TROILUS AND CRISEYDE
by Geoffrey Chaucer
BOOK I. Incipit Liber Primus
The double sorwe of Troilus to tellen, 1 That was the king Priamus sone of Troye, In lovinge, how his aventures fellen Fro wo to wele, and after out of Ioye, My purpos is, er that I parte fro ye. 5 Thesiphone, thou help me for tendyte Thise woful vers, that wepen as I wryte!
To thee clepe I, thou goddesse of torment, Thou cruel Furie, sorwing ever in peyne; Help me, that am the sorwful instrument 10 That helpeth lovers, as I can, to pleyne! For wel sit it, the sothe for to seyne, A woful wight to han a drery fere, And, to a sorwful tale, a sory chere.
For I, that god of Loves servaunts serve, 15 Ne dar to Love, for myn unlyklinesse, Preyen for speed, al sholde I therfor sterve, So fer am I fro his help in derknesse; But nathelees, if this may doon gladnesse To any lover, and his cause avayle, 20 Have he my thank, and myn be this travayle!
But ye loveres, that bathen in gladnesse, If any drope of pitee in yow be, Remembreth yow on passed hevinesse That ye han felt, and on the adversitee 25 Of othere folk, and thenketh how that ye Han felt that Love dorste yow displese; Or ye han wonne hym with to greet an ese.
And preyeth for hem that ben in the cas Of Troilus, as ye may after here, 30 That love hem bringe in hevene to solas, And eek for me preyeth to god so dere, That I have might to shewe, in som manere, Swich peyne and wo as Loves folk endure, In Troilus unsely aventure. 35
And biddeth eek for hem that been despeyred In love, that never nil recovered be, And eek for hem that falsly been apeyred Thorugh wikked tonges, be it he or she; Thus biddeth god, for his benignitee, 40 So graunte hem sone out of this world to pace, That been despeyred out of Loves grace.
And biddeth eek for hem that been at ese, That god hem graunte ay good perseveraunce, And sende hem might hir ladies so to plese, 45 That it to Love be worship and plesaunce. For so hope I my soule best avaunce, To preye for hem that Loves servaunts be, And wryte hir wo, and live in charitee.
And for to have of hem compassioun 50 As though I were hir owene brother dere. Now herkeneth with a gode entencioun, For now wol I gon streight to my matere, In whiche ye may the double sorwes here Of Troilus, in loving of Criseyde, 55 And how that she forsook him er she deyde.
It is wel wist, how that the Grekes stronge In armes with a thousand shippes wente To Troyewardes, and the citee longe Assegeden neigh ten yeer er they stente, 60 And, in diverse wyse and oon entente, The ravisshing to wreken of Eleyne, By Paris doon, they wroughten al hir peyne.
Now fil it so, that in the toun ther was Dwellinge a lord of greet auctoritee, 65 A gret devyn that cleped was Calkas, That in science so expert was, that he Knew wel that Troye sholde destroyed be, By answere of his god, that highte thus, Daun Phebus or Apollo Delphicus. 70
So whan this Calkas knew by calculinge, And eek by answere of this Appollo, That Grekes sholden swich a peple bringe, Thorugh which that Troye moste been for-do, He caste anoon out of the toun to go; 75 For wel wiste he, by sort, that Troye sholde Destroyed ben, ye, wolde who-so nolde.
For which, for to departen softely Took purpos ful this forknowinge wyse, And to the Grekes ost ful prively 80 He stal anoon; and they, in curteys wyse, Hym deden bothe worship and servyse, In trust that he hath conning hem to rede In every peril which that is to drede.
The noyse up roos, whan it was first aspyed, 85 Thorugh al the toun, and generally was spoken, That Calkas traytor fled was, and allyed With hem of Grece; and casten to ben wroken On him that falsly hadde his feith so broken; And seyden, he and al his kin at ones 90 Ben worthy for to brennen, fel and bones.
Now hadde Calkas left, in this meschaunce, Al unwist of this false and wikked dede, His doughter, which that was in gret penaunce, For of hir lyf she was ful sore in drede, 95 As she that niste what was best to rede; For bothe a widowe was she, and allone Of any freend to whom she dorste hir mone.
Criseyde was this lady name a-right; As to my dome, in al Troyes citee 100 Nas noon so fair, for passing every wight So aungellyk was hir natyf beautee, That lyk a thing immortal semed she, As doth an hevenish parfit creature, That doun were sent in scorning of nature. 105
This lady, which that al-day herde at ere Hir fadres shame, his falsnesse and tresoun, Wel nigh out of hir wit for sorwe and fere, In widewes habit large of samit broun, On knees she fil biforn Ector a-doun; 110 With pitous voys, and tendrely wepinge, His mercy bad, hir-selven excusinge.
Now was this Ector pitous of nature, And saw that she was sorwfully bigoon, And that she was so fair a creature; 115 Of his goodnesse he gladed hir anoon, And seyde, 'Lat your fadres treson goon Forth with mischaunce, and ye your-self, in Ioye, Dwelleth with us, whyl you good list, in Troye.
'And al thonour that men may doon yow have, 120 As ferforth as your fader dwelled here, Ye shul han, and your body shal men save, As fer as I may ought enquere or here.' And she him thonked with ful humble chere, And ofter wolde, and it hadde ben his wille, 125 And took hir leve, and hoom, and held hir stille.
And in hir hous she abood with swich meynee As to hir honour nede was to holde; And whyl she was dwellinge in that citee, Kepte hir estat, and bothe of yonge and olde 130 Ful wel beloved, and wel men of hir tolde. But whether that she children hadde or noon, I rede it naught; therfore I late it goon.
The thinges fellen, as they doon of werre, Bitwixen hem of Troye and Grekes ofte; 135 For som day boughten they of Troye it derre, And eft the Grekes founden no thing softe The folk of Troye; and thus fortune on-lofte, And under eft, gan hem to wheelen bothe After hir cours, ay whyl they were wrothe. 140
But how this toun com to destruccioun Ne falleth nought to purpos me to telle; For it were a long digressioun Fro my matere, and yow to longe dwelle. But the Troyane gestes, as they felle, 145 In Omer, or in Dares, or in Dyte, Who-so that can, may rede hem as they wryte.
But though that Grekes hem of Troye shetten, And hir citee bisegede al a-boute, Hir olde usage wolde they not letten, 150 As for to honoure hir goddes ful devoute; But aldermost in honour, out of doute, They hadde a relik hight Palladion, That was hir trist a-boven everichon.
And so bifel, whan comen was the tyme 155 Of Aperil, whan clothed is the mede With newe grene, of lusty Ver the pryme, And swote smellen floures whyte and rede, In sondry wyses shewed, as I rede, The folk of Troye hir observaunces olde, 160 Palladiones feste for to holde.
And to the temple, in al hir beste wyse, In general, ther wente many a wight, To herknen of Palladion servyse; And namely, so many a lusty knight, 165 So many a lady fresh and mayden bright, Ful wel arayed, bothe moste and leste, Ye, bothe for the seson and the feste.
Among thise othere folk was Criseyda, In widewes habite blak; but nathelees, 170 Right as our firste lettre is now an A, In beautee first so stood she, makelees; Hir godly looking gladede al the prees. Nas never seyn thing to ben preysed derre, Nor under cloude blak so bright a sterre 175
As was Criseyde, as folk seyde everichoon That hir behelden in hir blake wede; And yet she stood ful lowe and stille alloon, Bihinden othere folk, in litel brede, And neigh the dore, ay under shames drede, 180 Simple of a-tyr, and debonaire of chere, With ful assured loking and manere.
This Troilus, as he was wont to gyde His yonge knightes, ladde hem up and doun In thilke large temple on every syde, 185 Biholding ay the ladyes of the toun, Now here, now there, for no devocioun Hadde he to noon, to reven him his reste, But gan to preyse and lakken whom him leste.
And in his walk ful fast he gan to wayten 190 If knight or squyer of his companye Gan for to syke, or lete his eyen bayten On any woman that he coude aspye; He wolde smyle, and holden it folye, And seye him thus, 'god wot, she slepeth softe 195 For love of thee, whan thou tornest ful ofte!
'I have herd told, pardieux, of your livinge, Ye lovers, and your lewede observaunces, And which a labour folk han in winninge Of love, and, in the keping, which doutaunces; 200 And whan your preye is lost, wo and penaunces; O verrey foles! nyce and blinde be ye; Ther nis not oon can war by other be.'
And with that word he gan cast up the browe, Ascaunces, 'Lo! is this nought wysly spoken?' 205 At which the god of love gan loken rowe Right for despyt, and shoop for to ben wroken; He kidde anoon his bowe nas not broken; For sodeynly he hit him at the fulle; And yet as proud a pekok can he pulle. 210
O blinde world, O blinde entencioun! How ofte falleth al theffect contraire Of surquidrye and foul presumpcioun; For caught is proud, and caught is debonaire. This Troilus is clomben on the staire, 215 And litel weneth that he moot descenden. But al-day falleth thing that foles ne wenden.
As proude Bayard ginneth for to skippe Out of the wey, so priketh him his corn, Til he a lash have of the longe whippe, 220 Than thenketh he, 'Though I praunce al biforn First in the trays, ful fat and newe shorn, Yet am I but an hors, and horses lawe I moot endure, and with my feres drawe.'
So ferde it by this fers and proude knight; 225 Though he a worthy kinges sone were, And wende nothing hadde had swiche might Ayens his wil that sholde his herte stere, Yet with a look his herte wex a-fere, That he, that now was most in pryde above, 230 Wex sodeynly most subget un-to love.
For-thy ensample taketh of this man, Ye wyse, proude, and worthy folkes alle, To scornen Love, which that so sone can The freedom of your hertes to him thralle; 235 For ever it was, and ever it shal bifalle, That Love is he that alle thing may binde; For may no man for-do the lawe of kinde.
That this be sooth, hath preved and doth yet; For this trowe I ye knowen, alle or some, 240 Men reden not that folk han gretter wit Than they that han be most with love y-nome; And strengest folk ben therwith overcome, The worthiest and grettest of degree: This was, and is, and yet men shal it see. 245
And trewelich it sit wel to be so; For alderwysest han ther-with ben plesed; And they that han ben aldermost in wo, With love han ben conforted most and esed; And ofte it hath the cruel herte apesed, 250 And worthy folk maad worthier of name, And causeth most to dreden vyce and shame.
Now sith it may not goodly be withstonde, And is a thing so vertuous in kinde, Refuseth not to Love for to be bonde, 255 Sin, as him-selven list, he may yow binde. The yerde is bet that bowen wole and winde Than that that brest; and therfor I yow rede To folwen him that so wel can yow lede.
But for to tellen forth in special 260 As of this kinges sone of which I tolde, And leten other thing collateral, Of him thenke I my tale for to holde, Both of his Ioye, and of his cares colde; And al his werk, as touching this matere, 265 For I it gan, I wol ther-to refere.
With-inne the temple he wente him forth pleyinge, This Troilus, of every wight aboute, On this lady and now on that lokinge, Wher-so she were of toune, or of with-oute: 270 And up-on cas bifel, that thorugh a route His eye perced, and so depe it wente, Til on Criseyde it smoot, and ther it stente.
And sodeynly he wax ther-with astoned, And gan hire bet biholde in thrifty wyse: 275 'O mercy, god!' thoughte he, 'wher hastow woned, That art so fair and goodly to devyse?' Ther-with his herte gan to sprede and ryse, And softe sighed, lest men mighte him here, And caughte a-yein his firste pleyinge chere. 280
She nas nat with the leste of hir stature, But alle hir limes so wel answeringe Weren to womanhode, that creature Was neuer lasse mannish in seminge. And eek the pure wyse of here meninge 285 Shewede wel, that men might in hir gesse Honour, estat, and wommanly noblesse.
To Troilus right wonder wel with-alle Gan for to lyke hir meninge and hir chere, Which somdel deynous was, for she leet falle 290 Hir look a lite a-side, in swich manere, Ascaunces, 'What! May I not stonden here?' And after that hir loking gan she lighte, That never thoughte him seen so good a sighte.
And of hir look in him ther gan to quiken 295 So greet desir, and swich affeccioun, That in his herte botme gan to stiken Of hir his fixe and depe impressioun: And though he erst hadde poured up and doun, He was tho glad his hornes in to shrinke; 300 Unnethes wiste he how to loke or winke.
Lo, he that leet him-selven so konninge, And scorned hem that loves peynes dryen, Was ful unwar that love hadde his dwellinge With-inne the subtile stremes of hir yen; 305 That sodeynly him thoughte he felte dyen, Right with hir look, the spirit in his herte; Blissed be love, that thus can folk converte!
She, this in blak, likinge to Troylus, Over alle thyng, he stood for to biholde; 310 Ne his desir, ne wherfor he stood thus, He neither chere made, ne worde tolde; But from a-fer, his maner for to holde, On other thing his look som-tyme he caste, And eft on hir, whyl that servyse laste. 315
And after this, not fulliche al awhaped, Out of the temple al esiliche he wente, Repentinge him that he hadde ever y-iaped Of loves folk, lest fully the descente Of scorn fille on him-self; but, what he mente, 320 Lest it were wist on any maner syde, His wo he gan dissimulen and hyde.
Whan he was fro the temple thus departed, He streyght anoon un-to his paleys torneth, Right with hir look thurgh-shoten and thurgh-darted, 325 Al feyneth he in lust that he soiorneth; And al his chere and speche also he borneth; And ay, of loves servants every whyle, Him-self to wrye, at hem he gan to smyle.
And seyde, 'Lord, so ye live al in lest, 330 Ye loveres! For the conningest of yow, That serveth most ententiflich and best, Him tit as often harm ther-of as prow; Your hyre is quit ayein, ye, god wot how! Nought wel for wel, but scorn for good servyse; 335 In feith, your ordre is ruled in good wyse!
'In noun-certeyn ben alle your observaunces, But it a sely fewe poyntes be; Ne no-thing asketh so grete attendaunces As doth youre lay, and that knowe alle ye; 340 But that is not the worste, as mote I thee; But, tolde I yow the worste poynt, I leve, Al seyde I sooth, ye wolden at me greve!
'But tak this, that ye loveres ofte eschuwe, Or elles doon of good entencioun, 345 Ful ofte thy lady wole it misconstrue, And deme it harm in hir opinioun; And yet if she, for other enchesoun, Be wrooth, than shalt thou han a groyn anoon: Lord! wel is him that may be of yow oon!' 350
But for al this, whan that he say his tyme, He held his pees, non other bote him gayned; For love bigan his fetheres so to lyme, That wel unnethe un-to his folk he fayned That othere besye nedes him destrayned; 355 For wo was him, that what to doon he niste, But bad his folk to goon wher that hem liste.
And whan that he in chaumbre was allone, He doun up-on his beddes feet him sette, And first be gan to syke, and eft to grone, 360 And thoughte ay on hir so, with-outen lette, That, as he sat and wook, his spirit mette That he hir saw a temple, and al the wyse Right of hir loke, and gan it newe avyse.
Thus gan he make a mirour of his minde, 365 In which he saugh al hoolly hir figure; And that he wel coude in his herte finde, It was to him a right good aventure To love swich oon, and if he dide his cure To serven hir, yet mighte he falle in grace, 370 Or elles, for oon of hir servaunts pace.
Imagininge that travaille nor grame Ne mighte, for so goodly oon, be lorn As she, ne him for his desir ne shame, Al were it wist, but in prys and up-born 375 Of alle lovers wel more than biforn; Thus argumented he in his ginninge, Ful unavysed of his wo cominge.
Thus took he purpos loves craft to suwe, And thoughte he wolde werken prively, 380 First, to hyden his desir in muwe From every wight y-born, al-outrely, But he mighte ought recovered be therby; Remembring him, that love to wyde y-blowe Yelt bittre fruyt, though swete seed be sowe. 385
And over al this, yet muchel more he thoughte What for to speke, and what to holden inne, And what to arten hir to love he soughte, And on a song anoon-right to biginne, And gan loude on his sorwe for to winne; 390 For with good hope he gan fully assente Criseyde for to love, and nought repente.
And of his song nought only the sentence, As writ myn autour called Lollius, But pleynly, save our tonges difference, 395 I dar wel sayn, in al that Troilus Seyde in his song, lo! every word right thus As I shal seyn; and who-so list it here, Lo! next this vers, he may it finden here.
'If no love is, O god, what fele I so? 400 And if love is, what thing and whiche is he! If love be good, from whennes comth my wo? If it be wikke, a wonder thinketh me, Whenne every torment and adversitee That cometh of him, may to me savory thinke; 405 For ay thurst I, the more that I it drinke.
'And if that at myn owene lust I brenne, Fro whennes cometh my wailing and my pleynte? If harme agree me, wher-to pleyne I thenne? I noot, ne why unwery that I feynte. 410 O quike deeth, O swete harm so queynte, How may of thee in me swich quantitee, But-if that I consente that it be?
'And if that I consente, I wrongfully Compleyne, y-wis; thus possed to and fro, 415 Al sterelees with inne a boot am I A-mid the see, by-twixen windes two, That in contrarie stonden ever-mo. Allas! what is this wonder maladye? For hete of cold, for cold of hete, I deye.' 420
And to the god of love thus seyde he With pitous voys, 'O lord, now youres is My spirit, which that oughte youres be. Yow thanke I, lord, that han me brought to this; But whether goddesse or womman, y-wis, 425 She be, I noot, which that ye do me serve; But as hir man I wole ay live and sterve.
'Ye stonden in hire eyen mightily, As in a place un-to youre vertu digne; Wherfore, lord, if my servyse or I 430 May lyke yow, so beth to me benigne; For myn estat royal here I resigne In-to hir hond, and with ful humble chere Bicome hir man, as to my lady dere.'
In him ne deyned sparen blood royal 435 The fyr of love, wher-fro god me blesse, Ne him forbar in no degree, for al His vertu or his excellent prowesse; But held him as his thral lowe in distresse, And brende him so in sondry wyse ay newe, 440 That sixty tyme a day he loste his hewe.
So muche, day by day, his owene thought, For lust to hir, gan quiken and encrese, That every other charge he sette at nought; For-thy ful ofte, his hote fyr to cese, 445 To seen hir goodly look he gan to prese; For ther-by to ben esed wel he wende, And ay the ner he was, the more he brende.
For ay the ner the fyr, the hotter is, This, trowe I, knoweth al this companye. 450 But were he fer or neer, I dar seye this, By night or day, for wisdom or folye, His herte, which that is his brestes ye, Was ay on hir, that fairer was to sene Than ever were Eleyne or Polixene. 455
Eek of the day ther passed nought an houre That to him-self a thousand tyme he seyde, 'Good goodly, to whom serve I and laboure, As I best can, now wolde god, Criseyde, Ye wolden on me rewe er that I deyde! 460 My dere herte, allas! myn hele and hewe And lyf is lost, but ye wole on me rewe.'
Alle othere dredes weren from him fledde, Both of the assege and his savacioun; Ne in him desyr noon othere fownes bredde 465 But argumentes to his conclusioun, That she on him wolde han compassioun, And he to be hir man, whyl he may dure; Lo, here his lyf, and from the deeth his cure! The sharpe shoures felle of armes preve, 470 That Ector or his othere bretheren diden, Ne made him only ther-fore ones meve; And yet was he, wher-so men wente or riden, Founde oon the beste, and lengest tyme abiden Ther peril was, and dide eek such travayle 475 In armes, that to thenke it was mervayle.
But for non hate he to the Grekes hadde, Ne also for the rescous of the toun, Ne made him thus in armes for to madde, But only, lo, for this conclusioun, 480 To lyken hir the bet for his renoun; Fro day to day in armes so he spedde, That alle the Grekes as the deeth him dredde.
And fro this forth tho refte him love his sleep, And made his mete his foo; and eek his sorwe 485 Gan multiplye, that, who-so toke keep, It shewed in his hewe, bothe eve and morwe; Therfor a title he gan him for to borwe Of other syknesse, lest of him men wende That the hote fyr of love him brende, 490
And seyde, he hadde a fever and ferde amis; But how it was, certayn, can I not seye, If that his lady understood not this, Or feyned hir she niste, oon of the tweye; But wel I rede that, by no maner weye, 495 Ne semed it as that she of him roughte, Nor of his peyne, or what-so-ever he thoughte.
But than fel to this Troylus such wo, That he was wel neigh wood; for ay his drede Was this, that she som wight had loved so, 500 That never of him she wolde have taken hede; For whiche him thoughte he felte his herte blede. Ne of his wo ne dorste he not biginne To tellen it, for al this world to winne.
But whanne he hadde a space fro his care, 505 Thus to him-self ful ofte he gan to pleyne; He sayde, 'O fool, now art thou in the snare, That whilom Iapedest at loves peyne; Now artow hent, now gnaw thyn owene cheyne; Thou were ay wont eche lovere reprehende 510 Of thing fro which thou canst thee nat defende.
'What wol now every lover seyn of thee, If this be wist, but ever in thyn absence Laughen in scorn, and seyn, 'Lo, ther gooth he, That is the man of so gret sapience, 515 That held us lovers leest in reverence! Now, thonked be god, he may goon in the daunce Of hem that Love list febly for to avaunce!' 'But, O thou woful Troilus, god wolde, Sin thou most loven thurgh thi destinee, 520 That thow beset were on swich oon that sholde Knowe al thy wo, al lakkede hir pitee: But al so cold in love, towardes thee, Thy lady is, as frost in winter mone, And thou fordoon, as snow in fyr is sone.' 525
'God wolde I were aryved in the port Of deth, to which my sorwe wil me lede! A, lord, to me it were a gret comfort; Than were I quit of languisshing in drede. For by myn hidde sorwe y-blowe on brede 530 I shal bi-Iaped been a thousand tyme More than that fool of whos folye men ryme.
'But now help god, and ye, swete, for whom I pleyne, y-caught, ye, never wight so faste! O mercy, dere herte, and help me from 535 The deeth, for I, whyl that my lyf may laste, More than my-self wol love yow to my laste. And with som freendly look gladeth me, swete, Though never more thing ye me bi-hete!'
This wordes and ful manye an-other to 540 He spak, and called ever in his compleynte Hir name, for to tellen hir his wo, Til neigh that he in salte teres dreynte. Al was for nought, she herde nought his pleynte; And whan that he bithoughte on that folye, 545 A thousand fold his wo gan multiplye.
Bi-wayling in his chambre thus allone, A freend of his, that called was Pandare, Com ones in unwar, and herde him grone, And say his freend in swich distresse and care: 'Allas!' quod he, 'who causeth al this fare? 551 O mercy, god! What unhap may this mene? Han now thus sone Grekes maad yow lene?
'Or hastow som remors of conscience, And art now falle in som devocioun, 555 And waylest for thy sinne and thyn offence, And hast for ferde caught attricioun? God save hem that bi-seged han our toun, And so can leye our Iolyte on presse, And bring our lusty folk to holinesse!' 560
These wordes seyde he for the nones alle, That with swich thing he mighte him angry maken, And with an angre don his sorwe falle, As for the tyme, and his corage awaken; But wel he wist, as fer as tonges spaken, 565 Ther nas a man of gretter hardinesse Than he, ne more desired worthinesse. 'What cas,' quod Troilus, 'or what aventure Hath gyded thee to see my languisshinge, That am refus of euery creature? 570 But for the love of god, at my preyinge, Go henne a-way, for certes, my deyinge Wol thee disese, and I mot nedes deye; Ther-for go wey, ther is no more to seye.
'But if thou wene I be thus sik for drede, 575 It is not so, and ther-for scorne nought; Ther is a-nother thing I take of hede Wel more than ought the Grekes han y-wrought, Which cause is of my deeth, for sorwe and thought. But though that I now telle thee it ne leste, 580 Be thou nought wrooth; I hyde it for the beste.'
This Pandare, that neigh malt for wo and routhe, Ful often seyde, 'Allas! what may this be? Now freend,' quod he, 'if ever love or trouthe Hath been, or is, bi-twixen thee and me, 585 Ne do thou never swiche a crueltee To hyde fro thy freend so greet a care; Wostow nought wel that it am I, Pandare?
'I wole parten with thee al thy peyne, If it be so I do thee no comfort, 590 As it is freendes right, sooth for to seyne, To entreparten wo, as glad desport. I have, and shal, for trewe or fals report, In wrong and right y-loved thee al my lyve; Hyd not thy wo fro me, but telle it blyve.' 595
Than gan this sorwful Troilus to syke, And seyde him thus, "God leve it be my beste To telle it thee; for sith it may thee lyke, Yet wole I telle it, though myn herte breste; And wel wot I thou mayst do me no reste. 600 But lest thow deme I truste not to thee, Now herkne, freend, for thus it stant with me.
'Love, a-yeins the which who-so defendeth Him-selven most, him alder-lest avayleth, With disespeir so sorwfully me offendeth, 605 That streyght un-to the deeth myn herte sayleth. Ther-to desyr so brenningly me assaylleth, That to ben slayn it were a gretter Ioye To me than king of Grece been and Troye!
'Suffiseth this, my fulle freend Pandare, 610 That I have seyd, for now wostow my wo; And for the love of god, my colde care So hyd it wel, I telle it never to mo; For harmes mighte folwen, mo than two, If it were wist; but be thou in gladnesse, 615 And lat me sterve, unknowe, of my distresse.' 'How hastow thus unkindely and longe Hid this fro me, thou fool?' quod Pandarus; 'Paraunter thou might after swich oon longe, That myn avys anoon may helpen us.' 620 'This were a wonder thing,' quod Troylus, 'Thou coudest never in love thy-selven wisse; How devel maystow bringen me to blisse?'
'Ye, Troilus, now herke,' quod Pandare, 'Though I be nyce; it happeth ofte so, 625 That oon that exces doth ful yvele fare, By good counseyl can kepe his freend ther-fro. I have my-self eek seyn a blind man go Ther-as he fel that coude loke wyde; A fool may eek a wys man ofte gyde. 630
'A whetston is no kerving instrument, And yet it maketh sharpe kerving-tolis. And ther thou woost that I have ought miswent, Eschewe thou that, for swich thing to thee scole is; Thus ofte wyse men ben war by folis. 635 If thou do so, thy wit is wel biwared; By his contrarie is every thing declared.
'For how might ever sweetnesse have be knowe To him that never tasted bitternesse? Ne no man may be inly glad, I trowe, 640 That never was in sorwe or som distresse; Eek whyt by blak, by shame eek worthinesse, Ech set by other, more for other semeth; As men may see; and so the wyse it demeth.
'Sith thus of two contraries is a lore, 645 I, that have in love so ofte assayed Grevaunces, oughte conne, and wel the more Counsayllen thee of that thou art amayed. Eek thee ne oughte nat ben yvel apayed, Though I desyre with thee for to bere 650 Thyn hevy charge; it shal the lasse dere.
'I woot wel that it fareth thus by me As to thy brother Parys an herdesse, Which that y-cleped was Oenone, Wrot in a compleynte of hir hevinesse: 655 Ye say the lettre that she wroot, y gesse?' 'Nay, never yet, y-wis,' quod Troilus. 'Now,' quod Pandare, 'herkneth, it was thus. —
"Phebus, that first fond art of medicyne,' Quod she, 'and coude in every wightes care 660 Remede and reed, by herbes he knew fyne, Yet to him-self his conning was ful bare; For love hadde him so bounden in a snare, Al for the doughter of the kinge Admete, That al his craft ne coude his sorwe bete." — 665
'Right so fare I, unhappily for me; I love oon best, and that me smerteth sore; And yet, paraunter, can I rede thee, And not my-self; repreve me no more. I have no cause, I woot wel, for to sore 670 As doth an hauk that listeth for to pleye, But to thyn help yet somwhat can I seye.
'And of o thing right siker maystow be, That certayn, for to deyen in the peyne, That I shal never-mo discoveren thee; 675 Ne, by my trouthe, I kepe nat restreyne Thee fro thy love, thogh that it were Eleyne, That is thy brotheres wif, if ich it wiste; Be what she be, and love hir as thee liste.
'Therfore, as freend fullich in me assure, 680 And tel me plat what is thyn enchesoun, And final cause of wo that ye endure; For douteth no-thing, myn entencioun Nis nought to yow of reprehencioun, To speke as now, for no wight may bireve 685 A man to love, til that him list to leve.
'And witeth wel, that bothe two ben vyces, Mistrusten alle, or elles alle leve; But wel I woot, the mene of it no vyce is, For to trusten sum wight is a preve 690 Of trouthe, and for-thy wolde I fayn remeve Thy wrong conseyte, and do thee som wight triste, Thy wo to telle; and tel me, if thee liste.
'The wyse seyth, "Wo him that is allone, For, and he falle, he hath noon help to ryse;" 695 And sith thou hast a felawe, tel thy mone; For this nis not, certeyn, the nexte wyse To winnen love, as techen us the wyse, To walwe and wepe as Niobe the quene, Whos teres yet in marbel been y-sene. 700
'Lat be thy weping and thi drerinesse, And lat us lissen wo with other speche; So may thy woful tyme seme lesse. Delyte not in wo thy wo to seche, As doon thise foles that hir sorwes eche 705 With sorwe, whan they han misaventure, And listen nought to seche hem other cure.
'Men seyn, "To wrecche is consolacioun To have an-other felawe in his peyne;" That oughte wel ben our opinioun, 710 For, bothe thou and I, of love we pleyne; So ful of sorwe am I, soth for to seyne, That certeynly no more harde grace May sitte on me, for-why ther is no space. 'If god wole thou art not agast of me, 715 Lest I wolde of thy lady thee bigyle, Thow wost thy-self whom that I love, pardee, As I best can, gon sithen longe whyle. And sith thou wost I do it for no wyle, And sith I am he that thou tristest most, 720 Tel me sumwhat, sin al my wo thou wost.'
Yet Troilus, for al this, no word seyde, But longe he ley as stille as he ded were; And after this with sykinge he abreyde, And to Pandarus voys he lente his ere, 725 And up his eyen caste he, that in fere Was Pandarus, lest that in frenesye He sholde falle, or elles sone dye;
And cryde 'A-wake' ful wonderly and sharpe; 'What? Slombrestow as in a lytargye? 730 Or artow lyk an asse to the harpe, That hereth soun, whan men the strenges plye, But in his minde of that no melodye May sinken, him to glade, for that he So dul is of his bestialitee?' 735
And with that, Pandare of his wordes stente; And Troilus yet him no word answerde, For-why to telle nas not his entente To never no man, for whom that he so ferde. For it is seyd, 'Man maketh ofte a yerde 740 With which the maker is him-self y-beten In sondry maner,' as thise wyse treten,
And namely, in his counseyl tellinge That toucheth love that oughte be secree; For of him-self it wolde y-nough out-springe, 745 But-if that it the bet governed be. Eek som-tyme it is craft to seme flee Fro thing which in effect men hunte faste; Al this gan Troilus in his herte caste.
But nathelees, whan he had herd him crye 750 'Awake!' he gan to syke wonder sore, And seyde, 'Freend, though that I stille lye, I am not deef; now pees, and cry no more; For I have herd thy wordes and thy lore; But suffre me my mischef to biwayle, 755 For thy proverbes may me nought avayle.
'Nor other cure canstow noon for me. Eek I nil not be cured, I wol deye; What knowe I of the quene Niobe? Lat be thyne olde ensaumples, I thee preye.' 760 'No,' quod tho Pandarus, 'therfore I seye, Swich is delyt of foles to biwepe Hir wo, but seken bote they ne kepe. 'Now knowe I that ther reson in the fayleth. But tel me, if I wiste what she were 765 For whom that thee al this misaunter ayleth? Dorstestow that I tolde hir in hir ere Thy wo, sith thou darst not thy-self for fere, And hir bisoughte on thee to han som routhe?' 'Why, nay,' quod he, 'by god and by my trouthe!' 770
'What, Not as bisily,' quod Pandarus, 'As though myn owene lyf lay on this nede?' 'No, certes, brother,' quod this Troilus, 'And why?' — 'For that thou sholdest never spede.' 'Wostow that wel?' — 'Ye, that is out of drede,' 775 Quod Troilus, 'for al that ever ye conne, She nil to noon swich wrecche as I be wonne.'
Quod Pandarus, 'Allas! What may this be, That thou dispeyred art thus causelees? What? Liveth not thy lady? Benedicite! 780 How wostow so that thou art gracelees? Swich yvel is nat alwey botelees. Why, put not impossible thus thy cure, Sin thing to come is ofte in aventure.
'I graunte wel that thou endurest wo 785 As sharp as doth he, Ticius, in helle, Whos stomak foules tyren ever-mo That highte volturis, as bokes telle. But I may not endure that thou dwelle In so unskilful an opinioun 790 That of thy wo is no curacioun.
'But ones niltow, for thy coward herte, And for thyn ire and folish wilfulnesse, For wantrust, tellen of thy sorwes smerte, Ne to thyn owene help do bisinesse 795 As muche as speke a resoun more or lesse, But lyest as he that list of no-thing recche. What womman coude love swich a wrecche?
'What may she demen other of thy deeth, If thou thus deye, and she not why it is, 800 But that for fere is yolden up thy breeth, For Grekes han biseged us, y-wis? Lord, which a thank than shaltow han of this! Thus wol she seyn, and al the toun at ones, "The wrecche is deed, the devel have his bones!" 805
'Thou mayst allone here wepe and crye and knele; But, love a woman that she woot it nought, And she wol quyte that thou shalt not fele; Unknowe, unkist, and lost that is un-sought. What! Many a man hath love ful dere y-bought 810 Twenty winter that his lady wiste, That never yet his lady mouth he kiste. 'What? Shulde be therfor fallen in despeyr, Or be recreaunt for his owene tene, Or sleen him-self, al be his lady fayr? 815 Nay, nay, but ever in oon be fresh and grene To serve and love his dere hertes quene, And thenke it is a guerdoun hir to serve A thousand-fold more than he can deserve.'
Of that word took hede Troilus, 820 And thoughte anoon what folye he was inne, And how that sooth him seyde Pandarus, That for to sleen him-self mighte he not winne, But bothe doon unmanhod and a sinne, And of his deeth his lady nought to wyte; 825 For of his wo, god woot, she knew ful lyte.
And with that thought he gan ful sore syke, And seyde, 'Allas! What is me best to do?' To whom Pandare answered, 'If thee lyke, The best is that thou telle me thy wo; 830 And have my trouthe, but thou it finde so, I be thy bote, or that it be ful longe, To peces do me drawe, and sithen honge!'
'Ye, so thou seyst,' quod Troilus tho, 'allas! But, god wot, it is not the rather so; 835 Ful hard were it to helpen in this cas, For wel finde I that Fortune is my fo, Ne alle the men that ryden conne or go May of hir cruel wheel the harm withstonde; For, as hir list, she pleyeth with free and bonde.' 840
Quod Pandarus, 'Than blamestow Fortune For thou art wrooth, ye, now at erst I see; Wostow nat wel that Fortune is commune To every maner wight in som degree? And yet thou hast this comfort, lo, pardee! 845 That, as hir Ioyes moten over-goon, So mote hir sorwes passen everichoon.
'For if hir wheel stinte any-thing to torne, Than cessed she Fortune anoon to be: Now, sith hir wheel by no wey may soiorne, 850 What wostow if hir mutabilitee Right as thy-selven list, wol doon by thee, Or that she be not fer fro thyn helpinge? Paraunter, thou hast cause for to singe!
'And therfor wostow what I thee beseche? 855 Lat be thy wo and turning to the grounde; For who-so list have helping of his leche, To him bihoveth first unwrye his wounde. To Cerberus in helle ay be I bounde, Were it for my suster, al thy sorwe, 860 By my wil, she sholde al be thyn to-morwe. 'Loke up, I seye, and tel me what she is Anoon, that I may goon aboute thy nede; Knowe ich hir ought? For my love, tel me this; Than wolde I hopen rather for to spede.' 865 Tho gan the veyne of Troilus to blede, For he was hit, and wex al reed for shame; 'A ha!' quod Pandare, 'Here biginneth game!' And with that word he gan him for to shake, And seyde, 'Theef, thou shalt hir name telle.' 870 But tho gan sely Troilus for to quake As though men sholde han led him in-to helle, And seyde, 'Allas! Of al my wo the welle, Than is my swete fo called Criseyde!' And wel nigh with the word for fere he deyde. 875
And whan that Pandare herde hir name nevene, Lord, he was glad, and seyde, 'Freend so dere, Now fare a-right, for Ioves name in hevene, Love hath biset the wel, be of good chere; For of good name and wysdom and manere 880 She hath y-nough, and eek of gentilesse; If she be fayr, thou wost thy-self, I gesse,
'Ne I never saw a more bountevous Of hir estat, ne a gladder, ne of speche A freendlier, ne a more gracious 885 For to do wel, ne lasse hadde nede to seche What for to doon; and al this bet to eche, In honour, to as fer as she may strecche, A kinges herte semeth by hirs a wrecche.
'And for-thy loke of good comfort thou be; 890 For certeinly, the firste poynt is this Of noble corage and wel ordeyne, A man to have pees with him-self, y-wis; So oughtest thou, for nought but good it is To loven wel, and in a worthy place; 895 Thee oghte not to clepe it hap, but grace.
'And also thenk, and ther-with glade thee, That sith thy lady vertuous is al, So folweth it that ther is som pitee Amonges alle thise othere in general; 900 And for-thy see that thou, in special, Requere nought that is ayein hir name; For vertue streccheth not him-self to shame.
'But wel is me that ever that I was born, That thou biset art in so good a place; 905 For by my trouthe, in love I dorste have sworn, Thee sholde never han tid thus fayr a grace; And wostow why? For thou were wont to chace At Love in scorn, and for despyt him calle "Seynt Idiot, lord of thise foles alle." 910
'How often hastow maad thy nyce Iapes, And seyd, that loves servants everichone Of nycetee been verray goddes apes; And some wolde monche hir mete alone, Ligging a-bedde, and make hem for to grone; 915 And som, thou seydest, hadde a blaunche fevere, And preydest god he sholde never kevere. 'And som of hem tok on hem, for the colde, More than y-nough, so seydestow ful ofte; And som han feyned ofte tyme, and tolde 920 How that they wake, whan they slepen softe; And thus they wolde han brought hem-self a-lofte, And nathelees were under at the laste; Thus seydestow, and Iapedest ful faste.
'Yet seydestow, that, for the more part, 925 These loveres wolden speke in general, And thoughten that it was a siker art, For fayling, for to assayen over-al. Now may I iape of thee, if that I shal! But nathelees, though that I sholde deye, 930 That thou art noon of tho, that dorste I seye.
'Now beet thy brest, and sey to god of love, "Thy grace, lord! For now I me repente If I mis spak, for now my-self I love:" Thus sey with al thyn herte in good entente.' 935 Quod Troilus, 'A! Lord! I me consente, And prey to thee my Iapes thou foryive, And I shal never-more whyl I live.'
'Thou seyst wel,' quod Pandare, 'and now I hope That thou the goddes wraththe hast al apesed; 940 And sithen thou hast wepen many a drope, And seyd swich thing wher-with thy god is plesed, Now wolde never god but thou were esed; And think wel, she of whom rist al thy wo Here-after may thy comfort been al-so. 945
'For thilke ground, that bereth the wedes wikke, Bereth eek thise holsom herbes, as ful ofte Next the foule netle, rough and thikke, The rose waxeth swote and smothe and softe; And next the valey is the hil a-lofte; 950 And next the derke night the glade morwe; And also Ioye is next the fyn of sorwe.
'Now loke that atempre be thy brydel, And, for the beste, ay suffre to the tyde, Or elles al our labour is on ydel; 955 He hasteth wel that wysly can abyde; Be diligent, and trewe, and ay wel hyde. Be lusty, free, persevere in thy servyse, And al is wel, if thou werke in this wyse. 'But he that parted is in every place 960 Is no-wher hool, as writen clerkes wyse; What wonder is, though swich oon have no grace? Eek wostow how it fareth of som servyse? As plaunte a tre or herbe, in sondry wyse, And on the morwe pulle it up as blyve, 965 No wonder is, though it may never thryve.
'And sith that god of love hath thee bistowed In place digne un-to thy worthinesse, Stond faste, for to good port hastow rowed; And of thy-self, for any hevinesse, 970 Hope alwey wel; for, but-if drerinesse Or over-haste our bothe labour shende, I hope of this to maken a good ende.
'And wostow why I am the lasse a-fered Of this matere with my nece trete? 975 For this have I herd seyd of wyse y-lered, "Was never man ne woman yet bigete That was unapt to suffren loves hete, Celestial, or elles love of kinde;" For-thy som grace I hope in hir to finde. 980
'And for to speke of hir in special, Hir beautee to bithinken and hir youthe, It sit hir nought to be celestial As yet, though that hir liste bothe and couthe; But trewely, it sete hir wel right nouthe 985 A worthy knight to loven and cheryce, And but she do, I holde it for a vyce.
'Wherfore I am, and wol be, ay redy To peyne me to do yow this servyse; For bothe yow to plese thus hope I 990 Her-afterward; for ye beth bothe wyse, And conne it counseyl kepe in swich a wyse That no man shal the wyser of it be; And so we may be gladed alle three.
'And, by my trouthe, I have right now of thee 995 A good conceyt in my wit, as I gesse, And what it is, I wol now that thou see. I thenke, sith that love, of his goodnesse, Hath thee converted out of wikkednesse, That thou shalt be the beste post, I leve, 1000 Of al his lay, and most his foos to-greve.
'Ensample why, see now these wyse clerkes, That erren aldermost a-yein a lawe, And ben converted from hir wikked werkes Thorugh grace of god, that list hem to him drawe, 1005 Than arn they folk that han most god in awe, And strengest-feythed been, I understonde, And conne an errour alder-best withstonde.' Whan Troilus had herd Pandare assented To been his help in loving of Criseyde, 1010 Wex of his wo, as who seyth, untormented, But hotter wex his love, and thus he seyde, With sobre chere, al-though his herte pleyde, 'Now blisful Venus helpe, er that I sterve, Of thee, Pandare, I may som thank deserve. 1015
'But, dere frend, how shal myn wo ben lesse Til this be doon? And goode, eek tel me this, How wiltow seyn of me and my destresse? Lest she be wrooth, this drede I most, y-wys, Or nil not here or trowen how it is. 1020 Al this drede I, and eek for the manere Of thee, hir eem, she nil no swich thing here.'
Quod Pandarus, 'Thou hast a ful gret care Lest that the cherl may falle out of the mone! Why, lord! I hate of the thy nyce fare! 1025 Why, entremete of that thou hast to done! For goddes love, I bidde thee a bone, So lat me alone, and it shal be thy beste.' — 'Why, freend,' quod he, 'now do right as the leste.
'But herke, Pandare, o word, for I nolde 1030 That thou in me wendest so greet folye, That to my lady I desiren sholde That toucheth harm or any vilenye; For dredelees, me were lever dye Than she of me ought elles understode 1035 But that, that mighte sounen in-to gode.'
Tho lough this Pandare, and anoon answerde, 'And I thy borw? Fy! No wight dooth but so; I roughte nought though that she stode and herde How that thou seyst; but fare-wel, I wol go. 1040 A-dieu! Be glad! God spede us bothe two! Yif me this labour and this besinesse, And of my speed be thyn al that swetnesse.'
Tho Troilus gan doun on knees to falle, And Pandare in his armes hente faste, 1045 And seyde, 'Now, fy on the Grekes alle! Yet, pardee, god shal helpe us at the laste; And dredelees, if that my lyf may laste, And god to-forn, lo, som of hem shal smerte; And yet me athinketh that this avaunt me asterte! 1050
'Now, Pandare, I can no more seye, But thou wys, thou wost, thou mayst, thou art al! My lyf, my deeth, hool in thyn bonde I leye; Help now,' Quod he, 'Yis, by my trouthe, I shal.' 'God yelde thee, freend, and this in special,' 1055 Quod Troilus, 'that thou me recomaunde To hir that to the deeth me may comaunde.' This Pandarus tho, desirous to serve His fulle freend, than seyde in this manere, 1059 'Far-wel, and thenk I wol thy thank deserve; Have here my trouthe, and that thou shalt wel here.' — And wente his wey, thenking on this matere, And how he best mighte hir beseche of grace, And finde a tyme ther-to, and a place.
For every wight that hath an hous to founde 1065 Ne renneth nought the werk for to biginne With rakel hond, but he wol byde a stounde, And sende his hertes lyne out fro with-inne Alderfirst his purpos for to winne. Al this Pandare in his herte thoughte, 1070 And caste his werk ful wysly, or he wroughte.
But Troilus lay tho no lenger doun, But up anoon up-on his stede bay, And in the feld he pleyde tho leoun; Wo was that Greek that with him mette that day. 1075 And in the toun his maner tho forth ay So goodly was, and gat him so in grace, That ech him lovede that loked on his face.
For he bicom the frendlyeste wight, The gentileste, and eek the moste free, 1080 The thriftieste and oon the beste knight, That in his tyme was, or mighte be. Dede were his Iapes and his crueltee, His heighe port and his manere estraunge, And ech of tho gan for a vertu chaunge. 1085
Now lat us stinte of Troilus a stounde, That fareth lyk a man that hurt is sore, And is somdel of akinge of his wounde Y-lissed wel, but heled no del more: And, as an esy pacient, the lore 1090 Abit of him that gooth aboute his cure; And thus he dryveth forth his aventure.
Explicit Liber Primus
BOOK II. Incipit Prohemium Secundi Libri.
Out of these blake wawes for to sayle, O wind, O wind, the weder ginneth clere; For in this see the boot hath swich travayle, Of my conning, that unnethe I it stere: This see clepe I the tempestous matere 5 Of desespeyr that Troilus was inne: But now of hope the calendes biginne. O lady myn, that called art Cleo, Thou be my speed fro this forth, and my muse, To ryme wel this book, til I have do; 10 Me nedeth here noon other art to use. For-why to every lovere I me excuse, That of no sentement I this endyte, But out of Latin in my tonge it wryte.
Wherfore I nil have neither thank ne blame 15 Of al this werk, but prey yow mekely, Disblameth me if any word be lame, For as myn auctor seyde, so seye I. Eek though I speke of love unfelingly, No wondre is, for it no-thing of newe is; 20 A blind man can nat Iuggen wel in hewis.
Ye knowe eek, that in forme of speche is chaunge With-inne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho That hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge Us thinketh hem; and yet they spake hem so, 25 And spedde as wel in love as men now do; Eek for to winne love in sondry ages, In sondry londes, sondry ben usages.
And for-thy if it happe in any wyse, That here be any lovere in this place 30 That herkneth, as the storie wol devyse, How Troilus com to his lady grace, And thenketh, so nolde I nat love purchace, Or wondreth on his speche or his doinge, I noot; but it is me no wonderinge; 35
For every wight which that to Rome went, Halt nat o path, or alwey o manere; Eek in som lond were al the gamen shent, If that they ferde in love as men don here, As thus, in open doing or in chere, 40 In visitinge, in forme, or seyde hire sawes; For-thy men seyn, ech contree hath his lawes.
Eek scarsly been ther in this place three That han in love seid lyk and doon in al; For to thy purpos this may lyken thee, 45 And thee right nought, yet al is seyd or shal; Eek som men grave in tree, som in stoon wal, As it bitit; but sin I have begonne, Myn auctor shal I folwen, if I conne.
Exclipit prohemium Secundi Libri.
Incipit Liber Secundus.
In May, that moder is of monthes glade, 50 That fresshe floures, blewe, and whyte, and rede, Ben quike agayn, that winter dede made, And ful of bawme is fleting every mede; Whan Phebus doth his brighte bemes sprede Right in the whyte Bole, it so bitidde 55 As I shal singe, on Mayes day the thridde,
That Pandarus, for al his wyse speche, Felt eek his part of loves shottes kene, That, coude he never so wel of loving preche, It made his hewe a-day ful ofte grene; 60 So shoop it, that hym fil that day a tene In love, for which in wo to bedde he wente, And made, er it was day, ful many a wente.
The swalwe Proigne, with a sorwful lay, Whan morwe com, gan make hir waymentinge, 65 Why she forshapen was; and ever lay Pandare a-bedde, half in a slomeringe, Til she so neigh him made hir chiteringe How Tereus gan forth hir suster take, That with the noyse of hir he gan a-wake; 70
And gan to calle, and dresse him up to ryse, Remembringe him his erand was to done From Troilus, and eek his greet empryse; And caste and knew in good plyt was the mone To doon viage, and took his wey ful sone 75 Un-to his neces paleys ther bi-syde; Now Ianus, god of entree, thou him gyde!
Whan he was come un-to his neces place, 'Wher is my lady?' to hir folk seyde he; And they him tolde; and he forth in gan pace, 80 And fond, two othere ladyes sete and she, With-inne a paved parlour; and they three Herden a mayden reden hem the geste Of the Sege of Thebes, whyl hem leste.
Quod Pandarus, 'Ma dame, god yow see, 85 With al your book and al the companye!' 'Ey, uncle myn, welcome y-wis,' quod she, And up she roos, and by the hond in hye She took him faste, and seyde, 'This night thrye, To goode mote it turne, of yow I mette!' 90 And with that word she doun on bench him sette.
'Ye, nece, ye shal fare wel the bet, If god wole, al this yeer,' quod Pandarus; 'But I am sory that I have yow let To herknen of your book ye preysen thus; 95 For goddes love, what seith it? tel it us. Is it of love? O, som good ye me lere!' 'Uncle,' quod she, 'your maistresse is not here!'
With that they gonnen laughe, and tho she seyde, 'This romaunce is of Thebes, that we rede; 100 And we han herd how that king Laius deyde Thurgh Edippus his sone, and al that dede; And here we stenten at these lettres rede, How the bisshop, as the book can telle, Amphiorax, fil thurgh the ground to helle.' 105
Quod Pandarus, 'Al this knowe I my-selve, And al the assege of Thebes and the care; For her-of been ther maked bokes twelve: — But lat be this, and tel me how ye fare; Do wey your barbe, and shew your face bare; 110 Do wey your book, rys up, and lat us daunce, And lat us don to May som observaunce.'
'A! God forbede!' quod she. 'Be ye mad? Is that a widewes lyf, so god you save? By god, ye maken me right sore a-drad, 115 Ye ben so wilde, it semeth as ye rave! It sete me wel bet ay in a cave To bidde, and rede on holy seyntes lyves; Lat maydens gon to daunce, and yonge wyves.'
'As ever thryve I,' quod this Pandarus, 120 'Yet coude I telle a thing to doon you pleye.' 'Now, uncle dere,' quod she, 'tel it us For goddes love; is than the assege aweye? I am of Grekes so ferd that I deye.' 'Nay, nay,' quod he, 'as ever mote I thryve! 125 It is a thing wel bet than swiche fyve.'
'Ye, holy god,' quod she, 'what thing is that? What! Bet than swiche fyve? Ey, nay, y-wis! For al this world ne can I reden what It sholde been; som Iape, I trowe, is this; 130 And but your-selven telle us what it is, My wit is for to arede it al to lene; As help me god, I noot nat what ye meene.'
'And I your borow, ne never shal, for me, This thing be told to yow, as mote I thryve!' 135 'And why so, uncle myn? Why so?' quod she. 'By god,' quod he, 'that wole I telle as blyve; For prouder womman were ther noon on-lyve, And ye it wiste, in al the toun of Troye; I iape nought, as ever have I Ioye!' 140
Tho gan she wondren more than biforn A thousand fold, and doun hir eyen caste; For never, sith the tyme that she was born, To knowe thing desired she so faste; And with a syk she seyde him at the laste, 145 'Now, uncle myn, I nil yow nought displese, Nor axen more, that may do yow disese.'
So after this, with many wordes glade, And freendly tales, and with mery chere, Of this and that they pleyde, and gunnen wade 150 In many an unkouth glad and deep matere, As freendes doon, whan they ben met y-fere; Til she gan axen him how Ector ferde, That was the tounes wal and Grekes yerde.
'Ful wel, I thanke it god,' quod Pandarus, 155 'Save in his arm he hath a litel wounde; And eek his fresshe brother Troilus, The wyse worthy Ector the secounde, In whom that ever vertu list abounde, As alle trouthe and alle gentillesse, 160 Wysdom, honour, fredom, and worthinesse.'
'In good feith, eem,' quod she, 'that lyketh me; They faren wel, god save hem bothe two! For trewely I holde it greet deyntee A kinges sone in armes wel to do, 165 And been of good condiciouns ther-to; For greet power and moral vertu here Is selde y-seye in o persone y-fere.'
'In good feith, that is sooth,' quod Pandarus; 'But, by my trouthe, the king hath sones tweye, 170 That is to mene, Ector and Troilus, That certainly, though that I sholde deye, They been as voyde of vyces, dar I seye, As any men that liveth under the sonne, Hir might is wyde y-knowe, and what they conne. 175
'Of Ector nedeth it nought for to telle: In al this world ther nis a bettre knight Than he, that is of worthinesse welle; And he wel more vertu hath than might. This knoweth many a wys and worthy wight. 180 The same prys of Troilus I seye, God help me so, I knowe not swiche tweye.'
'By god,' quod she, 'of Ector that is sooth; Of Troilus the same thing trowe I; For, dredelees, men tellen that he dooth 185 In armes day by day so worthily, And bereth him here at hoom so gentilly To every wight, that al the prys hath he Of hem that me were levest preysed be.'
'Ye sey right sooth, y-wis,' quod Pandarus; 190 'For yesterday, who-so hadde with him been, He might have wondred up-on Troilus; For never yet so thikke a swarm of been Ne fleigh, as Grekes fro him gonne fleen; And thorugh the feld, in everi wightes ere, 195 Ther nas no cry but "Troilus is there!"
'Now here, now there, he hunted hem so faste, Ther nas but Grekes blood; and Troilus, Now hem he hurte, and hem alle doun he caste; Ay where he wente, it was arayed thus: 200 He was hir deeth, and sheld and lyf for us; That as that day ther dorste noon with-stonde, Whyl that he held his blody swerd in honde.
'Therto he is the freendlieste man Of grete estat, that ever I saw my lyve; 205 And wher him list, best felawshipe can To suche as him thinketh able for to thryve.' And with that word tho Pandarus, as blyve, He took his leve, and seyde, 'I wol go henne.' 'Nay, blame have I, myn uncle,' quod she thenne. 210
'What eyleth yow to be thus wery sone, And namelich of wommen? Wol ye so? Nay, sitteth down; by god, I have to done With yow, to speke of wisdom er ye go.' And every wight that was a-boute hem tho, 215 That herde that, gan fer a-wey to stonde, Whyl they two hadde al that hem liste in honde.
Whan that hir tale al brought was to an ende, Of hire estat and of hir governaunce, Quod Pandarus, 'Now is it tyme I wende; 220 But yet, I seye, aryseth, lat us daunce, And cast your widwes habit to mischaunce: What list yow thus your-self to disfigure, Sith yow is tid thus fair an aventure?'
'A! Wel bithought! For love of god,' quod she, 225 'Shal I not witen what ye mene of this?' 'No, this thing axeth layser,' tho quod he, 'And eek me wolde muche greve, y-wis, If I it tolde, and ye it toke amis. Yet were it bet my tonge for to stille 230 Than seye a sooth that were ayeins your wille.
'For, nece, by the goddesse Minerve, And Iuppiter, that maketh the thonder ringe, And by the blisful Venus that I serve, Ye been the womman in this world livinge, 235 With-oute paramours, to my wittinge, That I best love, and lothest am to greve, And that ye witen wel your-self, I leve.'
'Y-wis, myn uncle,' quod she, 'grant mercy; Your freendship have I founden ever yit; 240 I am to no man holden trewely, So muche as yow, and have so litel quit; And, with the grace of god, emforth my wit, As in my gilt I shal you never offende; And if I have er this, I wol amende. 245
'But, for the love of god, I yow beseche, As ye ben he that I love most and triste, Lat be to me your fremde manere speche, And sey to me, your nece, what yow liste:' And with that word hir uncle anoon hir kiste, 250 And seyde, 'Gladly, leve nece dere, Tak it for good that I shal seye yow here.'
With that she gan hir eiyen doun to caste, And Pandarus to coghe gan a lyte, And seyde, 'Nece, alwey, lo! To the laste, 255 How-so it be that som men hem delyte With subtil art hir tales for to endyte, Yet for al that, in hir entencioun Hir tale is al for som conclusioun.
'And sithen thende is every tales strengthe, 260 And this matere is so bihovely, What sholde I peynte or drawen it on lengthe To yow, that been my freend so feithfully?' And with that word he gan right inwardly Biholden hir, and loken on hir face, 265 And seyde, 'On suche a mirour goode grace!'
Than thoughte he thus: 'If I my tale endyte Ought hard, or make a proces any whyle, She shal no savour han ther-in but lyte, And trowe I wolde hir in my wil bigyle. 270 For tendre wittes wenen al be wyle Ther-as they can nat pleynly understonde; For-thy hir wit to serven wol I fonde —'
And loked on hir in a besy wyse, And she was war that he byheld hir so, 275 And seyde, 'Lord! So faste ye me avyse! Sey ye me never er now? What sey ye, no?' 'Yes, yes,' quod he, 'and bet wole er I go; But, by my trouthe, I thoughte now if ye Be fortunat, for now men shal it see. 280
'For to every wight som goodly aventure Som tyme is shape, if he it can receyven; And if that he wol take of it no cure, Whan that it commeth, but wilfully it weyven, Lo, neither cas nor fortune him deceyven, 285 But right his verray slouthe and wrecchednesse; And swich a wight is for to blame, I gesse.
'Good aventure, O bele nece, have ye Ful lightly founden, and ye conne it take; And, for the love of god, and eek of me, 290 Cacche it anoon, lest aventure slake. What sholde I lenger proces of it make? Yif me your hond, for in this world is noon, If that yow list, a wight so wel begoon.
'And sith I speke of good entencioun, 295 As I to yow have told wel here-biforn, And love as wel your honour and renoun As creature in al this world y-born; By alle the othes that I have yow sworn, And ye be wrooth therfore, or wene I lye, 300 Ne shal I never seen yow eft with ye.
'Beth nought agast, ne quaketh nat; wher-to? Ne chaungeth nat for fere so your hewe; For hardely the werste of this is do; And though my tale as now be to yow newe, 305 Yet trist alwey, ye shal me finde trewe; And were it thing that me thoughte unsittinge, To yow nolde I no swiche tales bringe.'
'Now, my good eem, for goddes love, I preye,' Quod she, 'com of, and tel me what it is; 310 For bothe I am agast what ye wol seye, And eek me longeth it to wite, y-wis. For whether it be wel or be amis, Say on, lat me not in this fere dwelle:' 'So wol I doon; now herkneth, I shal telle: 315
'Now, nece myn, the kinges dere sone, The goode, wyse, worthy, fresshe, and free, Which alwey for to do wel is his wone, The noble Troilus, so loveth thee, That, bot ye helpe, it wol his bane be. 320 Lo, here is al, what sholde I more seye? Doth what yow list, to make him live or deye.
'But if ye lete him deye, I wol sterve; Have her my trouthe, nece, I nil not lyen; Al sholde I with this knyf my throte kerve —' 325 With that the teres braste out of his yen, And seyde, 'If that ye doon us bothe dyen, Thus giltelees, than have ye fisshed faire; What mende ye, though that we bothe apeyre?
'Allas! He which that is my lord so dere, 330 That trewe man, that noble gentil knight, That nought desireth but your freendly chere, I see him deye, ther he goth up-right, And hasteth him, with al his fulle might, For to be slayn, if fortune wol assente; 335 Allas! That god yow swich a beautee sente!
'If it be so that ye so cruel be, That of his deeth yow liste nought to recche, That is so trewe and worthy, as ye see, No more than of a Iapere or a wrecche, 340 If ye be swich, your beautee may not strecche To make amendes of so cruel a dede; Avysement is good bifore the nede.
'Wo worth the faire gemme vertulees! Wo worth that herbe also that dooth no bote! 345 Wo worth that beautee that is routhelees! Wo worth that wight that tret ech under fote! And ye, that been of beautee crop and rote, If therwith-al in you ther be no routhe, Than is it harm ye liven, by my trouthe! 350
'And also thenk wel that this is no gaude; For me were lever, thou and I and he Were hanged, than I sholde been his baude, As heyghe, as men mighte on us alle y-see: I am thyn eem, the shame were to me, 355 As wel as thee, if that I sholde assente, Thorugh myn abet, that he thyn honour shente.
'Now understond, for I yow nought requere, To binde yow to him thorugh no beheste, But only that ye make him bettre chere 360 Than ye han doon er this, and more feste, So that his lyf be saved, at the leste; This al and som, and playnly our entente; God help me so, I never other mente.
'Lo, this request is not but skile, y-wis, 365 Ne doute of reson, pardee, is ther noon. I sette the worste that ye dredden this, Men wolden wondren seen him come or goon: Ther-ayeins answere I thus a-noon, That every wight, but he be fool of kinde, 370 Wol deme it love of freendship in his minde.
'What? Who wol deme, though he see a man To temple go, that he the images eteth? Thenk eek how wel and wysly that he can Governe him-self, that he no-thing foryeteth, 375 That, wher he cometh, he prys and thank him geteth; And eek ther-to, he shal come here so selde, What fors were it though al the toun behelde?
'Swich love of freendes regneth al this toun; And wrye yow in that mantel ever-mo; 380 And god so wis be my savacioun, As I have seyd, your beste is to do so. But alwey, goode nece, to stinte his wo, So lat your daunger sucred ben a lyte, That of his deeth ye be nought for to wyte.' 385
Criseyde, which that herde him in this wyse, Thoughte, 'I shal fele what he meneth, y-wis.' 'Now, eem,' quod she, 'what wolde ye devyse? What is your reed I sholde doon of this?' 'That is wel seyd,' quod be. 'certayn, best is 390 That ye him love ayein for his lovinge, As love for love is skilful guerdoninge.
'Thenk eek, how elde wasteth every houre In eche of yow a party of beautee; And therfore, er that age thee devoure, 395 Go love, for, olde, ther wol no wight of thee. Lat this proverbe a lore un-to yow be; "To late y-war, quod Beautee, whan it paste;" And elde daunteth daunger at the laste.
'The kinges fool is woned to cryen loude, 400 Whan that him thinketh a womman bereth hir hye, "So longe mote ye live, and alle proude, Til crowes feet be growe under your ye, And sende yow thanne a mirour in to prye In whiche that ye may see your face a-morwe!" 405 Nece, I bidde wisshe yow no more sorwe.'
With this he stente, and caste adoun the heed, And she bigan to breste a-wepe anoon, And seyde, 'Allas, for wo! Why nere I deed? For of this world the feith is al agoon! 410 Allas! What sholden straunge to me doon, Whan he, that for my beste freend I wende, Ret me to love, and sholde it me defende?
'Allas! I wolde han trusted, doutelees, That if that I, thurgh my disaventure, 415 Had loved other him or Achilles, Ector, or any mannes creature, Ye nolde han had no mercy ne mesure On me, but alwey had me in repreve; This false world, allas! Who may it leve? 420
'What? Is this al the Ioye and al the feste? Is this your reed, is this my blisful cas? Is this the verray mede of your beheste? Is al this peynted proces seyd, allas! Right for this fyn? O lady myn, Pallas! 425 Thou in this dredful cas for me purveye; For so astonied am I that I deye!'
With that she gan ful sorwfully to syke; 'A! May it be no bet?' quod Pandarus; 'By god, I shal no-more come here this wyke, 430 And god to-forn, that am mistrusted thus; I see ful wel that ye sette lyte of us, Or of our deeth! Allas! I woful wrecche! Mighte he yet live, of me is nought to recche.
'O cruel god, O dispitouse Marte, 435 O Furies three of helle, on yow I crye! So lat me never out of this hous departe, If that I mente harm or vilanye! But sith I see my lord mot nedes dye, And I with him, here I me shryve, and seye 440 That wikkedly ye doon us bothe deye.
'But sith it lyketh yow that I be deed, By Neptunus, that god is of the see, Fro this forth shal I never eten breed Til I myn owene herte blood may see; 445 For certayn, I wole deye as sone as he —' And up he sterte, and on his wey he raughte, Til she agayn him by the lappe caughte.
Criseyde, which that wel neigh starf for fere, So as she was the ferfulleste wight 450 That mighte be, and herde eek with hir ere, And saw the sorwful ernest of the knight, And in his preyere eek saw noon unright, And for the harm that mighte eek fallen more, She gan to rewe and dredde hir wonder sore; 455
And thoughte thus, 'Unhappes fallen thikke Alday for love, and in swich maner cas, As men ben cruel in hem-self and wikke; And if this man slee here him-self, allas! In my presence, it wol be no solas. 460 What men wolde of hit deme I can nat seye; It nedeth me ful sleyly for to pleye.'
And with a sorwful syk she seyde thrye, 'A! Lord! What me is tid a sory chaunce! For myn estat lyth in Iupartye, 465 And eek myn emes lyf lyth in balaunce; But nathelees, with goddes governaunce, I shal so doon, myn honour shal I kepe, And eek his lyf;' and stinte for to wepe.
'Of harmes two, the lesse is for to chese; 470 Yet have I lever maken him good chere In honour, than myn emes lyf to lese; Ye seyn, ye no-thing elles me requere?' 'No, wis,' quod he, 'myn owene nece dere.' 'Now wel,' quod she, 'and I wol doon my peyne; 475 I shal myn herte ayeins my lust constreyne.
'But that I nil not holden him in honde, Ne love a man, ne can I not, ne may Ayeins my wil; but elles wol I fonde, Myn honour sauf, plese him fro day to day; 480 Ther-to nolde I nought ones have seyd nay, But that I dredde, as in my fantasye; But cesse cause, ay cesseth maladye.
'And here I make a protestacioun, That in this proces if ye depper go, 485 That certaynly, for no savacioun Of yow, though that ye sterve bothe two, Though al the world on o day be my fo, Ne shal I never on him han other routhe. —' 'I graunte wel,' quod Pandare, 'by my trouthe. 490
'But may I truste wel ther-to,' quod he, 'That of this thing that ye han hight me here, Ye wol it holden trewly un-to me?' 'Ye, doutelees,' quod she, 'myn uncle dere.' 'Ne that I shal han cause in this matere,' 495 Quod he, 'to pleyne, or after yow to preche?' 'Why, no, parde; what nedeth more speche?'
Tho fillen they in othere tales glade, Til at the laste, 'O good eem,' quod she tho, 'For love of god, which that us bothe made, 500 Tel me how first ye wisten of his wo: Wot noon of hit but ye?' He seyde, 'No.' 'Can he wel speke of love?' quod she, 'I preye, Tel me, for I the bet me shal purveye.'
Tho Pandarus a litel gan to smyle, 505 And seyde, 'By my trouthe, I shal yow telle. This other day, nought gon ful longe whyle, In-with the paleys-gardyn, by a welle, Gan he and I wel half a day to dwelle, Right for to speken of an ordenaunce, 510 How we the Grekes myghte disavaunce.
'Sone after that bigonne we to lepe, And casten with our dartes to and fro, Til at the laste he seyde he wolde slepe, And on the gres a-doun he leyde him tho; 515 And I after gan rome to and fro Til that I herde, as that I welk allone, How he bigan ful wofully to grone.
'Tho gan I stalke him softely bihinde, And sikerly, the sothe for to seyne, 520 As I can clepe ayein now to my minde, Right thus to Love he gan him for to pleyne; He seyde, "Lord! Have routhe up-on my peyne, Al have I been rebel in myn entente; Now, MEA CULPA, lord! I me repente. 525
'"O god, that at thy disposicioun Ledest the fyn by Iuste purveyaunce, Of every wight, my lowe confessioun Accepte in gree, and send me swich penaunce As lyketh thee, but from desesperaunce, 530 That may my goost departe awey fro thee, Thou be my sheld, for thy benignitee.
'"For certes, lord, so soore hath she me wounded, That stod in blak, with loking of hir yen, That to myn hertes botme it is y-sounded, 535 Thorugh which I woot that I mot nedes dyen; This is the worste, I dar me not bi-wryen; And wel the hotter been the gledes rede, That men hem wryen with asshen pale and dede."
'With that he smoot his heed adoun anoon, 540 And gan to motre, I noot what, trewely. And I with that gan stille awey to goon, And leet ther-of as no-thing wist hadde I, And come ayein anoon and stood him by, And seyde, "A-wake, ye slepen al to longe; 545 It semeth nat that love dooth yow longe,
'"That slepen so that no man may yow wake. Who sey ever or this so dul a man?" "Ye, freend," quod he, "do ye your hedes ake For love, and lat me liven as I can." 550 But though that he for wo was pale and wan, Yet made he tho as freshe a countenaunce As though he shulde have led the newe daunce.
'This passed forth, til now, this other day, It fel that I com roming al allone 555 Into his chaumbre, and fond how that he lay Up-on his bed; but man so sore grone Ne herde I never, and what that was his mone, Ne wist I nought; for, as I was cominge, Al sodeynly he lefte his compleyninge. 560
'Of which I took somwat suspecioun, And neer I com, and fond he wepte sore; And god so wis be my savacioun, As never of thing hadde I no routhe more. For neither with engyn, ne with no lore, 565 Unethes mighte I fro the deeth him kepe; That yet fele I myn herte for him wepe.
'And god wot, never, sith that I was born, Was I so bisy no man for to preche, Ne never was to wight so depe y-sworn, 570 Or he me tolde who mighte been his leche. But now to yow rehersen al his speche, Or alle his woful wordes for to soune, Ne bid me not, but ye wol see me swowne.
'But for to save his lyf, and elles nought, 575 And to non harm of yow, thus am I driven; And for the love of god that us hath wrought, Swich chere him dooth, that he and I may liven. Now have I plat to yow myn herte shriven; And sin ye woot that myn entente is clene, 580 Tak hede ther-of, for I non yvel mene.
'And right good thrift, I prey to god, have ye, That han swich oon y-caught with-oute net; And be ye wys, as ye ben fair to see, Wel in the ring than is the ruby set. 585 Ther were never two so wel y-met, Whan ye ben his al hool, as he is youre: Ther mighty god yet graunte us see that houre!'
'Nay, therof spak I not, a, ha!' quod she, 'As helpe me god, ye shenden every deel!' 590 'O mercy, dere nece,' anoon quod he, 'What-so I spak, I mente nought but weel, By Mars the god, that helmed is of steel; Now beth nought wrooth, my blood, my nece dere.' 'Now wel,' quod she, 'foryeven be it here!' 595
With this he took his leve, and hoom he wente; And lord, he was glad and wel bigoon! Criseyde aroos, no lenger she ne stente, But straught in-to hir closet wente anoon, And sette here doun as stille as any stoon, 600 And every word gan up and doun to winde, That he hadde seyd, as it com hir to minde;
And wex somdel astonied in hir thought, Right for the newe cas; but whan that she Was ful avysed, tho fond she right nought 605 Of peril, why she oughte afered be. For man may love, of possibilitee, A womman so, his herte may to-breste, And she nought love ayein, but-if hir leste.
But as she sat allone and thoughte thus, 610 Thascry aroos at skarmish al with-oute, And men cryde in the strete, 'See, Troilus Hath right now put to flight the Grekes route!' With that gan al hir meynee for to shoute, 'A! Go we see, caste up the latis wyde; 615 For thurgh this strete he moot to palays ryde;
'For other wey is fro the yate noon Of Dardanus, ther open is the cheyne.' With that com he and al his folk anoon An esy pas rydinge, in routes tweyne, 620 Right as his happy day was, sooth to seyne, For which, men say, may nought disturbed be That shal bityden of necessitee.
This Troilus sat on his baye stede, Al armed, save his heed, ful richely, 625 And wounded was his hors, and gan to blede, On whiche he rood a pas, ful softely; But swych a knightly sighte, trewely, As was on him, was nought, with-outen faile, To loke on Mars, that god is of batayle. 630
So lyk a man of armes and a knight He was to seen, fulfild of heigh prowesse; For bothe he hadde a body and a might To doon that thing, as wel as hardinesse; And eek to seen him in his gere him dresse, 635 So fresh, so yong, so weldy semed he, It was an heven up-on him for to see.
His helm to-hewen was in twenty places, That by a tissew heng, his bak bihinde, His sheld to-dasshed was with swerdes and maces, 640 In which men mighte many an arwe finde That thirled hadde horn and nerf and rinde; And ay the peple cryde, 'Here cometh our Ioye, And, next his brother, holdere up of Troye!'
For which he wex a litel reed for shame, 645 Whan he the peple up-on him herde cryen, That to biholde it was a noble game, How sobreliche he caste doun his yen. Cryseyda gan al his chere aspyen, And leet so softe it in hir herte sinke, 650 That to hir-self she seyde, 'Who yaf me drinke?'
For of hir owene thought she wex al reed, Remembringe hir right thus, 'Lo, this is he Which that myn uncle swereth he moot be deed, But I on him have mercy and pitee;' 655 And with that thought, for pure a-shamed, she Gan in hir heed to pulle, and that as faste, Whyl he and al the peple for-by paste,
And gan to caste and rollen up and doun With-inne hir thought his excellent prowesse, 660 And his estat, and also his renoun, His wit, his shap, and eek his gentillesse; But most hir favour was, for his distresse Was al for hir, and thoughte it was a routhe To sleen swich oon, if that he mente trouthe. 665
Now mighte som envyous Iangle thus, 'This was a sodeyn love; how mighte it be That she so lightly lovede Troilus Right for the firste sighte; ye, pardee?' Now who-so seyth so, mote he never thee! 670 For every thing, a ginning hath it nede Er al be wrought, with-outen any drede.
For I sey nought that she so sodeynly Yaf him hir love, but that she gan enclyne To lyke him first, and I have told yow why; 675 And after that, his manhod and his pyne Made love with-inne hir for to myne, For which, by proces and by good servyse, He gat hir love, and in no sodeyn wyse.
And also blisful Venus, wel arayed, 680 Sat in hir seventhe hous of hevene tho, Disposed wel, and with aspectes payed, To helpen sely Troilus of his wo. And, sooth to seyn, she nas not al a fo To Troilus in his nativitee; 685 God woot that wel the soner spedde he.
Now lat us stinte of Troilus a throwe, That rydeth forth, and lat us tourne faste Un-to Criseyde, that heng hir heed ful lowe, Ther-as she sat allone, and gan to caste 690 Wher-on she wolde apoynte hir at the laste, If it so were hir eem ne wolde cesse, For Troilus, up-on hir for to presse.
And, lord! So she gan in hir thought argue In this matere of which I have yow told, 695 And what to doon best were, and what eschue, That plyted she ful ofte in many fold. Now was hir herte warm, now was it cold, And what she thoughte somwhat shal I wryte, As to myn auctor listeth for to endyte. 700
She thoughte wel that Troilus persone She knew by sighte and eek his gentillesse, And thus she seyde, 'Al were it nought to done, To graunte him love, yet, for his worthinesse, It were honour, with pley and with gladnesse, 705 In honestee, with swich a lord to dele, For myn estat, and also for his hele.
'Eek, wel wot I my kinges sone is he; And sith he hath to see me swich delyt, If I wolde utterly his sighte flee, 710 Peraunter he mighte have me in dispyt, Thurgh which I mighte stonde in worse plyt; Now were I wys, me hate to purchace, With-outen nede, ther I may stonde in grace?
'In every thing, I woot, ther lyth mesure. 715 For though a man forbede dronkenesse, He nought for-bet that every creature Be drinkelees for alwey, as I gesse; Eek sith I woot for me is his distresse, I ne oughte not for that thing him despyse, 720 Sith it is so, he meneth in good wyse.
'And eek I knowe, of longe tyme agoon, His thewes goode, and that he is not nyce. Ne avauntour, seyth men, certein, he is noon; To wys is he to do so gret a vyce; 725 Ne als I nel him never so cheryce, That he may make avaunt, by Iuste cause; He shal me never binde in swiche a clause.
'Now set a cas, the hardest is, y-wis, Men mighten deme that he loveth me; 730 What dishonour were it un-to me, this? May I him lette of that? Why nay, pardee! I knowe also, and alday here and see, Men loven wommen al this toun aboute; Be they the wers? Why, nay, with-outen doute. 735
'I thenk eek how he able is for to have Of al this noble toun the thriftieste, To been his love, so she hir honour save; For out and out he is the worthieste, Save only Ector, which that is the beste. 740 And yet his lyf al lyth now in my cure, But swich is love, and eek myn aventure.
'Ne me to love, a wonder is it nought; For wel wot I my-self, so god me spede, Al wolde I that noon wiste of this thought, 745 I am oon the fayreste, out of drede, And goodlieste, who-so taketh hede; And so men seyn in al the toun of Troye. What wonder is it though he of me have Ioye?
'I am myn owene woman, wel at ese, 750 I thank it god, as after myn estat; Right yong, and stonde unteyd in lusty lese, With-outen Ialousye or swich debat; Shal noon housbonde seyn to me "Chekmat!" For either they ben ful of Ialousye, 755 Or maisterful, or loven novelrye.
'What shal I doon? To what fyn live I thus? Shal I nat loven, in cas if that me leste? What, par dieux! I am nought religious! And though that I myn herte sette at reste 760 Upon this knight, that is the worthieste, And kepe alwey myn honour and my name, By alle right, it may do me no shame.'
But right as whan the sonne shyneth brighte, In March, that chaungeth ofte tyme his face, 765 And that a cloud is put with wind to flighte Which over-sprat the sonne as for a space, A cloudy thought gan thorugh hir soule pace, That over-spradde hir brighte thoughtes alle, So that for fere almost she gan to falle. 770
That thought was this: 'Allas! Sin I am free, Sholde I now love, and putte in Iupartye My sikernesse, and thrallen libertee? Allas! How dorste I thenken that folye? May I nought wel in other folk aspye 775 Hir dredful Ioye, hir constreynt, and hir peyne? Ther loveth noon, that she nath why to pleyne.
'For love is yet the moste stormy lyf, Right of him-self, that ever was bigonne; For ever som mistrust, or nyce stryf, 780 Ther is in love, som cloud is over that sonne: Ther-to we wrecched wommen no-thing conne, Whan us is wo, but wepe and sitte and thinke; Our wreche is this, our owene wo to drinke.
'Also these wikked tonges been so prest 785 To speke us harm, eek men be so untrewe, That, right anoon as cessed is hir lest, So cesseth love, and forth to love a newe: But harm y-doon, is doon, who-so it rewe. For though these men for love hem first to-rende, 790 Ful sharp biginning breketh ofte at ende.
'How ofte tyme hath it y-knowen be, The treson, that to womman hath be do? To what fyn is swich love, I can nat see, Or wher bicometh it, whan it is ago; 795 Ther is no wight that woot, I trowe so, Wher it bycomth; lo, no wight on it sporneth; That erst was no-thing, in-to nought it torneth.
'How bisy, if I love, eek moste I be To plesen hem that Iangle of love, and demen, 800 And coye hem, that they sey non harm of me? For though ther be no cause, yet hem semen Al be for harm that folk hir freendes quemen; And who may stoppen every wikked tonge, Or soun of belles whyl that they be ronge?' 805
And after that, hir thought bigan to clere, And seyde, 'He which that no-thing under-taketh, No thing ne acheveth, be him looth or dere.' And with an other thought hir herte quaketh; Than slepeth hope, and after dreed awaketh; 810 Now hoot, now cold; but thus, bi-twixen tweye, She rist hir up, and went hir for to pleye.
Adoun the steyre anoon-right tho she wente In-to the gardin, with hir neces three, And up and doun ther made many a wente, 815 Flexippe, she, Tharbe, and Antigone, To pleyen, that it Ioye was to see; And othere of hir wommen, a gret route, hir folwede in the gardin al aboute.
This yerd was large, and rayled alle the aleyes, 820 And shadwed wel with blosmy bowes grene, And benched newe, and sonded alle the weyes, In which she walketh arm in arm bi-twene; Til at the laste Antigone the shene Gan on a Troian song to singe clere, 825 That it an heven was hir voys to here. —
She seyde, 'O love, to whom I have and shal Ben humble subgit, trewe in myn entente, As I best can, to yow, lord, yeve ich al For ever-more, myn hertes lust to rente. 830 For never yet thy grace no wight sente So blisful cause as me, my lyf to lede In alle Ioye and seurtee, out of drede.
'Ye, blisful god, han me so wel beset In love, y-wis, that al that bereth lyf 835 Imaginen ne cowde how to ben bet; For, lord, with-outen Ialousye or stryf, I love oon which that is most ententyf To serven wel, unwery or unfeyned, That ever was, and leest with harm distreyned. 840
'As he that is the welle of worthinesse, Of trouthe ground, mirour of goodliheed, Of wit Appollo, stoon of sikernesse, Of vertu rote, of lust findere and heed, Thurgh which is alle sorwe fro me deed, 845 Y-wis, I love him best, so doth he me; Now good thrift have he, wher-so that he be!
'Whom sholde I thanke but yow, god of love, Of al this blisse, in which to bathe I ginne? And thanked be ye, lord, for that I love! 850 This is the righte lyf that I am inne, To flemen alle manere vyce and sinne: This doth me so to vertu for to entende, That day by day I in my wil amende.
'And who-so seyth that for to love is vyce, 855 Or thraldom, though he fele in it distresse, He outher is envyous, or right nyce, Or is unmighty, for his shrewednesse, To loven; for swich maner folk, I gesse, Defamen love, as no-thing of him knowe; 860 Thei speken, but they bente never his bowe.
'What is the sonne wers, of kinde righte, Though that a man, for feblesse of his yen, May nought endure on it to see for brighte? Or love the wers, though wrecches on it cryen? 865 No wele is worth, that may no sorwe dryen. And for-thy, who that hath an heed of verre, Fro cast of stones war him in the werre!
'But I with al myn herte and al my might, As I have seyd, wol love, un-to my laste, 870 My dere herte, and al myn owene knight, In which myn herte growen is so faste, And his in me, that it shal ever laste. Al dredde I first to love him to biginne, Now woot I wel, ther is no peril inne.' 875
And of hir song right with that word she stente, And therwith-al, 'Now, nece,' quod Criseyde, 'Who made this song with so good entente?' Antigone answerde anoon, and seyde, 'Ma dame, y-wis, the goodlieste mayde 880 Of greet estat in al the toun of Troye; And let hir lyf in most honour and Ioye.'
'Forsothe, so it semeth by hir song,' Quod tho Criseyde, and gan ther-with to syke, And seyde, 'Lord, is there swich blisse among 885 These lovers, as they conne faire endyte?' 'Ye, wis,' quod freshe Antigone the whyte, 'For alle the folk that han or been on lyve Ne conne wel the blisse of love discryve.
'But wene ye that every wrecche woot 890 The parfit blisse of love? Why, nay, y-wis; They wenen al be love, if oon be hoot; Do wey, do wey, they woot no-thing of this! Men mosten axe at seyntes if it is Aught fair in hevene; Why? For they conne telle; 895 And axen fendes, is it foul in helle.'
Criseyde un-to that purpos nought answerde, But seyde, 'Y-wis, it wol be night as faste.' But every word which that she of hir herde, She gan to prenten in hir herte faste; 900 And ay gan love hir lasse for to agaste Than it dide erst, and sinken in hir herte, That she wex somwhat able to converte.
The dayes honour, and the hevenes ye, The nightes fo, al this clepe I the sonne, 905 Gan westren faste, and dounward for to wrye, As he that hadde his dayes cours y-ronne; And whyte thinges wexen dimme and donne For lak of light, and sterres for to appere, That she and al hir folk in wente y-fere. 910
So whan it lyked hir to goon to reste, And voyded weren they that voyden oughte, She seyde, that to slepe wel hir leste. Hir wommen sone til hir bed hir broughte. Whan al was hust, than lay she stille, and thoughte 915 Of al this thing the manere and the wyse. Reherce it nedeth nought, for ye ben wyse.
A nightingale, upon a cedre grene, Under the chambre-wal ther as she lay, Ful loude sang ayein the mone shene, 920 Paraunter, in his briddes wyse, a lay Of love, that made hir herte fresh and gay. That herkned she so longe in good entente, Til at the laste the dede sleep hir hente.
And as she sleep, anoon-right tho hir mette, 925 How that an egle, fethered whyt as boon, Under hir brest his longe clawes sette, And out hir herte he rente, and that a-noon, And dide his herte in-to hir brest to goon, Of which she nought agroos, ne no-thing smerte, 930 And forth he fleigh, with herte left for herte.
Now lat hir slepe, and we our tales holde Of Troilus, that is to paleys riden, Fro the scarmuch, of the whiche I tolde, And in his chaumbre sit, and hath abiden 935 Til two or three of his messages yeden For Pandarus, and soughten him ful faste, Til they him founde and broughte him at the laste.
This Pandarus com leping in at ones, And seiyde thus: 'Who hath ben wel y-bete 940 To-day with swerdes, and with slinge-stones, But Troilus, that hath caught him an hete?' And gan to Iape, and seyde, 'Lord, so ye swete! But rys, and lat us soupe and go to reste;' 944 And he answerde him, 'Do we as thee leste.'
With al the haste goodly that they mighte, They spedde hem fro the souper un-to bedde; And every wight out at the dore him dighte, And wher him liste upon his wey him spedde; But Troilus, that thoughte his herte bledde 950 For wo, til that he herde som tydinge, He seyde, 'Freend, shal I now wepe or singe?'
Quod Pandarus, 'Ly stille and lat me slepe, And don thyn hood, thy nedes spedde be; And chese, if thou wolt singe or daunce or lepe; 955 At shorte wordes, thow shal trowe me. — Sire, my nece wol do wel by thee, And love thee best, by god and by my trouthe, But lak of pursuit make it in thy slouthe.
'For thus ferforth I have thy work bigonne, 960 Fro day to day, til this day, by the morwe, Hir love of freendship have I to thee wonne, And also hath she leyd hir feyth to borwe. Algate a foot is hameled of thy sorwe.' What sholde I lenger sermon of it holde? 965 As ye han herd bifore, al he him tolde.
But right as floures, thorugh the colde of night Y-closed, stoupen on hir stalke lowe, Redressen hem a-yein the sonne bright, And spreden on hir kinde cours by rowe, 970 Right so gan tho his eyen up to throwe This Troilus, and seyde, 'O Venus dere, Thy might, thy grace, y-heried be it here!'
And to Pandare he held up bothe his hondes, And seyde, 'Lord, al thyn be that I have; 975 For I am hool, al brosten been my bondes; A thousand Troians who so that me yave, Eche after other, god so wis me save, Ne mighte me so gladen; lo, myn herte, It spredeth so for Ioye, it wol to-sterte! 980
'But Lord, how shal I doon, how shal I liven? Whan shal I next my dere herte see? How shal this longe tyme a-wey be driven, Til that thou be ayein at hir fro me? Thou mayst answere, "A-byd, a-byd," but he 985 That hangeth by the nekke, sooth to seyne, In grete disese abydeth for the peyne.'
'Al esily, now, for the love of Marte,' Quod Pandarus, 'for every thing hath tyme; So longe abyd til that the night departe; 990 For al so siker as thow lyst here by me, And god toforn, I wol be there at pryme, And for thy werk somwhat as I shal seye, Or on som other wight this charge leye.
'For pardee, god wot, I have ever yit 995 Ben redy thee to serve, and to this night Have I nought fayned, but emforth my wit Don al thy lust, and shal with al my might. Do now as I shal seye, and fare a-right; And if thou nilt, wyte al thy-self thy care, 1000 On me is nought along thyn yvel fare.
'I woot wel that thow wyser art than I A thousand fold, but if I were as thou, God help me so, as I wolde outrely, Right of myn owene hond, wryte hir right now 1005 A lettre, in which I wolde hir tellen how I ferde amis, and hir beseche of routhe; Now help thy-self, and leve it not for slouthe.
'And I my-self shal ther-with to hir goon; And whan thou wost that I am with hir there, 1010 Worth thou up-on a courser right anoon, Ye, hardily, right in thy beste gere, And ryd forth by the place, as nought ne were, And thou shalt finde us, if I may, sittinge At som windowe, in-to the strete lokinge. 1015
'And if thee list, than maystow us saluwe, And up-on me make thy contenaunce; But, by thy lyf, be war and faste eschuwe To tarien ought, god shilde us fro mischaunce! Ryd forth thy wey, and hold thy governaunce; 1020 And we shal speke of thee som-what, I trowe, Whan Thou art goon, to do thyne eres glowe!
'Touching thy lettre, thou art wys y-nough, I woot thow nilt it digneliche endyte; As make it with thise argumentes tough; 1025 Ne scrivenish or craftily thou it wryte; Beblotte it with thy teres eek a lyte; And if thou wryte a goodly word al softe, Though it be good, reherce it not to ofte.
'For though the beste harpour upon lyve 1030 Wolde on the beste souned Ioly harpe That ever was, with alle his fingres fyve, Touche ay o streng, or ay o werbul harpe, Were his nayles poynted never so sharpe, It shulde maken every wight to dulle, 1035 To here his glee, and of his strokes fulle.
'Ne Iompre eek no discordaunt thing y-fere, As thus, to usen termes of phisyk; In loves termes, hold of thy matere The forme alwey, and do that it be lyk; 1040 For if a peyntour wolde peynte a pyk With asses feet, and hede it as an ape, It cordeth nought; so nere it but a Iape.'
This counseyl lyked wel to Troilus; But, as a dreedful lover, he seyde this: — 1045 'Allas, my dere brother Pandarus, I am ashamed for to wryte, y-wis, Lest of myn innocence I seyde a-mis, Or that she nolde it for despyt receyve; Thanne were I deed, ther mighte it no-thing weyve.' 1050
To that Pandare answerde, 'If thee lest, Do that I seye, and lat me therwith goon; For by that lord that formed est and west, I hope of it to bringe answere anoon Right of hir hond, and if that thou nilt noon, 1055 Lat be; and sory mote he been his lyve, Ayeins thy lust that helpeth thee to thryve.'
Quod Troilus, 'Depardieux, I assente; Sin that thee list, I will aryse and wryte; And blisful god preye ich, with good entente, 1060 The vyage, and the lettre I shal endyte, So spede it; and thou, Minerva, the whyte, Yif thou me wit my lettre to devyse:' And sette him doun, and wroot right in this wyse. —
First he gan hir his righte lady calle, 1065 His hertes lyf, his lust, his sorwes leche, His blisse, and eek these othere termes alle, That in swich cas these loveres alle seche; And in ful humble wyse, as in his speche, He gan him recomaunde un-to hir grace; 1070 To telle al how, it axeth muchel space.
And after this, ful lowly he hir prayde To be nought wrooth, though he, of his folye, So hardy was to hir to wryte, and seyde, That love it made, or elles moste he dye, 1075 And pitously gan mercy for to crye; And after that he seyde, and ley ful loude, Him-self was litel worth, and lesse he coude;
And that she sholde han his conning excused, That litel was, and eek he dredde hir so, 1080 And his unworthinesse he ay acused; And after that, than gan he telle his woo; But that was endeles, with-outen ho; And seyde, he wolde in trouthe alwey him holde; — And radde it over, and gan the lettre folde. 1085
And with his salte teres gan he bathe The ruby in his signet, and it sette Upon the wex deliverliche and rathe; Ther-with a thousand tymes, er he lette, He kiste tho the lettre that he shette, 1090 And seyde, 'Lettre, a blisful destenee Thee shapen is, my lady shal thee see.'
This Pandare took the lettre, and that by tyme A-morwe, and to his neces paleys sterte, And faste he swoor, that it was passed pryme, 1095 And gan to Iape, and seyde, 'Y-wis, myn herte, So fresh it is, al-though it sore smerte, I may not slepe never a Mayes morwe; I have a Ioly wo, a lusty sorwe.'
Criseyde, whan that she hir uncle herde, 1100 With dreedful herte, and desirous to here The cause of his cominge, thus answerde: 'Now by your feyth, myn uncle,' quod she, 'dere, What maner windes gydeth yow now here? Tel us your Ioly wo and your penaunce, 1105 How ferforth be ye put in loves daunce.'
'By god,' quod he, 'I hoppe alwey bihinde!' And she to-laugh, it thoughte hir herte breste. Quod Pandarus, 'Loke alwey that ye finde Game in myn hood, but herkneth, if yow leste; 1110 Ther is right now come in-to toune a geste, A Greek espye, and telleth newe thinges, For which I come to telle yow tydinges.
'Into the gardin go we, and we shal here, Al prevely, of this a long sermoun.' 1115 With that they wenten arm in arm y-fere In-to the gardin from the chaumbre doun. And whan that he so fer was that the soun Of that he speke, no man here mighte, He seyde hir thus, and out the lettre plighte, 1120
'Lo, he that is al hoolly youres free Him recomaundeth lowly to your grace, And sent to you this lettre here by me; Avyseth you on it, whan ye han space, And of som goodly answere yow purchace; 1125 Or, helpe me god, so pleynly for to seyne, He may not longe liven for his peyne.'
Ful dredfully tho gan she stonde stille, And took it nought, but al hir humble chere Gan for to chaunge, and seyde, 'Scrit ne bille, 1130 For love of god, that toucheth swich matere, Ne bring me noon; and also, uncle dere, To myn estat have more reward, I preye, Than to his lust; what sholde I more seye?
'And loketh now if this be resonable, 1135 And letteth nought, for favour ne for slouthe, To seyn a sooth; now were it covenable To myn estat, by god, and by your trouthe, To taken it, or to han of him routhe, In harming of my-self or in repreve? 1140 Ber it a-yein, for him that ye on leve!'
This Pandarus gan on hir for to stare, And seyde, 'Now is this the grettest wonder That ever I sey! Lat be this nyce fare! To deethe mote I smiten be with thonder, 1145 If, for the citee which that stondeth yonder, Wolde I a lettre un-to yow bringe or take To harm of yow; what list yow thus it make?
'But thus ye faren, wel neigh alle and some, That he that most desireth yow to serve, 1150 Of him ye recche leest wher he bicome, And whether that he live or elles sterve. But for al that that ever I may deserve, Refuse it nought,' quod he, and hente hir faste, And in hir bosom the lettre doun he thraste, 1155
And seyde hire, 'Now cast it awey anoon, That folk may seen and gauren on us tweye.' Quod she, 'I can abyde til they be goon,' And gan to smyle, and seyde hym, 'Eem, I preye, Swich answere as yow list, your-self purveye, 1160 For trewely I nil no lettre wryte.' 'No? than wol I,' quod he, 'so ye endyte.'
Therwith she lough, and seyde, 'Go we dyne.' And he gan at him-self to iape faste, And seyde, 'Nece, I have so greet a pyne 1165 For love, that every other day I faste' — And gan his beste Iapes forth to caste; And made hir so to laughe at his folye, That she for laughter wende for to dye.
And whan that she was comen in-to halle, 1170 'Now, eem,' quod she, 'we wol go dine anoon;' And gan some of hir women to hir calle, And streyght in-to hir chaumbre gan she goon; But of hir besinesses, this was oon A-monges othere thinges, out of drede, 1175 Ful prively this lettre for to rede;
Avysed word by word in every lyne, And fond no lak, she thoughte he coude good; And up it putte, and went hir in to dyne. But Pandarus, that in a study stood, 1180 Er he was war, she took him by the hood, And seyde, 'Ye were caught er that ye wiste;' 'I vouche sauf,' quod he. 'do what yow liste.'
Tho wesshen they, and sette hem doun and ete; And after noon ful sleyly Pandarus 1185 Gan drawe him to the window next the strete, And seyde, 'Nece, who hath arayed thus The yonder hous, that stant afor-yeyn us?' 'Which hous?' quod she, and gan for to biholde, And knew it wel, and whos it was him tolde, 1190
And fillen forth in speche of thinges smale, And seten in the window bothe tweye. Whan Pandarus saw tyme un-to his tale, And saw wel that hir folk were alle aweye, 'Now, nece myn, tel on,' quod he; 'I seye, 1195 How liketh yow the lettre that ye woot? Can he ther-on? For, by my trouthe, I noot.'
Therwith al rosy hewed tho wex she, And gan to humme, and seyde, 'So I trowe.' 'Aquyte him wel, for goddes love,' quod he; 1200 'My-self to medes wol the lettre sowe.' And held his hondes up, and sat on knowe, 'Now, goode nece, be it never so lyte, Yif me the labour, it to sowe and plyte.'
'Ye, for I can so wryte,' quod she tho; 1205 'And eek I noot what I sholde to him seye.' 'Nay, nece,' quod Pandare, 'sey nat so; Yet at the leste thanketh him, I preye, Of his good wil, and doth him not to deye. Now for the love of me, my nece dere, 1210 Refuseth not at this tyme my preyere.'
'Depar-dieux,' quod she, 'God leve al be wel! God help me so, this is the firste lettre That ever I wroot, ye, al or any del.' And in-to a closet, for to avyse hir bettre, 1215 She wente allone, and gan hir herte unfettre Out of disdaynes prison but a lyte; And sette hir doun, and gan a lettre wryte,
Of which to telle in short is myn entente Theffect, as fer as I can understonde: — 1220 She thonked him of al that he wel mente Towardes hir, but holden him in honde She nolde nought, ne make hir-selven bonde In love, but as his suster, him to plese, She wolde fayn to doon his herte an ese. 1225
She shette it, and to Pandarus in gan goon, There as he sat and loked in-to the strete, And doun she sette hir by him on a stoon Of Iaspre, up-on a quisshin gold y-bete, And seyde, 'As wisly helpe me god the grete, 1230 I never dide a thing with more peyne Than wryte this, to which ye me constreyne;'
And took it him: He thonked hir and seyde, 'God woot, of thing ful ofte looth bigonne Cometh ende good; and nece myn, Criseyde, 1235 That ye to him of hard now ben y-wonne Oughte he be glad, by god and yonder sonne! For-why men seyth, "Impressiounes lighte Ful lightly been ay redy to the flighte.'