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From Troilus and Criseyde, Book V, lines 1667-1722:
Troilus complains to Pandarus
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Geoffrey Chaucer (1342 - 1400):
Troilus and Criseyde
Book V, lines 1723-1869: Troilus' death and moral ponderations and reflections on faithfullness and unfaithfullness


This Pandarus, that alle these thinges herde,
And wiste wel he seyde a sooth of this,
1725He nought a word ayein to him answerde;
For sory of his frendes sorwe he is,
And shamed, for his nece hath doon amis;
And stant, astoned of these causes tweye,
As stille as stoon; a word ne koude he seye.

1730But at the laste thus he spak, and seyde,
`My brother dere, I may thee do no-more.
What shulde I seyn? I hate, ywis, Criseyde!
And, God woot, I wol hate hir evermore!
And that thou me bisoughtest doon of yore,
1735Havinge unto myn honour ne my reste
Right no reward, I dide al that thee leste.

`If I dide ought that mighte lyken thee,
It is me leef; and of this treson now,
God woot, that it a sorwe is unto me!
1740And dredelees, for hertes ese of yow,
Right fayn wolde I amende it, wiste I how.
And fro this world, almighty God I preye,
Delivere hir sone; I can namore seye.'

Gret was the sorwe and pleynt of Troilus;
1745But forth hir cours fortune ay gan to holde.
Criseyde loveth the sone of Tydeus,
And Troilus moot wepe in cares colde.
Swich is this world; who so it can biholde,
In ech estat is litel hertes reste;
1750God leve us for to take it for the beste!

In many cruel batayle, out of drede,
Of Troilus, this ilke noble knight,
As men may in these olde bokes rede,
Was sene his knighthod and his grete might.
1755And dredelees, his ire, day and night,
Ful cruelly the Grekes ay aboughte;
And alwey most this Diomede he soughte.

And ofte tyme, I finde that they mette
With blody strokes and with wordes grete,
1760Assayinge how hir speres weren whette;
And God it woot, with many a cruel hete
Gan Troilus upon his helm to bete.
But nathelees, fortune it nought ne wolde,
Of others hond that either deyen sholde. --

1765And if I hadde ytaken for to write
The armes of this ilke worthy man,
Than wolde I of his batailles endite.
But for that I to wryte first bigan
Of his love, I have seyd as that I can.
1770His worthy dedes, who-so list hem here,
Reed Dares, he can telle hem alle yfere.

Bisechinge every lady bright of hewe,
And every gentil womman, what she be,
That al be that Criseyde was untrewe,
1775That for that gilt she be not wrooth with me.
Ye may hir gilt in othere bokes see;
And gladlier I wole wryten, if yow leste,
Penolopees trouthe and good Alceste.

Ne I sey not this oonly for these men,
1780But most for wommen that bitraysed be
Thurgh false folk; God yeve hem sorwe, amen!
That with hir grete wit and subtiltee
Bitrayse yow! And this commeveth me
To speke, and in effect yow alle I preye,
1785Beth war of men, and herkeneth what I seye! --

Go, litel book, go litel myn tragedie,
Ther God thy maker yet, er that he dye,
So sende might to make in som comedie!
But litel book, no making thou n'envye,
1790But subgit be to alle poesye;
And kis the steppes, wher-as thou seest pace
Virgile, Ovyde, Omer, Lucan, and Stace.

And for ther is so greet diversitee
In English and in wryting of our tonge,
1795So preye I God that noon miswryte thee,
Ne thee mismetre for defaute of tonge.
And red wherso thou be, or elles songe,
That thou be understonde I God biseche!
But yet to purpos of my rather speche.

1800The wrathe, as I began yow for to seye,
Of Troilus, the Grekes boughten dere;
For thousandes his hondes maden deye,
As he that was withouten any pere,
Save Ector, in his tyme, as I can here.
1805But weylawey, save only goddes wille,
Dispitously him slough the fiers Achille.

And whan that he was slayn in this manere,
His lighte goost ful blisfully is went
Up to the holownesse of the eighthe spere,
1810In convers letinge every element;
And ther he saugh, with ful avysement,
The erratik sterres, herkeninge armonye
With sownes fulle of hevenish melodye.

And doun from thennes faste he gan avyse
1815This litel spot of erthe, that with the see
Embraced is, and fully gan despyse
This wrecched world, and held al vanitee
To respect of the pleyn felicitee
That is in hevene above; and at the laste,
1820Ther he was slayn, his loking doun he caste;

And in himself he lough right at the wo
Of hem that wepten for his deeth so faste;
And dampned al our werk that folweth so
The blinde lust, the which that may not laste,
1825And sholden al our herte on hevene caste.
And forth he wente, shortly for to telle,
Ther as Mercurie sorted him to dwelle. --

Swich fyn hath, lo, this Troilus for love,
Swich fyn hath al his grete worthinesse;
1830Swich fyn hath his estat real above,
Swich fyn his lust, swich fyn hath his noblesse;
Swich fyn hath false worldes brotelnesse.
And thus bigan his lovinge of Criseyde,
As I have told, and in this wyse he deyde.

1835O yonge fresshe folkes, he or she,
In which that love up groweth with your age,
Repeyreth hoom from worldly vanitee,
And of your herte up casteth the visage
To thilke God that after his image
1840Yow made, and thinketh al nis but a fayre
This world, that passeth sone as floures fayre.

And loveth him, the which that right for love
Upon a cros, our soules for to beye,
First starf, and roos, and sit in hevene above;
1845For he nil falsen no wight, dar I seye,
That wol his herte al hoolly on him leye.
And syn he best to love is, and most meke,
What nedeth feyned loves for to seke?

Lo here, of Payens corsed olde rytes,
1850Lo here, what alle hir goddes may availle;
Lo here, these wrecched worldes appetytes;
Lo here, the fyn and guerdon for travaille
Of Jove, Appollo, of Mars, of swich rascaille!
Lo here, the forme of olde clerkes speche
1855In poetrye, if ye hir bokes seche. -

O moral Gower, this book I directe
To thee, and to the philosophical Strode,
To vouchen sauf, ther nede is, to corecte,
Of your benignitees and zeles gode.
1860And to that sothfast Crist, that starf on rode,
With al myn herte of mercy ever I preye;
And to the lord right thus I speke and seye:

Thou oon, and two, and thre, eterne on lyve,
That regnest ay in three and two and oon,
1865Uncircumscript, and al mayst circumscryve,
Us from visible and invisible foon
Defende; and to thy mercy, everichon,
So make us, Jesus, for thy grace digne,
For love of mayde and moder thyn benigne! Amen.


Explicit Liber Troili et Criseydis.

End of Troilus and Criseyde