« PreviousContinue »
And over all this yet said he mochel more To this effect, ful wisely to enhort
The peple, that they shuld hem recomfort.
Duk Theseus with all his besy cure
He casteth now, wher that the sepulture
Of good Arcite may best ymaked be,
And eke most honourable in his degree.
And at the last he toke conclusion,
That ther as first Arcite and Palamon
Hadden for love the bataille hem betwene,
That in that selve grove, sote and grene,
Ther as he hadde his amorous desires,
His complaint, and for love his hote fires,
He wolde make a fire, in which the office
Of funeral he might all accomplise;
And lete anon commande to hack and hewe
The okes old, and lay hem on a rew
In culpons, wel araied for to brenne.
His officers with swifte feet they renne
And ride anon at his commandement.
And after this, this Theseus hath sent
After a bere, and it all overspradde
With cloth of gold, the richest that he hadde;
And of the same suit he cladde Arcite.
Upon his hondes were his gloves white,
Eke on his hed a croune of laurer grene,
And in his hond a swerd ful bright and kene.
He laid him bare the visage on the bere,
Therwith he wept that pitee was to here.
And for the peple shulde seen him alle,
Whan it was day he brought him to the halle,
That roreth of the crying and the soun.
Tho came this woful Theban Palamon
With flotery berd, and ruggy asshy heres,
In clothes blake, ydropped all with teres,
And (passing over of weping Emelie)
The reufullest of all the compagnie.
And in as much as the service shuld be
The more noble and riche in his degree,
Duk Theseus let forth three stedes bring,
That trapped were in stele all glittering,
And covered with the armes of Dan Arcite.
And eke upon these stedes gret and white
Ther saten folk, of which on bare his sheld,
Another his spere up in his hondes held;
The thridde bare with him his bow Turkeis,
Of brent gold was the cas and the harneis:
And riden forth a pas with sorweful chere
Toward the grove, as ye shul after here.
The noblest of the Grekes that ther were
Upon hir shuldres carrieden the bere,
With slacke pas, and eyen red and wete,
Thurghout the citee, by the maister strete,
That sprad was all with black, and wonder hie
Right of the same is all the strete ywrie.
Upon the right hand went olde Egeus,
And on that other side duk Theseus,
With vessels in hir hond of gold ful fine,
All ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wine;
Eke Palamon, with ful gret compagnie :
And after that came woful Emelie,
With fire in hond, as was that time the gise,
To don the office of funeral service.
High labour, and ful gret apparailling
Was at the service of that fire making,
That with his grene top the heven raught,
And twenty fadom of brede the armes straught: 2918
This is to sain, the boughes were so brode.
Of stre first ther was laied many a lode.
But how the fire was maked up on highte, And eke the names how the trees highte, As oke, fir, birch, aspe, alder, holm, poplere, Wilow, elm, plane, ash, box, chestein, lind, laurere, Maple, thorn, beche, hasel, ew, whipultre,
How they were feld, shal not be told for me; 2926
Ne how the goddes rannen up and doun
Disherited of hir habitatioun,
In which they woneden in rest and pees,
Nimphes, Faunes, and Amadriades ;
Ne how the bestes, and the briddes alle
Fledden for fere, whan the wood gan falle;
Ne how the ground agast was of the light,
That was not wont to see the sonne bright;
Ne how the fire was couched first with stre,
And than with drie stickes cloven a-thre,
And than with grene wood and spicerie,
And than with cloth of gold and with perrie,
And gerlonds hanging with ful many a flour,
The mirre, th'encense also with swete odour;
Ne how Arcita lay among all this,
Ne what richesse about his body is;
Ne how that Emelie, as was the gise,
Put in the fire of funeral service;
Ne how she swouned whan she made the fire,
Ne what she spake, ne what was hir desire;
Ne what jewelles men in the fire caste,
Whan that the fire was gret and brente faste;
Ne how som cast hir sheld, and som hir
And of hir vestimentes, which they were,
And cuppes full of wine, and milk, and blood,
Into the fire, that brent as it were wood;
Ne how the Grekes with a huge route
Three times riden all the fire aboute
Upon the left hond, with a loud shouting,
And thries with hir speres clatering;
And thries how the ladies gan to crie;
Ne how that led was homeward Emelie e;
Ne how Arcite is brent to ashen cold;
Ne how the liche-wake was yhold
All thilke night, ne how the Grekes play.
The wake-plaies ne kepe I not to say:
Who wrestled best naked, with oile enoint,
Ne who that bare him best in no disjoint.
I woll not tellen eke how they all gon
Home til Athenes whan the play is don;
But shortly to the point now wol I wende,
And maken of my longe tale an ende.
By processe and by lengthe of certain yeres
All stenten is the mourning and the teres
Of Grekes, by on general assent.
Than semeth me ther was a parlement
At Athenes, upon certain points and cas:
Amonges the which points yspoken was
To have with certain contrees alliance,
And have of Thebanes fully obeisance.