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Or wynnen Emelye unto his wyf.
This is theffect of his entente playn.
Now wol I torne unto Arcite agayn,
That litel wiste how nyh that was his care,
Til that fortune hath brought him in the snare.
The busy larke, messager of daye,
Salueth in hire song the morwe gray;
And fyry Phebus ryseth up so bright,
That al the orient laugheth of the light,
And with his stremes dryeth in the greves
The silver dropes, hongyng on the leeves.
And Arcite, that is in the court ryal
With Theseus, his squyer principal,
Is risen, and loketh on the mery day.
And for to doon his observance to May,
Remembryng of the poynt of his desire,
He on his courser, stertyng as the fire,
Is riden into feeldes him to pleye,
Out of the court, were it a myle or tweye.
And to the grove, of which that I yow tolde,
By aventure his wey he gan to holde,
To make him a garland of the greves,
Were it of woodewynde or hawthorn leves,
And lowde he song agens the sonne scheene:
“May, with al thyn floures and thy greene,
Welcome be thou, wel faire freissche May,
I hope that I som grene gete may."
1493.-messager of day. The Harl. MS. reads of May. Three lines below, Twyrhitt reads sight for light, very unpoetically.
And fro his courser, with a lusty herte,
Into the grove ful lustily he sterte,
And in a pathe he romed up and doun,
Ther by aventure this Palamoun
Was in a busche, that no man might him see,
Ful sore afered of his deth was he.
Nothing ne knew he that it was Arcite.
God wot he wolde have trowed it ful lite.
For soth is seyde, goon ful many yeres,
That feld hath eyen, and the woode hath eeres.
It is ful fair a man to bere him evene,
For al day meteth men atte unset stevene.
Ful litel woot Arcite of his felawe,
That was so neih to herken of his sawe,
For in the busche he stynteth now ful stille.
Whan that Arcite had romed al his fille,
And songen al the roundel lustily,
Into a studie he fel sodeynly,
As doth thes lovers in here queynte geeres,
Now in the croppe, now doun in the breres,
Now up, now doun, as boket in a welle.
Right as the Friday, sothly for to telle,
Now it schyneth, now it reyneth faste,
1524.-feld hath eyen. This was a very popular old proverb. See my Essays on subjects connected with the Literature, &c of the Middle Ages, i, p. 168. A Latin rhymer has given the following version of it, not uncommon in MSS.
Campus habet lumen, et habet nemus auris acumen. 1537.—now it schyneth. Tyrwhitt reads now schineth it, and proposes on bad MS. authority now itte shineth ; but he was wrong in supposing that “itte may have been a dissyllable formerly, as well as atte."
Right so gan gery Venus overcaste
The hertes of hire folk, right as hir day
Is grisful, right so chaungeth hire aray.
Selde is the Fryday al the wyke i-like.
Whan that Arcite hadde songe, he gan to sike,
And sette him doun withouten eny more :
“Alas !" quod he, “that day that I was bore !
How longe, Juno, thurgh thy cruelté
Wiltow werreyen Thebes the citee?
Allas! i-brought is to confusioun
The blood royal of Cadme and Amphioun :
Of Cadynus, the which was the furst man
That Thebes bulde, or first the toun bygan,
And of that cité first was crowned kyng,
Of his lynage am I, and his ofspring
By verray lyne, and of his stok ryal :
And now I am so caytyf and so thral,
That he that is my mortal enemy,
I serve him as his squyer povrely.
And yet doth Juno me wel more schame,
For I dar nought byknowe myn owne name,
But ther as I was wont to hote Arcite,
Now hoote I Philostrate, nought worth a myte. 1560
Allas! thou felle Mars, allas ! Juno,
Thus hath youre ire owre lynage fordo,
Save oonly me, and wrecchid Palamon,
That Theseus martyreth in prisoun.
And over all this, to slee me utterly,
1540.-grisful. The two Cambridge MSS. have gerful and geryful,
which is perhaps right.
Love hath his fyry dart so brennyngly
I-stykid thorugh my trewe careful herte,
That schapen was my deth erst than
Ye slen me with youre eyhen, Emelye ;
Ye ben the cause wherfore that I dye.
Of al the remenant of al
Ne sette I nought the mountaunce of a tare,
So that I couthe do ought to youre plesaunce."
And with that word he fel doun in a traunce
A longe tyme ; and aftirward upsterte
This Palamon, that thoughte thurgh his herte
He felt a cold swerd sodeynliche glyde,
For ire he quook, he nolde no lenger abyde.
And whan that he hath herd Arcites tale,
As he were wood, with face deed and pale,
He sterte him up out of the bussches thikke,
And seyd: “Arcyte, false traitour wikke,
Now art thou hent, that lovest my lady so,
For whom that I have al this
And art my blood, and to my counseil sworn,
As I ful ofte have told the heere byforn,
And hast byjaped here the duke Theseus,
And falsly chaunged hast thy name thus;
1568.--than my scherte. This appears to have been a proverbial phrase, and is explained by two passages from other poems of Chaucer. In the Legende of good women, 1. 2018,
Sens first that day, that shapen was my sherte,
Or by the fatal suster had my dome.
and in the third book of Troilus and Creseide, 1. 734,-
O fatal sustren, whiche, or any clothe
Me shapen was, my destinee me sponne.
I wol be deed, or elles thou schalt dye.
Thou schalt not love my lady Emelye,
But I wil love hire oonly and no mo;
For I am Palamon thy mortal fo.
And though that I no wepen have in this place,
But out of prisoun am y-stert by grace,
I drede not, that other thou schalt dye,
Or thou ne schalt not love Emelye.
Chese which thou wilt, for thou schalt not asterte."
This Arcite, with ful despitous herte,
Whan he him knew, and had his tale herde,
As fers as a lyoun, pulleth out a swerde,
And seide thus : “By God that sitteth above,
Nere it that thou art sike and wood for love,
And eek that thou no wepne hast in this place,
Thou schuldest never out of this grove pace,
That thou ne schuldest deyen of myn hond.
For I defye the seurté and the bond
Which that thou seyst I have maad to the.
For, verray fool, thenk that love is fre,
And I wol love hire mawgré al thy might.
But, for thou art a gentil perfight knight, 1610
And wenest to dereyne hire by batayle,
Have heere my trouthe, to morwe I nyl not fayle,
Withouten wityng of eny other wight,
That heer I wol be founden as a knight,
1604.— The MS. Harl. reads, But out of prisoun art y-stert by grace, which probably arose from a mistake of the scribe, who seeing that line 1603 was a repetition of 1593, thought that the next line (1594) was to be repeated also.