heere,
But if that onliche it my fader be,
And ek myn othere thynges alle yfeere,
And nameliche, my deere herte, ye,
Whom that I nolde leven for to se
For al this world, as wyd as it hath space,
Or ellis se ich nevere Joves face!
"Whi trowe ye my fader in this wise
Coveyteth so to se me, but for drede
1340 Lest in this town that folkes me despise
Because of hym, for his unhappy dede?
What woot my fader what lif that I lede?
For if he wiste in Troie how wel I fare,
Us neded for my wendyng nought to care.
"Ye sen that every day ek, more and more,
Men trete of pees, and it supposid is
That men the queene Eleyne shal restore,
And Grekis us restoren that is mys;
So, though ther nere comfort non but this,
1350 That men purposen pees on every syde,
Ye may the bettre at ese of herte abyde.
"For if that it be pees, myn herte deere,
The nature of the pees moot nedes dryve
That men moost entrecomunen yfeere,
And to and fro ek ride and gon as blyve
Alday as thikke as been fleen from an hyve,
And every wight han liberte to bleve
Whereas hym liste the bet, withouten leve.
"And though so be that pees ther may be non,
1360 Yet hider, though ther nevere pees ne were,
I moste come; for whider sholde I gon,
Or how, meschaunce, sholde I dwelle there
Among tho men of armes evere in feere?
For which, as wisly God my soule rede,
I kan nat sen wherof ye sholden drede.
"Have here another wey, if it so be
That al this thyng ne may yow nat suffise:
My fader, as ye knowen wel, parde,
Is old, and elde is ful of coveytise,
1370 And I right now have founden al the gise,
Withouten net, wherwith I shal hym hente.
And herkeneth how, if that ye wol assente:
"Lo, Troilus, men seyn that hard it is
The wolf ful and the wether hool to have;
This is to seyn, that men ful ofte, iwys,
Mote spenden part the remenant for to save;
For ay with gold men may the herte grave
Of hym that set is upon coveytise;
And how I mene, I shal it yow devyse:
1380 "The moeble which that I have in this town
Unto my fader shal I take, and seye
That right for trust and for savacioun
It sent is from a frend of his or tweye,
The whiche frendes ferventliche hym preye
To senden after more, and that in hie,
Whil that this town stant thus in jupartie.
"And that shal ben an huge quantite --
Thus shal I seyn -- but lest it folk espide,
This may be sent by no wyght but by me.
1390 I shal ek shewen hym, yf pees bytyde,
What frendes that ich have on every syde
Toward the court, to don the wrathe pace
Of Priamus and don hym stonde in grace.
"So what for o thyng and for other, swete,
I shal hym so enchaunten with my sawes
That right in hevene his sowle is, shal he mete;
For al Appollo, or his clerkes lawes,
Or calkullynge, avayleth nought thre hawes;
Desir of gold shal so his soule blende
1400 That, as me lyst, I shal wel make an ende.
"And yf he wolde ought by hys sort it preve
If that I lye, in certayn I shal fonde
Distorben hym and plukke hym by the sleve,
Makynge his sort, and beren hym on honde
He hath not wel the goddes understonde;
For goddes speken in amphibologies,
And for o soth they tellen twenty lyes.
"Ek, `Drede fond first goddes, I suppose' --
Thus shal I seyn -- and that his coward herte
1410 Made hym amys the goddes text to glose,
Whan he for fered out of Delphos sterte.
And but I make hym soone to converte
And don my red withinne a day or tweye,
I wol to yow oblige me to deye."
And treweliche, as writen wel I fynde
That al this thyng was seyd of good entente,
And that hire herte trewe was and kynde
Towardes hym, and spak right as she mente,
And that she starf for wo neigh whan she wente,
1420 And was in purpos evere to be trewe:
Thus writen they that of hire werkes knewe.
This Troilus, with herte and erys spradde,
Herde al this thyng devysen to and fro,
And verrayliche him semed that he hadde
The selve wit; but yet to late hire go
His herte mysforyaf hym evere mo;
But fynaly, he gan his herte wreste
To trusten hire, and took it for the beste.
For which the grete furie of his penaunce
1430 Was queynt with hope, and therwith hem bitwene
Bigan for joie th' amorouse daunce;
And as the briddes, whanne the sonne is shene,
Deliten in hire song in leves grene,
Right so the wordes that they spake yfeere
Delited hem, and made hire hertes clere.
But natheles, the wendyng of Criseyde,
For al this world, may nat out of his mynde,
For which ful ofte he pitously hire preyde
That of hire heste he myghte hire trewe fynde,
1440 And seyde hire, "Certes, if ye be unkynde,
And but ye come at day set into Troye,
Ne shal I nevere have hele, honour, ne joye.
"For also soth as sonne uprist o-morwe --
And God so wisly thow me, woful wrecche,
To reste brynge out of this cruel sorwe! --
I wol myselven sle if that ye drecche.
But of my deeth though litel be to recche,
Yet, er that ye me causen so to smerte,
Dwelle rather here, myn owen swete herte.
1450 "For trewely, myn owne lady deere,
Tho sleghtes yet that I have herd yow stere
Ful shaply ben to faylen alle yfeere.
For thus men seyth `That on thenketh the beere,
But al another thenketh his ledere.'
Youre syre is wys; and seyd is, out of drede,
`Men may the wise atrenne, and naught atrede.'
"It is ful hard to halten unespied
Byfore a crepel, for he kan the craft;
Youre fader is in sleght as Argus eyed;
1460 For al be that his moeble is hym biraft,
His olde sleighte is yet so with hym laft
Ye shal nat blende hym for youre wommanhede,
Ne feyne aright; and that is al my drede.
"I not if pees shal evere mo bitide;
But pees or no, for ernest ne for game,
I woot, syn Calkas on the Grekis syde
Hath ones ben and lost so foule his name,
He dar nomore come here ayeyn for shame;
For which that wey, for aught I kan espie,
1470 To trusten on nys but a fantasie.
"Ye shal ek sen, youre fader shal yow glose
To ben a wif; and as he kan wel preche,
He shal som Grek so preyse and wel alose
That ravysshen he shal yow with his speche,
Or do yow don by force as he shal teche;
And Troilus, of whom ye nyl han routhe,
Shal causeles so sterven in his trouthe!
"And over al this, youre fader shal despise
Us alle, and seyn this cite nys but lorn,
1480 And that th' assege nevere shal aryse,
For-whi the Grekis han it alle sworn,
Til we be slayn and down oure walles torn.
And thus he shal yow with his wordes fere,
That ay drede I that ye wol bleven there.
"Ye shal ek seen so many a lusty knyght
Among the Grekis, ful of worthynesse,
And ech of hem with herte, wit, and myght
To plesen yow don al his bisynesse,
That ye shul dullen of the rudenesse
1490 Of us sely Troians, but if routhe
Remorde yow, or vertu of youre trouthe.
"And this to me so grevous is to thynke
That fro my brest it wol my soule rende;
Ne dredeles, in me ther may nat synke
A good opynyoun, if that ye wende,
For whi youre fadres sleghte wol us shende.
And if ye gon, as I have told yow yore,
So thenk I n' am but ded, withoute more.
"For which, with humble, trewe, and pitous herte,
1500 A thousand tymes mercy I yow preye;
So rueth on myn aspre peynes smerte,
And doth somwhat as that I shal yow seye,
And lat us stele awey bitwixe us tweye;
And thynk that folie is, whan man may chese,
For accident his substaunce ay to lese.
"I mene thus: that syn we mowe er day
Wel stele awey and ben togidere so,
What wit were it to putten in assay,
In cas ye sholden to youre fader go,
1510 If that ye myghten come ayeyn or no?
Thus mene I: that it were a gret folie
To putte that sikernesse in jupertie.
"And vulgarly to speken of substaunce
Of tresour, may we bothe with us lede
Inough to lyve in honour and plesaunce
Til into tyme that we shal ben dede;
And thus we may eschuen al this drede.
For everich other wey ye kan recorde,
Myn herte, ywys, may therwith naught acorde.
1520 "And hardily, ne dredeth no poverte,
For I have kyn and frendes elleswhere
That, though we comen in oure bare sherte,
Us sholde neyther lakken gold ne gere,
But ben honured while we dwelten there.
And go we anon; for as in myn entente,
This is the beste, if that ye wole assente."
Criseyde, with a sik, right in this wise
Answerde, "Ywys, my deere herte trewe,
We may wel stele awey, as ye devyse,
1530 And fynden swich unthrifty weyes newe,
But afterward ful soore it wol us rewe.
And helpe me God so at my mooste nede,
As causeles ye suffren al this drede!
"For thilke day that I for cherisynge
Or drede of fader, or for other wight,
Or for estat, delit, or for weddynge,
Be fals to yow, my Troilus, my knyght,
Saturnes doughter, Juno, thorugh hire myght,
As wood as Athamante do me dwelle
1540 Eternalich in Stix, the put of helle!
"And this on every god celestial
I swere it yow, and ek on ech goddesse,
On every nymphe and deite infernal,
On satiry and fawny more and lesse,
That halve goddes ben of wildernesse;
And Attropos my thred of lif tobreste
If I be fals! Now trowe me if yow leste!
"And thow, Symois, that as an arwe clere
Thorugh Troie rennest downward to the se,
1550 Ber witnesse of this word that seyd is here:
That thilke day that ich untrewe be
To Troilus, myn owene herte fre,
That thow retourne bakward to thi welle,
And I with body and soule synke in helle!
"But that ye speke, awey thus for to go
And leten alle youre frendes, God forbede
For any womman that ye sholden so,
And namely syn Troie hath now swich nede
Of help. And ek of o thyng taketh hede:
1560 If this were wist, my lif lay in balaunce,
And youre honour; God shilde us fro meschaunce!
"And if so be that pees heere-after take,
As alday happeth after anger game,
Whi, Lord, the sorwe and wo ye wolden make,
That ye ne dorste come ayeyn for shame!
And er that ye juparten so youre name,
Beth naught to hastif in this hoote fare,
For hastif man ne wanteth nevere care.
"What trowe ye the peple ek al aboute
1570 Wolde of it seye? It is ful light t' arede.
They wolden seye, and swere it out of doute,
That love ne drof yow naught to don this dede,
But lust voluptuous and coward drede.
Thus were al lost, ywys, myn herte deere,
Youre honour, which that now shyneth so clere.
"And also thynketh on myn honeste,
That floureth yet, how foule I sholde it shende,
And with what filthe it spotted sholde be,
If in this forme I sholde with yow wende.
1580 Ne though I lyved unto the werldes ende,
My name sholde I nevere ayeynward wynne;
Thus were I lost, and that were routhe and synne.
"And forthi sle with resoun al this hete!
Men seyn, `The suffrant overcomith,' parde;
Ek `Whoso wol han lief, he lief moot lete.'
Thus maketh vertu of necessite
By pacience, and thynk that lord is he
Of Fortune ay that naught wole of hire recche,
And she ne daunteth no wight but a wrecche.
1590 "And trusteth this: that certes, herte swete,
Er Phebus suster, Lucina the sheene,
The Leoun passe out of this Ariete,
I wol ben here, withouten any wene.
I mene, as helpe me Juno, hevenes quene,
The tenthe day, but if that deth m' assaile,
I wol yow sen withouten any faille."
"And now, so this be soth," quod Troilus,
"I shal wel suffre unto the tenthe day,
Syn that I se that nede it mot be thus.
1600 But for the love of God, if it be may,
So late us stelen priveliche away;
For evere in oon, as for to lyve in reste,
Myn herte seyth that it wol be the beste."
"O mercy, God, what lif is this?" quod she.
"Allas, ye sle me thus for verray tene!
I se wel now that ye mystrusten me,
For by youre wordes it is wel yseene.
Now for the love of Cinthia the sheene,
Mistrust me nought thus causeles, for routhe,
1610 Syn to be trewe I have yow plight my trouthe.
"And thynketh wel that somtyme it is wit
To spende a tyme, a tyme for to wynne;
Ne, parde, lorn am I naught fro yow yit,
Though that we ben a day or two atwynne.
Drif out the fantasies yow withinne,
And trusteth me, and leveth ek youre sorwe,
Or here my trouthe: I wol naught lyve tyl morwe.
"For if ye wiste how soore it doth me smerte,
Ye wolde cesse of this; for, God, thow wost,
1620 The pure spirit wepeth in myn herte
To se yow wepen that I love most,
And that I mot gon to the Grekis oost.
Ye, nere it that I wiste remedie
To come ayeyn, right here I wolde dye!
"But certes, I am naught so nyce a wight
That I ne kan ymaginen a wey
To come ayeyn that day that I have hight.
For who may holde a thing that wol awey?
My fader naught, for al his queynte pley!
1630 And by my thrift, my wendyng out of Troie
Another day shal torne us alle to joie.
"Forthi with al myn herte I yow biseke,
If that yow list don ought for my preyere,
And for that love which that I love yow eke,
That er that I departe fro yow here,
That of so good a confort and a cheere
I may yow sen that ye may brynge at reste
Myn herte, which that is o poynt to breste.
"And over al this I prey yow," quod she tho,
1640 "Myn owene hertes sothfast suffisaunce,
Syn I am thyn al hol, withouten mo,
That whil that I am absent, no plesaunce
Of oother do me fro youre remembraunce;
For I am evere agast, forwhy men rede
That love is thyng ay ful of bisy drede.
"For in this world ther lyveth lady non,
If that ye were untrewe -- as God defende! --
That so bitraised were or wo-bigon
As I, that alle trouthe in yow entende.
1650 And douteles, if that ich other wende,
I ner but ded; and er ye cause fynde,
For Goddes love, so beth me naught unkynde!"
To this answerde Troilus and seyde,
"Now God, to whom ther nys no cause ywrye,
Me glade, as wys I nevere unto Criseyde,
Syn thilke day I saugh hire first with ye,
Was fals, ne nevere shal til that I dye.
At shorte wordes, wel ye may me leve.
I kan na more; it shal be founde at preve."
1660 "Grant mercy, goode myn, iwys!" quod she,
"And blisful Venus lat me nevere sterve
Er I may stonde of plesaunce in degree
To quyte hym wel that so wel kan deserve;
And while that God my wit wol me conserve,
I shal so don, so trewe I have yow founde,
That ay honour to me-ward shal rebounde.
"For trusteth wel that youre estat roial,
Ne veyn delit, nor only worthinesse
Of yow in werre or torney marcial,
1670 Ne pompe, array, nobleye, or ek richesse
Ne made me to rewe on youre destresse,
But moral vertu, grounded upon trouthe --
That was the cause I first hadde on yow routhe!
"Eke gentil herte and manhod that ye hadde,
And that ye hadde, as me thoughte, in despit
Every thyng that souned into badde,
As rudenesse and poeplissh appetit,
And that youre resoun bridlede youre delit,
This made, aboven every creature,
1680 That I was youre, and shal while I may dure.
"And this may lengthe of yeres naught fordo,
Ne remuable Fortune deface.
But Juppiter, that of his myght may do
The sorwful to be glad, so yeve us grace
Or nyghtes ten to meten in this place,
So that it may youre herte and myn suffise!
And fareth now wel, for tyme is that ye rise."
And after that they longe ypleyned hadde,
And ofte ykist, and streite in armes folde,
1690 The day gan rise, and Troilus hym cladde,
And rewfullich his lady gan byholde,
As he that felte dethes cares colde,
And to hire grace he gan hym recomaunde.
Wher hym was wo, this holde I no demaunde.
For mannes hed ymagynen ne kan,
N' entendement considere, ne tonge telle
The cruele peynes of this sorwful man,
That passen every torment down in helle.
For whan he saugh that she ne myghte dwelle,
1700 Which that his soule out of his herte rente,
Withouten more out of the chaumbre he wente.
Next: Book 5