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The Canterbury Tales and Other Poems
by Geoffrey Chaucer
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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. *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, 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 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, 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 went."

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 * 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 tooke heed, As he that couthe* more than the creed *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 creature.

"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 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, 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 *for sport "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, 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 Greeks) 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 part of 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

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 gossip* "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; 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," 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* 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*

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 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

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 Lo! here the form of olde clerkes' speech, In poetry, if ye their bookes seech!* *seek, search

L'Envoy of Chaucer.

O moral Gower! this book I direct. To thee, and to the philosophical Strode, 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.

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 possessed it.

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 Sompnour's Tale.

7. Eft: another reading is "oft."

8. Arten: constrain — Latin, "arceo."

9. The song is a translation of Petrarch's 88th Sonnet, which opens thus: "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 date recurs.

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 a hawk.

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 stones.

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 bows.

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 Cressida.

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 of Fame".

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 learned.

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 imported rain.

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 Tale.

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 Tale.

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 fruitless love).

59. Made him such feast: French, "lui fit fete" — made holiday for him.

60. The cock is called, in "The Assembly of Fowls," "the horologe of thorpes lite;" [the clock of little villages] and in The Nun's Priest's Tale Chanticleer knew by nature each ascension of the equinoctial, and, when the sun had ascended fifteen degrees, "then crew he, that it might not be amended." Here he is termed the "common astrologer," as employing for the public advantage his knowledge of astronomy.

61. Fortuna Major: the planet Jupiter.

62. When Jupiter visited Alcmena in the form of her husband Amphitryon, he is said to have prolonged the night to the length of three natural nights. Hercules was the fruit of the union.

63. Chaucer seems to confound Titan, the title of the sun, with Tithonus (or Tithon, as contracted in poetry), whose couch Aurora was wont to share.

64. So, in "Locksley Hall," Tennyson says that "a sorrow's crown of sorrow is rememb'ring better things." The original is in Dante's words:- - "Nessun maggior dolore Che ricordarsi del tempo felice Nella miseria." — "Inferno," v. 121. ("There is no greater sorrow than to remember happy times when in misery")

65. As great a craft is to keep weal as win: it needs as much skill to keep prosperity as to attain it.

66. To heap: together. See the reference to Boethius in note 91 to the Knight's Tale.

67. The smalle beastes let he go beside: a charming touch, indicative of the noble and generous inspiration of his love.

68. Mew: the cage or chamber in which hawks were kept and carefully tended during the moulting season.

69. Love of steel: love as true as steel.

70. Pandarus, as it repeatedly appears, was an unsucsessful lover.

71. "Each for his virtue holden is full dear, Both heroner, and falcon for rivere":— That is, each is esteemed for a special virtue or faculty, as the large gerfalcon for the chase of heron, the smaller goshawk for the chase of river fowl.

72. Zausis: An author of whom no record survives.

73. And upon new case lieth new advice: new counsels must be adopted as new circumstances arise.

74. Hid in mew: hidden in a place remote from the world — of which Pandarus thus betrays ignorance.

75. The modern phrase "sixes and sevens," means "in confusion:" but here the idea of gaming perhaps suits the sense better — "set the world upon a cast of the dice."

76. The controversy between those who maintained the doctrine of predestination and those who held that of free-will raged with no less animation at Chaucer's day, and before it, than it has done in the subsequent five centuries; the Dominicans upholding the sterner creed, the Franciscans taking the other side. Chaucer has more briefly, and with the same care not to commit himself, referred to the discussion in The Nun's Priest's Tale.

77. That have their top full high and smooth y-shore: that are eminent among the clergy, who wear the tonsure.

78. Athamante: Athamas, son of Aeolus; who, seized with madness, under the wrath of Juno for his neglect of his wife Nephele, slew his son Learchus.

79. Simois: one of the rivers of the Troad, flowing into the Xanthus.

80. Troilus was the son of Priam and Hecuba.

81. The son of Tydeus: Diomedes; far oftener called Tydides, after his father Tydeus, king of Argos.

82. Couthe more than the creed: knew more than the mere elements (of the science of Love).

83. Arache: wrench away, unroot (French, "arracher"); the opposite of "enrace," to root in, implant.

84. It will be remembered that, at the beginning of the first book, Cressida is introduced to us as a widow.

85. Diomede is called "sudden," for the unexpectedness of his assault on Cressida's heart — or, perhaps, for the abrupt abandonment of his indifference to love.

86. Penscel: a pennon or pendant; French, "penoncel." It was the custom in chivalric times for a knight to wear, on days of tournament or in battle, some such token of his lady's favour, or badge of his service to her.

87. She has been told that Troilus is deceiving her.

88. The Roman kalends were the first day of the month, when a change of weather was usually expected.

89. Maker, and making, words used in the Middle Ages to signify the composer and the composition of poetry, correspond exactly with the Greek "poietes" and "poiema," from "poieo," I make.

90. My rather speech: my earlier, former subject; "rather" is the cormparative of the old adjective "rath," early.

91. Up to the hollowness of the seventh sphere: passing up through the hollowness or concavity of the spheres, which all revolve round each other and are all contained by God (see note 5 to the Assembly of Fowls), the soul of Troilus, looking downward, beholds the converse or convex side of the spheres which it has traversed.

92. Sorted: allotted; from Latin, "sors," lot, fortune.

93. Rascaille: rabble; French, "racaille" — a mob or multitude, the riff-raff; so Spencer speaks of the "rascal routs" of inferior combatants.

94. John Gower, the poet, a contemporary and friend of Chaucer's; author, among other works, of the "Confessio Amantis." See note 1 to the Man of Law's Tale.

95. Strode was an eminent scholar of Merton College, Oxford, and tutor to Chaucer's son Lewis.

96. Explicit Liber Troili et Cresseidis: "The end of the book of Troilus and Cressida."



CHAUCER'S DREAM.

[This pretty allegory, or rather conceit, containing one or two passages that for vividness and for delicacy yield to nothing in the whole range of Chaucer's poetry, had never been printed before the year 1597, when it was included in the edition of Speght. Before that date, indeed, a Dream of Chaucer had been printed; but the poem so described was in reality "The Book of the Duchess; or the Death of Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster" — which is not included in the present edition. Speght says that "This Dream, devised by Chaucer, seemeth to be a covert report of the marriage of John of Gaunt, the King's son, with Blanche, the daughter of Henry, Duke of Lancaster; who after long love (during the time whereof the poet feigneth them to be dead) were in the end, by consent of friends, happily married; figured by a bird bringing in his bill an herb, which restored them to life again. Here also is showed Chaucer's match with a certain gentlewoman, who, although she was a stranger, was, notwithstanding, so well liked and loved of the Lady Blanche and her Lord, as Chaucer himself also was, that gladly they concluded a marriage between them." John of Gaunt, at the age of nineteen, and while yet Earl of Richmond, was married to the Lady Blanche at Reading in May 1359; Chaucer, then a prisoner in France, probably did not return to England till peace was concluded in the following year; so that his marriage to Philippa Roet, the sister of the Duchess Blanche's favourite attendant Katharine Roet, could not have taken place till some time after that of the Duke. In the poem, it is represented to have immediately followed; but no consequence need be attached to that statement. Enough that it followed at no great interval of time; and that the intimate relations which Chaucer had already begun to form with John of Gaunt, might well warrant him in writing this poem on the occasion of the Duke's marriage, and in weaving his own love-fortunes with those of the principal figures. In the necessary abridgement of the poem for the present edition, the subsidiary branch of the allegory, relating to the poet's own love affair, has been so far as possible separated from the main branch, which shadows forth the fortunes of John and Blanche. The poem, in full, contains, with an "Envoy" arbitrarily appended, 2233 lines; of which 510 are given here.] (Transcriber's note: modern scholars believe that Chaucer was not the author of this poem)

WHEN Flora, the queen of pleasance, Had wholly *achiev'd the obeisance* *won the obedience* Of the fresh and the new season, Thorough ev'ry region; And with her mantle *whole covert* *wholly covered* What winter had *made discovert,* — *stripped*

On a May night, the poet lay alone, thinking of his lady, and all her beauty; and, falling asleep, he dreamed that he was in an island

Where wall, and gate, was all of glass, And so was closed round about, That leaveless* none came in nor out; *without permission Uncouth and strange to behold; For ev'ry gate, of fine gold, A thousand fanes,* ay turning, *vanes, weathercocks Entuned* had, and birds singing *contrived so as to emit Diversely, on each fane a pair, a musical sound With open mouth, against the air; And *of a suit* were all the tow'rs, *of the same plan* Subtilly *carven aft* flow'rs *carved to represent* Of uncouth colours, *during ay,* *lasting forever* That never be none seen in May, With many a small turret high; But man alive I could not sigh,* *see Nor creatures, save ladies play,* *disporting themselves Which were such of their array, That, as me thought, *of goodlihead* *for comeliness* They passed all, and womanhead. For to behold them dance and sing, It seemed like none earthly thing;

And all were of the same age, save one; who was advanced in years, though no less gay in demeanour than the rest. While he stood admiring the richness and beauty of the place, and the fairness of the ladies, which had the notable gift of enduring unimpaired till death, the poet was accosted by the old lady, to whom he had to yield himself prisoner; because the ordinance of the isle was, that no man should dwell there; and the ladies' fear of breaking the law was enhanced by the temporary absence of their queen from the realm. Just at this moment the cry was raised that the queen came; all the ladies hastened to meet her; and soon the poet saw her approach — but in her company his mistress, wearing the same garb, and a seemly knight. All the ladies wondered greatly at this; and the queen explained:

"My sisters, how it hath befall,* *befallen I trow ye know it one and all, That of long time here have I been Within this isle biding as queen, Living at ease, that never wight More perfect joye have not might; And to you been of governance Such as you found in whole pleasance, In every thing as ye know, After our custom and our law; Which how they firste founded were, I trow ye wot all the mannere. And who the queen is of this isle, — As I have been this longe while, — Each seven years must, of usage, Visit the heav'nly hermitage, Which on a rock so highe stands, In a strange sea, out from all lands, That for to make the pilgrimage Is call'd a perilous voyage; For if the wind be not good friend, The journey dureth to the end Of him which that it undertakes; Of twenty thousand not one scapes. Upon which rock groweth a tree, That certain years bears apples three; Which three apples whoso may have, Is *from all displeasance y-save* *safe from all pain* That in the seven years may fall; This wot you well, both one and all. For the first apple and the hext,* *highest Which groweth unto you the next, Hath three virtues notable, And keepeth youth ay durable, Beauty, and looks, ever-in-one,* *continually And is the best of ev'ry one. The second apple, red and green, Only with lookes of your eyne, You nourishes in great pleasance, Better than partridge or fesaunce,* *pheasant And feedeth ev'ry living wight Pleasantly, only with the sight. And the third apple of the three, Which groweth lowest on the tree, Whoso it beareth may not fail* *miss, fail to obtain That* to his pleasance may avail. *that which So your pleasure and beauty rich, Your during youth ever y-lich,* *alike Your truth, your cunning,* and your weal, *knowledge Hath flower'd ay, and your good heal, Without sickness or displeasance, Or thing that to you was noyance.* *offence, injury So that you have as goddesses Lived above all princesses. Now is befall'n, as ye may see; To gather these said apples three, I have not fail'd, against the day, Thitherward to take the way, *Weening to speed* as I had oft. *expecting to succeed* But when I came, I found aloft My sister, which that hero stands, Having those apples in her hands, Advising* them, and nothing said, *regarding, gazing on But look'd as she were *well apaid:* *satisfied* And as I stood her to behold, Thinking how my joys were cold, Since I these apples *have not might,* *might not have* Even with that so came this knight, And in his arms, of me unware, Me took, and to his ship me bare, And said, though him I ne'er had seen, Yet had I long his lady been; Wherefore I shoulde with him wend, And he would, to his life's end, My servant be; and gan to sing, As one that had won a rich thing. Then were my spirits from me gone, So suddenly every one, That in me appear'd but death, For I felt neither life nor breath, Nor good nor harme none I knew, The sudden pain me was so new, That *had not the hasty grace be* *had it not been for the Of this lady, that from the tree prompt kindness* Of her gentleness so bled,* *hastened Me to comforten, I had died; And of her three apples she one Into mine hand there put anon, Which brought again my mind and breath, And me recover'd from the death. Wherefore to her so am I hold,* *beholden, obliged That for her all things do I wo'ld, For she was leach* of all my smart, *physician And from great pain so quit* my heart. *delivered And as God wot, right as ye hear, Me to comfort with friendly cheer, She did her prowess and her might. And truly eke so did this knight, In that he could; and often said, That of my woe he was *ill paid,* *distressed, ill-pleased* And curs'd the ship that him there brought, The mast, the master that it wrought. And, as each thing must have an end, My sister here, our bother friend, Gan with her words so womanly This knight entreat, and cunningly, For mine honour and hers also, And said that with her we should go Both in her ship, where she was brought, Which was so wonderfully wrought, So clean, so rich, and so array'd, That we were both content and paid;* *satisfied And me to comfort and to please, And my heart for to put at ease, She took great pain in little while, And thus hath brought us to this isle As ye may see; wherefore each one I pray you thank her one and one, As heartily as ye can devise, Or imagine in any wise."

At once there then men mighte see'n, A world of ladies fall on kneen Before my lady, —

Thanking her, and placing themselves at her commandment. Then the queen sent the aged lady to the knight, to learn of him why he had done her all this woe; and when the messenger had discharged her mission, telling the knight that in the general opinion he had done amiss, he fell down suddenly as if dead for sorrow and repentance. Only with great difficulty, by the queen herself, was he restored to consciousness and comfort; but though she spoke kind and hope-inspiring words, her heart was not in her speech,

For her intent was, to his barge Him for to bring against the eve, With certain ladies, and take leave, And pray him, of his gentleness, To *suffer her* thenceforth in peace, *let her dwell* As other princes had before; And from thenceforth, for evermore, She would him worship in all wise That gentlenesse might devise; And *pain her* wholly to fulfil, *make her utmost efforts* In honour, his pleasure and will.

And during thus this knighte's woe, — Present* the queen and other mo', *(there being) present* My lady and many another wight, — Ten thousand shippes at a sight I saw come o'er the wavy flood, With sail and oar; that, as I stood Them to behold, I gan marvail From whom might come so many a sail; For, since the time that I was born, Such a navy therebeforn Had I not seen, nor so array'd, That for the sight my hearte play'd Ay to and fro within my breast; For joy long was ere it would rest. For there were sailes *full of flow'rs;* *embroidered with flowers* After, castles with huge tow'rs, Seeming full of armes bright, That wond'rous lusty* was the sight; *pleasant With large tops, and mastes long, Richly depaint' and *rear'd among.* *raised among them* At certain times gan repair Smalle birdes down from the air, And on the shippes' bounds* about *bulwarks Sat and sang, with voice full out, Ballads and lays right joyously, As they could in their harmony.

The ladies were alarmed and sorrow-stricken at sight of the ships, thinking that the knight's companions were on board; and they went towards the walls of the isle, to shut the gates. But it was Cupid who came; and he had already landed, and marched straight to the place where the knight lay. Then he chid the queen for her unkindness to his servant; shot an arrow into her heart; and passed through the crowd, until he found the poet's lady, whom he saluted and complimented, urging her to have pity on him that loved her. While the poet, standing apart, was revolving all this in his mind, and resolving truly to serve his lady, he saw the queen advance to Cupid, with a petition in which she besought forgiveness of past offences, and promised continual and zealous service till her death. Cupid smiled, and said that he would be king within that island, his new conquest; then, after long conference with the queen, he called a council for the morrow, of all who chose to wear his colours. In the morning, such was the press of ladies, that scarcely could standing-room be found in all the plain. Cupid presided; and one of his counsellors addressed the mighty crowd, promising that ere his departure his lord should bring to an agreement all the parties there present. Then Cupid gave to the knight and the dreamer each his lady; promised his favour to all the others in that place who would truly and busily serve in love; and at evening took his departure. Next morning, having declined the proffered sovereignty of the island, the poet's mistress also embarked, leaving him behind; but he dashed through the waves, was drawn on board her ship from peril of death, and graciously received into his lady's lasting favour. Here the poet awakes, finding his cheeks and body all wet with tears; and, removing into another chamber, to rest more in peace, he falls asleep anew, and continues the dream. Again he is within the island, where the knight and all the ladies are assembled on a green, and it is resolved by the assembly, not only that the knight shall be their king, but that every lady there shall be wedded also. It is determined that the knight shall depart that very day, and return, within ten days, with such a host of Benedicts, that none in the isle need lack husbands. The knight

Anon into a little barge Brought was, late against an eve, Where of all he took his leave. Which barge was, as a man thought, Aft* his pleasure to him brought; *according to* The queen herself accustom'd ay In the same barge to play.* *take her sport It needed neither mast nor rother* *rudder (I have not heard of such another), Nor master for the governance;* *steering It sailed by thought and pleasance, Withoute labour, east and west; All was one, calm or tempest. And I went with, at his request, And was the first pray'd to the feast.* *the bridal feast When he came unto his country, And passed had the wavy sea, In a haven deep and large He left his rich and noble barge, And to the court, shortly to tell, He went, where he was wont to dwell, —

And was gladly received as king by the estates of the land; for during his absence his father, "old, and wise, and hoar," had died, commending to their fidelity his absent son. The prince related to the estates his journey, and his success in finding the princess in quest of whom he had gone seven years before; and said that he must have sixty thousand guests at his marriage feast. The lords gladly guaranteed the number within the set time; but afterwards they found that fifteen days must be spent in the necessary preparations. Between shame and sorrow, the prince, thus compelled to break his faith, took to his bed, and, in wailing and self-reproach,

— Endur'd the days fifteen, Till that the lords, on an evene,* *evening Him came and told they ready were, And showed in few wordes there, How and what wise they had *purvey'd *provided suitably For his estate,* and to him said, to his rank* That twenty thousand knights of name, And forty thousand without blame, Alle come of noble ligne* *line, lineage Together in a company Were lodged on a river's side, Him and his pleasure there t'abide. The prince then for joy uprose, And, where they lodged were, he goes, Withoute more, that same night, And there his supper *made to dight;* *had prepared* And with them bode* till it was day. *abode, waited* And forthwith to take his journey, Leaving the strait, holding the large, Till he came to his noble barge: And when the prince, this lusty knight, With his people in armes bright, Was come where he thought to pass,* *cross to the isle And knew well none abiding was Behind, but all were there present, Forthwith anon all his intent He told them there, and made his cries* *proclamation Thorough his hoste that day twice, Commanding ev'ry living wight There being present in his sight, To be the morrow on the rivage,* *shore There he begin would his voyage.

The morrow come, the *cry was kept* *proclamation was obeyed* But few were there that night that slept, But *truss'd and purvey'd* for the morrow; *packed up and provided* For fault* of ships was all their sorrow; *lack, shortage For, save the barge, and other two, Of shippes there I saw no mo'. Thus in their doubtes as they stood, Waxing the sea, coming the flood, Was cried "To ship go ev'ry wight!" Then was but *hie that hie him might,* *whoever could hasten, did* And to the barge, me thought, each one They went, without was left not one, Horse, nor male*, truss, nor baggage, *trunk, wallet Salad*, spear, gardebrace,** nor page, *helmet **arm-shield But was lodged and room enough; At which shipping me thought I lough,* *laughed And gan to marvel in my thought, How ever such a ship was wrought.* *constructed For *what people that can increase,* *however the numbers increased* Nor ne'er so thick might be the prease,* *press, crowd But alle hadde room at will; There was not one was lodged ill. For, as I trow, myself the last Was one, and lodged by the mast; And where I look'd I saw such room As all were lodged in a town. Forth went the ship, said was the creed; And on their knees, *for their good speed,* *to pray for success* Down kneeled ev'ry wight a while, And prayed fast that to the isle They mighte come in safety, The prince and all the company. With worship and withoute blame, Or disclander* of his name, *reproach, slander Of the promise he should return Within the time he did sojourn In his lande biding* his host; *waiting for This was their prayer least and most: To keep the day it might not be'n, That he appointed with the queen.

Wherefore the prince slept neither day nor night, till he and his people landed on the glass-walled isle, "weening to be in heav'n that night." But ere they had gone a little way, they met a lady all in black, with piteous countenance, who reproached the prince for his untruth, and informed him that, unable to bear the reproach to their name, caused by the lightness of their trust in strangers, the queen and all the ladies of the isle had vowed neither to eat, nor drink, nor sleep, nor speak, nor cease weeping till all were dead. The queen had died the first; and half of the other ladies had already "under the earth ta'en lodging new." The woeful recorder of all these woes invites the prince to behold the queen's hearse:

"Come within, come see her hearse Where ye shall see the piteous sight That ever yet was shown to knight; For ye shall see ladies stand, Each with a greate rod in hand, Clad in black, with visage white, Ready each other for to smite, If any be that will not weep; Or who makes countenance to sleep. They be so beat, that all so blue They be as cloth that dy'd is new."

Scarcely has the lady ceased to speak, when the prince plucks forth a dagger, plunges it into his heart, and, drawing but one breath, expires.

For whiche cause the lusty host, Which [stood] in battle on the coast, At once for sorrow such a cry Gan rear, thorough* the company, *throughout That to the heav'n heard was the soun', And under th'earth as far adown, And wilde beastes for the fear So suddenly affrayed* were, *afraid That for the doubt, while they might dure,* *have a chance of safety They ran as of their lives unsure, From the woodes into the plain, And from valleys the high mountain They sought, and ran as beastes blind, That clean forgotten had their kind.* *nature

The lords of the laggard host ask the woebegone lady what should be done; she answers that nothing can now avail, but that for remembrance they should build in their land, open to public view, "in some notable old city," a chapel engraved with some memorial of the queen. And straightway, with a sigh, she also "pass'd her breath."

Then said the lordes of the host, And so concluded least and most, That they would ay in houses of thack* *thatch Their lives lead, and wear but black, And forsake all their pleasances, And turn all joy to penances; And bare the dead prince to the barge, And named *them should* have the charge; *those who should* And to the hearse where lay the queen The remnant went, and down on kneen, Holding their hands on high, gan cry, "Mercy! mercy!" *evereach thry;* *each one thrice* And curs'd the time that ever sloth Should have such masterdom of troth. And to the barge, a longe mile, They bare her forth; and, in a while, All the ladies, one and one, By companies were brought each one. And pass'd the sea, and took the land, And in new hearses, on a sand, Put and brought were all anon, Unto a city clos'd with stone, Where it had been used ay The kinges of the land to lay, After they reigned in honours; And writ was which were conquerours; In an abbey of nunnes black, Which accustom'd were to wake, And of usage rise each a-night, To pray for ev'ry living wight. And so befell, as is the guise, Ordain'd and said was the service Of the prince and eke of the queen, So devoutly as mighte be'n; And, after that, about the hearses, Many orisons and verses, Withoute note* full softely *music Said were, and that full heartily; That all the night, till it was day, The people in the church gan pray Unto the Holy Trinity, Of those soules to have pity.

And when the nighte past and run Was, and the newe day begun, — The young morrow with rayes red, Which from the sun all o'er gan spread, Attemper'd* cleare was and fair, *clement, calm And made a time of wholesome air, — Befell a wondrous case* and strange *chance, event Among the people, and gan change Soon the word, and ev'ry woe Unto a joy, and some to two.

A bird, all feather'd blue and green, With brighte rays like gold between, As small thread over ev'ry joint, All full of colour strange and coint,* *quaint Uncouth* and wonderful to sight, *unfamiliar Upon the queene's hearse gan light, And sung full low and softely Three songes in their harmony, *Unletted of* every wight; *unhindered by* Till at the last an aged knight, Which seem'd a man in greate thought, Like as he set all thing at nought, With visage and eyes all forwept,* *steeped in tears And pale, as a man long unslept, By the hearses as he stood, With hasty handling of his hood Unto a prince that by him past, Made the bird somewhat aghast.* *frightened Wherefore he rose and left his song, And departed from us among, And spread his winges for to pass By the place where he enter'd was. And in his haste, shortly to tell, Him hurt, that backward down he fell, From a window richly paint, With lives of many a divers saint, And beat his winges and bled fast, And of the hurt thus died and past; And lay there well an hour and more Till, at the last, of birds a score Came and assembled at the place Where the window broken was, And made such waimentatioun,* *lamentation That pity was to hear the soun', And the warbles of their throats, And the complaint of their notes, Which from joy clean was reversed. And of them one the glass soon pierced, And in his beak, of colours nine, An herb he brought, flow'rless, all green, Full of smalle leaves, and plain,* *smooth Swart,* and long, with many a vein. *black And where his fellow lay thus dead, This herb he down laid by his head, And dressed* it full softely, *arranged And hung his head, and stood thereby. Which herb, in less than half an hour, Gan over all knit,* and after flow'r *bud Full out; and waxed ripe the seed; And, right as one another feed Would, in his beak he took the grain, And in his fellow's beak certain It put, and thus within the third* *i.e. third hour after it Upstood and pruned him the bird, had died Which dead had been in all our sight; And both together forth their flight Took, singing, from us, and their leave; Was none disturb them would nor grieve. And, when they parted were and gone, Th' abbess the seedes soon each one Gathered had, and in her hand The herb she took, well avisand* *considering The leaf, the seed, the stalk, the flow'r, And said it had a good savour, And was no common herb to find, And well approv'd of *uncouth kind,* *strange nature* And more than other virtuous; Whoso might it have for to use In his need, flower, leaf, or grain, Of his heal might be certain. [She] laid it down upon the hearse Where lay the queen; and gan rehearse Each one to other what they had seen. And, *taling thus,* the seed wax'd green, *as they gossiped* And on the dry hearse gan to spring, — Which me thought was a wondrous thing, — And, after that, flow'r and new seed; Of which the people all took heed, And said it was some great miracle, Or medicine fine more than treacle; And were well done there to assay If it might ease, in any way, The corpses, which with torchelight They waked had there all that night. Soon did the lordes there consent, And all the people thereto content, With easy words and little fare;* *ado, trouble And made the queene's visage bare, Which showed was to all about, Wherefore in swoon fell all the rout,* *company, crowd And were so sorry, most and least, That long of weeping they not ceas'd; For of their lord the remembrance Unto them was such displeasance.* *cause of grief That for to live they called pain, So were they very true and plain. And after this the good abbess Of the grains gan choose and dress* *prepare Three, with her fingers clean and smale,* *small And in the queenes mouth, by tale, One after other, full easily She put, and eke full cunningly.* *skilfully Which showed some such virtue. That proved was the medicine true. For with a smiling countenance The queen uprose, and of usance* *custom As she was wont, to ev'ry wight She *made good cheer;* for whiche sight *showed a gracious The people, kneeling on the stones, countenance* Thought they in heav'n were, soul and bones; And to the prince, where that he lay, They went to make the same assay.* *trial, experiment And when the queen it understood, And how the medicine was good, She pray'd that she might have the grains, To relieve him from the pains Which she and he had both endur'd. And to him went, and so him cur'd, That, within a little space, Lusty and fresh alive he was, And in good heal, and whole of speech, And laugh'd, and said, *"Gramercy, leach!"* *"Great thanks, For which the joy throughout the town my physician!"* So great was, that the belles' soun' Affray'd the people a journey* *to the distance of About the city ev'ry way; a day's journey* And came and ask'd the cause, and why They rungen were so stately.* *proudly, solemnly And after that the queen, th'abbess, Made diligence, ere they would cease, Such, that of ladies soon a rout* *company, crowd Suing* the queen was all about; *following And, call'd by name each one and told,* *numbered Was none forgotten, young nor old. There mighte men see joyes new, When the medicine, fine and true, Thus restor'd had ev'ry wight, So well the queen as the knight, Unto perfect joy and heal, That *floating they were in such weal* *swimming in such As folk that woulden in no wise happiness* Desire more perfect paradise.

On the morrow a general assembly was convoked, and it was resolved that the wedding feast should be celebrated within the island. Messengers were sent to strange realms, to invite kings, queens, duchesses, and princesses; and a special embassy was despatched, in the magic barge, to seek the poet's mistress — who was brought back after fourteen days, to the great joy of the queen. Next day took place the wedding of the prince and all the knights to the queen and all the ladies; and a three months' feast followed, on a large plain "under a wood, in a champaign, betwixt a river and a well, where never had abbey nor cell been, nor church, house, nor village, in time of any manne's age." On the day after the general wedding, all entreated the poet's lady to consent to crown his love with marriage; she yielded; the bridal was splendidly celebrated; and to the sound of marvellous music the poet awoke, to find neither lady nor creature — but only old portraitures on the tapestry, of horsemen, hawks, and hounds, and hurt deer full of wounds. Great was his grief that he had lost all the bliss of his dream; and he concludes by praying his lady so to accept his love-service, that the dream may turn to reality.

Or elles, without more I pray, That this night, ere it be day, I may unto my dream return, And sleeping so forth ay sojourn Aboute the Isle of Pleasance, *Under my lady's obeisance,* *subject to my lady* In her service, and in such wise, As it may please her to devise; And grace once to be accept', Like as I dreamed when I slept, And dure a thousand year and ten In her good will: Amen, amen!

Notes to Chaucer's Dream

1. The birds on the weathervanes were set up facing the wind, so that it entered their open mouths, and by some mechanism produced the musical sound.

2. "And to you been of governance Such as you found in whole pleasance" That is, "and have governed you in a manner which you have found wholly pleasant."

3. Hext: highest; from "high," as "next" from "nigh." Compare the sounds of the German, "hoechst," highest, and "naechst," next.

4. "Your brother friend," is the common reading; but the phrase has no apparent applicability; and perhaps the better reading is "our bother friend" — that is, the lady who has proved herself a friend both to me and to you. In the same way, Reason, in Troilus' soliloquy on the impending loss of his mistress, is made, addressing Troilus and Cressida, to speaks of "your bother," or "bothe," love.

5. The ships had high embattled poops and forecastles, as in mediaeval ships of war.

6. Compare Spenser's account of Phaedria's barque, in "The Faerie Queen," canto vi. book ii.; and, mutatis mutandis, Chaucer's description of the wondrous horse, in The Squire's Tale.

7. Salad: a small helmet; french, "salade."

8. Gardebrace: French, "garde-bras," an arm-shield; probably resembling the "gay bracer" which the Yeoman, in the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales, wears on his arm.

9. Confession and prayer were the usual preliminaries of any enterprise in those superstitious days; and in these days of enlightenment the fashion yet lingers among the most superstitious class — the fisher-folk.

10. The knights resolved that they would quit their castles and houses of stone for humble huts.

11. The knight and lady were buried without music, although the office for the dead was generally sung.

12. Avisand: considering; present participle from "avise" or "advise."

13. Treacle; corrupted from Latin, "therisca," an antidote. The word is used for medicine in general.

14. The abbess made diligence: i.e. to administer the grain to the dead ladies.



THE PROLOGUE TO THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN.

[SOME difference of opinion exists as to the date at which Chaucer wrote "The Legend of Good Women." Those who would fix that date at a period not long before the poet's death — who would place the poem, indeed, among his closing labours — support their opinion by the fact that the Prologue recites most of Chaucer's principal works, and glances, besides, at a long array of other productions, too many to be fully catalogued. But, on the other hand, it is objected that the "Legend" makes no mention of "The Canterbury Tales" as such; while two of those Tales — the Knight's and the Second Nun's — are enumerated by the titles which they bore as separate compositions, before they were incorporated in the great collection: "The Love of Palamon and Arcite," and "The Life of Saint Cecile" (see note 1 to the Second Nun's tale). Tyrwhitt seems perfectly justified in placing the composition of the poem immediately before that of Chaucer's magnum opus, and after the marriage of Richard II to his first queen, Anne of Bohemia. That event took place in 1382; and since it is to Anne that the poet refers when he makes Alcestis bid him give his poem to the queen "at Eltham or at Sheen," the "Legend" could not have been written earlier. The old editions tell us that "several ladies in the Court took offence at Chaucer's large speeches against the untruth of women; therefore the queen enjoin'd him to compile this book in the commendation of sundry maidens and wives, who show'd themselves faithful to faithless men. This seems to have been written after The Flower and the Leaf." Evidently it was, for distinct references to that poem are to be found in the Prologue; but more interesting is the indication which it furnishes, that "Troilus and Cressida" was the work, not of the poet's youth, but of his maturer age. We could hardly expect the queen — whether of Love or of England — to demand seriously from Chaucer a retractation of sentiments which he had expressed a full generation before, and for which he had made atonement by the splendid praises of true love sung in "The Court of Love," "The Cuckoo and the Nightingale," and other poems of youth and middle life. But "Troilus and Cressida" is coupled with "The Romance of the Rose," as one of the poems which had given offence to the servants and the God of Love; therefore we may suppose it to have more prominently engaged courtly notice at a later period of the poet's life, than even its undoubted popularity could explain. At whatever date, or in whatever circumstances, undertaken, "The Legend of Good Women" is a fragment. There are several signs that it was designed to contain the stories of twenty-five ladies, although the number of the good women is in the poem itself set down at nineteen; but nine legends only were actually composed, or have come down to us. They are, those of Cleopatra Queen of Egypt (126 lines), Thisbe of Babylon (218), Dido Queen of Carthage (442), Hypsipyle and Medea (312), Lucrece of Rome (206), Ariadne of Athens (340), Phiomela (167), Phyllis (168), and Hypermnestra (162). Prefixed to these stories, which are translated or imitated from Ovid, is a Prologue containing 579 lines — the only part of the "Legend" given in the present edition. It is by far the most original, the strongest, and most pleasing part of the poem; the description of spring, and of his enjoyment of that season, are in Chaucer's best manner; and the political philosophy by which Alcestis mitigates the wrath of Cupid, adds another to the abounding proofs that, for his knowledge of the world, Chaucer fairly merits the epithet of "many-sided" which Shakespeare has won by his knowledge of man.]

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