Part 17 out of 19
For well wot I, that in wise folk that vice
No woman dreads, if she be well advised;
For wise men be by fooles' harm chastised."* *corrected, instructed
So Pandarus begs Troilus to keep silent, promises to be true all
his days, and assures him that he shall have all that he will in the
love of Cressida: "thou knowest what thy lady granted thee; and
day is set the charters up to make."
Who mighte telle half the joy and feast
Which that the soul of Troilus then felt,
Hearing th'effect of Pandarus' behest?
His olde woe, that made his hearte swelt,* *faint, die
Gan then for joy to wasten and to melt,
And all the reheating <46> of his sighes sore
At ones fled, he felt of them no more.
But right so as these *holtes and these hayes,* *woods and hedges*
That have in winter deade been and dry,
Reveste them in greene, when that May is,
When ev'ry *lusty listeth* best to play; *pleasant (one) wishes*
Right in that selfe wise, sooth to say,
Wax'd suddenly his hearte full of joy,
That gladder was there never man in Troy.
Troilus solemnly swears that never, "for all the good that God
made under sun," will he reveal what Pandarus asks him to keep
secret; offering to die a thousand times, if need were, and to
follow his friend as a slave all his life, in proof of his gratitude.
"But here, with all my heart, I thee beseech,
That never in me thou deeme* such folly *judge
As I shall say; me thoughte, by thy speech,
That this which thou me dost for company,* *friendship
I shoulde ween it were a bawdery;* *a bawd's action
*I am not wood, all if I lewed be;* *I am not mad, though
It is not one, that wot I well, pardie! I be unlearned*
"But he that goes for gold, or for richess,
On such messages, call him *as thee lust;* *what you please*
And this that thou dost, call it gentleness,
Compassion, and fellowship, and trust;
Depart it so, for widewhere is wist
How that there is diversity requer'd
Betwixte thinges like, as I have lear'd. <47>
"And that thou know I think it not nor ween,* *suppose
That this service a shame be or a jape, *subject for jeering
I have my faire sister Polyxene,
Cassandr', Helene, or any of the frape;* *set <48>
Be she never so fair, or well y-shape,
Telle me which thou wilt of ev'ry one,
To have for thine, and let me then alone."
Then, beseeching Pandarus soon to perform out the great
enterprise of crowning his love for Cressida, Troilus bade his
friend good night. On the morrow Troilus burned as the fire, for
hope and pleasure; yet "he not forgot his wise governance [self-
But in himself with manhood gan restrain
Each rakel* deed, and each unbridled cheer,** *rash **demeanour
That alle those that live, sooth to sayn,
Should not have wist,* by word or by mannere, *suspicion
What that he meant, as touching this mattere;
From ev'ry wight as far as is the cloud
He was, so well dissimulate he could.
And all the while that I now devise* *describe, narrate
This was his life: with all his fulle might,
By day he was in Marte's high service,
That is to say, in armes as a knight;
And, for the moste part, the longe night
He lay, and thought how that he mighte serve
His lady best, her thank* for to deserve. *gratitude
I will not swear, although he laye soft,
That in his thought he n'as somewhat diseas'd;* *troubled
Nor that he turned on his pillows oft,
And would of that him missed have been seis'd;* *possessed
But in such case men be not alway pleas'd,
For aught I wot, no more than was he;
That can I deem* of possibility. *judge
But certain is, to purpose for to go,
That in this while, as written is in gest,* *the history of
He saw his lady sometimes, and also these events
She with him spake, when that she *durst and lest;* *dared and pleased*
And, by their both advice,* as was the best, *consultation
*Appointed full warily* in this need, *made careful preparations*
So as they durst, how far they would proceed.
But it was spoken in *so short a wise, *so briefly, and always in such
In such await alway, and in such fear, vigilance and fear of being
Lest any wight divinen or devise* found out by anyone*
Would of their speech, or to it lay an ear,
*That all this world them not so lefe were,* *they wanted more than
As that Cupido would them grace send anything in the world*
To maken of their speeches right an end.
But thilke little that they spake or wrought,
His wise ghost* took ay of all such heed, *spirit
It seemed her he wiste what she thought
Withoute word, so that it was no need
To bid him aught to do, nor aught forbid;
For which she thought that love, all* came it late, *although
Of alle joy had open'd her the gate.
Troilus, by his discretion, his secrecy, and his devotion, made
ever a deeper lodgment in Cressida's heart; so that she thanked
God twenty thousand times that she had met with a man who,
as she felt, "was to her a wall of steel, and shield from ev'ry
displeasance;" while Pandarus ever actively fanned the fire. So
passed a "time sweet" of tranquil and harmonious love the only
drawback being, that the lovers might not often meet, "nor
leisure have, their speeches to fulfil." At last Pandarus found an
occasion for bringing them together at his house unknown to
anybody, and put his plan in execution.
For he, with great deliberation,
Had ev'ry thing that hereto might avail* *be of service
Forecast, and put in execution,
And neither left for cost nor for travail;* *effort
Come if them list, them shoulde nothing fail,
*Nor for to be in aught espied there,
That wiste he an impossible were.* *he knew it was impossible*
that they could be discovered there*
And dreadeless* it clear was in the wind *without doubt
Of ev'ry pie, and every let-game; <49>
Now all is well, for all this world is blind,
In this mattere, bothe fremd* and tame; <50> *wild
This timber is all ready for to frame;
Us lacketh naught, but that we weete* wo'ld *know
A certain hour in which we come sho'ld. <51>
Troilus had informed his household, that if at any time he was
missing, he had gone to worship at a certain temple of Apollo,
"and first to see the holy laurel quake, or that the godde spake
out of the tree." So, at the changing of the moon, when "the
welkin shope him for to rain," [when the sky was preparing to
rain] Pandarus went to invite his niece to supper; solemnly
assuring her that Troilus was out of the town -- though all the
time he was safely shut up, till midnight, in "a little stew,"
whence through a hole he joyously watched the arrival of his
mistress and her fair niece Antigone, with half a score of her
women. After supper Pandaras did everything to amuse his
niece; "he sung, he play'd, he told a tale of Wade;" <52> at last
she would take her leave; but
The bente Moone with her hornes pale,
Saturn, and Jove, in Cancer joined were, <53>
That made such a rain from heav'n avail,* *descend
That ev'ry manner woman that was there
Had of this smoky rain <54> a very fear;
At which Pandarus laugh'd, and saide then
"Now were it time a lady to go hen!"* *hence
He therefore presses Cressida to remain all night; she complies
with a good grace; and after the sleeping cup has gone round,
all retire to their chambers -- Cressida, that she may not be
disturbed by the rain and thunder, being lodged in the "inner
closet" of Pandarus, who, to lull suspicion, occupies the outer
chamber, his niece's women sleeping in the intermediate
apartment. When all is quiet, Pandarus liberates Troilus, and by
a secret passage brings him to the chamber of Cressida; then,
going forward alone to his niece, after calming her fears of
discovery, he tells her that her lover has "through a gutter, by a
privy went," [a secret passage] come to his house in all this rain,
mad with grief because a friend has told him that she loves
Horastes. Suddenly cold about her heart, Cressida promises that
on the morrow she will reassure her lover; but Pandarus scouts
the notion of delay, laughs to scorn her proposal to send her
ring in pledge of her truth, and finally, by pitiable accounts of
Troilus' grief, induces her to receive him and reassure him at
once with her own lips.
This Troilus full soon on knees him set,
Full soberly, right by her bedde's head,
And in his beste wise his lady gret* *greeted
But Lord! how she wax'd suddenly all red,
And thought anon how that she would be dead;
She coulde not one word aright out bring,
So suddenly for his sudden coming.
Cressida, though thinking that her servant and her knight should
not have doubted her truth, yet sought to remove his jealousy,
and offered to submit to any ordeal or oath he might impose;
then, weeping, she covered her face, and lay silent. "But now,"
exclaims the poet --
But now help, God, to quenchen all this sorrow!
So hope I that he shall, for he best may;
For I have seen, of a full misty morrow,* *morn
Followen oft a merry summer's day,
And after winter cometh greene May;
Folk see all day, and eke men read in stories,
That after sharpe stoures* be victories. *conflicts, struggles
Believing his mistress to be angry, Troilus felt the cramp of
death seize on his heart, "and down he fell all suddenly in
swoon." Pandarus "into bed him cast," and called on his niece to
pull out the thorn that stuck in his heart, by promising that she
would "all forgive." She whispered in his ear the assurance that
she was not wroth; and at last, under her caresses, he recovered
consciousness, to find her arm laid over him, to hear the
assurance of her forgiveness, and receive her frequent kisses.
Fresh vows and explanations passed; and Cressida implored
forgiveness of "her own sweet heart," for the pain she had
caused him. Surprised with sudden bliss, Troilus put all in God's
hand, and strained his lady fast in his arms. "What might or may
the seely [innocent] larke say, when that the sperhawk
[sparrowhawk] hath him in his foot?"
Cressida, which that felt her thus y-take,
As write clerkes in their bookes old,
Right as an aspen leaf began to quake,
When she him felt her in his armes fold;
But Troilus, all *whole of cares cold,* *cured of painful sorrows*<55>
Gan thanke then the blissful goddes seven. <56>
Thus sundry paines bringe folk to heaven.
This Troilus her gan in armes strain,
And said, "O sweet, as ever may I go'n,* *prosper
Now be ye caught, now here is but we twain,
Now yielde you, for other boot* is none." *remedy
To that Cresside answered thus anon,
"N' had I ere now, my sweete hearte dear,
*Been yolden,* y-wis, I were now not here!" *yielded myself*
O sooth is said, that healed for to be
Of a fever, or other great sickness,
Men muste drink, as we may often see,
Full bitter drink; and for to have gladness
Men drinken often pain and great distress!
I mean it here, as for this adventure,
That thorough pain hath founden all his cure.
And now sweetnesse seemeth far more sweet,
That bitterness assayed* was beforn; *tasted <57>
For out of woe in blisse now they fleet,* *float, swim
None such they felte since that they were born;
Now is it better than both two were lorn! <58>
For love of God, take ev'ry woman heed
To worke thus, if it come to the need!
Cresside, all quit from ev'ry dread and teen,* *pain
As she that juste cause had him to trust,
Made him such feast,<59> it joy was for to see'n,
When she his truth and *intent cleane wist;* *knew the purity
And as about a tree, with many a twist, of his purpose*
*Bitrent and writhen* is the sweet woodbind, *plaited and wreathed*
Gan each of them in armes other wind.* *embrace, encircle
And as the *new abashed* nightingale, *newly-arrived and timid*
That stinteth,* first when she beginneth sing, *stops
When that she heareth any *herde's tale,* *the talking of a shepherd*
Or in the hedges any wight stirring;
And, after, sicker* out her voice doth ring; *confidently
Right so Cressida, when *her dreade stent,* *her doubt ceased*
Open'd her heart, and told him her intent.* *mind
And might as he that sees his death y-shapen,* *prepared
And dien must, *in aught that he may guess,* *for all he can tell*
And suddenly *rescouse doth him escapen,* *he is rescued and escapes*
And from his death is brought *in sickerness;* *to safety*
For all the world, in such present gladness
Was Troilus, and had his lady sweet;
With worse hap God let us never meet!
Her armes small, her straighte back and soft,
Her sides longe, fleshly, smooth, and white,
He gan to stroke; and good thrift* bade full oft *blessing
On her snow-white throat, her breastes round and lite;* *small
Thus in this heaven he gan him delight,
And therewithal a thousand times her kist,
That what to do for joy *unneth he wist.* *he hardly knew*
The lovers exchanged vows, and kisses, and embraces, and
speeches of exalted love, and rings; Cressida gave to Troilus a
brooch of gold and azure, "in which a ruby set was like a heart;"
and the too short night passed.
"When that the cock, commune astrologer, <60>
Gan on his breast to beat, and after crow,
And Lucifer, the daye's messenger,
Gan for to rise, and out his beames throw;
And eastward rose, to him that could it know,
Fortuna Major, <61> then anon Cresseide,
With hearte sore, to Troilus thus said:
"My hearte's life, my trust, and my pleasance!
That I was born, alas! that me is woe,
That day of us must make disseverance!
For time it is to rise, and hence to go,
Or else I am but lost for evermo'.
O Night! alas! why n'ilt thou o'er us hove,* *hover
As long as when Alcmena lay by Jove? <62>
"O blacke Night! as folk in bookes read
That shapen* art by God, this world to hide, *appointed
At certain times, with thy darke weed,* *robe
That under it men might in rest abide,
Well oughte beastes plain, and folke chide,
That where as Day with labour would us brest,* *burst, overcome
There thou right flee'st, and deignest* not us rest.* *grantest
"Thou dost, alas! so shortly thine office,* *duty
Thou rakel* Night! that God, maker of kind, *rash, hasty
Thee for thy haste and thine unkinde vice,
So fast ay to our hemisphere bind,
That never more under the ground thou wind;* *turn, revolve
For through thy rakel hieing* out of Troy *hasting
Have I forgone* thus hastily my joy!" *lost
This Troilus, that with these wordes felt,
As thought him then, for piteous distress,
The bloody teares from his hearte melt,
As he that never yet such heaviness
Assayed had out of so great gladness,
Gan therewithal Cresside, his lady dear,
In armes strain, and said in this mannere:
"O cruel Day! accuser of the joy
That Night and Love have stol'n, and *fast y-wrien!* *closely
Accursed be thy coming into Troy! concealed*
For ev'ry bow'r* hath one of thy bright eyen: *chamber
Envious Day! Why list thee to espyen?
What hast thou lost? Why seekest thou this place?
There God thy light so quenche, for his grace!
"Alas! what have these lovers thee aguilt?* *offended, sinned against
Dispiteous* Day, thine be the pains of hell! *cruel, spiteful
For many a lover hast thou slain, and wilt;
Thy peering in will nowhere let them dwell:
What! proff'rest thou thy light here for to sell?
Go sell it them that smalle seales grave!* *cut devices on
We will thee not, us needs no day to have."
And eke the Sunne, Titan, gan he chide,
And said, "O fool! well may men thee despise!
That hast the Dawning <63> all night thee beside,
And suff'rest her so soon up from thee rise,
For to disease* us lovers in this wise! *annoy
What! hold* thy bed, both thou, and eke thy Morrow! *keep
I bidde* God so give you bothe sorrow!" *pray
The lovers part with many sighs and protestations of
unswerving and undying love; Cressida responding to the vows
of Troilus with the assurance --
"That first shall Phoebus* falle from his sphere, *the sun
And heaven's eagle be the dove's fere,
And ev'ry rock out of his place start,
Ere Troilus out of Cressida's heart."
When Pandarus visits Troilus in his palace later in the day, he
warns him not to mar his bliss by any fault of his own:
"For, of Fortune's sharp adversity,
The worste kind of infortune is this,
A man to have been in prosperity,
And it remember when it passed is.<64>
Thou art wise enough; forthy,*" do not amiss; *therefore
Be not too rakel,* though thou sitte warm; *rash, over-hasty
For if thou be, certain it will thee harm.
"Thou art at ease, and hold thee well therein;
For, all so sure as red is ev'ry fire,
As great a craft is to keep weal as win; <65>
Bridle alway thy speech and thy desire,
For worldly joy holds not but by a wire;
That proveth well, it breaks all day so oft,
Forthy need is to worke with it soft."
Troilus sedulously observes the counsel; and the lovers have
many renewals of their pleasure, and of their bitter chidings of
the Day. The effects of love on Troilus are altogether refining
and ennobling; as may be inferred from the song which he sung
often to Pandarus:
The Second Song of Troilus.
"Love, that of Earth and Sea hath governance!
Love, that his hestes* hath in Heaven high! *commandments
Love, that with a right wholesome alliance
Holds people joined, as him list them guy!* *guide
Love, that knitteth law and company,
And couples doth in virtue for to dwell,
Bind this accord, that I have told, and tell!
"That the worlde, with faith which that is stable,
Diverseth so, his *stoundes according;* *according to its seasons*
That elementes, that be discordable,* *discordant
Holden a bond perpetually during;
That Phoebus may his rosy day forth bring;
And that the Moon hath lordship o'er the night; --
All this doth Love, ay heried* be his might! *praised
"That the sea, which that greedy is to flowen,
Constraineth to a certain ende* so *limit
His floodes, that so fiercely they not growen
To drenchen* earth and all for evermo'; *drown
And if that Love aught let his bridle go,
All that now loves asunder shoulde leap,
And lost were all that Love holds now *to heap.* *together <66>*
"So woulde God, that author is of kind,
That with his bond Love of his virtue list
To cherish heartes, and all fast to bind,
That from his bond no wight the way out wist!
And heartes cold, them would I that he twist,* *turned
To make them love; and that him list ay rue* *have pity
On heartes sore, and keep them that be true."
But Troilus' love had higher fruits than singing:
In alle needes for the towne's werre* *war
He was, and ay the first in armes dight,* *equipped, prepared
And certainly, but if that bookes err,
Save Hector, most y-dread* of any wight; *dreaded
And this increase of hardiness* and might *courage
Came him of love, his lady's grace to win,
That altered his spirit so within.
In time of truce, a-hawking would he ride,
Or elles hunt the boare, bear, lioun;
The smalle beastes let he go beside;<67>
And when he came riding into the town,
Full oft his lady, from her window down,
As fresh as falcon coming out of mew,* *cage <68>
Full ready was him goodly to salue.* *salute
And most of love and virtue was his speech,
And *in despite he had all wretchedness* *he held in scorn all
And doubtless no need was him to beseech despicable actions*
To honour them that hadde worthiness,
And ease them that weren in distress;
And glad was he, if any wight well far'd,
That lover was, when he it wist or heard.
For he held every man lost unless he were in Love's service;
and, so did the power of Love work within him, that he was ay
[always] humble and benign, and "pride, envy, ire, and avarice,
he gan to flee, and ev'ry other vice."
THE FOURTH BOOK
A BRIEF Proem to the Fourth Book prepares us for the
treachery of Fortune to Troilus; from whom she turned away
her bright face, and took of him no heed, "and cast him clean
out of his lady's grace, and on her wheel she set up Diomede."
Then the narrative describes a skirmish in which the Trojans
were worsted, and Antenor, with many of less note, remained in
the hands of the Greeks. A truce was proclaimed for the
exchange of prisoners; and as soon as Calchas heard the news,
he came to the assembly of the Greeks, to "bid a boon." Having
gained audience, he reminded the besiegers how he had come
from Troy to aid and encourage them in their enterprise; willing
to lose all that he had in the city, except his daughter Cressida,
whom he bitterly reproached himself for leaving behind. And
now, with streaming tears and pitiful prayer, he besought them
to exchange Antenor for Cressida; assuring them that the day
was at hand when they should have both town and people. The
soothsayer's petition was granted; and the ambassadors charged
to negotiate the exchange, entering the city, told their errand to
King Priam and his parliament.
This Troilus was present in the place
When asked was for Antenor Cresside;
For which to change soon began his face,
As he that with the wordes well nigh died;
But natheless he no word to it seid;* *said
Lest men should his affection espy,
With manne's heart he gan his sorrows drie;* *endure
And, full of anguish and of grisly dread,
Abode what other lords would to it say,
And if they woulde grant, -- as God forbid! --
Th'exchange of her, then thought he thinges tway:* *two
First, for to save her honour; and what way
He mighte best th'exchange of her withstand;
This cast he then how all this mighte stand.
Love made him alle *prest to do her bide,* *eager to make her stay*
And rather die than that she shoulde go;
But Reason said him, on the other side,
"Without th'assent of her, do thou not so,
Lest for thy worke she would be thy foe;
And say, that through thy meddling is y-blow* *divulged, blown abroad
Your bothe love, where it was *erst unknow."* *previously unknown*
For which he gan deliberate for the best,
That though the lordes woulde that she went,
He woulde suffer them grant what *them lest,* *they pleased*
And tell his lady first what that they meant;
And, when that she had told him her intent,
Thereafter would he worken all so blive,* *speedily
Though all the world against it woulde strive.
Hector, which that full well the Greekes heard,
For Antenor how they would have Cresseide,
Gan it withstand, and soberly answer'd;
"Sirs, she is no prisoner," he said;
"I know not on you who this charge laid;
But, for my part, ye may well soon him tell,
We use* here no women for to sell." *are accustomed
The noise of the people then upstart at once,
As breme* as blaze of straw y-set on fire *violent, furious
For Infortune* woulde for the nonce *Misfortune
They shoulde their confusion desire
"Hector," quoth they, "what ghost* may you inspire *spirit
This woman thus to shield, and *do us* lose *cause us to*
Dan Antenor? -- a wrong way now ye choose, --
"That is so wise, and eke so bold baroun;
And we have need of folk, as men may see
He eke is one the greatest of this town;
O Hector! lette such fantasies be!
O King Priam!" quoth they, "lo! thus say we,
That all our will is to forego Cresseide;"
And to deliver Antenor they pray'd.
Though Hector often prayed them "nay," it was resolved that
Cressida should be given up for Antenor; then the parliament
dispersed. Troilus hastened home to his chamber, shut himself
up alone, and threw himself on his bed.
And as in winter leaves be bereft,
Each after other, till the tree be bare,
So that there is but bark and branch y-left,
Lay Troilus, bereft of each welfare,
Y-bounden in the blacke bark of care,
Disposed *wood out of his wit to braid,* *to go out of his senses*
*So sore him sat* the changing of Cresseide. *so ill did he bear*
He rose him up, and ev'ry door he shet,* *shut
And window eke; and then this sorrowful man
Upon his bedde's side adown him set,
Full like a dead image, pale and wan,
And in his breast the heaped woe began
Out burst, and he to worken in this wise,
In his woodness,* as I shall you devise.** *madness **relate
Right as the wilde bull begins to spring,
Now here, now there, y-darted* to the heart, *pierced with a dart
And of his death roareth in complaining;
Right so gan he about the chamber start,
Smiting his breast aye with his fistes smart;* *painfully, cruelly
His head to the wall, his body to the ground,
Full oft he swapt,* himselfe to confound. *struck, dashed
His eyen then, for pity of his heart,
Out streameden as swifte welles* tway; *fountains
The highe sobbes of his sorrow's smart
His speech him reft; unnethes* might he say, *scarcely
"O Death, alas! *why n'ilt thou do me dey?* *why will you not
Accursed be that day which that Nature make me die?*
Shope* me to be a living creature!" *shaped
Bitterly reviling Fortune, and calling on Love to explain why his
happiness with Cressicla should be thus repealed, Troilus
declares that, while he lives, he will bewail his misfortune in
solitude, and will never see it shine or rain, but will end his
sorrowful life in darkness, and die in distress.
"O weary ghost, that errest to and fro!
Why n'ilt* thou fly out of the woefulest *wilt not
Body that ever might on grounde go?
O soule, lurking in this woeful nest!
Flee forth out of my heart, and let it brest,* *burst
And follow alway Cresside, thy lady dear!
Thy righte place is now no longer here.
"O woeful eyen two! since your disport* *delight
Was all to see Cressida's eyen bright,
What shall ye do, but, for my discomfort,
Stande for naught, and weepen out your sight,
Since she is quench'd, that wont was you to light?
In vain, from this forth, have I eyen tway
Y-formed, since your virtue is away!
"O my Cresside! O lady sovereign
Of thilke* woeful soule that now cryeth! *this
Who shall now give comfort to thy pain?
Alas! no wight; but, when my hearte dieth,
My spirit, which that so unto you hieth,* *hasteneth
Receive *in gree,* for that shall ay you serve; *with favour*
*Forthy no force is* though the body sterve.* *therefore no matter*
"O ye lovers, that high upon the wheel
Be set of Fortune, in good adventure,
God lene* that ye find ay** love of steel,<69> *grant **always
And longe may your life in joy endure!
But when ye come by my sepulture,* *sepulchre
Remember that your fellow resteth there;
For I lov'd eke, though I unworthy were.
"O old, unwholesome, and mislived man,
Calchas I mean, alas! what ailed thee
To be a Greek, since thou wert born Trojan?
O Calchas! which that will my bane* be, *destruction
In cursed time wert thou born for me!
As woulde blissful Jove, for his joy,
That I thee hadde where I would in Troy!"
Soon Troilus, through excess of grief, fell into a trance; in
which he was found by Pandarus, who had gone almost
distracted at the news that Cressida was to be exchanged for
Antenor. At his friend's arrival, Troilus "gan as the snow against
the sun to melt;" the two mingled their tears a while; then
Pandarus strove to comfort the woeful lover. He admitted that
never had a stranger ruin than this been wrought by Fortune:
"But tell me this, why thou art now so mad
To sorrow thus? Why li'st thou in this wise,
Since thy desire all wholly hast thou had,
So that by right it ought enough suffice?
But I, that never felt in my service
A friendly cheer or looking of an eye,
Let me thus weep and wail until I die. <70>
"And over all this, as thou well wost* thy selve, *knowest
This town is full of ladies all about,
And, *to my doom,* fairer than suche twelve *in my judgment*
As ever she was, shall I find in some rout,* *company
Yea! one or two, withouten any doubt:
Forthy* be glad, mine owen deare brother! *therefore
If she be lost, we shall recover another.
"What! God forbid alway that each pleasance
In one thing were, and in none other wight;
If one can sing, another can well dance;
If this be goodly, she is glad and light;
And this is fair, and that can good aright;
Each for his virtue holden is full dear,
Both heroner, and falcon for rivere. <71>
"And eke as writ Zausis,<72> that was full wise,
The newe love out chaseth oft the old,
And upon new case lieth new advice; <73>
Think eke thy life to save thou art hold;* *bound
Such fire *by process shall of kinde cold;* *shall grow cold by
For, since it is but casual pleasance, process of nature*
Some case* shall put it out of remembrance. *chance
"For, all so sure as day comes after night,
The newe love, labour, or other woe,
Or elles seldom seeing of a wight,
Do old affections all *over go;* *overcome*
And for thy part, thou shalt have one of tho* *those
T'abridge with thy bitter paine's smart;
Absence of her shall drive her out of heart."
These wordes said he *for the nones all,* *only for the nonce*
To help his friend, lest he for sorrow died;
For, doubteless, to do his woe to fall,* *make his woe subside*
He raughte* not what unthrift** that he said; *cared **folly
But Troilus, that nigh for sorrow died,
Took little heed of all that ever he meant;
One ear it heard, at th'other out it went.
But, at the last, he answer'd and said,
"Friend, This leachcraft, or y-healed thus to be,
Were well sitting* if that I were a fiend, *recked
To traisen* her that true is unto me: *betray
I pray God, let this counsel never the,* *thrive
But do me rather sterve* anon right here, *die
Ere I thus do, as thou me wouldest lear!"* *teach
Troilus protests that his lady shall have him wholly hers till
death; and, debating the counsels of his friend, declares that
even if he would, he could not love another. Then he points out
the folly of not lamenting the loss of Cressida because she had
been his in ease and felicity -- while Pandarus himself, though
he thought it so light to change to and fro in love, had not done
busily his might to change her that wrought him all the woe of
his unprosperous suit.
"If thou hast had in love ay yet mischance,
And canst it not out of thine hearte drive,
I that lived in lust* and in pleasance *delight
With her, as much as creature alive,
How should I that forget, and that so blive?* *quickly
O where hast thou been so long hid in mew,*<74> *cage
That canst so well and formally argue!"
The lover condemns the whole discourse of his friend as
unworthy, and calls on Death, the ender of all sorrows, to come
to him and quench his heart with his cold stroke. Then he distils
anew in tears, "as liquor out of alembic;" and Pandarus is silent
for a while, till he bethinks him to recommend to Troilus the
carrying off of Cressida. "Art thou in Troy, and hast no
hardiment [daring, boldness] to take a woman which that loveth
thee?" But Troilus reminds his counsellor that all the war had
come from the ravishing of a woman by might (the abduction of
Helen by Paris); and that it would not beseem him to withstand
his father's grant, since the lady was to be changed for the
town's good. He has dismissed the thought of asking Cressida
from his father, because that would be to injure her fair fame, to
no purpose, for Priam could not overthrow the decision of "so
high a place as parliament;" while most of all he fears to perturb
her heart with violence, to the slander of her name -- for he
must hold her honour dearer than himself in every case, as
lovers ought of right:
"Thus am I in desire and reason twight:* *twisted
Desire, for to disturbe her, me redeth;* *counseleth
And Reason will not, so my hearte dreadeth."* *is in doubt
Thus weeping, that he coulde never cease
He said, "Alas! how shall I, wretche, fare?
For well feel I alway my love increase,
And hope is less and less alway, Pandare!
Increasen eke the causes of my care;
So well-away! *why n' ill my hearte brest?* *why will not
For us in love there is but little rest." my heart break?*
Pandare answered, "Friend, thou may'st for me
Do as thee list;* but had I it so hot, *please
And thine estate,* she shoulde go with me! *rank
Though all this town cried on this thing by note,
I would not set* all that noise a groat; *value
For when men have well cried, then will they rown,* *whisper
Eke wonder lasts but nine nights ne'er in town.
"Divine not in reason ay so deep,
Nor courteously, but help thyself anon;
Bet* is that others than thyselfe weep; *better
And namely, since ye two be all one,
Rise up, for, by my head, she shall not go'n!
And rather be in blame a little found,
Than sterve* here as a gnat withoute wound! *die
"It is no shame unto you, nor no vice,
Her to withholde, that ye loveth most;
Parauntre* she might holde thee for nice,** *peradventure **foolish
To let her go thus unto the Greeks' host;
Think eke, Fortune, as well thyselfe wost,
Helpeth the hardy man to his emprise,
And weiveth* wretches for their cowardice. *forsaketh
"And though thy lady would a lite* her grieve, *little
Thou shalt thyself thy peace thereafter make;
But, as to me, certain I cannot 'lieve
That she would it as now for evil take:
Why shoulde then for fear thine hearte quake?
Think eke how Paris hath, that is thy brother,
A love; and why shalt thou not have another?
"And, Troilus, one thing I dare thee swear,
That if Cressida, which that is thy lief,* *love
Now loveth thee as well as thou dost her,
God help me so, she will not take agrief* *amiss
Though thou *anon do boot in* this mischief; *provide a remedy
And if she willeth from thee for to pass, immediately*
Then is she false, so love her well the lass.* *less
"Forthy,* take heart, and think, right as a knight, *therefore
Through love is broken all day ev'ry law;
Kithe* now somewhat thy courage and thy might; *show
Have mercy on thyself, *for any awe;* *in spite of any fear*
Let not this wretched woe thine hearte gnaw;
But, manly, set the world on six and seven, <75>
And, if thou die a martyr, go to heaven."
Pandarus promises his friend all aid in the enterprise; it is agreed
that Cressida shall be carried off, but only with her own
consent; and Pandarus sets out for his niece's house, to arrange
an interview. Meantime Cressida has heard the news; and,
caring nothing for her father, but everything for Troilus, she
burns in love and fear, unable to tell what she shall do.
But, as men see in town, and all about,
That women use* friendes to visite, *are accustomed
So to Cresside of women came a rout,* *troop
For piteous joy, and *weened her delight,* *thought to please her*
And with their tales, *dear enough a mite,* *not worth a mite*
These women, which that in the city dwell,
They set them down, and said as I shall tell.
Quoth first that one, "I am glad, truely,
Because of you, that shall your father see;"
Another said, "Y-wis, so am not I,
For all too little hath she with us be."* *been
Quoth then the third, "I hope, y-wis, that she
Shall bringen us the peace on ev'ry side;
Then, when she goes, Almighty God her guide!"
Those wordes, and those womanishe thinges,
She heard them right as though she thennes* were, *thence; in some
For, God it wot, her heart on other thing is; other place
Although the body sat among them there,
Her advertence* is always elleswhere; *attention
For Troilus full fast her soule sought;
Withoute word, on him alway she thought.
These women that thus weened her to please,
Aboute naught gan all their tales spend;
Such vanity ne can do her no ease,
As she that all this meane while brenn'd
Of other passion than that they wend;* *weened, supposed
So that she felt almost her hearte die
For woe, and weary* of that company. *weariness
For whiche she no longer might restrain
Her teares, they began so up to well,
That gave signes of her bitter pain,
In which her spirit was, and muste dwell,
Rememb'ring her from heav'n into which hell
She fallen was, since she forwent* the sight *lost
Of Troilus; and sorrowfully she sight.* *sighed
And thilke fooles, sitting her about,
Weened that she had wept and siked* sore, *sighed
Because that she should out of that rout* *company
Depart, and never playe with them more;
And they that hadde knowen her of yore
Saw her so weep, and thought it kindeness,
And each of them wept eke for her distress.
And busily they gonnen* her comfort *began
Of thing, God wot, on which she little thought;
And with their tales weened her disport,
And to be glad they her besought;
But such an ease therewith they in her wrought,
Right as a man is eased for to feel,
For ache of head, to claw him on his heel.
But, after all this nice* vanity, *silly
They took their leave, and home they wenten all;
Cressida, full of sorrowful pity,
Into her chamber up went out of the hall,
And on her bed she gan for dead to fall,
In purpose never thennes for to rise;
And thus she wrought, as I shall you devise.* *narrate
She rent her sunny hair, wrung her hands, wept, and bewailed
her fate; vowing that, since, "for the cruelty," she could handle
neither sword nor dart, she would abstain from meat and drink
until she died. As she lamented, Pandarus entered, making her
complain a thousand times more at the thought of all the joy
which he had given her with her lover; but he somewhat
soothed her by the prospect of Troilus's visit, and by the
counsel to contain her grief when he should come. Then
Pandarus went in search of Troilus, whom he found solitary in a
temple, as one that had ceased to care for life:
For right thus was his argument alway:
He said he was but lorne,* well-away! *lost, ruined
"For all that comes, comes by necessity;
Thus, to be lorn,* it is my destiny. *lost, ruined
"For certainly this wot I well," he said,
"That foresight of the divine purveyance* *providence
Hath seen alway me to forgo* Cresseide, *lose
Since God sees ev'ry thing, *out of doubtance,* *without doubt*
And them disposeth, through his ordinance,
In their merites soothly for to be,
As they should come by predestiny.
"But natheless, alas! whom shall I 'lieve?
For there be greate clerkes* many one *scholars
That destiny through argumentes preve, *prove
And some say that needly* there is none, *necessarily
But that free choice is giv'n us ev'ry one;
O well-away! so sly are clerkes old,
That I n'ot* whose opinion I may hold. <76> *know not
"For some men say, if God sees all beforn,
Godde may not deceived be, pardie!
Then must it fallen,* though men had it sworn, *befall, happen
That purveyance hath seen before to be;
Wherefore I say, that from etern* if he *eternity
Hath wist* before our thought eke as our deed, *known
We have no free choice, as these clerkes read.* *maintain
"For other thought, nor other deed also,
Might never be, but such as purveyance,
Which may not be deceived never mo',
Hath feeled* before, without ignorance; *perceived
For if there mighte be a variance,
To writhen out from Godde's purveying,
There were no prescience of thing coming,
"But it were rather an opinion
Uncertain, and no steadfast foreseeing;
And, certes, that were an abusion,* *illusion
That God should have no perfect clear weeting,* *knowledge
More than we men, that have *doubtous weening;* *dubious opinion*
But such an error *upon God to guess,* *to impute to God*
Were false, and foul, and wicked cursedness.* *impiety
"Eke this is an opinion of some
That have their top full high and smooth y-shore, <77>
They say right thus, that thing is not to come,
For* that the prescience hath seen before *because
That it shall come; but they say, that therefore
That it shall come, therefore the purveyance
Wot it before, withouten ignorance.
"And, in this manner, this necessity
*Returneth in his part contrary again;* *reacts in the opposite
For needfully behoves it not to be, direction*
That thilke thinges *fallen in certain,* *certainly happen*
That be purvey'd; but needly, as they sayn,
Behoveth it that thinges, which that fall,
That they in certain be purveyed all.
"I mean as though I labour'd me in this
To inquire which thing cause of which thing be;
As, whether that the prescience of God is
The certain cause of the necessity
Of thinges that to come be, pardie!
Or if necessity of thing coming
Be cause certain of the purveying.
"But now *enforce I me not* in shewing *I do not lay stress*
How th'order of causes stands; but well wot I,
That it behoveth, that the befalling
Of thinges wiste* before certainly, *known
Be necessary, *all seem it not* thereby, *though it does not appear*
That prescience put falling necessair
To thing to come, all fall it foul or fair.
"For, if there sit a man yond on a see,* *seat
Then by necessity behoveth it
That certes thine opinion sooth be,
That weenest, or conjectest,* that he sit; *conjecturest
And, furtherover, now againward yet,
Lo! right so is it on the part contrary;
As thus, -- now hearken, for I will not tarry; --
"I say that if th'opinion of thee
Be sooth, for that he sits, then say I this,
That he must sitte by necessity;
And thus necessity in either is,
For in him need of sitting is, y-wis,
And, in thee, need of sooth; and thus forsooth
There must necessity be in you both.
"But thou may'st say he sits not therefore
That thine opinion of his sitting sooth
But rather, for the man sat there before,
Therefore is thine opinion sooth, y-wis;
And I say, though the cause of sooth of this
Comes of his sitting, yet necessity
Is interchanged both in him and thee.
"Thus in the same wise, out of doubtance,
I may well maken, as it seemeth me,
My reasoning of Godde's purveyance,
And of the thinges that to come be;
By whiche reason men may well y-see
That thilke* thinges that in earthe fall,** *those **happen
That by necessity they comen all.
"For although that a thing should come, y-wis,
Therefore it is purveyed certainly,
Not that it comes for it purveyed is;
Yet, natheless, behoveth needfully
That thing to come be purvey'd truely;
Or elles thinges that purveyed be,
That they betide* by necessity. *happen
"And this sufficeth right enough, certain,
For to destroy our free choice ev'ry deal;
But now is this abusion,* to sayn *illusion, self-deception
That falling of the thinges temporel
Is cause of Godde's prescience eternel;
Now truely that is a false sentence,* *opinion, judgment
That thing to come should cause his prescience.
"What might I ween, an'* I had such a thought, *if
But that God purveys thing that is to come,
For that it is to come, and elles nought?
So might I ween that thinges, all and some,
That *whilom be befall and overcome,* *have happened
Be cause of thilke sov'reign purveyance, in times past*
That foreknows all, withouten ignorance.
"And over all this, yet say I more thereto, --
That right as when I wot there is a thing,
Y-wis, that thing must needfully be so;
Eke right so, when I wot a thing coming,
So must it come; and thus the befalling
Of thinges that be wist before the tide,* *time
They may not be eschew'd* on any side." *avoided
While Troilus was in all this heaviness, disputing with himself in
this matter, Pandarus joined him, and told him the result of the
interview with Cressida; and at night the lovers met, with what
sighs and tears may be imagined. Cressida swooned away, so
that Troilus took her for dead; and, having tenderly laid out her
limbs, as one preparing a corpse for the bier, he drew his sword
to slay himself upon her body. But, as God would, just at that
moment she awoke out of her swoon; and by and by the pair
began to talk of their prospects. Cressida declared the opinion,
supporting it at great length and with many reasons, that there
was no cause for half so much woe on either part. Her
surrender, decreed by the parliament, could not be resisted; it
was quite easy for them soon to meet again; she would bring
things about that she should be back in Troy within a week or
two; she would take advantage of the constant coming and
going while the truce lasted; and the issue would be, that the
Trojans would have both her and Antenor; while, to facilitate
her return, she had devised a stratagem by which, working on
her father's avarice, she might tempt him to desert from the
Greek camp back to the city. "And truly," says the poet, having
fully reported her plausible speech,
And truely, as written well I find,
That all this thing was said *of good intent,* *sincerely*
And that her hearte true was and kind
Towardes him, and spake right as she meant,
And that she starf* for woe nigh when she went, *died
And was in purpose ever to be true;
Thus write they that of her workes knew.
This Troilus, with heart and ears y-sprad,* *all open
Heard all this thing devised to and fro,
And verily it seemed that he had
*The selfe wit;* but yet to let her go *the same opinion*
His hearte misforgave* him evermo'; *misgave
But, finally, he gan his hearte wrest* *compel
To truste her, and took it for the best.
For which the great fury of his penance* *suffering
Was quench'd with hope, and therewith them between
Began for joy the amorouse dance;
And as the birdes, when the sun is sheen, *bright
Delighten in their song, in leaves green,
Right so the wordes that they spake y-fere* *together
Delighten them, and make their heartes cheer.* *glad
Yet Troilus was not so well at ease, that he did not earnestly
entreat Cressida to observe her promise; for, if she came not
into Troy at the set day, he should never have health, honour, or
joy; and he feared that the stratagem by which she would try to
lure her father back would fail, so that she might be compelled
to remain among the Greeks. He would rather have them steal
away together, with sufficient treasure to maintain them all their
lives; and even if they went in their bare shirt, he had kin and
friends elsewhere, who would welcome and honour them.
Cressida, with a sigh, right in this wise
Answer'd; "Y-wis, my deare hearte true,
We may well steal away, as ye devise,
And finde such unthrifty wayes new;
But afterward full sore *it will us rue;* *we will regret it*
And help me God so at my moste need
As causeless ye suffer all this dread!
"For thilke* day that I for cherishing *that same
Or dread of father, or of other wight,
Or for estate, delight, or for wedding,
Be false to you, my Troilus, my knight,
Saturne's daughter Juno, through her might,
As wood* as Athamante <78> do me dwell *mad
Eternally in Styx the pit of hell!
"And this, on ev'ry god celestial
I swear it you, and eke on each goddess,
On ev'ry nymph, and deity infernal,
On Satyrs and on Faunes more or less,
That *halfe goddes* be of wilderness; *demigods
And Atropos my thread of life to-brest,* *break utterly
If I be false! now trow* me if you lest.** *believe **please
"And thou Simois, <79> that as an arrow clear
Through Troy ay runnest downward to the sea,
Bear witness of this word that said is here!
That thilke day that I untrue be
To Troilus, mine owen hearte free,
That thou returne backward to thy well,
And I with body and soul sink in hell!"
Even yet Troilus was not wholly content, and urged anew his
plan of secret flight; but Cressida turned upon him with the
charge that he mistrusted her causelessly, and demanded of him
that he should be faithful in her absence, else she must die at her
return. Troilus promised faithfulness in far simpler and briefer
words than Cressida had used.
"Grand mercy, good heart mine, y-wis," quoth she;
"And blissful Venus let me never sterve,* *die
Ere I may stand *of pleasance in degree in a position to reward
To quite him* that so well can deserve; him well with pleasure*
And while that God my wit will me conserve,
I shall so do; so true I have you found,
That ay honour to me-ward shall rebound.
"For truste well that your estate* royal, *rank
Nor vain delight, nor only worthiness
Of you in war or tourney martial,
Nor pomp, array, nobley, nor eke richess,
Ne made me to rue* on your distress; *take pity
But moral virtue, grounded upon truth,
That was the cause I first had on you ruth.* *pity
"Eke gentle heart, and manhood that ye had,
And that ye had, -- as me thought, -- in despite
Every thing that *sounded unto* bad, *tended unto, accorded with*
As rudeness, and peoplish* appetite, *vulgar
And that your reason bridled your delight;
This made, aboven ev'ry creature,
That I was yours, and shall while I may dure.
"And this may length of yeares not fordo,* *destroy, do away
Nor remuable* Fortune deface; *unstable
But Jupiter, that of his might may do
The sorrowful to be glad, so give us grace,
Ere nightes ten to meeten in this place,
So that it may your heart and mine suffice!
And fare now well, for time is that ye rise."
The lovers took a heart-rending adieu; and Troilus, suffering
unimaginable anguish, "withoute more, out of the chamber
THE FIFTH BOOK.
APPROACHE gan the fatal destiny
That Jovis hath in disposition,
And to you angry Parcae,* Sisters three, *The Fates
Committeth to do execution;
For which Cressida must out of the town,
And Troilus shall dwelle forth in pine,* *pain
Till Lachesis his thread no longer twine.* *twist
The golden-tressed Phoebus, high aloft,
Thries* had alle, with his beames clear, *thrice
The snowes molt,* and Zephyrus as oft *melted
Y-brought again the tender leaves green,
Since that *the son of Hecuba the queen* *Troilus <80>*
Began to love her first, for whom his sorrow
Was all, that she depart should on the morrow
In the morning, Diomede was ready to escort Cressida to the
Greek host; and Troilus, seeing him mount his horse, could with
difficulty resist an impulse to slay him -- but restrained himself,
lest his lady should be also slain in the tumult. When Cressida
was ready to go,
This Troilus, in guise of courtesy,
With hawk on hand, and with a huge rout* *retinue, crowd
Of knightes, rode, and did her company,
Passing alle the valley far without;
And farther would have ridden, out of doubt,
Full fain,* and woe was him to go so soon, *gladly
But turn he must, and it was eke to do'n.
And right with that was Antenor y-come
Out of the Greekes' host, and ev'ry wight
Was of it glad, and said he was welcome;
And Troilus, *all n'ere his hearte light,* *although his heart
He pained him, with all his fulle might, was not light*
Him to withhold from weeping at the least;
And Antenor he kiss'd and made feast.
And therewithal he must his leave take,
And cast his eye upon her piteously,
And near he rode, his cause* for to make *excuse, occasion
To take her by the hand all soberly;
And, Lord! so she gan weepe tenderly!
And he full soft and slily gan her say,
"Now hold your day, and *do me not to dey."* *do not make me die*
With that his courser turned he about,
With face pale, and unto Diomede
No word he spake, nor none of all his rout;
Of which the son of Tydeus <81> tooke heed,
As he that couthe* more than the creed <82> *knew
In such a craft, and by the rein her hent;* *took
And Troilus to Troye homeward went.
This Diomede, that led her by the bridle,
When that he saw the folk of Troy away,
Thought, "All my labour shall not be *on idle,* *in vain*
If that I may, for somewhat shall I say;
For, at the worst, it may yet short our way;
I have heard say eke, times twice twelve,
He is a fool that will forget himselve."
But natheless, this thought he well enough,
That "Certainly I am aboute naught,
If that I speak of love, or *make it tough;* *make any violent
For, doubteless, if she have in her thought immediate effort*
Him that I guess, he may not be y-brought
So soon away; but I shall find a mean,
That she *not wit as yet shall* what I mean." *shall not yet know*
So he began a general conversation, assured her of not less
friendship and honour among the Greeks than she had enjoyed
in Troy, and requested of her earnestly to treat him as a brother
and accept his service -- for, at last he said, "I am and shall be
ay, while that my life may dure, your own, aboven ev'ry
"Thus said I never e'er now to woman born;
For, God mine heart as wisly* gladden so! *surely
I loved never woman herebeforn,
As paramours, nor ever shall no mo';
And for the love of God be not my foe,
All* can I not to you, my lady dear, *although
Complain aright, for I am yet to lear.* *teach
"And wonder not, mine owen lady bright,
Though that I speak of love to you thus blive;* *soon
For I have heard ere this of many a wight
That loved thing he ne'er saw in his live;
Eke I am not of power for to strive
Against the god of Love, but him obey
I will alway, and mercy I you pray."
Cressida answered his discourses as though she scarcely heard
them; yet she thanked him for his trouble and courtesy, and
accepted his offered friendship -- promising to trust him, as well
she might. Then she alighted from her steed, and, with her heart
nigh breaking, was welcomed to the embrace of her father.
Meanwhile Troilus, back in Troy, was lamenting with tears the
loss of his love, despairing of his or her ability to survive the ten
days, and spending the night in wailing, sleepless tossing, and
troublous dreams. In the morning he was visited by Pandarus,
to whom he gave directions for his funeral; desiring that the
powder into which his heart was burned should be kept in a
golden urn, and given to Cressida. Pandarus renewed his old
counsels and consolations, reminded his friend that ten days
were a short time to wait, argued against his faith in evil
dreams, and urged him to take advantage of the truce, and
beguile the time by a visit to King Sarpedon (a Lycian Prince
who had come to aid the Trojans). Sarpedon entertained them
splendidly; but no feasting, no pomp, no music of instruments,
no singing of fair ladies, could make up for the absence of
Cressida to the desolate Troilus, who was for ever poring upon
her old letters, and recalling her loved form. Thus he "drove to
an end" the fourth day, and would have then returned to Troy,
but for the remonstrances of Pandarus, who asked if they had
visited Sarpedon only to fetch fire? At last, at the end of a
week, they returned to Troy; Troilus hoping to find Cressida
again in the city, Pandarus entertaining a scepticism which he
concealed from his friend. The morning after their return,
Troilus was impatient till he had gone to the palace of Cressida;
but when he found her doors all closed, "well nigh for sorrow
adown he gan to fall."
Therewith, when he was ware, and gan behold
How shut was ev'ry window of the place,
As frost him thought his hearte *gan to cold;* *began to grow cold*
For which, with changed deadly pale face,
Withoute word, he forth began to pace;
And, as God would, he gan so faste ride,
That no wight of his countenance espied.
Then said he thus: "O palace desolate!
O house of houses, *whilom beste hight!* *formerly called best*
O palace empty and disconsolate!
O thou lantern, of which quench'd is the light!
O palace, whilom day, that now art night!
Well oughtest thou to fall, and I to die,
Since she is gone that wont was us to guy!* *guide, rule
"O palace, whilom crown of houses all,
Illumined with sun of alle bliss!
O ring, from which the ruby is out fall!
O cause of woe, that cause hast been of bliss!
Yet, since I may no bet, fain would I kiss
Thy colde doores, durst I for this rout;
And farewell shrine, of which the saint is out!"
. . . . . . . . . . .
From thence forth he rideth up and down,
And ev'ry thing came him to remembrance,
As he rode by the places of the town,
In which he whilom had all his pleasance;
"Lo! yonder saw I mine own lady dance;
And in that temple, with her eyen clear,
Me caughte first my righte lady dear.
"And yonder have I heard full lustily
My deare hearte laugh; and yonder play:
Saw I her ones eke full blissfully;
And yonder ones to me gan she say,
'Now, goode sweete! love me well, I pray;'
And yond so gladly gan she me behold,
That to the death my heart is to her hold.* *holden, bound
"And at that corner, in the yonder house,
Heard I mine allerlevest* lady dear, *dearest of all
So womanly, with voice melodious,
Singe so well, so goodly and so clear,
That in my soule yet me thinks I hear
The blissful sound; and in that yonder place
My lady first me took unto her grace."
Then he went to the gates, and gazed along the way by which
he had attended Cressida at her departure; then he fancied that
all the passers-by pitied him; and thus he drove forth a day or
two more, singing a song, of few words, which he had made to
lighten his heart:
"O star, of which I lost have all the light,
With hearte sore well ought I to bewail,
That ever dark in torment, night by night,
Toward my death, with wind I steer and sail;
For which, the tenthe night, if that I fail* *miss; be left without
The guiding of thy beames bright an hour,
My ship and me Charybdis will devour."
By night he prayed the moon to run fast about her sphere; by
day he reproached the tardy sun -- dreading that Phaethon had
come to life again, and was driving the chariot of Apollo out of
its straight course. Meanwhile Cressida, among the Greeks, was
bewailing the refusal of her father to let her return, the certainty
that her lover would think her false, and the hopelessness of any
attempt to steal away by night. Her bright face waxed pale, her
limbs lean, as she stood all day looking toward Troy; thinking
on her love and all her past delights, regretting that she had not
followed the counsel of Troilus to steal away with him, and
finally vowing that she would at all hazards return to the city.
But she was fated, ere two months, to be full far from any such
intention; for Diomede now brought all his skill into play, to
entice Cressida into his net. On the tenth day, Diomede, "as
fresh as branch in May," came to the tent of Cressida, feigning
business with Calchas.
Cresside, at shorte wordes for to tell,
Welcomed him, and down by her him set,
And he was *eath enough to make dwell;* *easily persuaded to stay*
And after this, withoute longe let,* *delay
The spices and the wine men forth him fet,* *fetched
And forth they speak of this and that y-fere,* *together
As friendes do, of which some shall ye hear.
He gan first fallen of the war in speech
Between them and the folk of Troye town,
And of the siege he gan eke her beseech
To tell him what was her opinioun;
From that demand he so descended down
To aske her, if that her strange thought
The Greekes' guise,* and workes that they wrought. *fashion
And why her father tarried* so long *delayed
To wedde her unto some worthy wight.
Cressida, that was in her paines strong
For love of Troilus, her owen knight,
So farforth as she cunning* had or might, *ability
Answer'd him then; but, as for his intent,* *purpose
It seemed not she wiste* what he meant. *knew
But natheless this ilke* Diomede *same
Gan *in himself assure,* and thus he said; *grow confident*
"If I aright have *taken on you heed,* *observed you*
Me thinketh thus, O lady mine Cresside,
That since I first hand on your bridle laid,
When ye out came of Troye by the morrow,
Ne might I never see you but in sorrow.
"I cannot say what may the cause be,
But if for love of some Trojan it were;
*The which right sore would a-thinke me* *which it would much
That ye for any wight that dwelleth there pain me to think*
Should [ever] spill* a quarter of a tear, *shed
Or piteously yourselfe so beguile;* *deceive
For dreadeless* it is not worth the while. *undoubtedly
"The folk of Troy, as who saith, all and some
In prison be, as ye yourselfe see;
From thence shall not one alive come
For all the gold betwixte sun and sea;
Truste this well, and understande me;
There shall not one to mercy go alive,
All* were he lord of worldes twice five. *although
. . . . . . . . . . . .
"What will ye more, lovesome lady dear?
Let Troy and Trojan from your hearte pace;
Drive out that bitter hope, and make good cheer,
And call again the beauty of your face,
That ye with salte teares so deface;
For Troy is brought into such jeopardy,
That it to save is now no remedy.
"And thinke well, ye shall in Greekes find
A love more perfect, ere that it be night,
Than any Trojan is, and more kind,
And better you to serve will do his might;
And, if ye vouchesafe, my lady bright,
I will be he, to serve you, myselve, --
Yea, lever* than be a lord of Greekes twelve!" *rather
And with that word he gan to waxe red,
And in his speech a little while he quoke,* *quaked; trembled
And cast aside a little with his head,
And stint a while; and afterward he woke,
And soberly on her he threw his look,
And said, "I am, albeit to you no joy,
As gentle* man as any wight in Troy. *high-born
"But, hearte mine! since that I am your man,* *leigeman, subject
And [you] be the first of whom I seeke grace, (in love)
To serve you as heartily as I can,
And ever shall, while I to live have space,
So, ere that I depart out of this place,
Ye will me grante that I may, to-morrow,
At better leisure, telle you my sorrow."
Why should I tell his wordes that he said?
He spake enough for one day at the mest;* *most
It proveth well he spake so, that Cresseide
Granted upon the morrow, at his request,
Farther to speake with him, at the least,
So that he would not speak of such mattere;
And thus she said to him, as ye may hear:
As she that had her heart on Troilus
So faste set, that none might it arace;* *uproot <83>
And strangely* she spake, and saide thus; *distantly, unfriendlily
"O Diomede! I love that ilke place
Where I was born; and Jovis, for his grace,
Deliver it soon of all that doth it care!* *afflict
God, for thy might, so *leave it* well to fare!" *grant it*
She knows that the Greeks would fain wreak their wrath on
Troy, if they might; but that shall never befall: she knows that
there are Greeks of high condition -- though as worthy men
would be found in Troy: and she knows that Diomede could
serve his lady well.
"But, as to speak of love, y-wis," she said,
"I had a lord, to whom I wedded was, <84>
He whose mine heart was all, until he died;
And other love, as help me now Pallas,
There in my heart nor is, nor ever was;
And that ye be of noble and high kindred,
I have well heard it tellen, out of dread.* *doubt
"And that doth* me to have so great a wonder *causeth
That ye will scornen any woman so;
Eke, God wot, love and I be far asunder;
I am disposed bet, so may I go,* *fare or prosper
Unto my death to plain and make woe;
What I shall after do I cannot say,
But truely as yet *me list not play.* *I am not disposed
"Mine heart is now in tribulatioun;
And ye in armes busy be by day;
Hereafter, when ye wonnen have the town,
Parauntre* then, so as it happen may, *peradventure
That when I see that I never *ere sey,* *saw before*
Then will I work that I never ere wrought;
This word to you enough sufficen ought.
"To-morrow eke will I speak with you fain,* *willingly
So that ye touche naught of this mattere;
And when you list, ye may come here again,
And ere ye go, thus much I say you here:
As help me Pallas, with her haires clear,
If that I should of any Greek have ruth,
It shoulde be yourselfe, by my truth!
"I say not therefore that I will you love;
*Nor say not nay;* but, in conclusioun, *nor say I that
I meane well, by God that sits above!" I will not*
And therewithal she cast her eyen down,
And gan to sigh, and said; "O Troye town!
Yet bid* I God, in quiet and in rest *pray
I may you see, or *do my hearte brest!"* *cause my heart to break*
But in effect, and shortly for to say,
This Diomede all freshly new again
Gan pressen on, and fast her mercy pray;
And after this, the soothe for to sayn,
Her glove he took, of which he was full fain,
And finally, when it was waxen eve,
And all was well, he rose and took his leave.
Cressida retired to rest:
Returning in her soul ay up and down
The wordes of this sudden Diomede,<85>
His great estate,* the peril of the town, *rank
And that she was alone, and hadde need
Of friendes' help; and thus began to dread
The causes why, the soothe for to tell,
That she took fully the purpose for to dwell.* *remain (with the
The morrow came, and, ghostly* for to speak, *plainly
This Diomede is come unto Cresseide;
And shortly, lest that ye my tale break,
So well he for himselfe spake and said,
That all her sighes sore adown he laid;
And finally, the soothe for to sayn,
He refte* her the great** of all her pain. *took away **the greater
And after this, the story telleth us
That she him gave the faire baye steed
The which she ones won of Troilus;
And eke a brooch (and that was little need)
That Troilus' was, she gave this Diomede;
And eke, the bet from sorrow him to relieve,
She made him wear a pensel* of her sleeve. *pendant <86>
I find eke in the story elleswhere,
When through the body hurt was Diomede
By Troilus, she wept many a tear,
When that she saw his wide woundes bleed,
And that she took to keepe* him good heed, *tend, care for
And, for to heal him of his sorrow's smart,
Men say, I n'ot,* that she gave him her heart. *know not
And yet, when pity had thus completed the triumph of
inconstancy, she made bitter moan over her falseness to one of
the noblest and worthiest men that ever was; but it was now too
late to repent, and at all events she resolved that she would be
true to Diomede -- all the while weeping for pity of the absent
Troilus, to whom she wished every happiness. The tenth day,
meantime, had barely dawned, when Troilus, accompanied by
Pandarus, took his stand on the walls, to watch for the return of
Cressida. Till noon they stood, thinking that every corner from
afar was she; then Troilus said that doubtless her old father bore
the parting ill, and had detained her till after dinner; so they
went to dine, and returned to their vain observation on the
walls. Troilus invented all kinds of explanations for his
mistress's delay; now, her father would not let her go till eve;
now, she would ride quietly into the town after nightfall, not to
be observed; now, he must have mistaken the day. For five or
six days he watched, still in vain, and with decreasing hope.
Gradually his strength decayed, until he could walk only with a
staff; answering the wondering inquiries of his friends, by saying
that he had a grievous malady about his heart. One day he
dreamed that in a forest he saw Cressida in the embrace of a
boar; and he had no longer doubt of her falsehood. Pandarus,
however, explained away the dream to mean merely that
Cressida was detained by her father, who might be at the point
of death; and he counselled the disconsolate lover to write a
letter, by which he might perhaps get at the truth. Troilus
complied, entreating from his mistress, at the least, a "letter of
hope;" and the lady answered, that she could not come now, but
would so soon as she might; at the same time "making him great
feast," and swearing that she loved him best -- "of which he
found but bottomless behest [which he found but groundless
promises]." Day by day increased the woe of Troilus; he laid
himself in bed, neither eating, nor drinking, nor sleeping, nor
speaking, almost distracted by the thought of Cressida's
unkindness. He related his dream to his sister Cassandra, who
told him that the boar betokened Diomede, and that,
wheresoever his lady was, Diornede certainly had her heart, and
she was his: "weep if thou wilt, or leave, for, out of doubt, this
Diomede is in, and thou art out." Troilus, enraged, refused to
believe Cassandra's interpretation; as well, he cried, might such
a story be credited of Alcestis, who devoted her life for her
husband; and in his wrath he started from bed, "as though all
whole had him y-made a leach [physician]," resolving to find
out the truth at all hazards. The death of Hector meanwhile
enhanced the sorrow which he endured; but he found time to
write often to Cressida, beseeching her to come again and hold
her truth; till one day his false mistress, out of pity, wrote him
again, in these terms:
"Cupide's son, ensample of goodlihead,* *beauty, excellence
O sword of knighthood, source of gentleness!
How might a wight in torment and in dread,
And healeless,* you send as yet gladness? *devoid of health
I hearteless, I sick, I in distress?
Since ye with me, nor I with you, may deal,
You neither send I may nor heart nor heal.
"Your letters full, the paper all y-plainted,* *covered with
Commoved have mine heart's pitt; complainings
I have eke seen with teares all depainted
Your letter, and how ye require me
To come again; the which yet may not be;
But why, lest that this letter founden were,
No mention I make now for fear.
"Grievous to me, God wot, is your unrest,
Your haste,* and that the goddes' ordinance *impatience
It seemeth not ye take as for the best;
Nor other thing is in your remembrance,
As thinketh me, but only your pleasance;
But be not wroth, and that I you beseech,
For that I tarry is *all for wicked speech.* *to avoid malicious
"For I have heard well more than I wend* *weened, thought
Touching us two, how thinges have stood,
Which I shall with dissimuling amend;
And, be not wroth, I have eke understood
How ye ne do but holde me on hand; <87>
But now *no force,* I cannot in you guess *no matter*
But alle truth and alle gentleness.
"Comen I will, but yet in such disjoint* *jeopardy, critical
I stande now, that what year or what day position
That this shall be, that can I not appoint;
But in effect I pray you, as I may,
For your good word and for your friendship ay;
For truely, while that my life may dure,
As for a friend, ye may *in me assure.* *depend on me*
"Yet pray I you, *on evil ye not take* *do not take it ill*
That it is short, which that I to you write;
I dare not, where I am, well letters make;
Nor never yet ne could I well endite;
Eke *great effect men write in place lite;* *men write great matter
Th' intent is all, and not the letter's space; in little space*
And fare now well, God have you in his grace!
"La Vostre C."
Though he found this letter "all strange," and thought it like "a
kalendes of change," <88> Troilus could not believe his lady so
cruel as to forsake him; but he was put out of all doubt, one day
that, as he stood in suspicion and melancholy, he saw a "coat-
armour" borne along the street, in token of victory, before
Deiphobus his brother. Deiphobus had won it from Diomede in
battle that day; and Troilus, examining it out of curiosity, found
within the collar a brooch which he had given to Cressida on the
morning she left Troy, and which she had pledged her faith to
keep for ever in remembrance of his sorrow and of him. At this
fatal discovery of his lady's untruth,
Great was the sorrow and plaint of Troilus;
But forth her course Fortune ay gan to hold;
Cressida lov'd the son of Tydeus,
And Troilus must weep in cares cold.
Such is the world, whoso it can behold!
In each estate is little hearte's rest;
God lend* us each to take it for the best! *grant
In many a cruel battle Troilus wrought havoc among the
Greeks, and often he exchanged blows and bitter words with
Diomede, whom he always specially sought; but it was not their
lot that either should fall by the other's hand. The poet's
purpose, however, he tells us, is to relate, not the warlike deeds
of Troilus, which Dares has fully told, but his love-fortunes:
Beseeching ev'ry lady bright of hue,
And ev'ry gentle woman, *what she be,* *whatsoever she be*
Albeit that Cressida was untrue,
That for that guilt ye be not wroth with me;
Ye may her guilt in other bookes see;
And gladder I would writen, if you lest,
Of Penelope's truth, and good Alceste.
Nor say I not this only all for men,
But most for women that betrayed be
Through false folk (God give them sorrow, Amen!)
That with their greate wit and subtilty
Betraye you; and this commoveth me
To speak; and in effect you all I pray,
Beware of men, and hearken what I say.
Go, little book, go, little tragedy!
There God my maker, yet ere that I die,
So send me might to make some comedy!
But, little book, *no making thou envy,* *be envious of no poetry* <89>
But subject be unto all poesy;
And kiss the steps, where as thou seest space,
Of Virgil, Ovid, Homer, Lucan, Stace.
And, for there is so great diversity
In English, and in writing of our tongue,
So pray I God, that none miswrite thee,
Nor thee mismetre for default of tongue!
And read whereso thou be, or elles sung,
That thou be understanden, God I 'seech!* *beseech
But yet to purpose of my *rather speech.* *earlier subject* <90>
The wrath, as I began you for to say,
Of Troilus the Greekes boughte dear;
For thousandes his handes *made dey,* *made to die*
As he that was withouten any peer,
Save in his time Hector, as I can hear;
But, well-away! save only Godde's will,
Dispiteously him slew the fierce Achill'.
And when that he was slain in this mannere,
His lighte ghost* full blissfully is went *spirit
Up to the hollowness of the seventh sphere <91>
In converse leaving ev'ry element;
And there he saw, with full advisement,* *observation, understanding
Th' erratic starres heark'ning harmony,
With soundes full of heav'nly melody.
And down from thennes fast he gan advise* *consider, look on
This little spot of earth, that with the sea
Embraced is; and fully gan despise
This wretched world, and held all vanity,
*To respect of the plein felicity* *in comparison with
That is in heav'n above; and, at the last, the full felicity*
Where he was slain his looking down he cast.
And in himself he laugh'd right at the woe
Of them that wepte for his death so fast;
And damned* all our works, that follow so *condemned
The blinde lust, the which that may not last,
And shoulden* all our heart on heaven cast; *while we should
And forth he wente, shortly for to tell,
Where as Mercury sorted* him to dwell. *allotted <92>
Such fine* hath, lo! this Troilus for love! *end
Such fine hath all his *greate worthiness!* *exalted royal rank*
Such fine hath his estate royal above!
Such fine his lust,* such fine hath his nobless! *pleasure
Such fine hath false worlde's brittleness!* *fickleness, instability
And thus began his loving of Cresside,
As I have told; and in this wise he died.
O young and freshe folke, *he or she,* *of either sex*
In which that love upgroweth with your age,
Repaire home from worldly vanity,
And *of your heart upcaste the visage* *"lift up the countenance
To thilke God, that after his image of your heart."*
You made, and think that all is but a fair,
This world that passeth soon, as flowers fair!
And love Him, the which that, right for love,
Upon a cross, our soules for to bey,* *buy, redeem
First starf,* and rose, and sits in heav'n above; *died
For he will false* no wight, dare I say, *deceive, fail
That will his heart all wholly on him lay;
And since he best to love is, and most meek,
What needeth feigned loves for to seek?
Lo! here of paynims* cursed olde rites! *pagans
Lo! here what all their goddes may avail!
Lo! here this wretched worlde's appetites! *end and reward
Lo! here the *fine and guerdon for travail,* of labour*
Of Jove, Apollo, Mars, and such rascaille* *rabble <93>
Lo! here the form of olde clerkes' speech,
In poetry, if ye their bookes seech!* *seek, search
L'Envoy of Chaucer.
O moral Gower! <94> this book I direct.
To thee, and to the philosophical Strode, <95>
To vouchesafe, where need is, to correct,
Of your benignities and zeales good.
And to that soothfast Christ that *starf on rood* *died on the cross*
With all my heart, of mercy ever I pray,
And to the Lord right thus I speak and say:
"Thou One, and Two, and Three, *etern on live,* *eternally living*
That reignest ay in Three, and Two, and One,
Uncircumscrib'd, and all may'st circumscrive,* *comprehend
From visible and invisible fone* *foes
Defend us in thy mercy ev'ry one;
So make us, Jesus, *for thy mercy dign,* *worthy of thy mercy*
For love of Maid and Mother thine benign!"
Explicit Liber Troili et Cresseidis. <96>
Notes to Troilus and Cressida
1. The double sorrow: First his suffering before his love was
successful; and then his grief after his lady had been separated
from him, and had proved unfaithful.
2. Tisiphone: one of the Eumenides, or Furies, who avenged on
men in the next world the crimes committed on earth. Chaucer
makes this grim invocation most fitly, since the Trojans were
under the curse of the Eumenides, for their part in the offence
of Paris in carrying off Helen, the wife of his host Menelaus,
and thus impiously sinning against the laws of hospitality.
3. See Chaucer's description of himself in "The House Of
Fame," and note 11 to that poem.
4. The Palladium, or image of Pallas (daughter of Triton and
foster-sister of Athena), was said to have fallen from heaven at
Troy, where Ilus was just beginning to found the city; and Ilus
erected a sanctuary, in which it was preserved with great
honour and care, since on its safety was supposed to depend the
safety of the city. In later times a Palladium was any statue of
the goddess Athena kept for the safeguard of the city that
5. "Oh, very god!": oh true divinity! -- addressing Cressida.
6. Ascaunce: as if to say -- as much as to say. The word
represents "Quasi dicesse" in Boccaccio. See note 5 to the
7. Eft: another reading is "oft."
8. Arten: constrain -- Latin, "arceo."
9. The song is a translation of Petrarch's 88th Sonnet, which
"S'amor non e, che dunque e quel ch'i'sento."
10. If maugre me: If (I burn) in spite of myself. The usual
reading is, "If harm agree me" = if my hurt contents me: but
evidently the antithesis is lost which Petrarch intended when,
after "s'a mia voglia ardo," he wrote "s'a mal mio grado" = if
against my will; and Urry's Glossary points out the probability
that in transcription the words "If that maugre me" may have
gradually changed into "If harm agre me."
11. The Third of May seems either to have possessed peculiar
favour or significance with Chaucer personally, or to have had a
special importance in connection with those May observances
of which the poet so often speaks. It is on the third night of
May that Palamon, in The Knight's Tale, breaks out of prison,
and at early morn encounters in the forest Arcita, who has gone
forth to pluck a garland in honour of May; it is on the third
night of May that the poet hears the debate of "The Cuckoo and
the Nightingale"; and again in the present passage the favoured
12. Went: turning; from Anglo-Saxon, "wendan;" German,
"wenden." The turning and tossing of uneasy lovers in bed is,
with Chaucer, a favourite symptom of their passion. See the
fifth "statute," in The Court of Love.
13. Procne, daughter of Pandion, king of Attica, was given to
wife to Tereus in reward for his aid against an enemy; but
Tereus dishonoured Philomela, Procne's sister; and his wife, in
revenge, served up to him the body of his own child by her.
Tereus, infuriated, pursued the two sisters, who prayed the
gods to change them into birds. The prayer was granted;
Philomela became a nightingale, Procne a swallow, and Tereus
14. Fished fair: a proverbial phrase which probably may be best
represented by the phrase "done great execution."
15. The fair gem virtueless: possessing none of the virtues
which in the Middle Ages were universally believed to be
inherent in precious stones.
16. The crop and root: the most perfect example. See note 29
to the Knight's Tale.
17. Eme: uncle; the mother's brother; still used in Lancashire.
Anglo-Saxon, "eame;" German, "Oheim."
18. Dardanus: the mythical ancestor of the Trojans, after whom
the gate is supposed to be called.
19. All the other gates were secured with chains, for better
defence against the besiegers.
20. Happy day: good fortune; French, "bonheur;" both "happy
day" and "happy hour" are borrowed from the astrological
fiction about the influence of the time of birth.
21. Horn, and nerve, and rind: The various layers or materials
of the shield -- called boagrion in the Iliad -- which was made
from the hide of the wild bull.
22. His brother: Hector.
23. Who gives me drink?: Who has given me a love-potion, to
charm my heart thus away?
24. That plaited she full oft in many a fold: She deliberated
carefully, with many arguments this way and that.
25. Through which I mighte stand in worse plight: in a worse
position in the city; since she might through his anger lose the
protection of his brother Hector.
26. I am not religious: I am not in holy vows. See the complaint
of the nuns in "The Court of Love."
27. The line recalls Milton's "dark with excessive bright."
28. No weal is worth, that may no sorrow drien: the meaning is,
that whosoever cannot endure sorrow deserves not happiness.
29. French, "verre;" glass.
30. From cast of stones ware him in the werre: let him beware
of casting stones in battle. The proverb in its modern form
warns those who live in glass houses of the folly of throwing
31. Westren: to west or wester -- to decline towards the west;
so Milton speaks of the morning star as sloping towards
heaven's descent "his westering wheel."
32. A pike with ass's feet etc.: this is merely another version of
the well-known example of incongruity that opens the "Ars
Poetica" of Horace.
33. Tristre: tryst; a preconcerted spot to which the beaters
drove the game, and at which the sportsmen waited with their
34. A kankerdort: a condition or fit of perplexed anxiety;
probably connected with the word "kink" meaning in sea phrase
a twist in an rope -- and, as a verb, to twist or entangle.
35. They feel in times, with vapour etern: they feel in their
seasons, by the emission of an eternal breath or inspiration (that
God loves, &c.)
36. The idea of this stanza is the same with that developed in
the speech of Theseus at the close of The Knight's Tale; and it is
probably derived from the lines of Boethius, quoted in note 91
to that Tale.
37. In this and the following lines reappears the noble doctrine
of the exalting and purifying influence of true love, advanced in
"The Court of Love," "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale," &c.
38. Weir: a trap or enclosed place in a stream, for catching fish.
See note 10 to The Assembly of Fowls.
39. Nor might one word for shame to it say: nor could he
answer one word for shame (at the stratagem that brought
Cressida to implore his protection)
40. "All n'ere he malapert, nor made avow
Nor was so bold to sing a foole's mass;"
i.e. although he was not over-forward and made no confession
(of his love), or was so bold as to be rash and ill-advised in his
declarations of love and worship.
41. Pandarus wept as if he would turn to water; so, in The
Squire's Tale, did Canace weep for the woes of the falcon.
42. If I breake your defence: if I transgress in whatever you may
forbid; French, "defendre," to prohibit.
43. These lines and the succeeding stanza are addressed to
Pandarus, who had interposed some words of incitement to
44. In "The Court of Love," the poet says of Avaunter, that
"his ancestry of kin was to Lier; and the stanza in which that
line occurs expresses precisely the same idea as in the text.
Vain boasters of ladies' favours are also satirised in "The House
45. Nice: silly, stupid; French, "niais."
46."Reheating" is read by preference for "richesse," which
stands in the older printed editions; though "richesse" certainly
better represents the word used in the original of Boccaccio --
"dovizia," meaning abundance or wealth.
47. "Depart it so, for widewhere is wist
How that there is diversity requer'd
Betwixte thinges like, as I have lear'd:"
i.e. make this distinction, for it is universally known that there is
a great difference between things that seem the same, as I have
48. Frepe: the set, or company; French, "frappe," a stamp (on
coins), a set (of moulds).
49. To be "in the wind" of noisy magpies, or other birds that
might spoil sport by alarming the game, was not less desirable
than to be on the "lee-side" of the game itself, that the hunter's
presence might not be betrayed by the scent. "In the wind of,"
thus signifies not to windward of, but to leeward of -- that is, in
the wind that comes from the object of pursuit.
50. Bothe fremd and tame: both foes and friends -- literally,
both wild and tame, the sporting metaphor being sustained.
51. The lovers are supposed to say, that nothing is wanting but
to know the time at which they should meet.
52. A tale of Wade: see note 5 to the Merchant's Tale.
53. Saturn, and Jove, in Cancer joined were: a conjunction that
54. Smoky rain: An admirably graphic description of dense rain.
55. For the force of "cold," see note 22 to the Nun's Priest's
56. Goddes seven: The divinities who gave their names to the
seven planets, which, in association with the seven metals, are
mentioned in The Canon's Yeoman's Tale.
57. Assayed: experienced, tasted. See note 6 to the Squire's
58. Now is it better than both two were lorn: better this happy
issue, than that both two should be lost (through the sorrow of
59. Made him such feast: French, "lui fit fete" -- made holiday