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From Troilus and Criseyde, Book I, lines 134-155:
About the Greek-Trojan war
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Geoffrey Chaucer (1342 - 1400):
Troilus and Criseyde
Book I, lines 155-266: The Trojans go to the temple


155And so bifel, whan comen was the tyme
Of Aperil, whan clothed is the mede
With newe grene, of lusty Veer the pryme,
And swote smellen floures whyte and rede,
In sondry wyses shewed, as I rede,
160The 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;
165And 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,
170In 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,
175Nor 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,
180And neigh the dore, ay under shames drede,
Simple of atir, 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
185In 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.

190And 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 koude aspye;
He wolde smyle, and holden it folye,
195And seye him thus, `God woot, she slepeth softe
For love of thee, whan thou tornest ful ofte!

`I have herd told, pardieux, of your livinge,
Ye lovers, and your lewed observaunces,
And which a labour folk han in winninge
200Of love, and, in the keping, which doutaunces;
And whan your preye is lost, wo and penaunces;
O verray fooles, nyce and blinde be ye;
Ther nis not oon can war by other be.'

And with that word he gan cast up the browe,
205Ascaunces, `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;
210And yet as proud a pekok can he pulle.

O blinde world, O blinde entencioun!
How ofte falleth al th'effect contraire
Of surquidrye and foul presumpcioun;
For caught is proud, and caught is debonaire.
215This 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,
220Til 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.'

225So ferde it by this fierse 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,
230That he, that now was most in pryde above,
Wex sodeynly most subget unto love.

For-thy ensample taketh of this man,
Ye wyse, proude, and worthy folkes alle,
To scornen Love, which that so sone can
235The 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;
240For this trowe I ye knowen, alle or some,
Men reden not that folk han gretter wit
Than they that han be most with love ynome;
And strengest folk ben therwith overcome,
The worthiest and grettest of degree:
245This was, and is, and yet men shal it see.

And trewelich it sit wel to be so;
For alderwysest han therwith ben plesed;
And they that han ben aldermost in wo,
With love han ben conforted most and esed;
250And 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,
255Refuseth not to Love for to be bonde,
Syn, 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.

260But 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 joye, and of his cares colde;
265And al his werk, as touching this matere,
For I it gan, I wol therto refere.





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From Troilus and Criseyde, Book I, lines 267-322:
Troilus sees Criseyde
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