Geoffrey Chaucer.

The student's Chaucer, being a complete edition of his works; online

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Incipit Prohemium Tercii Libri.

1. O BLISFUL light, of whiche the bemes


Adorneth al the thridde hevene faire !
O sonnes leef, O Joves doughter dere,
Plesaunce of love, O goodly debonaire,
In gentil hertes ay redy to repaire ! 5
O verray cause of hele and of gladnesse,
Y-heried be thy might and thy goodnesse !

2. 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 10

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,

3. Ye Joves first tothilke effectes glade, 15
Thorugh which that thinges liven alle

and be,

Comeveden, and amorous fhim 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. 21

4. 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 re-

signe ; 25

Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne,
And hye or lowe, after a wight entendeth ;
The joyes that he hath, your might him


5. Ye holden regne and hous in unitee ;
Ye soothfast cause of frendship been also ;
Ye knowe al thilke covered qualitee 31
Of thinges which that folk on wondren so,

Whan they can not construe how it may jo,
She loveth him, or why he loveth here ;
As why this fish, and nought that, cometh,
to were. 35

6. 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, 40
Whos clerk I am, so techeth me devyse
Som joye of that is felt in thy servyse.

7. Ye in my naked herte sentement
Inhelde, and do me shewe of thy swet-


Caliope, thy vois be now present, 45

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.

8. LAY al this mene whyle Troilus, 50
Recordinge his lessoun in this manere,

' Ma fey ! ' thought he, ' thus wole I seye

and thus ;

Thus wole I pleyne un-to my lady dere ;
That word is good, and this shal be my

chere ;

This nil I not foryeten in no wyse.' 55
God leve him werken as he gan devyse.

9. And lord, so that his herte gan to


Heringe hir come, and shorte for to syke !
And Pandarus, that ladde hir by the


Com neer, and gan in at the curtin pyke,
And seyde, ' god do bote on alle syke ! 61
See, who is here yow comen to visyte ;
Lo, here is she that is your deeth to wyte.'

2 4 8



10. Ther-with it seined as he wepte al-
most ;
' A ha,' quod Troilus so rewfully,

I Wher me be wo, O mighty god, thou

wost !

Who is al there ? I see nought trewely.'
'Sire,'quod Criseyde, 'it is Pandare and I.'
4 Ye, swete herte? alias, I may nought ryse
To knele, and do yow honour in som
wyse.' 70

II And dressede him upward, and she

right tho
Gan bothe here hondes softe upon him


' O, for the love of god, do ye not so
To me,' quod she, ' ey ! what is this to


Sire, come am I to yow for causes tweye ;
First, yow to thonke, and of your lord-

shipe eke 76

Continuaunce I wolde yow biseke.'

12. This Troilus, that herde his lady

Of lordship him, wex neither quik ne


Ne mighte a word for shame to it seye, 80
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.

13. Criseyde al this aspyede wel y-nough,
For she was wys, and lovede him never-

the-lasse, 86

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


His resons, as I may my rymes holde, 90
I yow wol telle. as techen bokes olde.

14. In chaunged vois, right for his verrey

Which vois eek quook, and ther-to his


Goodly abayst, and now his hewes rede,
Now pale, un-to Criseyde, his lady dere, 95
With look doun cast and humble yolden


Lo, th'alderflrste word that him asterte
Was, twyes, 'mercy, mercy, swete herte!'

15. And stinte a whyl, and whan he
mighte out-bringe, 99

The nexte word was, ' god wot, for I have,
As feythfully as I have had konninge,
Ben youres, also god my sowle save ;
And shal, til that I, woful wight, be

And though I dar ne can un-to yow

Y-wis, I suifre nought the lasse peyne. 105

16. Thus muche as now, O wommanliche

I may out-bringe, and if this yow displese,
That shal I wreke upon myn owne lyf
Eight sone, I trowe, and doon your herte

an ese, 109

If with my deeth your herte I may apese.
But sin that ye han herd me som-what

Now recche I never how sone that I deye.'

17 Ther-with his manly sorwe to biholde,
It mighte han maad an herte of stoon to

rewe ; 114

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

Or slee us bothe at ones, er that ye wende.'

18. 'I ? what ?' quod she, c by god and by
my trouthe, 120

1 noot nought what ye wilne that I seye.'
' I ? what ?' quod he, ' that ye han on him

For goddes love, and doth him nought to

'Now thanne thus,' quod she, 'I wolde

him preye

To tello me the fyn of his entente ; 125
Yet wiste I never wel what that he mente.'

19. 'What that I mene, O swete herte

Quod Troilus, ' O goodly fresshe free !
That, with the stremes of your eyen clere,
Ye wolde som-tyme freendly on me see, 130



And thanne agree"n that I may ben he,
With-oxite braunche of vyce in any wyse,
In trouthe alwey to doon yow my servyse

20. As to my lady right and chief resort,
With al my wit and al my diligence, 135
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. 140

21. And I to been your verray humble

Secret, and in my paynes pacient,
And ever-mo desire freshly newe,
To serven, and been -fy-lyke ay diligent,
And, with good herte, al holly your
talent 145

Keceyven wel, how sore that me smerte,
Lo, this mene I, myn owene swete herte.'

22. Quod Pandarus, 'lo, here .an hard

And resonable, a lady for to werne !
Now, nece myn, by natal Joves fest, 150
Were I a god, ye sholde sterve as yerne,
That heren wel, this man wol no-thing

But your honour, and seen him almost

And been so looth to suffren him yow


23 With that she gan hir eyen on him
caste 155

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

Keceyven him fully to my servyse,


24. Biseching him, for goddes love, that

Wolde, in honour of trouthe and gentil-


As I wel mene, eek mene wel to me, 164
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.

25 But nathelees, this warne I yow,'

quod she,

' A kinges sone al-though ye be, y-wis, 170
Ye shul 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

Cherycen yow right after ye deserve. 175

26. And shortly, dere" herte and al my


Beth glad, and draweth yow to lustinesse,
And I shal trewely, with al my might,
Your bittre torn en al in-to swetnesse ; 179
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


27 Fil Pandarus on knees, and up his

To hevene threw, and held his hondes

' Immortal god ! ' quod he, ' that mayst

nought dyen, 185

Cupide I mene, of this mayst glorifye ;
And Venus, thou mayst make melodye ;
With-outen hond, me semeth that in

For this merveyle, I here ech belle sowne.

28. But ho ! no more as now of this
matere, 190

For-why this folk wol comen up anoon,
That han the lettre red : lo, I hem here.
But I conjure thee, Criseyde, and oon,
And two, thou Troilus, whan thow mayst

That at myn hous ye been at my warn-

inge, 195

For I ful wel shal shape your cominge ;

29. And eseth ther your hertes right
y-nough ;

And lat see which of yow shal here the

To speke of love a-right ! ' ther-with he




' For ther have ye a layser for to telle.' 200
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.'

30. With that Eleyne and also Deiphebus
Tho comen upward, right at the steyres

ende ; 205

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.' 210

31. 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, 215
Hir governaunce, hir wit ; and hir man-

Commendeden, it joye was to here.

32. Now lat hir wende un-to hir owne

And torne we to Troilus a-yein, 219

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.

33. Eleyne him kiste, and took hir leve
blyve, 225

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, 230
To tale ; and wel was hem they were


34. 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, 235
Up roos, and on his beddes syde him sette,

And gan to speken in a sobre wyse
To Troilus, as I shal yow devyse.

35. ' Myn alderlevest lord, and brother

Grod woot, and thou, that it sat me so

sore, 240

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,
Hath ever sithen doon my bisinesse
To bringe thee to joye out of distresse ;

36. And have it brought to swich plyt as
thou wost, 246

So that, thorugh me, thow stondest now

in weye

To fare wel, I seye it for no bost,
And wostow why ? for shame it is to seye,
For thee have I bigonne a gamen pleye
Which that I never doon shal eft for

other, 251

Al-thougn he were a thousand fold my


37. 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. 256

For thee have I my nece, of vyces clene,
So fully maad thy gentilesse triste,
That al shal been right as thy-selve liste.

38. But god, that al wot, take I to wit-
nesse, 260

That never I this for coveityse wroughte,
But only for to abregge that distresse,
For which wel nygh thou deydest, as me


But gode brother, do now as thee oughte,
For goddes love, and keep hir out of

blame, 265

Sin thou art wys, and save alwey hir


39. 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. 270




But wo is me, that I, that cause al this,
May thenken that she is my nece dere,
And I hir eem, and traytor eek y-fere !

40. And were it wist that I, through myn

Hadde in my nece y-put this fantasye, 275
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. 280

41. Wher-fore, er I wol ferther goon a


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 285

To holden secree swich an heigh matere ;
For skilful is, thow wost wel, my prey ere.

42. And thenk what wo ther hath bitid

er this,

For makinge of avauntes, as men rede ;
And what mischaunce in this world yet

ther is, 290

Fro day to day, right for that wikked

For which these wyse clerkes that ben


Han ever yet proverbed to us yonge,
That " firste vertu is to kepe tonge."

43. And, nere it that I wilne as now
t'abregge 295

Diffusioun of speche, I coude almost
A thousand olde stories thee alegge
Of wommen lost, thorugh fals and foles


Proverbes canst thy-self y-nowe, and wost,
Ayeins that vyce, for to been a labbe, 300
Al seyde men sooth as often as they gabbe.

44. O tonge, alias ! 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 306

That men of yelpe, and it were brought

to preve ;
Of kinde non avauntour is to leve.

45. Avauntour and a lyere, al is on ; 309
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. 315

46. 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


That never yet bihighte hem this ne that,
Ne knewe hem more than myn olde hat ?
No wonder is, so god me sende hele, 321
Though wommen drede with us men to


47. 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, 325

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.

48. But now to purpos ; leve brother dere,
Have al this thing that I have seyd in

minde, 331

And keep thee clos, and be now of good


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 de-

vyse. 336

49. For wel I woot, thou menest wel,
parde ;

Therfore I dar this fully undertake.
Thou wost eek what thy lady graunted


And day is set, the chartres up to make.
Have now good night, I may no lenger

wake ; 341



And bid for me, sin thou art now in blisse,
That god me sende deeth or sone lisse.'

50. Who mighte telle half the joye or feste
Which that the sowle of Troilus tho felte,
Heringe th'effect of Pandarus biheste? 346
His olde wo, that made his herte swelte,
Gan tho for joye wasten and to-melte,
And al the richesse of his sykes sore

At ones fledde, he felte of hem no more.

51. But right so as these holtes and these
hayes, 351

That han in winter dede been and dreye,
Revesten hem in grene, whan that May is,
Whan every lusty lyketh best to pleye :
Eight in that selve wyse, sooth to seye, 355
Wex sodeynliche his herte ful of joye,
That gladder was ther never man in Troye.

52. And gan his look on Pandarus up

Ful sobrely, and frendly for to see, 359
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.

53. Thou wost how longe I it for-bar to
seye 365

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 dorste I mo tellen of this matere, 370
That quake now, and no wight may us


54. But natheles, by that god I thee swere,
That, as him list, may al this world


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 376
Wolde it biwreye, or dorste, or sholde

For al the good that god made under

sonne ;

55. That rather deye I wolde, and de-

As thinketh me, now stokked in presoun,
In wrecchednesse, in filthe, and in ver-

myne, 381

Caytif to cruel king Agamenoun ;
And this, in alle the temples of this


Upon the goddes alle, I wol thee swere,
To-morwe day, if that thee lyketh here. 385

56. 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


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, 391

For ever-more, un-to my lyves ende !

57. But here, with al myn herte, I thee

That never in me thou deme swich folye
As I shal seyn ; me thoughte, by thy

speche, 395

That this, which thou me dost for com-


I sholde wene it were a bauderye ;
I am nought wood, al-if 1 lewed be ;
It is not so, that woot I wel, pardee.

58. But he that goth, for gold or for
richesse, 400

On swich message, calle him what thee


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 405
Bitwixen thinges lyke, as I have lered.

59. And, that thou knowe I thenke
nought ne wene

That this servyse a shame be or jape,
I have my faire suster Polixene,
Cassandre, Eleyne, or any of the frape ;
Be she never so faire or wel y-shape, 411
Tel me, which thou wilt of everichone,
To han for thyn, and lat methanne allone.



60. But sin that thou hast don me this
servyse, 414

My lyf to save, and for noon hope of mede,
So, for the love of god, this grete empryse
Parforme 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.' 420

61. Thus held him ech with other wel

That al the world ne mighte it bet

amende ;
And, on the morwe, whan they were


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 hia gode governaunce. 427

62. But in him-self with manhod gan

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. 432

From every wight as fer as is the cloude
He was, so wel dissimulen he coude.

63. And al the whyl which that I yow
devyse, 435

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 44

His lady best, hir thank for to deserve.

64. Nil I nought swerg, al-though he lay

That in his thought he nas sumwhat


Ne that he tornede on his pilwes ofte,
And wolde of that him missed han. ben

sesed ; 445

But in swich cas man is nought alwey


For ought I wot, no more than was he ;
That can I deme of possibilitee.

65. But certeyn is, to purpos for to go,
That in this whyle, as writen is in

geste, 450

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 pro-
cede. 455

66. But it was spoken in so short a wyse,
In swich awayt alwey, and in swich fere,
Lest-any wyght divynen or devyse
Wolde of hem two, or to it leye an ere,
That al this world so leef to hem ne

were 460

As that Cupido wolde hem grace sende
To maken of hir speche aright an ende.

67. But thilke litel that they speke or

His wyse goost took ay of al swich hede,
It semed hir, he wiste that she thoughte
With-outen word, so that it was no nede
To bidde him ought to done, or ought

forbede ; 467

For which she thoughte that love, al

come it late,
Of alle joye hadde opned hir the yate.

68. And shortly of this proces for to
pace, 47

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 ser-
vyse, 475
That al the world ne mighte it bet

69. 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 disple-

saunce ; 480

That, to ben in his gode governaunce,
So wys he was, she was no more afered,
I mene, as fer as oughte ben requered.



70. And Pandarus, to quike alwey the fyr,
Was ever y-lyke prest and diligent ; 485
To ese his frend was set al his desyr.

He shoof 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. 490

71. But now, paraunter, som man way ten

That every word, or sonde, or look, or


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 ; 495

Or of what wight that stant in swich dis-

His wordes alle, or every look, to poynte.

72. For sothe, I have not herd it doon er

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, 501
That wolde, as seyth myn auctor, wel

Neigh half this book, of which him list

not wryte ;
How sholde I thanne a lyne of it endyte ?

73. But to the grete effect : than sey I
thus, 505

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, 510
That it befel right as I shal yow telle,

74. That Pandarus, that ever dide his

Bight for the fyn that I shal speke of


As for to bringe to his hous som night
His faire nece, and Troilus y-fere, 515
Wher-as at leyser al this heigh matere,
Touching hir love, were at the fulle up-

Hadde out of doute a tyme to it founde.

75. For he with greet deliberacioun
Hadde every thing that her-to mighte

avayle 520

Forn-cast, and put in execucioun,
And neither laft for cost ne for travayle ;
Come if hem lest, hem sholde no-thing

fayle ;

And for to been in ought espyed there,
That, wiste he wel, an inpossible were.

76. Dredelees, it cleer was in the wind
Of every pye and every lette-game ; 527
Now al is wel, for al the world is blind
In this matere, bothe fremed and tame.
This timber is al redy up to frame ; 530
Us lakketh nought but that we witen


A certein houre, in whiche she comen.

77. And Troilus, that al this purveyaunce
Knew at the fulle, and waytede on it ay,
Hadde here-up-on eek made gret orde-

naunce, 535

And founde his cause, and ther-to his


If that he were missed, night or day,
Ther-whyle he was aboute this servyse,
That he was goon to doon his sacrifyse,

78. And moste at swich a temple alone

wake, 540

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

And forthy lette him no man, god for-

bede, 545

But preye Apollo helpen in this nede.

79. Now is ther litel more for to done,
But Pandare up, and shortly for to seyne,
Eight sone upon the chaunging of the

Whan lightles is the world a night or

tweyne, 550

And that the welken shoop him for to

He streight a-morwe un-to his nece

wente ;
Ye han wel herd the fyn of his entente.



80. Whan he was come, he gan anoon to

As he was wont, and of him-self to jape ;
And fynally, ho swor and gan liir seye, 556
By this and that, she sholde him not

Online LibraryGeoffrey ChaucerThe student's Chaucer, being a complete edition of his works; → online text (page 38 of 128)