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Conteke with blody knif, and sharp manace:
Ne Narcissus the fayre of yore agon,

All full of chirking was that sory place.
Ne yet the folie of king Salomon,

The sleer of himself yet saw I there,
Ne yet the grete strengthe of Hercules,

His herte-blood hath bathed all his here:
Th' enchantment of Medea and Circes,

The naile ydriven in the shode on hight,
Ne of Turnus the hardy fiers corage,

The colde deth, with mouth gaping upright,
The riche Cresus caitis in servage.

Amiddes of the temple sate mischance,
Thus may ye seen, that wisdom ne richesse,

With discomfort and sory countenance.
Beaute ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardinesse,

Yet saw I woodnesse laughing in his rage.
Ne may with Venus holden champartie,

Armed complaint, outhees, and fiers outrage;
For as hire liste the world may she gie.

The carraine in the bush, with throte ycorven, Lo, all these folk so caught were in hire las

A thousand slain, and not of qualme ystorven ; 151 they for wo ful often said Alas. Sufficeth here ensamples on or two,

The tirant, with the prey by force yraft;

The toun destroied, ther was nothing laft.
And yet I coude reken a thousand mo.
The statue of Venus glorious for to see,

Yet saw I brent the shippes hoppesteres,
Was naked fleeting in the large see.

The hunte ystrangled with the wilde beres:
And fro the navel doun all covered was

The sow freting the child right in the cradel;
With waves grene, and bright as any glas.. The coke yscalled, for all his long ladel.
A citole in hire right hond hadde she,

Nought was foryete by th' infortune of Marte
And on hire hed, ful semely for to see,

The carter overridden with his carte;
A rose gerlond fresh, and wel smelling,

Under the wheel ful low he lay adoun.
Above hire hed hire doves fleckering.

Ther were also of Martes division,
Before hire stood hire sone Cupido,

Th’armerer, and the bowyer, and the smith,
Upon his shoulders winges had he two;

That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his stith.
And blind he was, as it is often sene;

And all above depeinted in a tour
A bow he bare and arwes bright and kene. Saw I conquest, sitting in gret honour.
Why shulde I not as wel eke tell you all

With thilke sharp swerd over his hed
The purtreiture, that was upon the wall

Yhanging by a subtil twined thred.
Within the temple of mighty Mars the rede? Depeinted was the slaughter of Julius,
All peinted was the wall in length and brede Of gret Nero, and of Antonius :
Like to the estres of the grisly place,

All be that thilke time they were unborne,
That highte the gret temple of Mars in Trace, Yet was kir deth depeinted therbesorne,
In thilke colde and frosty region,

By manacing of Mars, right by figure,
Ther as Mars hath his sovereine mansion.

So was it shewed in that purtreiture
First on the wall was peinted a forest,

As is depeinted in the cercles above,
In which ther wonneth neyther man ne best,

Who shal be slaine or elles ded for love.
With knotty knarry barrein trees old

Sufficeth on ensample in stories olde,
Of stubbes sharp and hidous to behold;

I may not reken hem alle, though I wolde.
In which ther ran a romble and a swough,

The statue of Mars upon a carte stood
As though a storme shuld bresten every bough:

Armed, and toked grim as he were wood,
And dounward from an hill under a bent,

And over his hed ther shinen two figures
Ther stood the temple of Mars armipotent,

Of sterres, that ben eleped in scriptures,
Wrought all of burned stele, of which th' entree

That or Puella, that other Rubeus.
Was longe and streite, and gastly for to see.

This god of armes was arraied thus :
And therout came a rage and swiche a vise,

A wolf ther stood beforne him at his fete
That it made all the gates for to rise.

With eyen red, and of a man he ete:
The northern light in at the dore slione,

With subtil pensil peinted was this storie,
For window on the wall ne was ther none,

In redouting of Mars and of his glorie.
Thurgh whick men mighten any light discerne.

Now to the temple of Diane the chaste
The dore was all of athamant eterne,

As shortly as I can I wol me haste,
Yclenched overthwart and endelong

To tellen you of the descriptioun,
With yren tough, and for to make it strong,

Depeinted by the walles up and doun,
Every piler the temple to sustene

Of hunting and of shamefast chastitee.
Was tonne-gret, of yren bright and shene.

Ther saw I how woful Calistope,
Ther saw I first the derke imagining

Whan that Diane agreved was with here,
Of felonie, aud alle the compassing:

Was turned from a woman til a bere,
The cruel ire, red as any glede,

And after was she made the lodesterre:
The pikepurse, and eke the pale drede ;

Thus was it peinted, I can say no ferre;
The smiler with the knif under the cloke,

Hire sone is eke a sterre as men may see,
The shepen brenning with the blake smoke;

Ther saw I Dane yturned til a tree,
The treson of the mordring in the bedde,


mene not hire the goddesse Diane, The open werre, with woundes all bebledde ; But Peneus daughter, which that highte Dane

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Ther saw I Atteon an hart ymaked,

vengeance that he saw Diane all naked
I saw how that his houndes have lim caught,
And freten him, for that they knew him naught.
Yet peinted was a litel forthermore,
Ilow Athalante hunted the wilde bore,
And Meleagre, and many another mo,
For which Diane wroughte hem care and wo.
Ther saw I many another wonder storie,
The which me liste not drawen to memorie.

This goddesse on an hart ful heye sete,
With smale houndes all about hire fete,
And undernethe hire feet she hadde a mone,
Wexing it was, and shulde wanen sone.
In gaudy grene hire statue clothed was,
With bow in hond, and arwes in a cas.
Hire eyen caste she ful low adoun,
Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun,
A woman travailling was hire beforne,
But for hire childe so long was unborno
Ful pitously Lucina gan she call,
And sayed; “ Helpe, for thou mayst beste of all.”
Wel coude he peinten lifly that it wrought,
With many a florein he the hewes bought.

Now ben these listes made, and Theseus
That at his grete cost arraied thus
The temples, and the theatre everidel,
Whan it was don, him liked wonder wel.
But stint I wol of Theseus a lite,
And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.

The day approcheth of hir returning,
That everich shuld an lundred knightes bring,
The bataille to darreine, as I you told;
And til Athenes, bir covenant for to hold,
llath everich of hem brought an hundred knightes,
Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.
And sikerly ther trowed many a man,
That never, sithen that the world began,
As for to speke of knighthood of hir hond,
As fer as God hath maked see and lond,
N'as, of so fewe, so noble a compagnie.
For every wight that loved chevalrie,
And wold, his thankes, han a passant name,
Hath praied, that he might ben of that game,
And wel was him, that therto chosen was.
For if ther fell to-morwe swiche a cas,
Ye knowen wel, that every lusty knight,
That loveth par amour, and hath his might,
Were it in Englelond, or elleswher,
They wold, hir thankes, willen to be ther,
To fight for a lady, a! benedicite,
It were a lusty sighte for to se.

And right so ferden they with Palamon.
With him ther wenten knightes many on.
Som wel ben armed in an habergeon,
And in a brest plate, and in a gipon;
And som wol have a pair of plates large;
And som wol have a Pruce shield, or a targe;
Some wol ben armed on his legges wele,
And have an axe, and som a mace of stele.
Ther n'is no newe guise, that it n'as old.
Armed they weren, as I have you told,

Everich after his opinion.

There maist thou se coming with Palamon
Licurge himself, the grete king of Trace:
Blake was his berd, and manly was his face.
The cercles of his eyen in his hed
They gloweden betwixen yelwe and red,
And like a griffon loked he about.
With kemped heres on his browes stouts
His limmes gret, his braunes hard and stronge,
His shouldres brode, his armes round and longe.
And as the guise was in his contree,
Ful highe upon a char of gold stood he,
With four white bolles in the trais.
Instede of cote-armure on his harnais,
With nayles yelwe, and bright as any gold,
He hadde a beres skin, cole-blake for old.
His longe here was kempt behind his bak,
As any ravenes fether it shone for blake.
A wreth of gold arm-gret, of huge weight,
Upon his hed sate full of stones bright,
Of fine rubins and of diamants.
About his char ther wenten white alauns,
Twenty and mo, as gret as any stere,
To hunten at the leon or the dere,
And folwed him, with mosel fast ybound,
Colered with gold, and torettes filed round.
An hundred lordes had he in his route
Armed ful wel, with hertes sterne and stoute.

With Arcita, in stories as men find,
The gret Emetrius the king of Inde,
Upon a stede bay, trapped in stele,
Covered with cloth of gold diapred wele,
Came riding like the god of arines Mars.
His cote-arinure was of a cloth of Tars,
Couched with perles, white, and round and grete.
His sadel was of brent gold new ybete ;
A mantelet upon his shouldres hanging
Bret-ful of rubies red, as fire sparkling.
His crispe here like ringes was yronne,
And that was yelwe, and glitered as the Sonne.
His nose was high, his eyen bright citrin,
His lippes round, his colour was sanguin,
A fewe fraknes in his face ysprent,
Betwixen yelwe and blake somdel ymeint,
And as a leon he his loking caste.
Of five and twenty yere his age I caste.
His berd was wel begonnen for to spring;
His vois was as a trompe thondering.
Upon his hed he wered of laurer grene
A gerlond freshe and lusty for to sene.
Upon his hond he bare for his deduit
An egle tame, as any lily whit.
An hundred lordes had he with him there,
All armed save hir hedes in all hire gere,
Ful richely in alle manere thinges.
For trusteth wel, that erles, dukes, kinges,
Were gathered in this noble compagnie,
For love, and for encrease of chevalrie.
About this king ther ran on every part
Ful many a tame leon and leopart.

And in this wise, these lordes all and some
Ben on the Sonday to the citce come

Abouten prime, and in the town alight.

This Theseus, this duk, this worthy knight,
Whan he had brought hem into his citce,
And inned hem, everich at his degree,
He festeth hem, and doth so gret labour
To esen hem, and don hem all honour,
That yet men wenen that no mannes wit
Of non estat ne coud amenden it.
The minstralcie, the service at the feste,
The grete yeftes to the most and leste,
The riche array of Theseus paleis,
Ne who sate first, ne last upon the deis,
What ladies fayrest ben or best dancing,
Or which of hem can carole best or sing,
Ne who most felingly speketh of love;
What haukes sitten on the perche above,
What houndes liggen on the floor adoun,
Of all this now make I no mentioun;
But of the effect; that thinketh me the beste;
Now corneth the point, and herkeneth if you leste.

The Sonday night, or day began to spring,
Whan Palamon the larke herde sing,
Although it n'ere not day by loures two,
Yet sang the larke, and Palamon right tho
With holy herte, and with an high corage
He rose, to wenden on his pilgrimage
Unto the blissful Citherea benigne,
I mene Venus, honourable and digne.
And in hire houre, he walketh forthi a pas
Unto the listes, thier hire temple was,
And doun he kneletli, and with humble chere
And herte sore, he sayde as ye shul here.

** Fayrest of fayre, o lady inin Venus,
Daughter to Jove, and spouse of Vulcanus,
Thou glader of the mount of Citheron,
For thithe love thou haddest to Adon
Have pitee on my bitter teres smert,
And take

myn humble praier at thin herte.
“ Alas! I pe have no langage to tell
The effecte, ne the torment of inin Hell;
Min herte may min larmes not bewrey:
I am so confuse, that I cannot say.
But mercy, lady bright, that hpowest wele
My thought, and seest what harmes that I felo,
Consider all this, and rue upon my sore,
As wisly as I shall for evermore
Emforth my might thy trewe servant be,
And holden werre alway with chastite:
That make I min avow, so ye me helpe.
I kepe nought of armes for to yelpe,
Ne axe I nat to-morwe to have victorie,
Ne renoun in this cas, ne vaine glorie
Of pris of armes, blowen up and doun,
But I wold have fully possessioun
Of Emelie, and die in hire servise;
Find thou the manere how, and in what wise.
I rekke not, but it may better be,
To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
So that I have my lady in min armes.
For though so be that Mars ig god of armes,
Your vertue is so grete in lleven above,
That if you liste, I shal wel have my love.

Thy tomple wol I worship evermo,
And on thin auter, wlier I ride or go,
I wol don sacrifice, and fire bete.
And if ye wol not so, my lady swete,
Than pray I you, to-morwe with a spere
That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
Than rekhe I not, whan I have lost my lif,
Though that Arcita win hire to his wif.
This is the effecte and ende of my praicre;
Yeve me my love, thou blissful lady dere."

Whan the orison was don of Palamon,
His sacrifice he did, and that anon,
Full pitously, with alle circumstances,
All tell I not as now his observances.
But at the last the statue of Venus shoke,
And made a signe, wherby that he toke,
That his praiere accepted was that day.
For though the signe shewed a delay,
Yet wist he wel that granted was his bone;
And with glad herte he went him home ful sone.

The thridde houre inequal that Palamon
Began to Venus temple for to gon,
Up rose the Sonne, and up rose Emelic,
And to the temple of Diane gan hie.
Hire maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
Ful redily with hem the fire they hadde,
Th'encense, the clothes, and the renenant all
That to the sacrifice longen shall,
The hornes ful of mede, as was the gise,
Ther lahked nought to don liire sacrifise.
Smoking the temple, ful of clothes fayro,
This Emelie with herte debonaire
Hire body wesshe with water of a well.
But how she did hire rite I dare not tell;
But it be any thing in general;
And yet it were a game to heren all;
To him that meneth wel it n'ere no charge :
But it is good a man to ben at large.
Hire bright here kembed was, intressed all.
A coroune of a grene oke cerial
Upon hire hed was set ful fayre and mete.
Two fires on the auter gan she bete,
And did hire thinges, as men may behold
In Stace of Thebes, and these bokes old.

Whan kindled was the fire, with pitous chere Unto Diane she spake, as ye may here,

* O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene, To whom both Heven and erthe and see is sene, Quene of the regne of Pluto, derke and lowe, Goddesse of maydens, that inin herte hast knowe Ful many a yere, and wost what I desire, As kepe me fro thy vengeance and thin ire, That Atteon aboughte cruelly: Chaste goddesse, wel wotest thou that I Desire to ben a mayden all my lif, Ne never wol I be no love ne wif. I am (thou wost) yet of thy compagnie, A mayde, and love hunting and venerie, And for to walken in the wodes wilde, And not to ben a wif, and be with childe, Nought wol I knowen compagnie of man. Now help ine, lady, sith ye may and can,

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For tho three formes that thou hast in thee.

And hast in every regne and every lond And Palamon, that hath swiche love to me,

Of armes all the bridel in thin hond, And eke Arcite, that loveth me so sore,

And hem fortunest as thee list devise, This grace I praje thee withouten more;

Accept of me my pitous sacrifise. As sende love and pees betwix hem two:

If so be that my youthe may deserve, And fro me torne away hir hertes so,

And that my might be worthy for to serve That all his hote love, and hir desire,

Thy godhed, that I may ben on of thine, And all hir besy torment, and hir fire

Than praie I thee to rewe upon my pine, Be queinte, or torned in another place.

For thilke peine, and thilke hote fire, And if so be thou wolt not do me grace,

In which thou whilom brendest for desire Or if my destinee be shapen so,

Whanne that thou usedst the beautee That I shal nedes have on of bem two,

Of fayre yonge Venus, freshe and free, As send me him that most desireth me.

And haddest hire in armes at thy wille: “ Behold, goddesse of clene chastito,

Although thee ones on a time misfille, The bitter teres, that on my chekes fall.

Whan Vulcanus had caught thee in his las, Sin thou art mayde, and keper of us all,

And fond the ligging by his wif, alas ! My maydenhed thou kepe and wel conserve,

For thilke sorwe that was tho in thin herte, And while I live, a mayde I wol thee serve." Have reuthe as wel upon my peines smerte. The fires brenne upon the auter clere,

“I am yonge and unkonning, as thou wost, While Emelie was thus in hire praiere:

And, as I trow, with love offended most, But sodenly she saw a sighte queinte.

That ever was ony lives creature: For right anon on of the fires queinte,

For she, that doth me all this wo endure, And quiked again, and after that anon

Ne recceth never, whether I sinke or flete. That other fire was queinte, and all agon:

And wel I wot, or she me mercy hete, And as it queinte, it made a whisteling,

I moste with strengthe win hire in the place: As don these brondes wet in hir brenning.

And wel I wot, withouten helpe or grace And at the brondes ende outran anon

Of thee, he may my strengthe not availle: As it were blody dropes many on:

Than helpe me, lord, to-morwe in my bataille. For which so sure agast was Emelie,

Fore thilke fire that whilom brenned thee, That she was wel neigh mad, and gan to crie,

As wel as that this fire now brenneth me; For she ne wiste what it signified ;

And do, that I to-morwe may han victorie. But only for the fere thus she cried,

Min be the travaille, and thin be the glorie. And wept, that it was pittee for to here.

Thy soveraine temple wol I most honouren And therwithall Diane gan appere

Of ony place, and alway most labouren With bowe in hond, right as an hunteresse, In thy plesance and in thy craftes strong. And sayde; “ Doughter, stint thin hevinesse. And in thy temple I wol my baner hong, Among the goddes highe it is affermed,

And all the armes of my compagnie, And by eterne word written and confermed, And evermore, until that day I die, Thou shalt be wedded unto on of tho,

Eterne fire I wol beforne thee finde, That han for thee so mochel care and wo:

And eke to this avow I wol me binde. But unto which of hem I may not tell.

My berd, my here that hangeth long adoun, Farewel, for here I may no longer dwell,

That never yet felt non offensioun The fires which that on min auter brenne,

Of rasour ne of shere, I wol thee yeve, Shal thee declaren er that thou go henne,

And ben thy trewe servant while I live. Thin aventure of love, as in this cas."

Now, lord, have reuthe upon my sorwes sore, And with that word, the arwes in the cas Yeve me the victorie, I axe thee no more.” Of the goddesse clatteren fast and ring,

The praier stint of Arcita the stronge, Aud forth she went, and made a vanishing, The ringes on the temple dore that honge, For which this Emelie astonied was,

And eke the dores clattereden ful faste, And sayde; “ What amounteth this, alas!

Of which Arcita somwhat him agaste. I putte me in thy protection,

The fires brent upon the auter bright, Diane, and in thy disposition.”

That it gan all the temple for to light; And home she goth anon the nexte way.

A sweete smell anon the ground up yal, This is the effecte, ther n'is no more to say.

And Arcita anon his hond up haf, The nexte houre of Mars folwing this,

And more encense into the fire he cast, Arcite unto the temple walked is

With other rites mo, and at the last Of fierce Mars, to don his sacrifise

The statue of Mars began his hauberke ring; With all the rites of his payen wise.

And with that soun he herd a murmuring With pitous herte and high devotion,

Ful low and dim, that sayde thus,“ Victorie.” Right thus to Mars he sayde his orison.

For which he yaf to Mars honour and glorie. “ O stronge god, that in the regnes cold

And thus with joye, and hope wel to fare, Of Trace honoured art, and lord yhold,

Arcite anon unto his inne is fare,

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The sheldes brighte, testeres, and trappures :
As fayn as foul is of the brighte Sonne.

Gold-hewen helmes, hauberkes, cote-armures;
And right anon swiche strif ther is begonne

Lordes in parementes on hir courseres,
For thilke granting, in the Heve above,

Knightes of retenue, and eke squieres,
Betwixen Venus the goddesse of love,
And Mars the sterne god armipotent,

Nailing the speres, and helmes bokeling,

Gniding of sheldes, with lainers lacing;
That Jupiter was besy it to stent:

Ther as nede is, they weren nothing idel:
Til that the pale Saturnus the colde,
That knew so many of aventures olde,

The fomy stedes on the golden bridel
Fond in his olde experience and art,

Gnawing, and fast the armureres also
That he ful sone hath plesed every part.

With file and hammer priking to and fro;
As sooth is sayd, elde hath gret avantage,

Yemen on foot, and communes many on
In elde is bothe wisdom and usage:

With shorte staves, thicke as they may gon;

the old out-renne, but not out-rede. Pipes, trompes, nakeres, and clariounes,
Satume anon, to stenten strife and drede,

That in the bataille blowen bloody sounes;
Al be it that it is again his kind,

The paleis ful of peple up and doun,
Of all this strif he gan a remedy find.

Here three, ther ten, holding hir questioun,
** My dere doughter Venus," quod Saturne, Devining of these Theban knightes two.
“My cours, that hath so wide for to turne,

Som sayden thus, som sayde it shal be so;
Hath more power than wot any man.

Som helden with him with the blacke berd,
Min is the drenching in the see so wan,

Som with the balled, som with the thick herd;
Min is the prison in the derke cote,

Som saide he loked grim, and wolde fighte:
Min is the strangel and hanging by the throte, He hath a sparth of twenty pound of wighte.
The murmure, and the cherles rebelling,

Thus was the halle full of devining
The groyning, and the prive empoysoning.

Long after that the Sonne gan up spring.
I do vengeance and pleine correction,

The gret Theseus that of his slepe is waked
While I dwell in the sign of the Leon.

With minstralcie and noise that was maked,
Min is the ruine of the highe halles,

Held yet the chambre of his paleis riche,
The falling of the toures and of the walles

Til that the Theban knightes bothe yliche
Upon the minour, or the carpenter:

Honoured were, and to the paleis fette.
1 slew Sampson in shaking the piler.

Duk Theseus is at a window sette,
Min ben also the maladies colde,

Araied right as he were a god in trone:
The derke tresons, and the castes olde:

The peple preseth thiderward ful sone
My loking is the fader of pestilence.

Him for to seen, and don high reverence,
Now wepe no more, I shal do diligence,

And eke to herken his heste and his sentence.
That Palamon, that is thine owen knight,

An heraud on a scaffold made an O,
Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight,

Till that the noise of the peple was ydo :
Thogh Mars shal help his knight yet natheles. And whan he saw the peple of noise al still,
Betwixen you ther mot sometime be pees:

Thus shewed he the mighty dukes will.
And be ye not of o complexion,

“ The lord hath of his high discretion
That causeth all day swiche division.

Considered, that it were destruction
I am thin ayel, redy at thy will;

To gentil blood, to fighten in the gise
Wepe now no more, I shal thy lust fulfill.” Of mortal bataille now in this emprise :
Now wol I stenten of the goddes above,

Wherfore to shapen that they shul not die,
Of Mars, and of Venus goddesse of love,

He wol his firste purpos modifie.
And tellen you as plainly as I can

“No man therfore up peine of losse of lif,
The gret effect, for which that I began.

No maner shot, ne pollax, ne short knif
Gret was the feste in Athenes thilke day,

Into the listes send, or thider bring.
And eke the lusty seson of that May

Ne short swerd for to stike with point biting
Made every wight to ben in swiche plesance,

No man ne draw, ne bere it by his side,

Ne no man shal unto his felaw rid
That all that Monday justen they and dance,

But o cours, with a sharpe ygrounden spere:
And spenden it in Venus highe servise.

Foin if him list on foot, himself to were.
But by the cause that they shulden rise

And he that is at meschief, shal be take,
Erly a-morwe for to seen the fight,
Unto hir reste wenten they at night.

And not slaine, but be brought unto the stake,
And on the morwe whan the day gan spring,

That shal ben ordeined on eyther side,

Thider he shal by force, and ther abide.
Of hors and harneis noise and clattering

And if so fall, the chevetain be take
Ther was in the hostelries all aboute :

On eyther side, or elles sleth his make,
And to the paleis rode ther many a route

No longer shal the tourneying ylast.
Of lordes, upon stedes and palfreis.

God spede you ; goth forth and lay on fast.
Ther mayst thou see devising of harneis

With longe swerd and with mase fighteth your fill.
So uncouth and so riche, and wrought

Goth now your way; this is the lordes will,” Of goldsmithry, of brouding, and of stele;

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