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From Troilus and Criseyde, Book II, lines 645-686:
Criseyde falls in love with Troilus
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Geoffrey Chaucer (1342 - 1400):
Troilus and Criseyde
Book II, lines 687-805: Criseyde contemplates about freedom and bondage


Now lat us stinte of Troilus a throwe,
That rydeth forth, and lat us tourne faste
Unto Criseyde, that heng hir heed ful lowe,
690Ther-as she sat allone, and gan to caste
Where on she wolde apoynte hir at the laste,
If it so were hir em ne wolde cesse,
For Troilus, upon hir for to presse.

And, lord! So she gan in hir thought argue
695In 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,
700As 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,
705It 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 woot I my kinges sone is he;
And sith he hath to see me swich delyt,
710If 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,
Withouten nede, ther I may stonde in grace?

715`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,
720I 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;
725To wys is he to do so gret a vyce;
Ne als I nel him never so cheryce,
That he may make avaunt, by juste cause;
He shal me never binde in swich a clause.

`Now set a cas, the hardest is, y-wis,
730Men mighten deme that he loveth me;
What dishonour were it unto 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;
735Be they the wers? Why, nay, withouten 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,
740Save 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 woot I myself, so God me spede,
745Al wolde I that noon wiste of this thought,
I am oon the fayreste, out of drede,
And goodlieste, who that taketh hede;
And so men seyn in al the toun of Troye.
What wonder is it though he of me have joye?

750`I am myn owene woman, wel at ese,
I thank it God, as after myn estat;
Right yong, and stonde unteyd in lusty lese,
Withouten jalousye or swich debat;
Shal noon housbonde seyn to me "Chek mat!"
755For either they ben ful of jalousye,
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!
760And 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,
765In March, that chaungeth ofte tyme his face,
And that a cloud is put with wind to flighte
Which oversprat the sonne as for a space,
A cloudy thought gan thorugh hir soule pace,
That over-spradde hir brighte thoughtes alle,
770So that for fere almost she gan to falle.

That thought was this: `Allas! Syn I am free,
Sholde I now love, and putte in jupartye
My sikernesse, and thrallen libertee?
Allas! How dorste I thenken that folye?
775May 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 himself, that ever was bigonne;
780For ever som mistrust, or nyce stryf,
Ther is in love, som cloud is over that sonne:
Therto we wrecched wommen nothing conne,
Whan us is wo, but wepe and sitte and thinke;
Our wreche is this, our owene wo to drinke.

785`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 ydoon, is doon, whoso it rewe.
790For though these men for love hem first to-rende,
Ful sharp biginning breketh ofte at ende.

`How ofte tyme hath it yknowen be,
The treson, that to womman hath be do?
To what fyn is swich love, I can nat see,
795Or 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 nothing, into nought it torneth.

`How bisy, if I love, eek moste I be
800To plesen hem that jangle 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,
805Or soun of belles whyl that they be ronge?'





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From Troilus and Criseyde, Book II, lines 806-875:
Criseyde decides she loves Troilus despite the disadvantage of losing her freedom
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