'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 Yow any-thing, than prey I yow,' quod he, 'To doon myn herte as now so greet an ese As for to dwelle here al this night with me, For-why this is your owene hous, pardee. 635 For, by my trouthe, I sey it nought a-game, To wende as now, it were to me a shame.'
Criseyde, which that coude as muche good As half a world, tok hede of his preyere; And sin it ron, and al was on a flood, 640 She thoughte, as good chep may I dwellen here, And graunte it gladly with a freendes chere, And have a thank, as grucche and thanne abyde; For hoom to goon, it may nought wel bityde.'
'I wol,' quod she, 'myn uncle leef and dere, 645 Sin that yow list, it skile is to be so; I am right glad with yow to dwellen here; I seyde but a-game, I wolde go.' 'Y-wis, graunt mercy, nece!' quod he tho; 'Were it a game or no, soth for to telle, 650 Now am I glad, sin that yow list to dwelle.'
Thus al is wel; but tho bigan aright The newe Ioye, and al the feste agayn; But Pandarus, if goodly hadde he might, He wolde han hyed hir to bedde fayn, 655 And seyde, 'Lord, this is an huge rayn! This were a weder for to slepen inne; And that I rede us sonE to biginne.
'And nece, woot ye wher I wol yow leye, For that we shul not liggen fer asonder, 660 And for ye neither shullen, dar I seye, Heren noise of reynes nor of thondre? By god, right in my lyte closet yonder. And I wol in that outer hous allone Be wardeyn of your wommen everichone. 665
'And in this middel chaumbre that ye see Shal youre wommen slepen wel and softe; And ther I seyde shal your-selve be; And if ye liggen wel to-night, com ofte, And careth not what weder is on-lofte. 670 The wyn anon, and whan so that yow leste, So go we slepe, I trowe it be the beste.'
Ther nis no more, but here-after sone, The voyde dronke, and travers drawe anon, Gan every wight, that hadde nought to done 675 More in the place, out of the chaumber gon. And ever-mo so sternelich it ron, And blew ther-with so wonderliche loude, That wel neigh no man heren other coude.
Tho Pandarus, hir eem, right as him oughte, 680 With women swiche as were hir most aboute, Ful glad un-to hir beddes syde hir broughte, And toke his leve, and gan ful lowe loute, And seyde, 'Here at this closet-dore with-oute, Right over-thwart, your wommen liggen alle, 685 That, whom yow list of hem, ye may here calle.'
So whan that she was in the closet leyd, And alle hir wommen forth by ordenaunce A-bedde weren, ther as I have seyd, There was no more to skippen nor to traunce, 690 But boden go to bedde, with mischaunce, If any wight was steringe any-where, And late hem slepe that a-bedde were.
But Pandarus, that wel coude eche a del The olde daunce, and every poynt ther-inne, 695 Whan that he sey that alle thing was wel, He thoughte he wolde up-on his werk biginne, And gan the stewe-dore al softe un-pinne; And stille as stoon, with-outen lenger lette, By Troilus a-doun right he him sette. 700
And, shortly to the poynt right for to gon, Of al this werk he tolde him word and ende, And seyde, 'Make thee redy right anon, For thou shalt in-to hevene blisse wende.' 'Now blisful Venus, thou me grace sende,' 705 Quod Troilus, 'for never yet no nede Hadde I er now, ne halvendel the drede.'
Quod Pandarus, 'Ne drede thee never a del, For it shal been right as thou wilt desyre; So thryve I, this night shal I make it wel, 710 Or casten al the gruwel in the fyre.' 'Yit blisful Venus, this night thou me enspyre,' Quod Troilus, 'as wis as I thee serve, And ever bet and bet shal, til I sterve.
'And if I hadde, O Venus ful of murthe, 715 Aspectes badde of Mars or of Saturne, Or thou combust or let were in my birthe, Thy fader prey al thilke harm disturne Of grace, and that I glad ayein may turne, For love of him thou lovedest in the shawe, 720 I mene Adoon, that with the boor was slawe.
'O Iove eek, for the love of faire Europe, The whiche in forme of bole awey thou fette; Now help, O Mars, thou with thy blody cope, For love of Cipris, thou me nought ne lette; 725 O Phebus, thenk whan Dane hir-selven shette Under the bark, and laurer wex for drede, Yet for hir love, O help now at this nede!
'Mercurie, for the love of Hierse eke, For which Pallas was with Aglauros wrooth, 730 Now help, and eek Diane, I thee biseke That this viage be not to thee looth. O fatal sustren, which, er any clooth Me shapen was, my destene me sponne, So helpeth to this werk that is bi-gonne!' 735
Quod Pandarus, 'Thou wrecched mouses herte, Art thou agast so that she wol thee byte? Why, don this furred cloke up-on thy sherte, And folowe me, for I wol have the wyte; But byd, and lat me go bifore a lyte.' 740 And with that word he gan un-do a trappe, And Troilus he broughte in by the lappe.
The sterne wind so loude gan to route That no wight other noyse mighte here; And they that layen at the dore with-oute, 745 Ful sykerly they slepten alle y-fere; And Pandarus, with a ful sobre chere, Goth to the dore anon with-outen lette, Ther-as they laye, and softely it shette.
And as he com ayeinward prively, 750 His nece awook, and asked, 'Who goth there?' 'My dere nece,' quod he, 'it am I; Ne wondreth not, ne have of it no fere;' And ner he com, and seyde hir in hir ere, 'No word, for love of god I yow biseche; 755 Lat no wight ryse and heren of oure speche.'
'What! Which wey be ye comen, benedicite?' Quod she; 'And how thus unwist of hem alle?' 'Here at this secre trappe-dore,' quod he. Quod tho Criseyde, 'Lat me som wight calle.' 760 'Ey! God forbede that it sholde falle,' Quod Pandarus, 'that ye swich foly wroughte! They mighte deme thing they never er thoughte!
'It is nought good a sleping hound to wake, Ne yeve a wight a cause to devyne; 765 Your wommen slepen alle, I under-take, So that, for hem, the hous men mighte myne; And slepen wolen til the sonne shyne. And whan my tale al brought is to an ende, Unwist, right as I com, so wol I wende. 770
'Now, nece myn, ye shul wel understonde,' Quod he, 'so as ye wommen demen alle, That for to holde in love a man in honde, And him hir "leef" and "dere herte" calle, And maken him an howve above a calle, 775 I mene, as love an other in this whyle, She doth hir-self a shame, and him a gyle.
'Now wherby that I telle yow al this? Ye woot your-self, as wel as any wight, How that your love al fully graunted is 780 To Troilus, the worthieste knight, Oon of this world, and ther-to trouthe plyght, That, but it were on him along, ye nolde Him never falsen, whyle ye liven sholde.
'Now stant it thus, that sith I fro yow wente, 785 This Troilus, right platly for to seyn, Is thurgh a goter, by a prive wente, In-to my chaumbre come in al this reyn, Unwist of every maner wight, certeyn, Save of my-self, as wisly have I Ioye, 790 And by that feith I shal Pryam of Troye!
'And he is come in swich peyne and distresse That, but he be al fully wood by this, He sodeynly mot falle in-to wodnesse, But-if god helpe; and cause why this is, 795 He seyth him told is, of a freend of his, How that ye sholde love oon that hatte Horaste, For sorwe of which this night shalt been his laste.'
Criseyde, which that al this wonder herde, Gan sodeynly aboute hir herte colde, 800 And with a syk she sorwfully answerde, 'Allas! I wende, who-so tales tolde, My dere herte wolde me not holde So lightly fals! Allas! Conceytes wronge, What harm they doon, for now live I to longe! 805
'Horaste! Allas! And falsen Troilus? I knowe him not, god helpe me so,' quod she; 'Allas! What wikked spirit tolde him thus? Now certes, eem, to-morwe, and I him see, I shal ther-of as ful excusen me 810 As ever dide womman, if him lyke'; And with that word she gan ful sore syke.
'O god!' quod she, 'So worldly selinesse, Which clerkes callen fals felicitee, Y-medled is with many a bitternesse! 815 Ful anguisshous than is, god woot,' quod she, 'Condicioun of veyn prosperitee; For either Ioyes comen nought y-fere, Or elles no wight hath hem alwey here.
'O brotel wele of mannes Ioye unstable! 820 With what wight so thou be, or how thou pleye, Either he woot that thou, Ioye, art muable, Or woot it not, it moot ben oon of tweye; Now if he woot it not, how may he seye That he hath verray Ioye and selinesse, 825 That is of ignoraunce ay in derknesse?
'Now if he woot that Ioye is transitorie, As every Ioye of worldly thing mot flee, Than every tyme he that hath in memorie, The drede of lesing maketh him that he 830 May in no perfit selinesse be. And if to lese his Ioye he set a myte, Than semeth it that Ioye is worth ful lyte.
'Wherfore I wol deffyne in this matere, That trewely, for ought I can espye, 835 Ther is no verray wele in this world here. But O, thou wikked serpent, Ialousye, Thou misbeleved and envious folye, Why hastow Troilus me mad untriste, That never yet agilte him, that I wiste?' 840
Quod Pandarus, 'Thus fallen is this cas.' 'Why, uncle myn,' quod she, 'who tolde him this? Why doth my dere herte thus, allas?' 'Ye woot, ye nece myn,' quod he, 'what is; I hope al shal be wel that is amis, 845 For ye may quenche al this, if that yow leste, And doth right so, for I holde it the beste.'
'So shal I do to-morwe, y-wis,' quod she, 'And god to-forn, so that it shal suffyse.' 'To-morwe? Allas, that were a fair!' quod he, 850 'Nay, nay, it may not stonden in this wyse; For, nece myn, thus wryten clerkes wyse, That peril is with drecching in y-drawe; Nay, swich abodes been nought worth an hawe.
'Nece, al thing hath tyme, I dar avowe; 855 For whan a chaumber a-fyr is, or an halle, Wel more nede is, it sodeynly rescowe Than to dispute, and axe amonges alle How is this candele in the straw y-falle? A! Benedicite! For al among that fare 860 The harm is doon, and fare-wel feldefare!
'And, nece myn, ne take it not a-greef, If that ye suffre him al night in this wo, God help me so, ye hadde him never leef, That dar I seyn, now there is but we two; 865 But wel I woot, that ye wol not do so; Ye been to wys to do so gret folye, To putte his lyf al night in Iupertye.
'Hadde I him never leef? By god, I wene Ye hadde never thing so leef,' quod she. 870 'Now by my thrift,' quod he, 'that shal be sene; For, sin ye make this ensample of me, If I al night wolde him in sorwe see For al the tresour in the toun of Troye, I bidde god, I never mote have Ioye! 875
'Now loke thanne, if ye, that been his love, Shul putte al night his lyf in Iupartye For thing of nought! Now, by that god above, Nought only this delay comth of folye, But of malyce, if that I shal nought lye. 880 What, platly, and ye suffre him in distresse, Ye neither bountee doon ne gentilesse!'
Quod tho Criseyde, 'Wole ye doon o thing, And ye therwith shal stinte al his disese? Have here, and bereth him this blewe ringe, 885 For ther is no-thing mighte him bettre plese, Save I my-self, ne more his herte apese; And sey my dere herte, that his sorwe Is causeles, that shal be seen to-morwe.'
'A ring?' quod he, 'Ye, hasel-wodes shaken! 890 Ye nece myn, that ring moste han a stoon That mighte dede men alyve maken; And swich a ring trowe I that ye have noon. Discrecioun out of your heed is goon; That fele I now,' quod he, 'and that is routhe; 895 O tyme y-lost, wel maystow cursen slouthe!
'Wot ye not wel that noble and heigh corage Ne sorweth not, ne stinteth eek for lyte? But if a fool were in a Ialous rage, I nolde setten at his sorwe a myte, 900 But feffe him with a fewe wordes whyte Another day, whan that I mighte him finde; But this thing stant al in another kinde.
'This is so gentil and so tendre of herte, That with his deeth he wol his sorwes wreke; 905 For trusteth wel, how sore that him smerte, He wol to yow no Ialouse wordes speke. And for-thy, nece, er that his herte breke, So spek your-self to him of this matere; For with o word ye may his herte stere. 910
'Now have I told what peril he is inne, And his coming unwist is to every wight; Ne, pardee, harm may ther be noon, ne sinne; I wol my-self be with yow al this night. Ye knowe eek how it is your owne knight, 915 And that, by right, ye moste upon him triste, And I al prest to fecche him whan yow liste.'
This accident so pitous was to here, And eek so lyk a sooth, at pryme face, And Troilus hir knight to hir so dere, 920 His prive coming, and the siker place, That, though that she dide him as thanne a grace, Considered alle thinges as they stode, No wonder is, sin she dide al for gode.
Cryseyde answerde, 'As wisly god at reste 925 My sowle bringe, as me is for him wo! And eem, y-wis, fayn wolde I doon the beste, If that I hadde grace to do so. But whether that ye dwelle or for him go, I am, til god me bettre minde sende, 930 At dulcarnon, right at my wittes ende.'
Quod Pandarus, 'Ye, nece, wol ye here? Dulcarnon called is "fleminge of wrecches"; It semeth hard, for wrecches wol not lere For verray slouthe or othere wilful tecches; 935 This seyd by hem that be not worth two fecches. But ye ben wys, and that we han on honde Nis neither hard, ne skilful to withstonde.'
'Thanne, eem,' quod she, 'doth her-of as yow list; But er he come, I wil up first aryse; 940 And, for the love of god, sin al my trist Is on yow two, and ye ben bothe wyse, So wircheth now in so discreet a wyse, That I honour may have, and he plesaunce; For I am here al in your governaunce.' 945
'That is wel seyd,' quod he, 'my nece dere' Ther good thrift on that wyse gentil herte! But liggeth stille, and taketh him right here, It nedeth not no ferther for him sterte; And ech of yow ese otheres sorwes smerte, 950 For love of god; and, Venus, I the herie; For sone hope I we shulle ben alle merie.'
This Troilus ful sone on knees him sette Ful sobrely, right be hir beddes heed, And in his beste wyse his lady grette; 955 But lord, so she wex sodeynliche reed! Ne, though men sholden smyten of hir heed, She coude nought a word a-right out-bringe So sodeynly, for his sodeyn cominge.
But Pandarus, that so wel coude fele 960 In every thing, to pleye anoon bigan, And seyde, 'Nece, see how this lord can knele! Now, for your trouthe, seeth this gentil man!' And with that word he for a quisshen ran, And seyde, 'Kneleth now, whyl that yow leste, 965 Ther god your hertes bringe sone at reste!'
Can I not seyn, for she bad him not ryse, If sorwe it putte out of hir remembraunce, Or elles that she toke it in the wyse Of duetee, as for his observaunce; 970 But wel finde I she dide him this plesaunce, That she him kiste, al-though she syked sore; And bad him sitte a-doun with-outen more.
Quod Pandarus, 'Now wol ye wel biginne; Now doth him sitte, gode nece dere, 975 Upon your beddes syde al there with-inne, That ech of yow the bet may other here.' And with that word he drow him to the fere, And took a light, and fond his contenaunce, As for to loke up-on an old romaunce. 980
Criseyde, that was Troilus lady right, And cleer stood on a ground of sikernesse, Al thoughte she, hir servaunt and hir knight Ne sholde of right non untrouthe in hir gesse, Yet nathelees, considered his distresse, 985 And that love is in cause of swich folye, Thus to him spak she of his Ialousye:
'Lo, herte myn, as wolde the excellence Of love, ayeins the which that no man may, Ne oughte eek goodly maken resistence 990 And eek bycause I felte wel and say Youre grete trouthe, and servyse every day; And that your herte al myn was, sooth to seyne, This droof me for to rewe up-on your peyne.
'And your goodnesse have I founde alwey yit, 995 Of whiche, my dere herte and al my knight, I thonke it yow, as fer as I have wit, Al can I nought as muche as it were right; And I, emforth my conninge and my might, Have and ay shal, how sore that me smerte, 1000 Ben to yow trewe and hool, with a myn herte;
'And dredelees, that shal be founde at preve. — But, herte myn, what al this is to seyne Shal wel be told, so that ye noght yow greve, Though I to yow right on your-self compleyne. 1005 For ther-with mene I fynally the peyne, That halt your herte and myn in hevinesse, Fully to sleen, and every wrong redresse.
'My goode, myn, not I for-why ne how That Ialousye, allas! That wikked wivere, 1010 Thus causelees is cropen in-to yow; The harm of which I wolde fayn delivere! Allas! That he, al hool, or of him slivere, Shuld have his refut in so digne a place, Ther Iove him sone out of your herte arace! 1015
'But O, thou Iove, O auctor of nature, Is this an honour to thy deitee, That folk ungiltif suffren here iniure, And who that giltif is, al quit goth he? O were it leful for to pleyne on thee, 1020 That undeserved suffrest Ialousye, Of that I wolde up-on thee pleyne and crye!
'Eek al my wo is this, that folk now usen To seyn right thus, "Ye, Ialousye is love!" And wolde a busshel venim al excusen, 1025 For that o greyn of love is on it shove! But that wot heighe god that sit above, If it be lyker love, or hate, or grame; And after that, it oughte bere his name.
'But certeyn is, som maner Ialousye 1030 Is excusable more than som, y-wis. As whan cause is, and som swich fantasye With pietee so wel repressed is, That it unnethe dooth or seyth amis, But goodly drinketh up al his distresse; 1035 And that excuse I, for the gentilesse.
'And som so ful of furie is and despyt That it sourmounteth his repressioun; But herte myn, ye be not in that plyt, That thanke I god, for whiche your passioun 1040 I wol not calle it but illusioun, Of habundaunce of love and bisy cure, That dooth your herte this disese endure.
'Of which I am right sory but not wrooth; But, for my devoir and your hertes reste, 1045 Wher-so yow list, by ordal or by ooth, By sort, or in what wyse so yow leste, For love of god, lat preve it for the beste! And if that I be giltif, do me deye, Allas! What mighte I more doon or seye?' 1050
With that a fewe brighte teres newe Owt of hir eyen fille, and thus she seyde, 'Now god, thou wost, in thought ne dede untrewe To Troilus was never yet Criseyde.' With that hir heed doun in the bed she leyde, 1055 And with the shete it wreigh, and syghed sore, And held hir pees; not o word spak she more.
But now help god to quenchen al this sorwe, So hope I that he shal, for he best may; For I have seyn, of a ful misty morwe 1060 Folwen ful ofte a mery someres day; And after winter folweth grene May. Men seen alday, and reden eek in stories, That after sharpe shoures been victories.
This Troilus, whan he hir wordes herde, 1065 Have ye no care, him liste not to slepe; For it thoughte him no strokes of a yerde To here or seen Criseyde, his lady wepe; But wel he felte aboute his herte crepe, For every teer which that Criseyde asterte, 1070 The crampe of deeth, to streyne him by the herte.
And in his minde he gan the tyme acurse That he cam there, and that that he was born; For now is wikke y-turned in-to worse, And al that labour he hath doon biforn, 1075 He wende it lost, he thoughte he nas but lorn. 'O Pandarus,' thoughte he, 'allas! Thy wyle Serveth of nought, so weylaway the whyle!'
And therwithal he heng a-doun the heed, And fil on knees, and sorwfully he sighte; 1080 What mighte he seyn? He felte he nas but deed, For wrooth was she that shulde his sorwes lighte. But nathelees, whan that he speken mighte, Than seyde he thus, 'God woot, that of this game, Whan al is wist, than am I not to blame!' 1085
Ther-with the sorwe so his herte shette, That from his eyen fil there not a tere, And every spirit his vigour in-knette, So they astoned or oppressed were. The feling of his sorwe, or of his fere, 1090 Or of ought elles, fled was out of towne; And doun he fel al sodeynly a-swowne.
This was no litel sorwe for to see; But al was hust, and Pandare up as faste, 'O nece, pees, or we be lost,' quod he, 1095 'Beth nought agast;' But certeyn, at the laste, For this or that, he in-to bedde him caste, And seyde, 'O theef, is this a mannes herte?' And of he rente al to his bare sherte;
And seyde, 'Nece, but ye helpe us now, 1100 Allas, your owne Troilus is lorn!' 'Y-wis, so wolde I, and I wiste how, Ful fayn,' quod she; 'Allas! That I was born!' 'Ye, nece, wole ye pullen out the thorn That stiketh in his herte?' quod Pandare; 1105 'Sey "Al foryeve," and stint is al this fare!'
'Ye, that to me,' quod she, 'ful lever were Than al the good the sonne aboute gooth'; And therwith-al she swoor him in his ere, 'Y-wis, my dere herte, I am nought wrooth, 1110 Have here my trouthe and many another ooth; Now speek to me, for it am I, Cryseyde!' But al for nought; yet mighte he not a-breyde.
Therwith his pous and pawmes of his hondes They gan to frote, and wete his temples tweyne, 1115 And, to deliveren him from bittre bondes, She ofte him kiste; and, shortly for to seyne, Him to revoken she dide al hir peyne. And at the laste, he gan his breeth to drawe, And of his swough sone after that adawe, 1120
And gan bet minde and reson to him take, But wonder sore he was abayst, y-wis. And with a syk, whan he gan bet a-wake, He seyde, 'O mercy, god, what thing is this?' 'Why do ye with your-selven thus amis?' 1125 Quod tho Criseyde, 'Is this a mannes game? What, Troilus! Wol ye do thus, for shame?'
And therwith-al hir arm over him she leyde, And al foryaf, and ofte tyme him keste. He thonked hir, and to hir spak, and seyde 1130 As fil to purpos for his herte reste. And she to that answerde him as hir leste; And with hir goodly wordes him disporte She gan, and ofte his sorwes to comforte.
Quod Pandarus, 'For ought I can espyen, 1135 This light, nor I ne serven here of nought; Light is not good for syke folkes yen. But for the love of god, sin ye be brought In thus good plyt, lat now non hevy thought Ben hanginge in the hertes of yow tweye:' 1140 And bar the candele to the chimeneye.
Sone after this, though it no nede were, Whan she swich othes as hir list devyse Hadde of him take, hir thoughte tho no fere, Ne cause eek non, to bidde him thennes ryse. 1145 Yet lesse thing than othes may suffyse In many a cas; for every wight, I gesse, That loveth wel meneth but gentilesse.
But in effect she wolde wite anoon Of what man, and eek where, and also why 1150 He Ielous was, sin ther was cause noon; And eek the signe, that he took it by, She bad him that to telle hir bisily, Or elles, certeyn, she bar him on honde, That this was doon of malis, hir to fonde. 1155
With-outen more, shortly for to seyne, He moste obeye un-to his lady heste; And for the lasse harm, he moste feyne. He seyde hir, whan she was at swiche a feste, She mighte on him han loked at the leste; 1160 Not I not what, al dere y-nough a risshe, As he that nedes moste a cause fisshe.
And she answerde, 'Swete, al were it so, What harm was that, sin I non yvel mene? For, by that god that boughte us bothe two, 1165 In alle thinge is myn entente clene. Swich arguments ne been not worth a bene; Wol ye the childish Ialous contrefete? Now were it worthy that ye were y-bete.'
Tho Troilus gan sorwfully to syke, 1170 Lest she be wrooth, him thoughte his herte deyde; And seyde, 'Allas! Up-on my sorwes syke Have mercy, swete herte myn, Cryseyde! And if that, in tho wordes that I seyde, Be any wrong, I wol no more trespace; 1175 Do what yow list, I am al in your grace.'
And she answerde, 'Of gilt misericorde! That is to seyn, that I foryeve al this; And ever-more on this night yow recorde, And beth wel war ye do no more amis.' 1180 'Nay, dere herte myn,' quod he, 'y-wis.' 'And now,' quod she, 'that I have do yow smerte, Foryeve it me, myn owene swete herte.'
This Troilus, with blisse of that supprysed, Put al in goddes hond, as he that mente 1185 No-thing but wel; and, sodeynly avysed, He hir in armes faste to him hente. And Pandarus, with a ful good entente, Leyde him to slepe, and seyde, 'If ye ben wyse, Swowneth not now, lest more folk aryse.' 1190
What mighte or may the sely larke seye, Whan that the sperhauk hath it in his foot? I can no more, but of thise ilke tweye, To whom this tale sucre be or soot, Though that I tarie a yeer, som-tyme I moot, 1195 After myn auctor, tellen hir gladnesse, As wel as I have told hir hevinesse.
Criseyde, which that felte hir thus y-take, As writen clerkes in hir bokes olde, Right as an aspes leef she gan to quake, 1200 Whan she him felte hir in his armes folde. But Troilus, al hool of cares colde, Gan thanken tho the blisful goddes sevene; Thus sondry peynes bringen folk in hevene.
This Troilus in armes gan hir streyne, 1205 And seyde, 'O swete, as ever mote I goon, Now be ye caught, now is ther but we tweyne; Now yeldeth yow, for other boot is noon.' To that Criseyde answerde thus anoon, 'Ne hadde I er now, my swete herte dere, 1210 Ben yolde, y-wis, I were now not here!'
O! Sooth is seyd, that heled for to be As of a fevre or othere greet syknesse, Men moste drinke, as men may often see, Ful bittre drink; and for to han gladnesse, 1215 Men drinken often peyne and greet distresse; I mene it here, as for this aventure, That thourgh a peyne hath founden al his cure.
And now swetnesse semeth more sweet, That bitternesse assayed was biforn; 1220 For out of wo in blisse now they flete; Non swich they felten, sith they were born; Now is this bet, than bothe two be lorn! For love of god, take every womman hede To werken thus, if it comth to the nede. 1225
Criseyde, al quit from every drede and tene, As she that iuste cause hadde him to triste, Made him swich feste, it Ioye was to sene, Whan she his trouthe and clene entente wiste. And as aboute a tree, with many a twiste, 1230 Bitrent and wryth the sote wode-binde, Gan eche of hem in armes other winde.
And as the newe abaysshed nightingale, That stinteth first whan she biginneth to singe, Whan that she hereth any herde tale, 1235 Or in the hegges any wight steringe, And after siker dooth hir voys out-ringe; Right so Criseyde, whan hir drede stente, Opned hir herte and tolde him hir entente.
And right as he that seeth his deeth y-shapen, 1240 And deye moot, in ought that he may gesse, And sodeynly rescous doth him escapen, And from his deeth is brought in sikernesse, For al this world, in swich present gladnesse Was Troilus, and hath his lady swete; 1245 With worse hap god lat us never mete!
Hir armes smale, hir streyghte bak and softe, Hir sydes longe, fleshly, smothe, and whyte He gan to stroke, and good thrift bad ful ofte Hir snowish throte, hir brestes rounde and lyte; 1250 Thus in this hevene he gan him to delyte, And ther-with-al a thousand tyme hir kiste; That, what to done, for Ioye unnethe he wiste.
Than seyde he thus, 'O, Love, O, Charitee, Thy moder eek, Citherea the swete, 1255 After thy-self next heried be she, Venus mene I, the wel-willy planete; And next that, Imeneus, I thee grete; For never man was to yow goddes holde As I, which ye han brought fro cares colde. 1260
'Benigne Love, thou holy bond of thinges, Who-so wol grace, and list thee nought honouren, Lo, his desyr wol flee with-outen winges. For, noldestow of bountee hem socouren That serven best and most alwey labouren, 1265 Yet were al lost, that dar I wel seyn, certes, But-if thy grace passed our desertes.
'And for thou me, that coude leest deserve Of hem that nombred been un-to thy grace, Hast holpen, ther I lykly was to sterve, 1270 And me bistowed in so heygh a place That thilke boundes may no blisse pace, I can no more, but laude and reverence Be to thy bounte and thyn excellence!'
And therwith-al Criseyde anoon he kiste, 1275 Of which, certeyn, she felte no disese, And thus seyde he, 'Now wolde god I wiste, Myn herte swete, how I yow mighte plese! What man,' quod he, 'was ever thus at ese As I, on whiche the faireste and the beste 1280 That ever I say, deyneth hir herte reste.
'Here may men seen that mercy passeth right; The experience of that is felt in me, That am unworthy to so swete a wight. But herte myn, of your benignitee, 1285 So thenketh, though that I unworthy be, Yet mot I nede amenden in som wyse, Right thourgh the vertu of your heyghe servyse.
'And for the love of god, my lady dere, Sin god hath wrought me for I shal yow serve, 1290 As thus I mene, that ye wol be my stere, To do me live, if that yow liste, or sterve, So techeth me how that I may deserve Your thank, so that I, thurgh myn ignoraunce, Ne do no-thing that yow be displesaunce. 1295
'For certes, fresshe wommanliche wyf, This dar I seye, that trouthe and diligence, That shal ye finden in me al my lyf, Ne wol not, certeyn, breken your defence; And if I do, present or in absence, 1300 For love of god, lat slee me with the dede, If that it lyke un-to your womanhede.'
'Y-wis,' quod she, 'myn owne hertes list, My ground of ese, and al myn herte dere, Graunt mercy, for on that is al my trist; 1305 But late us falle awey fro this matere; For it suffyseth, this that seyd is here. And at o word, with-outen repentaunce, Wel-come, my knight, my pees, my suffisaunce!'
Of hir delyt, or Ioyes oon the leste 1310 Were impossible to my wit to seye; But iuggeth, ye that han ben at the feste, Of swich gladnesse, if that hem liste pleye! I can no more, but thus thise ilke tweye That night, be-twixen dreed and sikernesse, 1315 Felten in love the grete worthinesse.
O blisful night, of hem so longe y-sought, How blithe un-to hem bothe two thou were! Why ne hadde I swich on with my soule y-bought, Ye, or the leeste Ioye that was there? 1320 A-wey, thou foule daunger and thou fere, And lat hem in this hevene blisse dwelle, That is so heygh, that al ne can I telle!
But sooth is, though I can not tellen al, As can myn auctor, of his excellence, 1325 Yet have I seyd, and, god to-forn, I shal In every thing al hoolly his sentence. And if that I, at loves reverence, Have any word in eched for the beste, Doth therwith-al right as your-selven leste. 1330
For myne wordes, here and every part, I speke hem alle under correccioun Of yow, that feling han in loves art, And putte it al in your discrecioun To encrese or maken diminucioun 1335 Of my langage, and that I yow bi-seche; But now to purpos of my rather speche.
Thise ilke two, that ben in armes laft, So looth to hem a-sonder goon it were, That ech from other wende been biraft, 1340 Or elles, lo, this was hir moste fere, That al this thing but nyce dremes were; For which ful ofte ech of hem seyde, 'O swete, Clippe ich yow thus, or elles I it mete?'
And, lord! So he gan goodly on hir see, 1345 That never his look ne bleynte from hir face, And seyde, 'O dere herte, may it be That it be sooth, that ye ben in this place?' 'Ye, herte myn, god thank I of his grace!' Quod tho Criseyde, and therwith-al him kiste, 1350 That where his spirit was, for Ioye he niste.
This Troilus ful ofte hir eyen two Gan for to kisse, and seyde, 'O eyen clere, It were ye that wroughte me swich wo, Ye humble nettes of my lady dere! 1355 Though ther be mercy writen in your chere, God wot, the text ful hard is, sooth, to finde, How coude ye with-outen bond me binde?'
Therwith he gan hir faste in armes take, And wel an hundred tymes gan he syke, 1360 Nought swiche sorwfull sykes as men make For wo, or elles whan that folk ben syke, But esy sykes, swiche as been to lyke, That shewed his affeccioun with-inne; Of swiche sykes coude he nought bilinne. 1365
Sone after this they speke of sondry thinges, As fil to purpos of this aventure, And pleyinge entrechaungeden hir ringes, Of which I can nought tellen no scripture; But wel I woot, a broche, gold and asure, 1370 In whiche a ruby set was lyk an herte, Criseyde him yaf, and stak it on his sherte.
Lord! trowe ye, a coveitous, a wreccbe, That blameth love and holt of it despyt, That, of tho pens that he can mokre and kecche, 1375 Was ever yet y-yeve him swich delyt, As is in love, in oo poynt, in som plyt? Nay, doutelees, for also god me save, So parfit Ioye may no nigard have!
They wol sey 'Yis,' but lord! So that they lye, 1380 Tho bisy wrecches, ful of wo and drede! They callen love a woodnesse or folye, But it shal falle hem as I shal yow rede; They shul forgo the whyte and eke the rede, And live in wo, ther god yeve hem mischaunce, 1385 And every lover in his trouthe avaunce!
As wolde god, tho wrecches, that dispyse Servyse of love, hadde eres al-so longe As hadde Myda, ful of coveityse, And ther-to dronken hadde as hoot and stronge 1390 As Crassus dide for his affectis wronge, To techen hem that they ben in the vyce, And loveres nought, al-though they holde hem nyce!
Thise ilke two, of whom that I yow seye, Whan that hir hertes wel assured were, 1395 Tho gonne they to speken and to pleye, And eek rehercen how, and whanne, and where, They knewe hem first, and every wo and fere That passed was; but al swich hevinesse, I thanke it god, was tourned to gladnesse. 1400
And ever-mo, whan that hem fel to speke Of any thing of swich a tyme agoon, With kissing al that tale sholde breke, And fallen in a newe Ioye anoon, And diden al hir might, sin they were oon, 1405 For to recoveren blisse and been at ese, And passed wo with Ioye countrepeyse.
Reson wil not that I speke of sleep, For it accordeth nought to my matere; God woot, they toke of that ful litel keep, 1410 But lest this night, that was to hem so dere, Ne sholde in veyn escape in no manere, It was biset in Ioye and bisinesse Of al that souneth in-to gentilnesse.
But whan the cok, comune astrologer, 1415 Gan on his brest to bete, and after crowe, And Lucifer, the dayes messager, Gan for to ryse, and out hir bemes throwe; And estward roos, to him that coude it knowe, Fortuna maior, than anoon Criseyde, 1420 With herte sore, to Troilus thus seyde: —
'Myn hertes lyf, my trist and my plesaunce, That I was born, allas! What me is wo, That day of us mot make desseveraunce! For tyme it is to ryse, and hennes go, 1425 Or elles I am lost for evermo! O night, allas! Why niltow over us hove, As longe as whanne Almena lay by Iove?