Page images
PDF
EPUB

2530

The gret Theseus that of his sleep is awaked
With menstralcy and noyse that was maked,
Held yit the chambre of his paleys riche,
Til that the Thebanes knyghtes bothe i-liche
Honoured weren, and into paleys fet.
Duk Theseus was at a wyndow set,
Arayed right as he were god in trone:
The pepul preseth thider-ward ful sone
Him for to seen, and doon him reverence,
And eek herken his hest and his sentence.
An herowd on a skaffold made a hoo,
Til al the noyse of the pepul was i-doo :
And whan he sawh the pepul of noyse al stille,
Thus schewed he the mighty dukes wille.

“ The lord hath of his heih discrecioun
Considered, that it were destruccioun
To gentil blood, to fighten in this wise
Of mortal batail now in this emprise ;
Wherfore to schapen that they schuld not dye,
He wol his firste purpos modifye.
No man therfore, up peyne of los of lyf,
No maner schot, ne pollax, ne schort knyf
Into the lystes sende, or thider bryng;
Ne schorte swerd for to stoke the point bytyng
No man ne draw, ne bere by his side.
Ne noman schal unto his felawe ryde

2540

2550

2527.-held yit the chambre. So the Teseide,

Anchor le riche camere enea
Del suo palazio.

But oon cours, with a scharpe spere ;
Feyne if him lust on foote, himself to were.
And he that is at meschief, schal be take,
And nat slayn, but be brought to the stake,
That schal be ordeyned on eyther syde ;
But thider he schal by force, and ther abyde.
And if so falle, a cheventen be take
On eyther side, or elles sle his make,
No lenger schal the turneynge laste.
God spede you ; goth forth and ley on faste. 2560
With long swerd and with mace fight your fille.
Goth now your way; this is the lordes wille.”

The voice of the poepul touchith heven,
So lowde cried thei with mery steven :
“God save such a lord that is so good,
He wilneth no destruccioun of blood !”
Up goth the trompes and the melodye,
And to the lystes ryde the companye
By ordynaunce, thurgh the cité large,
Hangyng with cloth of gold, and not with sarge. 2570
Ful lik a lord this nobul duk cam ryde,
These tuo Thebans on eyther side :
And after rood the queen, and Emelye,

2563.—The voice of the poepul. So the Teseide,


Di nobili e del populo il romore
Tochu le stelle, se fu alto e forte,
Li dei, dicendo, servi tal signore

Che de gli amici suoi fugie la morte. 2564.-mery.

MS. Harl. reads mylde.

2580

And after hem another companye
Of one and other, after here degré.
And thus they passeden thurgh that cité,
And to the lystes come thei by tyme:
It nas not of the day yet fully pryme.
Whan sette was Theseus riche and hye,
Ypolita the queen and Emelye,
And other ladyes in here degrees aboute,
Unto the settes passeth al the route.
And west-ward, thorugh the gates of Mart,
Arcite, and eek the hundred of his part,
With baners red ys entred right anoon ;
And in that selve moment Palamon
Is, under Venus, est-ward in that place,
With baner whyt, and hardy cheer of face.

In al the world, to seeke up and doun,
So even withoute variacioun
Ther nere suche companyes tweye.
For ther nas noon so wys that cowthe seye,
That any had of other avauntage
Of worthines, ne staat, ne of visage,
So evene were they chosen for gesse.
And in-two renges faire they hem dresse.
And whan here names i-rad were everychon,

2590

2574.--And after hem. The MS Harl, reads these two lines thus,

And after hem of ladyes another companye,

And after hem of comunes after here degré. Of ladies in the first line seems redundant, and the second line appears to have been blundered by a careless or ignorant scribe.

2610

That in here nombre gile were ther noon, Tho were the gates schitt, and cried lowde; “ Doth now your devoir, yonge knightes proude !” 2600

The heraldz laften here prikyng up and doun ;
Now ryngede the tromp and clarioun
Ther is nomore to say, but est and west
In goth the speres into the rest;
Ther seen men who can juste, and who can ryde.
In goth the scharpe spere into the side.
Ther schyveren schaftes upon schuldres thyk;
He feeleth thurgh the herte-spon the prik.
Up sprengen speres on twenty foot on hight;
Out goon the swerdes as the silver bright.
The helmes ther to-hewen and to-schrede ;
Out brast the blood, with stoute stremes reede.
With mighty maces the bones thay to-breste.
He thurgh the thikkest of the throng gan threste.
Ther stomblen steedes strong, and doun can falle.
He rolleth under foot as doth a balle.
He feyneth on his foot with a tronchoun,
And him hurteleth with his hors adoun.
He thurgh the body hurt is, and siththen take
Maugré his heed, and brought unto the stake,
As forward was, right ther he most abyde.
Another lad is on that other syde.
And som tyme doth Theseus hem to rest,
Hem to refreissche, and drinke if hem lest.

2620

2617.-on his foot. Conf. 1. 2552.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

Ful ofte a-day have this Thebans twoo
Togider y-met, and wrought his felaw woo:
Unhorsed hath ech other of hem tweye.
Ther nas no tygyr in the vale of Galgopleye,
Whan that hir whelp is stole, whan it is lite,
So cruel on the hunt, as is Arcite

2630
For jelous hert upon this Palamon :
Ne in Belmary ther is no fel lyoun,
That hunted is, or is for hunger wood,
Ne of his prey desireth so the blood,
As Palamon to sle his foo Arcite.
The jelous strokes on here helmes byte :
Out renneth blood on bothe here sides reede.
Som tyme an ende ther is on every dede.
For er the sonne unto the reste went,
The strange kyng Emetreus gan hent

2640
This Palamon, as he faught with Arcite,
And his swerd in his fleissch he did byte.
And by the force of twenti he is take
Unyolden, and i-drawe unto the stake.
And in the rescous of this Palamon
The stronge kyng Ligurgius is born adoun :
And kyng Emetreus for al his strengthe
Is born out of his sadel his swerdes lengthe,
So hit him Palamon er he were take :
But al for nought, he was brought to the stake : 2650

2628.-Galgopleye. Tyrwhitt reads Galaphey, and conjectures that Chaucer meant Galapba in Mauritania Tingitana. Belmarie has been noticed before, l. 57.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »