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Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer

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That to hir-self she seyde, `Who yaf me drinke?'

For of hir owene thought she wex al reed,
Remembringe hir right thus, `Lo, this is he
Which that myn uncle swereth he moot be deed,
But I on him have mercy and pitee;' 655
And with that thought, for pure a-shamed, she
Gan in hir heed to pulle, and that as faste,
Whyl he and al the peple for-by paste,

And gan to caste and rollen up and doun
With-inne hir thought his excellent prowesse, 660
And his estat, and also his renoun,
His wit, his shap, and eek his gentillesse;
But most hir favour was, for his distresse
Was al for hir, and thoughte it was a routhe
To sleen swich oon, if that he mente trouthe. 665

Now mighte som envyous Iangle thus,
`This was a sodeyn love; how mighte it be
That she so lightly lovede Troilus
Right for the firste sighte; ye, pardee?'
Now who-so seyth so, mote he never thee! 670
For every thing, a ginning hath it nede
Er al be wrought, with-outen any drede.

For I sey nought that she so sodeynly
Yaf him hir love, but that she gan enclyne
To lyke him first, and I have told yow why; 675
And after that, his manhod and his pyne
Made love with-inne hir for to myne,
For which, by proces and by good servyse,
He gat hir love, and in no sodeyn wyse.

And also blisful Venus, wel arayed, 680
Sat in hir seventhe hous of hevene tho,
Disposed wel, and with aspectes payed,
To helpen sely Troilus of his wo.
And, sooth to seyn, she nas not al a fo
To Troilus in his nativitee; 685
God woot that wel the soner spedde he.

Now lat us stinte of Troilus a throwe,
That rydeth forth, and lat us tourne faste
Un-to Criseyde, that heng hir heed ful lowe,
Ther-as she sat allone, and gan to caste 690
Wher-on she wolde apoynte hir at the laste,
If it so were hir eem ne wolde cesse,
For Troilus, up-on hir for to presse.

And, lord! So she gan in hir thought argue
In this matere of which I have yow told, 695
And what to doon best were, and what eschue,
That plyted she ful ofte in many fold.
Now was hir herte warm, now was it cold,
And what she thoughte somwhat shal I wryte,
As to myn auctor listeth for to endyte. 700

She thoughte wel that Troilus persone
She knew by sighte and eek his gentillesse,
And thus she seyde, `Al were it nought to done,
To graunte him love, yet, for his worthinesse,
It were honour, with pley and with gladnesse, 705
In honestee, with swich a lord to dele,
For myn estat, and also for his hele.

`Eek, wel wot I my kinges sone is he;
And sith he hath to see me swich delyt,
If I wolde utterly his sighte flee, 710
Peraunter he mighte have me in dispyt,
Thurgh which I mighte stonde in worse plyt;
Now were I wys, me hate to purchace,
With-outen nede, ther I may stonde in grace?

`In every thing, I woot, ther lyth mesure. 715
For though a man forbede dronkenesse,
He nought for-bet that every creature
Be drinkelees for alwey, as I gesse;
Eek sith I woot for me is his distresse,
I ne oughte not for that thing him despyse, 720
Sith it is so, he meneth in good wyse.

`And eek I knowe, of longe tyme agoon,
His thewes goode, and that he is not nyce.
Ne avauntour, seyth men, certein, he is noon;
To wys is he to do so gret a vyce; 725
Ne als I nel him never so cheryce,
That he may make avaunt, by Iuste cause;
He shal me never binde in swiche a clause.

`Now set a cas, the hardest is, y-wis,
Men mighten deme that he loveth me; 730
What dishonour were it un-to me, this?
May I him lette of that? Why nay, pardee!
I knowe also, and alday here and see,
Men loven wommen al this toun aboute;
Be they the wers? Why, nay, with-outen doute. 735

`I thenk eek how he able is for to have
Of al this noble toun the thriftieste,
To been his love, so she hir honour save;
For out and out he is the worthieste,
Save only Ector, which that is the beste. 740
And yet his lyf al lyth now in my cure,
But swich is love, and eek myn aventure.

`Ne me to love, a wonder is it nought;
For wel wot I my-self, so god me spede,
Al wolde I that noon wiste of this thought, 745
I am oon the fayreste, out of drede,
And goodlieste, who-so taketh hede;
And so men seyn in al the toun of Troye.
What wonder is it though he of me have Ioye?

`I am myn owene woman, wel at ese, 750
I thank it god, as after myn estat;
Right yong, and stonde unteyd in lusty lese,
With-outen Ialousye or swich debat;
Shal noon housbonde seyn to me "Chekmat!"
For either they ben ful of Ialousye, 755
Or maisterful, or loven novelrye.

`What shal I doon? To what fyn live I thus?
Shal I nat loven, in cas if that me leste?
What, par dieux! I am nought religious!
And though that I myn herte sette at reste 760
Upon this knight, that is the worthieste,
And kepe alwey myn honour and my name,
By alle right, it may do me no shame.'

But right as whan the sonne shyneth brighte,
In March, that chaungeth ofte tyme his face, 765
And that a cloud is put with wind to flighte
Which over-sprat the sonne as for a space,
A cloudy thought gan thorugh hir soule pace,
That over-spradde hir brighte thoughtes alle,
So that for fere almost she gan to falle. 770

That thought was this: `Allas! Sin I am free,
Sholde I now love, and putte in Iupartye
My sikernesse, and thrallen libertee?
Allas! How dorste I thenken that folye?
May I nought wel in other folk aspye 775
Hir dredful Ioye, hir constreynt, and hir peyne?
Ther loveth noon, that she nath why to pleyne.

`For love is yet the moste stormy lyf,
Right of him-self, that ever was bigonne;
For ever som mistrust, or nyce stryf, 780
Ther is in love, som cloud is over that sonne:
Ther-to we wrecched wommen no-thing conne,
Whan us is wo, but wepe and sitte and thinke;
Our wreche is this, our owene wo to drinke.

`Also these wikked tonges been so prest 785
To speke us harm, eek men be so untrewe,
That, right anoon as cessed is hir lest,
So cesseth love, and forth to love a newe:
But harm y-doon, is doon, who-so it rewe.
For though these men for love hem first to-rende, 790
Ful sharp biginning breketh ofte at ende.

`How ofte tyme hath it y-knowen be,
The treson, that to womman hath be do?
To what fyn is swich love, I can nat see,
Or wher bicometh it, whan it is ago; 795
Ther is no wight that woot, I trowe so,
Wher it bycomth; lo, no wight on it sporneth;
That erst was no-thing, in-to nought it torneth.

`How bisy, if I love, eek moste I be
To plesen hem that Iangle of love, and demen, 800
And coye hem, that they sey non harm of me?
For though ther be no cause, yet hem semen
Al be for harm that folk hir freendes quemen;
And who may stoppen every wikked tonge,
Or soun of belles whyl that they be ronge?' 805

And after that, hir thought bigan to clere,
And seyde, `He which that no-thing under-taketh,
No thing ne acheveth, be him looth or dere.'
And with an other thought hir herte quaketh;
Than slepeth hope, and after dreed awaketh; 810
Now hoot, now cold; but thus, bi-twixen tweye,
She rist hir up, and went hir for to pleye.

Adoun the steyre anoon-right tho she wente
In-to the gardin, with hir neces three,
And up and doun ther made many a wente, 815
Flexippe, she, Tharbe, and Antigone,
To pleyen, that it Ioye was to see;
And othere of hir wommen, a gret route,
hir folwede in the gardin al aboute.

This yerd was large, and rayled alle the aleyes, 820
And shadwed wel with blosmy bowes grene,
And benched newe, and sonded alle the weyes,
In which she walketh arm in arm bi-twene;
Til at the laste Antigone the shene
Gan on a Troian song to singe clere, 825
That it an heven was hir voys to here. --

She seyde, `O love, to whom I have and shal
Ben humble subgit, trewe in myn entente,
As I best can, to yow, lord, yeve ich al
For ever-more, myn hertes lust to rente. 830
For never yet thy grace no wight sente
So blisful cause as me, my lyf to lede
In alle Ioye and seurtee, out of drede.

`Ye, blisful god, han me so wel beset
In love, y-wis, that al that bereth lyf 835
Imaginen ne cowde how to ben bet;
For, lord, with-outen Ialousye or stryf,
I love oon which that is most ententyf
To serven wel, unwery or unfeyned,
That ever was, and leest with harm distreyned. 840

`As he that is the welle of worthinesse,
Of trouthe ground, mirour of goodliheed,
Of wit Appollo, stoon of sikernesse,
Of vertu rote, of lust findere and heed,
Thurgh which is alle sorwe fro me deed, 845
Y-wis, I love him best, so doth he me;
Now good thrift have he, wher-so that he be!

`Whom sholde I thanke but yow, god of love,
Of al this blisse, in which to bathe I ginne?
And thanked be ye, lord, for that I love! 850
This is the righte lyf that I am inne,
To flemen alle manere vyce and sinne:
This doth me so to vertu for to entende,
That day by day I in my wil amende.

`And who-so seyth that for to love is vyce, 855
Or thraldom, though he fele in it distresse,
He outher is envyous, or right nyce,
Or is unmighty, for his shrewednesse,
To loven; for swich maner folk, I gesse,
Defamen love, as no-thing of him knowe; 860
Thei speken, but they bente never his bowe.

`What is the sonne wers, of kinde righte,
Though that a man, for feblesse of his yen,
May nought endure on it to see for brighte?
Or love the wers, though wrecches on it cryen? 865
No wele is worth, that may no sorwe dryen.
And for-thy, who that hath an heed of verre,
Fro cast of stones war him in the werre!

`But I with al myn herte and al my might,
As I have seyd, wol love, un-to my laste, 870
My dere herte, and al myn owene knight,
In which myn herte growen is so faste,
And his in me, that it shal ever laste.
Al dredde I first to love him to biginne,
Now woot I wel, ther is no peril inne.' 875

And of hir song right with that word she stente,
And therwith-al, `Now, nece,' quod Criseyde,
`Who made this song with so good entente?'
Antigone answerde anoon, and seyde,
`Ma dame, y-wis, the goodlieste mayde 880
Of greet estat in al the toun of Troye;
And let hir lyf in most honour and Ioye.'

`Forsothe, so it semeth by hir song,'
Quod tho Criseyde, and gan ther-with to syke,
And seyde, `Lord, is there swich blisse among 885
These lovers, as they conne faire endyte?'
`Ye, wis,' quod freshe Antigone the whyte,
`For alle the folk that han or been on lyve
Ne conne wel the blisse of love discryve.

`But wene ye that every wrecche woot 890
The parfit blisse of love? Why, nay, y-wis;
They wenen al be love, if oon be hoot;
Do wey, do wey, they woot no-thing of this!
Men mosten axe at seyntes if it is
Aught fair in hevene; Why? For they conne telle; 895
And axen fendes, is it foul in helle.'

Criseyde un-to that purpos nought answerde,
But seyde, `Y-wis, it wol be night as faste.'
But every word which that she of hir herde,
She gan to prenten in hir herte faste; 900
And ay gan love hir lasse for to agaste
Than it dide erst, and sinken in hir herte,
That she wex somwhat able to converte.

The dayes honour, and the hevenes ye,
The nightes fo, al this clepe I the sonne, 905
Gan westren faste, and dounward for to wrye,
As he that hadde his dayes cours y-ronne;
And whyte thinges wexen dimme and donne
For lak of light, and sterres for to appere,
That she and al hir folk in wente y-fere. 910

So whan it lyked hir to goon to reste,
And voyded weren they that voyden oughte,
She seyde, that to slepe wel hir leste.
Hir wommen sone til hir bed hir broughte.
Whan al was hust, than lay she stille, and thoughte 915
Of al this thing the manere and the wyse.
Reherce it nedeth nought, for ye ben wyse.

A nightingale, upon a cedre grene,
Under the chambre-wal ther as she lay,
Ful loude sang ayein the mone shene, 920
Paraunter, in his briddes wyse, a lay
Of love, that made hir herte fresh and gay.
That herkned she so longe in good entente,
Til at the laste the dede sleep hir hente.

And as she sleep, anoon-right tho hir mette, 925
How that an egle, fethered whyt as boon,
Under hir brest his longe clawes sette,
And out hir herte he rente, and that a-noon,
And dide his herte in-to hir brest to goon,
Of which she nought agroos, ne no-thing smerte, 930
And forth he fleigh, with herte left for herte.

Now lat hir slepe, and we our tales holde
Of Troilus, that is to paleys riden,
Fro the scarmuch, of the whiche I tolde,
And in his chaumbre sit, and hath abiden 935
Til two or three of his messages yeden
For Pandarus, and soughten him ful faste,
Til they him founde and broughte him at the laste.

This Pandarus com leping in at ones,
And seiyde thus: `Who hath ben wel y-bete 940
To-day with swerdes, and with slinge-stones,
But Troilus, that hath caught him an hete?'
And gan to Iape, and seyde, `Lord, so ye swete!
But rys, and lat us soupe and go to reste;' 944
And he answerde him, `Do we as thee leste.'

With al the haste goodly that they mighte,
They spedde hem fro the souper un-to bedde;
And every wight out at the dore him dighte,
And wher him liste upon his wey him spedde;
But Troilus, that thoughte his herte bledde 950
For wo, til that he herde som tydinge,
He seyde, `Freend, shal I now wepe or singe?'

Quod Pandarus, `Ly stille and lat me slepe,
And don thyn hood, thy nedes spedde be;
And chese, if thou wolt singe or daunce or lepe; 955
At shorte wordes, thow shal trowe me. --
Sire, my nece wol do wel by thee,
And love thee best, by god and by my trouthe,
But lak of pursuit make it in thy slouthe.

`For thus ferforth I have thy work bigonne, 960
Fro day to day, til this day, by the morwe,
Hir love of freendship have I to thee wonne,
And also hath she leyd hir feyth to borwe.
Algate a foot is hameled of thy sorwe.'
What sholde I lenger sermon of it holde? 965
As ye han herd bifore, al he him tolde.

But right as floures, thorugh the colde of night
Y-closed, stoupen on hir stalke lowe,
Redressen hem a-yein the sonne bright,
And spreden on hir kinde cours by rowe, 970
Right so gan tho his eyen up to throwe
This Troilus, and seyde, `O Venus dere,
Thy might, thy grace, y-heried be it here!'

And to Pandare he held up bothe his hondes,
And seyde, `Lord, al thyn be that I have; 975
For I am hool, al brosten been my bondes;
A thousand Troians who so that me yave,
Eche after other, god so wis me save,
Ne mighte me so gladen; lo, myn herte,
It spredeth so for Ioye, it wol to-sterte! 980

`But Lord, how shal I doon, how shal I liven?
Whan shal I next my dere herte see?
How shal this longe tyme a-wey be driven,
Til that thou be ayein at hir fro me?
Thou mayst answere, "A-byd, a-byd," but he 985
That hangeth by the nekke, sooth to seyne,
In grete disese abydeth for the peyne.'

`Al esily, now, for the love of Marte,'
Quod Pandarus, `for every thing hath tyme;
So longe abyd til that the night departe; 990
For al so siker as thow lyst here by me,
And god toforn, I wol be there at pryme,
And for thy werk somwhat as I shal seye,
Or on som other wight this charge leye.

`For pardee, god wot, I have ever yit 995
Ben redy thee to serve, and to this night
Have I nought fayned, but emforth my wit
Don al thy lust, and shal with al my might.
Do now as I shal seye, and fare a-right;
And if thou nilt, wyte al thy-self thy care, 1000
On me is nought along thyn yvel fare.

`I woot wel that thow wyser art than I
A thousand fold, but if I were as thou,
God help me so, as I wolde outrely,
Right of myn owene hond, wryte hir right now 1005
A lettre, in which I wolde hir tellen how
I ferde amis, and hir beseche of routhe;
Now help thy-self, and leve it not for slouthe.

`And I my-self shal ther-with to hir goon;
And whan thou wost that I am with hir there, 1010
Worth thou up-on a courser right anoon,
Ye, hardily, right in thy beste gere,
And ryd forth by the place, as nought ne were,
And thou shalt finde us, if I may, sittinge
At som windowe, in-to the strete lokinge. 1015

`And if thee list, than maystow us saluwe,
And up-on me make thy contenaunce;
But, by thy lyf, be war and faste eschuwe
To tarien ought, god shilde us fro mischaunce!
Ryd forth thy wey, and hold thy governaunce; 1020
And we shal speke of thee som-what, I trowe,
Whan Thou art goon, to do thyne eres glowe!

`Touching thy lettre, thou art wys y-nough,
I woot thow nilt it digneliche endyte;
As make it with thise argumentes tough; 1025
Ne scrivenish or craftily thou it wryte;
Beblotte it with thy teres eek a lyte;
And if thou wryte a goodly word al softe,
Though it be good, reherce it not to ofte.

`For though the beste harpour upon lyve 1030
Wolde on the beste souned Ioly harpe
That ever was, with alle his fingres fyve,
Touche ay o streng, or ay o werbul harpe,
Were his nayles poynted never so sharpe,
It shulde maken every wight to dulle, 1035
To here his glee, and of his strokes fulle.

`Ne Iompre eek no discordaunt thing y-fere,
As thus, to usen termes of phisyk;
In loves termes, hold of thy matere
The forme alwey, and do that it be lyk; 1040
For if a peyntour wolde peynte a pyk
With asses feet, and hede it as an ape,
It cordeth nought; so nere it but a Iape.'

This counseyl lyked wel to Troilus;
But, as a dreedful lover, he seyde this: -- 1045
`Allas, my dere brother Pandarus,
I am ashamed for to wryte, y-wis,
Lest of myn innocence I seyde a-mis,
Or that she nolde it for despyt receyve;
Thanne were I deed, ther mighte it no-thing weyve.' 1050

To that Pandare answerde, `If thee lest,
Do that I seye, and lat me therwith goon;
For by that lord that formed est and west,
I hope of it to bringe answere anoon
Right of hir hond, and if that thou nilt noon, 1055
Lat be; and sory mote he been his lyve,
Ayeins thy lust that helpeth thee to thryve.'

Quod Troilus, `Depardieux, I assente;
Sin that thee list, I will aryse and wryte;
And blisful god preye ich, with good entente, 1060
The vyage, and the lettre I shal endyte,
So spede it; and thou, Minerva, the whyte,
Yif thou me wit my lettre to devyse:'
And sette him doun, and wroot right in this wyse. --

First he gan hir his righte lady calle, 1065
His hertes lyf, his lust, his sorwes leche,
His blisse, and eek these othere termes alle,
That in swich cas these loveres alle seche;
And in ful humble wyse, as in his speche,
He gan him recomaunde un-to hir grace; 1070
To telle al how, it axeth muchel space.

And after this, ful lowly he hir prayde
To be nought wrooth, though he, of his folye,
So hardy was to hir to wryte, and seyde,
That love it made, or elles moste he dye, 1075
And pitously gan mercy for to crye;
And after that he seyde, and ley ful loude,
Him-self was litel worth, and lesse he coude;

And that she sholde han his conning excused,
That litel was, and eek he dredde hir so, 1080
And his unworthinesse he ay acused;
And after that, than gan he telle his woo;
But that was endeles, with-outen ho;
And seyde, he wolde in trouthe alwey him holde; --
And radde it over, and gan the lettre folde. 1085

And with his salte teres gan he bathe
The ruby in his signet, and it sette
Upon the wex deliverliche and rathe;
Ther-with a thousand tymes, er he lette,
He kiste tho the lettre that he shette, 1090
And seyde, `Lettre, a blisful destenee
Thee shapen is, my lady shal thee see.'

This Pandare took the lettre, and that by tyme
A-morwe, and to his neces paleys sterte,
And faste he swoor, that it was passed pryme, 1095
And gan to Iape, and seyde, `Y-wis, myn herte,
So fresh it is, al-though it sore smerte,
I may not slepe never a Mayes morwe;
I have a Ioly wo, a lusty sorwe.'

Criseyde, whan that she hir uncle herde, 1100
With dreedful herte, and desirous to here
The cause of his cominge, thus answerde:
`Now by your feyth, myn uncle,' quod she, `dere,
What maner windes gydeth yow now here?
Tel us your Ioly wo and your penaunce, 1105
How ferforth be ye put in loves daunce.'

`By god,' quod he, `I hoppe alwey bihinde!'
And she to-laugh, it thoughte hir herte breste.
Quod Pandarus, `Loke alwey that ye finde
Game in myn hood, but herkneth, if yow leste; 1110
Ther is right now come in-to toune a geste,
A Greek espye, and telleth newe thinges,
For which I come to telle yow tydinges.

`Into the gardin go we, and we shal here,
Al prevely, of this a long sermoun.' 1115
With that they wenten arm in arm y-fere
In-to the gardin from the chaumbre doun.
And whan that he so fer was that the soun
Of that he speke, no man here mighte,
He seyde hir thus, and out the lettre plighte, 1120

`Lo, he that is al hoolly youres free
Him recomaundeth lowly to your grace,
And sent to you this lettre here by me;
Avyseth you on it, whan ye han space,
And of som goodly answere yow purchace; 1125
Or, helpe me god, so pleynly for to seyne,
He may not longe liven for his peyne.'

Ful dredfully tho gan she stonde stille,
And took it nought, but al hir humble chere
Gan for to chaunge, and seyde, `Scrit ne bille, 1130
For love of god, that toucheth swich matere,
Ne bring me noon; and also, uncle dere,
To myn estat have more reward, I preye,
Than to his lust; what sholde I more seye?

`And loketh now if this be resonable, 1135
And letteth nought, for favour ne for slouthe,
To seyn a sooth; now were it covenable
To myn estat, by god, and by your trouthe,
To taken it, or to han of him routhe,
In harming of my-self or in repreve? 1140
Ber it a-yein, for him that ye on leve!'

This Pandarus gan on hir for to stare,
And seyde, `Now is this the grettest wonder
That ever I sey! Lat be this nyce fare!
To deethe mote I smiten be with thonder, 1145
If, for the citee which that stondeth yonder,
Wolde I a lettre un-to yow bringe or take
To harm of yow; what list yow thus it make?

`But thus ye faren, wel neigh alle and some,
That he that most desireth yow to serve, 1150
Of him ye recche leest wher he bicome,
And whether that he live or elles sterve.
But for al that that ever I may deserve,
Refuse it nought,' quod he, and hente hir faste,
And in hir bosom the lettre doun he thraste, 1155

And seyde hire, `Now cast it awey anoon,
That folk may seen and gauren on us tweye.'
Quod she, `I can abyde til they be goon,'
And gan to smyle, and seyde hym, `Eem, I preye,
Swich answere as yow list, your-self purveye, 1160
For trewely I nil no lettre wryte.'
`No? than wol I,' quod he, `so ye endyte.'

Therwith she lough, and seyde, `Go we dyne.'
And he gan at him-self to iape faste,
And seyde, `Nece, I have so greet a pyne 1165
For love, that every other day I faste' --
And gan his beste Iapes forth to caste;
And made hir so to laughe at his folye,
That she for laughter wende for to dye.

And whan that she was comen in-to halle, 1170
`Now, eem,' quod she, `we wol go dine anoon;'
And gan some of hir women to hir calle,
And streyght in-to hir chaumbre gan she goon;
But of hir besinesses, this was oon
A-monges othere thinges, out of drede, 1175
Ful prively this lettre for to rede;

Avysed word by word in every lyne,
And fond no lak, she thoughte he coude good;
And up it putte, and went hir in to dyne.
But Pandarus, that in a study stood, 1180
Er he was war, she took him by the hood,
And seyde, `Ye were caught er that ye wiste;'
`I vouche sauf,' quod he. `do what yow liste.'

Tho wesshen they, and sette hem doun and ete;
And after noon ful sleyly Pandarus 1185
Gan drawe him to the window next the strete,
And seyde, `Nece, who hath arayed thus
The yonder hous, that stant afor-yeyn us?'
`Which hous?' quod she, and gan for to biholde,
And knew it wel, and whos it was him tolde, 1190

And fillen forth in speche of thinges smale,
And seten in the window bothe tweye.
Whan Pandarus saw tyme un-to his tale,
And saw wel that hir folk were alle aweye,
`Now, nece myn, tel on,' quod he; `I seye, 1195
How liketh yow the lettre that ye woot?
Can he ther-on? For, by my trouthe, I noot.'

Therwith al rosy hewed tho wex she,
And gan to humme, and seyde, `So I trowe.'
`Aquyte him wel, for goddes love,' quod he; 1200
`My-self to medes wol the lettre sowe.'
And held his hondes up, and sat on knowe,
`Now, goode nece, be it never so lyte,
Yif me the labour, it to sowe and plyte.'

`Ye, for I can so wryte,' quod she tho; 1205
`And eek I noot what I sholde to him seye.'
`Nay, nece,' quod Pandare, `sey nat so;
Yet at the leste thanketh him, I preye,
Of his good wil, and doth him not to deye.
Now for the love of me, my nece dere, 1210
Refuseth not at this tyme my preyere.'

`Depar-dieux,' quod she, `God leve al be wel!
God help me so, this is the firste lettre
That ever I wroot, ye, al or any del.'
And in-to a closet, for to avyse hir bettre, 1215
She wente allone, and gan hir herte unfettre
Out of disdaynes prison but a lyte;
And sette hir doun, and gan a lettre wryte,

Of which to telle in short is myn entente
Theffect, as fer as I can understonde: -- 1220
She thonked him of al that he wel mente
Towardes hir, but holden him in honde
She nolde nought, ne make hir-selven bonde
In love, but as his suster, him to plese,
She wolde fayn to doon his herte an ese. 1225

She shette it, and to Pandarus in gan goon,
There as he sat and loked in-to the strete,
And doun she sette hir by him on a stoon
Of Iaspre, up-on a quisshin gold y-bete,
And seyde, `As wisly helpe me god the grete, 1230
I never dide a thing with more peyne
Than wryte this, to which ye me constreyne;'

And took it him: He thonked hir and seyde,
`God woot, of thing ful ofte looth bigonne
Cometh ende good; and nece myn, Criseyde, 1235
That ye to him of hard now ben y-wonne
Oughte he be glad, by god and yonder sonne!
For-why men seyth, "Impressiounes lighte
Ful lightly been ay redy to the flighte.'

`But ye han pleyed tyraunt neigh to longe, 1240
And hard was it your herte for to grave;
Now stint, that ye no longer on it honge,
Al wolde ye the forme of daunger save.
But hasteth yow to doon him Ioye have;
For trusteth wel, to longe y-doon hardnesse 1245
Causeth despyt ful often, for destresse.'

And right as they declamed this matere,
Lo, Troilus, right at the stretes ende,
Com ryding with his tenthe some y-fere,
Al softely, and thiderward gan bende 1250
Ther-as they sete, as was his way to wende
To paleys-ward; and Pandare him aspyde,
And seyde, `Nece, y-see who cometh here ryde!

`O flee not in, he seeth us, I suppose;
Lest he may thinke that ye him eschuwe.' 1255
`Nay, nay,' quod she, and wex as reed as rose.
With that he gan hir humbly to saluwe
With dreedful chere, and oft his hewes muwe;
And up his look debonairly he caste,
And bekked on Pandare, and forth he paste. 1260

God woot if he sat on his hors a-right,
Or goodly was beseyn, that ilke day!
God woot wher he was lyk a manly knight!
What sholde I drecche, or telle of his aray?
Criseyde, which that alle these thinges say, 1265
To telle in short, hir lyked al y-fere,
His persone, his aray, his look, his chere,

His goodly manere, and his gentillesse,
So wel, that never, sith that she was born,
Ne hadde she swich routhe of his distresse; 1270
And how-so she hath hard ben her-biforn,
To god hope I, she hath now caught a thorn,
She shal not pulle it out this nexte wyke;
God sende mo swich thornes on to pyke!

Pandare, which that stood hir faste by, 1275
Felte iren hoot, and he bigan to smyte,
And seyde, `Nece, I pray yow hertely,
Tel me that I shal axen yow a lyte:
A womman, that were of his deeth to wyte,
With-outen his gilt, but for hir lakked routhe, 1280
Were it wel doon?' Quod she, `Nay, by my trouthe!'

`God help me so,' quod he, `ye sey me sooth.
Ye felen wel your-self that I not lye;
Lo, yond he rit!' Quod she, `Ye, so he dooth!'
`Wel,' quod Pandare, `as I have told yow thrye, 1285
Lat be youre nyce shame and youre folye,
And spek with him in esing of his herte;
Lat nycetee not do yow bothe smerte.'

But ther-on was to heven and to done;
Considered al thing, it may not be; 1290
And why, for shame; and it were eek to sone
To graunten him so greet a libertee.
`For playnly hir entente,' as seyde she,
`Was for to love him unwist, if she mighte,
And guerdon him with no-thing but with sighte.' 1295

But Pandarus thoughte, `It shal not be so,
If that I may; this nyce opinioun
Shal not be holden fully yeres two.'
What sholde I make of this a long sermoun?
He moste assente on that conclusioun, 1300
As for the tyme; and whan that it was eve,
And al was wel, he roos and took his leve.

And on his wey ful faste homward he spedde,
And right for Ioye he felte his herte daunce;
And Troilus he fond alone a-bedde, 1305
That lay as dooth these loveres, in a traunce,
Bitwixen hope and derk desesperaunce.
But Pandarus, right at his in-cominge,
He song, as who seyth, `Lo! Sumwhat I bringe,'

And seyde, `Who is in his bed so sone 1310
Y-buried thus?' `It am I, freend,' quod he.
`Who, Troilus? Nay, helpe me so the mone,'
Quod Pandarus, `Thou shalt aryse and see
A charme that was sent right now to thee,
The which can helen thee of thyn accesse, 1315
If thou do forth-with al thy besinesse.'

`Ye, through the might of god!' quod Troilus.
And Pandarus gan him the lettre take,
And seyde, `Pardee, god hath holpen us;
Have here a light, and loke on al this blake.' 1320
But ofte gan the herte glade and quake
Of Troilus, whyl that he gan it rede,
So as the wordes yave him hope or drede.

But fynally, he took al for the beste
That she him wroot, for somwhat he biheld 1325
On which, him thoughte, he mighte his herte reste,
Al covered she the wordes under sheld.
Thus to the more worthy part he held,
That, what for hope and Pandarus biheste,
His grete wo for-yede he at the leste. 1330

But as we may alday our-selven see,
Through more wode or col, the more fyr;
Right so encrees hope, of what it be,
Therwith ful ofte encreseth eek desyr;
Or, as an ook cometh of a litel spyr, 1335
So through this lettre, which that she him sente,
Encresen gan desyr, of which he brente.

Wherfore I seye alwey, that day and night
This Troilus gan to desiren more
Than he dide erst, thurgh hope, and dide his might 1340
To pressen on, as by Pandarus lore,
And wryten to hir of his sorwes sore
Fro day to day; he leet it not refreyde,
That by Pandare he wroot somwhat or seyde;

And dide also his othere observaunces 1345
That to a lovere longeth in this cas;
And, after that these dees turnede on chaunces,
So was he outher glad or seyde `Allas!'
And held after his gestes ay his pas;
And aftir swiche answeres as he hadde, 1350
So were his dayes sory outher gladde.

But to Pandare alwey was his recours,
And pitously gan ay til him to pleyne,
And him bisoughte of rede and som socours;
And Pandarus, that sey his wode peyne, 1355
Wex wel neigh deed for routhe, sooth to seyne,
And bisily with al his herte caste
Som of his wo to sleen, and that as faste;

And seyde, `Lord, and freend, and brother dere,
God woot that thy disese dooth me wo. 1360
But woltow stinten al this woful chere,
And, by my trouthe, or it be dayes two,
And god to-forn, yet shal I shape it so,
That thou shalt come in-to a certayn place,
Ther-as thou mayst thy-self hir preye of grace. 1365

`And certainly, I noot if thou it wost,
But tho that been expert in love it seye,
It is oon of the thinges that furthereth most,
A man to have a leyser for to preye,
And siker place his wo for to biwreye; 1370
For in good herte it moot som routhe impresse,
To here and see the giltles in distresse.

`Paraunter thenkestow: though it be so
That kinde wolde doon hir to biginne
To han a maner routhe up-on my wo, 1375
Seyth Daunger, "Nay, thou shalt me never winne;
So reuleth hir hir hertes goost with-inne,
That, though she bende, yet she stant on rote;
What in effect is this un-to my bote?"

`Thenk here-ayeins, whan that the sturdy ook, 1380
On which men hakketh ofte, for the nones,
Receyved hath the happy falling strook,
The grete sweigh doth it come al at ones,
As doon these rokkes or these milne-stones.
For swifter cours cometh thing that is of wighte, 1385
Whan it descendeth, than don thinges lighte.

`And reed that boweth doun for every blast,
Ful lightly, cesse wind, it wol aryse;
But so nil not an ook whan it is cast;
It nedeth me nought thee longe to forbyse. 1390
Men shal reioysen of a greet empryse
Acheved wel, and stant with-outen doute,
Al han men been the lenger ther-aboute.

`But, Troilus, yet tel me, if thee lest,
A thing now which that I shal axen thee; 1395
Which is thy brother that thou lovest best
As in thy verray hertes privetee?'
`Y-wis, my brother Deiphebus,' quod he.
`Now,' quod Pandare, `er houres twyes twelve,
He shal thee ese, unwist of it him-selve. 1400

`Now lat me allone, and werken as I may,'
Quod he; and to Deiphebus wente he tho
Which hadde his lord and grete freend ben ay;
Save Troilus, no man he lovede so.
To telle in short, with-outen wordes mo, 1405
Quod Pandarus, `I pray yow that ye be
Freend to a cause which that toucheth me.'

`Yis, pardee,' quod Deiphebus, `wel thow wost,
In al that ever I may, and god to-fore,
Al nere it but for man I love most, 1410
My brother Troilus; but sey wherfore
It is; for sith that day that I was bore,
I nas, ne never-mo to been I thinke,
Ayeins a thing that mighte thee for-thinke.'

Pandare gan him thonke, and to him seyde, 1415
`Lo, sire, I have a lady in this toun,
That is my nece, and called is Criseyde,
Which some men wolden doon oppressioun,
And wrongfully have hir possessioun:
Wherfor I of your lordship yow biseche 1420
To been our freend, with-oute more speche.'

Deiphebus him answerde, `O, is not this,
That thow spekest of to me thus straungely,
Criseyda, my freend?' He seyde, `Yis.'
`Than nedeth,' quod Deiphebus, `hardely, 1425
Na-more to speke, for trusteth wel, that I
Wol be hir champioun with spore and yerde;
I roughte nought though alle hir foos it herde.

`But tel me how, thou that woost al this matere,
How I might best avaylen? Now lat see.' 1430
Quod Pandarus; `If ye, my lord so dere,
Wolden as now don this honour to me,
To preyen hir to-morwe, lo, that she
Come un-to yow hir pleyntes to devyse,
Hir adversaries wolde of it agryse. 1435

`And if I more dorste preye as now,
And chargen yow to have so greet travayle,
To han som of your bretheren here with yow,
That mighten to hir cause bet avayle,
Than, woot I wel, she mighte never fayle 1440
For to be holpen, what at your instaunce,
What with hir othere freendes governaunce.'

Deiphebus, which that comen was, of kinde,
To al honour and bountee to consente,
Answerde, `It shal be doon; and I can finde 1445
Yet gretter help to this in myn entente.
What wolt thow seyn, if I for Eleyne sente
To speke of this? I trowe it be the beste;
For she may leden Paris as hir leste.

`Of Ector, which that is my lord, my brother, 1450
It nedeth nought to preye him freend to be;
For I have herd him, o tyme and eek other,
Speke of Criseyde swich honour, that he
May seyn no bet, swich hap to him hath she.
It nedeth nought his helpes for to crave; 1455
He shal be swich, right as we wole him have.

`Spek thou thy-self also to Troilus
On my bihalve, and pray him with us dyne.'
`Sire, al this shal be doon,' quod Pandarus;
And took his leve, and never gan to fyne, 1460
But to his neces hous, as streyt as lyne,
He com; and fond hir fro the mete aryse;
And sette him doun, and spak right in this wyse.

He seyde, `O veray god, so have I ronne!
Lo, nece myn, see ye nought how I swete? 1465
I noot whether ye the more thank me conne.
Be ye nought war how that fals Poliphete
Is now aboute eft-sones for to plete,
And bringe on yow advocacyes newe?'
`I? No,' quod she, and chaunged al hir hewe. 1470

`What is he more aboute, me to drecche
And doon me wrong? What shal I do, allas?
Yet of him-self no-thing ne wolde I recche,
Nere it for Antenor and Eneas,
That been his freendes in swich maner cas; 1475
But, for the love of god, myn uncle dere,
No fors of that; lat him have al y-fere;

`With-outen that I have ynough for us.'
`Nay,' quod Pandare, `it shal no-thing be so.
For I have been right now at Deiphebus, 1480
And Ector, and myne othere lordes mo,
And shortly maked eche of hem his fo;
That, by my thrift, he shal it never winne
For ought he can, whan that so he biginne.'

And as they casten what was best to done, 1485
Deiphebus, of his owene curtasye,
Com hir to preye, in his propre persone,
To holde him on the morwe companye
At diner, which she nolde not denye,
But goodly gan to his preyere obeye. 1490
He thonked hir, and wente up-on his weye.

Whanne this was doon, this Pandare up a-noon,
To telle in short, and forth gan for to wende
To Troilus, as stille as any stoon;
And al this thing he tolde him, word and ende; 1495
And how that he Deiphebus gan to blende;
And seyde him, `Now is tyme, if that thou conne,
To bere thee wel to-morwe, and al is wonne.

`Now spek, now prey, now pitously compleyne;
Lat not for nyce shame, or drede, or slouthe; 1500
Som-tyme a man mot telle his owene peyne;
Bileve it, and she shal han on thee routhe;
Thou shalt be saved by thy feyth, in trouthe.
But wel wot I, thou art now in a drede;
And what it is, I leye, I can arede. 1505

`Thow thinkest now, "How sholde I doon al this?
For by my cheres mosten folk aspye,
That for hir love is that I fare a-mis;
Yet hadde I lever unwist for sorwe dye."
Now thenk not so, for thou dost greet folye. 1510
For I right now have founden o manere
Of sleighte, for to coveren al thy chere.

`Thow shalt gon over night, and that as blyve,
Un-to Deiphebus hous, as thee to pleye,
Thy maladye a-wey the bet to dryve, 1515
For-why thou semest syk, soth for to seye.
Sone after that, doun in thy bed thee leye,
And sey, thow mayst no lenger up endure,
And ly right there, and byde thyn aventure.

`Sey that thy fever is wont thee for to take 1520
The same tyme, and lasten til a-morwe;
And lat see now how wel thou canst it make,
For, par-dee, syk is he that is in sorwe.
Go now, farwel! And, Venus here to borwe,
I hope, and thou this purpos holde ferme, 1525
Thy grace she shal fully ther conferme.'

Quod Troilus, `Y-wis, thou nedelees
Conseylest me, that sykliche I me feyne,
For I am syk in ernest, doutelees,
So that wel neigh I sterve for the peyne.' 1530
Quod Pandarus, `Thou shalt the bettre pleyne,
And hast the lasse need to countrefete;
For him men demen hoot that men seen swete.

`Lo, holde thee at thy triste cloos, and I
Shal wel the deer un-to thy bowe dryve.' 1535
Therwith he took his leve al softely,
And Troilus to paleys wente blyve.
So glad ne was he never in al his lyve;
And to Pandarus reed gan al assente,
And to Deiphebus hous at night he wente. 1540

What nedeth yow to tellen al the chere
That Deiphebus un-to his brother made,
Or his accesse, or his siklych manere,
How men gan him with clothes for to lade,
Whan he was leyd, and how men wolde him glade? 1545
But al for nought; he held forth ay the wyse
That ye han herd Pandare er this devyse.

But certeyn is, er Troilus him leyde,
Deiphebus had him prayed, over night,
To been a freend and helping to Criseyde. 1550
God woot, that he it grauntede anon-right,
To been hir fulle freend with al his might.
But swich a nede was to preye him thenne,
As for to bidde a wood man for to renne.

The morwen com, and neighen gan the tyme 1555
Of meel-tyd, that the faire quene Eleyne
Shoop hir to been, an houre after the pryme,
With Deiphebus, to whom she nolde feyne;
But as his suster, hoomly, sooth to seyne,
She com to diner in hir playn entente. 1560
But god and Pandare wiste al what this mente.

Com eek Criseyde, al innocent of this,
Antigone, hir sister Tarbe also;
But flee we now prolixitee best is,
For love of god, and lat us faste go 1565
Right to the effect, with-oute tales mo,
Why al this folk assembled in this place;
And lat us of hir saluinges pace.

Gret honour dide hem Deiphebus, certeyn,
And fedde hem wel with al that mighte lyke. 1570
But ever-more, `Allas!' was his refreyn,
`My goode brother Troilus, the syke,
Lyth yet"--and therwith-al he gan to syke;
And after that, he peyned him to glade
Hem as he mighte, and chere good he made. 1575

Compleyned eek Eleyne of his syknesse
So feithfully, that pitee was to here,
And every wight gan waxen for accesse
A leche anoon, and seyde, `In this manere
Men curen folk; this charme I wol yow lere.' 1580
But ther sat oon, al list hir nought to teche,
That thoughte, best coude I yet been his leche.

After compleynt, him gonnen they to preyse,
As folk don yet, whan som wight hath bigonne
To preyse a man, and up with prys him reyse 1585
A thousand fold yet hyer than the sonne: --
`He is, he can, that fewe lordes conne.'
And Pandarus, of that they wolde afferme,
He not for-gat hir preysing to conferme.

Herde al this thing Criseyde wel y-nough, 1590
And every word gan for to notifye;
For which with sobre chere hir herte lough;
For who is that ne wolde hir glorifye,
To mowen swich a knight don live or dye?
But al passe I, lest ye to longe dwelle; 1595
For for o fyn is al that ever I telle.

The tyme com, fro diner for to ryse,
And, as hem oughte, arisen everychoon,
And gonne a while of this and that devyse.
But Pandarus brak al this speche anoon, 1600
And seyde to Deiphebus, `Wole ye goon,
If youre wille be, as I yow preyde,
To speke here of the nedes of Criseyde?'

Eleyne, which that by the hond hir held,
Took first the tale, and seyde, `Go we blyve;' 1605
And goodly on Criseyde she biheld,
And seyde, `Ioves lat him never thryve,
That dooth yow harm, and bringe him sone of lyve!
And yeve me sorwe, but he shal it rewe,
If that I may, and alle folk be trewe.' 1610

`Tel thou thy neces cas,' quod Deiphebus
To Pandarus, `for thou canst best it telle.' --
`My lordes and my ladyes, it stant thus;
What sholde I lenger,' quod he, `do yow dwelle?'
He rong hem out a proces lyk a belle, 1615
Up-on hir fo, that highte Poliphete,
So heynous, that men mighte on it spete.

Answerde of this ech worse of hem than other,
And Poliphete they gonnen thus to warien,
`An-honged be swich oon, were he my brother; 1620
And so he shal, for it ne may not varien.'
What sholde I lenger in this tale tarien?
Pleynly, alle at ones, they hir highten
To been hir helpe in al that ever they mighten.

Spak than Eleyne, and seyde, `Pandarus, 1625
Woot ought my lord, my brother, this matere,
I mene, Ector? Or woot it Troilus?'
He seyde, `Ye, but wole ye now me here?
Me thinketh this, sith Troilus is here,
It were good, if that ye wolde assente, 1630
She tolde hir-self him al this, er she wente.

`For he wole have the more hir grief at herte,
By cause, lo, that she a lady is;
And, by your leve, I wol but right in sterte,
And do yow wite, and that anoon, y-wis, 1635
If that he slepe, or wole ought here of this.'
And in he lepte, and seyde him in his ere,
`God have thy soule, y-brought have I thy bere!'

To smylen of this gan tho Troilus,
And Pandarus, with-oute rekeninge, 1640
Out wente anoon to Eleyne and Deiphebus,
And seyde hem, `So there be no taryinge,
Ne more pres, he wol wel that ye bringe
Criseyda, my lady, that is here;
And as he may enduren, he wole here. 1645

`But wel ye woot, the chaumbre is but lyte,
And fewe folk may lightly make it warm;
Now loketh ye, (for I wol have no wyte,
To bringe in prees that mighte doon him harm
Or him disesen, for my bettre arm), 1650
Wher it be bet she byde til eft-sones;
Now loketh ye, that knowen what to doon is.

`I sey for me, best is, as I can knowe,
That no wight in ne wente but ye tweye,
But it were I, for I can, in a throwe, 1655
Reherce hir cas unlyk that she can seye;
And after this, she may him ones preye
To ben good lord, in short, and take hir leve;
This may not muchel of his ese him reve.

`And eek, for she is straunge, he wol forbere 1660
His ese, which that him thar nought for yow;
Eek other thing that toucheth not to here,
He wol me telle, I woot it wel right now,
That secret is, and for the tounes prow.'
And they, that no-thing knewe of his entente, 1665
With-oute more, to Troilus in they wente.

Eleyne, in al hir goodly softe wyse,
Gan him saluwe, and womanly to pleye,
And seyde, `Ywis, ye moste alweyes aryse!
Now fayre brother, beth al hool, I preye!' 1670
And gan hir arm right over his sholder leye,
And him with al hir wit to recomforte;
As she best coude, she gan him to disporte.

So after this quod she, `We yow biseke,
My dere brother, Deiphebus and I, 1675
For love of god, and so doth Pandare eke,
To been good lord and freend, right hertely,
Un-to Criseyde, which that certeinly
Receyveth wrong, as woot wel here Pandare,
That can hir cas wel bet than I declare.' 1680

This Pandarus gan newe his tunge affyle,
And al hir cas reherce, and that anoon;
Whan it was seyd, sone after, in a whyle,
Quod Troilus, `As sone as I may goon,
I wol right fayn with al my might ben oon, 1685
Have god my trouthe, hir cause to sustene.'
`Good thrift have ye,' quod Eleyne the quene.

Quod Pandarus, `And it your wille be
That she may take hir leve, er that she go?'
`O, elles god for-bede,' tho quod he, 1690
`If that she vouche sauf for to do so.'
And with that word quod Troilus, `Ye two,
Deiphebus, and my suster leef and dere,
To yow have I to speke of o matere,

`To been avysed by your reed the bettre': -- 1695
And fond, as hap was, at his beddes heed,
The copie of a tretis and a lettre,
That Ector hadde him sent to axen reed,
If swich a man was worthy to ben deed,
Woot I nought who; but in a grisly wyse 1700
He preyede hem anoon on it avyse.

Deiphebus gan this lettre to unfolde
In ernest greet; so did Eleyne the quene;
And rominge outward, fast it gan biholde,
Downward a steyre, in-to an herber grene. 1705
This ilke thing they redden hem bi-twene;
And largely, the mountaunce of an houre,
Thei gonne on it to reden and to poure.

Now lat hem rede, and turne we anoon
To Pandarus, that gan ful faste prye 1710
That al was wel, and out he gan to goon
In-to the grete chambre, and that in hye,
And seyde, `God save al this companye!
Com, nece myn; my lady quene Eleyne
Abydeth yow, and eek my lordes tweyne. 1715

`Rys, take with yow your nece Antigone,
Or whom yow list, or no fors, hardily;
The lesse prees, the bet; com forth with me,
And loke that ye thonke humblely
Hem alle three, and, whan ye may goodly 1720
Your tyme y-see, taketh of hem your leve,
Lest we to longe his restes him bireve.'

Al innocent of Pandarus entente,
Quod tho Criseyde, `Go we, uncle dere';
And arm in arm inward with him she wente, 1725
Avysed wel hir wordes and hir chere;
And Pandarus, in ernestful manere,
Seyde, `Alle folk, for goddes love, I preye,
Stinteth right here, and softely yow pleye.

`Aviseth yow what folk ben here with-inne, 1730
And in what plyt oon is, god him amende!
And inward thus ful softely biginne;
Nece, I conjure and heighly yow defende,
On his half, which that sowle us alle sende,
And in the vertue of corounes tweyne, 1735
Slee nought this man, that hath for yow this peyne!

`Fy on the devel! Thenk which oon he is,
And in what plyt he lyth; com of anoon;
Thenk al swich taried tyd, but lost it nis!
That wol ye bothe seyn, whan ye ben oon. 1740
Secoundelich, ther yet devyneth noon
Up-on yow two; come of now, if ye conne;
Whyl folk is blent, lo, al the tyme is wonne!

`In titering, and pursuite, and delayes,
The folk devyne at wagginge of a stree; 1745
And though ye wolde han after merye dayes,
Than dar ye nought, and why? For she, and she
Spak swich a word; thus loked he, and he;
Lest tyme I loste, I dar not with yow dele;
Com of therfore, and bringeth him to hele.' 1750

But now to yow, ye lovers that ben here,
Was Troilus nought in a cankedort,
That lay, and mighte whispringe of hem here,
And thoughte, `O lord, right now renneth my sort
Fully to dye, or han anoon comfort'; 1755
And was the firste tyme he shulde hir preye
Of love; O mighty god, what shal he seye?

Explicit Secundus Liber.

BOOK III

Incipit prohemium tercii libri.

O blisful light of whiche the bemes clere 1
Adorneth al the thridde hevene faire!
O sonnes lief, O Ioves doughter dere,
Plesaunce of love, O goodly debonaire,
In gentil hertes ay redy to repaire! 5
O verray cause of hele and of gladnesse,
Y-heried be thy might and thy goodnesse!

In hevene and helle, in erthe and salte see
Is felt thy might, if that I wel descerne;
As man, brid, best, fish, herbe and grene tree 10
Thee fele in tymes with vapour eterne.
God loveth, and to love wol nought werne;
And in this world no lyves creature,
With-outen love, is worth, or may endure.

Ye Ioves first to thilke effectes glade, 15
Thorugh which that thinges liven alle and be,
Comeveden, and amorous him made
On mortal thing, and as yow list, ay ye
Yeve him in love ese or adversitee;
And in a thousand formes doun him sente 20
For love in erthe, and whom yow liste, he hente.

Ye fierse Mars apeysen of his ire,
And, as yow list, ye maken hertes digne;
Algates, hem that ye wol sette a-fyre,
They dreden shame, and vices they resigne; 25
Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne,
And hye or lowe, after a wight entendeth;
The Ioyes that he hath, your might him sendeth.

Ye holden regne and hous in unitee;
Ye soothfast cause of frendship been also; 30
Ye knowe al thilke covered qualitee
Of thinges which that folk on wondren so,
Whan they can not construe how it may io,
She loveth him, or why he loveth here;
As why this fish, and nought that, comth to were. 35

Ye folk a lawe han set in universe,
And this knowe I by hem that loveres be,
That who-so stryveth with yow hath the werse:
Now, lady bright, for thy benignitee,
At reverence of hem that serven thee, 40
Whos clerk I am, so techeth me devyse
Som Ioye of that is felt in thy servyse.

Ye in my naked herte sentement
Inhelde, and do me shewe of thy swetnesse. --
Caliope, thy vois be now present, 45
For now is nede; sestow not my destresse,
How I mot telle anon-right the gladnesse
Of Troilus, to Venus heryinge?
To which gladnes, who nede hath, god him bringe!

Explicit prohemium Tercii Libri.

Incipit Liber Tercius.

Lay al this mene whyle Troilus, 50
Recordinge his lessoun in this manere,
`Ma fey!' thought he, `Thus wole I seye and thus;
Thus wole I pleyne unto my lady dere;
That word is good, and this shal be my chere;
This nil I not foryeten in no wyse.' 55
God leve him werken as he can devyse!

And, lord, so that his herte gan to quappe,
Heringe hir come, and shorte for to syke!
And Pandarus, that ledde hir by the lappe,
Com ner, and gan in at the curtin pyke, 60
And seyde, `God do bote on alle syke!
See, who is here yow comen to visyte;
Lo, here is she that is your deeth to wyte.'

Ther-with it semed as he wepte almost;
`A ha,' quod Troilus so rewfully, 65
`Wher me be wo, O mighty god, thow wost!
Who is al there? I se nought trewely.'
`Sire,' quod Criseyde, `it is Pandare and I.'
`Ye, swete herte? Allas, I may nought ryse
To knele, and do yow honour in som wyse.' 70

And dressede him upward, and she right tho
Gan bothe here hondes softe upon him leye,
`O, for the love of god, do ye not so
To me,' quod she, `Ey! What is this to seye?
Sire, come am I to yow for causes tweye; 75
First, yow to thonke, and of your lordshipe eke
Continuance I wolde yow biseke.'

This Troilus, that herde his lady preye
Of lordship him, wex neither quik ne deed,
Ne mighte a word for shame to it seye, 80
Al-though men sholde smyten of his heed.
But lord, so he wex sodeinliche reed,
And sire, his lesson, that he wende conne,
To preyen hir, is thurgh his wit y-ronne.

Cryseyde al this aspyede wel y-nough, 85
For she was wys, and lovede him never-the-lasse,
Al nere he malapert, or made it tough,
Or was to bold, to singe a fool a masse.
But whan his shame gan somwhat to passe,
His resons, as I may my rymes holde, 90
I yow wole telle, as techen bokes olde.

In chaunged vois, right for his verray drede,
Which vois eek quook, and ther-to his manere
Goodly abayst, and now his hewes rede,
Now pale, un-to Criseyde, his lady dere, 95
With look doun cast and humble yolden chere,
Lo, the alderfirste word that him asterte
Was, twyes, `Mercy, mercy, swete herte!'

And stinte a whyl, and whan he mighte out-bringe,
The nexte word was, `God wot, for I have, 100
As feyfully as I have had konninge,
Ben youres, also god so my sowle save;
And shal til that I, woful wight, be grave.
And though I dar ne can un-to yow pleyne,
Y-wis, I suffre nought the lasse peyne. 105

`Thus muche as now, O wommanliche wyf,
I may out-bringe, and if this yow displese,
That shal I wreke upon myn owne lyf
Right sone, I trowe, and doon your herte an ese,
If with my deeth your herte I may apese. 110
But sin that ye han herd me som-what seye,
Now recche I never how sone that I deye.'

Ther-with his manly sorwe to biholde,
It mighte han maad an herte of stoon to rewe;
And Pandare weep as he to watre wolde, 115
And poked ever his nece newe and newe,
And seyde, `Wo bigon ben hertes trewe!
For love of god, make of this thing an ende,
Or slee us bothe at ones, er that ye wende.'

`I? What?' quod she, `By god and by my trouthe, 120
I noot nought what ye wilne that I seye.'
`I? What?' quod he, `That ye han on him routhe,
For goddes love, and doth him nought to deye.'
`Now thanne thus,' quod she, `I wolde him preye
To telle me the fyn of his entente; 125
Yet wist I never wel what that he mente.'

`What that I mene, O swete herte dere?'
Quod Troilus, `O goodly, fresshe free!
That, with the stremes of your eyen clere,
Ye wolde som-tyme freendly on me see, 130
And thanne agreen that I may ben he,
With-oute braunche of vyce on any wyse,
In trouthe alwey to doon yow my servyse,

`As to my lady right and chief resort,
With al my wit and al my diligence, 135
And I to han, right as yow list, comfort,
Under your yerde, egal to myn offence,
As deeth, if that I breke your defence;
And that ye deigne me so muche honoure,
Me to comaunden ought in any houre. 140

`And I to ben your verray humble trewe,
Secret, and in my paynes pacient,
And ever-mo desire freshly newe,
To serven, and been y-lyke ay diligent,
And, with good herte, al holly your talent 145
Receyven wel, how sore that me smerte,
Lo, this mene I, myn owene swete herte.'

Quod Pandarus, `Lo, here an hard request,
And resonable, a lady for to werne!
Now, nece myn, by natal Ioves fest, 150
Were I a god, ye sholde sterve as yerne,
That heren wel, this man wol no-thing yerne
But your honour, and seen him almost sterve,
And been so looth to suffren him yow serve.'

With that she gan hir eyen on him caste 155
Ful esily, and ful debonairly,
Avysing hir, and hyed not to faste
With never a word, but seyde him softely,
`Myn honour sauf, I wol wel trewely,
And in swich forme as he can now devyse, 160
Receyven him fully to my servyse,

`Biseching him, for goddes love, that he
Wolde, in honour of trouthe and gentilesse,
As I wel mene, eek mene wel to me,
And myn honour, with wit and besinesse 165
Ay kepe; and if I may don him gladnesse,
From hennes-forth, y-wis, I nil not feyne:
Now beeth al hool; no lenger ye ne pleyne.

`But nathelees, this warne I yow,' quod she,
`A kinges sone al-though ye be, y-wis, 170
Ye shal na-more have soverainetee
Of me in love, than right in that cas is;
Ne I nil forbere, if that ye doon a-mis,
To wrathen yow; and whyl that ye me serve,
Cherycen yow right after ye deserve. 175

`And shortly, dere herte and al my knight,
Beth glad, and draweth yow to lustinesse,
And I shal trewely, with al my might,
Your bittre tornen al in-to swetenesse.
If I be she that may yow do gladnesse, 180
For every wo ye shal recovere a blisse';
And him in armes took, and gan him kisse.

Fil Pandarus on knees, and up his eyen
To hevene threw, and held his hondes hye,
`Immortal god!' quod he, `That mayst nought dyen, 185
Cupide I mene, of this mayst glorifye;
And Venus, thou mayst maken melodye;
With-outen hond, me semeth that in the towne,
For this merveyle, I here ech belle sowne.

`But ho! No more as now of this matere, 190
For-why this folk wol comen up anoon,
That han the lettre red; lo, I hem here.
But I coniure thee, Criseyde, and oon,
And two, thou Troilus, whan thow mayst goon,
That at myn hous ye been at my warninge, 195
For I ful wel shal shape youre cominge;

`And eseth ther your hertes right y-nough;
And lat see which of yow shal bere the belle
To speke of love a-right!' ther-with he lough,
`For ther have ye a layser for to telle.' 200
Quod Troilus, `How longe shal I dwelle
Er this be doon?' Quod he, `Whan thou mayst ryse,
This thing shal be right as I yow devyse.'

With that Eleyne and also Deiphebus
Tho comen upward, right at the steyres ende; 205
And Lord, so than gan grone Troilus,
His brother and his suster for to blende.
Quod Pandarus, `It tyme is that we wende;
Tak, nece myn, your leve at alle three,
And lat hem speke, and cometh forth with me.' 210

She took hir leve at hem ful thriftily,
As she wel coude, and they hir reverence
Un-to the fulle diden hardely,
And speken wonder wel, in hir absence,
Of hir, in preysing of hir excellence, 215
Hir governaunce, hir wit; and hir manere
Commendeden, it Ioye was to here.

Now lat hir wende un-to hir owne place,
And torne we to Troilus a-yein,
That gan ful lightly of the lettre passe 220
That Deiphebus hadde in the gardin seyn.
And of Eleyne and him he wolde fayn
Delivered been, and seyde that him leste
To slepe, and after tales have reste.

Eleyne him kiste, and took hir leve blyve, 225
Deiphebus eek, and hoom wente every wight;
And Pandarus, as faste as he may dryve,
To Troilus tho com, as lyne right;
And on a paillet, al that glade night,
By Troilus he lay, with mery chere, 230
To tale; and wel was hem they were y-fere.

Whan every wight was voided but they two,
And alle the dores were faste y-shette,
To telle in short, with-oute wordes mo,
This Pandarus, with-outen any lette, 235
Up roos, and on his beddes syde him sette,
And gan to speken in a sobre wyse
To Troilus, as I shal yow devyse:

`Myn alderlevest lord, and brother dere,
God woot, and thou, that it sat me so sore, 240
When I thee saw so languisshing to-yere,
For love, of which thy wo wex alwey more;
That I, with al my might and al my lore,
Have ever sithen doon my bisinesse
To bringe thee to Ioye out of distresse, 245

`And have it brought to swich plyt as thou wost,
So that, thorugh me, thow stondest now in weye
To fare wel, I seye it for no bost,
And wostow which? For shame it is to seye,
For thee have I bigonne a gamen pleye 250
Which that I never doon shal eft for other,
Al-though he were a thousand fold my brother.

`That is to seye, for thee am I bicomen,
Bitwixen game and ernest, swich a mene
As maken wommen un-to men to comen; 255
Al sey I nought, thou wost wel what I mene.
For thee have I my nece, of vyces clene,
So fully maad thy gentilesse triste,
That al shal been right as thy-selve liste.

`But god, that al wot, take I to witnesse, 260
That never I this for coveityse wroughte,
But only for to abregge that distresse,
For which wel nygh thou deydest, as me thoughte.
But, gode brother, do now as thee oughte,
For goddes love, and kep hir out of blame, 265
Sin thou art wys, and save alwey hir name.

`For wel thou wost, the name as yet of here
Among the peple, as who seyth, halwed is;
For that man is unbore, I dar wel swere,
That ever wiste that she dide amis. 270
But wo is me, that I, that cause al this,
May thenken that she is my nece dere,
And I hir eem, and trattor eek y-fere!

`And were it wist that I, through myn engyn,
Hadde in my nece y-put this fantasye, 275
To do thy lust, and hoolly to be thyn,
Why, al the world up-on it wolde crye,
And seye, that I the worste trecherye
Dide in this cas, that ever was bigonne,
And she for-lost, and thou right nought y-wonne. 280

`Wher-fore, er I wol ferther goon a pas,
Yet eft I thee biseche and fully seye,
That privetee go with us in this cas;
That is to seye, that thou us never wreye;
And be nought wrooth, though I thee ofte preye 285
To holden secree swich an heigh matere;
For skilful is, thow wost wel, my preyere.

`And thenk what wo ther hath bitid er this,
For makinge of avantes, as men rede;
And what mischaunce in this world yet ther is, 290
Fro day to day, right for that wikked dede;
For which these wyse clerkes that ben dede
Han ever yet proverbed to us yonge,
That "Firste vertu is to kepe tonge."

`And, nere it that I wilne as now tabregge 295
Diffusioun of speche, I coude almost
A thousand olde stories thee alegge
Of wommen lost, thorugh fals and foles bost;
Proverbes canst thy-self y-nowe, and wost,
Ayeins that vyce, for to been a labbe, 300
Al seyde men sooth as often as they gabbe.

`O tonge, allas! So often here-biforn
Hastow made many a lady bright of hewe
Seyd, "Welawey! The day that I was born!"
And many a maydes sorwes for to newe; 305
And, for the more part, al is untrewe
That men of yelpe, and it were brought to preve;
Of kinde non avauntour is to leve.

`Avauntour and a lyere, al is on;
As thus: I pose, a womman graunte me 310
Hir love, and seyth that other wol she non,
And I am sworn to holden it secree,
And after I go telle it two or three;
Y-wis, I am avauntour at the leste,
And lyere, for I breke my biheste. 315

`Now loke thanne, if they be nought to blame,
Swich maner folk; what shal I clepe hem, what,
That hem avaunte of wommen, and by name,
That never yet bihighte hem this ne that,
Ne knewe hem more than myn olde hat? 320
No wonder is, so god me sende hele,
Though wommen drede with us men to dele.

`I sey not this for no mistrust of yow,
Ne for no wys man, but for foles nyce,
And for the harm that in the world is now, 325
As wel for foly ofte as for malyce;
For wel wot I, in wyse folk, that vyce
No womman drat, if she be wel avysed;
For wyse ben by foles harm chastysed.

`But now to purpos; leve brother dere, 330
Have al this thing that I have seyd in minde,
And keep thee clos, and be now of good chere,
For at thy day thou shalt me trewe finde.
I shal thy proces sette in swich a kinde,
And god to-forn, that it shall thee suffyse, 335
For it shal been right as thou wolt devyse.

`For wel I woot, thou menest wel, parde;
Therfore I dar this fully undertake.
Thou wost eek what thy lady graunted thee,
And day is set, the chartres up to make. 340
Have now good night, I may no lenger wake;
And bid for me, sin thou art now in blisse,
That god me sende deeth or sone lisse.'

Who mighte telle half the Ioye or feste
Which that the sowle of Troilus tho felte, 345
Heringe theffect of Pandarus biheste?
His olde wo, that made his herte swelte,
Gan tho for Ioye wasten and to-melte,
And al the richesse of his sykes sore
At ones fledde, he felte of hem no more. 350

But right so as these holtes and these hayes,
That han in winter dede been and dreye,
Revesten hem in grene, whan that May is,
Whan every lusty lyketh best to pleye;
Right in that selve wyse, sooth to seye, 355
Wax sodeynliche his herte ful of Ioye,
That gladder was ther never man in Troye.

And gan his look on Pandarus up caste
Ful sobrely, and frendly for to see,
And seyde, `Freend, in Aprille the laste, 360
As wel thou wost, if it remembre thee,
How neigh the deeth for wo thou founde me;
And how thou didest al thy bisinesse
To knowe of me the cause of my distresse.

`Thou wost how longe I it for-bar to seye 365
To thee, that art the man that I best triste;
And peril was it noon to thee by-wreye,
That wiste I wel; but tel me, if thee liste,
Sith I so looth was that thy-self it wiste,
How dorst I mo tellen of this matere, 370
That quake now, and no wight may us here?

`But natheles, by that god I thee swere,
That, as him list, may al this world governe,
And, if I lye, Achilles with his spere
Myn herte cleve, al were my lyf eterne, 375
As I am mortal, if I late or yerne
Wolde it biwreye, or dorste, or sholde conne,
For al the good that god made under sonne;

`That rather deye I wolde, and determyne,
As thinketh me, now stokked in presoun, 380
In wrecchednesse, in filthe, and in vermyne,
Caytif to cruel king Agamenoun;
And this, in alle the temples of this toun
Upon the goddes alle, I wol thee swere,
To-morwe day, if that thee lyketh here. 385

`And that thou hast so muche y-doon for me,
That I ne may it never-more deserve,
This knowe I wel, al mighte I now for thee
A thousand tymes on a morwen sterve.
I can no more, but that I wol thee serve 390
Right as thy sclave, whider-so thou wende,
For ever-more, un-to my lyves ende!

`But here, with al myn herte, I thee biseche,
That never in me thou deme swich folye
As I shal seyn; me thoughte, by thy speche, 395
That this, which thou me dost for companye,
I sholde wene it were a bauderye;
I am nought wood, al-if I lewed be;
It is not so, that woot I wel, pardee.

`But he that goth, for gold or for richesse, 400
On swich message, calle him what thee list;
And this that thou dost, calle it gentilesse,
Compassioun, and felawship, and trist;
Departe it so, for wyde-where is wist
How that there is dyversitee requered 405
Bitwixen thinges lyke, as I have lered.

`And, that thou knowe I thenke nought ne wene
That this servyse a shame be or Iape,
I have my faire suster Polixene,
Cassandre, Eleyne, or any of the frape; 410
Be she never so faire or wel y-shape,
Tel me, which thou wilt of everichone,
To han for thyn, and lat me thanne allone.

`But, sith that thou hast don me this servyse
My lyf to save, and for noon hope of mede, 415
So, for the love of god, this grete empryse
Performe it out; for now is moste nede.
For high and low, with-outen any drede,
I wol alwey thyne hestes alle kepe;
Have now good night, and lat us bothe slepe.' 420

Thus held him ech of other wel apayed,
That al the world ne mighte it bet amende;
And, on the morwe, whan they were arayed,
Ech to his owene nedes gan entende.
But Troilus, though as the fyr he brende 425
For sharp desyr of hope and of plesaunce,
He not for-gat his gode governaunce.

But in him-self with manhod gan restreyne
Ech rakel dede and ech unbrydled chere,
That alle tho that liven, sooth to seyne, 430
Ne sholde han wist, by word or by manere,
What that he mente, as touching this matere.
From every wight as fer as is the cloude
He was, so wel dissimulen he coude.

And al the whyl which that I yow devyse, 435
This was his lyf; with al his fulle might,
By day he was in Martes high servyse,
This is to seyn, in armes as a knight;
And for the more part, the longe night
He lay, and thoughte how that he mighte serve 440
His lady best, hir thank for to deserve.

Nil I nought swere, al-though he lay softe,
That in his thought he nas sumwhat disesed,
Ne that he tornede on his pilwes ofte,
And wolde of that him missed han ben sesed; 445
But in swich cas men is nought alwey plesed,
For ought I wot, no more than was he;
That can I deme of possibilitee.

But certeyn is, to purpos for to go,
That in this whyle, as writen is in geste, 450
He say his lady som-tyme; and also
She with him spak, whan that she dorste or leste,
And by hir bothe avys, as was the beste,
Apoynteden ful warly in this nede,
So as they dorste, how they wolde procede. 455

But it was spoken in so short a wyse,
In swich awayt alwey, and in swich fere,
Lest any wyght devynen or devyse
Wolde of hem two, or to it leye an ere,
That al this world so leef to hem ne were 460
As that Cupido wolde hem grace sende
To maken of hir speche aright an ende.

But thilke litel that they spake or wroughte,
His wyse goost took ay of al swich hede,
It semed hir, he wiste what she thoughte 465
With-outen word, so that it was no nede
To bidde him ought to done, or ought for-bede;
For which she thought that love, al come it late,
Of alle Ioye hadde opned hir the yate.

And shortly of this proces for to pace, 470
So wel his werk and wordes he bisette,
That he so ful stood in his lady grace,
That twenty thousand tymes, or she lette,
She thonked god she ever with him mette;
So coude he him governe in swich servyse, 475
That al the world ne might it bet devyse.

For-why she fond him so discreet in al,
So secret, and of swich obeisaunce,
That wel she felte he was to hir a wal
Of steel, and sheld from every displesaunce; 480
That, to ben in his gode governaunce,
So wys he was, she was no more afered,
I mene, as fer as oughte ben requered.

And Pandarus, to quike alwey the fyr,
Was evere y-lyke prest and diligent; 485
To ese his frend was set al his desyr.
He shof ay on, he to and fro was sent;
He lettres bar whan Troilus was absent.
That never man, as in his freendes nede,
Ne bar him bet than he, with-outen drede. 490

But now, paraunter, som man wayten wolde
That every word, or sonde, or look, or chere
Of Troilus that I rehersen sholde,
In al this whyle un-to his lady dere;
I trowe it were a long thing for to here; 495
Or of what wight that stant in swich disioynte,
His wordes alle, or every look, to poynte.

For sothe, I have not herd it doon er this,
In storye noon, ne no man here, I wene;
And though I wolde I coude not, y-wis; 500
For ther was som epistel hem bitwene,
That wolde, as seyth myn auctor, wel contene
Neigh half this book, of which him list not wryte;
How sholde I thanne a lyne of it endyte?

But to the grete effect: than sey I thus, 505
That stonding in concord and in quiete,
Thise ilke two, Criseyde and Troilus,
As I have told, and in this tyme swete,
Save only often mighte they not mete,
Ne layser have hir speches to fulfelle, 510
That it befel right as I shal yow telle.

That Pandarus, that ever dide his might
Right for the fyn that I shal speke of here,
As for to bringe to his hous som night
His faire nece, and Troilus y-fere, 515
Wher-as at leyser al this heigh matere,
Touching hir love, were at the fulle up-bounde,
Hadde out of doute a tyme to it founde.

For he with greet deliberacioun
Hadde every thing that her-to mighte avayle 520
Forn-cast, and put in execucioun.
And neither laft, for cost ne for travayle;
Come if hem list, hem sholde no-thing fayle;
And for to been in ought espyed there,
That, wiste he wel, an inpossible were. 525

Dredelees, it cleer was in the wind
Of every pye and every lette-game;
Now al is wel, for al the world is blind
In this matere, bothe fremed and tame.
This timbur is al redy up to frame; 530
Us lakketh nought but that we witen wolde
A certein houre, in which she comen sholde.

And Troilus, that al this purveyaunce
Knew at the fulle, and waytede on it ay,
Hadde here-up-on eek made gret ordenaunce, 535
And founde his cause, and ther-to his aray,
If that he were missed, night or day,
Ther-whyle he was aboute this servyse,
That he was goon to doon his sacrifyse,

And moste at swich a temple alone wake, 540
Answered of Appollo for to be;
And first to seen the holy laurer quake,
Er that Apollo spak out of the tree,
To telle him next whan Grekes sholden flee,
And forthy lette him no man, god forbede, 545
But preye Apollo helpen in this nede.

Now is ther litel more for to doone,
But Pandare up, and shortly for to seyne,
Right sone upon the chaunging of the mone,
Whan lightles is the world a night or tweyne, 550
And that the welken shoop him for to reyne,
He streight a-morwe un-to his nece wente;
Ye han wel herd the fyn of his entente.

Whan he was come, he gan anoon to pleye
As he was wont, and of him-self to Iape; 555
And fynally, he swor and gan hir seye,
By this and that, she sholde him not escape,
Ne lengere doon him after hir to gape;
But certeynly she moste, by hir leve,
Come soupen in his hous with him at eve. 560

At whiche she lough, and gan hir faste excuse,
And seyde, `It rayneth; lo, how sholde I goon?'
`Lat be,' quod he, `ne stond not thus to muse;
This moot be doon, ye shal be ther anoon.'
So at the laste her-of they felle at oon, 565
Or elles, softe he swor hir in hir ere,
He nolde never come ther she were.

Sone after this, to him she gan to rowne,
And asked him if Troilus were there?
He swor hir, `Nay, for he was out of towne,' 570
And seyde, `Nece, I pose that he were,
Yow thurfte never have the more fere.
For rather than men mighte him ther aspye,
Me were lever a thousand-fold to dye.'

Nought list myn auctor fully to declare 575
What that she thoughte whan he seyde so,
That Troilus was out of town y-fare,
As if he seyde ther-of sooth or no;
But that, with-outen awayt, with him to go,
She graunted him, sith he hir that bisoughte 580
And, as his nece, obeyed as hir oughte.

But nathelees, yet gan she him biseche,
Al-though with him to goon it was no fere,
For to be war of goosish peples speche,
That dremen thinges whiche that never were, 585
And wel avyse him whom he broughte there;
And seyde him, `Eem, sin I mot on yow triste,
Loke al be wel, and do now as yow liste.'

He swor hire, `Yis, by stokkes and by stones,
And by the goddes that in hevene dwelle, 590
Or elles were him levere, soule and bones,
With Pluto king as depe been in helle
As Tantalus!' What sholde I more telle?
Whan al was wel, he roos and took his leve,
And she to souper com, whan it was eve, 595

With a certayn of hir owene men,
And with hir faire nece Antigone,
And othere of hir wommen nyne or ten;
But who was glad now, who, as trowe ye,
But Troilus, that stood and mighte it see 600
Thurgh-out a litel windowe in a stewe,
Ther he bishet, sin midnight, was in mewe,

Unwist of every wight but of Pandare?
But to the poynt; now whan that she was y-come
With alle Ioye, and alle frendes fare, 605
Hir em anoon in armes hath hir nome,
And after to the souper, alle and some,
Whan tyme was, ful softe they hem sette;
God wot, ther was no deyntee for to fette.

And after souper gonnen they to ryse, 610
At ese wel, with hertes fresshe and glade,
And wel was him that coude best devyse
To lyken hir, or that hir laughen made.
He song; she pleyde; he tolde tale of Wade.
But at the laste, as every thing hath ende, 615
She took hir leve, and nedes wolde wende.

But O, Fortune, executrice of wierdes,
O influences of thise hevenes hye!
Soth is, that, under god, ye ben our hierdes,
Though to us bestes been the causes wrye. 620
This mene I now, for she gan hoomward hye,
But execut was al bisyde hir leve,
At the goddes wil, for which she moste bleve.

The bente mone with hir hornes pale,
Saturne, and Iove, in Cancro ioyned were, 625
That swich a rayn from hevene gan avale
That every maner womman that was there
Hadde of that smoky reyn a verray fere;
At which Pandare tho lough, and seyde thenne,
`Now were it tyme a lady to go henne! 630

`But goode nece, if I mighte ever plese

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