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And, after that, to all hire company
She made to purvey horse, and every thing
That they neded; and then, full hastily,
Even by the herber, where I was sitting,
They passed all, so merrily singing
That it would have comforted any wight.
-But then I se a passing wonder sight;

For then the nightingale, that all the day
Had in the laurer sate, and did hire might
The whole service to sing longing to May;
All sodainly began to take hire flight;
And to the lady of the Lefe forthright,
She flew, and set hire on hire hand softly;
Which was a thing I mervail'd at gretly.

The goldfinch, eke, that fro the medlar tre
Was fled, for hete, unto the bushes cold,
Unto the lady of the Flowre gan fle,
And on hire hond he set him, as he wold;
And plesauntly his winges gan to fold.
And for to sing they peine hem both as sore,
As they had do of all the day before.

And so these ladies rode forth a grete pace,
And all the rout of knightes eke in fere,
And I, that had sene all this wonder case,
Thought that I would assay, in some manere,
To know fully the trouth of this matere,
And what they were that rode so plesauntly.
And when they were the herber passed by,

I drest me forth; and happed mete, anon,
A right fair lady, I do you ensure;
And she came riding by hireself, alone,
Alle in white, with semblaunce full demure.
I hire salued, bad hire gode aventure
Mote hire befall, as I coud most humbly.
And she answered, " My daughter! gramercy!"

"Madame !" (quoth I)" if that I durst enquere Of you, I wold, fain, of that company Wit what they be that passed by this herbere." And she ayen answered, right frendly: "My daughter! all tho, that passed hereby, In white clothing, be servants everichone, Unto the Lefe, and I myself am one.

* Se ye not hire that crowned is" (quod she)
Alle in white ?""Madame!" (then quod I) "yes.
"That is Dian, goddess of Chastity,
And, for because that she a maiden is,

Into hire hond the branch she beareth this,
That agnus castus men call properly;
And all the ladies, in hire company,

Which ye se of that herbe chaplets were,
Be such as han alway kept maidenhede.
And all they that of laurer chaplets bere,
Be such as hardy were in manly dede,
Victorious names which never may be dede;
And all they were so worthy of hir honde,
In hir time, that no one might hem withstonde.

"And tho that were chapelets, on hir hede,
Of fresh wodebind, be such as never were
To Love untrue, in word, in thought, ne dede;
But ay stedfast; ne for plesance ne fere,
Tho that they shulde hir hertes all to tere,
Woud never flit, but ever were stedfast,
Till that hir lives there asunder brast."

"Now, fair Madam!” (quod I,) “yet woud I pray
Your ladiship, (if that it mighten be,)
That I might knowe, by some maner of way,
(Sithen that it hath liked your beaute

The trouth of these ladies for to tell me,)
What that these knightes be in rich armour,
And what tho be in grene and were the Flour;


"And why that some did rev'rence to the tre, And some unto the plot of floures faire?" "With right gode will, my daughter fair!" (quod "Sith your desire is gode and debonaire: The nine, crouned, be very exemplaire

Of all honour longing to chivalry;

And those, certain, be clept the Nine Worthy,

"Which that ye may se riding all before,
That in hir time did many a noble dede,
And for hir worthiness full oft have bore
The crown of laurer leves on hir hede,
As ye may in your olde bokes rede;
And how that he, that was a conqueror,
Had by laurer alway his most honour.
"And tho that baren bowes in hir hond,
Of the precious laurer, so notable,
Be such as were (I woll ye understond)
Most noble Knightes of the Round Table,
And eke the Dousepares honourable;
Which they bere in the sign of victory,
As witness of hir dedes mightily.

"Eke there be Knightes old of the Garter,
That in hir times did right worthily:
And the honour they did to the laurer
Is, for by it they have hir laud wholly,
Hir triumph eke and martial glory:
Which unto him is more perfite riches
That any wight imagin can or gesse.

"For one Lefe given of that noble tre
To any wight, that hath done worthily,
(An it be done so as it ought to be,)
Is more honour than any thing erthly;
Witness of Rome, that founder was, truly,
Of all knighthode and dedes marvelous;
Record I take of Titus Livius.

"And as for hire that crouned is in grene,
It is Flora, of these floures goddesse.
And all that here, on hire awaiting, bene,-
It are such folk that loved idlenesse,
And not delite in no kind besinesse
But for to hunt, and hawke, and play in medes,
And many other such like idle dedes,-

"And for the great delite, and the plesaunce,
They have to the Flour, and so reverently
They unto it doen such obeisaunce,

As ye may se." "Now, fair Madame!" (quod I,)
"If I durst ask what is the cause, and why,
That knightes have the enseigne of honour
Rather by the Lefe than by the Flour?"

"Sothly, doughter," (quod she) "this is the trouth;
For knightes, ever,
should be persevering
To seke honour, without feintise or slouth,
Fro wele to better in all maner thing;
In sign of which, with leves ay lasting
They be rewarded, after hir degre,
Whose lusty grene may not apaired be,

"But ay keeping hir beauty fresh and grene;
For ther n'is no storme that may hem deface,
Ne hail nor snowe, ne wind nor frostes kene;
Wherfore they have this property and grace.
And, for the Flour, within a litel space,
Wollen be lost, so simple of nature
They be that they no grevaunce may endure:

"And every storme woll blawe hem sone away,
Ne they laste not but for a seson,
That is the cause (the very trouth to say)
That they may not, by no way of reson,
Be put to no such occupation."

"Madame !" (quod I) "with all mine whole servise I thank you now in my most humble wise

"For now I am ascertain'd thoroughly
Of every thing I desired to knowe."
"I am right glad that I have said, sothly,
Ought to your plesure, if ye will me trow.'
(Quod she ayen.) "But to whom do ye owe
Your service, and which wollen ye honour
(Pray tell me) this year, the Lefe or the Flour ?"

“Madam!” (quod I)" although I lest worthy,
Unto the Lefe I ow mine observaunce."
"That is," (quod she) "right well done, certainly;
And I pray God to honour you advance,
And kepe you fro the wicked remembraunce
Of Malebouch, and all his crueltie;

And all that gode and well conditioned be.

"For here I may no lenger now abide,
But I must follow the grete company
That ye may se yonder before you ride."
And forthwith, as I couth, most humily
I take my leve of hire. And she gan hie
After hem as fast as ever she might,
And I drew homeward, for it was nigh night,

And put all that I had sene in writing,
Under support of hem that lust it rede.
O little boke! thou art so unconning,
How darst thou put thyself in prees for drede ?
It is wonder that thou wexest not rede,
Sith that thou wost full lite who shall behold
Thy rude langage full boistrously unfold.

PART OF THE KNIGHTES TALE. I trowe men wolde deme it negligence, If I foryette to tellen the dispence Of Theseus, that got so besily To maken up the listes really,

That swiche a noble theatre as it was,

I dare wel sayn, in all this world ther n'as.
The circuite a mile was about,

Walled of stone, and diched all withoute.
Round was the shape, in manere of a compas
Ful of degrees, the hight of sixty pas,
That whan a man was set on o degree
He letted not his felaw for to see.
Estward ther stood a gate of marbel white,
Westward right swiche another in th' opposite.
And shortly to concluden, swiche a place
Was never in erthe, in so litel a space,
For in the lond ther n'as no craftes man,
That geometrie, or arsmetrike can,
Ne portreiour, ne kerver of images,
That Theseus ne yaf him mete and wages
The theatre for to maken and devise.

And for to don his rite and sacrifice,
He estward hath upon the gate above,
In worship of Venus goddesse of love,
Don make an auter and an oratorie;
And westward in the minde and in memorie
Of Mars he maked hath right swiche another,
That coste largely of gold a fother.
And northward, in a touret on the wall,
Of alabastre white and red corall
An oratorie riche for to see,
In worship of Diane of chastitee,
Hath Theseus don wrought in noble wise.
But yet had I foryetten to devise
The noble kerving, and the portreitures,
The shape, the countenance of the figures
That weren in these oratories three.

First in the temple of Venus maist thou see Wrought on the wall, ful pitous to beholde, The broken slepes, and the sikes colde, The sacred teres, and the waimentinges, The firy strokes of the desiringes, That Loves servants in this lif enduren; The othes, that hir covenants assuren. Plesance and hope, desire, foolhardinesse, Beaute and youthe, baudrie and richesse, Charmes and force, lesinges and flaterie, Dispence, besinesse, and jalousie, That wered of yelwe goldes a gerlond, And hadde a cuckow sitting on hire hond, Festes, instruments, and caroles and dances, Lust and array, and all the circumstances Of love, which that I reken and reken shall, By ordre weren peinted on the wall, And mo than I can make of mention. For sothly all the mount of Citheron, Ther Venus hath hire principal dwelling, Was shewed on the wall in purtreying, With all the gardin, and the lustinesse. Nought was foryetten the porter Idelnesse,

Ne Narcissus the fayre of yore agon,
Ne yet the folie of king Salomon,
Ne yet the grete strengthe of Hercules,
Th' enchantment of Medea and Circes,
Ne of Turnus the hardy fiers corage,
The riche Cresus caitif in servage.
Thus may ye seen, that wisdom ne richesse,
Beaute ne sleighte, strengthe ne hardinesse,
Ne may with Venus holden champartie,
For as hire liste the world may she gie.

Lo, all these folk so caught were in hire las
Til they for wo ful often said Alas.
Sufficeth here ensamples on or two,
And yet I coude reken a thousand mo.

The statue of Venus glorious for to see,
Was naked fleeting in the large see.
And fro the navel doun all covered was
With waves grene, and bright as any glas..
A citole in hire right hond hadde she,
And on hire hed, ful semely for to see,
A rose gerlond fresh, and wel smelling,
Above hire hed hire doves fleckering.
Before hire stood hire sone Cupido,
Upon his shoulders winges had he two;
And blind he was, as it is often sene;
A bow he bare and arwes bright and kene.
Why shulde I not as wel eke tell you all
The purtreiture, that was upon the wall
Within the temple of mighty Mars the rede?
All peinted was the wall in length and brede.
Like to the estres of the grisly place,
That highte the gret temple of Mars in Trace,
In thilke colde and frosty region,
Ther as Mars hath his sovereine mansion.
First on the wall was peinted a forest,
In which ther wonneth neyther man ne best,
With knotty knarry barrein trees old
Of stubbes sharp and hidous to behold;
In which ther ran a romble and a swough,
As though a storme shuld bresten every bough:
And dounward from an hill under a bent,
Ther stood the temple of Mars armipotent,
Wrought all of burned stele, of which th' entree
Was longe and streite, and gastly for to see.
And therout came a rage and swiche a vise,
That it made all the gates for to rise.
The northern light in at the dore shone,
For window on the wall ne was ther none,
Thurgh which men mighten any light discerne.
The dore was all of athamant eterne,
Yclenched overthwart and endelong
With yren tough, and for to make it strong,
Every piler the temple to sustene
Was tonne-gret, of yren bright and shene.
Ther saw I first the derke imagining
Of felonie, aud alle the compassing:
The cruel ire, red as any glede,
The pikepurse, and eke the pale drede;
The smiler with the knif under the cloke,
The shepen brenning with the blake smoke;
The treson of the mordring in the bedde,
The open werre, with woundes all bebledde ;

Conteke with blody knif, and sharp manace:
All full of chirking was that sory place.
The sleer of himself yet saw I there,
His herte-blood hath bathed all his here:
The naile ydriven in the shode on hight,
The colde deth, with mouth gaping upright,
Amiddes of the temple sate mischance,
With discomfort and sory countenance.
Yet saw I woodnesse laughing in his rage.
Armed complaint, outhees, and fiers outrage;
The carraine in the bush, with throte ycorven,
A thousand slain, and not of qualme ystorven;
The tirant, with the prey by force yraft;
The toun destroied, ther was nothing laft.
Yet saw I brent the shippes hoppesteres,
The hunte ystrangled with the wilde beres:
The sow freting the child right in the cradel;
The coke yscalled, for all his long ladel.
Nought was foryete by th' infortune of Marte
The carter overridden with his carte;
Under the wheel ful low he lay adoun.

Ther were also of Martes division,
Th' armerer, and the bowyer, and the smith,
That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his stith.
And all above depeinted in a tour
Saw I conquest, sitting in gret honour.
With thilke sharp swerd over his hed
Yhanging by a subtil twined thred.
Depeinted was the slaughter of Julius,
Of gret Nero, and of Antonius:
All be that thilke time they were unborne,
Yet was hir deth depeinted therbeforne,
By manacing of Mars, right by figure,
So was it shewed in that purtreiture
As is depeinted in the cercles above,
Who shal be slaine or elles ded for love.
Sufficeth on ensample in stories olde,

I may not reken hem alle, though I wolde.
The statue of Mars upon a carte stood
Armed, and łoked grim as he were wood,
And over his hed ther shinen two figures
Of sterres, that ben eleped in scriptures,
That on Puella, that other Rubeus.
This god of armes was arraied thus:
A wolf ther stood beforne him at his fete
With eyen red, and of a man he ete:
With subtil pensil peinted was this storie,
In redouting of Mars and of his glorie.

Now to the temple of Diane the chaste
As shortly as I can I wol me haste,
To tellen you of the descriptioun,
Depeinted by the walles up and doun,
Of hunting and of shamefast chastitee.
Ther saw I how woful Calistope,
Whan that Diane agreved was with here,
Was turned from a woman til a bere,
And after was she made the lodesterre:
Thus was it peinted, I can say no ferre ;
Hire sone is eke a sterre as men may see.
Ther saw I Dane yturned til a tree,

I mene not hire the goddesse Diane,
But Peneus daughter, which that highte Dane

Ther saw I Atteon an hart ymaked,


vengeance that he saw Diane all naked:

I saw how that his houndes have him caught,
And freten him, for that they knew him naught.
Yet peinted was a litel forthermore,
How Athalante hunted the wilde bore,
And Meleagre, and many another mo,

For which Diane wroughte hem care and wo.
Ther saw I many another wonder storie,
The which me liste not drawen to memorie.
This goddesse on an hart ful heye sete,
With smale houndes all about hire fete,
And undernethe hire feet she hadde a mone,
Wexing it was, and shulde wanen sone.
In gaudy grene hire statue clothed was,
With bow in hond, and arwes in a cas.
Hire eyen caste she ful low adoun,
Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.
A woman travailling was hire beforne,
But for hire childe so long was unborne
Ful pitously Lucina gan she call,

And sayed; "Helpe, for thou mayst beste of all."
Wel coude he peinten lifly that it wrought,
With many a florein he the hewes bought.

Now ben these listes made, and Theseus
That at his grete cost arraied thus
The temples, and the theatre everidel,
Whan it was don, him liked wonder wel.
But stint I wol of Theseus a lite,
And speke of Palamon and of Arcite.

The day approcheth of hir returning,
That everich shuld an hundred knightes bring,
The bataille to darreine, as I you told;
And til Athenes, hir covenant for to hold,
Hath everich of hem brought an hundred knightes,
Wel armed for the werre at alle rightes.
And sikerly ther trowed many a man,
That never, sithen that the world began,
As for to speke of knighthood of hir hond,
As fer as God hath maked see and lond,
N'as, of so fewe, so noble a compagnie.
For every wight that loved chevalrie,
And wold, his thankes, han a passant name,
Hath praied, that he might ben of that game,
And wel was him, that therto chosen was.
For if ther fell to-morwe swiche a cas,
Ye knowen wel, that every lusty knight,
That loveth par amour, and hath his might,
Were it in Englelond, or elleswher,
They wold, hir thankes, willen to be ther,
To fight for a lady, a! benedicite,
It were a lusty sighte for to se.

And right so ferden they with Palamon.
With him ther wenten knightes many on.
Som wel ben armed in an habergeon,
And in a brest plate, and in a gipon;
And som wol have a pair of plates large;
And som wol have a Pruce shield, or a targe;
Some wol ben armed on his legges wele,
And have an axe, and som a mace of stele.
Ther n'is no newe guise, that it n'as old.
Armed they weren, as I have you told,

Everich after his opinion.

There maist thou se coming with Palamon
Licurge himself, the grete king of Trace:
Blake was his berd, and manly was his face.
The cercles of his eyen in his hed
They gloweden betwixen yelwe and red,
And like a griffon loked he about.
With kemped heres on his browes stout;
His limmes gret, his braunes hard and stronge,
His shouldres brode, his armes round and longe.
And as the guise was in his contree,
Ful highe upon a char of gold stood he,
With four white bolles in the trais.
Instede of cote-armure on his harnais,
With nayles yelwe, and bright as any gold,
He hadde a beres skin, cole-blake for old.
His longe here was kempt behind his bak,
As any ravenes fether it shone for blake.
A wreth of gold arm-gret, of huge weight,
Upon his hed sate full of stones bright,
Of fine rubins and of diamants.

About his char ther wenten white alauns,
Twenty and mo, as gret as any stere,
To hunten at the leon or the dere,
And folwed him, with mosel fast ybound,
Colered with gold, and torettes filed round.
An hundred lordes had he in his route
Armed ful wel, with hertes sterne and stoute.
With Arcita, in stories as men find,
The gret Emetrius the king of Inde,
Upon a stede bay, trapped in stele,
Covered with cloth of gold diapred wele,
Came riding like the god of armes Mars.
His cote-armure was of a cloth of Tars,
Couched with perles, white, and round and grete.
His sadel was of brent gold new ybete;
A mantelet upon his shouldres hanging
Bret-ful of rubies red, as fire sparkling.
His crispe here like ringes was yronne,
And that was yelwe, and glitered as the Sonne.
His nose was high, his eyen bright citrin,
His lippes round, his colour was sanguin,
A fewe fraknes in his face ysprent,
Betwixen yelwe and blake somdel ymeint,
And as a leon he his loking caste.

Of five and twenty yere his age I caste.
His berd was wel begonnen for to spring;
His vois was as a trompe thondering.
Upon his hed he wered of laurer grene
A gerlond freshe and lusty for to sene.
Upon his hond he bare for his deduit
An egle tame, as any lily whit.
An hundred lordes had he with him there,
All armed save hir hedes in all hire gere,
Ful richely in alle manere thinges.
For trusteth wel, that erles, dukes, kinges,
Were gathered in this noble compagnie,
For love, and for encrease of chevalrie.
About this king ther ran on every part
Ful many a tame leon and leopart.

And in this wise, these lordes all and some
Ben on the Sonday to the citee come

Abouten prime, and in the town alight.

This Theseus, this duk, this worthy knight,
Whan he had brought hem into his citce,
And inned hem, everich at his degree,
He festeth hem, and doth so gret labour
To esen hem, and don hem all honour,
That yet men wenen that no mannes wit
Of non estat ne coud amenden it.
The minstralcie, the service at the feste,
The grete yeftes to the most and leste,
The riche array of Theseus paleis,
Ne who sate first, ne last upon the deis,
What ladies fayrest ben or best dancing,
Or which of hem can carole best or sing,
Ne who most felingly speketh of love;
What haukes sitten on the perche above,
What houndes liggen on the floor adoun,
Of all this now make I no mentioun;

But of the effect; that thinketh me the beste;
Now cometh the point, and herkeneth if you leste.
The Sonday night, or day began to spring,
Whan Palamon the larke herde sing,
Although it n'ere not day by houres two,
Yet sang the larke, and Palamon right tho
With holy herte, and with an high corage
He rose, to wenden on his pilgrimage
Unto the blissful Citherea benigne,
I mene Venus, honourable and digne.
And in hire houre, he walketh forth a pas
Unto the listes, ther hire temple was.
And doun he kneleth, and with humble chere
And herte sore, he sayde as ye shul here.

"Fayrest of fayre, o lady nin Venus,
Daughter to Jove, and spouse of Vulcanus,
Thou glader of the mount of Citheron,
For thilke love thou haddest to Adon
Have pitee on my bitter teres smert,
And take myn humble praier at thin herte.
"Alas! I ne have no langage to tell
The effecte, ne the torment of min Hell;
Min herte may min harmes not bewrey:
I am so confuse, that I cannot say.
But mercy, lady bright, that knowest wele
My thought, and seest what harmes that I fele,
Consider all this, and rue upon my sore,
As wisly as I shall for evermore
Emforth my might thy trewe servant be,
And holden werre alway with chastite:
That make I min avow, so ye me helpe.
I kepe nought of armes for to yelpe,
Ne axe I nat to-morwe to have victorie,
Ne renoun in this cas, ne vaine glorie
Of pris of armes, blowen up and doun,
But I wold have fully possessioun
Of Emelie, and die in hire servise;

Find thou the manere how, and in what wise.

I rekke not, but it may better be,
To have victorie of hem, or they of me,
So that I have my lady in min armes.
For though so be that Mars is god of armes,
Your vertue is so grete in Heven above,
That if you liste, I shal wel have my love.

Thy temple wol I worship evermo,
And on thin auter, wher I ride or go,
I wol don sacrifice, and fires bete.
And if ye wol not so, my lady swete,
Than pray I you, to-morwe with a spere
That Arcita me thurgh the herte bere.
Than rekke I not, whan I have lost my lif,
Though that Arcita win hire to his wif.
This is the effecte and ende of my praiere;
Yeve me my love, thou blissful lady dere."
Whan the orison was don of Palamon,
His sacrifice he did, and that anon,
Full pitously, with alle circumstances,
All tell I not as now his observances.
But at the last the statue of Venus shoke,
And made a signe, wherby that he toke,
That his praiere accepted was that day.
For though the signe shewed a delay,
Yet wist he wel that granted was his bone;
And with glad herte he went him home ful sone.
The thridde houre inequal that Palamon
Began to Venus temple for to gon,

Up rose the Sonne, and up rose Emelie,
And to the temple of Diane gan hie.
Hire maydens, that she thider with hire ladde,
Ful redily with hem the fire they hadde,
Th' encense, the clothes, and the remenant all
That to the sacrifice longen shall,

The hornes ful of mede, as was the gise,
Ther lakked nought to don hire sacrifise.
Smoking the temple, ful of clothes fayro,
This Emelie with herte debonaire
Hire body wesshe with water of a well.
But how she did hire rite I dare not tell;
But it be any thing in general;

And yet it were a game to heren all;
To him that meneth wel it n'ere no charge:
But it is good a man to ben at large.
Hire bright here kembed was, untressed all.
A coroune of a grene oke cerial

Upon hire hed was set ful fayre and mete.
Two fires on the auter gan she bete,
And did hire thinges, as men may behold
In Stace of Thebes, and these bokes old.

Whan kindled was the fire, with pitous chere Unto Diane she spake, as ye may here.

"O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
To whom both Heven and erthe and see is senc,
Quene of the regne of Pluto, derke and lowe,
Goddesse of maydens, that min herte hast knowe
Ful many a yere, and wost what I desire,
As kepe me fro thy vengeance and thin ire,
That Atteon aboughte cruelly:
Chaste goddesse, wel wotest thou that I
Desire to ben a mayden all my lif,
Ne never wol I be no love ne wif.

I am (thou wost) yet of thy compagnie,
A mayde, and love hunting and veneric,
And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
And not to ben a wif, and be with childe,
Nought wol I knowen compagnie of man.
Now help me, lady, sith ye may and can,

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