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Troilus And Criseyde: Book 02

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 Incipit Prohemium Secundi Libri.
Out of these blake wawes for to sayle, O wind, O wind, the weder ginneth clere; For in this see the boot hath swich travayle, Of my conning, that unnethe I it stere: This see clepe I the tempestous matere Of desespeyr that Troilus was inne: But now of hope the calendes biginne.
O lady myn, that called art Cleo, Thou be my speed fro this forth, and my muse, To ryme wel this book, til I have do; Me nedeth here noon other art to use.
For-why to every lovere I me excuse, That of no sentement I this endyte, But out of Latin in my tonge it wryte.
Wherfore I nil have neither thank ne blame Of al this werk, but prey yow mekely, Disblameth me if any word be lame, For as myn auctor seyde, so seye I.
Eek though I speke of love unfelingly, No wondre is, for it no-thing of newe is; A blind man can nat Iuggen wel in hewis.
Ye knowe eek, that in forme of speche is chaunge With-inne a thousand yeer, and wordes tho That hadden prys, now wonder nyce and straunge Us thinketh hem; and yet they spake hem so, And spedde as wel in love as men now do; Eek for to winne love in sondry ages, In sondry londes, sondry ben usages.
And for-thy if it happe in any wyse, That here be any lovere in this place That herkneth, as the storie wol devyse, How Troilus com to his lady grace, And thenketh, so nolde I nat love purchace, Or wondreth on his speche or his doinge, I noot; but it is me no wonderinge; For every wight which that to Rome went, Halt nat o path, or alwey o manere; Eek in som lond were al the gamen shent, If that they ferde in love as men don here, As thus, in open doing or in chere, In visitinge, in forme, or seyde hire sawes; For-thy men seyn, ech contree hath his lawes.
Eek scarsly been ther in this place three That han in love seid lyk and doon in al; For to thy purpos this may lyken thee, And thee right nought, yet al is seyd or shal; Eek som men grave in tree, som in stoon wal, As it bitit; but sin I have begonne, Myn auctor shal I folwen, if I conne.
Exclipit prohemium Secundi Libri.
Incipit Liber Secundus.
In May, that moder is of monthes glade, That fresshe floures, blewe, and whyte, and rede, Ben quike agayn, that winter dede made, And ful of bawme is fleting every mede; Whan Phebus doth his brighte bemes sprede Right in the whyte Bole, it so bitidde As I shal singe, on Mayes day the thridde, That Pandarus, for al his wyse speche, Felt eek his part of loves shottes kene, That, coude he never so wel of loving preche, It made his hewe a-day ful ofte grene; So shoop it, that hym fil that day a tene In love, for which in wo to bedde he wente, And made, er it was day, ful many a wente.
The swalwe Proigne, with a sorwful lay, Whan morwe com, gan make hir waymentinge, Why she forshapen was; and ever lay Pandare a-bedde, half in a slomeringe, Til she so neigh him made hir chiteringe How Tereus gan forth hir suster take, That with the noyse of hir he gan a-wake; And gan to calle, and dresse him up to ryse, Remembringe him his erand was to done From Troilus, and eek his greet empryse; And caste and knew in good plyt was the mone To doon viage, and took his wey ful sone Un-to his neces paleys ther bi-syde; Now Ianus, god of entree, thou him gyde! Whan he was come un-to his neces place, 'Wher is my lady?' to hir folk seyde he; And they him tolde; and he forth in gan pace, And fond, two othere ladyes sete and she, With-inne a paved parlour; and they three Herden a mayden reden hem the geste Of the Sege of Thebes, whyl hem leste.
Quod Pandarus, 'Ma dame, god yow see, With al your book and al the companye!' 'Ey, uncle myn, welcome y-wis,' quod she, And up she roos, and by the hond in hye She took him faste, and seyde, 'This night thrye, To goode mote it turne, of yow I mette!' And with that word she doun on bench him sette.
'Ye, nece, ye shal fare wel the bet, If god wole, al this yeer,' quod Pandarus; 'But I am sory that I have yow let To herknen of your book ye preysen thus; For goddes love, what seith it? tel it us.
Is it of love? O, som good ye me lere!' 'Uncle,' quod she, 'your maistresse is not here!' With that they gonnen laughe, and tho she seyde, 'This romaunce is of Thebes, that we rede; And we han herd how that king Laius deyde Thurgh Edippus his sone, and al that dede; And here we stenten at these lettres rede, How the bisshop, as the book can telle, Amphiorax, fil thurgh the ground to helle.
' Quod Pandarus, 'Al this knowe I my-selve, And al the assege of Thebes and the care; For her-of been ther maked bokes twelve: -- But lat be this, and tel me how ye fare; Do wey your barbe, and shew your face bare; Do wey your book, rys up, and lat us daunce, And lat us don to May som observaunce.
' 'A! God forbede!' quod she.
'Be ye mad? Is that a widewes lyf, so god you save? By god, ye maken me right sore a-drad, Ye ben so wilde, it semeth as ye rave! It sete me wel bet ay in a cave To bidde, and rede on holy seyntes lyves; Lat maydens gon to daunce, and yonge wyves.
' 'As ever thryve I,' quod this Pandarus, 'Yet coude I telle a thing to doon you pleye.
' 'Now, uncle dere,' quod she, 'tel it us For goddes love; is than the assege aweye? I am of Grekes so ferd that I deye.
' 'Nay, nay,' quod he, 'as ever mote I thryve! It is a thing wel bet than swiche fyve.
' 'Ye, holy god,' quod she, 'what thing is that? What! Bet than swiche fyve? Ey, nay, y-wis! For al this world ne can I reden what It sholde been; som Iape, I trowe, is this; And but your-selven telle us what it is, My wit is for to arede it al to lene; As help me god, I noot nat what ye meene.
' 'And I your borow, ne never shal, for me, This thing be told to yow, as mote I thryve!' 'And why so, uncle myn? Why so?' quod she.
'By god,' quod he, 'that wole I telle as blyve; For prouder womman were ther noon on-lyve, And ye it wiste, in al the toun of Troye; I iape nought, as ever have I Ioye!' Tho gan she wondren more than biforn A thousand fold, and doun hir eyen caste; For never, sith the tyme that she was born, To knowe thing desired she so faste; And with a syk she seyde him at the laste, 'Now, uncle myn, I nil yow nought displese, Nor axen more, that may do yow disese.
' So after this, with many wordes glade, And freendly tales, and with mery chere, Of this and that they pleyde, and gunnen wade In many an unkouth glad and deep matere, As freendes doon, whan they ben met y-fere; Til she gan axen him how Ector ferde, That was the tounes wal and Grekes yerde.
'Ful wel, I thanke it god,' quod Pandarus, 'Save in his arm he hath a litel wounde; And eek his fresshe brother Troilus, The wyse worthy Ector the secounde, In whom that ever vertu list abounde, As alle trouthe and alle gentillesse, Wysdom, honour, fredom, and worthinesse.
' 'In good feith, eem,' quod she, 'that lyketh me; They faren wel, god save hem bothe two! For trewely I holde it greet deyntee A kinges sone in armes wel to do, And been of good condiciouns ther-to; For greet power and moral vertu here Is selde y-seye in o persone y-fere.
' 'In good feith, that is sooth,' quod Pandarus; 'But, by my trouthe, the king hath sones tweye, That is to mene, Ector and Troilus, That certainly, though that I sholde deye, They been as voyde of vyces, dar I seye, As any men that liveth under the sonne, Hir might is wyde y-knowe, and what they conne.
'Of Ector nedeth it nought for to telle: In al this world ther nis a bettre knight Than he, that is of worthinesse welle; And he wel more vertu hath than might.
This knoweth many a wys and worthy wight.
The same prys of Troilus I seye, God help me so, I knowe not swiche tweye.
' 'By god,' quod she, 'of Ector that is sooth; Of Troilus the same thing trowe I; For, dredelees, men tellen that he dooth In armes day by day so worthily, And bereth him here at hoom so gentilly To every wight, that al the prys hath he Of hem that me were levest preysed be.
' 'Ye sey right sooth, y-wis,' quod Pandarus; 'For yesterday, who-so hadde with him been, He might have wondred up-on Troilus; For never yet so thikke a swarm of been Ne fleigh, as Grekes fro him gonne fleen; And thorugh the feld, in everi wightes ere, Ther nas no cry but "Troilus is there!" 'Now here, now there, he hunted hem so faste, Ther nas but Grekes blood; and Troilus, Now hem he hurte, and hem alle doun he caste; Ay where he wente, it was arayed thus: He was hir deeth, and sheld and lyf for us; That as that day ther dorste noon with-stonde, Whyl that he held his blody swerd in honde.
'Therto he is the freendlieste man Of grete estat, that ever I saw my lyve; And wher him list, best felawshipe can To suche as him thinketh able for to thryve.
' And with that word tho Pandarus, as blyve, He took his leve, and seyde, 'I wol go henne.
' 'Nay, blame have I, myn uncle,' quod she thenne.
'What eyleth yow to be thus wery sone, And namelich of wommen? Wol ye so? Nay, sitteth down; by god, I have to done With yow, to speke of wisdom er ye go.
' And every wight that was a-boute hem tho, That herde that, gan fer a-wey to stonde, Whyl they two hadde al that hem liste in honde.
Whan that hir tale al brought was to an ende, Of hire estat and of hir governaunce, Quod Pandarus, 'Now is it tyme I wende; But yet, I seye, aryseth, lat us daunce, And cast your widwes habit to mischaunce: What list yow thus your-self to disfigure, Sith yow is tid thus fair an aventure?' 'A! Wel bithought! For love of god,' quod she, 'Shal I not witen what ye mene of this?' 'No, this thing axeth layser,' tho quod he, 'And eek me wolde muche greve, y-wis, If I it tolde, and ye it toke amis.
Yet were it bet my tonge for to stille Than seye a sooth that were ayeins your wille.
'For, nece, by the goddesse Minerve, And Iuppiter, that maketh the thonder ringe, And by the blisful Venus that I serve, Ye been the womman in this world livinge, With-oute paramours, to my wittinge, That I best love, and lothest am to greve, And that ye witen wel your-self, I leve.
' 'Y-wis, myn uncle,' quod she, 'grant mercy; Your freendship have I founden ever yit; I am to no man holden trewely, So muche as yow, and have so litel quit; And, with the grace of god, emforth my wit, As in my gilt I shal you never offende; And if I have er this, I wol amende.
'But, for the love of god, I yow beseche, As ye ben he that I love most and triste, Lat be to me your fremde manere speche, And sey to me, your nece, what yow liste:' And with that word hir uncle anoon hir kiste, And seyde, 'Gladly, leve nece dere, Tak it for good that I shal seye yow here.
' With that she gan hir eiyen doun to caste, And Pandarus to coghe gan a lyte, And seyde, 'Nece, alwey, lo! To the laste, How-so it be that som men hem delyte With subtil art hir tales for to endyte, Yet for al that, in hir entencioun Hir tale is al for som conclusioun.
'And sithen thende is every tales strengthe, And this matere is so bihovely, What sholde I peynte or drawen it on lengthe To yow, that been my freend so feithfully?' And with that word he gan right inwardly Biholden hir, and loken on hir face, And seyde, 'On suche a mirour goode grace!' Than thoughte he thus: 'If I my tale endyte Ought hard, or make a proces any whyle, She shal no savour han ther-in but lyte, And trowe I wolde hir in my wil bigyle.
For tendre wittes wenen al be wyle Ther-as they can nat pleynly understonde; For-thy hir wit to serven wol I fonde --' And loked on hir in a besy wyse, And she was war that he byheld hir so, And seyde, 'Lord! So faste ye me avyse! Sey ye me never er now? What sey ye, no?' 'Yes, yes,' quod he, 'and bet wole er I go; But, by my trouthe, I thoughte now if ye Be fortunat, for now men shal it see.
'For to every wight som goodly aventure Som tyme is shape, if he it can receyven; And if that he wol take of it no cure, Whan that it commeth, but wilfully it weyven, Lo, neither cas nor fortune him deceyven, But right his verray slouthe and wrecchednesse; And swich a wight is for to blame, I gesse.
'Good aventure, O bele nece, have ye Ful lightly founden, and ye conne it take; And, for the love of god, and eek of me, Cacche it anoon, lest aventure slake.
What sholde I lenger proces of it make? Yif me your hond, for in this world is noon, If that yow list, a wight so wel begoon.
'And sith I speke of good entencioun, As I to yow have told wel here-biforn, And love as wel your honour and renoun As creature in al this world y-born; By alle the othes that I have yow sworn, And ye be wrooth therfore, or wene I lye, Ne shal I never seen yow eft with ye.
'Beth nought agast, ne quaketh nat; wher-to? Ne chaungeth nat for fere so your hewe; For hardely the werste of this is do; And though my tale as now be to yow newe, Yet trist alwey, ye shal me finde trewe; And were it thing that me thoughte unsittinge, To yow nolde I no swiche tales bringe.
' 'Now, my good eem, for goddes love, I preye,' Quod she, 'com of, and tel me what it is; For bothe I am agast what ye wol seye, And eek me longeth it to wite, y-wis.
For whether it be wel or be amis, Say on, lat me not in this fere dwelle:' 'So wol I doon; now herkneth, I shal telle: 'Now, nece myn, the kinges dere sone, The goode, wyse, worthy, fresshe, and free, Which alwey for to do wel is his wone, The noble Troilus, so loveth thee, That, bot ye helpe, it wol his bane be.
Lo, here is al, what sholde I more seye? Doth what yow list, to make him live or deye.
'But if ye lete him deye, I wol sterve; Have her my trouthe, nece, I nil not lyen; Al sholde I with this knyf my throte kerve --' With that the teres braste out of his yen, And seyde, 'If that ye doon us bothe dyen, Thus giltelees, than have ye fisshed faire; What mende ye, though that we bothe apeyre? 'Allas! He which that is my lord so dere, That trewe man, that noble gentil knight, That nought desireth but your freendly chere, I see him deye, ther he goth up-right, And hasteth him, with al his fulle might, For to be slayn, if fortune wol assente; Allas! That god yow swich a beautee sente! 'If it be so that ye so cruel be, That of his deeth yow liste nought to recche, That is so trewe and worthy, as ye see, No more than of a Iapere or a wrecche, If ye be swich, your beautee may not strecche To make amendes of so cruel a dede; Avysement is good bifore the nede.
'Wo worth the faire gemme vertulees! Wo worth that herbe also that dooth no bote! Wo worth that beautee that is routhelees! Wo worth that wight that tret ech under fote! And ye, that been of beautee crop and rote, If therwith-al in you ther be no routhe, Than is it harm ye liven, by my trouthe! 'And also thenk wel that this is no gaude; For me were lever, thou and I and he Were hanged, than I sholde been his baude, As heyghe, as men mighte on us alle y-see: I am thyn eem, the shame were to me, As wel as thee, if that I sholde assente, Thorugh myn abet, that he thyn honour shente.
'Now understond, for I yow nought requere, To binde yow to him thorugh no beheste, But only that ye make him bettre chere Than ye han doon er this, and more feste, So that his lyf be saved, at the leste; This al and som, and playnly our entente; God help me so, I never other mente.
'Lo, this request is not but skile, y-wis, Ne doute of reson, pardee, is ther noon.
I sette the worste that ye dredden this, Men wolden wondren seen him come or goon: Ther-ayeins answere I thus a-noon, That every wight, but he be fool of kinde, Wol deme it love of freendship in his minde.
'What? Who wol deme, though he see a man To temple go, that he the images eteth? Thenk eek how wel and wysly that he can Governe him-self, that he no-thing foryeteth, That, wher he cometh, he prys and thank him geteth; And eek ther-to, he shal come here so selde, What fors were it though al the toun behelde? 'Swich love of freendes regneth al this toun; And wrye yow in that mantel ever-mo; And god so wis be my savacioun, As I have seyd, your beste is to do so.
But alwey, goode nece, to stinte his wo, So lat your daunger sucred ben a lyte, That of his deeth ye be nought for to wyte.
' Criseyde, which that herde him in this wyse, Thoughte, 'I shal fele what he meneth, y-wis.
' 'Now, eem,' quod she, 'what wolde ye devyse? What is your reed I sholde doon of this?' 'That is wel seyd,' quod be.
'certayn, best is That ye him love ayein for his lovinge, As love for love is skilful guerdoninge.
'Thenk eek, how elde wasteth every houre In eche of yow a party of beautee; And therfore, er that age thee devoure, Go love, for, olde, ther wol no wight of thee.
Lat this proverbe a lore un-to yow be; "To late y-war, quod Beautee, whan it paste;" And elde daunteth daunger at the laste.
'The kinges fool is woned to cryen loude, Whan that him thinketh a womman bereth hir hye, "So longe mote ye live, and alle proude, Til crowes feet be growe under your ye, And sende yow thanne a mirour in to prye In whiche that ye may see your face a-morwe!" Nece, I bidde wisshe yow no more sorwe.
' With this he stente, and caste adoun the heed, And she bigan to breste a-wepe anoon, And seyde, 'Allas, for wo! Why nere I deed? For of this world the feith is al agoon! Allas! What sholden straunge to me doon, Whan he, that for my beste freend I wende, Ret me to love, and sholde it me defende? 'Allas! I wolde han trusted, doutelees, That if that I, thurgh my disaventure, Had loved other him or Achilles, Ector, or any mannes creature, Ye nolde han had no mercy ne mesure On me, but alwey had me in repreve; This false world, allas! Who may it leve? 'What? Is this al the Ioye and al the feste? Is this your reed, is this my blisful cas? Is this the verray mede of your beheste? Is al this peynted proces seyd, allas! Right for this fyn? O lady myn, Pallas! Thou in this dredful cas for me purveye; For so astonied am I that I deye!' With that she gan ful sorwfully to syke; 'A! May it be no bet?' quod Pandarus; 'By god, I shal no-more come here this wyke, And god to-forn, that am mistrusted thus; I see ful wel that ye sette lyte of us, Or of our deeth! Allas! I woful wrecche! Mighte he yet live, of me is nought to recche.
'O cruel god, O dispitouse Marte, O Furies three of helle, on yow I crye! So lat me never out of this hous departe, If that I mente harm or vilanye! But sith I see my lord mot nedes dye, And I with him, here I me shryve, and seye That wikkedly ye doon us bothe deye.
'But sith it lyketh yow that I be deed, By Neptunus, that god is of the see, Fro this forth shal I never eten breed Til I myn owene herte blood may see; For certayn, I wole deye as sone as he --' And up he sterte, and on his wey he raughte, Til she agayn him by the lappe caughte.
Criseyde, which that wel neigh starf for fere, So as she was the ferfulleste wight That mighte be, and herde eek with hir ere, And saw the sorwful ernest of the knight, And in his preyere eek saw noon unright, And for the harm that mighte eek fallen more, She gan to rewe and dredde hir wonder sore; And thoughte thus, 'Unhappes fallen thikke Alday for love, and in swich maner cas, As men ben cruel in hem-self and wikke; And if this man slee here him-self, allas! In my presence, it wol be no solas.
What men wolde of hit deme I can nat seye; It nedeth me ful sleyly for to pleye.
' And with a sorwful syk she seyde thrye, 'A! Lord! What me is tid a sory chaunce! For myn estat lyth in Iupartye, And eek myn emes lyf lyth in balaunce; But nathelees, with goddes governaunce, I shal so doon, myn honour shal I kepe, And eek his lyf;' and stinte for to wepe.
'Of harmes two, the lesse is for to chese; Yet have I lever maken him good chere In honour, than myn emes lyf to lese; Ye seyn, ye no-thing elles me requere?' 'No, wis,' quod he, 'myn owene nece dere.
' 'Now wel,' quod she, 'and I wol doon my peyne; I shal myn herte ayeins my lust constreyne.
'But that I nil not holden him in honde, Ne love a man, ne can I not, ne may Ayeins my wil; but elles wol I fonde, Myn honour sauf, plese him fro day to day; Ther-to nolde I nought ones have seyd nay, But that I dredde, as in my fantasye; But cesse cause, ay cesseth maladye.
'And here I make a protestacioun, That in this proces if ye depper go, That certaynly, for no savacioun Of yow, though that ye sterve bothe two, Though al the world on o day be my fo, Ne shal I never on him han other routhe.
--' 'I graunte wel,' quod Pandare, 'by my trouthe.
'But may I truste wel ther-to,' quod he, 'That of this thing that ye han hight me here, Ye wol it holden trewly un-to me?' 'Ye, doutelees,' quod she, 'myn uncle dere.
' 'Ne that I shal han cause in this matere,' Quod he, 'to pleyne, or after yow to preche?' 'Why, no, parde; what nedeth more speche?' Tho fillen they in othere tales glade, Til at the laste, 'O good eem,' quod she tho, 'For love of god, which that us bothe made, Tel me how first ye wisten of his wo: Wot noon of hit but ye?' He seyde, 'No.
' 'Can he wel speke of love?' quod she, 'I preye, Tel me, for I the bet me shal purveye.
' Tho Pandarus a litel gan to smyle, And seyde, 'By my trouthe, I shal yow telle.
This other day, nought gon ful longe whyle, In-with the paleys-gardyn, by a welle, Gan he and I wel half a day to dwelle, Right for to speken of an ordenaunce, How we the Grekes myghte disavaunce.
'Sone after that bigonne we to lepe, And casten with our dartes to and fro, Til at the laste he seyde he wolde slepe, And on the gres a-doun he leyde him tho; And I after gan rome to and fro Til that I herde, as that I welk allone, How he bigan ful wofully to grone.
'Tho gan I stalke him softely bihinde, And sikerly, the sothe for to seyne, As I can clepe ayein now to my minde, Right thus to Love he gan him for to pleyne; He seyde, "Lord! Have routhe up-on my peyne, Al have I been rebel in myn entente; Now, MEA CULPA, lord! I me repente.
'"O god, that at thy disposicioun Ledest the fyn by Iuste purveyaunce, Of every wight, my lowe confessioun Accepte in gree, and send me swich penaunce As lyketh thee, but from desesperaunce, That may my goost departe awey fro thee, Thou be my sheld, for thy benignitee.
'"For certes, lord, so soore hath she me wounded, That stod in blak, with loking of hir yen, That to myn hertes botme it is y-sounded, Thorugh which I woot that I mot nedes dyen; This is the worste, I dar me not bi-wryen; And wel the hotter been the gledes rede, That men hem wryen with asshen pale and dede.
" 'With that he smoot his heed adoun anoon, And gan to motre, I noot what, trewely.
And I with that gan stille awey to goon, And leet ther-of as no-thing wist hadde I, And come ayein anoon and stood him by, And seyde, "A-wake, ye slepen al to longe; It semeth nat that love dooth yow longe, '"That slepen so that no man may yow wake.
Who sey ever or this so dul a man?" "Ye, freend," quod he, "do ye your hedes ake For love, and lat me liven as I can.
" But though that he for wo was pale and wan, Yet made he tho as freshe a countenaunce As though he shulde have led the newe daunce.
'This passed forth, til now, this other day, It fel that I com roming al allone Into his chaumbre, and fond how that he lay Up-on his bed; but man so sore grone Ne herde I never, and what that was his mone, Ne wist I nought; for, as I was cominge, Al sodeynly he lefte his compleyninge.
'Of which I took somwat suspecioun, And neer I com, and fond he wepte sore; And god so wis be my savacioun, As never of thing hadde I no routhe more.
For neither with engyn, ne with no lore, Unethes mighte I fro the deeth him kepe; That yet fele I myn herte for him wepe.
'And god wot, never, sith that I was born, Was I so bisy no man for to preche, Ne never was to wight so depe y-sworn, Or he me tolde who mighte been his leche.
But now to yow rehersen al his speche, Or alle his woful wordes for to soune, Ne bid me not, but ye wol see me swowne.
'But for to save his lyf, and elles nought, And to non harm of yow, thus am I driven; And for the love of god that us hath wrought, Swich chere him dooth, that he and I may liven.
Now have I plat to yow myn herte shriven; And sin ye woot that myn entente is clene, Tak hede ther-of, for I non yvel mene.
'And right good thrift, I prey to god, have ye, That han swich oon y-caught with-oute net; And be ye wys, as ye ben fair to see, Wel in the ring than is the ruby set.
Ther were never two so wel y-met, Whan ye ben his al hool, as he is youre: Ther mighty god yet graunte us see that houre!' 'Nay, therof spak I not, a, ha!' quod she, 'As helpe me god, ye shenden every deel!' 'O mercy, dere nece,' anoon quod he, 'What-so I spak, I mente nought but weel, By Mars the god, that helmed is of steel; Now beth nought wrooth, my blood, my nece dere.
' 'Now wel,' quod she, 'foryeven be it here!' With this he took his leve, and hoom he wente; And lord, he was glad and wel bigoon! Criseyde aroos, no lenger she ne stente, But straught in-to hir closet wente anoon, And sette here doun as stille as any stoon, And every word gan up and doun to winde, That he hadde seyd, as it com hir to minde; And wex somdel astonied in hir thought, Right for the newe cas; but whan that she Was ful avysed, tho fond she right nought Of peril, why she oughte afered be.
For man may love, of possibilitee, A womman so, his herte may to-breste, And she nought love ayein, but-if hir leste.
But as she sat allone and thoughte thus, Thascry aroos at skarmish al with-oute, And men cryde in the strete, 'See, Troilus Hath right now put to flight the Grekes route!' With that gan al hir meynee for to shoute, 'A! Go we see, caste up the latis wyde; For thurgh this strete he moot to palays ryde; 'For other wey is fro the yate noon Of Dardanus, ther open is the cheyne.
' With that com he and al his folk anoon An esy pas rydinge, in routes tweyne, Right as his happy day was, sooth to seyne, For which, men say, may nought disturbed be That shal bityden of necessitee.
This Troilus sat on his baye stede, Al armed, save his heed, ful richely, And wounded was his hors, and gan to blede, On whiche he rood a pas, ful softely; But swych a knightly sighte, trewely, As was on him, was nought, with-outen faile, To loke on Mars, that god is of batayle.
So lyk a man of armes and a knight He was to seen, fulfild of heigh prowesse; For bothe he hadde a body and a might To doon that thing, as wel as hardinesse; And eek to seen him in his gere him dresse, So fresh, so yong, so weldy semed he, It was an heven up-on him for to see.
His helm to-hewen was in twenty places, That by a tissew heng, his bak bihinde, His sheld to-dasshed was with swerdes and maces, In which men mighte many an arwe finde That thirled hadde horn and nerf and rinde; And ay the peple cryde, 'Here cometh our Ioye, And, next his brother, holdere up of Troye!' For which he wex a litel reed for shame, Whan he the peple up-on him herde cryen, That to biholde it was a noble game, How sobreliche he caste doun his yen.
Cryseyda gan al his chere aspyen, And leet so softe it in hir herte sinke, That to hir-self she seyde, 'Who yaf me drinke?' For of hir owene thought she wex al reed, Remembringe hir right thus, 'Lo, this is he Which that myn uncle swereth he moot be deed, But I on him have mercy and pitee;' And with that thought, for pure a-shamed, she Gan in hir heed to pulle, and that as faste, Whyl he and al the peple for-by paste, And gan to caste and rollen up and doun With-inne hir thought his excellent prowesse, And his estat, and also his renoun, His wit, his shap, and eek his gentillesse; But most hir favour was, for his distresse Was al for hir, and thoughte it was a routhe To sleen swich oon, if that he mente trouthe.
Now mighte som envyous Iangle thus, 'This was a sodeyn love; how mighte it be That she so lightly lovede Troilus Right for the firste sighte; ye, pardee?' Now who-so seyth so, mote he never thee! For every thing, a ginning hath it nede Er al be wrought, with-outen any drede.
For I sey nought that she so sodeynly Yaf him hir love, but that she gan enclyne To lyke him first, and I have told yow why; And after that, his manhod and his pyne Made love with-inne hir for to myne, For which, by proces and by good servyse, He gat hir love, and in no sodeyn wyse.
And also blisful Venus, wel arayed, Sat in hir seventhe hous of hevene tho, Disposed wel, and with aspectes payed, To helpen sely Troilus of his wo.
And, sooth to seyn, she nas not al a fo To Troilus in his nativitee; God woot that wel the soner spedde he.
Now lat us stinte of Troilus a throwe, That rydeth forth, and lat us tourne faste Un-to Criseyde, that heng hir heed ful lowe, Ther-as she sat allone, and gan to caste Wher-on she wolde apoynte hir at the laste, If it so were hir eem ne wolde cesse, For Troilus, up-on hir for to presse.
And, lord! So she gan in hir thought argue In this matere of which I have yow told, And what to doon best were, and what eschue, That plyted she ful ofte in many fold.
Now was hir herte warm, now was it cold, And what she thoughte somwhat shal I wryte, As to myn auctor listeth for to endyte.
She thoughte wel that Troilus persone She knew by sighte and eek his gentillesse, And thus she seyde, 'Al were it nought to done, To graunte him love, yet, for his worthinesse, It were honour, with pley and with gladnesse, In honestee, with swich a lord to dele, For myn estat, and also for his hele.
'Eek, wel wot I my kinges sone is he; And sith he hath to see me swich delyt, If I wolde utterly his sighte flee, Peraunter he mighte have me in dispyt, Thurgh which I mighte stonde in worse plyt; Now were I wys, me hate to purchace, With-outen nede, ther I may stonde in grace? 'In every thing, I woot, ther lyth mesure.
For though a man forbede dronkenesse, He nought for-bet that every creature Be drinkelees for alwey, as I gesse; Eek sith I woot for me is his distresse, I ne oughte not for that thing him despyse, Sith it is so, he meneth in good wyse.
'And eek I knowe, of longe tyme agoon, His thewes goode, and that he is not nyce.
Ne avauntour, seyth men, certein, he is noon; To wys is he to do so gret a vyce; Ne als I nel him never so cheryce, That he may make avaunt, by Iuste cause; He shal me never binde in swiche a clause.
'Now set a cas, the hardest is, y-wis, Men mighten deme that he loveth me; What dishonour were it un-to me, this? May I him lette of that? Why nay, pardee! I knowe also, and alday here and see, Men loven wommen al this toun aboute; Be they the wers? Why, nay, with-outen doute.
'I thenk eek how he able is for to have Of al this noble toun the thriftieste, To been his love, so she hir honour save; For out and out he is the worthieste, Save only Ector, which that is the beste.
And yet his lyf al lyth now in my cure, But swich is love, and eek myn aventure.
'Ne me to love, a wonder is it nought; For wel wot I my-self, so god me spede, Al wolde I that noon wiste of this thought, I am oon the fayreste, out of drede, And goodlieste, who-so taketh hede; And so men seyn in al the toun of Troye.
What wonder is it though he of me have Ioye? 'I am myn owene woman, wel at ese, I thank it god, as after myn estat; Right yong, and stonde unteyd in lusty lese, With-outen Ialousye or swich debat; Shal noon housbonde seyn to me "Chekmat!" For either they ben ful of Ialousye, Or maisterful, or loven novelrye.
'What shal I doon? To what fyn live I thus? Shal I nat loven, in cas if that me leste? What, par dieux! I am nought religious! And though that I myn herte sette at reste Upon this knight, that is the worthieste, And kepe alwey myn honour and my name, By alle right, it may do me no shame.
' But right as whan the sonne shyneth brighte, In March, that chaungeth ofte tyme his face, And that a cloud is put with wind to flighte Which over-sprat the sonne as for a space, A cloudy thought gan thorugh hir soule pace, That over-spradde hir brighte thoughtes alle, So that for fere almost she gan to falle.
That thought was this: 'Allas! Sin I am free, Sholde I now love, and putte in Iupartye My sikernesse, and thrallen libertee? Allas! How dorste I thenken that folye? May I nought wel in other folk aspye Hir dredful Ioye, hir constreynt, and hir peyne? Ther loveth noon, that she nath why to pleyne.
'For love is yet the moste stormy lyf, Right of him-self, that ever was bigonne; For ever som mistrust, or nyce stryf, Ther is in love, som cloud is over that sonne: Ther-to we wrecched wommen no-thing conne, Whan us is wo, but wepe and sitte and thinke; Our wreche is this, our owene wo to drinke.
'Also these wikked tonges been so prest To speke us harm, eek men be so untrewe, That, right anoon as cessed is hir lest, So cesseth love, and forth to love a newe: But harm y-doon, is doon, who-so it rewe.
For though these men for love hem first to-rende, Ful sharp biginning breketh ofte at ende.
'How ofte tyme hath it y-knowen be, The treson, that to womman hath be do? To what fyn is swich love, I can nat see, Or wher bicometh it, whan it is ago; Ther is no wight that woot, I trowe so, Wher it bycomth; lo, no wight on it sporneth; That erst was no-thing, in-to nought it torneth.
'How bisy, if I love, eek moste I be To plesen hem that Iangle of love, and demen, And coye hem, that they sey non harm of me? For though ther be no cause, yet hem semen Al be for harm that folk hir freendes quemen; And who may stoppen every wikked tonge, Or soun of belles whyl that they be ronge?' And after that, hir thought bigan to clere, And seyde, 'He which that no-thing under-taketh, No thing ne acheveth, be him looth or dere.
' And with an other thought hir herte quaketh; Than slepeth hope, and after dreed awaketh; Now hoot, now cold; but thus, bi-twixen tweye, She rist hir up, and went hir for to pleye.
Adoun the steyre anoon-right tho she wente In-to the gardin, with hir neces three, And up and doun ther made many a wente, Flexippe, she, Tharbe, and Antigone, To pleyen, that it Ioye was to see; And othere of hir wommen, a gret route, hir folwede in the gardin al aboute.
This yerd was large, and rayled alle the aleyes, And shadwed wel with blosmy bowes grene, And benched newe, and sonded alle the weyes, In which she walketh arm in arm bi-twene; Til at the laste Antigone the shene Gan on a Troian song to singe clere, That it an heven was hir voys to here.
-- She seyde, 'O love, to whom I have and shal Ben humble subgit, trewe in myn entente, As I best can, to yow, lord, yeve ich al For ever-more, myn hertes lust to rente.
For never yet thy grace no wight sente So blisful cause as me, my lyf to lede In alle Ioye and seurtee, out of drede.
'Ye, blisful god, han me so wel beset In love, y-wis, that al that bereth lyf Imaginen ne cowde how to ben bet; For, lord, with-outen Ialousye or stryf, I love oon which that is most ententyf To serven wel, unwery or unfeyned, That ever was, and leest with harm distreyned.
'As he that is the welle of worthinesse, Of trouthe ground, mirour of goodliheed, Of wit Appollo, stoon of sikernesse, Of vertu rote, of lust findere and heed, Thurgh which is alle sorwe fro me deed, Y-wis, I love him best, so doth he me; Now good thrift have he, wher-so that he be! 'Whom sholde I thanke but yow, god of love, Of al this blisse, in which to bathe I ginne? And thanked be ye, lord, for that I love! This is the righte lyf that I am inne, To flemen alle manere vyce and sinne: This doth me so to vertu for to entende, That day by day I in my wil amende.
'And who-so seyth that for to love is vyce, Or thraldom, though he fele in it distresse, He outher is envyous, or right nyce, Or is unmighty, for his shrewednesse, To loven; for swich maner folk, I gesse, Defamen love, as no-thing of him knowe; Thei speken, but they bente never his bowe.
'What is the sonne wers, of kinde righte, Though that a man, for feblesse of his yen, May nought endure on it to see for brighte? Or love the wers, though wrecches on it cryen? No wele is worth, that may no sorwe dryen.
And for-thy, who that hath an heed of verre, Fro cast of stones war him in the werre! 'But I with al myn herte and al my might, As I have seyd, wol love, un-to my laste, My dere herte, and al myn owene knight, In which myn herte growen is so faste, And his in me, that it shal ever laste.
Al dredde I first to love him to biginne, Now woot I wel, ther is no peril inne.
' And of hir song right with that word she stente, And therwith-al, 'Now, nece,' quod Criseyde, 'Who made this song with so good entente?' Antigone answerde anoon, and seyde, 'Ma dame, y-wis, the goodlieste mayde Of greet estat in al the toun of Troye; And let hir lyf in most honour and Ioye.
' 'Forsothe, so it semeth by hir song,' Quod tho Criseyde, and gan ther-with to syke, And seyde, 'Lord, is there swich blisse among These lovers, as they conne faire endyte?' 'Ye, wis,' quod freshe Antigone the whyte, 'For alle the folk that han or been on lyve Ne conne wel the blisse of love discryve.
'But wene ye that every wrecche woot The parfit blisse of love? Why, nay, y-wis; They wenen al be love, if oon be hoot; Do wey, do wey, they woot no-thing of this! Men mosten axe at seyntes if it is Aught fair in hevene; Why? For they conne telle; And axen fendes, is it foul in helle.
' Criseyde un-to that purpos nought answerde, But seyde, 'Y-wis, it wol be night as faste.
' But every word which that she of hir herde, She gan to prenten in hir herte faste; And ay gan love hir lasse for to agaste Than it dide erst, and sinken in hir herte, That she wex somwhat able to converte.
The dayes honour, and the hevenes ye, The nightes fo, al this clepe I the sonne, Gan westren faste, and dounward for to wrye, As he that hadde his dayes cours y-ronne; And whyte thinges wexen dimme and donne For lak of light, and sterres for to appere, That she and al hir folk in wente y-fere.
So whan it lyked hir to goon to reste, And voyded weren they that voyden oughte, She seyde, that to slepe wel hir leste.
Hir wommen sone til hir bed hir broughte.
Whan al was hust, than lay she stille, and thoughte Of al this thing the manere and the wyse.
Reherce it nedeth nought, for ye ben wyse.
A nightingale, upon a cedre grene, Under the chambre-wal ther as she lay, Ful loude sang ayein the mone shene, Paraunter, in his briddes wyse, a lay Of love, that made hir herte fresh and gay.
That herkned she so longe in good entente, Til at the laste the dede sleep hir hente.
And as she sleep, anoon-right tho hir mette, How that an egle, fethered whyt as boon, Under hir brest his longe clawes sette, And out hir herte he rente, and that a-noon, And dide his herte in-to hir brest to goon, Of which she nought agroos, ne no-thing smerte, And forth he fleigh, with herte left for herte.
Now lat hir slepe, and we our tales holde Of Troilus, that is to paleys riden, Fro the scarmuch, of the whiche I tolde, And in his chaumbre sit, and hath abiden Til two or three of his messages yeden For Pandarus, and soughten him ful faste, Til they him founde and broughte him at the laste.
This Pandarus com leping in at ones, And seiyde thus: 'Who hath ben wel y-bete To-day with swerdes, and with slinge-stones, But Troilus, that hath caught him an hete?' And gan to Iape, and seyde, 'Lord, so ye swete! But rys, and lat us soupe and go to reste;' And he answerde him, 'Do we as thee leste.
' With al the haste goodly that they mighte, They spedde hem fro the souper un-to bedde; And every wight out at the dore him dighte, And wher him liste upon his wey him spedde; But Troilus, that thoughte his herte bledde For wo, til that he herde som tydinge, He seyde, 'Freend, shal I now wepe or singe?' Quod Pandarus, 'Ly stille and lat me slepe, And don thyn hood, thy nedes spedde be; And chese, if thou wolt singe or daunce or lepe; At shorte wordes, thow shal trowe me.
-- Sire, my nece wol do wel by thee, And love thee best, by god and by my trouthe, But lak of pursuit make it in thy slouthe.
'For thus ferforth I have thy work bigonne, Fro day to day, til this day, by the morwe, Hir love of freendship have I to thee wonne, And also hath she leyd hir feyth to borwe.
Algate a foot is hameled of thy sorwe.
' What sholde I lenger sermon of it holde? As ye han herd bifore, al he him tolde.
But right as floures, thorugh the colde of night Y-closed, stoupen on hir stalke lowe, Redressen hem a-yein the sonne bright, And spreden on hir kinde cours by rowe, Right so gan tho his eyen up to throwe This Troilus, and seyde, 'O Venus dere, Thy might, thy grace, y-heried be it here!' And to Pandare he held up bothe his hondes, And seyde, 'Lord, al thyn be that I have; For I am hool, al brosten been my bondes; A thousand Troians who so that me yave, Eche after other, god so wis me save, Ne mighte me so gladen; lo, myn herte, It spredeth so for Ioye, it wol to-sterte! 'But Lord, how shal I doon, how shal I liven? Whan shal I next my dere herte see? How shal this longe tyme a-wey be driven, Til that thou be ayein at hir fro me? Thou mayst answere, "A-byd, a-byd," but he That hangeth by the nekke, sooth to seyne, In grete disese abydeth for the peyne.
' 'Al esily, now, for the love of Marte,' Quod Pandarus, 'for every thing hath tyme; So longe abyd til that the night departe; For al so siker as thow lyst here by me, And god toforn, I wol be there at pryme, And for thy werk somwhat as I shal seye, Or on som other wight this charge leye.
'For pardee, god wot, I have ever yit Ben redy thee to serve, and to this night Have I nought fayned, but emforth my wit Don al thy lust, and shal with al my might.
Do now as I shal seye, and fare a-right; And if thou nilt, wyte al thy-self thy care, On me is nought along thyn yvel fare.
'I woot wel that thow wyser art than I A thousand fold, but if I were as thou, God help me so, as I wolde outrely, Right of myn owene hond, wryte hir right now A lettre, in which I wolde hir tellen how I ferde amis, and hir beseche of routhe; Now help thy-self, and leve it not for slouthe.
'And I my-self shal ther-with to hir goon; And whan thou wost that I am with hir there, Worth thou up-on a courser right anoon, Ye, hardily, right in thy beste gere, And ryd forth by the place, as nought ne were, And thou shalt finde us, if I may, sittinge At som windowe, in-to the strete lokinge.
'And if thee list, than maystow us saluwe, And up-on me make thy contenaunce; But, by thy lyf, be war and faste eschuwe To tarien ought, god shilde us fro mischaunce! Ryd forth thy wey, and hold thy governaunce; And we shal speke of thee som-what, I trowe, Whan Thou art goon, to do thyne eres glowe! 'Touching thy lettre, thou art wys y-nough, I woot thow nilt it digneliche endyte; As make it with thise argumentes tough; Ne scrivenish or craftily thou it wryte; Beblotte it with thy teres eek a lyte; And if thou wryte a goodly word al softe, Though it be good, reherce it not to ofte.
'For though the beste harpour upon lyve Wolde on the beste souned Ioly harpe That ever was, with alle his fingres fyve, Touche ay o streng, or ay o werbul harpe, Were his nayles poynted never so sharpe, It shulde maken every wight to dulle, To here his glee, and of his strokes fulle.
'Ne Iompre eek no discordaunt thing y-fere, As thus, to usen termes of phisyk; In loves termes, hold of thy matere The forme alwey, and do that it be lyk; For if a peyntour wolde peynte a pyk With asses feet, and hede it as an ape, It cordeth nought; so nere it but a Iape.
' This counseyl lyked wel to Troilus; But, as a dreedful lover, he seyde this: -- 'Allas, my dere brother Pandarus, I am ashamed for to wryte, y-wis, Lest of myn innocence I seyde a-mis, Or that she nolde it for despyt receyve; Thanne were I deed, ther mighte it no-thing weyve.
' To that Pandare answerde, 'If thee lest, Do that I seye, and lat me therwith goon; For by that lord that formed est and west, I hope of it to bringe answere anoon Right of hir hond, and if that thou nilt noon, Lat be; and sory mote he been his lyve, Ayeins thy lust that helpeth thee to thryve.
' Quod Troilus, 'Depardieux, I assente; Sin that thee list, I will aryse and wryte; And blisful god preye ich, with good entente, The vyage, and the lettre I shal endyte, So spede it; and thou, Minerva, the whyte, Yif thou me wit my lettre to devyse:' And sette him doun, and wroot right in this wyse.
-- First he gan hir his righte lady calle, His hertes lyf, his lust, his sorwes leche, His blisse, and eek these othere termes alle, That in swich cas these loveres alle seche; And in ful humble wyse, as in his speche, He gan him recomaunde un-to hir grace; To telle al how, it axeth muchel space.
And after this, ful lowly he hir prayde To be nought wrooth, though he, of his folye, So hardy was to hir to wryte, and seyde, That love it made, or elles moste he dye, And pitously gan mercy for to crye; And after that he seyde, and ley ful loude, Him-self was litel worth, and lesse he coude; And that she sholde han his conning excused, That litel was, and eek he dredde hir so, And his unworthinesse he ay acused; And after that, than gan he telle his woo; But that was endeles, with-outen ho; And seyde, he wolde in trouthe alwey him holde; -- And radde it over, and gan the lettre folde.
And with his salte teres gan he bathe The ruby in his signet, and it sette Upon the wex deliverliche and rathe; Ther-with a thousand tymes, er he lette, He kiste tho the lettre that he shette, And seyde, 'Lettre, a blisful destenee Thee shapen is, my lady shal thee see.
' This Pandare took the lettre, and that by tyme A-morwe, and to his neces paleys sterte, And faste he swoor, that it was passed pryme, And gan to Iape, and seyde, 'Y-wis, myn herte, So fresh it is, al-though it sore smerte, I may not slepe never a Mayes morwe; I have a Ioly wo, a lusty sorwe.
' Criseyde, whan that she hir uncle herde, With dreedful herte, and desirous to here The cause of his cominge, thus answerde: 'Now by your feyth, myn uncle,' quod she, 'dere, What maner windes gydeth yow now here? Tel us your Ioly wo and your penaunce, How ferforth be ye put in loves daunce.
' 'By god,' quod he, 'I hoppe alwey bihinde!' And she to-laugh, it thoughte hir herte breste.
Quod Pandarus, 'Loke alwey that ye finde Game in myn hood, but herkneth, if yow leste; Ther is right now come in-to toune a geste, A Greek espye, and telleth newe thinges, For which I come to telle yow tydinges.
'Into the gardin go we, and we shal here, Al prevely, of this a long sermoun.
' With that they wenten arm in arm y-fere In-to the gardin from the chaumbre doun.
And whan that he so fer was that the soun Of that he speke, no man here mighte, He seyde hir thus, and out the lettre plighte, 'Lo, he that is al hoolly youres free Him recomaundeth lowly to your grace, And sent to you this lettre here by me; Avyseth you on it, whan ye han space, And of som goodly answere yow purchace; Or, helpe me god, so pleynly for to seyne, He may not longe liven for his peyne.
' Ful dredfully tho gan she stonde stille, And took it nought, but al hir humble chere Gan for to chaunge, and seyde, 'Scrit ne bille, For love of god, that toucheth swich matere, Ne bring me noon; and also, uncle dere, To myn estat have more reward, I preye, Than to his lust; what sholde I more seye? 'And loketh now if this be resonable, And letteth nought, for favour ne for slouthe, To seyn a sooth; now were it covenable To myn estat, by god, and by your trouthe, To taken it, or to han of him routhe, In harming of my-self or in repreve? Ber it a-yein, for him that ye on leve!' This Pandarus gan on hir for to stare, And seyde, 'Now is this the grettest wonder That ever I sey! Lat be this nyce fare! To deethe mote I smiten be with thonder, If, for the citee which that stondeth yonder, Wolde I a lettre un-to yow bringe or take To harm of yow; what list yow thus it make? 'But thus ye faren, wel neigh alle and some, That he that most desireth yow to serve, Of him ye recche leest wher he bicome, And whether that he live or elles sterve.
But for al that that ever I may deserve, Refuse it nought,' quod he, and hente hir faste, And in hir bosom the lettre doun he thraste, And seyde hire, 'Now cast it awey anoon, That folk may seen and gauren on us tweye.
' Quod she, 'I can abyde til they be goon,' And gan to smyle, and seyde hym, 'Eem, I preye, Swich answere as yow list, your-self purveye, For trewely I nil no lettre wryte.
' 'No? than wol I,' quod he, 'so ye endyte.
' Therwith she lough, and seyde, 'Go we dyne.
' And he gan at him-self to iape faste, And seyde, 'Nece, I have so greet a pyne For love, that every other day I faste' -- And gan his beste Iapes forth to caste; And made hir so to laughe at his folye, That she for laughter wende for to dye.
And whan that she was comen in-to halle, 'Now, eem,' quod she, 'we wol go dine anoon;' And gan some of hir women to hir calle, And streyght in-to hir chaumbre gan she goon; But of hir besinesses, this was oon A-monges othere thinges, out of drede, Ful prively this lettre for to rede; Avysed word by word in every lyne, And fond no lak, she thoughte he coude good; And up it putte, and went hir in to dyne.
But Pandarus, that in a study stood, Er he was war, she took him by the hood, And seyde, 'Ye were caught er that ye wiste;' 'I vouche sauf,' quod he.
'do what yow liste.
' Tho wesshen they, and sette hem doun and ete; And after noon ful sleyly Pandarus Gan drawe him to the window next the strete, And seyde, 'Nece, who hath arayed thus The yonder hous, that stant afor-yeyn us?' 'Which hous?' quod she, and gan for to biholde, And knew it wel, and whos it was him tolde, And fillen forth in speche of thinges smale, And seten in the window bothe tweye.
Whan Pandarus saw tyme un-to his tale, And saw wel that hir folk were alle aweye, 'Now, nece myn, tel on,' quod he; 'I seye, How liketh yow the lettre that ye woot? Can he ther-on? For, by my trouthe, I noot.
' Therwith al rosy hewed tho wex she, And gan to humme, and seyde, 'So I trowe.
' 'Aquyte him wel, for goddes love,' quod he; 'My-self to medes wol the lettre sowe.
' And held his hondes up, and sat on knowe, 'Now, goode nece, be it never so lyte, Yif me the labour, it to sowe and plyte.
' 'Ye, for I can so wryte,' quod she tho; 'And eek I noot what I sholde to him seye.
' 'Nay, nece,' quod Pandare, 'sey nat so; Yet at the leste thanketh him, I preye, Of his good wil, and doth him not to deye.
Now for the love of me, my nece dere, Refuseth not at this tyme my preyere.
' 'Depar-dieux,' quod she, 'God leve al be wel! God help me so, this is the firste lettre That ever I wroot, ye, al or any del.
' And in-to a closet, for to avyse hir bettre, She wente allone, and gan hir herte unfettre Out of disdaynes prison but a lyte; And sette hir doun, and gan a lettre wryte, Of which to telle in short is myn entente Theffect, as fer as I can understonde: -- She thonked him of al that he wel mente Towardes hir, but holden him in honde She nolde nought, ne make hir-selven bonde In love, but as his suster, him to plese, She wolde fayn to doon his herte an ese.
She shette it, and to Pandarus in gan goon, There as he sat and loked in-to the strete, And doun she sette hir by him on a stoon Of Iaspre, up-on a quisshin gold y-bete, And seyde, 'As wisly helpe me god the grete, I never dide a thing with more peyne Than wryte this, to which ye me constreyne;' And took it him: He thonked hir and seyde, 'God woot, of thing ful ofte looth bigonne Cometh ende good; and nece myn, Criseyde, That ye to him of hard now ben y-wonne Oughte he be glad, by god and yonder sonne! For-why men seyth, "Impressiounes lighte Ful lightly been ay redy to the flighte.
' 'But ye han pleyed tyraunt neigh to longe, 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 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 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.
' '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.
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, 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; 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, 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, 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, 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; 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.
' 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, 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, 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 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, 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.
' 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 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.
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, 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 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 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, 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, 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.
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.
'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; 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, 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, 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, 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.
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; 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.
'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, 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, 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, '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 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, 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.
' 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.
'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 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 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, 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; 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, 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? 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.
'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; 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, 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, 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.
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; 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; 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.
'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.
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, 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 The same tyme, and lasten til a-morwe; And lat see now how wel thou canst it ma


The Growth of Love

Email Poem - The Growth of LoveEmail Poem |

 1
They that in play can do the thing they would,
Having an instinct throned in reason's place,
--And every perfect action hath the grace
Of indolence or thoughtless hardihood--
These are the best: yet be there workmen good
Who lose in earnestness control of face,
Or reckon means, and rapt in effort base
Reach to their end by steps well understood.
Me whom thou sawest of late strive with the pains Of one who spends his strength to rule his nerve, --Even as a painter breathlessly who stains His scarcely moving hand lest it should swerve-- Behold me, now that I have cast my chains, Master of the art which for thy sake I serve.
2 For thou art mine: and now I am ashamed To have uséd means to win so pure acquist, And of my trembling fear that might have misst Thro' very care the gold at which I aim'd; And am as happy but to hear thee named, As are those gentle souls by angels kisst In pictures seen leaving their marble cist To go before the throne of grace unblamed.
Nor surer am I water hath the skill To quench my thirst, or that my strength is freed In delicate ordination as I will, Than that to be myself is all I need For thee to be most mine: so I stand still, And save to taste my joy no more take heed.
3 The whole world now is but the minister Of thee to me: I see no other scheme But universal love, from timeless dream Waking to thee his joy's interpreter.
I walk around and in the fields confer Of love at large with tree and flower and stream, And list the lark descant upon my theme, Heaven's musical accepted worshipper.
Thy smile outfaceth ill: and that old feud 'Twixt things and me is quash'd in our new truce; And nature now dearly with thee endued No more in shame ponders her old excuse, But quite forgets her frowns and antics rude, So kindly hath she grown to her new use.
4 The very names of things belov'd are dear, And sounds will gather beauty from their sense, As many a face thro' love's long residence Groweth to fair instead of plain and sere: But when I say thy name it hath no peer, And I suppose fortune determined thence Her dower, that such beauty's excellence Should have a perfect title for the ear.
Thus may I think the adopting Muses chose Their sons by name, knowing none would be heard Or writ so oft in all the world as those,-- Dan Chaucer, mighty Shakespeare, then for third The classic Milton, and to us arose Shelley with liquid music in the world.
5 The poets were good teachers, for they taught Earth had this joy; but that 'twould ever be That fortune should be perfected in me, My heart of hope dared not engage the thought.
So I stood low, and now but to be caught By any self-styled lords of the age with thee Vexes my modesty, lest they should see I hold them owls and peacocks, things of nought.
And when we sit alone, and as I please I taste thy love's full smile, and can enstate The pleasure of my kingly heart at ease, My thought swims like a ship, that with the weight Of her rich burden sleeps on the infinite seas Becalm'd, and cannot stir her golden freight.
6 While yet we wait for spring, and from the dry And blackening east that so embitters March, Well-housed must watch grey fields and meadows parch, And driven dust and withering snowflake fly; Already in glimpses of the tarnish'd sky The sun is warm and beckons to the larch, And where the covert hazels interarch Their tassell'd twigs, fair beds of primrose lie.
Beneath the crisp and wintry carpet hid A million buds but stay their blossoming; And trustful birds have built their nests amid The shuddering boughs, and only wait to sing Till one soft shower from the south shall bid, And hither tempt the pilgrim steps of spring.
7 In thee my spring of life hath bid the while A rose unfold beyond the summer's best, The mystery of joy made manifest In love's self-answering and awakening smile; Whereby the lips in wonder reconcile Passion with peace, and show desire at rest,-- A grace of silence by the Greek unguesst, That bloom'd to immortalize the Tuscan style When first the angel-song that faith hath ken'd Fancy pourtray'd, above recorded oath Of Israel's God, or light of poem pen'd; The very countenance of plighted troth 'Twixt heaven and earth, where in one moment blend The hope of one and happiness of both.
8 For beauty being the best of all we know Sums up the unsearchable and secret aims Of nature, and on joys whose earthly names Were never told can form and sense bestow; And man hath sped his instinct to outgo The step of science; and against her shames Imagination stakes out heavenly claims, Building a tower above the head of woe.
Nor is there fairer work for beauty found Than that she win in nature her release From all the woes that in the world abound: Nay with his sorrow may his love increase, If from man's greater need beauty redound, And claim his tears for homage of his peace.
9 Thus to thy beauty doth my fond heart look, That late dismay'd her faithless faith forbore; And wins again her love lost in the lore Of schools and script of many a learned book: For thou what ruthless death untimely took Shalt now in better brotherhood restore, And save my batter'd ship that far from shore High on the dismal deep in tempest shook.
So in despite of sorrow lately learn'd I still hold true to truth since thou art true, Nor wail the woe which thou to joy hast turn'd Nor come the heavenly sun and bathing blue To my life's need more splendid and unearn'd Than hath thy gift outmatch'd desire and due.
10 Winter was not unkind because uncouth; His prison'd time made me a closer guest, And gave thy graciousness a warmer zest, Biting all else with keen and angry tooth And bravelier the triumphant blood of youth Mantling thy cheek its happy home possest, And sterner sport by day put strength to test, And custom's feast at night gave tongue to truth Or say hath flaunting summer a device To match our midnight revelry, that rang With steel and flame along the snow-girt ice? Or when we hark't to nightingales that sang On dewy eves in spring, did they entice To gentler love than winter's icy fang? 11 There's many a would-be poet at this hour, Rhymes of a love that he hath never woo'd, And o'er his lamplit desk in solitude Deems that he sitteth in the Muses' bower: And some the flames of earthly love devour, Who have taken no kiss of Nature, nor renew'd In the world's wilderness with heavenly food The sickly body of their perishing power.
So none of all our company, I boast, But now would mock my penning, could they see How down the right it maps a jagged coast; Seeing they hold the manlier praise to be Strong hand and will, and the heart best when most 'Tis sober, simple, true, and fancy-free.
12 How could I quarrel or blame you, most dear, Who all thy virtues gavest and kept back none; Kindness and gentleness, truth without peer, And beauty that my fancy fed upon? Now not my life's contrition for my fault Can blot that day, nor work me recompence, Tho' I might worthily thy worth exalt, Making thee long amends for short offence.
For surely nowhere, love, if not in thee Are grace and truth and beauty to be found; And all my praise of these can only be A praise of thee, howe'er by thee disown'd: While still thou must be mine tho' far removed, And I for one offence no more beloved.
13 Now since to me altho' by thee refused The world is left, I shall find pleasure still; The art that most I have loved but little used Will yield a world of fancies at my will: And tho' where'er thou goest it is from me, I where I go thee in my heart must bear; And what thou wert that wilt thou ever be, My choice, my best, my loved, and only fair.
Farewell, yet think not such farewell a change From tenderness, tho' once to meet or part But on short absence so could sense derange That tears have graced the greeting of my heart; They were proud drops and had my leave to fall, Not on thy pity for my pain to call.
14 When sometimes in an ancient house where state From noble ancestry is handed on, We see but desolation thro' the gate, And richest heirlooms all to ruin gone; Because maybe some fancied shame or fear, Bred of disease or melancholy fate, Hath driven the owner from his rightful sphere To wander nameless save to pity or hate: What is the wreck of all he hath in fief When he that hath is wrecking? nought is fine Unto the sick, nor doth it burden grief That the house perish when the soul doth pine.
Thus I my state despise, slain by a sting So slight 'twould not have hurt a meaner thing.
15 Who builds a ship must first lay down the keel Of health, whereto the ribs of mirth are wed: And knit, with beams and knees of strength, a bed For decks of purity, her floor and ceil.
Upon her masts, Adventure, Pride, and Zeal, To fortune's wind the sails of purpose spread: And at the prow make figured maidenhead O'erride the seas and answer to the wheel.
And let him deep in memory's hold have stor'd Water of Helicon: and let him fit The needle that doth true with heaven accord: Then bid her crew, love, diligence and wit With justice, courage, temperance come aboard, And at her helm the master reason sit.
16 This world is unto God a work of art, Of which the unaccomplish'd heavenly plan Is hid in life within the creature's heart, And for perfection looketh unto man.
Ah me! those thousand ages: with what slow Pains and persistence were his idols made, Destroy'd and made, ere ever he could know The mighty mother must be so obey'd.
For lack of knowledge and thro' little skill His childish mimicry outwent his aim; His effort shaped the genius of his will; Till thro' distinction and revolt he came, True to his simple terms of good and ill, Seeking the face of Beauty without blame.
17 Say who be these light-bearded, sunburnt faces In negligent and travel-stain'd array, That in the city of Dante come to-day, Haughtily visiting her holy places? O these be noble men that hide their graces, True England's blood, her ancient glory's stay, By tales of fame diverted on their way Home from the rule of oriental races.
Life-trifling lions these, of gentle eyes And motion delicate, but swift to fire For honour, passionate where duty lies, Most loved and loving: and they quickly tire Of Florence, that she one day more denies The embrace of wife and son, of sister or sire.
18 Where San Miniato's convent from the sun At forenoon overlooks the city of flowers I sat, and gazing on her domes and towers Call'd up her famous children one by one: And three who all the rest had far outdone, Mild Giotto first, who stole the morning hours, I saw, and god-like Buonarroti's powers, And Dante, gravest poet, her much-wrong'd son.
Is all this glory, I said, another's praise? Are these heroic triumphs things of old, And do I dead upon the living gaze? Or rather doth the mind, that can behold The wondrous beauty of the works and days, Create the image that her thoughts enfold? 19 Rejoice, ye dead, where'er your spirits dwell, Rejoice that yet on earth your fame is bright; And that your names, remember'd day and night, Live on the lips of those that love you well.
'Tis ye that conquer'd have the powers of hell, Each with the special grace of your delight: Ye are the world's creators, and thro' might Of everlasting love ye did excel.
Now ye are starry names, above the storm And war of Time and nature's endless wrong Ye flit, in pictured truth and peaceful form, Wing'd with bright music and melodious song,-- The flaming flowers of heaven, making May-dance In dear Imagination's rich pleasance.
20 The world still goeth about to shew and hide, Befool'd of all opinion, fond of fame: But he that can do well taketh no pride, And see'th his error, undisturb'd by shame: So poor's the best that longest life can do, The most so little, diligently done; So mighty is the beauty that doth woo, So vast the joy that love from love hath won.
God's love to win is easy, for He loveth Desire's fair attitude, nor strictly weighs The broken thing, but all alike approveth Which love hath aim'd at Him: that is heaven's praise: And if we look for any praise on earth, 'Tis in man's love: all else is nothing worth.
21 O flesh and blood, comrade to tragic pain And clownish merriment whose sense could wake Sermons in stones, and count death but an ache, All things as vanity, yet nothing vain: The world, set in thy heart, thy passionate strain Reveal'd anew; but thou for man didst make Nature twice natural, only to shake Her kingdom with the creatures of thy brain.
Lo, Shakespeare, since thy time nature is loth To yield to art her fair supremacy; In conquering one thou hast so enrichèd both.
What shall I say? for God--whose wise decree Confirmeth all He did by all He doth-- Doubled His whole creation making thee.
22 I would be a bird, and straight on wings I arise, And carry purpose up to the ends of the air In calm and storm my sails I feather, and where By freezing cliffs the unransom'd wreckage lies: Or, strutting on hot meridian banks, surprise The silence: over plains in the moonlight bare I chase my shadow, and perch where no bird dare In treetops torn by fiercest winds of the skies.
Poor simple birds, foolish birds! then I cry, Ye pretty pictures of delight, unstir'd By the only joy of knowing that ye fly; Ye are not what ye are, but rather, sum'd in a word, The alphabet of a god's idea, and I Who master it, I am the only bird.
23 O weary pilgrims, chanting of your woe, That turn your eyes to all the peaks that shine, Hailing in each the citadel divine The which ye thought to have enter'd long ago; Until at length your feeble steps and slow Falter upon the threshold of the shrine, And your hearts overhurden'd doubt in fine Whether it be Jerusalem or no: Dishearten'd pilgrims, I am one of you; For, having worshipp'd many a barren face, I scarce now greet the goal I journey'd to: I stand a pagan in the holy place; Beneath the lamp of truth I am found untrue, And question with the God that I embrace.
24 Spring hath her own bright days of calm and peace; Her melting air, at every breath we draw, Floods heart with love to praise God's gracious law: But suddenly--so short is pleasure's lease-- The cold returns, the buds from growing cease, And nature's conquer'd face is full of awe; As now the trait'rous north with icy flaw Freezes the dew upon the sick lamb's fleece, And 'neath the mock sun searching everywhere Rattles the crispèd leaves with shivering din: So that the birds are silent with despair Within the thickets; nor their armour thin Will gaudy flies adventure in the air, Nor any lizard sun his spotted skin.
25 Nothing is joy without thee: I can find No rapture in the first relays of spring, In songs of birds, in young buds opening, Nothing inspiriting and nothing kind; For lack of thee, who once wert throned behind All beauty, like a strength where graces cling,-- The jewel and heart of light, which everything Wrestled in rivalry to hold enshrined.
Ah! since thou'rt fled, and I in each fair sight The sweet occasion of my joy deplore, Where shall I seek thee best, or whom invite Within thy sacred temples and adore? Who shall fill thought and truth with old delight, And lead my soul in life as heretofore? 26 The work is done, and from the fingers fall The bloodwarm tools that brought the labour thro': The tasking eye that overrunneth all Rests, and affirms there is no more to do.
Now the third joy of making, the sweet flower Of blessed work, bloometh in godlike spirit; Which whoso plucketh holdeth for an hour The shrivelling vanity of mortal merit.
And thou, my perfect work, thou'rt of to-day; To-morrow a poor and alien thing wilt be, True only should the swift life stand at stay: Therefore farewell, nor look to bide with me.
Go find thy friends, if there be one to love thee: Casting thee forth, my child, I rise above thee.
27 The fabled sea-snake, old Leviathan, Or else what grisly beast of scaly chine That champ'd the ocean-wrack and swash'd the brine, Before the new and milder days of man, Had never rib nor bray nor swindging fan Like his iron swimmer of the Clyde or Tyne, Late-born of golden seed to breed a line Of offspring swifter and more huge of plan.
Straight is her going, for upon the sun When once she hath look'd, her path and place are plain; With tireless speed she smiteth one by one The shuddering seas and foams along the main; And her eased breath, when her wild race is run, Roars thro' her nostrils like a hurricane.
28 A thousand times hath in my heart's behoof My tongue been set his passion to impart; A thousand times hath my too coward heart My mouth reclosed and fix'd it to the roof; Then with such cunning hath it held aloof, A thousand times kept silence with such art That words could do no more: yet on thy part Hath silence given a thousand times reproof.
I should be bolder, seeing I commend Love, that my dilatory purpose primes, But fear lest with my fears my hope should end: Nay, I would truth deny and burn my rhymes, Renew my sorrows rather than offend, A thousand times, and yet a thousand times.
29 I travel to thee with the sun's first rays, That lift the dark west and unwrap the night; I dwell beside thee when he walks the height, And fondly toward thee at his setting gaze.
I wait upon thy coming, but always-- Dancing to meet my thoughts if they invite-- Thou hast outrun their longing with delight, And in my solitude dost mock my praise.
Now doth my drop of time transcend the whole: I see no fame in Khufu's pyramid, No history where loveless Nile doth roll.
--This is eternal life, which doth forbid Mortal detraction to the exalted soul, And from her inward eye all fate hath hid.
30 My lady pleases me and I please her; This know we both, and I besides know well Wherefore I love her, and I love to tell My love, as all my loving songs aver.
But what on her part could the passion stir, Tho' 'tis more difficult for love to spell, Yet can I dare divine how this befel, Nor will her lips deny it if I err.
She loves me first because I love her, then Loves me for knowing why she should be loved, And that I love to praise her, loves again.
So from her beauty both our loves are moved, And by her beauty are sustain'd; nor when The earth falls from the sun is this disproved.
31 In all things beautiful, I cannot see Her sit or stand, but love is stir'd anew: 'Tis joy to watch the folds fall as they do, And all that comes is past expectancy.
If she be silent, silence let it be; He who would bid her speak might sit and sue The deep-brow'd Phidian Jove to be untrue To his two thousand years' solemnity.
Ah, but her launchèd passion, when she sings, Wins on the hearing like a shapen prow Borne by the mastery of its urgent wings: Or if she deign her wisdom, she doth show She hath the intelligence of heavenly things, Unsullied by man's mortal overthrow.
32 Thus to be humbled: 'tis that ranging pride No refuge hath; that in his castle strong Brave reason sits beleaguer'd, who so long Kept field, but now must starve where he doth hide; That industry, who once the foe defied, Lies slaughter'd in the trenches; that the throng Of idle fancies pipe their foolish song, Where late the puissant captains fought and died.
Thus to be humbled: 'tis to be undone; A forest fell'd; a city razed to ground; A cloak unsewn, unwoven and unspun Till not a thread remains that can be wound.
And yet, O lover, thee, the ruin'd one, Love who hath humbled thus hath also crown'd.
33 I care not if I live, tho' life and breath Have never been to me so dear and sweet.
I care not if I die, for I could meet-- Being so happy--happily my death.
I care not if I love; to-day she saith She loveth, and love's history is complete.
Nor care I if she love me; at her feet My spirit bows entranced and worshippeth.
I have no care for what was most my care, But all around me see fresh beauty born, And common sights grown lovelier than they were: I dream of love, and in the light of morn Tremble, beholding all things very fair And strong with strength that puts my strength to scorn.
34 O my goddess divine sometimes I say Now let this word for ever and all suffice; Thou art insatiable, and yet not twice Can even thy lover give his soul away: And for my acts, that at thy feet I lay; For never any other, by device Of wisdom, love or beauty, could entice My homage to the measure of this day.
I have no more to give thee: lo, I have sold My life, have emptied out my heart, and spent Whate'er I had; till like a beggar, bold With nought to lose, I laugh and am content.
A beggar kisses thee; nay, love, behold, I fear not: thou too art in beggarment.
35 All earthly beauty hath one cause and proof, To lead the pilgrim soul to beauty above: Yet lieth the greater bliss so far aloof, That few there be are wean'd from earthly love.
Joy's ladder it is, reaching from home to home, The best of all the work that all was good; Whereof 'twas writ the angels aye upclomb, Down sped, and at the top the Lord God stood.
But I my time abuse, my eyes by day Center'd on thee, by night my heart on fire-- Letting my number'd moments run away-- Nor e'en 'twixt night and day to heaven aspire: So true it is that what the eye seeth not But slow is loved, and loved is soon forgot.
36 O my life's mischief, once my love's delight, That drew'st a mortgage on my heart's estate, Whose baneful clause is never out of date, Nor can avenging time restore my right: Whom first to lose sounded that note of spite, Whereto my doleful days were tuned by fate: That art the well-loved cause of all my hate, The sun whose wandering makes my hopeless night: Thou being in all my lacking all I lack, It is thy goodness turns my grace to crime, Thy fleetness from my goal which holds me back; Wherefore my feet go out of step with time, My very grasp of life is old and slack, And even my passion falters in my rhyme.
37 At times with hurried hoofs and scattering dust I race by field or highway, and my horse Spare not, but urge direct in headlong course Unto some fair far hill that gain I must: But near arrived the vision soon mistrust, Rein in, and stand as one who sees the source Of strong illusion, shaming thought to force From off his mind the soil of passion's gust.
My brow I bare then, and with slacken'd speed Can view the country pleasant on all sides, And to kind salutation give good heed: I ride as one who for his pleasure rides, And stroke the neck of my delighted steed, And seek what cheer the village inn provides.
38 An idle June day on the sunny Thames, Floating or rowing as our fancy led, Now in the high beams basking as we sped, Now in green shade gliding by mirror'd stems; By lock and weir and isle, and many a spot Of memoried pleasure, glad with strength and skill, Friendship, good wine, and mirth, that serve not ill The heavenly Muse, tho' she requite them not: I would have life--thou saidst--all as this day, Simple enjoyment calm in its excess, With not a grief to cloud, and not a ray Of passion overhot my peace to oppress; With no ambition to reproach delay, Nor rapture to disturb its happiness.
39 A man that sees by chance his picture, made As once a child he was, handling some toy, Will gaze to find his spirit within the boy, Yet hath no secret with the soul pourtray'd: He cannot think the simple thought which play'd Upon those features then so frank and coy; 'Tis his, yet oh! not his: and o'er the joy His fatherly pity bends in tears dismay'd.
Proud of his prime maybe he stand at best, And lightly wear his strength, or aim it high, In knowledge, skill and courage self-possest:-- Yet in the pictured face a charm doth lie, The one thing lost more worth than all the rest, Which seeing, he fears to say This child was I.
40 Tears of love, tears of joy and tears of care, Comforting tears that fell uncomforted, Tears o'er the new-born, tears beside the dead, Tears of hope, pride and pity, trust and prayer, Tears of contrition; all tears whatsoe'er Of tenderness or kindness had she shed Who here is pictured, ere upon her head The fine gold might be turn'd to silver there.
The smile that charm'd the father hath given place Unto the furrow'd care wrought by the son; But virtue hath transform'd all change to grace: So that I praise the artist, who hath done A portrait, for my worship, of the face Won by the heart my father's heart that won.
41 If I could but forget and not recall So well my time of pleasure and of play, When ancient nature was all new and gay, Light as the fashion that doth last enthrall,-- Ah mighty nature, when my heart was small, Nor dream'd what fearful searchings underlay The flowers and leafy ecstasy of May, The breathing summer sloth, the scented fall: Could I forget, then were the fight not hard, Press'd in the mêlée of accursed things, Having such help in love and such reward: But that 'tis I who once--'tis this that stings-- Once dwelt within the gate that angels guard, Where yet I'd be had I but heavenly wings.
42 When I see childhood on the threshold seize The prize of life from age and likelihood, I mourn time's change that will not be withstood, Thinking how Christ said Be like one of these.
For in the forest among many trees Scarce one in all is found that hath made good The virgin pattern of its slender wood, That courtesied in joy to every breeze; But scath'd, but knotted trunks that raise on high Their arms in stiff contortion, strain'd and bare Whose patriarchal crowns in sorrow sigh.
So, little children, ye--nay nay, ye ne'er From me shall learn how sure the change and nigh, When ye shall share our strength and mourn to share.
43 When parch'd with thirst, astray on sultry sand The traveller faints, upon his closing ear Steals a fantastic music: he may hear The babbling fountain of his native land.
Before his eyes the vision seems to stand, Where at its terraced brink the maids appear, Who fill their deep urns at its waters clear, And not refuse the help of lover's hand.
O cruel jest--he cries, as some one flings The sparkling drops in sport or shew of ire-- O shameless, O contempt of holy things.
But never of their wanton play they tire, As not athirst they sit beside the springs, While he must quench in death his lost desire.
44 The image of thy love, rising on dark And desperate days over my sullen sea, Wakens again fresh hope and peace in me, Gleaming above upon my groaning bark.
Whate'er my sorrow be, I then may hark A loving voice: whate'er my terror be, This heavenly comfort still I win from thee, To shine my lodestar that wert once my mark.
Prodigal nature makes us but to taste One perfect joy, which given she niggard grows; And lest her precious gift should run to waste, Adds to its loss a thousand lesser woes: So to the memory of the gift that graced Her hand, her graceless hand more grace bestows.
45 In this neglected, ruin'd edifice Of works unperfected and broken schemes, Where is the promise of my early dreams, The smile of beauty and the pearl of price? No charm is left now that could once entice Wind-wavering fortune from her golden streams, And full in flight decrepit purpose seems, Trailing the banner of his old device.
Within the house a frore and numbing air Has chill'd endeavour: sickly memories reign In every room, and ghosts are on the stair: And hope behind the dusty window-pane Watches the days go by, and bow'd with care Forecasts her last reproach and mortal stain.
46 Once I would say, before thy vision came, My joy, my life, my love, and with some kind Of knowledge speak, and think I knew my mind Of heaven and hope, and each word hit its aim.
Whate'er their sounds be, now all mean the same, Denoting each the fair that none can find; Or if I say them, 'tis as one long blind Forgets the sights that he was used to name.
Now if men speak of love, 'tis not my love; Nor are their hopes nor joys mine, nor their life Of praise the life that I think honour of: Nay tho' they turn from house and child and wife And self, and in the thought of heaven above Hold, as do I, all mortal things at strife.
47 Since then 'tis only pity looking back, Fear looking forward, and the busy mind Will in one woeful moment more upwind Than lifelong years unroll of bitter or black; What is man's privilege, his hoarding knack Of memory with foreboding so combined, Whereby he comes to dream he hath of kind The perpetuity which all things lack? Which but to hope is doubtful joy, to have Being a continuance of what, alas, We mourn, and scarcely hear with to the grave; Or something so unknown that it o'erpass The thought of comfort, and the sense that gave Cannot consider it thro' any glass.
48 Come gentle sleep, I woo thee: come and take Not now the child into thine arms, from fright Composed by drowsy tune and shaded light, Whom ignorant of thee thou didst nurse and make; Nor now the boy, who scorn'd thee for the sake Of growing knowledge or mysterious night, Tho' with fatigue thou didst his limbs invite, And heavily weigh the eyes that would not wake; No, nor the man severe, who from his best Failing, alert fled to thee, that his breath, Blood, force and fire should come at morn redrest; But me; from whom thy comfort tarrieth, For all my wakeful prayer sent without rest To thee, O shew and shadow of my death.
49 The spirit's eager sense for sad or gay Filleth with what he will our vessel full: Be joy his bent, he waiteth not joy's day But like a child at any toy will pull: If sorrow, he will weep for fancy's sake, And spoil heaven's plenty with forbidden care.
What fortune most denies we slave to take; Nor can fate load us more than we can bear.
Since pleasure with the having disappeareth, He who hath least in hand hath most at heart, While he keep hope: as he who alway feareth A grief that never comes hath yet the smart; And heavier far is our self-wrought distress, For when God sendeth sorrow, it doth bless.
50 The world comes not to an end: her city-hives Swarm with the tokens of a changeless trade, With rolling wheel, driver and flagging jade, Rich men and beggars, children, priests and wives.
New homes on old are set, as lives on lives; Invention with invention overlaid: But still or tool or toy or book or blade Shaped for the hand, that holds and toils and strives.
The men to-day toil as their fathers taught, With little better'd means; for works depend On works and overlap, and thought on thought: And thro' all change the smiles of hope amend The weariest face, the same love changed in nought: In this thing too the world comes not to an end.
51 O my uncared-for songs, what are ye worth, That in my secret book with so much care I write you, this one here and that one there, Marking the time and order of your birth? How, with a fancy so unkind to mirth, A sense so hard, a style so worn and bare, Look ye for any welcome anywhere From any shelf or heart-home on the earth? Should others ask you this, say then I yearn'd To write you such as once, when I was young, Finding I should have loved and thereto turn'd.
'Twere something yet to live again among The gentle youth beloved, and where I learn'd My art, be there remember'd for my song.
52 Who takes the census of the living dead, Ere the day come when memory shall o'ercrowd The kingdom of their fame, and for that proud And airy people find no room nor stead? Ere hoarding Time, that ever thrusteth back The fairest treasures of his ancient store, Better with best confound, so he may pack His greedy gatherings closer, more and more? Let the true Muse rewrite her sullied page, And purge her story of the men of hate, That they go dirgeless down to Satan's rage With all else foul, deform'd and miscreate: She hath full toil to keep the names of love Honour'd on earth, as they are bright above.
53 I heard great Hector sounding war's alarms, Where thro' the listless ghosts chiding he strode, As tho' the Greeks besieged his last abode, And he his Troy's hope still, her king-at-arms.
But on those gentle meads, which Lethe charms With weary oblivion, his passion glow'd Like the cold night-worm's candle, and only show'd Such mimic flame as neither heats nor harms.
'Twas plain to read, even by those shadows quaint, How rude catastrophe had dim'd his day, And blighted all his cheer with stern complaint: To arms! to arms! what more the voice would say Was swallow'd in the valleys, and grew faint Upon the thin air, as he pass'd away.
54 Since not the enamour'd sun with glance more fond Kisses the foliage of his sacred tree, Than doth my waking thought arise on thee, Loving none near thee, like thee nor beyond; Nay, since I am sworn thy slave, and in the bond Is writ my promise of eternity Since to such high hope thou'st encouraged me, That if thou look but from me I despond; Since thou'rt my all in all, O think of this: Think of the dedication of my youth: Think of my loyalty, my joy, my bliss: Think of my sorrow, my despair and ruth, My sheer annihilation if I miss: Think--if thou shouldst be false--think of thy truth.
55 These meagre rhymes, which a returning mood Sometimes o'errateth, I as oft despise; And knowing them illnatured, stiff and rude, See them as others with contemptuous eyes.
Nay, and I wonder less at God's respect For man, a minim jot in time and space, Than at the soaring faith of His elect, That gift of gifts, the comfort of His grace.
O truth unsearchable, O heavenly love, Most infinitely tender, so to touch The work that we can meanly reckon of: Surely--I say--we are favour'd overmuch.
But of this wonder, what doth most amaze Is that we know our love is held for praise.
56 Beauty sat with me all the summer day, Awaiting the sure triumph of her eye; Nor mark'd I till we parted, how, hard by, Love in her train stood ready for his prey.
She, as too proud to join herself the fray, Trusting too much to her divine ally, When she saw victory tarry, chid him--"Why Dost thou not at one stroke this rebel slay?" Then generous Love, who holds my heart in fee, Told of our ancient truce: so from the fight We straight withdrew our forces, all the three.
Baffled but not dishearten'd she took flight Scheming new tactics: Love came home with me, And prompts my measured verses as I write.
57 In autumn moonlight, when the white air wan Is fragrant in the wake of summer hence, 'Tis sweet to sit entranced, and muse thereon In melancholy and godlike indolence: When the proud spirit, lull'd by mortal prime To fond pretence of immortality, Vieweth all moments from the birth of time, All things whate'er have been or yet shall be.
And like the garden, where the year is spent, The ruin of old life is full of yearning, Mingling poetic rapture of lament With flowers and sunshine of spring's sure returning; Only in visions of the white air wan By godlike fancy seized and dwelt upon.
58 When first I saw thee, dearest, if I say The spells that conjure back the hour and place, And evermore I look upon thy face, As in the spring of years long pass'd away; No fading of thy beauty's rich array, No detriment of age on thee I trace, But time's defeat written in spoils of grace, From rivals robb'd, whom thou didst pity and slay.
So hath thy growth been, thus thy faith is true, Unchanged in change, still to my growing sense, To life's desire the same, and nothing new: But as thou wert in dream and prescience At love's arising, now thou stand'st to view In the broad noon of his magnificence.
59 'Twas on the very day winter took leave Of those fair fields I love, when to the skies The fragrant Earth was smiling in surprise At that her heaven-descended, quick reprieve, I wander'd forth my sorrow to relieve Yet walk'd amid sweet pleasure in such wise As Adam went alone in Paradise, Before God of His pity fashion'd Eve.
And out of tune with all the joy around I laid me down beneath a flowering tree, And o'er my senses crept a sleep profound; In which it seem'd that thou wert given to me, Rending my body, where with hurried sound I feel my heart beat, when I think of thee.
60 Love that I know, love I am wise in, love, My strength, my pride, my grace, my skill untaught, My faith here upon earth, my hope above, My contemplation and perpetual thought: The pleasure of my fancy, my heart's fire, My joy, my peace, my praise, my happy theme, The aim of all my doing, my desire Of being, my life by day, by night my dream: Love, my sweet melancholy, my distress, My pain, my doubt, my trouble, my despair, My only folly and unhappiness, And in my careless moments still my care: O love, sweet love, earthly love, love difvine, Say'st thou to-day, O love, that thou art mine? 61 The dark and serious angel, who so long Vex'd his immortal strength in charge of me, Hath smiled for joy and fled in liberty To take his pastime with the peerless throng.
Oft had I done his noble keeping wrong, Wounding his heart to wonder what might be God's purpose in a soul of such degree; And there he had left me but for mandate strong.
But seeing thee with me now, his task at close He knoweth, and wherefore he was bid to stay, And work confusion of so many foes: The thanks that he doth look for, here I pay, Yet fear some heavenly envy, as he goes Unto what great reward I cannot say.
62 I will be what God made me, nor protest Against the bent of genius in my time, That science of my friends robs all the best, While I love beauty, and was born to rhyme.
Be they our mighty men, and let me dwell In shadow among the mighty shades of old, With love's forsaken palace for my cell; Whence I look forth and all the world behold, And say, These better days, in best things worse, This bastardy of time's magnificence, Will mend in fashion and throw off the curse, To crown new love with higher excellence.
Curs'd tho' I be to live my life alone, My toil is for man's joy, his joy my own.
63 I live on hope and that I think do all Who come into this world, and since I see Myself in swim with such good company, I take my comfort whatsoe'er befall.
I abide and abide, as if more stout and tall My spirit would grow by waiting like a tree And, clear of others' toil, it pleaseth me In dreams their quick ambition to forestall And if thro' careless eagerness I slide To some accomplishment, I give my voice Still to desire, and in desire abide.
I have no stake abroad; if I rejoice In what is done or doing, I confide Neither to friend nor foe my secret choice.
64 Ye blessed saints, that now in heaven enjoy The purchase of those tears, the world's disdain, Doth Love still with his war your peace annoy, Or hath Death freed you from his ancient pain? Have ye no springtide, and no burst of May In flowers and leafy trees, when solemn night Pants with love-music, and the holy day Breaks on the ear with songs of heavenly light? What make ye and what strive for? keep ye thought Of us, or in new excellence divine Is old forgot? or do ye count for nought What the Greek did and what the Florentine? We keep your memories well : O in your store Live not our best joys treasured evermore? 65 Ah heavenly joy But who hath ever heard, Who hath seen joy, or who shall ever find Joy's language? There is neither speech nor word Nought but itself to teach it to mankind.
Scarce in our twenty thousand painful days We may touch something: but there lives--beyond The best of art, or nature's kindest phase-- The hope whereof our spirit is fain and fond: The cause of beauty given to man's desires Writ in the expectancy of starry skies, The faith which gloweth in our fleeting fires, The aim of all the good that here we prize; Which but to love, pursue and pray for well Maketh earth heaven, and to forget it, hell.
66 My wearied heart, whenever, after all, Its loves and yearnings shall be told complete, When gentle death shall bid it cease to beat, And from all dear illusions disenthrall: However then thou shalt appear to call My fearful heart, since down at others' feet It bade me kneel so oft, I'll not retreat From thee, nor fear before thy feet to fall.
And I shall say, "Receive this loving heart Which err'd in sorrow only; and in sin Took no delight; but being forced apart From thee, without thee hoping thee to win, Most prized what most thou madest as thou art On earth, till heaven were open to enter in.
" 67 Dreary was winter, wet with changeful sting Of clinging snowfall and fast-flying frost; And bitterer northwinds then withheld the spring, That dallied with her promise till 'twas lost.
A sunless and half-hearted summer drown'd The flowers in needful and unwelcom'd rain; And Autumn with a sad smile fled uncrown'd From fruitless orchards and unripen'd grain.
But could the skies of this most desolate year In its last month learn with our love to glow, Men yet should rank its cloudless atmosphere Above the sunsets of five years ago: Of my great praise too part should be its own, Now reckon'd peerless for thy love alone 68 Away now, lovely Muse, roam and be free: Our commerce ends for aye, thy task is done: Tho' to win thee I left all else unwon, Thou, whom I most have won, art not for me.
My first desire, thou too forgone must be, Thou too, O much lamented now, tho' none Will turn to pity thy forsaken son, Nor thy divine sisters will weep for thee.
None will weep for thee : thou return, O Muse, To thy Sicilian fields I once have been On thy loved hills, and where thou first didst use Thy sweetly balanced rhyme, O thankless queen, Have pluck'd and wreath'd thy flowers; but do thou choose Some happier brow to wear thy garlands green.
69 Eternal Father, who didst all create, In whom we live, and to whose bosom move, To all men be Thy name known, which is Love, Till its loud praises sound at heaven's high gate.
Perfect Thy kingdom in our passing state, That here on earth Thou may'st as well approve Our service, as Thou ownest theirs above, Whose joy we echo and in pain await.
Grant body and soul each day their daily bread And should in spite of grace fresh woe begin, Even as our anger soon is past and dead Be Thy remembrance mortal of our sin: By Thee in paths of peace Thy sheep be led, And in the vale of terror comforted.


Troilus And Criseyde: Book 01

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 The double 12 sorwe of Troilus to tellen, 
That was the king Priamus sone of Troye,
In lovinge, how his aventures fellen
Fro wo to wele, and after out of Ioye,
My purpos is, er that I parte fro ye.
Thesiphone, thou help me for tendyte Thise woful vers, that wepen as I wryte! To thee clepe I, thou goddesse of torment, Thou cruel Furie, sorwing ever in peyne; Help me, that am the sorwful instrument That helpeth lovers, as I can, to pleyne! For wel sit it, the sothe for to seyne, A woful wight to han a drery fere, And, to a sorwful tale, a sory chere.
For I, that god of Loves servaunts serve, Ne dar to Love, for myn unlyklinesse, Preyen for speed, al sholde I therfor sterve, So fer am I fro his help in derknesse; But nathelees, if this may doon gladnesse To any lover, and his cause avayle, Have he my thank, and myn be this travayle! But ye loveres, that bathen in gladnesse, If any drope of pitee in yow be, Remembreth yow on passed hevinesse That ye han felt, and on the adversitee Of othere folk, and thenketh how that ye Han felt that Love dorste yow displese; Or ye han wonne hym with to greet an ese.
And preyeth for hem that ben in the cas Of Troilus, as ye may after here, That love hem bringe in hevene to solas, And eek for me preyeth to god so dere, That I have might to shewe, in som manere, Swich peyne and wo as Loves folk endure, In Troilus unsely aventure.
And biddeth eek for hem that been despeyred In love, that never nil recovered be, And eek for hem that falsly been apeyred Thorugh wikked tonges, be it he or she; Thus biddeth god, for his benignitee, So graunte hem sone out of this world to pace, That been despeyred out of Loves grace.
And biddeth eek for hem that been at ese, That god hem graunte ay good perseveraunce, And sende hem might hir ladies so to plese, That it to Love be worship and plesaunce.
For so hope I my soule best avaunce, To preye for hem that Loves servaunts be, And wryte hir wo, and live in charitee.
And for to have of hem compassioun As though I were hir owene brother dere.
Now herkeneth with a gode entencioun, For now wol I gon streight to my matere, In whiche ye may the double sorwes here Of Troilus, in loving of Criseyde, And how that she forsook him er she deyde.
It is wel wist, how that the Grekes stronge In armes with a thousand shippes wente To Troyewardes, and the citee longe Assegeden neigh ten yeer er they stente, And, in diverse wyse and oon entente, The ravisshing to wreken of Eleyne, By Paris doon, they wroughten al hir peyne.
Now fil it so, that in the toun ther was Dwellinge a lord of greet auctoritee, A gret devyn that cleped was Calkas, That in science so expert was, that he Knew wel that Troye sholde destroyed be, By answere of his god, that highte thus, Daun Phebus or Apollo Delphicus.
So whan this Calkas knew by calculinge, And eek by answere of this Appollo, That Grekes sholden swich a peple bringe, Thorugh which that Troye moste been for-do, He caste anoon out of the toun to go; For wel wiste he, by sort, that Troye sholde Destroyed ben, ye, wolde who-so nolde.
For which, for to departen softely Took purpos ful this forknowinge wyse, And to the Grekes ost ful prively He stal anoon; and they, in curteys wyse, Hym deden bothe worship and servyse, In trust that he hath conning hem to rede In every peril which that is to drede.
The noyse up roos, whan it was first aspyed, Thorugh al the toun, and generally was spoken, That Calkas traytor fled was, and allyed With hem of Grece; and casten to ben wroken On him that falsly hadde his feith so broken; And seyden, he and al his kin at ones Ben worthy for to brennen, fel and bones.
Now hadde Calkas left, in this meschaunce, Al unwist of this false and wikked dede, His doughter, which that was in gret penaunce, For of hir lyf she was ful sore in drede, As she that niste what was best to rede; For bothe a widowe was she, and allone Of any freend to whom she dorste hir mone.
Criseyde was this lady name a-right; As to my dome, in al Troyes citee Nas noon so fair, for passing every wight So aungellyk was hir natyf beautee, That lyk a thing immortal semed she, As doth an hevenish parfit creature, That doun were sent in scorning of nature.
This lady, which that al-day herde at ere Hir fadres shame, his falsnesse and tresoun, Wel nigh out of hir wit for sorwe and fere, In widewes habit large of samit broun, On knees she fil biforn Ector a-doun; With pitous voys, and tendrely wepinge, His mercy bad, hir-selven excusinge.
Now was this Ector pitous of nature, And saw that she was sorwfully bigoon, And that she was so fair a creature; Of his goodnesse he gladed hir anoon, And seyde, 'Lat your fadres treson goon Forth with mischaunce, and ye your-self, in Ioye, Dwelleth with us, whyl you good list, in Troye.
'And al thonour that men may doon yow have, As ferforth as your fader dwelled here, Ye shul han, and your body shal men save, As fer as I may ought enquere or here.
' And she him thonked with ful humble chere, And ofter wolde, and it hadde ben his wille, And took hir leve, and hoom, and held hir stille.
And in hir hous she abood with swich meynee As to hir honour nede was to holde; And whyl she was dwellinge in that citee, Kepte hir estat, and bothe of yonge and olde Ful wel beloved, and wel men of hir tolde.
But whether that she children hadde or noon, I rede it naught; therfore I late it goon.
The thinges fellen, as they doon of werre, Bitwixen hem of Troye and Grekes ofte; For som day boughten they of Troye it derre, And eft the Grekes founden no thing softe The folk of Troye; and thus fortune on-lofte, And under eft, gan hem to wheelen bothe After hir cours, ay whyl they were wrothe.
But how this toun com to destruccioun Ne falleth nought to purpos me to telle; For it were a long digressioun Fro my matere, and yow to longe dwelle.
But the Troyane gestes, as they felle, In Omer, or in Dares, or in Dyte, Who-so that can, may rede hem as they wryte.
But though that Grekes hem of Troye shetten, And hir citee bisegede al a-boute, Hir olde usage wolde they not letten, As for to honoure hir goddes ful devoute; But aldermost in honour, out of doute, They hadde a relik hight Palladion, That was hir trist a-boven everichon.
And so bifel, whan comen was the tyme Of Aperil, whan clothed is the mede With newe grene, of lusty Ver the pryme, And swote smellen floures whyte and rede, In sondry wyses shewed, as I rede, The folk of Troye hir observaunces olde, Palladiones feste for to holde.
And to the temple, in al hir beste wyse, In general, ther wente many a wight, To herknen of Palladion servyse; And namely, so many a lusty knight, So many a lady fresh and mayden bright, Ful wel arayed, bothe moste and leste, Ye, bothe for the seson and the feste.
Among thise othere folk was Criseyda, In widewes habite blak; but nathelees, Right as our firste lettre is now an A, In beautee first so stood she, makelees; Hir godly looking gladede al the prees.
Nas never seyn thing to ben preysed derre, Nor under cloude blak so bright a sterre As was Criseyde, as folk seyde everichoon That hir behelden in hir blake wede; And yet she stood ful lowe and stille alloon, Bihinden othere folk, in litel brede, And neigh the dore, ay under shames drede, Simple of a-tyr, and debonaire of chere, With ful assured loking and manere.
This Troilus, as he was wont to gyde His yonge knightes, ladde hem up and doun In thilke large temple on every syde, Biholding ay the ladyes of the toun, Now here, now there, for no devocioun Hadde he to noon, to reven him his reste, But gan to preyse and lakken whom him leste.
And in his walk ful fast he gan to wayten If knight or squyer of his companye Gan for to syke, or lete his eyen bayten On any woman that he coude aspye; He wolde smyle, and holden it folye, And seye him thus, 'god wot, she slepeth softe For love of thee, whan thou tornest ful ofte! 'I have herd told, pardieux, of your livinge, Ye lovers, and your lewede observaunces, And which a labour folk han in winninge Of love, and, in the keping, which doutaunces; And whan your preye is lost, wo and penaunces; O verrey foles! nyce and blinde be ye; Ther nis not oon can war by other be.
' And with that word he gan cast up the browe, Ascaunces, 'Lo! is this nought wysly spoken?' At which the god of love gan loken rowe Right for despyt, and shoop for to ben wroken; He kidde anoon his bowe nas not broken; For sodeynly he hit him at the fulle; And yet as proud a pekok can he pulle.
O blinde world, O blinde entencioun! How ofte falleth al theffect contraire Of surquidrye and foul presumpcioun; For caught is proud, and caught is debonaire.
This Troilus is clomben on the staire, And litel weneth that he moot descenden.
But al-day falleth thing that foles ne wenden.
As proude Bayard ginneth for to skippe Out of the wey, so priketh him his corn, Til he a lash have of the longe whippe, Than thenketh he, 'Though I praunce al biforn First in the trays, ful fat and newe shorn, Yet am I but an hors, and horses lawe I moot endure, and with my feres drawe.
' So ferde it by this fers and proude knight; Though he a worthy kinges sone were, And wende nothing hadde had swiche might Ayens his wil that sholde his herte stere, Yet with a look his herte wex a-fere, That he, that now was most in pryde above, Wex sodeynly most subget un-to love.
For-thy ensample taketh of this man, Ye wyse, proude, and worthy folkes alle, To scornen Love, which that so sone can The freedom of your hertes to him thralle; For ever it was, and ever it shal bifalle, That Love is he that alle thing may binde; For may no man for-do the lawe of kinde.
That this be sooth, hath preved and doth yet; For this trowe I ye knowen, alle or some, Men reden not that folk han gretter wit Than they that han be most with love y-nome; And strengest folk ben therwith overcome, The worthiest and grettest of degree: This was, and is, and yet men shal it see.
And trewelich it sit wel to be so; For alderwysest han ther-with ben plesed; And they that han ben aldermost in wo, With love han ben conforted most and esed; And ofte it hath the cruel herte apesed, And worthy folk maad worthier of name, And causeth most to dreden vyce and shame.
Now sith it may not goodly be withstonde, And is a thing so vertuous in kinde, Refuseth not to Love for to be bonde, Sin, as him-selven list, he may yow binde.
The yerde is bet that bowen wole and winde Than that that brest; and therfor I yow rede To folwen him that so wel can yow lede.
But for to tellen forth in special As of this kinges sone of which I tolde, And leten other thing collateral, Of him thenke I my tale for to holde, Both of his Ioye, and of his cares colde; And al his werk, as touching this matere, For I it gan, I wol ther-to refere.
With-inne the temple he wente him forth pleyinge, This Troilus, of every wight aboute, On this lady and now on that lokinge, Wher-so she were of toune, or of with-oute: And up-on cas bifel, that thorugh a route His eye perced, and so depe it wente, Til on Criseyde it smoot, and ther it stente.
And sodeynly he wax ther-with astoned, And gan hire bet biholde in thrifty wyse: 'O mercy, god!' thoughte he, 'wher hastow woned, That art so fair and goodly to devyse?' Ther-with his herte gan to sprede and ryse, And softe sighed, lest men mighte him here, And caughte a-yein his firste pleyinge chere.
She nas nat with the leste of hir stature, But alle hir limes so wel answeringe Weren to womanhode, that creature Was neuer lasse mannish in seminge.
And eek the pure wyse of here meninge Shewede wel, that men might in hir gesse Honour, estat, and wommanly noblesse.
To Troilus right wonder wel with-alle Gan for to lyke hir meninge and hir chere, Which somdel deynous was, for she leet falle Hir look a lite a-side, in swich manere, Ascaunces, 'What! May I not stonden here?' And after that hir loking gan she lighte, That never thoughte him seen so good a sighte.
And of hir look in him ther gan to quiken So greet desir, and swich affeccioun, That in his herte botme gan to stiken Of hir his fixe and depe impressioun: And though he erst hadde poured up and doun, He was tho glad his hornes in to shrinke; Unnethes wiste he how to loke or winke.
Lo, he that leet him-selven so konninge, And scorned hem that loves peynes dryen, Was ful unwar that love hadde his dwellinge With-inne the subtile stremes of hir yen; That sodeynly him thoughte he felte dyen, Right with hir look, the spirit in his herte; Blissed be love, that thus can folk converte! She, this in blak, likinge to Troylus, Over alle thyng, he stood for to biholde; Ne his desir, ne wherfor he stood thus, He neither chere made, ne worde tolde; But from a-fer, his maner for to holde, On other thing his look som-tyme he caste, And eft on hir, whyl that servyse laste.
And after this, not fulliche al awhaped, Out of the temple al esiliche he wente, Repentinge him that he hadde ever y-iaped Of loves folk, lest fully the descente Of scorn fille on him-self; but, what he mente, Lest it were wist on any maner syde, His wo he gan dissimulen and hyde.
Whan he was fro the temple thus departed, He streyght anoon un-to his paleys torneth, Right with hir look thurgh-shoten and thurgh-darted, Al feyneth he in lust that he soiorneth; And al his chere and speche also he borneth; And ay, of loves servants every whyle, Him-self to wrye, at hem he gan to smyle.
And seyde, 'Lord, so ye live al in lest, Ye loveres! For the conningest of yow, That serveth most ententiflich and best, Him tit as often harm ther-of as prow; Your hyre is quit ayein, ye, god wot how! Nought wel for wel, but scorn for good servyse; In feith, your ordre is ruled in good wyse! 'In noun-certeyn ben alle your observaunces, But it a sely fewe poyntes be; Ne no-thing asketh so grete attendaunces As doth youre lay, and that knowe alle ye; But that is not the worste, as mote I thee; But, tolde I yow the worste poynt, I leve, Al seyde I sooth, ye wolden at me greve! 'But tak this, that ye loveres ofte eschuwe, Or elles doon of good entencioun, Ful ofte thy lady wole it misconstrue, And deme it harm in hir opinioun; And yet if she, for other enchesoun, Be wrooth, than shalt thou han a groyn anoon: Lord! wel is him that may be of yow oon!' But for al this, whan that he say his tyme, He held his pees, non other bote him gayned; For love bigan his fetheres so to lyme, That wel unnethe un-to his folk he fayned That othere besye nedes him destrayned; For wo was him, that what to doon he niste, But bad his folk to goon wher that hem liste.
And whan that he in chaumbre was allone, He doun up-on his beddes feet him sette, And first be gan to syke, and eft to grone, And thoughte ay on hir so, with-outen lette, That, as he sat and wook, his spirit mette That he hir saw a temple, and al the wyse Right of hir loke, and gan it newe avyse.
Thus gan he make a mirour of his minde, In which he saugh al hoolly hir figure; And that he wel coude in his herte finde, It was to him a right good aventure To love swich oon, and if he dide his cure To serven hir, yet mighte he falle in grace, Or elles, for oon of hir servaunts pace.
Imagininge that travaille nor grame Ne mighte, for so goodly oon, be lorn As she, ne him for his desir ne shame, Al were it wist, but in prys and up-born Of alle lovers wel more than biforn; Thus argumented he in his ginninge, Ful unavysed of his wo cominge.
Thus took he purpos loves craft to suwe, And thoughte he wolde werken prively, First, to hyden his desir in muwe From every wight y-born, al-outrely, But he mighte ought recovered be therby; Remembring him, that love to wyde y-blowe Yelt bittre fruyt, though swete seed be sowe.
And over al this, yet muchel more he thoughte What for to speke, and what to holden inne, And what to arten hir to love he soughte, And on a song anoon-right to biginne, And gan loude on his sorwe for to winne; For with good hope he gan fully assente Criseyde for to love, and nought repente.
And of his song nought only the sentence, As writ myn autour called Lollius, But pleynly, save our tonges difference, I dar wel sayn, in al that Troilus Seyde in his song, lo! every word right thus As I shal seyn; and who-so list it here, Lo! next this vers, he may it finden here.
Cantus Troili.
'If no love is, O god, what fele I so? And if love is, what thing and whiche is he! If love be good, from whennes comth my wo? If it be wikke, a wonder thinketh me, Whenne every torment and adversitee That cometh of him, may to me savory thinke; For ay thurst I, the more that I it drinke.
'And if that at myn owene lust I brenne, Fro whennes cometh my wailing and my pleynte? If harme agree me, wher-to pleyne I thenne? I noot, ne why unwery that I feynte.
O quike deeth, O swete harm so queynte, How may of thee in me swich quantitee, But-if that I consente that it be? 'And if that I consente, I wrongfully Compleyne, y-wis; thus possed to and fro, Al sterelees with inne a boot am I A-mid the see, by-twixen windes two, That in contrarie stonden ever-mo.
Allas! what is this wonder maladye? For hete of cold, for cold of hete, I deye.
' And to the god of love thus seyde he With pitous voys, 'O lord, now youres is My spirit, which that oughte youres be.
Yow thanke I, lord, that han me brought to this; But whether goddesse or womman, y-wis, She be, I noot, which that ye do me serve; But as hir man I wole ay live and sterve.
'Ye stonden in hire eyen mightily, As in a place un-to youre vertu digne; Wherfore, lord, if my servyse or I May lyke yow, so beth to me benigne; For myn estat royal here I resigne In-to hir hond, and with ful humble chere Bicome hir man, as to my lady dere.
' In him ne deyned sparen blood royal The fyr of love, wher-fro god me blesse, Ne him forbar in no degree, for al His vertu or his excellent prowesse; But held him as his thral lowe in distresse, And brende him so in sondry wyse ay newe, That sixty tyme a day he loste his hewe.
So muche, day by day, his owene thought, For lust to hir, gan quiken and encrese, That every other charge he sette at nought; For-thy ful ofte, his hote fyr to cese, To seen hir goodly look he gan to prese; For ther-by to ben esed wel he wende, And ay the ner he was, the more he brende.
For ay the ner the fyr, the hotter is, This, trowe I, knoweth al this companye.
But were he fer or neer, I dar seye this, By night or day, for wisdom or folye, His herte, which that is his brestes ye, Was ay on hir, that fairer was to sene Than ever were Eleyne or Polixene.
Eek of the day ther passed nought an houre That to him-self a thousand tyme he seyde, 'Good goodly, to whom serve I and laboure, As I best can, now wolde god, Criseyde, Ye wolden on me rewe er that I deyde! My dere herte, allas! myn hele and hewe And lyf is lost, but ye wole on me rewe.
' Alle othere dredes weren from him fledde, Both of the assege and his savacioun; Ne in him desyr noon othere fownes bredde But argumentes to his conclusioun, That she on him wolde han compassioun, And he to be hir man, whyl he may dure; Lo, here his lyf, and from the deeth his cure! The sharpe shoures felle of armes preve, That Ector or his othere bretheren diden, Ne made him only ther-fore ones meve; And yet was he, wher-so men wente or riden, Founde oon the beste, and lengest tyme abiden Ther peril was, and dide eek such travayle In armes, that to thenke it was mervayle.
But for non hate he to the Grekes hadde, Ne also for the rescous of the toun, Ne made him thus in armes for to madde, But only, lo, for this conclusioun, To lyken hir the bet for his renoun; Fro day to day in armes so he spedde, That alle the Grekes as the deeth him dredde.
And fro this forth tho refte him love his sleep, And made his mete his foo; and eek his sorwe Gan multiplye, that, who-so toke keep, It shewed in his hewe, bothe eve and morwe; Therfor a title he gan him for to borwe Of other syknesse, lest of him men wende That the hote fyr of love him brende, And seyde, he hadde a fever and ferde amis; But how it was, certayn, can I not seye, If that his lady understood not this, Or feyned hir she niste, oon of the tweye; But wel I rede that, by no maner weye, Ne semed it as that she of him roughte, Nor of his peyne, or what-so-ever he thoughte.
But than fel to this Troylus such wo, That he was wel neigh wood; for ay his drede Was this, that she som wight had loved so, That never of him she wolde have taken hede; For whiche him thoughte he felte his herte blede.
Ne of his wo ne dorste he not biginne To tellen it, for al this world to winne.
But whanne he hadde a space fro his care, Thus to him-self ful ofte he gan to pleyne; He sayde, 'O fool, now art thou in the snare, That whilom Iapedest at loves peyne; Now artow hent, now gnaw thyn owene cheyne; Thou were ay wont eche lovere reprehende Of thing fro which thou canst thee nat defende.
'What wol now every lover seyn of thee, If this be wist, but ever in thyn absence Laughen in scorn, and seyn, 'Lo, ther gooth he, That is the man of so gret sapience, That held us lovers leest in reverence! Now, thonked be god, he may goon in the daunce Of hem that Love list febly for to avaunce!' 'But, O thou woful Troilus, god wolde, Sin thou most loven thurgh thi destinee, That thow beset were on swich oon that sholde Knowe al thy wo, al lakkede hir pitee: But al so cold in love, towardes thee, Thy lady is, as frost in winter mone, And thou fordoon, as snow in fyr is sone.
' 'God wolde I were aryved in the port Of deth, to which my sorwe wil me lede! A, lord, to me it were a gret comfort; Than were I quit of languisshing in drede.
For by myn hidde sorwe y-blowe on brede I shal bi-Iaped been a thousand tyme More than that fool of whos folye men ryme.
'But now help god, and ye, swete, for whom I pleyne, y-caught, ye, never wight so faste! O mercy, dere herte, and help me from The deeth, for I, whyl that my lyf may laste, More than my-self wol love yow to my laste.
And with som freendly look gladeth me, swete, Though never more thing ye me bi-hete!' This wordes and ful manye an-other to He spak, and called ever in his compleynte Hir name, for to tellen hir his wo, Til neigh that he in salte teres dreynte.
Al was for nought, she herde nought his pleynte; And whan that he bithoughte on that folye, A thousand fold his wo gan multiplye.
Bi-wayling in his chambre thus allone, A freend of his, that called was Pandare, Com ones in unwar, and herde him grone, And say his freend in swich distresse and care: 'Allas!' quod he, 'who causeth al this fare? O mercy, god! What unhap may this mene? Han now thus sone Grekes maad yow lene? 'Or hastow som remors of conscience, And art now falle in som devocioun, And waylest for thy sinne and thyn offence, And hast for ferde caught attricioun? God save hem that bi-seged han our toun, And so can leye our Iolyte on presse, And bring our lusty folk to holinesse!' These wordes seyde he for the nones alle, That with swich thing he mighte him angry maken, And with an angre don his sorwe falle, As for the tyme, and his corage awaken; But wel he wist, as fer as tonges spaken, Ther nas a man of gretter hardinesse Than he, ne more desired worthinesse.
'What cas,' quod Troilus, 'or what aventure Hath gyded thee to see my languisshinge, That am refus of euery creature? But for the love of god, at my preyinge, Go henne a-way, for certes, my deyinge Wol thee disese, and I mot nedes deye; Ther-for go wey, ther is no more to seye.
'But if thou wene I be thus sik for drede, It is not so, and ther-for scorne nought; Ther is a-nother thing I take of hede Wel more than ought the Grekes han y-wrought, Which cause is of my deeth, for sorwe and thought.
But though that I now telle thee it ne leste, Be thou nought wrooth; I hyde it for the beste.
' This Pandare, that neigh malt for wo and routhe, Ful often seyde, 'Allas! what may this be? Now freend,' quod he, 'if ever love or trouthe Hath been, or is, bi-twixen thee and me, Ne do thou never swiche a crueltee To hyde fro thy freend so greet a care; Wostow nought wel that it am I, Pandare? 'I wole parten with thee al thy peyne, If it be so I do thee no comfort, As it is freendes right, sooth for to seyne, To entreparten wo, as glad desport.
I have, and shal, for trewe or fals report, In wrong and right y-loved thee al my lyve; Hyd not thy wo fro me, but telle it blyve.
' Than gan this sorwful Troilus to syke, And seyde him thus, "God leve it be my beste To telle it thee; for sith it may thee lyke, Yet wole I telle it, though myn herte breste; And wel wot I thou mayst do me no reste.
But lest thow deme I truste not to thee, Now herkne, freend, for thus it stant with me.
'Love, a-yeins the which who-so defendeth Him-selven most, him alder-lest avayleth, With disespeir so sorwfully me offendeth, That streyght un-to the deeth myn herte sayleth.
Ther-to desyr so brenningly me assaylleth, That to ben slayn it were a gretter Ioye To me than king of Grece been and Troye! 'Suffiseth this, my fulle freend Pandare, That I have seyd, for now wostow my wo; And for the love of god, my colde care So hyd it wel, I telle it never to mo; For harmes mighte folwen, mo than two, If it were wist; but be thou in gladnesse, And lat me sterve, unknowe, of my distresse.
' 'How hastow thus unkindely and longe Hid this fro me, thou fool?' quod Pandarus; 'Paraunter thou might after swich oon longe, That myn avys anoon may helpen us.
' 'This were a wonder thing,' quod Troylus, 'Thou coudest never in love thy-selven wisse; How devel maystow bringen me to blisse?' 'Ye, Troilus, now herke,' quod Pandare, 'Though I be nyce; it happeth ofte so, That oon that exces doth ful yvele fare, By good counseyl can kepe his freend ther-fro.
I have my-self eek seyn a blind man go Ther-as he fel that coude loke wyde; A fool may eek a wys man ofte gyde.
'A whetston is no kerving instrument, And yet it maketh sharpe kerving-tolis.
And ther thou woost that I have ought miswent, Eschewe thou that, for swich thing to thee scole is; Thus ofte wyse men ben war by folis.
If thou do so, thy wit is wel biwared; By his contrarie is every thing declared.
'For how might ever sweetnesse have be knowe To him that never tasted bitternesse? Ne no man may be inly glad, I trowe, That never was in sorwe or som distresse; Eek whyt by blak, by shame eek worthinesse, Ech set by other, more for other semeth; As men may see; and so the wyse it demeth.
'Sith thus of two contraries is a lore, I, that have in love so ofte assayed Grevaunces, oughte conne, and wel the more Counsayllen thee of that thou art amayed.
Eek thee ne oughte nat ben yvel apayed, Though I desyre with thee for to bere Thyn hevy charge; it shal the lasse dere.
'I woot wel that it fareth thus by me As to thy brother Parys an herdesse, Which that y-cleped was Oenone, Wrot in a compleynte of hir hevinesse: Ye say the lettre that she wroot, y gesse?' 'Nay, never yet, y-wis,' quod Troilus.
'Now,' quod Pandare, 'herkneth, it was thus.
-- "Phebus, that first fond art of medicyne,' Quod she, 'and coude in every wightes care Remede and reed, by herbes he knew fyne, Yet to him-self his conning was ful bare; For love hadde him so bounden in a snare, Al for the doughter of the kinge Admete, That al his craft ne coude his sorwe bete.
" -- 'Right so fare I, unhappily for me; I love oon best, and that me smerteth sore; And yet, paraunter, can I rede thee, And not my-self; repreve me no more.
I have no cause, I woot wel, for to sore As doth an hauk that listeth for to pleye, But to thyn help yet somwhat can I seye.
'And of o thing right siker maystow be, That certayn, for to deyen in the peyne, That I shal never-mo discoveren thee; Ne, by my trouthe, I kepe nat restreyne Thee fro thy love, thogh that it were Eleyne, That is thy brotheres wif, if ich it wiste; Be what she be, and love hir as thee liste.
'Therfore, as freend fullich in me assure, And tel me plat what is thyn enchesoun, And final cause of wo that ye endure; For douteth no-thing, myn entencioun Nis nought to yow of reprehencioun, To speke as now, for no wight may bireve A man to love, til that him list to leve.
'And witeth wel, that bothe two ben vyces, Mistrusten alle, or elles alle leve; But wel I woot, the mene of it no vyce is, For to trusten sum wight is a preve Of trouthe, and for-thy wolde I fayn remeve Thy wrong conseyte, and do thee som wight triste, Thy wo to telle; and tel me, if thee liste.
'The wyse seyth, "Wo him that is allone, For, and he falle, he hath noon help to ryse;" And sith thou hast a felawe, tel thy mone; For this nis not, certeyn, the nexte wyse To winnen love, as techen us the wyse, To walwe and wepe as Niobe the quene, Whos teres yet in marbel been y-sene.
'Lat be thy weping and thi drerinesse, And lat us lissen wo with other speche; So may thy woful tyme seme lesse.
Delyte not in wo thy wo to seche, As doon thise foles that hir sorwes eche With sorwe, whan they han misaventure, And listen nought to seche hem other cure.
'Men seyn, "To wrecche is consolacioun To have an-other felawe in his peyne;" That oughte wel ben our opinioun, For, bothe thou and I, of love we pleyne; So ful of sorwe am I, soth for to seyne, That certeynly no more harde grace May sitte on me, for-why ther is no space.
'If god wole thou art not agast of me, Lest I wolde of thy lady thee bigyle, Thow wost thy-self whom that I love, pardee, As I best can, gon sithen longe whyle.
And sith thou wost I do it for no wyle, And sith I am he that thou tristest most, Tel me sumwhat, sin al my wo thou wost.
' Yet Troilus, for al this, no word seyde, But longe he ley as stille as he ded were; And after this with sykinge he abreyde, And to Pandarus voys he lente his ere, And up his eyen caste he, that in fere Was Pandarus, lest that in frenesye He sholde falle, or elles sone dye; And cryde 'A-wake' ful wonderly and sharpe; 'What? Slombrestow as in a lytargye? Or artow lyk an asse to the harpe, That hereth soun, whan men the strenges plye, But in his minde of that no melodye May sinken, him to glade, for that he So dul is of his bestialitee?' And with that, Pandare of his wordes stente; And Troilus yet him no word answerde, For-why to telle nas not his entente To never no man, for whom that he so ferde.
For it is seyd, 'Man maketh ofte a yerde With which the maker is him-self y-beten In sondry maner,' as thise wyse treten, And namely, in his counseyl tellinge That toucheth love that oughte be secree; For of him-self it wolde y-nough out-springe, But-if that it the bet governed be.
Eek som-tyme it is craft to seme flee Fro thing which in effect men hunte faste; Al this gan Troilus in his herte caste.
But nathelees, whan he had herd him crye 'Awake!' he gan to syke wonder sore, And seyde, 'Freend, though that I stille lye, I am not deef; now pees, and cry no more; For I have herd thy wordes and thy lore; But suffre me my mischef to biwayle, For thy proverbes may me nought avayle.
'Nor other cure canstow noon for me.
Eek I nil not be cured, I wol deye; What knowe I of the quene Niobe? Lat be thyne olde ensaumples, I thee preye.
' 'No,' quod tho Pandarus, 'therfore I seye, Swich is delyt of foles to biwepe Hir wo, but seken bote they ne kepe.
'Now knowe I that ther reson in the fayleth.
But tel me, if I wiste what she were For whom that thee al this misaunter ayleth? Dorstestow that I tolde hir in hir ere Thy wo, sith thou darst not thy-self for fere, And hir bisoughte on thee to han som routhe?' 'Why, nay,' quod he, 'by god and by my trouthe!' 'What, Not as bisily,' quod Pandarus, 'As though myn owene lyf lay on this nede?' 'No, certes, brother,' quod this Troilus, 'And why?' -- 'For that thou sholdest never spede.
' 'Wostow that wel?' -- 'Ye, that is out of drede,' Quod Troilus, 'for al that ever ye conne, She nil to noon swich wrecche as I be wonne.
' Quod Pandarus, 'Allas! What may this be, That thou dispeyred art thus causelees? What? Liveth not thy lady? Benedicite! How wostow so that thou art gracelees? Swich yvel is nat alwey botelees.
Why, put not impossible thus thy cure, Sin thing to come is ofte in aventure.
'I graunte wel that thou endurest wo As sharp as doth he, Ticius, in helle, Whos stomak foules tyren ever-mo That highte volturis, as bokes telle.
But I may not endure that thou dwelle In so unskilful an opinioun That of thy wo is no curacioun.
'But ones niltow, for thy coward herte, And for thyn ire and folish wilfulnesse, For wantrust, tellen of thy sorwes smerte, Ne to thyn owene help do bisinesse As muche as speke a resoun more or lesse, But lyest as he that list of no-thing recche.
What womman coude love swich a wrecche? 'What may she demen other of thy deeth, If thou thus deye, and she not why it is, But that for fere is yolden up thy breeth, For Grekes han biseged us, y-wis? Lord, which a thank than shaltow han of this! Thus wol she seyn, and al the toun at ones, "The wrecche is deed, the devel have his bones!" 'Thou mayst allone here wepe and crye and knele; But, love a woman that she woot it nought, And she wol quyte that thou shalt not fele; Unknowe, unkist, and lost that is un-sought.
What! Many a man hath love ful dere y-bought Twenty winter that his lady wiste, That never yet his lady mouth he kiste.
'What? Shulde be therfor fallen in despeyr, Or be recreaunt for his owene tene, Or sleen him-self, al be his lady fayr? Nay, nay, but ever in oon be fresh and grene To serve and love his dere hertes quene, And thenke it is a guerdoun hir to serve A thousand-fold more than he can deserve.
' Of that word took hede Troilus, And thoughte anoon what folye he was inne, And how that sooth him seyde Pandarus, That for to sleen him-self mighte he not winne, But bothe doon unmanhod and a sinne, And of his deeth his lady nought to wyte; For of his wo, god woot, she knew ful lyte.
And with that thought he gan ful sore syke, And seyde, 'Allas! What is me best to do?' To whom Pandare answered, 'If thee lyke, The best is that thou telle me thy wo; And have my trouthe, but thou it finde so, I be thy bote, or that it be ful longe, To peces do me drawe, and sithen honge!' 'Ye, so thou seyst,' quod Troilus tho, 'allas! But, god wot, it is not the rather so; Ful hard were it to helpen in this cas, For wel finde I that Fortune is my fo, Ne alle the men that ryden conne or go May of hir cruel wheel the harm withstonde; For, as hir list, she pleyeth with free and bonde.
' Quod Pandarus, 'Than blamestow Fortune For thou art wrooth, ye, now at erst I see; Wostow nat wel that Fortune is commune To every maner wight in som degree? And yet thou hast this comfort, lo, pardee! That, as hir Ioyes moten over-goon, So mote hir sorwes passen everichoon.
'For if hir wheel stinte any-thing to torne, Than cessed she Fortune anoon to be: Now, sith hir wheel by no wey may soiorne, What wostow if hir mutabilitee Right as thy-selven list, wol doon by thee, Or that she be not fer fro thyn helpinge? Paraunter, thou hast cause for to singe! 'And therfor wostow what I thee beseche? Lat be thy wo and turning to the grounde; For who-so list have helping of his leche, To him bihoveth first unwrye his wounde.
To Cerberus in helle ay be I bounde, Were it for my suster, al thy sorwe, By my wil, she sholde al be thyn to-morwe.
'Loke up, I seye, and tel me what she is Anoon, that I may goon aboute thy nede; Knowe ich hir ought? For my love, tel me this; Than wolde I hopen rather for to spede.
' Tho gan the veyne of Troilus to blede, For he was hit, and wex al reed for shame; 'A ha!' quod Pandare, 'Here biginneth game!' And with that word he gan him for to shake, And seyde, 'Theef, thou shalt hir name telle.
' But tho gan sely Troilus for to quake As though men sholde han led him in-to helle, And seyde, 'Allas! Of al my wo the welle, Than is my swete fo called Criseyde!' And wel nigh with the word for fere he deyde.
And whan that Pandare herde hir name nevene, Lord, he was glad, and seyde, 'Freend so dere, Now fare a-right, for Ioves name in hevene, Love hath biset the wel, be of good chere; For of good name and wysdom and manere She hath y-nough, and eek of gentilesse; If she be fayr, thou wost thy-self, I gesse, 'Ne I never saw a more bountevous Of hir estat, ne a gladder, ne of speche A freendlier, ne a more gracious For to do wel, ne lasse hadde nede to seche What for to doon; and al this bet to eche, In honour, to as fer as she may strecche, A kinges herte semeth by hirs a wrecche.
'And for-thy loke of good comfort thou be; For certeinly, the firste poynt is this Of noble corage and wel ordeyne, A man to have pees with him-self, y-wis; So oughtest thou, for nought but good it is To loven wel, and in a worthy place; Thee oghte not to clepe it hap, but grace.
'And also thenk, and ther-with glade thee, That sith thy lady vertuous is al, So folweth it that ther is som pitee Amonges alle thise othere in general; And for-thy see that thou, in special, Requere nought that is ayein hir name; For vertue streccheth not him-self to shame.
'But wel is me that ever that I was born, That thou biset art in so good a place; For by my trouthe, in love I dorste have sworn, Thee sholde never han tid thus fayr a grace; And wostow why? For thou were wont to chace At Love in scorn, and for despyt him calle "Seynt Idiot, lord of thise foles alle.
" 'How often hastow maad thy nyce Iapes, And seyd, that loves servants everichone Of nycetee been verray goddes apes; And some wolde monche hir mete alone, Ligging a-bedde, and make hem for to grone; And som, thou seydest, hadde a blaunche fevere, And preydest god he sholde never kevere.
'And som of hem tok on hem, for the colde, More than y-nough, so seydestow ful ofte; And som han feyned ofte tyme, and tolde How that they wake, whan they slepen softe; And thus they wolde han brought hem-self a-lofte, And nathelees were under at the laste; Thus seydestow, and Iapedest ful faste.
'Yet seydestow, that, for the more part, These loveres wolden speke in general, And thoughten that it was a siker art, For fayling, for to assayen over-al.
Now may I iape of thee, if that I shal! But nathelees, though that I sholde deye, That thou art noon of tho, that dorste I seye.
'Now beet thy brest, and sey to god of love, "Thy grace, lord! For now I me repente If I mis spak, for now my-self I love:" Thus sey with al thyn herte in good entente.
' Quod Troilus, 'A! Lord! I me consente, And prey to thee my Iapes thou foryive, And I shal never-more whyl I live.
' 'Thou seyst wel,' quod Pandare, 'and now I hope That thou the goddes wraththe hast al apesed; And sithen thou hast wepen many a drope, And seyd swich thing wher-with thy god is plesed, Now wolde never god but thou were esed; And think wel, she of whom rist al thy wo Here-after may thy comfort been al-so.
'For thilke ground, that bereth the wedes wikke, Bereth eek thise holsom herbes, as ful ofte Next the foule netle, rough and thikke, The rose waxeth swote and smothe and softe; And next the valey is the hil a-lofte; And next the derke night the glade morwe; And also Ioye is next the fyn of sorwe.
'Now loke that atempre be thy brydel, And, for the beste, ay suffre to the tyde, Or elles al our labour is on ydel; He hasteth wel that wysly can abyde; Be diligent, and trewe, and ay wel hyde.
Be lusty, free, persevere in thy servyse, And al is wel, if thou werke in this wyse.
'But he that parted is in every place Is no-wher hool, as writen clerkes wyse; What wonder is, though swich oon have no grace? Eek wostow how it fareth of som servyse? As plaunte a tre or herbe, in sondry wyse, And on the morwe pulle it up as blyve, No wonder is, though it may never thryve.
'And sith that god of love hath thee bistowed In place digne un-to thy worthinesse, Stond faste, for to good port hastow rowed; And of thy-self, for any hevinesse, Hope alwey wel; for, but-if drerinesse Or over-haste our bothe labour shende, I hope of this to maken a good ende.
'And wostow why I am the lasse a-fered Of this matere with my nece trete? For this have I herd seyd of wyse y-lered, "Was never man ne woman yet bigete That was unapt to suffren loves hete, Celestial, or elles love of kinde;" For-thy som grace I hope in hir to finde.
'And for to speke of hir in special, Hir beautee to bithinken and hir youthe, It sit hir nought to be celestial As yet, though that hir liste bothe and couthe; But trewely, it sete hir wel right nouthe A worthy knight to loven and cheryce, And but she do, I holde it for a vyce.
'Wherfore I am, and wol be, ay redy To peyne me to do yow this servyse; For bothe yow to plese thus hope I Her-afterward; for ye beth bothe wyse, And conne it counseyl kepe in swich a wyse That no man shal the wyser of it be; And so we may be gladed alle three.
'And, by my trouthe, I have right now of thee A good conceyt in my wit, as I gesse, And what it is, I wol now that thou see.
I thenke, sith that love, of his goodnesse, Hath thee converted out of wikkednesse, That thou shalt be the beste post, I leve, Of al his lay, and most his foos to-greve.
'Ensample why, see now these wyse clerkes, That erren aldermost a-yein a lawe, And ben converted from hir wikked werkes Thorugh grace of god, that list hem to him drawe, Than arn they folk that han most god in awe, And strengest-feythed been, I understonde, And conne an errour alder-best withstonde.
' Whan Troilus had herd Pandare assented To been his help in loving of Criseyde, Wex of his wo, as who seyth, untormented, But hotter wex his love, and thus he seyde, With sobre chere, al-though his herte pleyde, 'Now blisful Venus helpe, er that I sterve, Of thee, Pandare, I may som thank deserve.
'But, dere frend, how shal myn wo ben lesse Til this be doon? And goode, eek tel me this, How wiltow seyn of me and my destresse? Lest she be wrooth, this drede I most, y-wys, Or nil not here or trowen how it is.
Al this drede I, and eek for the manere Of thee, hir eem, she nil no swich thing here.
' Quod Pandarus, 'Thou hast a ful gret care Lest that the cherl may falle out of the mone! Why, lord! I hate of the thy nyce fare! Why, entremete of that thou hast to done! For goddes love, I bidde thee a bone, So lat me alone, and it shal be thy beste.
' -- 'Why, freend,' quod he, 'now do right as the leste.
'But herke, Pandare, o word, for I nolde That thou in me wendest so greet folye, That to my lady I desiren sholde That toucheth harm or any vilenye; For dredelees, me were lever dye Than she of me ought elles understode But that, that mighte sounen in-to gode.
' Tho lough this Pandare, and anoon answerde, 'And I thy borw? Fy! No wight dooth but so; I roughte nought though that she stode and herde How that thou seyst; but fare-wel, I wol go.
A-dieu! Be glad! God spede us bothe two! Yif me this labour and this besinesse, And of my speed be thyn al that swetnesse.
' Tho Troilus gan doun on knees to falle, And Pandare in his armes hente faste, And seyde, 'Now, fy on the Grekes alle! Yet, pardee, god shal helpe us at the laste; And dredelees, if that my lyf may laste, And god to-forn, lo, som of hem shal smerte; And yet me athinketh that this avaunt me asterte! 'Now, Pandare, I can no more seye, But thou wys, thou wost, thou mayst, thou art al! My lyf, my deeth, hool in thyn bonde I leye; Help now,' Quod he, 'Yis, by my trouthe, I shal.
' 'God yelde thee, freend, and this in special,' Quod Troilus, 'that thou me recomaunde To hir that to the deeth me may comaunde.
' This Pandarus tho, desirous to serve His fulle freend, than seyde in this manere, 'Far-wel, and thenk I wol thy thank deserve; Have here my trouthe, and that thou shalt wel here.
' -- And wente his wey, thenking on this matere, And how he best mighte hir beseche of grace, And finde a tyme ther-to, and a place.
For every wight that hath an hous to founde Ne renneth nought the werk for to biginne With rakel hond, but he wol byde a stounde, And sende his hertes lyne out fro with-inne Alderfirst his purpos for to winne.
Al this Pandare in his herte thoughte, And caste his werk ful wysly, or he wroughte.
But Troilus lay tho no lenger doun, But up anoon up-on his stede bay, And in the feld he pleyde tho leoun; Wo was that Greek that with him mette that day.
And in the toun his maner tho forth ay So goodly was, and gat him so in grace, That ech him lovede that loked on his face.
For he bicom the frendlyeste wight, The gentileste, and eek the moste free, The thriftieste and oon the beste knight, That in his tyme was, or mighte be.
Dede were his Iapes and his crueltee, His heighe port and his manere estraunge, And ech of tho gan for a vertu chaunge.
Now lat us stinte of Troilus a stounde, That fareth lyk a man that hurt is sore, And is somdel of akinge of his wounde Y-lissed wel, but heled no del more: And, as an esy pacient, the lore Abit of him that gooth aboute his cure; And thus he dryveth forth his aventure.
Explicit Liber Primus


Song of Solomon

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22:001:001 The song of songs, which is Solomon's.
22:001:002 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.
22:001:003 Because of the savour of thy good ointments thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.
22:001:004 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.
22:001:005 I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.
22:001:006 Look not upon me, because I am black, because the sun hath looked upon me: my mother's children were angry with me; they made me the keeper of the vineyards; but mine own vineyard have I not kept.
22:001:007 Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? 22:001:008 If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents.
22:001:009 I have compared thee, O my love, to a company of horses in Pharaoh's chariots.
22:001:010 Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels, thy neck with chains of gold.
22:001:011 We will make thee borders of gold with studs of silver.
22:001:012 While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof.
22:001:013 A bundle of myrrh is my well-beloved unto me; he shall lie all night betwixt my breasts.
22:001:014 My beloved is unto me as a cluster of camphire in the vineyards of Engedi.
22:001:015 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes.
22:001:016 Behold, thou art fair, my beloved, yea, pleasant: also our bed is green.
22:001:017 The beams of our house are cedar, and our rafters of fir.
22:002:001 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
22:002:002 As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
22:002:003 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
22:002:004 He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.
22:002:005 Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples: for I am sick of love.
22:002:006 His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.
22:002:007 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
22:002:008 The voice of my beloved! behold, he cometh leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.
22:002:009 My beloved is like a roe or a young hart: behold, he standeth behind our wall, he looketh forth at the windows, shewing himself through the lattice.
22:002:010 My beloved spake, and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
22:002:011 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 22:002:012 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land; 22:002:013 The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away.
22:002:014 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.
22:002:015 Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.
22:002:016 My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.
22:002:017 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, turn, my beloved, and be thou like a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of Bether.
22:003:001 By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
22:003:002 I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not.
22:003:003 The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth? 22:003:004 It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.
22:003:005 I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, till he please.
22:003:006 Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant? 22:003:007 Behold his bed, which is Solomon's; threescore valiant men are about it, of the valiant of Israel.
22:003:008 They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night.
22:003:009 King Solomon made himself a chariot of the wood of Lebanon.
22:003:010 He made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem.
22:003:011 Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.
22:004:001 Behold, thou art fair, my love; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves' eyes within thy locks: thy hair is as a flock of goats, that appear from mount Gilead.
22:004:002 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them.
22:004:003 Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet, and thy speech is comely: thy temples are like a piece of a pomegranate within thy locks.
22:004:004 Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.
22:004:005 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins, which feed among the lilies.
22:004:006 Until the day break, and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountain of myrrh, and to the hill of frankincense.
22:004:007 Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.
22:004:008 Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Hermon, from the lions' dens, from the mountains of the leopards.
22:004:009 Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.
22:004:010 How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices! 22:004:011 Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon.
22:004:012 A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.
22:004:013 Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, 22:004:014 Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: 22:004:015 A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon.
22:004:016 Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.
Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.
22:005:001 I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse: I have gathered my myrrh with my spice; I have eaten my honeycomb with my honey; I have drunk my wine with my milk: eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.
22:005:002 I sleep, but my heart waketh: it is the voice of my beloved that knocketh, saying, Open to me, my sister, my love, my dove, my undefiled: for my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.
22:005:003 I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? 22:005:004 My beloved put in his hand by the hole of the door, and my bowels were moved for him.
22:005:005 I rose up to open to my beloved; and my hands dropped with myrrh, and my fingers with sweet smelling myrrh, upon the handles of the lock.
22:005:006 I opened to my beloved; but my beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake: I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no answer.
22:005:007 The watchmen that went about the city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the walls took away my veil from me.
22:005:008 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my beloved, that ye tell him, that I am sick of love.
22:005:009 What is thy beloved more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou dost so charge us? 22:005:010 My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.
22:005:011 His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.
22:005:012 His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.
22:005:013 His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.
22:005:014 His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.
22:005:015 His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars.
22:005:016 His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely.
This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.
22:006:001 Whither is thy beloved gone, O thou fairest among women? whither is thy beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.
22:006:002 My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
22:006:003 I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.
22:006:004 Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners.
22:006:005 Turn away thine eyes from me, for they have overcome me: thy hair is as a flock of goats that appear from Gilead.
22:006:006 Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them.
22:006:007 As a piece of a pomegranate are thy temples within thy locks.
22:006:008 There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.
22:006:009 My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her.
The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.
22:006:010 Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners? 22:006:011 I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished and the pomegranates budded.
22:006:012 Or ever I was aware, my soul made me like the chariots of Amminadib.
22:006:013 Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee.
What will ye see in the Shulamite? As it were the company of two armies.
22:007:001 How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince's daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.
22:007:002 Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor: thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lilies.
22:007:003 Thy two breasts are like two young roes that are twins.
22:007:004 Thy neck is as a tower of ivory; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as the tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.
22:007:005 Thine head upon thee is like Carmel, and the hair of thine head like purple; the king is held in the galleries.
22:007:006 How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights! 22:007:007 This thy stature is like to a palm tree, and thy breasts to clusters of grapes.
22:007:008 I said, I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples; 22:007:009 And the roof of thy mouth like the best wine for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
22:007:010 I am my beloved's, and his desire is toward me.
22:007:011 Come, my beloved, let us go forth into the field; let us lodge in the villages.
22:007:012 Let us get up early to the vineyards; let us see if the vine flourish, whether the tender grape appear, and the pomegranates bud forth: there will I give thee my loves.
22:007:013 The mandrakes give a smell, and at our gates are all manner of pleasant fruits, new and old, which I have laid up for thee, O my beloved.
22:008:001 O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I would kiss thee; yea, I should not be despised.
22:008:002 I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me: I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.
22:008:003 His left hand should be under my head, and his right hand should embrace me.
22:008:004 I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.
22:008:005 Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved? I raised thee up under the apple tree: there thy mother brought thee forth: there she brought thee forth that bare thee.
22:008:006 Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
22:008:007 Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
22:008:008 We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? 22:008:009 If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar.
22:008:010 I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
22:008:011 Solomon had a vineyard at Baalhamon; he let out the vineyard unto keepers; every one for the fruit thereof was to bring a thousand pieces of silver.
22:008:012 My vineyard, which is mine, is before me: thou, O Solomon, must have a thousand, and those that keep the fruit thereof two hundred.
22:008:013 Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.
22:008:014 Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.


Troilus And Criseyde: Book 03

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 Incipit prohemium tercii libri.
O blisful light of whiche the bemes clere 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! 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 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, 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 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; 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; 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.
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, 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, 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, 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.
' 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, 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, '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.
' 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; 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.
'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.
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, 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, 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; 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, 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, 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.
'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 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, 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 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, 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 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, 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.
'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, 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, 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, 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, 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.
' 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; 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.
' 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, 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 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, '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 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; 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, 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, 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.
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, 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.
'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 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, 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 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, 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; 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 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.
'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? 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, 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, 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, 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.
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, 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.
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, 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, 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 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, 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, 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, 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.
'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 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, 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, 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 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; 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, 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.
' 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 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, 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, 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 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; 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, 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.
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 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 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, 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, 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; 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; 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.
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; 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; 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, 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, 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, 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 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.
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; 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, 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, 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, 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, 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; 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.
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, 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,' 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 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 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, 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, 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, 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 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, 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, 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, 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.
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, 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! '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.
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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.
'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.
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 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, 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, 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, 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, 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.
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,' 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, 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, 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, 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; 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, 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!' 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.
' 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, 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, 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; 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.
' '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; 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.
'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, 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 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, 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, 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, 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, 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! '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 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! 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! 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, 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 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, 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?' 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, 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, '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; 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 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; 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.
'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! '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.
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, 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! 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; 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, 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; 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.
'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, 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, 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 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, 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; 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; 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.
' '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, 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; 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 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, 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; 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, 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.
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, 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 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, 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, 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.
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, 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! '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, 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, 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 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; 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 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, 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?' 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, 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 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, 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, 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, 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; 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!' 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, 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, '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, 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; '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, 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, 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, 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?' 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 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, 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:' 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.
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 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.
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; 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, 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, 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; 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.
' '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 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.
' 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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; 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.
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, 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, 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, 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; 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; 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, 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.
'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, 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, 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, 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 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, 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, 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.
'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, 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; 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 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, 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? 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, 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.
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 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, 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, 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, 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! 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, 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.
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, 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, 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, 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, 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 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, 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.
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, 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, 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, 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, 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, Or elles I am lost for evermo! O night, allas! Why niltow over us hove, As longe as whanne Almena lay by Iove? 'O blake night, as folk in bokes rede, That shapen art by god this world to hyde At certeyn tymes with thy derke wede, That under that men mighte in reste abyde, Wel oughte bestes pleyne, and folk thee chyde, That there-as day with labour wolde us breste, That thou thus fleest, and deynest us nought reste! 'Thou dost, allas! To shortly thyn offyce, Thou rakel night, ther god, makere of kinde, Thee, for thyn hast and thyn unkinde vyce, So faste ay to our hemi-spere binde.
That never-more under the ground thou winde! For now, for thou so hyest out of Troye, Have I forgon thus hastily my Ioye!' This Troilus, that with tho wordes felte, As thoughte him tho, for pietous distresse, The blody teres from his herte melte, As he that never yet swich hevinesse Assayed hadde, out of so greet gladnesse, Gan therwith-al Criseyde his lady dere In armes streyne, and seyde in this manere: -- 'O cruel day, accusour of the Ioye That night and love han stole and faste y-wryen, A-cursed be thy coming in-to Troye, For every bore hath oon of thy bright yen! Envyous day, what list thee so to spyen? What hastow lost, why sekestow this place, Ther god thy lyght so quenche, for his grace? 'Allas! What han thise loveres thee agilt, Dispitous day? Thyn be the pyne of helle! For many a lovere hastow shent, and wilt; Thy pouring in wol no-wher lete hem dwelle.
What proferestow thy light here for to selle? Go selle it hem that smale seles graven, We wol thee nought, us nedeth no day haven.
' And eek the sonne Tytan gan he chyde, And seyde, 'O fool, wel may men thee dispyse, That hast the Dawing al night by thy syde, And suffrest hir so sone up fro thee ryse, For to disesen loveres in this wyse.
What! Holde your bed ther, thou, and eek thy Morwe! I bidde god, so yeve yow bothe sorwe!' Therwith ful sore he sighte, and thus he seyde, 'My lady right, and of my wele or wo The welle and rote, O goodly myn, Criseyde, And shal I ryse, allas! And shal I go? Now fele I that myn herte moot a-two! For how sholde I my lyf an houre save, Sin that with yow is al the lyf I have? 'What shal I doon, for certes, I not how, Ne whanne, allas! I shal the tyme see, That in this plyt I may be eft with yow; And of my lyf, god woot, how that shal be, Sin that desyr right now so byteth me, That I am deed anoon, but I retourne.
How sholde I longe, allas! Fro yow soiourne? 'But nathelees, myn owene lady bright, Yit were it so that I wiste outrely, That I, your humble servaunt and your knight, Were in your herte set so fermely As ye in myn, the which thing, trewely, Me lever were than thise worldes tweyne, Yet sholde I bet enduren al my peyne.
' To that Cryseyde answerde right anoon, And with a syk she seyde, 'O herte dere, The game, y-wis, so ferforth now is goon, That first shal Phebus falle fro his spere, And every egle been the dowves fere, And every roche out of his place sterte, Er Troilus out of Criseydes herte! 'Ye he so depe in-with myn herte grave, That, though I wolde it turne out of my thought, As wisly verray god my soule save, To dyen in the peyne, I coude nought! And, for the love of god that us bath wrought, Lat in your brayn non other fantasye So crepe, that it cause me to dye! 'And that ye me wolde han as faste in minde As I have yow, that wolde I yow bi-seche; And, if I wiste soothly that to finde, God mighte not a poynt my Ioyes eche! But, herte myn, with-oute more speche, Beth to me trewe, or elles were it routhe; For I am thyn, by god and by my trouthe! 'Beth glad for-thy, and live in sikernesse; Thus seyde I never er this, ne shal to mo; And if to yow it were a gret gladnesse To turne ayein, soone after that ye go, As fayn wolde I as ye, it were so, As wisly god myn herte bringe at reste!' And him in armes took, and ofte keste.
Agayns his wil, sin it mot nedes be, This Troilus up roos, and faste him cledde, And in his armes took his lady free An hundred tyme, and on his wey him spedde, And with swich wordes as his herte bledde, He seyde, 'Farewel, mr dere herte swete, Ther god us graunte sounde and sone to mete!' To which no word for sorwe she answerde, So sore gan his parting hir destreyne; And Troilus un-to his palays ferde, As woo bigon as she was, sooth to seyne; So hard him wrong of sharp desyr the peyne For to ben eft there he was in plesaunce, That it may never out of his


Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets

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 1

Lo d? che han detto a' dolci amici addio.
- Dante Amor, con quanto sforzo oggi mi vinci! - Petrarca Come back to me, who wait and watch for you:-- Or come not yet, for it is over then, And long it is before you come again, So far between my pleasures are and few.
While, when you come not, what I do I do Thinking "Now when he comes," my sweetest when:" For one man is my world of all the men This wide world holds; O love, my world is you.
Howbeit, to meet you grows almost a pang Because the pang of parting comes so soon; My hope hangs waning, waxing, like a moon Between the heavenly days on which we meet: Ah me, but where are now the songs I sang When life was sweet because you call'd them sweet? 2 Era gi? 1'ora che volge il desio.
- Dante Ricorro al tempo ch' io vi vidi prima.
- Petrarca I wish I could remember that first day, First hour, first moment of your meeting me, If bright or dim the season, it might be Summer or winter for aught I can say; So unrecorded did it slip away, So blind was I to see and to foresee, So dull to mark the budding of my tree That would not blossom yet for many a May.
If only I could recollect it, such A day of days! I let it come and go As traceless as a thaw of bygone snow; It seem'd to mean so little, meant so much; If only now I could recall that touch, First touch of hand in hand--Did one but know! 3 O ombre vane, fuor che ne l'aspetto! - Dante Immaginata guida la conduce.
- Petrarca I dream of you to wake: would that I might Dream of you and not wake but slumber on; Nor find with dreams the dear companion gone, As summer ended summer birds take flight.
In happy dreams I hold you full in sight, I blush again who waking look so wan; Brighter than sunniest day that ever shone, In happy dreams your smile makes day of night.
Thus only in a dream we are at one, Thus only in a dream we give and take The faith that maketh rich who take or give; If thus to sleep is sweeter than to wake, To die were surely sweeter than to live, Though there be nothing new beneath the sun.
4 Poca favilla gran fliamma seconda.
- Dante Ogni altra cosa, ogni pensier va fore, E sol ivi con voi rimansi amore.
- Petrarca I lov'd you first: but afterwards your love Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song As drown'd the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long, And yours one moment seem'd to wax more strong; I lov'd and guess'd at you, you construed me-- And lov'd me for what might or might not be Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong.
For verily love knows not "mine" or "thine;" With separate "I" and "thou" free love has done, For one is both and both are one in love: Rich love knows nought of "thine that is not mine;" Both have the strength and both the length thereof, Both of us, of the love which makes us one.
5 Amor che a nullo amato amar perdona.
- Dante Amor m'addusse in s? gioiosa spene.
- Petrarca O my heart's heart, and you who are to me More than myself myself, God be with you, Keep you in strong obedience leal and true To Him whose noble service setteth free, Give you all good we see or can foresee, Make your joys many and your sorrows few, Bless you in what you bear and what you do, Yea, perfect you as He would have you be.
So much for you; but what for me, dear friend? To love you without stint and all I can Today, tomorrow, world without an end; To love you much and yet to love you more, As Jordan at his flood sweeps either shore; Since woman is the helpmeet made for man.
6 Or puoi la quantitate Comprender de l'amor che a te mi scalda.
- Dante Non vo' che da tal nodo mi scioglia.
- Petrarca Trust me, I have not earn'd your dear rebuke, I love, as you would have me, God the most; Would lose not Him, but you, must one be lost, Nor with Lot's wife cast back a faithless look Unready to forego what I forsook; This say I, having counted up the cost, This, though I be the feeblest of God's host, The sorriest sheep Christ shepherds with His crook.
Yet while I love my God the most, I deem That I can never love you overmuch; I love Him more, so let me love you too; Yea, as I apprehend it, love is such I cannot love you if I love not Him, I cannot love Him if I love not you.
7 Qui primavera sempre ed ogni frutto.
- Dante Ragionando con meco ed io con lui.
- Petrarca "Love me, for I love you"--and answer me, "Love me, for I love you"--so shall we stand As happy equals in the flowering land Of love, that knows not a dividing sea.
Love builds the house on rock and not on sand, Love laughs what while the winds rave desperately; And who hath found love's citadel unmann'd? And who hath held in bonds love's liberty? My heart's a coward though my words are brave We meet so seldom, yet we surely part So often; there's a problem for your art! Still I find comfort in his Book, who saith, Though jealousy be cruel as the grave, And death be strong, yet love is strong as death.
8 Come dicesse a Dio: D'altro non calme.
- Dante Spero trovar piet? non che perdono.
- Petrarca "I, if I perish, perish"--Esther spake: And bride of life or death she made her fair In all the lustre of her perfum'd hair And smiles that kindle longing but to slake.
She put on pomp of loveliness, to take Her husband through his eyes at unaware; She spread abroad her beauty for a snare, Harmless as doves and subtle as a snake.
She trapp'd him with one mesh of silken hair, She vanquish'd him by wisdom of her wit, And built her people's house that it should stand:-- If I might take my life so in my hand, And for my love to Love put up my prayer, And for love's sake by Love be granted it! 9 O dignitosa coscienza e netta! - Dante Spirto pi? acceso di virtuti ardenti.
- Petrarca Thinking of you, and all that was, and all That might have been and now can never be, I feel your honour'd excellence, and see Myself unworthy of the happier call: For woe is me who walk so apt to fall, So apt to shrink afraid, so apt to flee, Apt to lie down and die (ah, woe is me!) Faithless and hopeless turning to the wall.
And yet not hopeless quite nor faithless quite, Because not loveless; love may toil all night, But take at morning; wrestle till the break Of day, but then wield power with God and man:-- So take I heart of grace as best I can, Ready to spend and be spent for your sake.
10 Con miglior corso e con migliore stella.
- Dante La vita fugge e non s'arresta un' ora.
- Petrarca Time flies, hope flags, life plies a wearied wing; Death following hard on life gains ground apace; Faith runs with each and rears an eager face, Outruns the rest, makes light of everything, Spurns earth, and still finds breath to pray and sing; While love ahead of all uplifts his praise, Still asks for grace and still gives thanks for grace, Content with all day brings and night will bring.
Life wanes; and when love folds his wings above Tired hope, and less we feel his conscious pulse, Let us go fall asleep, dear friend, in peace: A little while, and age and sorrow cease; A little while, and life reborn annuls Loss and decay and death, and all is love.
11 Vien dietro a me e lascia dir le genti.
- Dante Contando i casi della vita nostra.
- Petrarca Many in aftertimes will say of you "He lov'd her"--while of me what will they say? Not that I lov'd you more than just in play, For fashion's sake as idle women do.
Even let them prate; who know not what we knew Of love and parting in exceeding pain, Of parting hopeless here to meet again, Hopeless on earth, and heaven is out of view.
But by my heart of love laid bare to you, My love that you can make not void nor vain, Love that foregoes you but to claim anew Beyond this passage of the gate of death, I charge you at the Judgment make it plain My love of you was life and not a breath.
12 Amor, che ne la mente mi ragiona.
- Dante Amor vien nel bel viso di costei.
- Petrarca If there be any one can take my place And make you happy whom I grieve to grieve, Think not that I can grudge it, but believe I do commend you to that nobler grace, That readier wit than mine, that sweeter face; Yea, since your riches make me rich, conceive I too am crown'd, while bridal crowns I weave, And thread the bridal dance with jocund pace.
For if I did not love you, it might be That I should grudge you some one dear delight; But since the heart is yours that was mine own, Your pleasure is my pleasure, right my right, Your honourable freedom makes me free, And you companion'd I am not alone.
13 E drizzeremo gli occhi al Primo Amore.
- Dante Ma trovo peso non da le mie braccia.
- Petrarca If I could trust mine own self with your fate, Shall I not rather trust it in God's hand? Without Whose Will one lily doth not stand, Nor sparrow fall at his appointed date; Who numbereth the innumerable sand, Who weighs the wind and water with a weight, To Whom the world is neither small nor great, Whose knowledge foreknew every plan we plann'd.
Searching my heart for all that touches you, I find there only love and love's goodwill Helpless to help and impotent to do, Of understanding dull, of sight most dim; And therefore I commend you back to Him Whose love your love's capacity can fill.
14 E la Sua Volontade ? nostra pace.
- Dante Sol con questi pensier, con altre chiome.
- Petrarca Youth gone, and beauty gone if ever there Dwelt beauty in so poor a face as this; Youth gone and beauty, what remains of bliss? I will not bind fresh roses in my hair, To shame a cheek at best but little fair,-- Leave youth his roses, who can bear a thorn,-- I will not seek for blossoms anywhere, Except such common flowers as blow with corn.
Youth gone and beauty gone, what doth remain? The longing of a heart pent up forlorn, A silent heart whose silence loves and longs; The silence of a heart which sang its songs While youth and beauty made a summer morn, Silence of love that cannot sing again.


The Knights Tale

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 WHILOM*, as olde stories tellen us, *formerly
There was a duke that highte* Theseus.
*was called <2> Of Athens he was lord and governor, And in his time such a conqueror That greater was there none under the sun.
Full many a riche country had he won.
What with his wisdom and his chivalry, He conquer'd all the regne of Feminie,<3> That whilom was y-cleped Scythia; And weddede the Queen Hippolyta And brought her home with him to his country With muchel* glory and great solemnity, *great And eke her younge sister Emily, And thus with vict'ry and with melody Let I this worthy Duke to Athens ride, And all his host, in armes him beside.
And certes, if it n'ere* too long to hear, *were not I would have told you fully the mannere, How wonnen* was the regne of Feminie, <4> *won By Theseus, and by his chivalry; And of the greate battle for the nonce Betwixt Athenes and the Amazons; And how assieged was Hippolyta, The faire hardy queen of Scythia; And of the feast that was at her wedding And of the tempest at her homecoming.
But all these things I must as now forbear.
I have, God wot, a large field to ear* *plough<5>; And weake be the oxen in my plough; The remnant of my tale is long enow.
I will not *letten eke none of this rout*.
*hinder any of Let every fellow tell his tale about, this company* And let see now who shall the supper win.
There *as I left*, I will again begin.
*where I left off* This Duke, of whom I make mentioun, When he was come almost unto the town, In all his weal, and in his moste pride, He was ware, as he cast his eye aside, Where that there kneeled in the highe way A company of ladies, tway and tway, Each after other, clad in clothes black: But such a cry and such a woe they make, That in this world n'is creature living, That hearde such another waimenting* *lamenting <6> And of this crying would they never stenten*, *desist Till they the reines of his bridle henten*.
*seize "What folk be ye that at mine homecoming Perturben so my feaste with crying?" Quoth Theseus; "Have ye so great envy Of mine honour, that thus complain and cry? Or who hath you misboden*, or offended? *wronged Do telle me, if it may be amended; And why that ye be clad thus all in black?" The oldest lady of them all then spake, When she had swooned, with a deadly cheer*, *countenance That it was ruthe* for to see or hear.
*pity She saide; "Lord, to whom fortune hath given Vict'ry, and as a conqueror to liven, Nought grieveth us your glory and your honour; But we beseechen mercy and succour.
Have mercy on our woe and our distress; Some drop of pity, through thy gentleness, Upon us wretched women let now fall.
For certes, lord, there is none of us all That hath not been a duchess or a queen; Now be we caitives*, as it is well seen: *captives Thanked be Fortune, and her false wheel, That *none estate ensureth to be wele*.
*assures no continuance of And certes, lord, t'abiden your presence prosperous estate* Here in this temple of the goddess Clemence We have been waiting all this fortenight: Now help us, lord, since it lies in thy might.
"I, wretched wight, that weep and waile thus, Was whilom wife to king Capaneus, That starf* at Thebes, cursed be that day: *died <7> And alle we that be in this array, And maken all this lamentatioun, We losten all our husbands at that town, While that the siege thereabouten lay.
And yet the olde Creon, wellaway! That lord is now of Thebes the city, Fulfilled of ire and of iniquity, He for despite, and for his tyranny, To do the deade bodies villainy*, *insult Of all our lorde's, which that been y-slaw, *slain Hath all the bodies on an heap y-draw, And will not suffer them by none assent Neither to be y-buried, nor y-brent*, *burnt But maketh houndes eat them in despite.
" And with that word, withoute more respite They fallen groff,* and cryden piteously; *grovelling "Have on us wretched women some mercy, And let our sorrow sinken in thine heart.
" This gentle Duke down from his courser start With hearte piteous, when he heard them speak.
Him thoughte that his heart would all to-break, When he saw them so piteous and so mate* *abased That whilom weren of so great estate.
And in his armes he them all up hent*, *raised, took And them comforted in full good intent, And swore his oath, as he was true knight, He woulde do *so farforthly his might* *as far as his power went* Upon the tyrant Creon them to wreak*, *avenge That all the people of Greece shoulde speak, How Creon was of Theseus y-served, As he that had his death full well deserved.
And right anon withoute more abode* *delay His banner he display'd, and forth he rode To Thebes-ward, and all his, host beside: No ner* Athenes would he go nor ride, *nearer Nor take his ease fully half a day, But onward on his way that night he lay: And sent anon Hippolyta the queen, And Emily her younge sister sheen* *bright, lovely Unto the town of Athens for to dwell: And forth he rit*; there is no more to tell.
*rode The red statue of Mars with spear and targe* *shield So shineth in his white banner large That all the fieldes glitter up and down: And by his banner borne is his pennon Of gold full rich, in which there was y-beat* *stamped The Minotaur<8> which that he slew in Crete Thus rit this Duke, thus rit this conqueror And in his host of chivalry the flower, Till that he came to Thebes, and alight Fair in a field, there as he thought to fight.
But shortly for to speaken of this thing, With Creon, which that was of Thebes king, He fought, and slew him manly as a knight In plain bataille, and put his folk to flight: And by assault he won the city after, And rent adown both wall, and spar, and rafter; And to the ladies he restored again The bodies of their husbands that were slain, To do obsequies, as was then the guise*.
*custom But it were all too long for to devise* *describe The greate clamour, and the waimenting*, *lamenting Which that the ladies made at the brenning* *burning Of the bodies, and the great honour That Theseus the noble conqueror Did to the ladies, when they from him went: But shortly for to tell is mine intent.
When that this worthy Duke, this Theseus, Had Creon slain, and wonnen Thebes thus, Still in the field he took all night his rest, And did with all the country as him lest*.
*pleased To ransack in the tas* of bodies dead, *heap Them for to strip of *harness and of **weed, *armour **clothes The pillers* did their business and cure, *pillagers <9> After the battle and discomfiture.
And so befell, that in the tas they found, Through girt with many a grievous bloody wound, Two younge knightes *ligging by and by* *lying side by side* Both in *one armes*, wrought full richely: *the same armour* Of whiche two, Arcita hight that one, And he that other highte Palamon.
Not fully quick*, nor fully dead they were, *alive But by their coat-armour, and by their gear, The heralds knew them well in special, As those that weren of the blood royal Of Thebes, and *of sistren two y-born*.
*born of two sisters* Out of the tas the pillers have them torn, And have them carried soft unto the tent Of Theseus, and he full soon them sent To Athens, for to dwellen in prison Perpetually, he *n'olde no ranson*.
*would take no ransom* And when this worthy Duke had thus y-done, He took his host, and home he rit anon With laurel crowned as a conquerour; And there he lived in joy and in honour Term of his life; what needeth wordes mo'? And in a tower, in anguish and in woe, Dwellen this Palamon, and eke Arcite, For evermore, there may no gold them quite* *set free Thus passed year by year, and day by day, Till it fell ones in a morn of May That Emily, that fairer was to seen Than is the lily upon his stalke green, And fresher than the May with flowers new (For with the rose colour strove her hue; I n'ot* which was the finer of them two), *know not Ere it was day, as she was wont to do, She was arisen, and all ready dight*, *dressed For May will have no sluggardy a-night; The season pricketh every gentle heart, And maketh him out of his sleep to start, And saith, "Arise, and do thine observance.
" This maketh Emily have remembrance To do honour to May, and for to rise.
Y-clothed was she fresh for to devise; Her yellow hair was braided in a tress, Behind her back, a yarde long I guess.
And in the garden at *the sun uprist* *sunrise She walketh up and down where as her list.
She gathereth flowers, party* white and red, *mingled To make a sotel* garland for her head, *subtle, well-arranged And as an angel heavenly she sung.
The greate tower, that was so thick and strong, Which of the castle was the chief dungeon<10> (Where as these knightes weren in prison, Of which I tolde you, and telle shall), Was even joinant* to the garden wall, *adjoining There as this Emily had her playing.
Bright was the sun, and clear that morrowning, And Palamon, this woful prisoner, As was his wont, by leave of his gaoler, Was ris'n, and roamed in a chamber on high, In which he all the noble city sigh*, *saw And eke the garden, full of branches green, There as this fresh Emelia the sheen Was in her walk, and roamed up and down.
This sorrowful prisoner, this Palamon Went in his chamber roaming to and fro, And to himself complaining of his woe: That he was born, full oft he said, Alas! And so befell, by aventure or cas*, *chance That through a window thick of many a bar Of iron great, and square as any spar, He cast his eyes upon Emelia, And therewithal he blent* and cried, Ah! *started aside As though he stungen were unto the heart.
And with that cry Arcite anon up start, And saide, "Cousin mine, what aileth thee, That art so pale and deadly for to see? Why cried'st thou? who hath thee done offence? For Godde's love, take all in patience Our prison*, for it may none other be.
*imprisonment Fortune hath giv'n us this adversity'.
Some wick'* aspect or disposition *wicked Of Saturn<11>, by some constellation, Hath giv'n us this, although we had it sworn, So stood the heaven when that we were born, We must endure; this is the short and plain.
This Palamon answer'd, and said again: "Cousin, forsooth of this opinion Thou hast a vain imagination.
This prison caused me not for to cry; But I was hurt right now thorough mine eye Into mine heart; that will my bane* be.
*destruction The fairness of the lady that I see Yond in the garden roaming to and fro, Is cause of all my crying and my woe.
I *n'ot wher* she be woman or goddess, *know not whether* But Venus is it, soothly* as I guess, *truly And therewithal on knees adown he fill, And saide: "Venus, if it be your will You in this garden thus to transfigure Before me sorrowful wretched creature, Out of this prison help that we may scape.
And if so be our destiny be shape By etern word to dien in prison, Of our lineage have some compassion, That is so low y-brought by tyranny.
" And with that word Arcita *gan espy* *began to look forth* Where as this lady roamed to and fro And with that sight her beauty hurt him so, That if that Palamon was wounded sore, Arcite is hurt as much as he, or more.
And with a sigh he saide piteously: "The freshe beauty slay'th me suddenly Of her that roameth yonder in the place.
And but* I have her mercy and her grace, *unless That I may see her at the leaste way, I am but dead; there is no more to say.
" This Palamon, when he these wordes heard, Dispiteously* he looked, and answer'd: *angrily "Whether say'st thou this in earnest or in play?" "Nay," quoth Arcite, "in earnest, by my fay*.
*faith God help me so, *me lust full ill to play*.
" *I am in no humour This Palamon gan knit his browes tway.
for jesting* "It were," quoth he, "to thee no great honour For to be false, nor for to be traitour To me, that am thy cousin and thy brother Y-sworn full deep, and each of us to other, That never for to dien in the pain <12>, Till that the death departen shall us twain, Neither of us in love to hinder other, Nor in none other case, my leve* brother; *dear But that thou shouldest truly farther me In every case, as I should farther thee.
This was thine oath, and mine also certain; I wot it well, thou dar'st it not withsayn*, *deny Thus art thou of my counsel out of doubt, And now thou wouldest falsely be about To love my lady, whom I love and serve, And ever shall, until mine hearte sterve* *die Now certes, false Arcite, thou shalt not so I lov'd her first, and tolde thee my woe As to my counsel, and my brother sworn To farther me, as I have told beforn.
For which thou art y-bounden as a knight To helpe me, if it lie in thy might, Or elles art thou false, I dare well sayn," This Arcita full proudly spake again: "Thou shalt," quoth he, "be rather* false than I, *sooner And thou art false, I tell thee utterly; For par amour I lov'd her first ere thou.
What wilt thou say? *thou wist it not right now* *even now thou Whether she be a woman or goddess.
knowest not* Thine is affection of holiness, And mine is love, as to a creature: For which I tolde thee mine aventure As to my cousin, and my brother sworn I pose*, that thou loved'st her beforn: *suppose Wost* thou not well the olde clerke's saw<13>, *know'st That who shall give a lover any law? Love is a greater lawe, by my pan, Than may be giv'n to any earthly man: Therefore positive law, and such decree, Is broke alway for love in each degree A man must needes love, maugre his head.
He may not flee it, though he should be dead, *All be she* maid, or widow, or else wife.
*whether she be* And eke it is not likely all thy life To standen in her grace, no more than I For well thou wost thyselfe verily, That thou and I be damned to prison Perpetual, us gaineth no ranson.
We strive, as did the houndes for the bone; They fought all day, and yet their part was none.
There came a kite, while that they were so wroth, And bare away the bone betwixt them both.
And therefore at the kinge's court, my brother, Each man for himselfe, there is no other.
Love if thee list; for I love and aye shall And soothly, leve brother, this is all.
Here in this prison musten we endure, And each of us take his Aventure.
" Great was the strife and long between these tway, If that I hadde leisure for to say; But to the effect: it happen'd on a day (To tell it you as shortly as I may), A worthy duke that hight Perithous<14> That fellow was to the Duke Theseus Since thilke* day that they were children lite** *that **little Was come to Athens, his fellow to visite, And for to play, as he was wont to do; For in this world he loved no man so; And he lov'd him as tenderly again.
So well they lov'd, as olde bookes sayn, That when that one was dead, soothly to sayn, His fellow went and sought him down in hell: But of that story list me not to write.
Duke Perithous loved well Arcite, And had him known at Thebes year by year: And finally at request and prayere Of Perithous, withoute ranson Duke Theseus him let out of prison, Freely to go, where him list over all, In such a guise, as I you tellen shall This was the forword*, plainly to indite, *promise Betwixte Theseus and him Arcite: That if so were, that Arcite were y-found Ever in his life, by day or night, one stound* *moment<15> In any country of this Theseus, And he were caught, it was accorded thus, That with a sword he shoulde lose his head; There was none other remedy nor rede*.
*counsel But took his leave, and homeward he him sped; Let him beware, his necke lieth *to wed*.
*in pledge* How great a sorrow suff'reth now Arcite! The death he feeleth through his hearte smite; He weepeth, waileth, crieth piteously; To slay himself he waiteth privily.
He said; "Alas the day that I was born! Now is my prison worse than beforn: *Now is me shape* eternally to dwell *it is fixed for me* Not in purgatory, but right in hell.
Alas! that ever I knew Perithous.
For elles had I dwelt with Theseus Y-fettered in his prison evermo'.
Then had I been in bliss, and not in woe.
Only the sight of her, whom that I serve, Though that I never may her grace deserve, Would have sufficed right enough for me.
O deare cousin Palamon," quoth he, "Thine is the vict'ry of this aventure, Full blissfully in prison to endure: In prison? nay certes, in paradise.
Well hath fortune y-turned thee the dice, That hast the sight of her, and I th' absence.
For possible is, since thou hast her presence, And art a knight, a worthy and an able, That by some cas*, since fortune is changeable, *chance Thou may'st to thy desire sometime attain.
But I that am exiled, and barren Of alle grace, and in so great despair, That there n'is earthe, water, fire, nor air, Nor creature, that of them maked is, That may me helpe nor comfort in this, Well ought I *sterve in wanhope* and distress.
*die in despair* Farewell my life, my lust*, and my gladness.
*pleasure Alas, *why plainen men so in commune *why do men so often complain Of purveyance of God*, or of Fortune, of God's providence?* That giveth them full oft in many a guise Well better than they can themselves devise? Some man desireth for to have richess, That cause is of his murder or great sickness.
And some man would out of his prison fain, That in his house is of his meinie* slain.
*servants <16> Infinite harmes be in this mattere.
We wot never what thing we pray for here.
We fare as he that drunk is as a mouse.
A drunken man wot well he hath an house, But he wot not which is the right way thither, And to a drunken man the way is slither*.
*slippery And certes in this world so fare we.
We seeke fast after felicity, But we go wrong full often truely.
Thus we may sayen all, and namely* I, *especially That ween'd*, and had a great opinion, *thought That if I might escape from prison Then had I been in joy and perfect heal, Where now I am exiled from my weal.
Since that I may not see you, Emily, I am but dead; there is no remedy.
" Upon that other side, Palamon, When that he wist Arcita was agone, Much sorrow maketh, that the greate tower Resounded of his yelling and clamour The pure* fetters on his shinnes great *very <17> Were of his bitter salte teares wet.
"Alas!" quoth he, "Arcita, cousin mine, Of all our strife, God wot, the fruit is thine.
Thou walkest now in Thebes at thy large, And of my woe thou *givest little charge*.
*takest little heed* Thou mayst, since thou hast wisdom and manhead*, *manhood, courage Assemble all the folk of our kindred, And make a war so sharp on this country That by some aventure, or some treaty, Thou mayst have her to lady and to wife, For whom that I must needes lose my life.
For as by way of possibility, Since thou art at thy large, of prison free, And art a lord, great is thine avantage, More than is mine, that sterve here in a cage.
For I must weep and wail, while that I live, With all the woe that prison may me give, And eke with pain that love me gives also, That doubles all my torment and my woe.
" Therewith the fire of jealousy upstart Within his breast, and hent* him by the heart *seized So woodly*, that he like was to behold *madly The box-tree, or the ashes dead and cold.
Then said; "O cruel goddess, that govern This world with binding of your word etern* *eternal And writen in the table of adamant Your parlement* and your eternal grant, *consultation What is mankind more *unto you y-hold* *by you esteemed Than is the sheep, that rouketh* in the fold! *lie huddled together For slain is man, right as another beast; And dwelleth eke in prison and arrest, And hath sickness, and great adversity, And oftentimes guilteless, pardie* *by God What governance is in your prescience, That guilteless tormenteth innocence? And yet increaseth this all my penance, That man is bounden to his observance For Godde's sake to *letten of his will*, *restrain his desire* Whereas a beast may all his lust fulfil.
And when a beast is dead, he hath no pain; But man after his death must weep and plain, Though in this worlde he have care and woe: Withoute doubt it maye standen so.
"The answer of this leave I to divines, But well I wot, that in this world great pine* is; *pain, trouble Alas! I see a serpent or a thief That many a true man hath done mischief, Go at his large, and where him list may turn.
But I must be in prison through Saturn, And eke through Juno, jealous and eke wood*, *mad That hath well nigh destroyed all the blood Of Thebes, with his waste walles wide.
And Venus slay'th me on that other side For jealousy, and fear of him, Arcite.
" Now will I stent* of Palamon a lite**, *pause **little And let him in his prison stille dwell, And of Arcita forth I will you tell.
The summer passeth, and the nightes long Increase double-wise the paines strong Both of the lover and the prisonere.
I n'ot* which hath the wofuller mistere**.
*know not **condition For, shortly for to say, this Palamon Perpetually is damned to prison, In chaines and in fetters to be dead; And Arcite is exiled *on his head* *on peril of his head* For evermore as out of that country, Nor never more he shall his lady see.
You lovers ask I now this question,<18> Who lieth the worse, Arcite or Palamon? The one may see his lady day by day, But in prison he dwelle must alway.
The other where him list may ride or go, But see his lady shall he never mo'.
Now deem all as you liste, ye that can, For I will tell you forth as I began.
When that Arcite to Thebes comen was, Full oft a day he swelt*, and said, "Alas!" *fainted For see this lady he shall never mo'.
And shortly to concluden all his woe, So much sorrow had never creature That is or shall be while the world may dure.
His sleep, his meat, his drink is *him byraft*, *taken away from him* That lean he wex*, and dry as any shaft.
*became His eyen hollow, grisly to behold, His hue sallow, and pale as ashes cold, And solitary he was, ever alone, And wailing all the night, making his moan.
And if he hearde song or instrument, Then would he weepen, he might not be stent*.
*stopped So feeble were his spirits, and so low, And changed so, that no man coulde know His speech, neither his voice, though men it heard.
And in his gear* for all the world he far'd *behaviour <19> Not only like the lovers' malady Of Eros, but rather y-like manie* *madness Engender'd of humours melancholic, Before his head in his cell fantastic.
<20> And shortly turned was all upside down, Both habit and eke dispositioun, Of him, this woful lover Dan* Arcite.
*Lord <21> Why should I all day of his woe indite? When he endured had a year or two This cruel torment, and this pain and woe, At Thebes, in his country, as I said, Upon a night in sleep as he him laid, Him thought how that the winged god Mercury Before him stood, and bade him to be merry.
His sleepy yard* in hand he bare upright; *rod <22> A hat he wore upon his haires bright.
Arrayed was this god (as he took keep*) *notice As he was when that Argus<23> took his sleep; And said him thus: "To Athens shalt thou wend*; *go There is thee shapen* of thy woe an end.
" *fixed, prepared And with that word Arcite woke and start.
"Now truely how sore that e'er me smart," Quoth he, "to Athens right now will I fare.
Nor for no dread of death shall I not spare To see my lady that I love and serve; In her presence *I recke not to sterve.
*" *do not care if I die* And with that word he caught a great mirror, And saw that changed was all his colour, And saw his visage all in other kind.
And right anon it ran him ill his mind, That since his face was so disfigur'd Of malady the which he had endur'd, He mighte well, if that he *bare him low,* *lived in lowly fashion* Live in Athenes evermore unknow, And see his lady wellnigh day by day.
And right anon he changed his array, And clad him as a poore labourer.
And all alone, save only a squier, That knew his privity* and all his cas**, *secrets **fortune Which was disguised poorly as he was, To Athens is he gone the nexte* way.
*nearest <24> And to the court he went upon a day, And at the gate he proffer'd his service, To drudge and draw, what so men would devise*.
*order And, shortly of this matter for to sayn, He fell in office with a chamberlain, The which that dwelling was with Emily.
For he was wise, and coulde soon espy Of every servant which that served her.
Well could he hewe wood, and water bear, For he was young and mighty for the nones*, *occasion And thereto he was strong and big of bones To do that any wight can him devise.
A year or two he was in this service, Page of the chamber of Emily the bright; And Philostrate he saide that he hight.
But half so well belov'd a man as he Ne was there never in court of his degree.
He was so gentle of conditioun, That throughout all the court was his renown.
They saide that it were a charity That Theseus would *enhance his degree*, *elevate him in rank* And put him in some worshipful service, There as he might his virtue exercise.
And thus within a while his name sprung Both of his deedes, and of his good tongue, That Theseus hath taken him so near, That of his chamber he hath made him squire, And gave him gold to maintain his degree; And eke men brought him out of his country From year to year full privily his rent.
But honestly and slyly* he it spent, *discreetly, prudently That no man wonder'd how that he it had.
And three year in this wise his life be lad*, *led And bare him so in peace and eke in werre*, *war There was no man that Theseus had so derre*.
*dear And in this blisse leave I now Arcite, And speak I will of Palamon a lite*.
*little In darkness horrible, and strong prison, This seven year hath sitten Palamon, Forpined*, what for love, and for distress.
*pined, wasted away Who feeleth double sorrow and heaviness But Palamon? that love distraineth* so, *afflicts That wood* out of his wits he went for woe, *mad And eke thereto he is a prisonere Perpetual, not only for a year.
Who coulde rhyme in English properly His martyrdom? forsooth*, it is not I; *truly Therefore I pass as lightly as I may.
It fell that in the seventh year, in May The thirde night (as olde bookes sayn, That all this story tellen more plain), Were it by a venture or destiny (As when a thing is shapen* it shall be), *settled, decreed That soon after the midnight, Palamon By helping of a friend brake his prison, And fled the city fast as he might go, For he had given drink his gaoler so Of a clary <25>, made of a certain wine, With *narcotise and opie* of Thebes fine, *narcotics and opium* That all the night, though that men would him shake, The gaoler slept, he mighte not awake: And thus he fled as fast as ever he may.
The night was short, and *faste by the day *close at hand was That needes cast he must himself to hide*.
the day during which And to a grove faste there beside he must cast about, or contrive, With dreadful foot then stalked Palamon.
to conceal himself.
* For shortly this was his opinion, That in the grove he would him hide all day, And in the night then would he take his way To Thebes-ward, his friendes for to pray On Theseus to help him to warray*.
*make war <26> And shortly either he would lose his life, Or winnen Emily unto his wife.
This is th' effect, and his intention plain.
Now will I turn to Arcita again, That little wist how nighe was his care, Till that Fortune had brought him in the snare.
The busy lark, the messenger of day, Saluteth in her song the morning gray; And fiery Phoebus riseth up so bright, That all the orient laugheth at the sight, And with his streames* drieth in the greves** *rays **groves The silver droppes, hanging on the leaves; And Arcite, that is in the court royal With Theseus, his squier principal, Is ris'n, and looketh on the merry day.
And for to do his observance to May, Remembering the point* of his desire, *object He on his courser, starting as the fire, Is ridden to the fieldes him to play, Out of the court, were it a mile or tway.
And to the grove, of which I have you told, By a venture his way began to hold, To make him a garland of the greves*, *groves Were it of woodbine, or of hawthorn leaves, And loud he sang against the sun so sheen*.
*shining bright "O May, with all thy flowers and thy green, Right welcome be thou, faire freshe May, I hope that I some green here getten may.
" And from his courser*, with a lusty heart, *horse Into the grove full hastily he start, And in a path he roamed up and down, There as by aventure this Palamon Was in a bush, that no man might him see, For sore afeard of his death was he.
Nothing ne knew he that it was Arcite; God wot he would have *trowed it full lite*.
*full little believed it* But sooth is said, gone since full many years, The field hath eyen*, and the wood hath ears, *eyes It is full fair a man *to bear him even*, *to be on his guard* For all day meeten men at *unset steven*.
*unexpected time <27> Full little wot Arcite of his fellaw, That was so nigh to hearken of his saw*, *saying, speech For in the bush he sitteth now full still.
When that Arcite had roamed all his fill, And *sungen all the roundel* lustily, *sang the roundelay*<28> Into a study he fell suddenly, As do those lovers in their *quainte gears*, *odd fashions* Now in the crop*, and now down in the breres**, <29> *tree-top Now up, now down, as bucket in a well.
**briars Right as the Friday, soothly for to tell, Now shineth it, and now it raineth fast, Right so can geary* Venus overcast *changeful The heartes of her folk, right as her day Is gearful*, right so changeth she array.
*changeful Seldom is Friday all the weeke like.
When Arcite had y-sung, he gan to sike*, *sigh And sat him down withouten any more: "Alas!" quoth he, "the day that I was bore! How longe, Juno, through thy cruelty Wilt thou warrayen* Thebes the city? *torment Alas! y-brought is to confusion The blood royal of Cadm' and Amphion: Of Cadmus, which that was the firste man, That Thebes built, or first the town began, And of the city first was crowned king.
Of his lineage am I, and his offspring By very line, as of the stock royal; And now I am *so caitiff and so thrall*, *wretched and enslaved* That he that is my mortal enemy, I serve him as his squier poorely.
And yet doth Juno me well more shame, For I dare not beknow* mine owen name, *acknowledge <30> But there as I was wont to hight Arcite, Now hight I Philostrate, not worth a mite.
Alas! thou fell Mars, and alas! Juno, Thus hath your ire our lineage all fordo* *undone, ruined Save only me, and wretched Palamon, That Theseus martyreth in prison.
And over all this, to slay me utterly, Love hath his fiery dart so brenningly* *burningly Y-sticked through my true careful heart, That shapen was my death erst than my shert.
<31> Ye slay me with your eyen, Emily; Ye be the cause wherefore that I die.
Of all the remnant of mine other care Ne set I not the *mountance of a tare*, *value of a straw* So that I could do aught to your pleasance.
" And with that word he fell down in a trance A longe time; and afterward upstart This Palamon, that thought thorough his heart He felt a cold sword suddenly to glide: For ire he quoke*, no longer would he hide.
*quaked And when that he had heard Arcite's tale, As he were wood*, with face dead and pale, *mad He start him up out of the bushes thick, And said: "False Arcita, false traitor wick'*, *wicked Now art thou hent*, that lov'st my lady so, *caught For whom that I have all this pain and woe, And art my blood, and to my counsel sworn, As I full oft have told thee herebeforn, And hast bejaped* here Duke Theseus, *deceived, imposed upon And falsely changed hast thy name thus; I will be dead, or elles thou shalt die.
Thou shalt not love my lady Emily, But I will love her only and no mo'; For I am Palamon thy mortal foe.
And though I have no weapon in this place, But out of prison am astart* by grace, *escaped I dreade* not that either thou shalt die, *doubt Or else thou shalt not loven Emily.
Choose which thou wilt, for thou shalt not astart.
" This Arcite then, with full dispiteous* heart, *wrathful When he him knew, and had his tale heard, As fierce as lion pulled out a swerd, And saide thus; "By God that sitt'th above, *N'ere it* that thou art sick, and wood for love, *were it not* And eke that thou no weap'n hast in this place, Thou should'st never out of this grove pace, That thou ne shouldest dien of mine hand.
For I defy the surety and the band, Which that thou sayest I have made to thee.
What? very fool, think well that love is free; And I will love her maugre* all thy might.
*despite But, for thou art a worthy gentle knight, And *wilnest to darraine her by bataille*, *will reclaim her Have here my troth, to-morrow I will not fail, by combat* Without weeting* of any other wight, *knowledge That here I will be founden as a knight, And bringe harness* right enough for thee; *armour and arms And choose the best, and leave the worst for me.
And meat and drinke this night will I bring Enough for thee, and clothes for thy bedding.
And if so be that thou my lady win, And slay me in this wood that I am in, Thou may'st well have thy lady as for me.
" This Palamon answer'd, "I grant it thee.
" And thus they be departed till the morrow, When each of them hath *laid his faith to borrow*.
*pledged his faith* O Cupid, out of alle charity! O Regne* that wilt no fellow have with thee! *queen <32> Full sooth is said, that love nor lordeship Will not, *his thanks*, have any fellowship.
*thanks to him* Well finden that Arcite and Palamon.
Arcite is ridd anon unto the town, And on the morrow, ere it were daylight, Full privily two harness hath he dight*, *prepared Both suffisant and meete to darraine* *contest The battle in the field betwixt them twain.
And on his horse, alone as he was born, He carrieth all this harness him beforn; And in the grove, at time and place y-set, This Arcite and this Palamon be met.
Then change gan the colour of their face; Right as the hunter in the regne* of Thrace *kingdom That standeth at a gappe with a spear When hunted is the lion or the bear, And heareth him come rushing in the greves*, *groves And breaking both the boughes and the leaves, Thinketh, "Here comes my mortal enemy, Withoute fail, he must be dead or I; For either I must slay him at the gap; Or he must slay me, if that me mishap:" So fared they, in changing of their hue *As far as either of them other knew*.
*When they recognised each There was no good day, and no saluting, other afar off* But straight, withoute wordes rehearsing, Evereach of them holp to arm the other, As friendly, as he were his owen brother.
And after that, with sharpe speares strong They foined* each at other wonder long.
*thrust Thou mightest weene*, that this Palamon *think In fighting were as a wood* lion, *mad And as a cruel tiger was Arcite: As wilde boars gan they together smite, That froth as white as foam, *for ire wood*.
*mad with anger* Up to the ancle fought they in their blood.
And in this wise I let them fighting dwell, And forth I will of Theseus you tell.
The Destiny, minister general, That executeth in the world o'er all The purveyance*, that God hath seen beforn; *foreordination So strong it is, that though the world had sworn The contrary of a thing by yea or nay, Yet some time it shall fallen on a day That falleth not eft* in a thousand year.
*again For certainly our appetites here, Be it of war, or peace, or hate, or love, All is this ruled by the sight* above.
*eye, intelligence, power This mean I now by mighty Theseus, That for to hunten is so desirous -- And namely* the greate hart in May -- *especially That in his bed there dawneth him no day That he n'is clad, and ready for to ride With hunt and horn, and houndes him beside.
For in his hunting hath he such delight, That it is all his joy and appetite To be himself the greate harte's bane* *destruction For after Mars he serveth now Diane.
Clear was the day, as I have told ere this, And Theseus, with alle joy and bliss, With his Hippolyta, the faire queen, And Emily, y-clothed all in green, On hunting be they ridden royally.
And to the grove, that stood there faste by, In which there was an hart, as men him told, Duke Theseus the straighte way doth hold, And to the laund* he rideth him full right, *plain <33> There was the hart y-wont to have his flight, And over a brook, and so forth on his way.
This Duke will have a course at him or tway With houndes, such as him lust* to command.
*pleased And when this Duke was come to the laund, Under the sun he looked, and anon He was ware of Arcite and Palamon, That foughte breme*, as it were bulles two.
*fiercely The brighte swordes wente to and fro So hideously, that with the leaste stroke It seemed that it woulde fell an oak, But what they were, nothing yet he wote*.
*knew This Duke his courser with his spurres smote, *And at a start* he was betwixt them two, *suddenly* And pulled out a sword and cried, "Ho! No more, on pain of losing of your head.
By mighty Mars, he shall anon be dead That smiteth any stroke, that I may see! But tell to me what mister* men ye be, *manner, kind <34> That be so hardy for to fighte here Withoute judge or other officer, As though it were in listes royally.
<35> This Palamon answered hastily, And saide: "Sir, what needeth wordes mo'? We have the death deserved bothe two, Two woful wretches be we, and caitives, That be accumbered* of our own lives, *burdened And as thou art a rightful lord and judge, So give us neither mercy nor refuge.
And slay me first, for sainte charity, But slay my fellow eke as well as me.
Or slay him first; for, though thou know it lite*, *little This is thy mortal foe, this is Arcite That from thy land is banisht on his head, For which he hath deserved to be dead.
For this is he that came unto thy gate And saide, that he highte Philostrate.
Thus hath he japed* thee full many year, *deceived And thou hast made of him thy chief esquier; And this is he, that loveth Emily.
For since the day is come that I shall die I make pleinly* my confession, *fully, unreservedly That I am thilke* woful Palamon, *that same <36> That hath thy prison broken wickedly.
I am thy mortal foe, and it am I That so hot loveth Emily the bright, That I would die here present in her sight.
Therefore I aske death and my jewise*.
*judgement But slay my fellow eke in the same wise, For both we have deserved to be slain.
" This worthy Duke answer'd anon again, And said, "This is a short conclusion.
Your own mouth, by your own confession Hath damned you, and I will it record; It needeth not to pain you with the cord; Ye shall be dead, by mighty Mars the Red.
<37> The queen anon for very womanhead Began to weep, and so did Emily, And all the ladies in the company.
Great pity was it as it thought them all, That ever such a chance should befall, For gentle men they were, of great estate, And nothing but for love was this debate They saw their bloody woundes wide and sore, And cried all at once, both less and more, "Have mercy, Lord, upon us women all.
" And on their bare knees adown they fall And would have kissed his feet there as he stood, Till at the last *aslaked was his mood* *his anger was (For pity runneth soon in gentle heart); appeased* And though at first for ire he quoke and start He hath consider'd shortly in a clause The trespass of them both, and eke the cause: And although that his ire their guilt accused Yet in his reason he them both excused; As thus; he thoughte well that every man Will help himself in love if that he can, And eke deliver himself out of prison.
Of women, for they wepten ever-in-one:* *continually And eke his hearte had compassion And in his gentle heart he thought anon, And soft unto himself he saide: "Fie Upon a lord that will have no mercy, But be a lion both in word and deed, To them that be in repentance and dread, As well as-to a proud dispiteous* man *unpitying That will maintaine what he first began.
That lord hath little of discretion, That in such case *can no division*: *can make no distinction* But weigheth pride and humbless *after one*.
" *alike* And shortly, when his ire is thus agone, He gan to look on them with eyen light*, *gentle, lenient* And spake these same wordes *all on height.
* *aloud* "The god of love, ah! benedicite*, *bless ye him How mighty and how great a lord is he! Against his might there gaine* none obstacles, *avail, conquer He may be called a god for his miracles For he can maken at his owen guise Of every heart, as that him list devise.
Lo here this Arcite, and this Palamon, That quietly were out of my prison, And might have lived in Thebes royally, And weet* I am their mortal enemy, *knew And that their death li'th in my might also, And yet hath love, *maugre their eyen two*, *in spite of their eyes* Y-brought them hither bothe for to die.
Now look ye, is not this an high folly? Who may not be a fool, if but he love? Behold, for Godde's sake that sits above, See how they bleed! be they not well array'd? Thus hath their lord, the god of love, them paid Their wages and their fees for their service; And yet they weene for to be full wise, That serve love, for aught that may befall.
But this is yet the beste game* of all, *joke That she, for whom they have this jealousy, Can them therefor as muchel thank as me.
She wot no more of all this *hote fare*, *hot behaviour* By God, than wot a cuckoo or an hare.
But all must be assayed hot or cold; A man must be a fool, or young or old; I wot it by myself *full yore agone*: *long years ago* For in my time a servant was I one.
And therefore since I know of love's pain, And wot how sore it can a man distrain*, *distress As he that oft hath been caught in his last*, *snare <38> I you forgive wholly this trespass, At request of the queen that kneeleth here, And eke of Emily, my sister dear.
And ye shall both anon unto me swear, That never more ye shall my country dere* *injure Nor make war upon me night nor day, But be my friends in alle that ye may.
I you forgive this trespass *every deal*.
*completely* And they him sware *his asking* fair and well, *what he asked* And him of lordship and of mercy pray'd, And he them granted grace, and thus he said: "To speak of royal lineage and richess, Though that she were a queen or a princess, Each of you both is worthy doubteless To wedde when time is; but natheless I speak as for my sister Emily, For whom ye have this strife and jealousy, Ye wot* yourselves, she may not wed the two *know At once, although ye fight for evermo: But one of you, *all be him loth or lief,* *whether or not he wishes* He must *go pipe into an ivy leaf*: *"go whistle"* This is to say, she may not have you both, All be ye never so jealous, nor so wroth.
And therefore I you put in this degree, That each of you shall have his destiny As *him is shape*; and hearken in what wise *as is decreed for him* Lo hear your end of that I shall devise.
My will is this, for plain conclusion Withouten any replication*, *reply If that you liketh, take it for the best, That evereach of you shall go where *him lest*, *he pleases Freely without ransom or danger; And this day fifty weekes, *farre ne nerre*, *neither more nor less* Evereach of you shall bring an hundred knights, Armed for listes up at alle rights All ready to darraine* her by bataille, *contend for And this behete* I you withoute fail *promise Upon my troth, and as I am a knight, That whether of you bothe that hath might, That is to say, that whether he or thou May with his hundred, as I spake of now, Slay his contrary, or out of listes drive, Him shall I given Emily to wive, To whom that fortune gives so fair a grace.
The listes shall I make here in this place.
*And God so wisly on my soule rue*, *may God as surely have As I shall even judge be and true.
mercy on my soul* Ye shall none other ende with me maken Than one of you shalle be dead or taken.
And if you thinketh this is well y-said, Say your advice*, and hold yourselves apaid**.
*opinion **satisfied This is your end, and your conclusion.
" Who looketh lightly now but Palamon? Who springeth up for joye but Arcite? Who could it tell, or who could it indite, The joye that is maked in the place When Theseus hath done so fair a grace? But down on knees went every *manner wight*, *kind of person* And thanked him with all their heartes' might, And namely* these Thebans *ofte sithe*.
*especially *oftentimes* And thus with good hope and with hearte blithe They take their leave, and homeward gan they ride To Thebes-ward, with his old walles wide.
I trow men woulde deem it negligence, If I forgot to telle the dispence* *expenditure Of Theseus, that went so busily To maken up the listes royally, That such a noble theatre as it was, I dare well say, in all this world there n'as*.
*was not The circuit a mile was about, Walled of stone, and ditched all without.
*Round was the shape, in manner of compass, Full of degrees, the height of sixty pas* *see note <39>* That when a man was set on one degree He letted* not his fellow for to see.
*hindered Eastward there stood a gate of marble white, Westward right such another opposite.
And, shortly to conclude, such a place Was never on earth made in so little space, For in the land there was no craftes-man, That geometry or arsmetrike* can**, *arithmetic **knew Nor pourtrayor*, nor carver of images, *portrait painter That Theseus ne gave him meat and wages The theatre to make and to devise.
And for to do his rite and sacrifice He eastward hath upon the gate above, In worship of Venus, goddess of love, *Done make* an altar and an oratory; *caused to be made* And westward, in the mind and in memory Of Mars, he maked hath right such another, That coste largely of gold a fother*.
*a great amount And northward, in a turret on the wall, Of alabaster white and red coral An oratory riche for to see, In worship of Diane of chastity, Hath Theseus done work in noble wise.
But yet had I forgotten to devise* *describe The noble carving, and the portraitures, The shape, the countenance of the figures That weren in there oratories three.
First in the temple of Venus may'st thou see Wrought on the wall, full piteous to behold, The broken sleepes, and the sikes* cold, *sighes The sacred teares, and the waimentings*, *lamentings The fiery strokes of the desirings, That Love's servants in this life endure; The oathes, that their covenants assure.
Pleasance and Hope, Desire, Foolhardiness, Beauty and Youth, and Bawdry and Richess, Charms and Sorc'ry, Leasings* and Flattery, *falsehoods Dispence, Business, and Jealousy, That wore of yellow goldes* a garland, *sunflowers <40> And had a cuckoo sitting on her hand, Feasts, instruments, and caroles and dances, Lust and array, and all the circumstances Of Love, which I reckon'd and reckon shall In order, were painted on the wall, And more than I can make of mention.
For soothly all the mount of Citheron,<41> Where Venus hath her principal dwelling, Was showed on the wall in pourtraying, With all the garden, and the lustiness*.
*pleasantness Nor was forgot the porter Idleness, Nor Narcissus the fair of *yore agone*, *olden times* Nor yet the folly of King Solomon, Nor yet the greate strength of Hercules, Th' enchantments of Medea and Circes, Nor of Turnus the hardy fierce courage, The rich Croesus *caitif in servage.
* <42> *abased into slavery* Thus may ye see, that wisdom nor richess, Beauty, nor sleight, nor strength, nor hardiness Ne may with Venus holde champartie*, *divided possession <43> For as her liste the world may she gie*.
*guide Lo, all these folk so caught were in her las* *snare Till they for woe full often said, Alas! Suffice these ensamples one or two, Although I could reckon a thousand mo'.
The statue of Venus, glorious to see Was naked floating in the large sea, And from the navel down all cover'd was With waves green, and bright as any glass.
A citole <44> in her right hand hadde she, And on her head, full seemly for to see, A rose garland fresh, and well smelling, Above her head her doves flickering Before her stood her sone Cupido, Upon his shoulders winges had he two; And blind he was, as it is often seen; A bow he bare, and arrows bright and keen.
Why should I not as well eke tell you all The portraiture, that was upon the wall Within the temple of mighty Mars the Red? All painted was the wall in length and brede* *breadth Like to the estres* of the grisly place *interior chambers That hight the great temple of Mars in Thrace, In thilke* cold and frosty region, *that There as Mars hath his sovereign mansion.
In which there dwelled neither man nor beast, With knotty gnarry* barren trees old *gnarled Of stubbes sharp and hideous to behold; In which there ran a rumble and a sough*, *groaning noise As though a storm should bursten every bough: And downward from an hill under a bent* *slope There stood the temple of Mars Armipotent, Wrought all of burnish'd steel, of which th' entry Was long and strait, and ghastly for to see.
And thereout came *a rage and such a vise*, *such a furious voice* That it made all the gates for to rise.
The northern light in at the doore shone, For window on the walle was there none Through which men mighten any light discern.
The doors were all of adamant etern, Y-clenched *overthwart and ende-long* *crossways and lengthways* With iron tough, and, for to make it strong, Every pillar the temple to sustain Was tunne-great*, of iron bright and sheen.
*thick as a tun (barrel) There saw I first the dark imagining Of felony, and all the compassing; The cruel ire, as red as any glede*, *live coal The picke-purse<45>, and eke the pale dread; The smiler with the knife under the cloak, The shepen* burning with the blacke smoke *stable <46> The treason of the murd'ring in the bed, The open war, with woundes all be-bled; Conteke* with bloody knife, and sharp menace.
*contention, discord All full of chirking* was that sorry place.
*creaking, jarring noise The slayer of himself eke saw I there, His hearte-blood had bathed all his hair: The nail y-driven in the shode* at night, *hair of the head <47> The colde death, with mouth gaping upright.
Amiddes of the temple sat Mischance, With discomfort and sorry countenance; Eke saw I Woodness* laughing in his rage, *Madness Armed Complaint, Outhees*, and fierce Outrage; *Outcry The carrain* in the bush, with throat y-corve**, *corpse **slashed A thousand slain, and not *of qualm y-storve*; *dead of sickness* The tyrant, with the prey by force y-reft; The town destroy'd, that there was nothing left.
Yet saw I brent* the shippes hoppesteres, <48> *burnt The hunter strangled with the wilde bears: The sow freting* the child right in the cradle; *devouring <49> The cook scalded, for all his longe ladle.
Nor was forgot, *by th'infortune of Mart* *through the misfortune The carter overridden with his cart; of war* Under the wheel full low he lay adown.
There were also of Mars' division, The armourer, the bowyer*, and the smith, *maker of bows That forgeth sharp swordes on his stith*.
*anvil And all above depainted in a tower Saw I Conquest, sitting in great honour, With thilke* sharpe sword over his head *that Hanging by a subtle y-twined thread.
Painted the slaughter was of Julius<50>, Of cruel Nero, and Antonius: Although at that time they were yet unborn, Yet was their death depainted there beforn, By menacing of Mars, right by figure, So was it showed in that portraiture, As is depainted in the stars above, Who shall be slain, or elles dead for love.
Sufficeth one ensample in stories old, I may not reckon them all, though I wo'ld.
The statue of Mars upon a carte* stood *chariot Armed, and looked grim as he were wood*, *mad And over his head there shone two figures Of starres, that be cleped in scriptures, That one Puella, that other Rubeus.
<51> This god of armes was arrayed thus: A wolf there stood before him at his feet With eyen red, and of a man he eat: With subtle pencil painted was this story, In redouting* of Mars and of his glory.
*reverance, fear Now to the temple of Dian the chaste As shortly as I can I will me haste, To telle you all the descriptioun.
Depainted be the walles up and down Of hunting and of shamefast chastity.
There saw I how woful Calistope,<52> When that Dian aggrieved was with her, Was turned from a woman to a bear, And after was she made the lodestar*: *pole star Thus was it painted, I can say no far*; *farther Her son is eke a star as men may see.
There saw I Dane <53> turn'd into a tree, I meane not the goddess Diane, But Peneus' daughter, which that hight Dane.
There saw I Actaeon an hart y-maked*, *made For vengeance that he saw Dian all naked: I saw how that his houndes have him caught, And freten* him, for that they knew him not.
*devour Yet painted was, a little farthermore How Atalanta hunted the wild boar; And Meleager, and many other mo', For which Diana wrought them care and woe.
There saw I many another wondrous story, The which me list not drawen to memory.
This goddess on an hart full high was set*, *seated With smalle houndes all about her feet, And underneath her feet she had a moon, Waxing it was, and shoulde wane soon.
In gaudy green her statue clothed was, With bow in hand, and arrows in a case*.
*quiver Her eyen caste she full low adown, Where Pluto hath his darke regioun.
A woman travailing was her beforn, But, for her child so longe was unborn, Full piteously Lucina <54> gan she call, And saide; "Help, for thou may'st best of all.
" Well could he painte lifelike that it wrought; With many a florin he the hues had bought.
Now be these listes made, and Theseus, That at his greate cost arrayed thus The temples, and the theatre every deal*, *part <55> When it was done, him liked wonder well.
But stint* I will of Theseus a lite**, *cease speaking **little And speak of Palamon and of Arcite.
The day approacheth of their returning, That evereach an hundred knights should bring, The battle to darraine* as I you told; *contest And to Athens, their covenant to hold, Hath ev'reach of them brought an hundred knights, Well-armed for the war at alle rights.
And sickerly* there trowed** many a man, *surely <56> **believed That never, sithen* that the world began, *since For to speaken of knighthood of their hand, As far as God hath maked sea and land, Was, of so few, so noble a company.
For every wight that loved chivalry, And would, *his thankes, have a passant name*, *thanks to his own Had prayed, that he might be of that game, efforts, have a And well was him, that thereto chosen was.
surpassing name* For if there fell to-morrow such a case, Ye knowe well, that every lusty knight, That loveth par amour, and hath his might Were it in Engleland, or elleswhere, They would, their thankes, willen to be there, T' fight for a lady; Benedicite, It were a lusty* sighte for to see.
*pleasing And right so fared they with Palamon; With him there wente knightes many one.
Some will be armed in an habergeon, And in a breast-plate, and in a gipon*; *short doublet.
And some will have *a pair of plates* large; *back and front armour* And some will have a Prusse* shield, or targe; *Prussian Some will be armed on their legges weel; Some have an axe, and some a mace of steel.
There is no newe guise*, but it was old.
*fashion Armed they weren, as I have you told, Evereach after his opinion.
There may'st thou see coming with Palamon Licurgus himself, the great king of Thrace: Black was his beard, and manly was his face.
The circles of his eyen in his head They glowed betwixte yellow and red, And like a griffin looked he about, With kemped* haires on his browes stout; *combed<57> His limbs were great, his brawns were hard and strong, His shoulders broad, his armes round and long.
And as the guise* was in his country, *fashion Full high upon a car of gold stood he, With foure white bulles in the trace.
Instead of coat-armour on his harness, With yellow nails, and bright as any gold, He had a beare's skin, coal-black for old*.
*age His long hair was y-kempt behind his back, As any raven's feather it shone for black.
A wreath of gold *arm-great*, of huge weight, *thick as a man's arm* Upon his head sate, full of stones bright, Of fine rubies and clear diamants.
About his car there wente white alauns*, *greyhounds <58> Twenty and more, as great as any steer, To hunt the lion or the wilde bear, And follow'd him, with muzzle fast y-bound, Collars of gold, and torettes* filed round.
*rings An hundred lordes had he in his rout* *retinue Armed full well, with heartes stern and stout.
With Arcita, in stories as men find, The great Emetrius the king of Ind, Upon a *steede bay* trapped in steel, *bay horse* Cover'd with cloth of gold diapred* well, *decorated Came riding like the god of armes, Mars.
His coat-armour was of *a cloth of Tars*, *a kind of silk* Couched* with pearls white and round and great *trimmed His saddle was of burnish'd gold new beat; A mantelet on his shoulders hanging, Bretful* of rubies red, as fire sparkling.
*brimful His crispe hair like ringes was y-run, And that was yellow, glittering as the sun.
His nose was high, his eyen bright citrine*, *pale yellow His lips were round, his colour was sanguine, A fewe fracknes* in his face y-sprent**, *freckles **sprinkled Betwixte yellow and black somedeal y-ment* *mixed <59> And as a lion he *his looking cast* *cast about his eyes* Of five and twenty year his age I cast* *reckon His beard was well begunnen for to spring; His voice was as a trumpet thundering.
Upon his head he wore of laurel green A garland fresh and lusty to be seen; Upon his hand he bare, for his delight, An eagle tame, as any lily white.
An hundred lordes had he with him there, All armed, save their heads, in all their gear, Full richely in alle manner things.
For trust ye well, that earles, dukes, and kings Were gather'd in this noble company, For love, and for increase of chivalry.
About this king there ran on every part Full many a tame lion and leopart.
And in this wise these lordes *all and some* *all and sundry* Be on the Sunday to the city come Aboute prime<60>, and in the town alight.
This Theseus, this Duke, this worthy knight When he had brought them into his city, And inned* them, ev'reach at his degree, *lodged He feasteth them, and doth so great labour To *easen them*, and do them all honour,


Gertrude of Wyoming

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 PART I

On Susquehanna's side, fair Wyoming!
Although the wild-flower on thy ruin'd wall,
And roofless homes, a sad remembrance bring,
Of what thy gentle people did befall;
Yet thou wert once the loveliest land of all
That see the Atlantic wave their morn restore.
Sweet land! may I thy lost delights recall, And paint thy Gertrude in her bowers of yore, Whose beauty was the love of Pennsylvania's shore! Delightful Wyoming! beneath thy skies, The happy shepherd swains had nought to do But feed their flocks on green declivities, Or skim perchance thy lake with light canoe, From morn till evening's sweeter pastimes grew, With timbrel, when beneath the forests brown, Thy lovely maidens would the dance renew; And aye those sunny mountains half-way down Would echo flageolet from some romantic town.
Then, where of Indian hills the daylight takes His leave, how might you the flamingo see Disporting like a meteor on the lakes-- And playful squirrel on his nut-grown tree: And every sound of life was full of glee, From merry mock-bird's song, or hum of men; While hearkening, fearing naught their revelry, The wild deer arch'd his neck from glades, and then, Unhunted, sought his woods and wilderness again.
And scarce had Wyoming of war or crime Heard, but in transatlantic story rung, For here the exile met from every clime, And spoke in friendship every distant tongue: Men from the blood of warring Europe sprung Were but divided by the running brook; And happy where no Rhenish trumpet sung, On plains no sieging mine's volcano shook, The blue-eyed German changed his sword to pruning-hook.
Nor far some Andalusian saraband Would sound to many a native roundelay-- But who is he that yet a dearer land Remembers, over hills and far away? Green Albin! what though he no more survey Thy ships at anchor on the quiet shore, Thy pelloch's rolling from the mountain bay, Thy lone sepulchral cairn upon the moor, And distant isles that hear the loud Corbrechtan roar! Alas! poor Caledonia's mountaineer, That wants stern edict e'er, and feudal grief, Had forced him from a home he loved so dear! Yet found he here a home and glad relief, And plied the beverage from his own fair sheaf, That fired his Highland blood with mickle glee: And England sent her men, of men the chief, Who taught those sires of empire yet to be, To plant the tree of life,--to plant fair Freedom's tree! Here was not mingled in the city's pomp Of life's extremes the grandeur and the gloom Judgment awoke not here her dismal tromp, Nor seal'd in blood a fellow-creature's doom, Nor mourn'd the captive in a living tomb.
One venerable man, beloved of all, Sufficed, where innocence was yet in bloom, To sway the strife, that seldom might befall: And Albert was their judge, in patriarchal hall.
How reverend was the look, serenely aged, He bore, this gentle Pennsylvanian sire, Where all but kindly fervors were assuaged, Undimm'd by weakness' shade, or turbid ire! And though, amidst the calm of thought entire, Some high and haughty features might betray A soul impetuous once, 'twas earthly fire That fled composure's intellectual ray, As AEtna's fires grow dim before the rising day.
I boast no song in magic wonders rife, But yet, oh Nature! is there naught to prize, Familiar in thy bosom scenes of life? And dwells in day-light truth's salubrious skies No form with which the soul may sympathise?-- Young, innocent, on whose sweet forehead mild The parted ringlet shone in simplest guise, An inmate in the home of Albert smiled, Or blest his noonday walk--she was his only child.
The rose of England bloom'd on Gertrude's cheek-- What though these shades had seen her birth, her sire A Briton's independence taught to seek Far western worlds; and there his household fire The light of social love did long inspire, And many a halcyon day he lived to see Unbroken but by one misfortune dire, When fate had reft his mutual heart--but she Was gone--and Gertrude climb'd a widow'd father's knee.
A loved bequest,--and I may half impart-- To them that feel the strong paternal tie, How like a new existence to his heart That living flower uprose beneath his eye Dear as she was from cherub infancy, From hours when she would round his garden play, To time when as the ripening years went by, Her lovely mind could culture well repay, And more engaging grew, from pleasing day to day.
I may not paint those thousand infant charms; (Unconscious fascination, undesign'd!) The orison repeated in his arms, For God to bless her sire and all mankind; The book, the bosom on his knee reclined, Or how sweet fairy-lore he heard her con, (The playmate ere the teacher of her mind:) All uncompanion'd else her heart had gone Till now, in Gertrude's eyes, their ninth blue summer shone.
And summer was the tide, and sweet the hour, When sire and daughter saw, with fleet descent, An Indian from his bark approach their bower, Of buskin limb, and swarthy lineament; The red wild feathers on his brow were blent, And bracelets bound the arm that help'd to light A boy, who seem'd, as he beside him went, Of Christian vesture, and complexion bright, Led by his dusky guide, like morning brought by night.
Yet pensive seem'd the boy for one so young-- The dimple from his polish'd cheek had fled; When, leaning on his forest-bow unstrung, Th' Oneyda warrior to the planter said, And laid his hand upon the stripling's head, "Peace be to thee! my words this belt approve; The paths of peace my steps have hither led: This little nursling, take him to thy love, And shield the bird unfledged, since gone the parent dove.
Christian! I am the foeman of thy foe; Our wampum league thy brethren did embrace: Upon the Michigan, three moons ago, We launch'd our pirogues for the bison chase, And with the Hurons planted for a space, With true and faithful hands, the olive-stalk; But snakes are in the bosoms of their race, And though they held with us a friendly talk, The hollow peace-tree fell beneath their tomahawk! It was encamping on the lake's far port, A cry of Areouski broke our sleep, Where storm'd an ambush'd foe thy nation's fort And rapid, rapid whoops came o'er the deep; But long thy country's war-sign on the steep Appear'd through ghastly intervals of light, And deathfully their thunders seem'd to sweep, Till utter darkness swallow'd up the sight, As if a shower of blood had quench'd the fiery fight! It slept--it rose again--on high their tower Sprung upwards like a torch to light the skies, Then down again it rain'd an ember shower, And louder lamentations heard we rise; As when the evil Manitou that dries Th' Ohio woods, consumes them in his ire, In vain the desolated panther flies, And howls amidst his wilderness of fire: Alas! too late, we reach'd and smote those Hurons dire! But as the fox beneath the nobler hound, So died their warriors by our battle brand; And from the tree we, with her child, unbound A lonely mother of the Christian land:-- Her lord--the captain of the British band-- Amidst the slaughter of his soldiers lay.
Scarce knew the widow our delivering hand; Upon her child she sobb'd and soon'd away, Or shriek'd unto the God to whom the Christians pray.
Our virgins fed her with their kindly bowls Of fever-balm and sweet sagamite: But she was journeying to the land of souls, And lifted up her dying head to pray That we should bid an ancient friend convey Her orphan to his home of England's shore; And take, she said, this token far away, To one that will remember us of yore, When he beholds the ring that Waldegrave's Julia wore.
And I, the eagle of my tribe, have rush'd With this lorn dove.
"--A sage's self-command Had quell'd the tears from Albert's heart that gush'd; But yet his cheek--his agitated hand-- That shower'd upon the stranger of the land No common boon, in grief but ill beguiled A soul that was not wont to be unmann'd; "And stay," he cried, "dear pilgrim of the wild, Preserver of my old, my boon companion's child!-- Child of a race whose name my bosom warms, On earth's remotest bounds how welcome here! Whose mother oft, a child, has fill'd these arms, Young as thyself, and innocently dear, Whose grandsire was my early life's compeer.
Ah, happiest home of England's happy clime! How beautiful even' now thy scenes appear, As in the noon and sunshine of my prime! How gone like yesterday these thrice ten years of time! And Julia! when thou wert like Gertrude now Can I forget thee, favorite child of yore? Or thought I, in thy father's house, when thou Wert lightest-hearted on his festive floor, And first of all his hospitable door To meet and kiss me at my journey's end? But where was I when Waldegrave was no more? And thou didst pale thy gentle head extend In woes, that ev'n the tribe of deserts was thy friend!" He said--and strain'd unto his heart the boy;-- Far differently, the mute Oneyda took His calumet of peace, and cup of joy; As monumental bronze unchanged his look; A soul that pity touch'd but never shook; Train'd from his tree-rock'd cradle to his bier The fierce extreme of good and ill to brook Impassive--fearing but the shame of fear-- A stoic of the woods--a man without a tear.
Yet deem not goodness on the savage stock Of Outalissi's heart disdain'd to grow; As lives the oak unwither'd on the rock By storms above, and barrenness below; He scorn'd his own, who felt another's wo: And ere the wolf-skin on his back he flung, Or laced his mocassins, in act to go, A song of parting to the boy he sung, Who slept on Albert's couch, nor heard his friendly tongue.
"Sleep, wearied one! and in the dreaming land Shouldst thou to-morrow with thy mother meet, Oh! tell her spirit, that the white man's hand Hath pluck'd the thorns of sorrow from thy feet; While I in lonely wilderness shall greet They little foot-prints--or by traces know The fountain, where at noon I thought it sweet To feed thee with the quarry of my bow, And pour'd the lotus-horn, or slew the mountain roe.
Adieu! sweet scion of the rising sun! But should affliction's storms thy blossom mock, Then come again--my own adopted one! And I will graft thee on a noble stock: The crocodile, the condor of the rock, Shall be the pastime of thy sylvan wars; And I will teach thee in the battle' shock To pay with Huron blood thy father's scars, And gratulate his soul rejoicing in the stars!" So finish'd he the rhyme (howe'er uncouth) That true to nature's fervid feelings ran; (And song is but the eloquence of truth:) Then forth uprose that lone wayfaring man; But dauntless he, nor chart, nor journey's plan In woods required, whose trained eye was keen, As eagle of the wilderness, to scan His path by mountain, swamp, or deep ravine, Or ken far friendly huts on good savannas green.
Old Albert saw him from the valley's side-- His pirogue launch'd--his pilgrimage begun-- Far, like the red-bird's wing he seem'd to glide; Then dived, and vanish'd in the woodlands dun.
Oft, to that spot by tender memory won, Would Albert climb the promontory's height, If but a dim sail glimmer'd in the sun; But never more to bless his longing sight, Was Outalissi hail'd, with bark and plumage bright.
PART II.
A valley from the river shower withdrawn Was Albert's home, two quiet woods between, Whose lofty verdure overlook'd his lawn And waters to their resting-place serene Came freshening, and reflecting all the scene: (A mirror in the depth of flowery shelves;) So sweet a spot of earth, you might (I ween,) Have guess'd some congregation of the elves, To sport by summer moons, had shaped it for themselves.
Yet wanted not the eye far scope to muse, Nor vistas open'd by the wandering stream; Both where at evening Alleghany views Through ridges burning in her western beam Lake after lake interminably gleam: And past those settlers' haunts the eye might roam Where earth's unliving silence all would seem; Save where on rocks the beaver built his dome, Or buffalo remote low'd far from human home.
But silent not that adverse eastern path, Which saw Aurora's hills th' horizon crown; There was the river heard, in bed of wrath, (A precipice of foam from mountains brown,) Like tumults heard from some far distant town; But softening in approach he left his gloom, And murmur'd pleasantly, and laid him down To kiss those easy curving banks of bloom, That lent the windward air an exquisite perfume.
It seem'd as if those scenes sweet influence had On Gertrude's soul, and kindness like their own Inspired those eyes affectionate and glad, That seem'd to love whate'er they look'd upon; Whether with Hebe's mirth her features shone, Or if a shade more pleasing them o'ercast, (As if for heavenly musing meant alone;) Yet so becomingly th' expression past, That each succeeding look was lovelier than the last.
Nor guess I, was that Pennsylvanian home, With all its picturesque and balmy grace, And fields that were a luxury to roam, Lost on the soul that look'd from such a face! Enthusiast of the woods! when years apace Had bound thy lovely waist with woman's zone, The sunrise path, at morn, I see thee trace To hills with high magnolia overgrown, And joy to breathe the groves, romantic and alone.
The sunrise drew her thoughts to Europe forth, That thus apostrophised its viewless scene: "Land of my father's love, my mother's birth! The home of kindred I have never seen! We know not other--oceans are between: Yet say, far friendly hearts! from whence we came, Of us does oft remembrance intervene? My mother sure--my sire a thought may claim;-- But Gertrude is to you an unregarded name.
And yet, loved England! when thy name I trace In many a pilgrim's tale and poet's song, How can I choose but wish for one embrace Of them, the dear unknown, to whom belong My mother's looks; perhaps her likeness strong? Oh, parent! with what reverential awe, From features of thine own related throng, An image of thy face my soul could draw! And see thee once again whom I too shortly saw!" Yet deem not Gertrude sighed for foreign joy; To soothe a father's couch her only care, And keep his reverend head from all annoy: For this, methinks, her homeward steps repair, Soon as the morning wreath had bound her hair; While yet the wild deer trod in spangling dew, While boatmen carol'd to the fresh-blown air, And woods a horizontal shadow threw, And early fox appear'd in momentary view.
Apart there was a deep untrodden grot, Where oft the reading hours sweet Gertrude wore, Tradition had not named its lonely spot; But here (methinks) might India's sons explore Their fathers' dust, or lift, perchance of yore, Their voice to the great Spirit:--rocks sublime To human art a sportive semblance bore, And yellow lichens color'd all the clime, Like moonlight battlements, and towers decay'd by time.
But high in amphitheatre above, Gay tinted woods their massy foliage threw: Breathed but an air of heaven, and all the grove As if instinct with living spirit grew, Rolling its verdant gulfs of every hue; And now suspended was the pleasing din, Now from a murmur faint it swell'd anew, Like the first note of organ heard within Cathedral aisles,--ere yet its symphony begin.
It was in this lonely valley she would charm The lingering noon, where flowers a couch had strown; Her cheek reclining, and her snowy arm On hillock by the pine-tree half o'ergrown: And aye that volume on her lap is thrown, Which every heart of human mould endears; With Shakspear's self she speaks and smiles alone, And no intruding visitation fears, To shame the unconscious laugh, or stop her sweetest tears.
And naught within the grove was heard or seen But stock-doves plaining through its gloom profound, Or winglet of the fairy humming-bird, Like atoms of the rainbow fluttering round; When, lo! there enter'd to its inmost ground A youth, the stranger of a distant land; He was, to weet, for eastern mountains bound; But late th' equator suns his cheek had tann'd, And California's gales his roving bosom fann'd.
A steed, whose rein hung loosely o'er his arm, He led dismounted; here his leisure pace, Amid the brown leaves, could her ear alarm, Close he had come, and worshipp'd for a space Those downcast features:--she her lovely face Uplift on one, whose lineaments and frame Wore youth and manhood's intermingled grace: Iberian seem'd his booth--his robe the same, And well the Spanish plume his lofty looks became.
For Albert's home he sought--her finger fair Has pointed where the father's mansion stood.
Returning from the copse he soon was there; And soon has Gertrude hied from dark greenwood: Nor joyless, by the converse, understood Between the man of age and pilgrim young, That gay congeneality of mood, And early liking from acquaintance sprung; Full fluently conversed their guest in England's tongue.
And well could he his pilgrimage of taste Unfold,--and much they loved his fervid strain, While he each fair variety retraced Of climes, and manners, o'er the eastern main.
Now happy Switzer's hills,--romantic Spain,-- Gay lilied fields of France,--or, more refined, The soft Ausonia's monumental reign; Nor less each rural image he design'd Than all the city's pomp and home of humankind.
Anon some wilder portraiture he draws; Of Nature's savage glories he would spea,-- The loneliness of earth at overawes,-- Where, resting by some tomb of old Cacique, The lama-driver on Peruvia's peak Nor living voice nor motion marks around; But storks that to the boundless forest shriek, Or wild-cane arch high flung o'er gulf profound, That fluctuates when the storms of El Dorado sound.
Pleased with his guest, the good man still would ply Each earnest question, and his converse court; But Gertrude, as she eyed him, knew not why A strange and troubling wonder stopt her short.
"In England thou hast been,--and, by report, An orphan's name (quoth Albert) may'st have known.
Sad tale!--when latest fell our frontier fort,-- One innocent--one soldier's child--alone Was spared, and brought to me, who loved him as my own.
Young Henry Waldegrave! three delightful years These very walls his infants sports did see, But most I loved him when his parting tears Alternately bedew'd my child and me: His sorest parting, Gertrude, was from thee; Nor half its grief his little heart could hold; By kindred he was sent for o'er the sea, They tore him from us when but twelve years old, And scarcely for his loss have I been yet consoled!" His face the wanderer hid--but could not hide A tear, a smile, upon his cheek that dwell; "And speak! mysterious strange!" (Gertrude cried) "It is!--it is!--I knew--I knew him well; 'Tis Waldegrave's self, of Waldegrave come to tell!" A burst of joy the father's lips declare! But Gertrude speechless on his bosom fell; At once his open arms embraced the pair, Was never group more blest in this wide world of care.
"And will ye pardon then (replied the youth) Your Waldegrave's feign'd name, and false attire? I durst not in the neighborhood, in truth, The very fortunes of your house inquire; Lest one that knew me might some tidings dire Impart, and I my weakness all betray, For had I lost my Gertrude and my sire I meant but o'er your tombs to weep a day, Unknown I meant to weep, unknown to pass away.
But here ye life, ye bloom,--in each dear face, The changing hand of time I may not blame; For there, it hath but shed more reverend grace, And here, of beauty perfected the frame: And well I know your hearts are still the same-- They could not change--ye look the very way, As when an orphan first to you I came.
And have ye heard of my poor guide, I pray? Nay, wherefore weep ye, friends, on such a joyous day!" "And art thou here? or is it but a dream? And wilt thou, Waldegrave, wilt thou, leave us more!" "No, never! thou that yet dost lovelier seem Than aught on earth--than even thyself of yore-- I will not part thee from thy father's shore; But we shall cherish him with mutual arms, And hand in hand again the path explore Which every ray of young remembrance warms, While thou shalt be my own, with all thy truth and charms!" At morn, as if beneath a galaxy Of over-arching groves in blossoms white, Where all was odorous scent and harmony, And gladness to the heart, nerve, ear, and sight: There, if, O gentle Love! I read aright The utterance that seal'd thy sacred bond, 'Twas listening to these accents of delight, She hid upon his breast those eyes, beyond Expression's power to paint, all languishingly fond-- "Flower of my life, so lovely, and so lone! Whom I would rather in this desert meet, Scorning, and scorn'd by fortune's power, than own Her pomp and splendors lavish'd at my feet! Turn not from me thy breath, move exquisite Than odors cast on heaven's own shrine--to please-- Give me thy love, than luxury more sweet, And more than all the wealth that loads the breeze, When Coromandel's ships return from Indian seas.
" Then would that home admit them--happier far Than grandeur's most magnificent saloon, While, here and there, a solitary star Flush'd in the darkening firmament of June; And silence brought the soul-felt hour, full soon Ineffable, which I may not portray; For never did the hymenean moon A paradise of hearts more sacred sway, In all that slept beneath her soft voluptuous ray.
PART III.
O Love! in such a wilderness as this, Where transport and security entwine, Here is the empire of thy perfect bliss, And here thou art a god indeed divine.
Here shall no forms abridge, no hours confine The views, the walks, that boundless joy inspire! Nor, blind with ecstacy's celestial fire, Shall love behold the spark of earth-born time expire.
Three little moons, how short! amidst the grove And pastoral savannas they consume! While she, beside her buskin'd youth to rove, Delights, in fancifully wild costume, Her lovely brow to shade with Indian plume; And forth in hunter-seeming vest they fare; But not to chase the deer in forest gloom, 'Tis but the breath of heaven--the blessed air-- And interchange of hearts unknown, unseen to share.
What though the sportive dog oft round them note, Or fawn, or wild bird bursting on the wing; Yet who, in Love's own presence, would devote To death those gentle throats that wake the spring, Or writhing from the brook its victim bring? No!--nor let fear one little warbler rouse; But, fed by Gertrude's hand, still let them sing, Acquaintance of her path, amidst the boughs, That shade ev'n now her love, and witness'd first her vows.
Now labyrinths, which but themselves can pierce, Methinks, conduct them to some pleasant ground, Where welcome hills shut out the universe, And pines their lawny walk encompass round; There, if a pause delicious converse found, 'Twas but when o'er each heart th' idea stole, (Perchance a while in joy's oblivion drown'd) That come what may, while life's glad pulses roll, Indissolubly thus should soul be knit to soul.
And in the visions of romantic youth, What years of endless bliss are yet to flow! But mortal pleasure, what art thou in truth? The torrent's smoothness, ere it dash below! And must I change my song? and must I show, Sweet Wyoming! the day when thou art doom'd, Guiltless, to mourn thy loveliest bowers laid low! When were of yesterday a garden bloom'd, Death overspread his pall, and blackening ashes gloom'd! Sad was the year, by proud oppression driven, When Transatlantic Liberty arose, Not in the sunshine and the smile of heaven, But wrapt in whirlwinds, and begirt with woes, Amidst the strife of fratricidal foes; Her birth star was the light of burning plains; Her baptism is the weight of blood that flows From kindred hearts--the blood of British veins-- And famine tracks her steps, and pestilential pains.
Yet, here the storm of death had raged remote, Or seige unseen in heaven reflects its beams, Who now each dreadful circumstance shall note, That fills pale Gertrude's thoughts, and nightly dreams! Dismal to her the forge of battle gleams Portentous light! and music's voice is dumb; Save where the fife its shrill reveille screams, Or midnight streets re-echo to the drum, That speaks of maddening strife, and blood-stained fields to come.
It was in truth a momentary pang; Yet how comprising myriad shapes of wo! First when in Gertrude's ear the summons rang, A husband to the battle doom'd to go! "Nay meet not thou( she cried) thy kindred foe! But peaceful let us seek fair England's strand!" "Ah, Gertrude, thy beloved heart, I know, Would feel like mine the stigmatising brand! Could I forsake the cause of Freedom's holy band! But shame--but flight--a recreant's name to prove, To hide in exile ignominous fears; Say, ev'n if this I brook'd, the public love Thy father's bosom to his home endears: And how could I his few remaining years, My Gertrude, sever from so dear a child?" So, day by day, her boding heart he cheers: At last that heart to hope is half beguiled, And, pale, through tears suppress'd, the mournful beauty smiled.
Night came,--and in their lighted bower, full late, The joy of converse had endured--when, hark! Abrupt and loud, a summons shook their gate; And heedless of the dog's obstrep'rous bark, A form had rush'ed amidst them from the dark, And spread his arms,--and fell upon the floor: Of aged strength his limbs retained the mark; But desolate he look's and famish'd, poor, As ever shipwreck'd wretch lone left on desert shore.
Uprisen, each wond'ring brow is knit and arch'd: A spirit form the dead they deem him first: To speak he tries; but quivering, pale, and parch'd, From lips, as by some powerless dream accursed Emotions unintelligible burst; And long his filmed eye is red and dim; At length the pity-proffer'd cup his thirst Had half assuaged, and nerved his shuddering limb When Albert's hand he grasp'd;--but Albert knew not him-- "And hast thou then forgot," (he cried forlorn, And eyed the group with half indignant air,) "Oh! hast thou, Christian chief, forgot the morn When I with thee the cup of peace did share? Then stately was this head, and dark this hair, That now is white as Appalachia's snow; But, if the weight of fifteen years' despair, And age hath bow'd me, and the torturing foe, Bring me my boy--and he will his deliverer know!"-- It was not long, with eyes and heart of flame, Ere Henry to his loved Oneyda flew: "Bless thee, my guide!"--but backward as he came, The chief his old bewilder'd head withdrew, And grasp'd his arm, and look'd and look'd him through.
'Twas strange--nor could the group a smile control-- The long, the doubtful scrutiny to view: At last delight o'er all his features stole, "It is--my own," he cried, and clasp'd him to his soul.
"Yes! thou recallest my pride of years, for then The bowstring of my spirit was not slack, When, spite of woods and floods, and ambush'd men, I bore thee like the quiver on my back, Fleet as the whirlwind hurries on the rack; Nor foreman then, nor cougar's crouch I fear'd, For I was strong as mountain cataract: And dost thou not remember how we cheer'd, Upon the last hill-top, when white men's huts appear'd? Then welcome be my death-song, and my death Since I have seen thee, and again embrac'd.
" And longer had he spent his toil-worn breath; But with affectionate and eager haste, Was every arm outstretch'd around their guest, To welcome and to bless his aged head.
Soon was the hospitable banquet placed; And Gertrude's lovely hands a balsam shed On wounds with fever'd joy that more profusely bled.
"But this is not a time,"--he started up, And smote his breast with wo-denouncing hand-- "This is no time to fill the joyous cup, The Mammoth comes,--the foe,--the Monster Brandt,-- With all his howling desolating band; These eyes have seen their blade and burning pine Awake at once, and silence half your land.
Red is the cup they drink; but not with wine: Awake, and watch to-night, or see no morning shine! Scorning to wield the hatchet for his bribe, 'Gainst Brandt himself I went to battle forth: Accursed Brandt! he left of all my tribe Nor man, nor child, nor thing of living birth: No! not the dog that watch'd my household hearth, Escaped that night of blood, upon our plains! All perish'd!--I alone am left on earth! To whom nor relative nor blood remains.
No! not a kindred drop that runs in human veins! But go!--and rouse your warriors, for, if right These old bewilder'd eyes could guess, by signs Of striped, and starred banners, on yon height Of eastern cedars, o'er the creek of pines-- Some fort embattled by your country shines: Deep roars th' innavigable gulf below Its squared rock, and palisaded lines.
Go! seek the light its warlike beacons show; Whilst I in ambush wait, for vengeance, and the foe!" Scarce had he utter'd--when Heaven's virge extreme Reverberates the bomb's descending star, And sounds that mingled laugh,--and shout,--and scream,-- To freeze the blood in once discordant jar Rung to the pealing thunderbolts of war.
Whoop after whoop with rack the ear assail'd; As if unearthly fiends had burst their bar; While rapidly the marksman's shot prevail'd:-- And aye, as if for death, some lonely trumpet wail'd.
Then look'd they to the hills, where fire o'erhung The bandit groups, in one Vesuvian glare; Or swept, far seen, the tower, whose clock unrung Told legible that midnight of despair.
She faints,--she falters not,--th' heroic fair, As he the sword and plume in haste array'd.
One short embrace--he clasp'd his dearest care-- But hark! what nearer war-drum shakes the glade? Joy, joy! Columbia's friends are trampling through the shade! Then came of every race the mingled swarm, Far rung the groves and gleam'd the midnight grass, With Flambeau, javelin, and naked arm; As warriors wheel'd their culverins of brass, Sprung from the woods, a bold athletic mass, Whom virtue fires, and liberty combines: And first the wild Moravian yagers pass, His plumed host the dark Iberian joins-- And Scotia's sword beneath the Highland thistle shines.
And in, the buskin'd hunters of the deer, To Albert's home, with shout and cymbal throng-- Roused by their warlike pomp, and mirth, and cheer, Old Outalissi woke his battle song, And, beating with his war-club cadence strong, Tells how his deep-stung indignation smarts, Of them that wrapt his house in flames, ere long, To whet a dagger on their stony hearts, And smile avenged ere yet his eagle spirit parts.
Calm, opposite the Christian father rose, Pale on his venerable brow its rays Of martyr light the conflagration throws; One hand upon his lovely child he lays, And one th' uncover'd crowd to silence sways; While, though the battle flash is faster driven,-- Unaw'd, with eye unstartled by the blaze, He for his bleeding country prays to Heaven,-- Prays that the men of blood themselves may be forgiven.
Short time is now for gratulating speech: And yet, beloved Gertrude, ere began Thy country's flight, yon distant towers to reach, Looks not on thee the rudest partisan With brow relax'd to love? And murmurs ran, As round and round their willing ranks they drew, From beauty's sight to shield the hostile van.
Grateful on them a placid look she threw, Nor wept, but as she bade her mother's grave adieu! Past was the flight, and welcome seem'd the tower, That like a giant standard-bearer frown'd Defiance on the roving Indian power, Beneath, each bold and promontory mound With embrasure emboss'd, and armor crown'd.
And arrowy frise, and wedg'd ravelin, Wove like a diadem its tracery round The loft summit of that mountain green; Here stood secure the group, and eyed a distant scene-- A scene of death! where fires beneath the sun, And blended arms, and white pavilions glow; And for the business of destruction done, Its requiem the war-horn seem'd to blow: There, sad spectatress of her country's wo! The lovely Gertrude, safe from present harm, Had laid her cheek, and clasp'd her hands of snow On Waldegrave's shoulder, half within his arm Enclosed, that felt her heart, and hush'd its wild alarm! But short that contemplation--sad and short The pause to bid each much-loved scene adieu! Beneath the very shadow of the fort, Where friendly swords were drawn, and banners flew; Ah! who could deem that root of Indian crew Was near?--yet there, with lust of murd'rous deeds, Gleam'd like a basilisk, form woods in view, The ambush'd foeman's eye, his volley speeds, And Albert--Albert falls! the dear old father bleeds! And tranced in giddy horror Gertrude swoon'd; Yet, while she clasps him lifeless to her zone, Say, burst they, borrow'd from her father's wound, These drops?--Oh, God! the life-blood is her own! And faltering on her Waldegrave's bosom thrown; "Weep not, O Love!"--she cries, "to see me bleed; Thee, Gertrude's sad survivor, thee alone Heaven's peace commiserate; for scarce I heed These wounds;--yet thee to leave is death, is death indeed! Clasp me a little longer on the brink Of fate! while I can feel thy dear caress; And when this heart hath ceased to beat--oh! think, And let it mitigate thy wo's excess, That thou hast been to me all tenderness, And friend no more than human friendship just.
Oh! by that retrospect of happiness, And by the hopes of an immortal trust, God shall assuage thy pangs--when I am laid in dust! Go, Henry, go not back, when I depart, The scene thy bursting tears too deep will move, Where my dear father took thee to his heart, And Gertrude thought it ecstacy to rove With thee, as with an angel, through the grove Of peace, imagining her lot was cast In heaven; for ours was not like earthly love.
And must this parting be our very last! No! I shall love thee still, when death itself is past.
-- Half could I bear, methinks, to leave this earth,-- And thee, more loved than aught beneath the sun, If I had lived to smile but on the birth Of one dear pledge;--but shall there then be none In future times--no gentle little one, To clasp thy neck, and look, resembling me? Yet seems it, even while life's last pulses run, A sweetness in the cup of death to be, Lord of my bosom's love! to die beholding thee!" Hush'd were his Gertrude's lips! but still their bland And beautiful expression seem'd to melt With love that could not die! and still his hand She presses to the heart no more that felt.
Ah, heart! where once each fond affection dwelt, And features yet that spoke a soul more fair.
Mute, gazing, agonizing as he knelt,-- Of them that stood encircling his despair, He heard some friendly words;--but knew not what they were.
For now, to mourn their judge and child, arrives A faithful band.
With solemn rites between 'Twas sung, how they were lovely in their lives, And in their deaths had not divided been.
Touch'd by the music, and the melting scene, Was scarce one tearless eye amidst the crowd:-- Stern warriors, resting on their swords, were seen To veil their eyes, as pass'd each much-loved shroud, While woman's softer soul in wo, dissolved aloud.
Then mournfully the parting bugle bid Its farewell, o'er the grave of worth and truth; Prone to the dust, afflicted Waldegrave hid His face on earth; him watch'd, in gloomy ruth, His woodland guide; but words had none to soothe The grief that knew not consolation's name; Casting his Indian mantle o'er the youth, He watch'd, beneath its folds, each burst that came Convulsive, ague-like, across his shuddering frame! "And I could weep;"--th' Oneyda chief His descant wildly thus begun: "But that I may not stain with grief The death-song of my father's son, Or bow this head in wo! For by my wrongs, and by my wrath! To-morrow Areouski's breath, (That fires yon heaven with storms of death,) Shall light us to the foe: And we shall share, my Christian boy! The foeman's blood, the avenger's joy! But thee, my flower whose breath was given By milder genii o'er the deep, The spirits of the white man's heaven Forbid not thee to weep:-- Nor will the Christian host, Nor will thy father's spirit grieve, To see thee, on the battle's eve, Lamenting take a mournful leave Of her who loved thee most: She was the rainbow to thy sight! Thy sun--thy heaven--of lost delight! To-morrow let us do or die! But when the bolt of death is hurl'd, Ah! whither then with thee to fly, Shall Outalissi roam the world? Seek we thy once-loved home? The hand is gone that cropt its flowers; Unheard their clock repeats its hours! Cold is the hearth within their bowers! And should we thither roam, Its echoes, and its empty tread, Would sound like voices from the dead! Or shall we cross yon mountains blue, Whose streams my kindred nation quaff'd And by my side, in battle true, A thousand warriors drew the shaft? Ah! there, in desolation cold, The desert serpent dwells alone, Where grass o'ergrows each mouldering bone And stones themselves to ruin grown Like me are death-like old.
Then seek we not their camp,--for there-- The silence dwells of my despair! But hark, the trump!--to-morrow thou In glory's fires shalt dry thy tears: Ev'n from the land of shadows now My father's awful ghost appears, Amidst the clouds that round us roll; He bids my soul for battle thirst-- He bids me dry the last--the first-- The only tears that ever burst From Outalissi's soul; Because I may not stain with grief The death-song of an Indian chief!"


White Flock

Email Poem - White FlockEmail Poem |

Copyright Anna Akhmatova
Copyright English translation by Ilya Shambat (ilya_shambat@yahoo.
com) Origin: http://www.
geocities.
com/ilya_shambat/akhmatova.
html  * I *  We thought we were beggars, we thought we had nothing at all But then when we started to lose one thing after another, Each day became A memorial day -- And then we made songs Of great divine generosity And of our former riches.
Unification I'll leave your quiet yard and your white house - Let life be empty and with light complete.
I'll sing the glory to you in my verse Like not one woman has sung glory yet.
And that dear girlfriend you remember In heaven you created for her sight, I'm trading product that is very rare - I sell your tenderness and loving light.
Song about Song So many stones have been thrown at me That I don't fear them any longer Like elegant tower the westerner stands free Among tall towers, the taller.
I'm grateful to their builders -- so be gone Their sadness and their worry, go away, Early from here I can see the dawn And here triumphant lives the sun's last ray.
And frequently into my room's window The winds from northern seas begin to blow And pigeon from my palms eats wheat.
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The pages that I did not complete Divinely light she is and calm, Will finish Muse's suntanned arm.
x x x Just like a cold noreaster At first she'll sting, And then a single salty tear The heart will wring.
The evil heart will pity Something and then regret.
But this light-headed sadness It will not forget.
I only sow.
To harvest.
Others will come.
And yes! The lovely group of harvesters May true God bless.
And that more perfectly I could Give to you gratitude, Allow me to give the world Love incorruptible.
x x x My voice is weak, but will does not get weaker.
It has become still better without love, The sky is tall, the mountain wind is blowing My thoughts are sinless to true God above.
The sleeplessness has gone to other places, I do not on grey ashes count my sorrow, And the skewed arrow of the clock face Does not look to me like a deadly arrow.
How past over the heart is losing power! Freedom is near.
I will forgive all yet, Watching, as ray of sun runs up and down The springtime vine that with spring rain is wet.
x x x He was jealous, fearful and tender, He loved me like God's only light, And that she not sing of the past times He killed my bird colored white.
He said, in the lighthouse at sundown: "Love me, laugh and write poetry!" And I buried the joyous songbird Behind a round well near a tree.
I promised that I would not mourn her.
But my heart turned to stone without choice, And it seems to me that everywhere And always I'll hear her sweet voice.
x x x True love's memory, You are heavy! In your smoke I sing and burn, And the rest -- is only fire To keep the chilled soul warm.
To keep warm the sated body, They need my tears for this Did I for this sing your song, God? Did I take part of love for this? Let me drink of such a poison, That I would be deaf and dumb, And my unglorious glory Wash away to the final crumb.
x x x The blue lacquer dims of heaven, And the song is better heard.
It's the little trumpet made of dirt, There's no reason for her to complain.
Why does she forgive me, And whoever told her of my sins? Or is that this voice that now repeats The last poems that you wrote for me? x x x Instead of wisdom -- experience, bare, That does not slake thirst, is not wet.
Youth's gone -- like a Sunday prayer.
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Is it mine to forget? On how many desert roads have searched I With him who wasn't dear for me, How many bows gave in church I For him, who had well loved me.
I've become more oblivious than inviting, Quietly years swim.
Lips unkissed, eyes unsmiling -- Nothing will give me back him.
x x x Ah! It is you again.
You enter in this house Not as a kid in love, but as a husband Courageous, harsh and in control.
The calm before the storm is fearful to my soul.
You ask me what it is that I have done of late With given unto me forever love and fate.
I have betrayed you.
And this to repeat -- Oh, if you could one moment tire of it! The killer's sleep is haunted, dead man said, Death's angel thus awaits me at deathbed.
Forgive me now.
Lord teaches to forgive.
In burning agony my flesh does live, And already the spirit gently sleeps, A garden I recall, tender with autumn leaves And cries of cranes, and the black fields around.
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How sweet it would be with you underground! x x x The muse has left along narrow And winding street, And with large drops of dew Were sprinkled her feet.
For long did I ask of her To wait for winter with me, But she said, "The grave is here, How can you breathe, you see?" I wanted to give her a dove That is whiter than all the rest But the bird herself flew above After my graceful guest.
Looking at her I was silent, I loved her alone And like gates into her country In the sky stood the dawn.
x x x I have ceased and desisted from smiling The frosty wind chills lips - say so long To one hope of which will be lesser, Instead there will be one more song.
And this song, without my volition, I will give out for laughter and parable, For this that the silence of love Is to me simply unbearable.
x x x They're on the way, the words of love and freedom, They're flying faster than the moment flies And I am in stage fright before singing - My lips have grown colder than ice.
But soon that place, where, leaning to the windows The tender birches make dry rustling sound, The voices will be ringing of the shadows And roses will in blackened wreaths be wound.
And further onward still -- the light is generous Unbearably as though ¡®t were red hot wine.
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And now the wind, all redolent and heated, In perfect vigor has enflamed my mind.
x x x Oh, this was a cold day In Peter's wonderful town! The shadow grew dense, and the sundown Like purple fire lay.
Let him not want my eyes fair Prophetic and never-changing All life long verse he'll be catching - My conceited lips' empty prayer.
x x x This way I prayed: "Slake the dumb thirst Of singing with a sweet libation!" But to the earthling of the earth There can be no liberation.
Like smoke from sacrifice, that it could not Fly Strength- and Glory-ward -- alas - But only clouded at the feet And, as if praying, kissed the grass.
Thus I, O Lord, before thee bow: Will reach the fire of the sky My lashes that are closed for now And muteness utter and divine? x x x In intimacy there exists a line That can't be crossed by passion or love's art -- In awful silence lips melt into one And out of love to pieces bursts the heart.
And friendship here is impotent, and years Of happiness sublime in fire aglow, When soul is free and does not hear The dulling of sweet passion, long and slow.
Those who are striving toward it are in fever, But those that reach it struck with woe that lingers.
Now you have understood, why forever My heart does not beat underneath your fingers.
x x x All has been taken: strength as well as love.
Into the unloved town the corpse is thrown.
It does not love the sun.
I fear, that blood Inside of me already cold has grown.
I do not recognize sweet Muse's loving taste: She looks ahead and does not let a word pass, And bows a head in the dark garland dressed Onto my chest, exhausted from the haste.
And only conscience, scarier with each day, Wants a great ransom and for this abuses.
Closing the face, I answer her this way.
.
But there remain no tears and no excuses.
x x x To lose the freshness of the words and sense, for us, Is it same as for an artist to lose vision, Or for an actor -- voice and motion, Or for a gorgeous woman -- her finesse? But do not seek now for yourself to keep What heaven has given to you below: We have been judged -- and we ourselves both know -- To give away, and not to keep.
Or else alone you go to heal the blind, To know yourself in heavy hour of doubt The students' smug shaudenfreude And the uncaring of mankind.
Answer The quiet April day has sent me What a strange missive.
You knew that passionately in me The scary week is still alive.
I did not hear those ringing bells That swam along in glazier clear.
For seven days sounded copper laugh Or poured from eyes a silver tear.
And I, then having closed my face As for eternal parting's moment, Lay down and waited for her grace That was not known yet as torment.
x x x This city by the fearsome river Was my crib blessed and dear And a solemn wedding bed Which the garlands for the head Your young cherubs held above - A city loved with bitter love.
The subject of my prayers Were you, moody, calm, and austere.
There first the groom came to me Having shown me the pathway holy, And that sad muse of mine Led me like one blind.
 * II *  December 9, 1913 The darkest days of the year Must become the most clear.
I can't find words to compare - Your lips are so tender and dear.
Only to raise your eyes do not dare, Keeping the life of me.
They're lighter than vials premier, And deadlier for me.
I understand now, that we need no words, The snowed branches are light, and more, The birdcatcher, to catch birds, Has laid nets on the rivershore.
x x x How can you look at Nieva, How can on the bridges you rise? With a reason I'm sad since the time You appeared before my eyes.
Sharp are black angels' wings, The last judgment is coming soon, And raspberry fires, like roses, In the white snow bloom.
x x x I do not count mortal days Under the roof of a chilled empty building, I'm reading the Apostles' words, Words of Psalm-singer I am reading.
Sleet is fluffy, and stars turn blue, And more marvelous is each meeting -- And in the Bible a leaf On Song of Songs is sitting.
x x x All year long you are close to me And, like formerly, happy and young! Aren't you tortured already By the traumatized strings' dark song? Those now only lightly moan That once, taut, loudly rang And aimlessly they are torn By my dry, waxen hand.
Little is necessary to make happy One who is tender and loving yet, The young forehead is not touched yet By jealousy, rage or regret.
He is quiet, does not ask to be tender, Only stares and stares at me And with blissful smile does he bear My oblivion's dreadful insanity.
x x x Black road wove ahead of me, Drizzling rain fell, To accompany me Someone asked for a spell.
I agreed, but I forgot To see him in light of day, And then it was strange To remember the way.
Like incense of thousand censers Flowed the fog And the companion bothered The heart with a song.
Ancient gates I remember And the end of the way -- There the man who went with me "Forgive," did say.
He gave me a copper cross Like my brother very own And everywhere I hear the sound Of the steppe song.
Here I am at home like home -- I cry and I am in rue Answer to me, my stranger, I am looking for you! x x x How I love, how I loved to stare At the ironclad shores, On the balcony, where forever No foot stepped, not mine, not yours.
And in truth you are -- a capital For the mad and luminous us; But when over Nieva sail Those special, pure hours And the winds of May fly over You past the iron beams You are like a dying sinner Seeing heavenly dreams x x x Ancient city is as if dead, Strange's my coming here.
Vladimir has raised a black cross Over the river.
Noisy elm trees, noisy lindens In the gardens dark, Raised to God, the needle-bearing Stars' bright diamond sparks.
Sacrificial and glorious Way, I am ending here, With me is but you, my equal, And my love so dear.
x x x It seems as though the voice of man Will never sound in this place, But only wind from age of stone Is knocking on black gates.
It seems to me that I alone Have kept good health under this sky, Because of this, that first I sought To drink the deadly wine.
Parting Evening and slanting, Downward goes my way.
Yesterday in love still, "Don't forget" you prayed.
Now there's only shepherds' Cry, and glancing winds, And the worried cedars Stand by clear springs.
x x x Yellow and fresh are the lanterns, Black is the road of the garden at sea.
I am very calm.
Only please, do not Talk about him with me.
You're tender and loyal, we'll be friends.
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Have fun, kiss, together grow old.
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And light months above us will fly like feathers, Like stars made of snow and as cold.
x x x We aren't in the forest, there is no need for calling -- You know your jokes do not shine.
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Why don't you come to lull into quiet This wounded conscience of mine? You possess other worries You have another wife And, looking into my dry eyes, St.
Petersburg spring has arrived.
With harsh cough and with evening fever She will punish and she will kill.
Under the smoke on the river Nieva's ice is no longer still.
x x x God is unkind to gardeners and reapers.
Slanted rain coils and falls from up high And the wide raincoats catch water, That once had reflected the sky.
In underwater realm are fields and meadows And the free currents sing a lot, Plums rupture on bloated branches And grass strands, lying down, rot.
And through the dense and watery net I see your darling face, A quiet park, a round porch And a Chinese arbour-place.
x x x All promised him to me: The heaven's edge, dark and kind, And lovely Christmas sleep And multi-ringing Easter wind, And the red branches of a twig, And waterfalls inside a park, And two dragonflies On rusty iron of a bulwark.
And I could not disbelieve, That he'll befriend me all alone When on the mountain slopes I went Along hot pathway made of stone.
x x x Every evening I receive A letter like a bride To my friend I give Response late at night.
"I'll be guest of the white death On my journey down.
You, my tender one, don't do Harm to anyone.
" And there stands a giant star Between two wood beams, With such calmness promising To fulfil your dreams.
x x x Divine angel, who betrothed us Secretly on winter morn, From our sadness-free existence Does not take his darkened eyes.
For this reason we love sky, And fresh wind, and air so thin, And the dark tree branches Behind fence of iron.
For this reason we love the strict, Many-watered, and dark city, And we love the parting, And brief meetings' hour.
x x x Somewhere is light and happy, in elation, Transparent, warm and simple life there is.
A man across the fence has conversation With girl before the evening, and the bees Hear only the tenderest of conversation.
And we are living pompously and hard And follow bitter rituals like sun When, flight past us, the unreasoned wind Interrupts speech that's barely begun.
But not for anything will we change the pompous Granite city of glory, pain and lies, The glistening wide rivers' ice Sunless and murky gardens, and the voice, Though barely audible, of the Muse.
x x x I remember you only rarely And your fate I do not view But the mark won't be stripped from my soul Of the meaningless meeting with you.
Your red house I avoid on purpose, Your red house murky river beside, But I know, that I am disturbing Gravely your heart-pierced respite.
Would it weren't you that, on to my lips pressing, Prayed of love, and for love did wish, Would it weren't you that with golden verses Immortalized my anguish Over future I do secret magic If the evening is truly blue, And I divine a second meeting, Unavoidable meeting with you.
x x x How spacious are these squares, How resonant bridges and stark! Heavy, peaceful, and starless Is the covering of the dark.
And we walk on the fresh snow As if we were mortal people.
That we are together this hour Unseparable -- is it not a miracle? The knees go unwittingly weaker It seems there's no air -- so long! You are my life's only blessing, You are the sun of my song.
Now the dark buildings are stirring And I'll fall on earth as they shake -- Inside of my village garden I do not fear to awake.
Escape "My dear, if we could only Reach all the way to the seas" "Be quiet" and descended the stairs Losing breath and looking for keys.
Past the buildings, where sometime We danced and had fun and drank wine Past the white columns of Senate Where it's dark, dark again.
"What are you doing, you madman!" "No, I am only in love with thee! This evening is wide and noisy, Ship will have lots of fun at the sea!" Horror tightly clutches the throat, Shuttle took us at dusk on our turn.
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The tough smell of ocean tightrope Inside trembling nostrils did burn.
"Say, you most probably know: I don't sleep? Thus in sleep it can be" Only oars splashed in measured manner Over Nieva's waves heavy.
And the black sky began to get lighter, Someone called from the bridge to us, As with both hands I was clutching On my chest the rim of the cross.
On your arms, as I lost all my power, Like a little girl you carried me, That on deck of a yacht alabaster Incorruptible day's light we'd meet.
x x x When with a strong but tired hand In dreary capital of nation Upon the whiteness of the page I did record my recantations, And wind into the window round Poured in a wet and silent stream The sky was burning, burning bright With smoky dawn, it so did seem.
I did not look at the Nieva, The dawn-drenched granite did not view, And it appeared that that I, awake, my Unforgettable, saw you.
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But then the unexpected night Covered the before-autumn town, That, so as to assist my flight, The ashen shadows melted down.
I only took with me the cross, That you had given on day of treason That wormwood steppe should be in bloom And winds, like sirens, sing in season.
And here upon an empty wall He keeps me from the broodings dour And I don't fear to recall Anything - even the final hour.
Village of the Tsar Statue Upon the swan pond maple leaves Are gathered already, you see, And bloodied are the branches dark Of slowly blooming quicken-tree.
Blindingly elegant is she, Crossing her legs that don't feel cold Upon the northern stone sits she And calmly looks upon the road.
I felt the gloomy, dusky fear Before this woman of delight As on her shoulders played alone The rays of miserable light.
And how could I forgive her yet Your shining praise by love deluded Look, she is happily in sorrow, And in such elegance denuded.
x x x In the sleep to me is given Our last eden of stars up high City of clean water towers, Golden Bakchisarai There behind a colored fencing By the pensive water stalled Village of the Tsar's gardens With rejoicing we recalled.
And the eagles of Catherine Suddenly recognized - it's that! He had flown to valley bottom From the ornate bronze-clad gate.
That the song of parting heartache In the memory longer lives, The dark-bodied mother autumn Brought to me the redding leaves And she sprinkled on her soles Where we parted in the sun And from where for land of shadows You had left, my soothing one.
x x x I have visions of hilly Pavlovsk, Meadow circular, water dead, With most heavy and most shady, All of this I will never forget.
In the cast-iron gates you will enter, Blissful tremor the flesh does rile, You don't live, but you're screaming and ranting Or you live in another style.
In late autumn fresh and biting Wanders wind, for its loneliness glad.
In white gowns dressed the black fir trees On the molten snow stand.
And, filled up with a burning fever, Dear voice sounds like song without word, And on copper shoulder of Cytharus Sits the red-chested bird.
x x x Immortelle's dry and pink.
On the fresh heaven The clouds are roughly pasted, almost dark.
The leaves of only oak within the park Are still colorless and thin.
The rays of dusk are burning until midnight.
How nice it is inside my cramped abode! Today with me converse many-a-bird About the most tender, in delight.
I'm happy.
But the way, Forest and smooth, is to me most dear, The crippled bridge, curved a bit here, And that remain only several days.
x x x She came up.
I did not show my worry, Calmly looking outside the windows.
She sat down, like ceramic idol In a long-ago-chosen pose.
To be happy -- is well-accustomed, But attentive -- is harder just might.
Or the dark shadow has been overpowered After many a jasmine March night? Tiring din of the conversations, Yellow chandelier's lifeless light And the glimmer of crafty gadgets Underneath the arm raised and light.
My companion looks at her with hope And to her flashes a smile.
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O my happy and wealthy heir, Read from my will.
 * III *  May Snow Upon fresh ground falls and melts At once unnoticed a thin film.
The harsh and chilly spring The ripened buds does kill.
Sight of early death is so horrid That I can't look at God's creation, and am riven With sadness, to which king David Millenia of life has given.
x x x Why do you pretend to be A wind, a bird, or a stone? Why do you smile at me From the sky with a sudden dawn? Do not torment me, do not touch! Leave me to wise cares, away! The inebriated flame sways Over dried-up marshes gray.
And Muse in a torn kerchief Sings disconsolate and at length.
In harsh and youthful anguish Is her miraculous strength.
x x x Transparent glass of empty sky The bleached-out bulky prison building And churchgoers' solemn singing Over Volkhov, growing blue with light.
September wind tore leaves birch off Through branches tossed and screamed with hate And city recollects its fate: Here ruled Martha and Arackcheyev.
July 1914 I Smells like burning.
For four weeks now The dry ground on the swamplands bakes.
Today even birds did not sing songs And the aspen-tree does not shake.
Sun has stopped in divine displeasure Easter rain did not pelt fields hard.
A one-legged passerby came here And alone said in the yard: "Awful times near.
For freshly dug graves There will be not be enough place soon.
Expect pest, expect plague, expect coward, And eclipses of Sun and Moon.
But the enemy won't get to divide Our lands for his fun: Holy Mary will spread on her own Over great sorrows a white gown" II From the burning forests is flying Sweet smell of the evergreens.
Over children soldiers' wives are moaning Cry of widows through village rings.
Not in vain were the prayers rendered, The earth was thirsty for rain: The stomped-over fields with red dampness Were covered and covered remain.
Low, low is the empty heaven, And quiet is the praying one's voice: "They will wound your most holy body And cast dice about your acts of choice.
" x x x That voice, with great quietude arguing, Had a victory over her.
In me still, like song or woe, Is last winter before the war.
She was whiter than Smolny Cathedral More mysterious than summer garden festooned We didn't know that in parting sadness We'd be looking back soon.
x x x To say goodbye we don't know - It's already nearing night, We are walking shoulder to shoulder, You are pensive and I am quiet We'll walk into church, we'll witness The singing, the wedding, the cross, Not seeing each other, we'll exit.
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Why are things not working for us? Or we'll sit on the pressed-down snow In a cemetery, lightly sigh, And you with your stick paint the palace Where together we'll be for all time.
Consolation You won't hear about him any longer, You won't hear about him in the wind, In the mournful fire-consumed Poland His grave you will not find.
May your spirit be still an peaceful, There will be no losses now: He is new warrior of God's army, Do not be about him in sorrow.
In the dear, beloved home It's sinful to cry and feel blue.
Think, now you can make prayer To the man who stood up for you.
x x x Did for this, and for this only, In my arms I carry you, Did for this the strength flash In your gorgeous eyes of blue? Tall and elegant you have grown, You sang songs, Madeira drank, To the far-off Anatolia You have driven your mine tank.
On the Malahov's kurgan They shot an officer with a gun.
Less than a week for 20 years He saw God's light with eyes so dear.
Prayer Give me bitter years in malady Breathlessness, sleeplessness, fever, Both a friend and a child and mysterious Gift take away forever -- Thus I pray after your liturgy After many exhausting days, That the cloud over dark Russia Become cloud in the glory of rays.
x x x "Where is your gypsy boy, tall one, That over black kerchief did weep, Where is your small first child What memory of him do you keep?" "Mother's role is a sweet torture, I was not worthy of it.
The gate dissolved into white heaven, Magdalene took the kid.
"Each day for me is happy and jolly, I got lost in a too-long spring, Only arms pine away for a burden Only his cries in my sleep ring.
"The heart will be restless and weary And no memory cross my mind, I still wander in rooms dark and bleary And his crib still attempt to find.
" x x x How often did I curse This sky, this earth as well, The slowly waving arms Of this ancient windmill.
In a wing there lies a dead man, Straight and grayhaired, on a bench, As he did three years ago.
Thus the mice whet with their teeth Books, thus the stearine candle Leans its flame to the left.
And the odious tambourine From the Nizhny Novgorod Sings an uningenious song Of my bitter happiness.
And the brightly painted Dahlias stood straight Along silver road.
Where are snails and wormwood.
Thus it was: Incarceration Became second country, And the first I cannot dare Recollect even in prayer.
x x x In boat or in horsecart This way you cannot go Deep water stands and lingers In the decrepit snow Surrounding the mansion From every side by now.
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Ah! Closely wails it over The same Robinson Crusoe.
The sled, the skies, the horse He will come by to see, And later on the couch He sits and waits for me And with a short spore He tears the rug in two.
Now the brief smile of mine The mirror will not view.
x x x Bow of moon I see, I see Through dense canopy of groves, Level sound I hear, I hear Of the free horse's hooves.
What? And you don't want to sleep, In a year could you forget Me, nor are you used to find Empty and unmade your bed? Not with you then do I speak Through sharp cries of hunting birds, Not in your eyes do I look From white pages full of words? Why you circle, like a thief At the quiet habitat? Or recall the verdict and Wait for me alive like that? I'm asleep.
In dense dark, moon Threw a blade just like a dart.
There is knocking.
In this way Beats my warm and precious heart.
x x x We noiselessly walked through the house, Not waiting for anything.
They showed me way to the sick man, And I did not recognize him.
He said, "Now let God have the glory" And became more thoughtful and blue.
"It's long time that I hit the road, I've only been waiting for you.
So you bother me in my fever, I keep those words from you.
Tell me: can you not forgive me?" And I said, "I can do.
" It seemed, that the walls were shining From floor to the ceiling that day.
Upon the silken blanket A withered arm lay.
And the thrown-over predatory profile Became horribly heavy and stark, And one could not hear the breathing Through the bitten-up lips turned dark.
But suddenly the last bit of strength Came alive in the eyes of blue: "It is good that you released me, Not always kind were you.
" And then the face became younger, And I recognized him once more.
And then I said, "Holy Father, Accept a slave of yours.
" x x x I came over to the pine forest.
It is hot, and the road is not short.
He pushed back the door and came out Greyhaired, luminous, short.
He looked at me, insolent bastard, And muttered at once, "Christ's bride! Do not envy success of the happy, A place for you there does hide.
Do forget your parents' abode, Get accustomed to open heaven You will sleep on the straw and dirty, And will meet a blissful end.
" Truly, the priest must have heard On the way back my singing voice As I of untold happiness Marveled and rejoiced.
x x x The other cranes shout "Cour-lee" Calling a wounded one When autumn fields around Are fallow and warm.
And I, being sick, hear calling, The noise of golden wings From dense and low clouds And thick underbrush.
"It's time to fly, it's time to fly, Over the field and river.
For you already cannot sing And wipe a tear from a cheek With a weakened arm.
" x x x I will quietly in the churchyard Sleep on wooden boards in the sun, On the Sunday as guest to mother You will come, my dear one -- Through the river over the mountain Can't catch up to grown ones From afar, the sharp-eyed fellow, This my cross you'll recognize.
I know, dear one, very little Can you now recall of me: Did not scold you, did not fawn you, Did not hold the cup to thee.
x x x With pride your spirit is darkened For this you won't know world at all.
You say that this faith is a dream And mirage is this capital.
You say that my country is sinful, Your country is godless, I scream.
May the guilt still lie upon us -- We can correct and redeem.
Around you are water and flowers Why seek a beggar and sinner, my dear? I know that you're sick very badly: You seek death and the end you fear.
x x x The early chills are most pleasant to me.
Torment releases me when I come there.
Mysterious, dark places of habitation -- Are storehouses of labor and prayer.
The calm and confident loving I can't surmount in this side of mine: A drop of Novgorod blood inside me Is like a piece of ice in foamy wine.
And this can not in any way be corrected, She has not been melted by great heat, And what ever I began to glory -- You, quiet one, shine before me yet.
x x x I dream less of him, dear God be gloried, Does not shimmer everywhere any more.
Fog has fallen on the whitened road, Shadows run over water to the shore.
And all day the ringing did not quiet Over the expanse of ploughed up soil, Here most powerfully from Jonah Distant Laurel belltowers do recoil.
I am trimming on the lilac bushes Branches, that are now in full flower; Ramparts of the ancient fortifying Two old monks are slowly walking over.
Dear world, understood and corporeal, For me, one unseeing, set alive.
Heal this soul of mine, the King of Heaven, With the icy comfort of not love.
x x x We'll be with each other, dear, All now know we are together, And the wily laughs and putdowns Like a distant tambourine Can't insult us any longer And can't give us injury.
Where we married -- we don't know, But this church at once did glimmer With that furious beaming light That only the angels know How to bring upon white wings.
And the time is now such, Fearful city, fearful year.
How can now be parted Me from you and you from me? In Memory of June 19, 1914 We have grown old by hundred years, and this Happened to us in one hour then: The brief summer was already ending, Steamed the body of ploughed-up plain.
Suddenly glistened the quiet road, Cry flew, ringing silverly.
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Closing my face, I was praying to God Before first battle to murder me.
From mind the shades of songs and passions Disappeared like load from misuse.
To her -- descended -- the Almighty ordered To be the fearful book of menacing news.
 * IV *  x x x Before the spring arrives there are such days: Under the thick snow cover rests the lawn, The dry-and-jolly trees are making noise, Tender and strong, the wind is warm.
And body is amazed at its own lightness, And your own home is alien to you, And song that had just previously been tiring With worry you are singing just like new.
x x x The fifth time of the year, Only the praise of his.
Breathe with the final freedom, Because love is this.
The sky has flown up high, The objects' contours are light, And the body does not celebrate any longer The anniversary of its plight.
x x x I myself have freely chosen Fate of the friend of my heart: To the freedom under gospel I allowed him to depart.
And the pigeon came back, beating On the window with all might Like from shine of divine restments, In the room it became light.
Sleep I know that you dreamed of me, That's why I could not sleep.
The muddy light had turned blue And showed me the path to keep.
You saw the queen's garden, White palace, luxurious one, And the black patterned fence Before resounding stone perron.
You went, not knowing the way, And thinking, "Faster, faster! If only to find her now, Not wake before meeting her.
" And the janitor at the red gate Shouted at you, "Where to, alack!" The ice crackled and broke, Underfoot, water went black.
"This is the lake, and inside There's an island," thus thought you.
And then suddenly from the dark Appeared a fire hot-blue.
Awakening, you did moan In harsh light of a nasty day, And then at once you called For me loudly by my name.
White House Sun is frosty.
In parade Soldiers march with all their might.
I am glad at the January noon, And my fear is very light.
Here they remember each branch And every silhouette.
The raspberry light is dripping Through a snow-whitened net.
Almost white was the house, Made of glass was the wing.
How many times with numb arm Did I hold the doorbell's ring.
How many times.
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play, soldiers, I'll make my house, I'll espy You from a roof that's inclined, From the ivy that does not die.
But who at last did remove it, Took away into foreign lands Or took out from the memory Forever the road thence.
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Snow flies, like a cherry blossom, Distant bagpipes desist.
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And, it seems like, nobody knows That the white house does not exist.
x x x He walked over fields and over village, And asked people from afar: "Where is she, where is the happy glimmer Of her eyes that are gray stars? Here the final days of spring Come along, in turbid fire.
Still more frequent, still more tender Are the dreams I have of her.
" And he came in the dark city In the quiet evening time He was thinking then of Venice And of London all the same.
At the church both tall and dark Stepped on shining stairs' granite And he prayed then of the coming Meeting with his first delight.
And above the altar made of gold Flamed away the garden of God's rays: "Here she is, here is the happy glimmer Of gray joyous stars that are her eyes.
" x x x Wide and yellow's evening light, Tender is the April chill, You are late by many years But I am glad of you still.
Come and sit right next to me, With the happy eyes come look: Here, my childhood poetry Is in this blue notebook.
That I lived sorrowful and little Was I glad of the sun, forgive.
And forgive, that in your stead I Many others did receive.
x x x Whether to look for you on earth -- I don't know if you're dead or you live -- Or about you in the evening I should for you, departed, grieve.
All is for you: and the daily prayer And the sleeplessness' swooning flame And the white flock of my poems And my eyes' blue violent flame.
No one was dearer to me, no one, No one left me this bereft, Not even he who betrayed me to torment, Not even he who caressed, then left.
x x x No, my prince, I am not the one On whom you'd rather lay your eyes, And for long these lips of mine Do not kiss, but prophesize.
Do not think I'm in delirium Or with boredom I do whine Loudly I speak of pain: It's the very trade of mine.
And I know how to teach, That the unexpected happened, How to tame for centuries Her, whose love is so rapid.
You want glory? Ask from me For advice for this your plight, Only it is but a trap, There's no joy here and no light.
Well, go home, and forget This our meeting, I implore, And for your sin, my dear one, I'll respond before the Lord.
x x x From memory of you I will remove that day, So that your helpless-foggy look will ask this: Where did I see the Persian lilac bush, The swallows and the wooden house? Oh, how often will you recollect The sudden angst of the uncalled desires And in the pensive cities you did seek That street which was not on the map entire! Upon the sound of voice behind an open door, Upon the sight of every accidental letter, You will remember: "Here has she herself Come to assist my disbelief unfettered.
" x x x Did not scold me, did not praise me, Like friends and like enemies.
Only left his soul to me And then said, "Now keep in peace.
" And one thing worries me so: If this moment he will die, God's archangel will come to me For his soul from the sky.
How then will I hide her so, How to hide it from God's eyes? She, the soul, that cries and sings so Must be in His paradise.
x x x My shadow has remained there and is angstful, In that blue room she still to this day lives, She waits for guests from city beyond midnight And to enamel image gives a kiss.
And things are not quite well around the house: It still is dark, although they lit the flame.
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Not from all this the hostess is in boredom, Not from all this the host drinks all the same And hears how on the other side of the thin wall The guest arrived talks to me at all? x x x I see capital through the flurry On this Monday night twenty-first.
Some do-nothing has made up the story That love exists on the earth.
And from laziness or from boredom All believed, and thus they live: Wait for meeting, fear the parting, And sing songs of love.
But to others opens a secret And upon them descends a still.
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I by accident came upon this And since then am as if I'm ill.
x x x On the blooming lilac bushes Sky is sowing the light rain.
Beats with wings upon the window The white, the white Spirits' day.
For a friend to be returning From the sea - especial hour.
I am dreaming of the far shore, Of the stone, sand and tower.
I will enter, meeting light, On the top of one of these towers.
In the land of swamps and fields There are in memory no towers.
Only I will sit on the porch, There, where dense shadows lay.
Help me in my fright, at last, The white, the white Spirits' day.
x x x I know, that you are my reward For years of labor and of pain, For that unto the earthly pleasures I never did myself betray, For that I never ever told Unto my loved one, "You are loved.
" For that I did forgive all people You'll be my angel from above.
x x x Yes, I had loved them, those meetings of the nights - Upon small table a glass filled with ice, Above black coffee thick and smelly steam, From the red heater heavy winter heat, The stinging mirth of literary parable And first look of the friend, helpless and terrible.
x x x Not mystery and not sadness, Not the wise will of fate - These meetings have always given Impression of fight and hate.
And I, having guessed your coming's Minute and circumstance, In the bent arms the slightly Tingling feeling did sense.
And with dry fingers I mangled The colorful tablecloth.
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I understood even then How small was this earth.
To my dear one Do not send a dove in my direction, Do not write tumultuous notes at all, Do not fan my face with the March breeze.
I have now entered a green heaven, Where there's calm for body and for soul Underneath the shady maple trees.
And from here I can see a town, Booths and barracks of a palace made of stone Chinese yellow bridge over the ice.
For three hours now you wait for me -- you're frozen, But you cannot move from the perron, At the stars you marvel with your eyes.
Like a gray squirrel you'll jump on the alder, Like a frightful swallow I will go, I will then call for you like a swan, So that the bridegroom would not fear In the blue and swirling falling snow To await his deceased bride alone.
x x x Has my fate really been so altered, Or is this game truly truly over? Where are winters, when I fell asleep In the morning in the sixth hour? In a new way, severely and calmly, I now live on the wild shore.
I can no longer pronounce The tender or idle word.
I can't believe that Christmas-tide is coming.
Touchingly green is this the steppe before The beaming sun.
Like a warm Wave, licks the tender shore.
When from happiness languid and tired I was, then of such quiet With trembling inexpressible I dreamed And this in my imagining I deemed The after-mortal wandering of the soul.
x x x Like a white stone at the bottom of the well, One memory lies in me.
I cannot and I do not want to struggle, It is both joy and suffering.
I think that anyone who looks into my Eyes will all at once see him.
More sad and pensive he'll become That heard the story of this suffering.
I know that the gods had turned People to objects, without killing mind, That divine sadness lived eternally.
You're turned into my memory, I find.
x x x The first ray -- as the blessing of the Lord -- Across the face of the beloved did creep, Who, sleeping, went a little pale, And then again more tightly went to sleep.
It seemed that warmth of ray of sun Appeared to him just like a kiss.
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.
And long with these my lips I have not touched The tan strong shoulder or the dear lips.
And now, the deceased spirits in my long Disconsolate wandering along the way, I am now flying toward him as a song And I caress him with a morning ray.
x x x Not thus, from cursed lightness having disembarked, I look with worry on the chambers dark? Already used to ringing high and raw, Already judged not by the earthly law, I, like a criminal, am being drawn along To place of shame and execution long.
I see the glorious city, and the voice most dear, As though there is no secret grave to fear, Where day and night, in heat and in cold bent, I must await the Final Judgment.
x x x I was born not late and not early, This time is blessed and meet, Only God did not allow a heart To live long without deceit.
And from this it is dark in the light room, And from this do the friends I've sought, Like the sorrowful birds of evening, Sing of love that was not.
x x x Best for me loudly the gaming-poems to say, And for you the hoarse harmonica to play! And having left, hugging, for the night of late, Lose a band from a stiff, tight plait.
Best for me your child to rock and sway, And for you to make fifty rubles in a day, And to go on memory day to cemetery There to look upon the white God's lilac tree.
x x x I will lead a man to dear one -- I don't want the little joy -- And I'll quietly lay to sleep The glad, tired little boy.
In a chilly room once more I will pray to Mother of God, It is hard to be a hermit, To be happy is also hard.
Only fiery sleep will come to me, I'll enter a temple on the hill, Five-domed, white, and stone-hewn, On the paths remembered well.
x x x The spring was still mysteriously swooning, Across the hills wandered transparent wind And the deep lake was growing blue among us -- A temple forged and kept not by mankind.
You were affrighted of our first encounter, And prayed already for the second one, And now today once more is the hot evening -- How low over the mountain dropped the sun.
.
You aren't with me, but this is not a parting: For me triumphant news is in each moment.
I know that you can't even pronounce a word For so complete within you is the torment.
x x x In Kievan temple of the divine wisdom Falling to my knees, I did before thee vow That your way will be my way Wherever it will go.
Thus heard Yaroslav in a white coffin And angels made of gold in his stead.
Like pigeons, weave the simple words And now near the sunny heads.
And if I get weak, I dream of an icon And there are ten steps on it, all are blessed.
In menacing voice of the Sofian ringing I hear the sound of your unrest.
x x x City vanished, the last house's window Stared like one living and stark.
.
.
This place is totally unfamiliar, Smells of burning, and field is dark.
But when the curtain of thunder Moon had cut, indecisive and wan, We could see: On the hill, to the forest, Hobbled a handicapped man.
It was frightening, that he's overcoming The three horses, sated and glad, He stood up and then again waddled Under his heavy load.
We had almost failed to notice him Before the nomad-tent taking his place.
Just like stars the blue eyes were shining, Lighting the tormented face.
And I proffered to him the child, Raising arms with the trace of a chain He pronounced with joy and with ringing: "May your son live and healthy remain.
" x x x Oh, there are unrepeated words, Who ever said wasted more than he should.
Inexhaustible only is the blue Of sky and generosity of God.


The Bride of Abydos

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 "Had we never loved so kindly, 
Had we never loved so blindly, 
Never met or never parted, 
We had ne'er been broken-hearted.
" — Burns TO THE RIGHT HONOURABLE LORD HOLLAND, THIS TALE IS INSCRIBED, WITH EVERY SENTIMENT OF REGARD AND RESPECT, BY HIS GRATEFULLY OBLIGED AND SINCERE FRIEND, BYRON.
THE BRIDE OF ABYDOS _________ CANTO THE FIRST.
I.
Know ye the land where cypress and myrtle Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime, Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle, Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime? Know ye the land of the cedar and vine, Where the flowers ever blossom, the beams ever shine; Where the light wings of Zephyr, oppress'd with perfume, Wax faint o'er the gardens of G?l in her bloom; [1] Where the citron and olive are fairest of fruit, And the voice of the nightingale never is mute; Where the tints of the earth, and the hues of the sky, In colour though varied, in beauty may vie, And the purple of Ocean is deepest in dye; Where the virgins are soft as the roses they twine, And all, save the spirit of man, is divine? 'Tis the clime of the East; 'tis the land of the Sun — Can he smile on such deeds as his children have done? [2] Oh! wild as the accents of lovers' farewell Are the hearts which they bear, and the tales which they tell.
II.
Begirt with many a gallant slave, Apparell'd as becomes the brave, Awaiting each his lord's behest To guide his steps, or guard his rest, Old Giaffir sate in his Divan: Deep thought was in his aged eye; And though the face of Mussulman Not oft betrays to standers by The mind within, well skill'd to hide All but unconquerable pride, His pensive cheek and pondering brow Did more than he wont avow.
III.
"Let the chamber be clear'd.
" — The train disappear'd — "Now call me the chief of the Haram guard.
" With Giaffir is none but his only son, And the Nubian awaiting the sire's award.
"Haroun — when all the crowd that wait Are pass'd beyond the outer gate, (Woe to the head whose eye beheld My child Zuleika's face unveil'd!) Hence, lead my daughter from her tower: Her fate is fix'd this very hour: Yet not to her repeat my thought; By me alone be duty taught!" "Pacha! to hear is to obey.
" No more must slave to despot say — Then to the tower had ta'en his way, But here young Selim silence brake, First lowly rendering reverence meet! And downcast look'd, and gently spake, Still standing at the Pacha's feet: For son of Moslem must expire, Ere dare to sit before his sire! "Father! for fear that thou shouldst chide My sister, or her sable guide, Know — for the fault, if fault there be, Was mine — then fall thy frowns on me — So lovelily the morning shone, That — let the old and weary sleep — I could not; and to view alone The fairest scenes of land and deep, With none to listen and reply To thoughts with which my heart beat high Were irksome — for whate'er my mood, In sooth I love not solitude; I on Zuleika's slumber broke, And as thou knowest that for me Soon turns the Haram's grating key, Before the guardian slaves awoke We to the cypress groves had flown, And made earth, main, and heaven our own! There linger'd we, beguil'd too long With Mejnoun's tale, or Sadi's song, [3] Till I, who heard the deep tambour [4] Beat thy Divan's approaching hour, To thee, and to my duty true, Warn'd by the sound, to greet thee flew: But there Zuleika wanders yet — Nay, father, rage not — nor forget That none can pierce that secret bower But those who watch the women's tower.
" IV.
"Son of a slave" — the Pacha said — "From unbelieving mother bred, Vain were a father's hope to see Aught that beseems a man in thee.
Thou, when thine arm should bend the bow, And hurl the dart, and curb the steed, Thou, Greek in soul if not in creed, Must pore where babbling waters flow, And watch unfolding roses blow.
Would that yon orb, whose matin glow Thy listless eyes so much admire, Would lend thee something of his fire! Thou, who wouldst see this battlement By Christian cannon piecemeal rent; Nay, tamely view old Stamboul's wall Before the dogs of Moscow fall, Nor strike one stroke for life or death Against the curs of Nazareth! Go — let thy less than woman's hand Assume the distaff — not the brand.
But, Haroun! — to my daughter speed: And hark — of thine own head take heed — If thus Zuleika oft takes wing — Thou see'st yon bow — it hath a string!" V.
No sound from Selim's lip was heard, At least that met old Giaffir's ear, But every frown and every word Pierced keener than a Christian's sword.
"Son of a slave! — reproach'd with fear! Those gibes had cost another dear.
Son of a slave! and who my sire?" Thus held his thoughts their dark career, And glances ev'n of more than ire Flash forth, then faintly disappear.
Old Giaffir gazed upon his son And started; for within his eye He read how much his wrath had done; He saw rebellion there begun: "Come hither, boy — what, no reply? I mark thee — and I know thee too; But there be deeds thou dar'st not do: But if thy beard had manlier length, And if thy hand had skill and strength, I'd joy to see thee break a lance, Albeit against my own perchance.
" As sneeringly these accents fell, On Selim's eye he fiercely gazed: That eye return'd him glance for glance, And proudly to his sire's was raised, Till Giaffir's quail'd and shrunk askance — And why — he felt, but durst not tell.
"Much I misdoubt this wayward boy Will one day work me more annoy: I never loved him from his birth, And — but his arm is little worth, And scarcely in the chase could cope With timid fawn or antelope, Far less would venture into strife Where man contends for fame and life — I would not trust that look or tone: No — nor the blood so near my own.
That blood — he hath not heard — no more — I'll watch him closer than before.
He is an Arab to my sight, [5] Or Christian crouching in the fight — But hark! — I hear Zuleika's voice; Like Houris' hymn it meets mine ear: She is the offspring of my choice; Oh! more than ev'n her mother dear, With all to hope, and nought to fear — My Peri! — ever welcome here! Sweet, as the desert fountain's wave, To lips just cool'd in time to save — Such to my longing sight art thou; Nor can they waft to Mecca's shrine More thanks for life, than I for thine, Who blest thy birth, and bless thee now.
" VI.
Fair, as the first that fell of womankind, When on that dread yet lovely serpent smiling, Whose image then was stamp'd upon her mind — But once beguiled — and evermore beguiling; Dazzling, as that, oh! too transcendent vision To Sorrow's phantom-peopled slumber given, When heart meets heart again in dreams Elysian, And paints the lost on Earth revived in Heaven; Soft, as the memory of buried love; Pure as the prayer which Childhood wafts above, Was she — the daughter of that rude old Chief, Who met the maid with tears — but not of grief.
Who hath not proved how feebly words essay To fix one spark of Beauty's heavenly ray? Who doth not feel, until his failing sight Faints into dimness with its own delight, His changing cheek, his sinking heart confess The might — the majesty of Loveliness? Such was Zuleika — such around her shone The nameless charms unmark'd by her alone; The light of love, the purity of grace, The mind, the Music breathing from her face, [6] The heart whose softness harmonised the whole — And, oh! that eye was in itself a Soul! Her graceful arms in meekness bending Across her gently-budding breast; At one kind word those arms extending To clasp the neck of him who blest His child caressing and carest, Zuleika came — Giaffir felt His purpose half within him melt; Not that against her fancied weal His heart though stern could ever feel; Affection chain'd her to that heart; Ambition tore the links apart.
VII.
"Zuleika! child of gentleness! How dear this very day must tell, When I forget my own distress, In losing what I love so well, To bid thee with another dwell: Another! and a braver man Was never seen in battle's van.
We Moslems reck not much of blood; But yet the line of Carasman [7] Unchanged, unchangeable, hath stood First of the bold Timariot bands That won and well can keep their lands.
Enough that he who comes to woo Is kinsman of the Bey Oglou: His years need scarce a thought employ: I would not have thee wed a boy.
And thou shalt have a noble dower: And his and my united power Will laugh to scorn the death-firman, Which others tremble but to scan, And teach the messenger what fate The bearer of such boon may wait, [8] And now thy know'st thy father's will; All that thy sex hath need to know: 'Twas mine to teach obedience still — The way to love, thy lord may show.
" VIII.
In silence bow'd the virgin's head; And if her eye was fill'd with tears That stifled feeling dare not shed, And changed her cheek to pale to red, And red to pale, as through her ears Those winged words like arrows sped, What could such be but maiden fears? So bright the tear in Beauty's eye, Love half regrets to kiss it dry; So sweet the blush of Bashfulness, Even Pity scarce can wish it less! Whate'er it was the sire forgot; Or if remember'd, mark'd it not; Thrice clapp'd his hands, and call'd his steed, [9] Resign'd his gem-adorn'd chibouque, [10] And mounting featly for the mead, With Maugrabee [11] and Mamaluke, His way amid his Delis took, [12] To witness many an active deed With sabre keen, or blunt jerreed.
The Kislar only and his Moors Watch well the Haram's massy doors.
IX.
His head was leant upon his hand, His eye look'd o'er the dark blue water That swiftly glides and gently swells Between the winding Dardanelles; But yet he saw nor sea nor strand, Nor even his Pacha's turban'd band Mix in the game of mimic slaughter, Careering cleave the folded felt [13] With sabre stroke right sharply dealt; Nor mark'd the javelin-darting crowd, Nor heard their Ollahs wild and loud [14] — He thought but of old Giaffir's daughter! X.
No word from Selim's bosom broke; One sigh Zuleika's thought bespoke: Still gazed he through the lattice grate, Pale, mute, and mournfully sedate.
To him Zuleika's eye was turn'd, But little from his aspect learn'd; Equal her grief, yet not the same: Her heart confess'd a gentler flame: But yet that heart, alarm'd, or weak, She knew not why, forbade to speak.
Yet speak she must — but when essay? "How strange he thus should turn away! Not thus we e'er before have met; Not thus shall be our parting yet.
" Thrice paced she slowly through the room, And watched his eye — it still was fix'd: She snatch'd the urn wherein was mix'd The Persian Atar-g?l's perfume, [15] And sprinkled all its odours o'er The pictured roof and marble floor: [16] The drops, that through his glittering vest The playful girl's appeal address'd, Unheeded o'er his bosom flew, As if that breast were marble too.
"What sullen yet? it must not be — Oh! gentle Selim, this from thee!" She saw in curious order set The fairest flowers of Eastern land — "He loved them once; may touch them yet If offer'd by Zuleika's hand.
" The childish thought was hardly breathed Before the Rose was pluck'd and wreathed; The next fond moment saw her seat Her fairy form at Selim's feet: "This rose to calm my brother's cares A message from the Bulbul bears; [17] It says to-night he will prolong For Selim's ear his sweetest song; And though his note is somewhat sad, He'll try for once a strain more glad, With some faint hope his alter'd lay May sing these gloomy thoughts away.
XI.
"What! not receive my foolish flower? Nay then I am indeed unblest: On me can thus thy forehead lower? And know'st thou not who loves thee best? Oh, Selim dear! oh, more than dearest! Say is it me thou hat'st or fearest? Come, lay thy head upon my breast, And I will kiss thee into rest, Since words of mine, and songs must fail Ev'n from my fabled nightingale.
I knew our sire at times was stern, But this from thee had yet to learn: Too well I know he loves thee not; But is Zuleika's love forgot? Ah! deem I right? the Pacha's plan — This kinsman Bey of Carasman Perhaps may prove some foe of thine: If so, I swear by Mecca's shrine, If shrines that ne'er approach allow To woman's step admit her vow, Without thy free consent, command, The Sultan should not have my hand! Think'st though that I could bear to part With thee, and learn to halve my heart? Ah! were I sever'd from thy side, Where were thy friend — and who my guide? Years have not seen, Time shall not see The hour that tears my soul from thee: Even Azrael, [18] from his deadly quiver When flies that shaft, and fly it must, That parts all else, shall doom for ever Our hearts to undivided dust!" XII.
He lived — he breathed — he moved — he felt; He raised the maid from where she knelt; His trance was gone — his keen eye shone With thoughts that long in darkness dwelt; With thoughts that burn — in rays that melt.
As the streams late conceal'd By the fringe of its willows, When it rushes reveal'd In the light of its billows; As the bolt bursts on high From the black cloud that bound it, Flash'd the soul of that eye Through the long lashes round it.
A war-horse at the trumpet's sound, A lion roused by heedless hound, A tyrant waked to sudden strife By graze of ill-directed knife, Starts not to more convulsive life Than he, who heard that vow, display'd, And all, before repress'd, betray'd: "Now thou art mine, for ever mine, With life to keep, and scarce with life resign; Now thou art mine, that sacred oath, Though sworn by one, hath bound us both.
Yes, fondly, wisely hast thou done; That vow hath saved more heads than one: But blench not thou — thy simplest tress Claims more from me than tenderness; I would not wrong the slenderest hair That clusters round thy forehead fair, For all the treasures buried far Within the caves of Istakar.
[19] This morning clouds upon me lower'd, Reproaches on my head were shower'd, And Giaffir almost call'd me coward! Now I have motive to be brave; The son of his neglected slave — Nay, start not, 'twas the term he gave — May shew, though little apt to vaunt, A heart his words nor deeds can daunt.
His son, indeed! — yet, thanks to thee, Perchance I am, at least shall be! But let our plighted secret vow Be only known to us as now.
I know the wretch who dares demand From Giaffir thy reluctant hand; More ill-got wealth, a meaner soul Holds not a Musselim's control: [20] Was he not bred in Egripo? [21] A viler race let Israel show! But let that pass — to none be told Our oath; the rest let time unfold.
To me and mine leave Osman Bey; I've partisans for peril's day: Think not I am what I appear; I've arms, and friends, and vengeance near.
" XIII.
"Think not thou art what thou appearest! My Selim, thou art sadly changed: This morn I saw thee gentlest, dearest: But now thou'rt from thyself estranged.
My love thou surely knew'st before, It ne'er was less, nor can be more.
To see thee, hear thee, near thee stay, And hate the night, I know not why, Save that we meet not but by day; With thee to live, with thee to die, I dare not to my hope deny: Thy cheek, thine eyes, thy lips to kiss, Like this — and this — no more than this; For, Allah! Sure thy lips are flame: What fever in thy veins is flushing? My own have nearly caught the same, At least I feel my cheek too blushing.
To soothe thy sickness, watch thy health, Partake, but never waste thy wealth, Or stand with smiles unmurmuring by, And lighten half thy poverty; Do all but close thy dying eye, For that I could not live to try; To these alone my thoughts aspire: More can I do? or thou require? But, Selim, thou must answer why We need so much of mystery? The cause I cannot dream nor tell, But be it, since thou say'st 'tis well; Yet what thou mean'st by 'arms' and 'friends,' Beyond my weaker sense extends.
I mean that Giaffir should have heard The very vow I plighted thee; His wrath would not revoke my word: But surely he would leave me free.
Can this fond wish seem strange in me, To be what I have ever been? What other hath Zuleika seen From simple childhood's earliest hour? What other can she seek to see Than thee, companion of her bower, The partner of her infancy? These cherish'd thoughts with life begun, Say, why must I no more avow? What change is wrought to make me shun The truth; my pride, and thine till now? To meet the gaze of stranger's eyes Our law, our creed, our God denies, Nor shall one wandering thought of mine At such, our Prophet's will, repine: No! happier made by that decree! He left me all in leaving thee.
Deep were my anguish, thus compell'd To wed with one I ne'er beheld: This wherefore should I not reveal? Why wilt thou urge me to conceal! I know the Pacha's haughty mood To thee hath never boded good: And he so often storms at naught, Allah! forbid that e'er he ought! And why I know not, but within My heart concealment weighs like sin.
If then such secresy be crime, And such it feels while lurking here, Oh, Selim! tell me yet in time, Nor leave me thus to thoughts of fear.
Ah! yonder see the Tchocadar, [22] My father leaves the mimic war: I tremble now to meet his eye — Say, Selim, canst thou tell me why?" XIV.
"Zuleika — to thy tower's retreat Betake thee — Giaffir I can greet: And now with him I fain must prate Of firmans, imposts, levies, state.
There's fearful news from Danube's banks, Our Vizier nobly thins his ranks, For which the Giaour may give him thanks! Our sultan hath a shorter way Such costly triumph to repay.
But, mark me, when the twilight drum Hath warn'd the troops to food and sleep, Unto thy cell will Selim come: Then softly from the Haram creep Where we may wander by the deep: Our garden-battlements are steep; Nor these will rash intruder climb To list our words, or stint our time; And if he doth, I want not steel Which some have felt, and more may feel.
Then shalt thou learn of Selim more Than thou hast heard or thought before: Trust me, Zuleika — fear not me! Thou know'st I hold a Haram key.
" "Fear thee, my Selim! ne'er till now Did word like this — " "Delay not thou; I keep the key — and Haroun's guard Have some, and hope of more reward.
Tonight, Zuleika, thou shalt hear My tale, my purpose, and my fear: I am not, love! what I appear.
" ____________ CANTO THE SECOND.
I.
The winds are high on Helle's wave, As on that night of stormy water, When Love, who sent, forgot to save The young, the beautiful, the brave, The lonely hope of Sestos' daughter.
Oh! when alone along the sky Her turret-torch was blazing high, Though rising gale, and breaking foam, And shrieking sea-birds warn'd him home; And clouds aloft and tides below, With signs and sounds, forbade to go, He could not see, he would not hear, Or sound or sign foreboding fear; His eye but saw the light of love, The only star it hail'd above; His ear but rang with Hero's song, "Ye waves, divide not lovers long!" — That tale is old, but love anew May nerve young hearts to prove as true.
II.
The winds are high, and Helle's tide Rolls darkly heaving to the main; And Night's descending shadows hide That field with blood bedew'd in vain, The desert of old Priam's pride; The tombs, sole relics of his reign, All — save immortal dreams that could beguile The blind old man of Scio's rocky isle! III.
Oh! yet — for there my steps have been! These feet have press'd the sacred shore, These limbs that buoyant wave hath borne — Minstrel! with thee to muse, to mourn, To trace again those fields of yore, Believing every hillock green Contains no fabled hero's ashes, And that around the undoubted scene Thine own "broad Hellespont" still dashes, [23] Be long my lot! and cold were he Who there could gaze denying thee! IV.
The night hath closed on Helle's stream, Nor yet hath risen on Ida's hill That moon, which shoon on his high theme: No warrior chides her peaceful beam, But conscious shepherds bless it still.
Their flocks are grazing on the mound Of him who felt the Dardan's arrow; That mighty heap of gather'd ground Which Ammon's son ran proudly round, [24] By nations raised, by monarchs crown'd, Is now a lone and nameless barrow! Within — thy dwelling-place how narrow? Without — can only strangers breathe The name of him that was beneath: Dust long outlasts the storied stone; But Thou — thy very dust is gone! V.
Late, late to-night will Dian cheer The swain, and chase the boatman's fear; Till then — no beacon on the cliff May shape the course of struggling skiff; The scatter'd lights that skirt the bay, All, one by one, have died away; The only lamp of this lone hour Is glimmering in Zuleika's tower.
Yes! there is light in that lone chamber, And o'er her silken Ottoman Are thrown the fragrant beads of amber, O'er which her fairy fingers ran; [25] Near these, with emerald rays beset, (How could she thus that gem forget?) Her mother's sainted amulet, [26] Whereon engraved the Koorsee text, Could smooth this life, and win the next; And by her Comboloio lies [27] A Koran of illumined dyes; And many a bright emblazon'd rhyme By Persian scribes redeem'd from time; And o'er those scrolls, not oft so mute, Reclines her now neglected lute; And round her lamp of fretted gold Bloom flowers in urns of China's mould; The richest work of Iran's loom, And Sheeraz' tribute of perfume; All that can eye or sense delight Are gather'd in that gorgeous room: But yet it hath an air of gloom.
She, of this Peri cell the sprite, What doth she hence, and on so rude a night? VI.
Wrapt in the darkest sable vest, Which none save noblest Moslems wear, To guard from winds of heaven the breast As heaven itself to Selim dear, With cautious steps the thicket threading, And starting oft, as through the glade The gust its hollow moanings made; Till on the smoother pathway treading, More free her timid bosom beat, The maid pursued her silent guide; And though her terror urged retreat, How could she quit her Selim's side? How teach her tender lips to chide? VII.
They reach'd at length a grotto, hewn By nature, but enlarged by art, Where oft her lute she wont to tune, And oft her Koran conn'd apart: And oft in youthful reverie She dream'd what Paradise might be; Where woman's parted soul shall go Her Prophet had disdain'd to show; But Selim's mansion was secure, Nor deem'd she, could he long endure His bower in other worlds of bliss, Without her, most beloved in this! Oh! who so dear with him could dwell? What Houri soothe him half so well? VIII.
Since last she visited the spot Some change seem'd wrought within the grot; It might be only that the night Disguised things seen by better light: That brazen lamp but dimly threw A ray of no celestial hue: But in a nook within the cell Her eye on stranger objects fell.
There arms were piled, not such as wield The turban'd Delis in the field; But brands of foreign blade and hilt, And one was red — perchance with guilt! Ah! how without can blood be spilt? A cup too on the board was set That did not seem to hold sherbet.
What may this mean? she turn'd to see Her Selim — "Oh! can this be he?" IX.
His robe of pride was thrown aside, His brow no high-crown'd turban bore But in its stead a shawl of red, Wreathed lightly round, his temples wore: That dagger, on whose hilt the gem Were worthy of a diadem, No longer glitter'd at his waist, Where pistols unadorn'd were braced; And from his belt a sabre swung, And from his shoulder loosely hung The cloak of white, the thin capote That decks the wandering Candiote: Beneath — his golden plated vest Clung like a cuirass to his breast The greaves below his knee that wound With silvery scales were sheathed and bound.
But were it not that high command Spake in his eye, and tone, and hand, All that a careless eye could see In him was some young Galiong?e.
[28] X.
"I said I was not what I seem'd; And now thou see'st my words were true: I have a tale thou hast not dream'd, If sooth — its truth must others rue.
My story now 'twere vain to hide, I must not see thee Osman's bride: But had not thine own lips declared How much of that young heart I shared, I could not, must not, yet have shown The darker secret of my own.
In this I speak not now of love; That, let time, truth, and peril prove: But first — oh! never wed another — Zuleika! I am not thy brother!" XI.
"Oh! not my brother! — yet unsay — God! am I left alone on earth To mourn — I dare not curse the day That saw my solitary birth? Oh! thou wilt love me now no more! My sinking heart foreboded ill; But know me all I was before, Thy sister — friend — Zuleika still.
Thou ledd'st me hear perchance to kill; If thou hast cause for vengeance see My breast is offer'd — take thy fill! Far better with the dead to be Than live thus nothing now to thee; Perhaps far worse, for now I know Why Giaffir always seem'd thy foe; And I, alas! am Giaffir's child, Form whom thou wert contemn'd, reviled.
If not thy sister — wouldst thou save My life, oh! bid me be thy slave!" XII.
"My slave, Zuleika! — nay, I'm thine; But, gentle love, this transport calm, Thy lot shall yet be link'd with mine; I swear it by our Prophet's shrine, And be that thought thy sorrow's balm.
So may the Koran verse display'd [29] Upon its steel direct my blade, In danger's hour to guard us both, As I preserve that awful oath! The name in which thy heart hath prided Must change; but, my Zuleika, know, That tie is widen'd, not divided, Although thy Sire's my deadliest foe.
My father was to Giaffir all That Selim late was deem'd to thee; That brother wrought a brother's fall, But spared, at least, my infancy; And lull'd me with a vain deceit That yet a like return may meet.
He rear'd me, not with tender help, But like the nephew of a Cain; [30] He watch'd me like a lion's whelp, That gnaws and yet may break his chain.
My father's blood in every vein Is boiling; but for thy dear sake No present vengeance will I take; Though here I must no more remain.
But first, beloved Zuleika! hear How Giaffir wrought this deed of fear.
XIII.
"How first their strife to rancour grew, If love or envy made them foes, It matters little if I knew; In fiery spirits, slights, though few And thoughtless, will disturb repose.
In war Abdallah's arm was strong, Remember'd yet in Bosniac song, And Paswan's rebel hordes attest [31] How little love they bore such guest: His death is all I need relate, The stern effect of Giaffir's hate; And how my birth disclosed to me, Whate'er beside it makes, hath made me free.
XIV.
"When Paswan, after years of strife, At last for power, but first for life, In Widdin's walls too proudly sate, Our Pachas rallied round the state; Nor last nor least in high command, Each brother led a separate band; They gave their horse-tails to the wind, [32] And mustering in Sophia's plain Their tents were pitch'd, their posts assign'd; To one, alas! assign'd in vain! What need of words? the deadly bowl, By Giaffir's order drugg'd and given, With venom subtle as his soul, Dismiss'd Abdallah's hence to heaven.
Reclined and feverish in the bath, He, when the hunter's sport was up, But little deem'd a brother's wrath To quench his thirst had such a cup: The bowl a bribed attendant bore; He drank one draught, and nor needed more! [33] If thou my tale, Zuleika, doubt, Call Haroun — he can tell it out.
XV.
"The deed once done, and Paswan's feud In part suppress'd, though ne'er subdued, Abdallah's Pachalic was gain'd: — Thou know'st not what in our Divan Can wealth procure for worse than man — Abdallah's honours were obtain'd By him a brother's murder stain'd; 'Tis true, the purchase nearly drain'd His ill got treasure, soon replaced.
Wouldst question whence? Survey the waste, And ask the squalid peasant how His gains repay his broiling brow! — Why me the stern usurper spared, Why thus with me the palace shared, I know not.
Shame, regret, remorse, And little fear from infant's force; Besides, adoption of a son Of him whom Heaven accorded none, Or some unknown cabal, caprice, Preserved me thus; but not in peace; He cannot curb his haughty mood, Nor I forgive a father's blood! XVI.
"Within thy father's house are foes; Not all who break his bread are true: To these should I my birth disclose, His days, his very hours, were few: They only want a heart to lead, A hand to point them to the deed.
But Haroun only knows — or knew — This tale, whose close is almost nigh: He in Abdallah's palace grew, And held that post in his Serai Which holds he here — he saw him die: But what could single slavery do? Avenge his lord? alas! too late; Or save his son from such a fate? He chose the last, and when elate With foes subdued, or friends betray'd, Proud Giaffir in high triumph sate, He led me helpless to his gate, And not in vain it seems essay'd To save the life for which he pray'd.
The knowledge of my birth secured From all and each, but most from me; Thus Giaffir's safety was insured.
Removed he too from Roumelie To this our Asiatic side, Far from our seat by Danube's tide, With none but Haroun, who retains Such knowledge — and that Nubian feels A tyrant's secrets are but chains, From which the captive gladly steals, And this and more to me reveals: Such still to guilt just Allah sends — Slaves, tools, accomplices — no friends! XVII.
"All this, Zuleika, harshly sounds; But harsher still my tale must be: Howe'er my tongue thy softness wounds, Yet I must prove all truth to thee.
I saw thee start this garb to see, Yet is it one I oft have worn, And long must wear: this Galiong?e, To whom thy plighted vow is sworn, Is leader of those pirate hordes, Whose laws and lives are on their swords; To hear whose desolating tale Would make thy waning cheek more pale: Those arms thou see'st my band have brought, The hands that wield are not remote; This cup too for the rugged knaves Is fill'd — once quaff'd, they ne'er repine: Our Prophet might forgive the slaves; They're only infidels in wine! XVIII.
"What could I be? Proscribed at home, And taunted to a wish to roam; And listless left — for Giaffir's fear Denied the courser and the spear — Though oft — oh, Mohammed! how oft! — In full Divan the despot scoff'd, As if my weak unwilling hand Refused the bridle or the brand: He ever went to war alone, And pent me here untried — unknown; To Haroun's care with women left, By hope unblest, of fame bereft.
While thou — whose softness long endear'd, Though it unmann'd me, still had cheer'd — To Brusa's walls for safety sent, Awaited'st there the field's event.
Haroun, who saw my spirit pining Beneath inaction's sluggish yoke, His captive, though with dread, resigning, My thraldom for a season broke, On promise to return before The day when Giaffir's charge was o'er.
'Tis vain — my tongue can not impart My almost drunkenness of heart, When first this liberated eye Survey'd Earth, Ocean, Sun and Sky, As if my spirit pierced them through, And all their inmost wonders knew! One word alone can paint to thee That more than feeling — I was Free! Ev'n for thy presence ceased to pine; The World — nay — Heaven itself was mine! XIX.
"The shallop of a trusty Moor Convey'd me from this idle shore; I long'd to see the isles that gem Old Ocean's purple diadem: I sought by turns, and saw them all: [34] But when and where I join'd the crew, With whom I'm pledged to rise or fall, When all that we design to do Is done, 'twill then be time more meet To tell thee, when the tale's complete.
XX.
"'Tis true, they are a lawless brood, But rough in form, nor mild in mood; With them hath found — may find — a place: But open speech, and ready hand, Obedience to their chief's command; A soul for every enterprise, That never sees with terror's eyes; Friendship for each, and faith to all, And vengeance vow'd for those who fall, Have made them fitting instruments For more than ev'n my own intents.
And some — and I have studied all Distinguish'd from the vulgar rank, But chiefly to my council call The wisdom of the cautious Frank — And some to higher thoughts aspire, The last of Lambro's patriots there [35] Anticipated freedom share; And oft around the cavern fire On visionary schemes debate, To snatch the Rayahs from their fate.
[36] So let them ease their hearts with prate Of equal rights, which man ne'er knew; I have a love of freedom too.
Ay! let me like the ocean-Patriarch roam, [37] Or only known on land the Tartar's home! [38] My tent on shore, my galley on the sea, Are more than cities and Serais to me: Borne by my steed, or wafted by my sail, Across the desert, or before the gale, Bound where thou wilt, my barb! or glide, my prow! But be the star that guides the wanderer, Thou! Thou, my Zuleika! share and bless my bark; The Dove of peace and promise to mine ark! Or, since that hope denied in worlds of strife, Be thou the rainbow to the storms of life! The evening beam that smiles the cloud away, And tints to-morrow with prophetic ray! Blest — as the Muezzin's strain from Mecca's wall To pilgrims pure and prostrate at his call; Soft — as the melody of youthful days, That steals the trembling tear of speechless praise; Dear — as his native song to exile's ears, Shall sound each tone thy long-loved voice endears.
For thee in those bright isles is built a bower Blooming as Aden in its earliest hour.
[39] A thousand swords, with Selim's heart and hand, Wait — wave — defend — destroy — at thy command! Girt by my band, Zuleika at my side, The spoil of nations shall bedeck my bride.
The Haram's languid years of listless ease Are well resign'd for cares — for joys like these: Not blind to fate, I see, where'er I rove, Unnumber'd perils — but one only love! Yet well my toils shall that fond beast repay, Though fortune frown or falser friends betray.
How dear the dream in darkest hours of ill, Should all be changed, to find thee faithful still! Be but thy soul, like Selim's, firmly shown; To thee be Selim's tender as thine own; To soothe each sorrow, share in each delight, Blend every thought, do all — but disunite! Once free, 'tis mine our horde again to guide; Friends to each other, foes to aught beside: Yet there we follow but the bent assign'd By fatal Nature to man's warring kind: Mark! where his carnage and his conquests cease! He makes a solitude, and calls it — peace! I like the rest must use my skill or strength, But ask no land beyond my sabre's length: Power sways but by division — her resource The blest alternative of fraud or force! Ours be the last; in time deceit may come When cities cage us in a social home: There ev'n thy soul might err — how oft the heart Corruption shakes which peril could not part! And woman, more than man, when death or woe, Or even disgrace, would lay her lover low, Sunk in the lap of luxury will shame — Away suspicion! — not Zuleika's name! But life is hazard at the best; and here No more remains to win, and much to fear: Yes, fear! — the doubt, the dread of losing thee, By Osman's power, and Giaffir's stern decree.
That dread shall vanish with the favouring gale, Which Love to-night hath promised to my sail: No danger daunts the pair his smile hath blest, Their steps till roving, but their hearts at rest.
With thee all toils are sweet, each clime hath charms; Earth — sea alike — our world within our arms! Ay — let the loud winds whistle o'er the deck, So that those arms cling closer round my neck: The deepest murmur of this lip shall be No sigh for safety, but a prayer for thee! The war of elements no fears impart To Love, whose deadliest bane is human Art: There lie the only rocks our course can check; Here moments menace — there are years of wreck! But hence ye thoughts that rise in Horror's shape! This hour bestows, or ever bars escape.
Few words remain of mine my tale to close: Of thine but one to waft us from our foes; Yea — foes — to me will Giaffir's hate decline? And is not Osman, who would part us, thine? XXI.
"His head and faith from doubt and death Return'd in time my guard to save; Few heard, none told, that o'er the wave From isle to isle I roved the while: And since, though parted from my band Too seldom now I leave the land, No deed they've done, nor deed shall do, Ere I have heard and doom'd it too: I form the plan, decree the spoil, 'Tis fit I oftener share the toil.
But now too long I've held thine ear; Time presses, floats my bark, and here We leave behind but hate and fear.
To-morrow Osman with his train Arrives — to-night must break thy chain: And wouldst thou save that haughty Bey, Perchance, his life who gave the thine, With me this hour away — away! But yet, though thou art plighted mine, Wouldst thou recall thy willing vow, Appall'd by truth imparted now, Here rest I — not to see thee wed: But be that peril on my head!" XXII.
Zuleika, mute and motionless, Stood like that statue of distress, When, her last hope for ever gone, The mother harden'd into stone; All in the maid that eye could see Was but a younger Niob?.
But ere her lip, or even her eye, Essay'd to speak, or look reply, Beneath the garden's wicket porch Far flash'd on high a blazing torch! Another — and another — and another — "Oh! — no more — yet now my more than brother!" Far, wide, through every thicket spread, The fearful lights are gleaming red; Nor these alone — for each right hand Is ready with a sheathless brand.
They part, pursue, return, and wheel With searching flambeau, shining steel; And last of all, his sabre waving, Stern Giaffir in his fury raving: And now almost they touch the cave — Oh! must that grot be Selim's grave? XXIII.
Dauntless he stood — "'Tis come — soon past — One kiss, Zuleika — 'tis my last: But yet my band not far from shore May hear this signal, see the flash; Yet now too few — the attempt were rash: No matter — yet one effort more.
" Forth to the cavern mouth he stept; His pistol's echo rang on high, Zuleika started not nor wept, Despair benumb'd her breast and eye! — "They hear me not, or if they ply Their oars, 'tis but to see me die; That sound hath drawn my foes more nigh.
Then forth my father's scimitar, Thou ne'er hast seen less equal war! Farewell, Zuleika! — Sweet! retire: Yet stay within — here linger safe, At thee his rage will only chafe.
Stir not — lest even to thee perchance Some erring blade or ball should glance.
Fear'st though for him? — may I expire If in this strife I seek thy sire! No — though by him that poison pour'd: No — though again he call me coward! But tamely shall I meet their steel? No — as each crest save his may feel!" XXIV.
One bound he made, and gain'd the sand: Already at his feet hath sunk The foremost of the prying band, A gasping head, a quivering trunk: Another falls — but round him close A swarming circle of his foes; From right to left his path he cleft, And almost met the meeting wave: His boat appears — not five oars' length — His comrades strain with desperate strength — Oh! are they yet in time to save? His feet the foremost breakers lave; His band are plunging in the bay, Their sabres glitter through the spray; We — wild — unwearied to the strand They struggle — now they touch the land! They come — 'tis but to add to slaughter — His heart's best blood is on the water! XXV.
Escaped from shot, unharm'd by steel, Or scarcely grazed its force to feel, Had Selim won, betray'd, beset, To where the strand and billows met: There as his last step left the land, And the last death-blow dealt his hand — Ah! wherefore did he turn to look For her his eye but sought in vain? That pause, that fatal gaze he took, Hath doom'd his death, or fix'd his chain.
Sad proof, in peril and in pain, How late will Lover's hope remain! His back was to the dashing spray; Behind, but close, his comrades lay When, at the instant, hiss'd the ball — "So may the foes of Giaffir fall!" Whose voice is heard? whose carbine rang? Whose bullet through the night-air sang, Too nearly, deadly aim'd to err? 'Tis thine — Abdallah's Murderer! The father slowly rued thy hate, The son hath found a quicker fate: Fast from his breast the blood is bubbling, The whiteness of the sea-foam troubling — If aught his lips essay'd to groan, The rushing billows choked the tone! XXVI.
Morn slowly rolls the clouds away; Few trophies of the fight are there: The shouts that shook the midnight-bay Are silent; but some signs of fray That strand of strife may bear, And fragments of each shiver'd brand; Steps stamp'd; and dash'd into the sand The print of many a struggling hand May there be mark'd; nor far remote A broken torch, an oarless boat; And tangled on the weeds that heap The beach where shelving to the deep There lies a white capote! 'Tis rent in twain — one dark-red stain The wave yet ripples o'er in vain: But where is he who wore? Ye! who would o'er his relics weep, Go, seek them where the surges sweep Their burthen round Sig?um's steep, And cast on Lemnos' shore: The sea-birds shriek above the prey, O'er which their hungry beaks delay, As shaken on his restless pillow, His head heaves with the heaving billow; That hand, whose motion is not life, Yet feebly seems to menace strife, Flung by the tossing tide on high, Then levell'd with the wave — What recks it, though that corse shall lie Within a living grave? The bird that tears that prostrate form Hath only robb'd the meaner worm: The only heart, the only eye Had bled or wept to see him die, Had seen those scatter'd limbs composed, And mourn'd above his turban-stone, [40] That heart hath burst — that eye was closed — Yea — closed before his own! XXVII.
By Helle's stream there is a voice of wail! And woman's eye is wet — man's cheek is pale: Zuleika! last of Giaffir's race, Thy destined lord is come too late: He sees not — ne'er shall see — thy face! Can he not hear The loud Wul-wulleh warn his distant ear? [41] Thy handmaids weeping at the gate, The Koran-chanters of the hymn of fate, The silent slaves with folded arms that wait, Sighs in the hall, and shrieks upon the gale, Tell him thy tale! Thou didst not view thy Selim fall! That fearful moment when he left the cave Thy heart grew chill: He was thy hope — thy joy — thy love — thine all — And that last thought on him thou couldst not save Sufficed to kill; Burst forth in one wild cry — and all was still.
Peace to thy broken heart, and virgin grave! Ah! happy! but of life to lose the worst! That grief — though deep — though fatal — was thy first! Thrice happy! ne'er to feel nor fear the force Of absence, shame, pride, hate, revenge, remorse! And, oh! that pang where more than madness lies! The worm that will not sleep — and never dies; Thought of the gloomy day and ghastly night, That dreads the darkness, and yet loathes the light, That winds around, and tears the quivering heart! Ah! wherefore not consume it — and depart! Woe to thee, rash and unrelenting chief! Vainly thou heap'st the dust upon thy head, Vainly the sackcloth o'er thy limbs doth spread; By that same hand Abdallah — Selim — bled.
Now let it tear thy beard in idle grief: Thy pride of heart, thy bride for Osman's bed, Thy Daughter's dead! Hope of thine age, thy twilight's lonely beam, The star hath set that shone on Helle's stream.
What quench'd its ray? — the blood that thou hast shed! Hark! to the hurried question of Despair: "Where is my child?" — an Echo answers — "Where?" [42] XVIII.
Within the place of thousand tombs That shine beneath, while dark above The sad but living cypress glooms, And withers not, though branch and leaf Are stamp'd with an eternal grief, Like early unrequited Love, One spot exists, which ever blooms, Ev'n in that deadly grove — A single rose is shedding there Its lonely lustre, meek and pale: It looks as planted by Despair — So white — so faint — the slightest gale Might whirl the leaves on high; And yet, though storms and blight assail, And hands more rude than wintry sky May wring it from the stem — in vain — To-morrow sees it bloom again! The stalk some spirit gently rears, And waters with celestial tears; For well may maids of Helle deem That this can be no earthly flower, Which mocks the tempest's withering hour, And buds unshelter'd by a bower; Nor droops, though spring refuse her shower, Nor woos the summer beam: To it the livelong night there sings A bird unseen — but not remote: Invisible his airy wings, But soft as harp that Houri strings His long entrancing note! It were the Bulbul; but his throat, Though mournful, pours not such a strain: For they who listen cannot leave The spot, but linger there and grieve, As if they loved in vain! And yet so sweet the tears they shed, 'Tis sorrow so unmix'd with dread, They scarce can bear the morn to break That melancholy spell, And longer yet would weep and wake, He sings so wild and well! But when the day-blush bursts from high Expires that magic melody.
And some have been who could believe, (So fondly youthful dreams deceive, Yet harsh be they that blame,) That note so piercing and profound Will shape and syllable its sound Into Zuleika's name.
[43] 'Tis from her cypress' summit heard, That melts in air the liquid word; 'Tis from her lowly virgin earth That white rose takes its tender birth.
There late was laid a marble stone; Eve saw it placed — the Morrow gone! It was no mortal arm that bore That deep fixed pillar to the shore; For there, as Helle's legends tell, Next morn 'twas found where Selim fell; Lash'd by the tumbling tide, whose wave Denied his bones a holier grave: And there by night, reclined, 'tis said, Is seen a ghastly turban'd head: And hence extended by the billow, 'Tis named the "Pirate-phantom's pillow!" Where first it lay that mourning flower Hath flourish'd; flourisheth this hour, Alone and dewy, coldly pure and pale; As weeping Beauty's cheek at Sorrow's tale.
(1) "G?l," the rose.
(2) "Souls made of fire, and children of the Sun, With whom revenge is virtue.
" — YOUNG'S "REVENGE.
" (3) Mejnoun and Leila, the Romeo and Juliet of the East.
Sadi, the moral set of Persia.
(4) "Tambour," Turkish drum, which sounds at sunrise, none, and twilight.
(5) The Turks abhor the Arabs (who return the compliment a hundred-fold) even more than they hate the Christians.
(6) This expression has met with objections.
I will not refer to "Him who hath not Music in his soul," but merely request the reader to recollect, for ten seconds, the features of the woman whom he believes to be the most beautiful; and if he then does not comprehend fully what is feebly expressed in the above line, I shall be sorry for us both.
For an eloquent passage in the latest work of the first female writer of this, perhaps of any age, on the analogy (and the immediate comparison excited by that analogy) between "painting and music," see vol.
iii.
cap.
10, "De L'Allemagne.
" And is not this connexion still stronger with the original than the copy? with the colouring of Nature than of Art? After all, this is rather to be felt than described; still, I think there are some who will understand it, at least they would have done had they beheld the countenance whose speaking harmony suggested the idea; for this passage is not drawn from imagination but memory, that mirror which Affliction dashes to the earth, and looking down upon the fragments, only beholds the reflection multiplied.
(7) Carasman Oglou, or Kara Osman Oglou, is the principle landholder in Turkey; he governs Magnesia.
Those who, by a kind of feudal tenure, possess land on condition of service, are called Timariots; they serve as Spahis, according to the extent of territory, and bring a certain number into the field, generally cavalry.
(8) When a Pacha is sufficiently strong to resist, the single messenger, who is always the first bearer of the order for his death, is strangled instead, and sometimes five or six, one after the other, on the same errand, by command of the refractory patient; if, on the contrary, he is weak or loyal, he bows, kisses the Sultan's respectable signature, and is bowstrung with great complacency.
In 1810, several of "these presents" were exhibited in the niche of the Seraglio gate: among others, the head of the Pacha of Bagdad, a brave young man, cut off by treachery, after a desperate resistance.
(9) Clapping of the hands calls the servants.
The Turks hate a superfluous expenditure of voice, and they have no bells.
(10) "Chibouque," the Turkish pipe, of which the amber mouth-piece, and sometimes the ball which contains the leaf, is adorned with precious stones, if in possession of the wealthier orders.
(11) "Maugrabee," Moorish mercenaries.
(12) "Delis," bravoes who form the forlorn-hope of the cavalry, and always begin the action.
(13) A twisted fold of felt is used for scimitar practice by the Turks, and few but Mussulman arms can cut through it at a single stroke: sometimes a tough turban is used for the same purpose.
The jerreed is a game of blunt javelins, animated and graceful.
(14) "Ollahs," Alla il Allah, the "Leilles," as the Spanish poets call them; the sound is Ollah; a cry of which the Turks, for a silent people, are somewhat profuse, particularly during the jerreed, or in the chase, but mostly in battle.
Their animation in the field, and gravity in the chamber, with their pipes and comboloios, form an amusing contrast.
(15) "Atar-g?l," ottar of roses.
The Persian is the finest.
(16) The ceiling and wainscots, or rather walls, of the Mussulman apartments are generally painted, in great houses, with one eternal and highly-coloured view of Constantinople, wherein the principle feature is a noble contempt of perspective; below, arms, scimitars, &c.
, are generally fancifully and not inelegantly disposed.
(17) It has been much doubted whether the notes of this "Lover of the rose are sad or merry; and Mr Fox's remarks on the subject have provoked some learned controversy as to the opinions of the ancients on the subject.
I dare not venture a conjecture on the point, though a little inclined to the "errare [m?]alleum," &c.
, if Mr Fox was mistaken.
[Transcriber's note: the print impression I am working from is poor and in places not entirely intelligible.
] (18) "Azrael," the angel of death.
(19) The treasures of the Pre-Adamite Sultans.
See D'Herbelot, article Istakar.
(20) "Musselim," a governor, the next in rank after a Pacha; a Waywode is the third; and then come the Agas.
(21) "Egripo" — the Negropont.
According to the proverb, the Turks of Egrip, the Jews of Salonica, and the Greeks of Athens are the worst of their respective races.
(22) "Tchocadar," one of the attendants who precedes a man of authority.
(23) The wrangling about this epithet, "the broad Hellespont," or the "boundless Hellespont," whether it means one or the other, or what it means at all, has been beyond all possibility of detail.
I have even heard it disputed on the spot; and not foreseeing a speedy conclusion to the controversy, amused myself by swimming across it in the meantime, and probably may again, before the point is settled.
Indeed, the question as to the truth of "the tale of Troy divine" still continues, much of it resting upon the word {'?peiros} [in Greek]: probably Homer had the same notion of distance that a coquette has of time, and when he talks of the boundless, means half a mile; as the latter, by a like figure, when she says eternal attachment, simply specifies three weeks.
(24) Before his Persian invasion, and crowned the altar with laurel, &c.
He was afterwards imitated by Caracalla in his race.
It is believed that the last also poisoned a friend, named Festus, for the sake of new Patroclan games.
I have seen the sheep feeding on the tombs of ?sietes and Antilochos: the first is in the center of the plain.
(25) When rubbed, the amber is susceptible of a perfume, which is slight but not disagreeable.
(26) The belief in amulets engraved on gems, or enclosed in gold boxes, containing scraps from the Koran, worn round the neck, wrist, or arm, is still universal in the East.
The Koorsee (throne) verse in the second chapter of the Koran describes the attributes of the Most High, and is engraved in this manner, and worn by the pious, as the most esteemed and sublime of all sentences.
(27) "Comboloio," a Turkish rosary.
The MSS.
, particularly those of the Persians, are richly adorned and illuminated.
The Greek females are kept in utter ignorance; but many of the Turkish girls are highly accomplished, though not actually qualified for a Christian coterie.
Perhaps some of our own "blues" might not be the worse for bleaching.
(28) "Galiong?e," or Galiongi, a sailor, that is, a Turkish sailor; the Greeks navigate, the Turks work the guns.
Their dress is picturesque; and I have seen the Capitan Pacha more than once wearing it as a kind of incog.
Their legs, however, are generally naked.
The buskins described in the text as sheathed behind with silver are those of an Arnaut robber, who was my host (he had quitted the profession) at his Pyrgo, near Gastouni in the Morea; they were plated in scales one over the other, like the back of an armadillo.
(29) The characters on all Turkish scimitars contain sometimes the name of the place of their manufacture, but more generally a text from the Koran, in letters of gold.
Amongst those in my possession is one with a blade of singular construction; it is very broad, and the edge notched into serpentine curves like the ripple of water, or the wavering of flame.
I asked the Armenian who sold it what possible use such a figure could add: he said, in Italian, that he did not know; but the Mussulmans had an idea that those of this form gave a severer wound; and liked it because it was "piu feroce.
" I did not much admire the reason, but bought it for its peculiarity.
(30) It is to be observed, that every allusion to anything or personage in the Old Testament, such as the Ark, or Cain, is equally the privilege of Mussulman and Jew: indeed, the former profess to be much better acquainted with the lives, true and fabulous, of the patriarchs, than is warranted by our own sacred writ; and not content with Adam, they have a biography of Pre-Adamites.
Solomon is the monarch of all necromancy, and Moses a prophet inferior only to Christ and Mohammed.
Zuleika is the Persian name of Potiphar's wife; and her amour with Joseph constitutes one of the finest poems in their language.
It is, therefore, no violation of costume to put the names of Cain, or Noah, into the mouth of a Moslem.
(31) Paswan Oglou, the rebel of Widdin; who, for the last years of his life, set the whole power of the Porte at defiance.
(32) "Horse-tail," the standard of a Pacha.
(33) Giaffir, Pacha of Argyro Castro, or Scutari, I am not sure which, was actually taken off by the Albanian Ali, in the manner described in the text.
Ali Pacha, while I was in the country, married the daughter of his victim, some years after the event had taken place at a bath in Sophia, or Adrianople.
The poison was mixed in the cup of coffee, which is presented before the sherbet by the bath-keeper, after dressing.
(34) The Turkish notions of almost all islands are confined to the Archipelago, the sea alluded to.
(35) Lambro Canzani, a Greek, famous for his efforts in 1789-90, for the independence of his country.
Abandoned by the Russians, he became a pirate, and the Archipelago was the scene of his enterprises.
He is said to be still alive at St Petersburg.
He and Riga are the two most celebrated of the Greek revolutionists.
(36) "Rayahs," all who pay the capitation tax, called the "Haratch.
" (37) This first of voyages is one of the few with which the Mussulmans profess much acquaintance.
(38) The wandering life of the Arabs, Tartars, and Turkomans, will be found well detailed in any book of Eastern travels.
That it possesses a charm peculiar to itself, cannot be denied.
A young French renegado confessed to Chateaubriand, that he never found himself alone, galloping in the desert, without a sensation approaching to rapture, which was indescribable.
(39) "Jannat al Aden," the perpetual abode, the Mussulman paradise.
(40) A turban is carved in stone above the graves of men only.
(41) The death-song of the Turkish women.
The "silent slaves" are the men, whose notions of decorum forbid complain in public.
(42) "I came to the place of my birth, and cried, 'The friends of my youth, where are they?' and an Echo answered, 'Where are they?'" — From an Arabic MS.
The above quotation (from which the idea in the text is taken) must be already familiar to every reader — it is given in the first annotation, p.
67, of "The Pleasures of Memory;" a poem so well known as to render a reference almost superfluous; but to whose pages all will be delighted to recur.
(43) "And airy tongues that syllable men's names.
" — MILTON.


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