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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 praie 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 hir 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 chastite,

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 yaf, 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 lionour 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,

That shal ben ordeined on eyther side,
And on the morwe whan the day gan spring,

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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Tho vois of the peple touched to the Heven, Ful oft a day lian thilke Thebanes two So loude crieden they with mery steven;

Togeder met, and wrought eche other wo: “God save swiche a lord that is so good,

Unborsed hath eche other of hem twey. He wilneth no destruction of blood.”

Ther n'as no tigre in the vale of Galaphey, Up gon the trompes and the melodie,

Whan that hire whelpe is stole, whan it is lite, And to the listes rit the compagnie

So cruel on the hunt, as is Arcite By ordinance, thurghout the cite large,

For jalous herte upon this Palamon: Hanged with cloth of gold, and not with sarge.

Ne in Belmarie ther n'is so fell leon, Ful like a lord this noble duk gan ride,

That hunted is, or for his hunger wood, And these two Thebans upon eyther side:

Ne of his prey desireth so the blood, And after rode the quene and Emelie,

As Palamon to sleen his foo Arcite. And after that another compagnie

The jalous strokes on hir helmes bite; Of on and other, after his degree.

Out renneth blood on both bir sides rede. And thus they passen thurghout the citec,

Somtime an ende ther is of every dede. And to the listes comen they be time:

For er the Sonne unto the reste went, It n'as not of the day yet fully prime.

The stronge king Emetrius gan hent Whan set was Theseus ful rich and hie,

This Palamon, as he fought with Arcite, Ipolita the quene, and Emelie,

And made his swerd depe in his flesh to bite. And other ladies in degrees aboute,

And by the force of twenty is he take Unto the sethes preseth all the route.

Unyolden, and ydrawen to the stake. And westward, thurgh the gates under Mart, And in the rescous of this Palamon Arcite, and eke the hundred of his part,

The strong king Licurge is borne adoun: With baner red, is entred right anon;

And king Emetrius for all his strengthe And in the selve moment Palamon

Is borne out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
Is, under Venus, estward in the place,

So bitte him Palamon or he were take:
With baner white, and hardy chere and face. But all for nought, he was brought to the stake:
In all the world, to seken up and doun,

His hardy herte might bim helpen naught,
So even without variatioun

He moste abiden, whan that he was caught, Ther n'ere swiche compagnies never twey.

By force, and eke by composition. For ther was non so wise that coude sey,

Who sorweth now but woful Palamon? That any hadde of other avantage

That moste no more gon again to fight. Of worthinesse, ne of estat, ne age,

And whan that Theseus had seen that night, So even were they chosen for to gesse.

Unto the folk that foughten thus eche oil, And in two renges fayre they hem dresse.

He cried, “ Ho! no more, for it is don. Whan that hir names red were everich on,

I wol be trewe juge, and not partie. That in hir nombre gile were ther non,

Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelie, Tho were the gates shette, and cried was loude: That by his fortune hath hire fayre ywonne.” “Do now your devoir, yonge knightes proude." Anon ther is a noise of peple begonne

The heraudes left hir priking up and doun. For joye of this, so loud and high withall, Now ringen trompes loud and clarioun.

It semed that the listes shulden fall. Ther is no more to say, but est and west

What can now fayre Venus don above? In gon the speres sadly in the rest;

What saith she now? what doth this quene of love?
In goth the sharpe spore into the side,

But wepeth so, for wanting of hire will,
Ther see men who can juste, and who can ride Til that hire teres in the listes fill:
Ther shiveren shaftes upon sheldes thicke;

She sayde: “I am ashamed douteless."
He feleth thurgh the herte-spone the pricke.

Saturnus sayde: Daughter, hold thy pecs. Up springen speres twenty foot on lighte;

Mars hath his will, his knight hath all his bone, Out gon the swerdes as the silver brighte.

And by min hed thou shalt ben esed sone."
The helmes they to-hewen, and to-shrede;

The trompoures with the loude minstralcie,
Out brest the blod, with sterne stremes rede. The hieraudes, that so loude yell and crie,
With mighty maces the bones they to-breste. Ben in bir joye for wele of Dan Arcite.
He thurgh the thichest of the throng gan threste. But herkeneth me, and stenteth noise a lite,
Ther stomblen stedes strong, and doun goth all. Whiche a miracle ther befell anon.
Ile rolleth under foot as doth a ball.

This fierce Arcite hath of his helme ydon,
He foineth on his foo with a tronchoun,

And on a courser for to shew his face And he him hurtleth with his hors adoun.

He priketh endelong the large place, He thurgh the body is hurt, and sith ytake

Loking upward upon this Emelie; Maugre his hed, and brought unto the stake, And she again him cast a friendlich eye, As forword was, right ther he must abide.

(For women, as to speken in commune, Another lad is on that other side.

They folwen all the favour of fortune) And somtime doth hem Theseus to rest,

And was all his in chere, as his in herte. llem to refresh, and drinken if hem lest.

Out of the ground a fury infernal sterte,

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From Pluto sent, at requeste of Saturno,

That neyther veine-blood, ne ventousing, For which his hors for fere gan to turne,

Ne drinke of herbes may ben his helping. And lepte aside, and foundred as he lepe :

The vertue expulsif, or animal, And er that Arcile may take any kepe,

Fro thilke vertue cleped natural, He pight him on the pomel of his hed,

Ne may the venime voiden, ne expell. That in the place he lay as he were ded,

The pipes of his longes gan to swell, His brest to-brosten with his sadel bow.

And every lacerte in his brest adoun As blake he lay as any cole or crow,

Is shent with venime and corruptioun. So was the blood yronnen in his face.

Him gaineth neyther, for to get his lif, Anon he was yborne out of the place

Vomit upward, ne dounward laxatif; With herte sore, to Theseus paleis.

All is to-brosten thilke region ; Tho was he corven out of his harneis,

Nature hath now no domination And in a bed ybrought ful fayre and blive, And certainly ther nature wol not werche, For be was yet in memorie, and live,

Farewel physike: go bere the man to cherche, And alway crying after Emelie.

This is all and som, that Arcite moste dic. Duk Theseus, with all his compagnic,

For which he sendeth after Emelie, I ormen home to Athenes his citee,

And Palamon, that was his cosin dere. With alle blisse and gret solempnite.

Than sayd he thus, as ye shuln after here. Al be it that this aventure was falle,

“Nought may the woful spirit in myn herte He n'olde not discomforten hem alle.

Declare o point of all my sorwes smerte Men sayden eke, that Arcite shal not die,

To you, my lady, that I love most; He shal ben heled of his maladie.

But I bequethe the service of my gost And of another thing they were as fayn,

To you aboven every creature, That of hem alle was ther non yslain,

Sin that my lif ne may no lenger dure. Al were they sore yhurt, and namely on,

“ Alas the wo! alas the peines stronge, That with a spere was thirled his brest bone. That I for you have suffered, and so longe! To other woundes, and to broken armes,

Alas the deth ! alas min Emelie !
Som hadden salves, and some hadden charmes : Alas departing of our compagnie!
And fermacies of herbes, and eke save

Alas min hertes quene! alas my wif!
They dronken, for they wold hir lives have. Min hertes ladie, ender of my lif!
For which this noble duk, as he wel can,

What is this world? what axen men to have? Comforteth and honoureth every man,

Now with his love, now in his colde grave And made revel all the longe night,

Alone withouten any compagnie. Unto the strange lordes, as was right.

Farewel my swete, farewel min Emelie, Ne ther n'as holden no discomforting,

And softe take me in your armes twey, But as at justes or a tourneying;

For love of God, and herkeneth what I sey. For sothly ther n'as no discomfiture,

“I have here with my cosin Palamon For falling n'is not but an aventure.

Had strif and rancour many a day agon Ne to be lad by force unto a stake

For love of you, and for my jalousie. Layoiden, and with twenty knightes take,

And Jupiter so wis my soule gie, Operon all alone, withouten mo,

To speken of a servant proprely, And haried forth by armes, foot, and too,

With alle circumstances trewely, And eke his stede driven forth with staves, That is to sayn, trouth, honour, and knighthede, With footmen, bothe yemen and eke knaves, Wisdom, humblesse, estat, and high kinrede, It was aretted him no vilanie:

Fredom, and all that longeth to that art, Ther may no man clepen it cowardie.

So Jupiter have of my soule part, For which anon duk Theseus let crie,

As in this world right now ne know I non, To stenten alle rancour and envie,

So worthy to be loved as Palamon, The gree as wel of o side as of other,

That serveth you, and wol don all his lif: And eyther side ylike, as others brother:

And if that ever ye shall ben a wif, And yave hem giftes after hir degree,

Foryete not Palamon the gentil man.” And belde a feste fully dayes three:

And with that word his speche faille began. Ari conveyed the kinges worthily

For from his feet up to his brest was come
Out of his toun a journee largely.

The cold of deth, that had him overnome.
And home went every man the righte way, And yet morcover in his armes two
The n'as no more, but farewel, have good day. The vital strength is lost, and all ago.
Of this battaille I wol no more endite,

Only the intellect, withouten more,
But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.

That dwelled in his herte sike and sore, Svelleth the brest of Arcite, and the sore

Gan feillen, whan the herte felte deth; Facteseth at his herte more and more.

Dusked his eyen two, and failled his breth. The clotpred blood, for any leche-craft,

But on his ladie yet cast he his eye; Corturipeth, and is in his bouke ylast,

His laste word was; “ Mercy, Emelie !"


His spirit changed house, and wente ther,

“What rekketh me though folk say vilanie As I came never I cannot tellen wher,

Of shrewed Lamech, and his bigamie ? Therfore I stent, I am no divinistre;

I wot wel Abraham was an holy man, Of soules find I not in this registre.

And Jacob eke, as fer as ever I ean, Ne me lust not th' opinions to telle

And eche of hem bad wives mo than two,
Of hem, though that they writen wher they dweHe. And many another holy man also.

Wher can ye seen in any maner age
That highe God defended mariage

By expresse word? I pray you telleth me,

Or wher commanded he virginitee? “Experience, though non auctoritee

“I wot as wel as ye, it is no drede, Were in this world, is right ynough for me The apostle, whan he spake of maidenhede, To speke of wo that is in mariage:

He said, that precept therof had he non For, lordings, sin I twelf yere was of age,

Men may conseille a woman to ben on, (Thanked be God thrat is eterne on live)

But conseilling is no commandement; Husbondes at chirche dore have I had five,

He put it in our owen jugement. (If I so often might han wedded be) And all were worthy men in hir degree. “But me was told, not longe time agon is,

“ Now sires; than wol I tell you forth


tale. That sithen Crist ne went never but onis

As ever mote I drinken win or ale To wedding, in the Cane of Galilee,

I shal say soth, the husbondes that I had That by that ilke ensample taught he me,

As three of them were good, and two were bad. That I ne shulde wedded be but ones.

The three were goode men and riche and olde. Lo, herke eke, which a sharpe word for the nones, Unethes mighten they the statute holde, Beside a welle Jesu, God and man,

In which that they were bounden unto me. Spake in reprefe of the Samaritan :

Ye wot wel what I mene of this parde. “Thou hast yhadde five husbonds, sayde he; As God me helpe, I laugh whan that I thinke, And thilke man, that now hath wedded thee, How pitously a-night I made hem swinke, Is not thyn husbond:” thus said he certain; But by my fay, I tolde of it no store: What that he ment therby, I can not sain,

They had me yeven hir lond and hir tresore, But that I aske, why that the fifthe man

Me neded not do lenger diligence Was non husbond to the Samaritan :

To win hir love, or don hem reverenee. How many might she have in mariage ?

They loved me so wel by God above, Yet herd I never tellen in min age

That I ne tolde no deintee of bir love. Upon this noumbre diffinitioun ;

A wise woman wol besy hire ever in on Men may devine, and glosen up and doun.

To geten hir love, ther as she hath non. “But wel I wot, expresse withouten lio

But sith I had hem holly in min hond, God bad us for to wex and multiplie;

And that they hadde yeven me all hir lond, That gentil text can I wel understond.

What shuld I taken kepe hem for to plese, Eke wel I wot, he sayd, that min husbond

But it were for my profit, or min ese ? Shuld leve fader and moder, and take to me;

I set hem so a-werke by my fay, But of no noumbre mention made he,

That many a night they songen “Wala wa.” Of bigamie or of octogamie ;

The bacon was not fit for hem, I trow, Why shulde men than speke of it vilanie?

That som men have in Essex at Donmow. “Lo here the wise king dan Solomon,

I governed hem so wel after my lawe, I trow he hadde wives mo than on,

That eche of hem ful blisful was and fawe (As wolde God it leful were to me

To bringen me gay thinges fro the feyre. To be refreshed half so oft as he)

They were ful glade whan I spake hem fayre. Which a gift of God had he for alle his wives? For God it wot, I chidde hem spitously. No man hath swiche, that in this world on live is. Now herkeneth how I bare me proprely. Got wot, this noble king, as to my witte,

“ Ye wise wives, that can understone, The firste night had many a mery fitte

Thus shul ye speke, and bere hem wrong on hond, With eche of hem, so wel was him on live.

For half so boldely can ther no man Blessed be God that I have wedded five,

Sweren and lien as a woman can. Welcome the sixthe whan that ever he shall. (I say not this by wives that ben wise, For sith I wol not kepe me chaste in all,

But if it be whan they hem misavise.) Whan min husbond is fro the world ygon,

A wise wif if that she can hire good, Som Cristen man shal wedden me anon.

Shal beren hem on hond the cow is wood, For than the apostle saith, that I am fre

And taken witnesse of hire owen mayd To wedde, a' Goddes half, wher it liketh me. Of hir assent: but herkeneth how I sayd. He saith that to be wedded is no sinne ;

“Sire olde Kaynard, is this thin aray ? Better is to be wedded than to brinne,

Why is my neigheboures wif so gay?

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