1          I have gret wonder, by this lighte,                                 ,                                             

            I cannot understand, every day,

2          How that I live, for day ne nighte

            how I survive, because neither day nor night,

3          I may nat slepe wel nigh noght;

            can I sleep, not even a little;

4          I have so many an idel thought                                                                 idel empty

            I am so distracted                                                                                                             

5          Purely for defaulte of slepe,                                                                   defaulte lack

            because of this sleeplessness,

6          That, by my trouthe, I take no kepe                   take no kepe pay no attention to

            that, I swear, I cannot pay attention

7          Of no thing, how it comth or goth,

            to anything, however it comes or goes,

8          Ne me nis no thing lief nor loth.                                lief pleasing; loth loathsome

            nor is anything either pleasing or loathsome to me.

9          Al is iliche good to me—                                                                     iliche the same                                                        

            every thing seems just as good as the other to me—

10        Joye or sorow, wherso it be—

            joy or sorrow, whatever it might be—                                                                         

11        For I have feling in no thinge,

            because I am aware of nothing,                                                                                     

12        But, as it were, a mased thinge,                                                    mased bewildered                                                        

            but like a completely bewildered thing,

13        Alway in point to falle adoun;                                                   in point to about to

            always about to fall down;

14        For sorwful imaginacioun                                                     imaginacioun thought

            because such sad thoughts                                                                                             

15        Is alway hooly in my minde.                                                  is alway hooly in fills                                                        

            always, so completely, fill my mind.

16        ¶And wel ye wote, agaynes kinde                                  wote know; kinde nature                                                        

            And you know well that it is unnatural

17        It were to liven in this wise;                                                                   wise manner                                                        

            to live in this way;

18        For Nature wolde nat suffise                                                               suffise permit                                                        

            because Nature would not permit

19        Unto noon erthly creature

            any earthly creature                                                                                                        

20        Not longe time to endure

            to live for a long time                                                                                                      

21        Withoute slepe, and be in sorwe;

            without sleep, and to be so sorrowful;                                                                         

22        And I ne may, ne night ne morwe,

            and I cannot, at any time,

23        Slepe; and this melancolie,

            sleep; and this melancholy                                                                                             

24        And drede I have for to die,

            and fear I have of dying,                                                                                                                                                          

25        Defaulte of slepe, and hevinesse

            lack of sleep, and numbness                                                                                          

26        Hath slain my spirit of quiknesse,               slain destroyed; quikness liveliness

            has robbed my spirit of life,

27        That I have loste al lustihede.                that so that; lustihede pleasure in living

            so that I have lost all pleasure in living

28        Such fantasies ben in min hede

            Such images are in my head                                                                                                                                                   

29        So I not what is best to do.                                                               not do not know

            that I do not know what it would be best to do.

30        ¶But men might axe me, why so                                                                     axe ask

            But people might ask me, why                                                                                      

31        I may not slepe, and what me is.               what me is what’s the matter with me                                                        

            I cannot sleep, and what is the matter with me.

32        But natheles, who aske this

            But, nevertheless, whoever asks this

33        Leseth his asking trewely.                                                                     leseth wastes                                                       

            wastes his time in asking, truly.

34        Myselven can not telle why

            I cannot myself tell what                                                                                                

35        The soth; but trewly, as I gesse,                                                                  soth truth                                                        

            the truth is; but truly, I suppose,

36        I hold it be a sikenesse                                                                              hold believe                                                    

I believe it to be a sickness

37        That I have suffred this eight yere,

            that I have suffred the last eight years,                                                                        

38        And yet my boote is never the nere;                                   boote cure; nere nearer

            and yet my cure is never nearer

39        For ther is phisicien but one                                                                           but only                                                        

            because there is only one doctor

40        That may me heel, but that is done.                                done not worth pursuing

            who may heal me, but that is not worth pursuing.

41        Pass we over until efte;                                                           efte until another time

            But let’s let this pass until another time;                                                                                                                               

42        That wil not be, moot needs be lefte;                        that what; moot needs must

            what canot be must be put to one side.

43        Our first mater is good to kepe.                                    mater subject; kepe pursue                                                        

            It’s good to stay with our first subject.

44        So whan I saw I might not slepe                                                            might could                                                        

            So when I saw that I might not be able to sleep

45        Til now late, this other night,

            until late the other night.

46        Upon my bedde I sat upright,

            I sat upright in my bed,                                                                                                  

47        And bade one reche me a booke,       one someone [i.e. his servant]; reche bring                                                        

            I asked someone to bring me a book,

48        A romaunce, and he it me toke                                          me tooke brought to me                                                        

            say a romance, and he brought it to me

49        To rede and drive the night away;                                                drive…away pass                                                        

            to read and pass the night.

50        For me thought it better play                                                                      play game

            because it seemed to me a better game                                                                        

51        Then play either at chesse or tables.                                        tables backgammon

            then to play either chess or backgammon.

52        ¶And in this book were written fables                                               fables stories                                                           

            And there were stories in this book

53        That clerkes had, in olde time,                                                  clerkes learned men

            that learned men had, in earlier times,

54        And other poets, put in rime

            along with other poets, told in verse                                                                            

55        To rede, and for to be in minde                                                                       be bear

            for people to read, and to remember

56        Whil men loved the lawe of kinde.                                 whil when; kinde nature

            while people still paid close attention to the laws of nature.                                    

57        This book ne spak but of such thinges,    ne spak but of described nothing but

            This book described nothing but the lives

58        Of quenes lives, and of kinges,

            of queens and kings,                                                                                                        

59        And many other thinges smalle.                                                               smalle insignificant

            And many other insignificant things.

60        Amonge al this I fonde a tale

            Among al this I found a story                                                                                        

61        That me thought a wonder thing.                                                me thought seemed to me

           that seemed just an amazing thing.                                                         

62        ¶This was the tale: Ther was a king                                          

            This was the story: There was once a king                                 

63        That highte Seys, and had a wife,                                                                      highte was called

            who was called Ceyx, and he had a wife                                                                     

64        The beste that might beare life;                                                       might beare life had ever lived

            the best who might ever have lived.

65        And this queen highte Alcione.

            And this queen was called Alcione.                                                                                                                                       

66        So it befill, therafter sone,                                                                                            

            It so happened soon thereafter, that

67        This king wol wenden over see.                                                                      wol wenden wished to travel

            this king wished to travel over the sea.

68        To tellen shortly, whan that he

            And so, to be brief, when he

69        Was in the see, thus in this wise,

            was sailing in the sea in his travels,                                                                              

70        Soche a tempest gan to rise

            such a storm arose                                                                                                           

71        That brak hir mast, and made it falle,                                                      brak broke

            that it broke their mast and made it fall down,

72        And clefte hir ship, and dreint hem alle,             cleft broke up; dreint drowned                                                        

            and split apart their, and drowned everyone,

73        That never was founden, as it telles,                                                       that so that                                                        

            so that no one was ever found, according to the story,

74        Bord ne man, ne nothing elles.

            not a plank nor a man, nor anything else.                                                                   

75        Right thus this king Seys loste his lif.

            It was in just this way that King Ceyx lost his life.

76        ¶Now for to speken of his wif:

            Now I’ll turn to his wife:                                                                                                

77        This lady, that was left at home,

            this lady, who was left at home,                                                                                    

78        Hath wonder, that the king ne come

            wondered why the king did not come

79        Hom, for it was a longe terme.

            home, for it was a very long time.                                                                                 

80        Anon her herte gan to erme;                                                                     erme grieve

            Soon her heart began to grieve;                                                                                     

81        And for that hir thoughte evermo                                                    for that because

            and because she thought continually

82        It was not wel he dwelte so,

            that it was not a good thing that he was so delayed,                                                                                                          

83        She longed so after the king

            she yearned so much for the king

84        That certes, it were a pitous thing                                                      pitous moving

            that it certainly was a moving thing

85        To telle hir hertly sorwful life                                                         hertly extremely                                                        

            to describe the extremely sad life

86        That she hadde alas, this noble wife;

            that she had, alas, this worthy wife;                                                                             

87        For him she loved alderbest.

            because she loved him the best of all.                                                                                                                                    

88        Anon she sent bothe eest and west                                                       anon at once                                                        

            She sent people both east and west

89        To seke him, but they founde nought.

            to look for him, but they found nothing.

90        ¶’Alas!’ quoth she, ‘that I was wrought!                                              wroght made

            ‘Alas!’, she said, ‘that I was born!

91        And wher my lord, my love, be deed?                                                wher whether

            And until I am certain whether my love is dead

92        Certes, I nil never ete breed,                                                                      nil will not

            I will not eat anything,

93        I make a vow to my god here,

            I vow to my god here,                                                                                                     

94        But I mowe of my lorde here!’                                                 but unless; here hear                                                        

            unless I might hear something about my lord.

95        Such sorwe this lady to her toke

            This woman was feeling such sorrow                                                                                                                                   

96        That trewly I, which made this boke,

            that truly I, who wrote this book,

97        Had such pite and suche rowthe                                                       rowthe concern                                                        

            had such sympathy and concern for her,

98        To rede hir sorwe, that, bi my trowthe,                                           rede read about

            when I read about her sorrow, that, I swear,

99        I ferd the worse al the morwe                                                 morwe after next day                                                        

            I felt even worse

100      After, to thenken on her sorwe.

            the next day, thinking about her sadness.

101      ¶So whan she coude here no word

            So when she could not hear anyone saying                                                                 

102      That no man mighte finde hir lord,

            that they might find her lord                                                                                         

103      Ful oft she swouned, and seide ‘alas!’                                           swouned fainted

            she fainted often, and said, ‘alas’!

104      For sorwe ful nigh wood she was,                      ful nigh very nearly; wood mad                                                        

            because she had very nearly gone mad,

105      Ne she coude no reed but oon:                                                               reed remedy                                                        

            nor could she find any remedy but one;

106      But doun on knees she sat anoon

            except to fall to her knees

107      And wept, that pite was to here.

            and weep so much that it was pitiable to hear.

108      ¶’A mercy, swete ladi dere!’

            ‘Ah, have mercy, sweet, dear lady!’

109      Quod she to Juno, hir goddesse;

            she said to Juno, her goddess;                                                                                        

110      ‘Help me out of this distresse,

            ‘Help me out of this distress,                                                                                         

111      And yeve me grace my lord to see                                                               yeve give

            and give me the grace, my lord, to see                                                                         

112      Soone, or wit, wher so he be,                                                                   wit to know                                                        

            soon, or to know, where he is,

113      Or how he fareth, or in what wise,

            or how he is, or in what condition,                                                                               

114      And I shal make you sacrifise,

            and I will make a sacrifice to you,                                                                                 

115      And hooly youres become I shal

            and I will become wholly yours                                                                                    

116      With good will, bodi, hert, and al;

with my best will, body, heart, and everything;                                                                     

117      And but thou wilt this, ladi swete,                                         but unless; wilt want

            and unless you want me in this distress, my sweet lady,

118      Send me grace to slepe, and mete                                                           mete dream

            give me grace enough to sleep, and dream

119      In mi sleep som certein sweven,                                                        sweven dream                                                        

            in my sleep a vision

120      Wherthrough that I may knowe even

            whereby I may know exactly                                                                                         

121      Whether mi lord be quik or deed.’                                                             quik alive

            whether my lord is alive or dead’.

122      With that word she heng doun the heed,

            When she had said all this she hung her head,                                                           

123      And felle aswowne as cold as ston;                                            aswowne in a faint                                                        

            and fell in a faint as cold as a stone;

124      Hir women caught her up anon,

            Her servants picked her up at once,                                                                             

125      And broghten hir in bed al naked,

            and helped her undress, and put her in bed,                                                              

126      And she, forweped and forwaked,

            and she, having wept so much, and sleepless

127      Was wery, and thus the dede slepe                                                         dede sound                                                        

            was exhausted, and thus sleep, like death

128      Fil on her, or she tooke kepe,                           or before; tok kepe was aware of it

            seized her, before she was aware of it,

129      Through Juno, that had herde hir bone,                                               bone prayer                                                        

            with the help of Juno, who had heard her prayer,

130      That made hir for to slepe sone;

            and helped her to sleep soon;                                                                                        

131      For as she praid, right so was done,

            for just has she had asked in her prayer, it was done                                                

132      In deed; for Juno, right anone,

            in deeds; and so June, at once,                                                                                       

133      Called thus her messagere

            called a messenger                                                                                                           

134      To do her erande, and he com nere.

            to run an errand for her, and he approached her.                                                      

135      Whan he was com, she bad him thus:

            When he was near, she commanded him thus:                                                          

136      ‘Go bet’, quod Juno, ‘to Morpheus,                                            Go bet make haste

            ‘Make haste’, Juno said, ‘and go to Morpheus,                                                           

137      Thou knowest him wel, the god of slepe;

            who you know well, the god of sleep;                                                                          

138      Now understonde, and take kepe.                                                              kepe care                                                        

            Take note of what I say, now, and be careful.

139      Sey thus on mi halfe, that he                                                                     half behalf                                                        

            Ask him on my behalf to

140      Go faste into the grete see,                                                                      faste quickly                                                        

            go quickly into the vast sea

141      And bid him that, on alle thinge,

            and ask him that, above all else,                                                                                    

142      He take up Seys body the kinge,

            he pick up the body of Ceyx, the king,                                                                                                                                  

143      That lith ful pale and nothing rody.                                        lith lies; rody ruddy                                                        

            which lies all pale, looking very unhealthy,

144      Bid him crepe into the body,

            and ask him to enter into that body,                                                                             

145      And do it goon to Alcione                                                        do it goon make it go

            and make it go to Alicone

146      The quene, ther she lith alone,

            the queen, where she lies all alone,                                                                               

147      And shewe hir shortly, it is no nay,                                                   shortly briefly

            and show her right away, that without a doubt,                                                        

148      How it was dreint this other day;                                                     dreint drowned

            how that body was drowned the other day;                                                               

149      And do the bodi speke so                                                    do…speke make…speak                                                        

            and make the body speak

150      Right as it was woned to do,                                                       woned accustomed

            just as it was accustomed to do,                                                                                    

151      The whiles that it was alive.

            while it was alive.                                                                                                            

152      Go now faste, and hy thee blive!’                        hie thee blyve hurry with speed

            Go fast, now, and hurry, with speed!’

153      This messager took leve and went

            This messenger took his leave and went                                                                     

154      Upon his wey, and never stent                                                             stent stopped

            on his way, and never stopped                                                                                      

155      Til he com to the derk valeie

            until he came back to the dark valley                                                                           

156      That stant bitwene roches tweie

            that stands between two rocks                                                                                      

157      Ther never yet grew corn ne gras,                                                              corn grain

            where neither corn nor grass has ever grown,                                                            

158      Ne tre, ne noght that oughte was,                                                   oughte anything                                                        

            nor any tree, nor nothing that was ever anything,

159      Best, ne man, ne nothing elles,                                                                    best beast

            neither beast, nor man, nor anything else                                                                    

160      Sauf ther were a fewe welles                                         sauf except; welles springs

            except for a few springs                                                                                                  

161      Cam renning fro the cliffs adoun,

            that were running down from the cliffs,                                                                      

162      That made a deedli sleping soun,                               deedli deathly; soun sound

            which made a deathly sleeping sound,

163      And ronnen doun right by a cave

            and ran down right by a cave                                                                                        

164      That was under a rokke ygrave                                                ygrave hollowed out

            that was under a hollowed out rock                                                                             

165      Amid the valey, wonder depe.

            in the middle of the valley, very deep.                                                                         

166      Ther these goddis laye and slepe,

            There, these gods lay and slept                                                                                     

167      Morpheus, and Eclympasteire,

            Morpheus and Eclympasteire                                                                                        

168      That was the god of slepes eire,                                                                     eire heir

            who was the god of sleep’s heir

169      That slepe and did non other werke.                                       that slepe who slept

            who slept and did no other work.                                                                                 

170      This cave was also as derke

            This cave was also as dark                                                                                             

171      As hell pitte over al aboute;

            as the pit of hell throughout;                                                                                         

172      They had good leiser for to route   good leiser time on their hands; route snore

            They had a lot of time on their hands to snore                                                           

173      To envie, who might slepe beste;                                                       envie compete

            and to compete to see who could sleep the best;                                                                                                                 

174      Som henge her chin upon her breste                                                      henge hung

            Some hung their chins on their chest                                                                           

175      And slept upright, her hed yhedde,                                                yhedde covered

            and slept sitting up, with their heads covered.                                                                                                                    

176      And som lay naked in her bedde

            and some lay naked in their bed.                                                                                  

177      And slepe whiles the dayes laste.                                                                               

            and slept all day long.

178      This messager com fleying faste

            This messenger came flying quickly                                                                                                                                      

179      And cried, ‘O how! awak anon!’

            and cried, ‘Listen! wake up right away!’                                                                     

180      It was for noght; ther herde him non.                                            for noght no use

            It did no good though; no one heard him.

181      Awak!’ quod he, ‘who is lith there?’

            Wake up!’, he said, ‘who is it lying there?’                                                                                                                           

182      And blew his horn right in her ere,

            and blew his horn right in their ear,                                                                             

183      And cried ‘awaketh!’ wonder hye.                                                            hye loudly

            and cried, ‘wake up!’, very loudly.

184      This god of sleep, with his oon ye                                                                    ye eye                                                        

            This god of sleep, with his one eye

185      Caste up and axed, ‘who clepeth there?’           caste up looked up; clepeth calls

            looked up and asked, ‘who, there, calls out?’

186      It am I, ‘quod this messagere;

            ‘It is I’, said this messenger;                                                                                           

187      Juno bad thow shuldest goon’—

            Juno says that you must come’–                                                                                                                                            

188      And tolde him what he shulde doon

            and he told what he must do                                                                                         

189      As I have told yow hertofore;

            as I have told you already;                                                                                             

190      It is no need reherse it more;                                                                                        

            There is no need to tell anymore;                                                                                  

191      And went his wey, whan he had saide.                                                                      

           And he left, when he had spoken.                                                                                   

192      Anon this god of slepe abraide                       Anon right away; abreide awoke

            This god of sleep awoke right away                                                                             

193      Out of his slepe, and gan to goon,

            and began to move,                                                                                                         

194      And did as he had bede him doon;                                                      bede ordered

            and did what had been asked to do;

195      Tooke up the dreinte body sone,                                                   dreinte drowned

            He picked up the drowned body quickly

196      And bare it forth to Alcione,

            and took it to Alcione,                                                                                                                                                              

197      His wif the queen, theras she lay,

            his wife, the queen, where she lay                                                                                

198      Right even a quarter before day,                                                quarter three hours

            at exactly three hours before dawn

199      And stood right at her beddis fete,

            and stood right at the foot of her bed,                                                                          

200      And called hir, right as she hete,                                                       hete was called

            and called her, just as she was called                                                                           

201      By name, and said, ‘my swete wife,

            by name, and said, ‘my dear woman,                                                                                                                                   

202      Awak! let be your sorwful life!                                                         let be put aside

            Wake up! put aside your sorrowful life!

203      For in your sorwe ther lith no rede;                ther lith no red there is no remedy

            because there is no remedy in such sorrow;

204      For certes, swete, I am but dede;

            for in fact, sweetheart, I am dead;                                                                                 

205      Ye shul me never on live yse.                                                                           yse see                                                        

            You will never see me alive.

206      But good sweet herte look that ye

            But good, sweet heart, take care to                                                                               

207      Bury my body, for suche a tide                                        such a tide at such a time

            bury my body, for at such and such a time                                                                 

208      Ye mowe it find the see beside;          beside next to the see beside on the shore                                                        

            ye will be able to find it on the shore;

209      And farwel, sweet, my worldes blisse!

            And farewell, sweetheart, who was all my happiness in this world.

210      I praye God your sorwe lisse;                                                                    lisse lessen                                                        

            I pray to God that your sorrow may lessen;

211      To litel while our blisse lasteth!’                                                                        to too                                                        

            Our happiness lasts all too short a time!’                                                                     

212      With that hir eyen up she casteth,

            Having said that she looked upward,                                                                          

213      And sawe noght. Quod she, ‘for sorwe!’                                           noght nothing

            and saw nothing. She said, ‘such sorrow!’                                                                                                                           

214      And died within the thridde morwe.

            and died within three days.                                                                                                       

215      But what she said more in that swow                                                 swow swoon

            But what else she said in that fainting spell

216      I may not telle yow as now,

            I may not tell you now,                                                                                                   

217      It were to longe for to dwelle;

            It would delay us for too long;                                                                                      

218      My first matere I wil yow telle,                                        first matere main subject

            I will focus on my first subject                                                                                       

219      Wherfore I have told this thinge                                                       wherefore why

            which is why I have told this story                                                                               

220      Of Alcione and Seys the kinge.

            about Alcione and Ceyx, the king.                                                                                

221      For thus much dar I saye welle,

            For I will say this much with certainty,                                                                        

222      I had be dolven everydelle, had be                                           dolven buried

            I would have been buried completely                                                                          

223      And ded, right through defaulte of slepe,                                           defaulte lack

            and dead, just for lack of sleep,

224      If I nad redde and take kepe

            if I had not read and paid attention to                                                                         

225      Of this tale next before:                                                              next before just told

            this tale I just told                                                                                                            

226      And I wol telle yow wherfore;                 

            and I will tell you the reason;

227      For I ne might, for boot ne bale,                       for I ne might because I could not

            because I could not for good or ill,                                                                               

228      Slepe, or I had red this tale                                                                            or before

            sleep, before I had read this tale                                                                                    

229      Of this dreinte Seys the kinge,                                                      dreynte drowned                                                        

            about this drowned Ceyx, the king,

230      And of the goddis of slepinge.

            and about the gods of sleep.                                                                                          

231      Whan I had red this tale wel,

            When I had read this tale carefully,                                                                              

232      And overloked it everydel,                  overloked examined; everydel every part                                                        

            and examined every part,

233      Me thoght wonder if it were so;                                               me thoght it seemed

            it seemed a marvel if it wre true;                                                                                   

234      For I had never herd speke, or tho,                                               or tho before then

            Because I had never heard anyone speak, before then,

235      Of no goddis that coude make

            about gods who could make

236      Men for to sleep, ne for to wake;

            men and women sleep or wake;                                                                                    

237      For I ne knew never God but oon.

            for I only knew of one God                                                                                            

238      And in my game I said anoon—                                                  in my game in jest                                                        

            and in jest I said at once—

239      And yet me list right evel to pley—                                     me list I had no desire                                                        

            and yet I had no real desire to play—

240      ‘Rather then that I shulde dey                                                                         dey die

            ‘instead of dying

241      Through defaulte of sleping thus,                                                        defaulte lack

            through lack of sleep in this way,                                                                                 

242      I wold yive thilke Morpheus,                                                                         yive giv

            I would give this same Morpheus,

243      Or his goddesse, dame Juno,

            or his goddess, lady Juno,                                                                                              

244      Or som wight, I ne roghte who—                 wight person; ne roghte do not care

            or some other person, I do not care who—

245      To make me slepe and have som reste—

            to make me sleep and have some rest—                                                                      

246      I wil yive him the alderbeste                                              alderbeste the very best                                                        

            I will give him the very best

247      Yift that ever he abode his live,                                                                       yift gift                                                        

            gift that he ever had in his life,

248      And here onward, right now, as blive;                                onward as an advance

            and here, as an advance, right now, quickly;

249      Yif he wol make me slepe a lite,

            if he will make me sleep a little,                                                                                    

250      Of downe of pure dowves white                           downe feathers; dowves doves

            made of down from pure white doves                                                                         

251      I wil yif him a feder bedde,                                                    yif give; feder feather

            I will give him a feather bed,

252      Rayed with golde, and right wel cledde                rayed striped; cledde covered

            striped with gold, and very well covered                                                                    

253      In fin blak satin doutremere,                                           doutremer from overseas

            in fine black satin, imported from overseas                                                                

254      And many a pilow, and every bere                                                  bere pillowcase

            and many pillows, and ever pillowcase

255      Of clothe of Reines, to slepe softe;

            made of linen from Reines, to sleep enfolded softly                                                  

256      Him thar not need to turnen ofte.

            so he need not turn often.                                                                                                                                                        

257      And I wol yive him al that falles                                                         falles pertains

            and I will give him all that pertains

258      To a chambre; and al his halles                                                    chambre bedroom

            to a bedroom; and all of his halls                                                                                  

259      I wol do peint with pure golde,                                             do peint have painted

            I will have painted with pure gold,

260      And tapite hem ful many folde                                               

            and adorn with numerous tapestries

261      Of one sute; this shal he have,                                                                 sute pattern                                                        

            in a matching pattern; this he will have

262      If I wist where were his cave,                                                                     wist knew

            if I knew where his cave was,

263      If he can make me slepe sone,

            if he can make me sleep soon,                                                                                       

264      As did the goddesse Alcione.

            as this goddess Alcione did.                                                                                          

265      And thus this ilk god, Morpheus,                                                                 ilk same

            And, thus, this same god, Morpheus,                                                                           

266      May winne of me mo fees thus                                        mo fees a greater reward

            may win a greater reward from me in this way                                                         

267      Than ever he wanne; and to Juno,

            than he ever won before; and to Juno,                                                                          

268      That is his goddesse, I shal so do;                                                           so the same

            who is his goddesss, I will do the same;                                                                      

269      I trow that she shal holde her paide.’

            I believe that she will consider herself satisfied.                                                         

270      I hadde unneth that worde ysaide                                                   unneth hardly

            I had hardly said those words

271      Right thus as I have tolde it yow,

            just as I have said them to you,                                                                                     

272      That sodeinly, I niste how,                                                            niste do not know

            when suddenly, I do not know how,

273      Suche a lust anoon me tooke                                   lust desire; me took seized me

            such a desire to sleep seized me at once                                                                      

274      To sleep, that right upon my booke

            so that right there on my book                                                                                                                                               

275      I fil aslepe, and therwith evene                                     therwith evene right away

            I fell asleep, and right away

276      Me met so inly swete a swevene,                                  me met dreamed; swevene dreamed

            I dreamed so inwardly sweet a dream,

277      So wonderful, that never yitte

            so wonderful, that never yet                                                                                          

278      I trowe no man had the witte                                                                trowe believe

            I believe, no man has had the intelligence

279      To konne wel my sweven rede;                            knonne know; rede to interpret

            to know how to interpret my dream well;

280      No, not Joseph, withoute drede,                                                             drede doubt

            No, not Joseph, without a doubt,

281      Of Egipte, he that redde so                                                             redde interpreted

            of Egypt, he who interpreted so well

282      The kinges metinge Pharao,                                                               metinge dream

            Pharao, the king’s dream,

283      No moor than coud the leste of us;

            better than could the least intelligent among us;                                                                                                                 

284      Ne nat scarsly Macrobeus,

            Nor scarcely could Marobeus,                                                                                       

285      (He that wrote al th’avisioun                                                 th’avisioun the vision

            (He who wrote about the whole vision                                                                        

286      That he met, king Scipioun,

            that King Scipio dreamed,                                                                                              

287      The noble man, the Affrican—

            the noble man, the African—                                                                                         

288      Suche mervailes fortuned than)               fortuned than happened in those days

            such marvels happened in those days)

289      I trowe, ared my dremes even.                     arede might interpret; even correctly

            I believe, might interpret my dreams correctly.                                                          

290      Lo, thus it was; this was my sweven.                                                 sweven dream

            So, it was thus; this was my dream.

291      Me thoghte thus: that it was May,

            I thought thus: that it was May,                                                                                    

292      And in the dawning there I lay.

            And in the dawn, I lay there.

293      Me met thus, in my bed al naked:—

            and dreamed thus, in my bed all naked:—                                                                 

294      And loked forth, for I was waked

            and looked around, because I was awakened                                                                                                                      

295      With smale foules a gret hepe,                                         foules birds; hepe throng

            with a great throng of small birds,                                                                                

296      That had affraied me out of slepe                                                   affraied aroused

            that had aroused me from sleep                                                                                    

297      Through noise and swetnesse of her song;

            through the noise and sweetness of their song;                                                          

298      And, as me met, they sate among,                                                    among together

            and, as I dreamed, they sat together,                                                                            

299      Upon my chambre roof withoute

            on the roof of my bedroom, outside                                                                             

300      Upon the tiles, al aboute,

            on the roof tiles, everywhere,                                                                                        

301      And songen, everich in his wise,

            and sang, each one in their own manner                                                                                                                              

302      The moste solempne servise                                                                                        

            the most solemn service                                                                                                  

303      By note, that ever man, I trowe,                                          by note in musical form

            in musical form, that any person, I believe,                                                                 

304      Had herd; for somme of hem song lowe,

            had ever heard; for some of them sung low,                                                               

305      Som high, and al of oon acorde.

            some high, and all in harmony.

306      To telle shortly, at oo worde,

            To tell it shortly, in a word,                                                                                            

307      Was never herd so swete a steven,                                                       steven sound

            so sweet a song was never heard,                                                                                 

308      But it had be a thing of heven;                              but it had be unless it had been

            unless it had been a thing of heaven;                                                                                                                                    

309      So mery a soun, so swete entunes,                                                entunes melodies

            so merry a sound, such sweet tunes,                                                                            

310      That certes, for the toune of Tewnes,

            that certainly, even in exchange for the town of Tunis,                                             

311      I nold but I had herde hem singe,

            I would rather have heard them sing,                                                                          

312      For al my chambre gan to ringe

            because all of my bedroom resounded                                                                        

313      Through singinge of hir armonie.

            with the singing of their harmony.                                                                               

314      For instrument nor melodie

            For neither instrument nor melody                                                                              

315      Was nowher herd yet half so swete,

            half so sweet was heard anywhere,                                                                              

316      Nor of acorde half so mete;                    of acorde with harmony; mete agreeable

            nor harmony half so agreeable;                                                                                     

317      For ther was noon of hem that feined                                          feined pretended                                                        

            For there was not one of them that pretended

318      To sing, for ech of hem him peined

            to sing, but each of them took pains                                                                             

319      To finde out mery crafty notes;

            to invent merry, well-crafted notes;                                                                              

320      They ne spared not hir throtes.

            They did not spare their throats.                                                                                                                                            

321      And, soth to seyn, my chambre was

            And, it is true to say, my bedroom was                                                                       

322      Ful wel depeinted, and with glas

            very well painted,                                                                                                            

323      Were al the windowes wel yglased,                                                  yglased glazed

            and all of the windows were so well glazed with very clear glass,

324      Ful clere, and nat an hole ycrased,                                                   ycrased cracked                                                        

            without a single crack,

325      That to beholde it was gret joye.

            that it was a great joy to behold.

326      For holy al the storie of Troye

            For the whole story of Troy                                                                                            

327      Was in the glasinge ywroghte thus,

            was portrayed in the glass thus,                                                                                                                                             

328      Of Ector and king Priamus,

            of Hector and king Priam,                                                                                              

329      Of Achilles and Lamedon,

            of Achilles and Lamedon,                                                                                                                                                       

330      Of Medea and of Jason,

            of Medea and of Jason,                                                                                                    

331      Of Paris, Eleine, and Lavine.

            of Paris, Helen and Lavinia.                                                                                                                                                    

332      And al the walles with colours fine

            And all of the walls were painted with fine colors                                                     

333      Were peinted, bothe text and glose,                                          glose interpretation

            both the text and glosses on                                                                                           

334      Of al the Romaunce of the Rose.

            the whole of the Romance of the Rose.                                                                        

335      My windows weren shet echon,

            My windows were each shut                                                                                         

336      And through the glas the sonne shon

            and the sun shone through the glass                                                                                                                                     

337      Upon my bed with brighte bemes,

            onto my bed with bright beams,                                                                                                                                            

338      With many gladde gilde stremes;                                gladde joyful; gilde golden

            with many joyful, golden streams;                                                                               

339      And eek the welken was so faire,                                                            welken sky

            and the sky was also so beautiful,                                                                                 

340      Blew, bright, clere was the aire,

            the air was blue, bright, and clear,                                                                                

341      And ful atempre, for sothe, it was;                                             atempre temperate

            and the weather was really very mild;

342      For nother cold nor hoot it was,

            for it was neither cold nor hot,

343      Ne in al the welken was a cloude.

            nor was there a cloud in the sky.                                                                                   

344      And as I lay thus, wonder loude                                                         wonder very                                                        

            And as I lay thus,

345      Me thoght I herde an hunte blowe                                                         hunte hunter

            I thought I heard a hunter blow very loudly                                                                                                                        

346      T’assay his horn, and for to knowe                                                t’assay to try out

            to try out his horn, so he could tell                                                                               

347      Whether it were clere or hors of soune.                                                  hors hoarse

            whether it was clear or hoarse in its sound.

348      I herde goinge, up and doune,

            I heard moving, up and down,                                                                                      

349      Men, horse, hounds, and other thinge;

            men, horses, dogs and other things;                                                                                                                                      

350      And al men speken of huntinge,                                   speken were talking about

            and everyone was talking about hunting,                                                                   

351      How they wold slee the hert with strengthe,                            hert (male) red deer

            how they would slay the hart in the chase,                                

352      And how the hert had, upon lengthe,

            and how the hart had, eventually,                                                                                

353      So moche embosed, I not now what.

            become so exhausted, I do not now know just how much.

354      Anon right, whan I herde that,

            As soon as I heard that,

355      How that they wolde on hunting goon,

            how that they would go hunting,                                                                                 

356      I was right glad, and up anoon,

            I was very glad, and right away,                                                                                   

357      I took my hors, and forthe I went

            I took my horse, and went forth                                                                                    

358      Out of my chambre; I never stent                                                         stent stopped

            out of my bedroom. I never stopped                                                                            

359      Til I com to the feld withoute.                                                        withoute outside

            until I came to a field outside.                                                                                       

360      Ther overtoke I a gret route                       overtoke caught up with; route crowd

            where I caught up with a great crowd

361      Of hunts and eke of foresters,

            of hunters and also of trackers,                                                                                                                                              

362      With many relaies and limers,

                                       relaies reinforcement dogs; limers dogs trained to hunt by scent

            with many dogs (positioned ahead of the hunt) as reinforcments and dogs trained to hunt by scent,

363      And hied hem to the forest faste,                                                  hied hem hurried

            and they hurried to the forest quickly,

364      And I with hem;—so at the laste

            and I with them;–so finally                                                                                                                                                     

365      I asked oon ladde a limere:                                                                                           

            I asked one who led a dog on a leash:

366      ‘Say felow, who shal hunten here

            ‘Say fellow, who will hunt here                                                                                     

367      Quod I; and he answered agein,

            I said; and he answered,                                                                                                 

368      ‘Sir, th’emperour Octovien,’

            Sir, the emperor Octavian’,                                                                                                                                                     

369      Quod he, ‘and is her faste by.’                                                  her faste by close by

            he said, ‘and he is close by’.                                                                                           

370      ‘A Gods halfe, in good time’, quod I

            ‘For God’s sake, that is very timely’, I said                                                                  

371      Go we faste!’ and gan to ride.

            Let’s go quickly!’ and he began to ride.                                                                       

372      Whan we cam to the forest side,

            When we came to the side of the forest,                                                                       

373      Every man did, right anoon,

            Every man did, right away,                                                                                                                                                    

374      As to hunting fel to doon.                                  fel to doon it was necessary to do

            what it was necessary to do for hunting.                                                                     

375      The maister-hunte anon, fot-hote,                hunte hunter; fot-hote immediately

            The master-hunter then, right away,                                                                            

376      With a gret horne blew three mote                                                           mote notes

            blew three loud notes with a large horn                                                                      

377      At the uncouplinge of his houndes.

when his hounds were unleashed.                                                                                                                                                      

378      Withinne a whil the herte founde is,

            In a short time the hart was discovered                                                                       

379      Yhalowed, and rechased faste

            pursued with shouts, and hunted vigorously                                                              

380      Longe time; and at the laste,

            for a long time; and finally,                                                                                            

381      This herte rused and stal away                                           rused retraced his steps

            this hart retraced his steps and stole away                                                                  

382      Fro al the hounds a prive way.                                                               prive hidden

            from all the hounds in a hidden path.

383      The hounds had overshette hem alle,                                      overshette overshot

            All of the hounds had overshot him,                                                                            

384      And were on a defaulte yfalle;                   were on a default yfalle lost the scent                                                        

            and had lost the scent;

385      Therwith the hunte wonder faste

            And with that the master hunter                                                                                   

386      Blewe a forleigne at the laste.                                             forleigne a hunting call                                                        

            blew his horn to recall all of the other hunters.

387      ¶I was go walked fro my tre,                                     was go walked walked away                                                        

            I walked away from my tree,

388      And as I went, ther cam by me

            and, as I went, a pup walked by me                                                                             

389      A whelp, that fauned me as I stoode,                    whelp pup; fauned fawned on

            that fawned on me as I stood there,                                                                              

390      That hadde yfolowed, and coud no goode.                                              

            that had followed me and did not know what to do next.

391      It came and crept to me as lowe,

            It came and approached me as low to the ground,                                                    

392      Right as it hadde me yknowe,

            as if it knew me,                                                                                                               

393      Held doun his heed and joined his eres,

            and held its head low with its ears joined together,                                                                                                            

394      And leide al smothe doun his heres.                              smothe smooth; heres fur

            and smoothed out all of its fur.

395      I wolde have caught it, and anoon

            I would have caught it, but it fled                                                                                 

396      It fled, and was fro me agoon;

            quickly and was gone from me;                                                                                    

397      And I him folwed, and it forth went

            And I followed it, and it went forward                                                                                                                                 

398      Doun by a floury grene went                                                                      went path

            by way of a flowery, green path                                                                                      

399      Ful thikke of gras, ful softe and swete,

            full of thick grass, very soft and sweet,                                                                        

400      With floures fel, faire under fete,                                                                 fel many

            with many flowers, beautiful under foot,                                                                    

401      And litel used, it semed thus;

            and so it seemed to have been very little used;                                                                                                                    

402      For bothe Flora and Zephirus,

            For both Flora and Zephirus,                                                                                         

403      They two that make floures growe,

            Those two who make flowers grow,

404      Had mad hir dwelling ther, I trowe;                                                    trowe believe                                                        

            had made their dwelling there, I believe;

405      For it was, on for to beholde,

            For it was, to look upon                                                                                                  

406      As thogh the erthe envie wolde                                                          envie compete

            as though the earth wanted to compete                                                                       

407      To be gayer than the heven,

            to be more beautiful than heaven,                                                                                

408      To have mo floures, swiche seven                                  swiche seven seven times

            to have more flowers, seven times more                                                                      

409      As in the welken sterres be.                                                                      welken sky

            than there are stars in the sky.

410      It had forget the povertee

            It had forgotten the poverty                                                                                           

411      That winter, through his colde morwes,

            that winter, with its cold mornings                                                                              

412      Had mad it suffren, and his sorwes;

            had made it suffer, and its sorrows;                                                                             

413      Al was forgete, and that was sene.

            All was forgotten, and that was clear.                                                                                                                                   

414      For al the wood was waxen grene,                                                     waxen become                                                        

            For all the wood had become green,

415      Swetnesse of dewe had made it waxe.                                                     waxe grow

            because the sweetness of the dew had made it grow.

416      ¶It is no nede eek for to axe

            It is also not necessary to ask                                                                                         

417      Wher ther were many grene greves,                         wher whether; greves groves

            whether there were many green groves,

418      Or thikke trees, so ful of leves;

            of thick trees, so full of leaves;                                                                                       

419      And every tree stood by himselve

            and every tree stood by itself                                                                                         

420      Fro other wel ten feet or twelve.

            ten or twelve feet from the others.                                                                                

421      So grete trees, so huge of strengthe,

            Such large trees, so full of strength,                                                                              

422      Of fourty or fifty fadme lengthe,                                                        fadme fathom

            forty or fifty fathoms in height,                                                                                     

423      Clene withoute bough or stikke,                                                              stikke twig                                                        

            free from any bough or branch,

424      With croppes brode, and eke as thikke—                                       croppes foliage                                                        

            with crowns of foliage wide and thick—

425      They were nat an inche asonder—

            The treetops were not an inch apart—                                                                         

426      That it was shadwe overal under;                             it was shadwe it was shaded

            so that it was completely shaded underneath;                                                            

427      And many an hert and many an hinde                                                     hinde doe

            and many a hart and many a doe                                                                                 

428      Was both befor me and behinde.

            was both in front of and behind me.

429      Of fawnes, sowres, bukkes, does

            The wood was full of fawns, four-year old deer, and bucks                                    

430      Was ful the wode, and many roes,                                                        roes roe deer

            and many roe deer,

431      And many squirelles, that sete

            and many squirrels that sat                                                                                                                                                     

432      Ful high upon the trees, and ete,

            very high on the trees, and ate,                                                                                     

433      And in hir maner made festes.

            and feasted in their usual way.                                                                                      

434      Shortly, it was so ful of bestes,

            Soon it was so full of animals,                                                                                       

435      That thogh Argus, the noble counter,                                 counter mathematician                                                        

            that even if Argus, the great mathematician,

436      Set to rekene in his counter,                                                counter counting house

            were to sit down to do the math in his counting house,

437      And reken with his figures ten—

            and count with the ten Arabic numerals—                                                                                                                          

438      For by tho figures mowe al ken,                                                                 ken know

            since by those numerals everyone may know,

439      If they be crafty, rekene and noumbre,                       crafty skilful; rekene count

            if they are skillful, how to calculate and enumerate                                                  

440      And tel of every thing the noumbre—

            and count the number of every thing—                                                                       

441      Yet shulde he fail to rekene evene

            yet even he should fail to count all of the wonders                                                                                                             

442      The wondres, me mette in my swevene.                                 me mette I dreamed

            that I dreamed in my dream.

443      ¶But forth they romed wonder faste

            But the deer moved away very quickly                                                                       

444      Doun the wood; so at the laste                                                             doun through

            through the wood; until, finally,                                                                                   

445      I was war of a man in blak,

            I was aware of a man dressed in black                                                                         

446      That sat and had yturned his bak

            who sat with his back turned                                                                                         

447      To an oke, an huge tree.                                                                                   oke oak

            to an oak, a huge tree.

448      ‘Lord,’ thought I, ‘who may that be?

            ‘Lord’, I thought, ‘who could that be?                                                                          

449      What aileth him to sitten here?’

            What trouble makes him just sit here?’                                                                        

450      Anoonright I wente nere;

            Right away I went closer;                                                                                               

451      Than founde I sitte even upright

            then I found sitting up straight                                                                                     

452      A wonder welfaringe knight—                                               welfaring handsome

            a very attractive knight—

453      By the maner me thoghte so—

            in form, he seemed so to me—

454      Of good mochel, and yong therto,                       good mochel well proportioned                                                        

            because he was so well proportioned and young,

455      Of the age of foure and twenty yere.

            and twenty-four years of age.

456      Upon his berd but litel here,                                                   berd beard; here hair

            He had very little hair on his chin,                                                                                

457      And he was clothed al in blake.

            and he was dressed entirely in black.                                                                                                                                    

458      I stalked even unto his backe,                    stalked walked quietly; even to up to

            I walked quietly right up to his back,

459      And there I stoode as stille as ought,                                               ought anything                                                        

            and there I stood, as still as anything

460      That, soth to saye, he saw me nought,

            so that, in truth, he did not see me,                                                                               

461      Forwhy he henge his hede adoune.                                                 forwhy because

            because he hung his head down.                                                                                  

462      And with a dedly sorwful soune                                                           soune sound

            and with a lifeless, sorrowful sound                                                                            

463      He made of rime ten vers or twelve,

            he composed ten or twelve verses in rhyme                                                               

464      Of a compleinte to himselve,

            of a complaint to himself,                                                                                                                                                        

465      The most pitee, the moste routhe,                                                      routhe pitiable

            the most pitiable, the most moving

466      That ever I herd; for, by my trouthe,

            that I ever heard, for, I swear,                                                                                        

467      It was gret wonder that Nature

            it was a cause for wonder that Nature                                                                                                                                  

468      Might suffre any creature

            might allow any creature                                                                                                

469     To have such sorwe, and be not ded.

            to be so sorrowful, and yet not be dead.                                                                      

470      Ful pitous, pale, and nothing red,

            So pitiable, pale, and colorless,                                                                                      

471      He said a lay, a maner songe,                                                                        lay poem

            he recited a lay, a kind of song                                                                                      

472      Withoute note, withoute songe,

                  without notes, without melody,                                                                              

473      And it was this; for wel I can

            and it was this; for I can repeat it very accurately;                                                     

474      Reherse it; right thus it began.—                                                                                 

            it began like this—

475      ¶’I have of sorwe so gret wone,                                                                wone habit

            ‘I have such an abundance of sorrow

476      That joye gete I never none,

            that I never have any joy,                                                                                               

477       Now that I see my lady bright,

            now that I see my beautiful lady                                                                                   

478      Which I have loved with al my might,

            who I loved with all my might,                                                                                     

479      Is fro me ded, and is agoon.

            is dead and gone away from me.

481      Allas, O deth! what aileth thee                                                                              

            Alas, O death! what ails you                                                                                          

482      That thou noldest have taken me,                                               noldest would not                                                        

            that you did not want to take me,

483      Whan that thou took my lady swete?

            when you took my sweet lady?                                                                                     

484      That was so fair, so fresh, so fre,                                                            fre generous

            who was so fair, so young, so generous,

485      So good, that men may wel yse                                                                        yse see

            so good, that anyone might see well                                                                            

486      Of al goodness she had no mete!’—                                                   mete equal

            that she had no equal in goodness!’

487      ¶Whan he had mad thus his complaint,

            When he had made his complaint in this way,                                                     

488      His sorwful hert gan faste faint,

                His sorrowful heart quickly grew weak,                                                               

489      And his spirites wexen dede;                                           wexen dede grew lifeless

                  and his spirits grew lifeless;                                                                                     

490      The blood was fled, for pure drede,                                       pure drede utter fear

                  for his blood fleed, for utter fear,                                                                            

491      Doun to his hert, to make him warme—

                  down to his heart, to warm him—                                                                          

492      For wel it feled the hert had harme—                                                   feled sensed                                                           

                  for it rightly sensed that his heart was injured—

493      To wete eek why it was adrad                       wete eek to know also; adrad afraid

                  to learn, also, what in its nature made it afraid                                                    

494      By kinde, and for to make it glad;                                                         kinde nature

                  and to make it happy;                                                                                               

495      For it is membre principal                                                                   membre organ

                  because it is the principal organ

496      Of the body; and that made al

                  of the body; and that movement made all of his complexion                            

497      His hewe chaunge and wexe grene                                              hewe complexion

                  change and grow green                                                                                            

498      And pale, for ther no blood was sene

                  and pale, for there was no blood to be seen                                                          

499      In no maner limme of his.                                                                         limme limb

                  in any of his limbs.                                                                                                    

500      ¶Anoon therwith whan I saw this,

                  As soon as I saw this,                                                                                                  

501      He ferd thus evel there he sete,         ferd fared; thus evel so badly; there where

                  how he fared so badly where he sat,                                                                      

502      I went and stood right at his fete,

                   I went and stood right at his feet,                                                                            

503      And grette him, but he spake noght,

                  and greeted him, but he said nothing,                                                                   

504      But argued with his owne thoght,

                  but was lost in his own thoughts                                                                            

505      And in his wit disputed faste

                  and seemed to be thinking very hard                                                                     

506      Why and how his lif might laste;

                  about how and why he might stay alive;                                                               

507      Him thought his sorwes were so smerte                                           smerte painful

                  it seemed to him that his sorrows were so painful

508      And lay so colde upon his herte;                                                                                 

                  and lay so coldly on his heart;

509      So, throgh his sorwe and hevy thoght,                                                                       

                  that his sorrow and sadness

510      Made him that he herd me noght;

                  prevented him from hearing me at all;                                                                   

511      For he had wel nigh lost his minde,

                  for he had nearly lost his mind,                                                                               

512      Thogh Pan, that men clep god of kinde,                            clep call; kinde Nature

                  even if Pan, who men call the god of nature,                                                        

513      Were for his sorwes never so wrothe.                                                 wrothe angry

                  might be very angry with him for indulging in such sorrows.

514      ¶But at the last, to sayn right sothe,

                  But, finally, to tell you how it happened truly,                                                     

515      He was war of me, how I stoode                                                                war aware                                                           

                  he was aware of me, and how I stood

516      Before him, and did of min hoode,                                                    did of took off

                  in front of him, and took off my hood,                                                                   

517      And grette him, as I best coude.

                  and greeted him, as best I could.                                                                                                                                         

518      Debonairly, and nothing loude,                                         debonairly courteously

                  courteously, and quietly,

519     He sayde, I prey thee, be not wrothe’

                  he said, ‘please do not be angy;                                                                               

520      I herd thee not, to seyn the sothe,

                  I did not hear you, to tell you the truth,                                                                 

521      Ne I saw the not, sir, trewly.’                                                                                        

                  nor did I see you, sir, truly’.

522      ¶’A! goode sir, no fors,’ quod I,                                                      no fors no matter                                                           

                  ‘Ah, good sir, it does not matter’, I said,

523      I am right sory if I have ought                                                                                     

                  I am very sorry if I have in any way                                                                       

524      Destroubled yow out of your thoughte;

                  drawn you out of your thoughts;                                                                            

525      Forgif me if I have mistake.’                                                     mistake done wrong

                  forgive me if I have done wrong’.                                                                           

526      ¶’Yis, th’amendes is light to make,’                                                            light easy

                  ‘Yes, it is very easy to make amends’,                                                                    

5276      Quod he, ‘for ther lith noon therto;

                  he said, ‘because there is nothing to it;                                                                   

528      There is nothing missaid nor do.’

                  there is nothing down nor missaid’.                                                                       

529      ¶Lo! how goodly spak this knighte,

                  Look! how well this knight spoke,                                                                                                                                      

530      As it had ben another wighte;                                                             wighte person                                                           

                  as if he were another person;

531      He made it nouther tough ne queinte                                                                        

                  he made it neighert difficult nor complicated                                                       

532      And I saw that, and gan me aqueinte                                                                         

                  and I saw that, and began to get to know him

533      With him, and found him so tretable,                                                                        

                  and found him so affable                                                                                          

534      Right wonder skilful and resonable,                                                                          

                  so very discerning and rationale,                                                                            

535      As me thoght, for al his bale.                                                                       bale grief

                  it seemed to me, despite all his grief.

536      Anoonright I gan finde a tale                                                        finde a tale speak

                  Right away I began to speak to him

537      To him, to loke wher I might oughte                                                                          

                  to see whether I might in any way                                                                          

538      Have more knowinge of his thoughte.                                                                       

                  better understand his thoughts.

539      ‘Sir,’ quod I, ‘this game is doon;                                                 this game the hunt

                  Sir’, I said, ‘the hunt is over;                                                                                    

540      I holde that this hert be goon;                                                                  holde think

                  I think that this hart has escaped;

541      These huntes can him nowher see.’                                                  huntes hunters

                  these hunters cannot see him anywhere’.                                                              

542      ¶’I do no fors therof,’ quod he,                                              do no fors do not care                                                           

                  ‘I do not care about that’, he said,

543      My thought is theron never a dele.’                                       never a dele not at all

                  my thought is not at all on that’.

544      ¶’By our Lord,’ quod I, ‘I trow yow wele,                                             trow believe

                  ‘By our Lord’, I said, ‘I certainly believe you,                                                       

545      Right so me thinketh by your chere.

                  your face makes it seem exactly so.                                                                        

546      But, sir, oo thinge wol ye here?                                                                         oo one

                  But, sir, will you listen to one thing?                                                                                                                                  

547      Me thinketh, in great sorwe I you see;                                                                       

                  I thought I saw you in great sorrow;

548      But certes, sire, yif that ye                                                                                             

                  but, certainly, sir, if you

549      Wolde ought discure me your woo,                                            discure disclose to                                                           

                  want to disclose any of your sorrow to me,

550      I wolde, as wis God help me soo,                                                          wis certainly                                                           

                  I would, as our wise God me help me do so,

551      Amende it, if I can or may;

                  relieve it, if I know how or am able to;                                                                   

552      Ye mowe prove it by assay.                                                    mowe may; assay trial

                  Ye might test this by trying it out with me.                                                                                                                       

553      For, by my trouth, to make you hool,                                trouth faith; hool whole

                  For, truly, to make you whole,

554      I wol do al my power hool;

                  I will use all my power;                                                                                            

555      And telleth me of your sorwes smerte,

                  and if you tell me of your painful sorrow                                                              

556      Paraunter it may ease your herte,                                                paraunter perhaps

                  perhaps it might ease your heart,                                                                                                                                        

557      That semeth ful seke under your side.’                                                          seke ill

                  that seems so sick in your body’.

558      ¶With that he loked on me aside,

                  With that he looked askance at me,                                                                        

559      As who saith, ‘nay, that wol not be.’

                  like someone who says, ‘no, that will not happen’.                                              

560      ‘Graunt mercy, goode frend,’ quod he,

                  ‘Pardon me, good friend’, he said,                                                                          

561      I thank the that thou woldest soo,

                  I thank you that you want to do this,                                                                                                                                 

562      But it may never the rather be doo.                                                      rather sooner

                  but it can not be done quickly.

563      No man may my sorwe glade,

                  No man may gladden my sorrow,                                                                          

564      That maketh my hew to fal and fade,                                            hew complexion

                  that makes my complexion to grow pale and feeble,                                           

565      And hath min understonding lorne,                                                           lorne lost

                  and has destroyed my very understanding,                                                         

566      That me is wo that I was borne!

                  so that I regret that I was born!                                                                                

567     May nothing mak my sorwes slide,    may nothing nothing can; slide diminish

                  Nothing can diminish my sorrows,                                                                        

568      Nought the remedies of Ovidel

                  Not the cures of Ovid,                                                                                               

569      Ne Orpheus, god of melodie,

                  nor Orpheus, the god of song,                                                                                 

570      Ne Dedalus, with playes slie;                                playes inventions; slie cunning

                  nor Dedalus, with his cunning inventsions;

571      Ne heel me may no phisicien,                                                                           ne nor

                  nor might any physician heal me,                                                                           

572      Noght Ypocras, ne Galien;

                  not Hippocrates, nor Galen;                                                                                     

573      Me is wo that I live oures twelve;

                  it is sad to me that I live twelve more hours;                                                        

574      But who so wol assay himselve                                                                   assay test

                  but whoever will test himself

575      Whether his hert can have pite

                  to see whether his heart can have pity

576      Of any sorwe, lat him see me.

                  on any sorrow, let him look at me.                                                                         

577     I wrech, that deth hath made al naked

                  I, wretch, who death has made barren                                                                   

578      Of al the bliss that ever was maked,

                  of all the bliss that ever was made                                                                                                                                      

579      Yworthe worste of alle wightes,                  yworthe am become; wightes people

                  am become the worst of all people,

580      That hate my dayes and my nightes;

                  who hates my days and my nights;                                                                        

581      My lif, my lustes be me loothe,                                                        lustes pleasures

                  My life, my pleasures are unpleasant to me                                                          

582      For al welfare and I be wroothe.                                                      wroothe at odds

                  For I am at odds with all  happiness.

583      The pure deth is so my foo,

                  Death itself is my foe,                                                                                                

584      That I wold deye, it wold not so;

                  because I want to die and it does not want it so;                                                  

585      For whan I folwe it, it wol flee;

                  For when I pursue it, it wants to flee;                                                                     

586      I wolde have it, it nil not me.                                                                     nil will not

                  I want to have it, but it will not have me.                                                              

587      This is my pein withoute rede,                                                              rede remedy

                  This is my pain, without remedy,                                                                           

588      Alway deyinge, and be not dede,

                  Always dying, but not to be dead,                                                                          

589      That Sesiphus, that lith in helle

                  so that Sisyphus, who lies in hell                                                                                                                                        

590      May not of more sorwe telle.

                  may not describe greater sorrow.                                                                            

591      And whoso wiste al, by my trouthe,                                                       wiste knew

                  And whoever knew all my sorrow, truly,                                                             

592      My sorwe, but he hadde routhe                                                                 but unless

                  unless he had compassion for me                                                                           

593      And pite of my sorwes smerte,

                  and pity for my deep sorrows,

594      That man hath a feendly herte.                                                        feendly devilish

                  that man has a devilish heart.

595      For who so seeth me firste on morwe

                  For whoever sees me first in the morning                                                             

596      May seyn, he hath ymet with sorwe;

                  may say, he has met with sorrow;                                                                           

597      For I am sorwe and sorwe is I.

                                                                                             for I am sorrow and sorrow is me.                                                           

598      ¶’Allas! and I wol tel the why;

                  ‘Alas! and I will tell you why;                                                                                  

599      My sorwe is turned to pleyninge,                                                 pleyninge lament                                                           

                  my sorrow is turned into lament

600      And al my laughter to wepinge,

                  and all my laughter to weeping,                                                                             

601      My gladde thoughts to hevinesse,

                  my glad thoughts to sorrow,                                                                                    

602      In travaile is min idelnesse                                                          travaile hard labor

                  my idelness and also my rest have become hard labor                                       

603      And eek my rest; my wele is wo.

                  my happiness into woe.                                                                                            

604      My goode is harme, and ever mo

                  what was good for me is now harmful, and always                                            

605      In wrathe is turned my pleyinge,

                  my pleasure is turned into anger,                                                                           

606      And my delite into sorwinge;

                  and my delight into lamenting;

607      Min hele is turned into seeknesse,                                                           hele health

                  my health is turned into sickness,                                                                           

608      In drede is al my sikernesse;                    drede uncertainty; sikernesse certainty

                  my certainty is turned into uncertainty;

609      To derke is turned al my lighte,

                  all my light is turned into darkness,                                                                       

610      My witte is foly, my day is nighte,

                  my reason is foolishness, my day is night,                                                            

611     My love is hate, my sleep wakinge,

                  my love is hate, my sleep wakefulness,                                                                 

612      My mirthe and meles is fastinge,                                                              meles food                                                           

                  my joy and feasting is fasting,                                                                                 

613      My countenaunce is nicete,              countenance composure; nicete foolishness                                                           

                  my composure is foolishness

614      And al abaved wherso I be,                                                           abaved befuddled

                  and all befuddled wherever I am

615      My pees, in pledinge and in werre;                                                pledinge debate

                  my peace has now turned into argument and war;                                             

616      Allas! how might I fare werre?                                                                werre worse

                  Alas! how might I fare the worse?                                                                          

617      My boldenesse is turned to shame,

                  my confidence is turned to embarrassment,

618      For fals Fortune hath pleide a game

                  because falls Fortune has played a game

619      At ches with me, allas! the while!

                  of chess with me. Alas! alas!                                                                                    

620      The traiteress fals and ful of gile,

                  The false traitor, full of guile                                                                                    

621      That al behoteth and nothing halte,                                           behoteth promises                                                           

                  that promises all and follows through with nothing

622      She goth upright and yet she halte,                                    goth walks; halte limps

                  she walks upright and yet she limps,                                                                     

623      That baggeth foule and loketh faire,                                                   baggeth leers

                  who leers wickedly and appears fair

624      The dispitouse debonaire,                                                                                            

                  the cruel courteous one,

625     That scorneth many a creature!

                  who scorns many a creature!                                                                                   

626      An idole of fals portraiture                                                                           idole idol

                  an idol falsly painted                                                                                                 

627      Is she, for she wol sone wryen;                                                      wryen turn away                                                           

                  is she, for she will soon turn away;

628      She is the monstres hed ywrien,                                                       ywrien covered

                  she is the monster’s covered head,                                                                         

629      As filthe over ystrawed with floures;                          over ystrawed strewn over

                  like filth covered over with flowers;                                                                       

630      Hir moste worship and hir flour is                                                    worship virtue

                  hir greatest virtue and her greatest achievement                                                 

631      To lyen, for that is hir nature;                                                                          lyen lie

                  is to lie, because that is her nature;                                                                         

632      Withoute feithe, lawe, or mesure                                              mesure moderation

                  without loyalty, rule, or moderation

633      She is fals; and ever laughing

                  she is false; and always laughing                                                                            

634      With one eye, and that other wepinge.

                  with one eye, and weeping with the other.                                                           

635      That is broght up, she sette al doun.                                                           that what

                  Whatever is brought up, she puts it down.

636      I likne hir to the scorpioun,

                  I compare her to a scorpion,                                                                                     

637      That is a false flatering beste;

                  who is a false, flattering animal;                                                                              

638     For with his hede he maketh feste,                              maketh feste is welcoming

                  for with his head he is welcoming                                                                          

639      But al amidde his flateringe

                  but in the middle of his flattering                                                                           

640      With his taile he wol stinge,

                  he will stinge with his tail,                                                                                       

641      And envenime; and so wol she.                                                     envenime poison

                  and poison; and so will she.                                                                                     

642     She is th’envious charite                                                                                               

                  She is the envious generosity

643      That is ay fals, and semeth wele,

                  that is always false, and seems good,                                                                     

644      So turneth she hir false whele

                  And so she turns her false wheel about                                                                 

645      About, for it is nothing stable,

                  for it is in no way stable,                                                                                           

646      Now by the fire, now at the table;

                  now by the fireplace, now at the table;                                                                   

647      For many hath she thus yblent.                                                          yblent blinded                                                           

                  for she has blinded many thus.

648      She is pley of enchauntement,

                  She is a trick of magic,                                                                                              

649      That semeth oon and is nat so,

                  that seems something that it is not,                                                                         

650      The false theef! what hath she do,

                  the false theif! what has she done                                                                           

651      Trowest thou? by our Lorde, I wol thee sey’. trowest thou do you think; sey tell you

                  do you think? Lord, I will tell you.

652      At ches with me she gan to pley;

                  She began to play chess with me;                                                                            

653     With hir false draughtes divers                                                     draughtes moves

                  with her various deceitful moves

654      She staale on me, and took my fers.                     stale on crept up on; fers queen

                  She crept up on me, and took my queen.                                                               

655      And whan I saw my fers away,                                                                                    

                  And when I saw my queen was gone,

656      Allas! I couth no lenger play,

                  Alas! I could no longer play,                                                                                    

657      But seide, ‘farwel, swete, ywis,                                                                                    

                  but said, ‘farewell, sweetheart, indeed,                                                                  

658      And farwel al that ever ther is!’

                  and farewell to all that there is!’                                                                              

659      ¶Therwith Fortune said ‘chek here!’                                     chek here check mate                                                           

                  And with that Fortune said, “check mate”!

660      And ‘mate!’ in mid point of the chekkere                            chekkere chess board

                  and “defeated!” in the middle of the chess board                                                

661      With a poune errante, allas!                                 poune errante wandering pawn

                  with a wandering pawn, alas!

662      Ful craftier to pley she was

                  She was more skillful in playing                                                                             

663      Than Athalus, that mad the game

                  than Athalus, who invented the game                                                                   

664      First of the ches: so was his name.

                  of chess first; this was his name.                                                                             

665     But God wolde I had ones or twies                God wolde had God wished it that                                                           

                  But had God wished it that I had been expert once or twice

666      Ykoude and know the jeopardies                                      jeupardies chess moves                                                           

                  and known the chess moves

667      That coud the Greek Pithagores,

                  that the Greek Pythagoras knew,                                                                            

668      I shulde have pleyd the bet at ches,                                                     the bet better

                   I would have played chess much better,                                                               

669      And kept my fers the bet therby;

                  and in that way protected my queen better;                                                            

670      And though wherto? for trewely                                                                                 

                  and yet to what end? for truly

671      I hold that wish nat worthe a stre!                                                              stre straw

                  I think that very wish is worthless!                                                                         

672      It had be never the bet for me.                                                                                     

                  It would never have gone better for me.                                                                

673      For Fortune can so many a wile,                                             can knows; wile trick

                  For Fortune knows so many tricks,

674      Ther be but few can hir begile,

                  there are only a few who know how to trick her,                                                 

675      And eek she is the las to blame:                                                                     eek also

                  and also she is less to blame:

676      Myselfe I wolde have do the same,

                  for I myself would have done the same,                                                                

677      Befor God, had I ben as she;

                  before God, if I had been she;                                                                                  

678      She ought the more excused be.

                  she ought to be more readily excused.                                                                   

679      For this I say yet moor therto:

                  I also would say more about this:                                                                           

680      Had I be God and mighte have do

                  had I been God and had been able to do                                                               

681      My wille, whan my fers she caught,

                  what I wished when my queen was captured,                                                     

682      I wolde have draw the same draught.                                                                        

                  I would have made the same move.                                                                       

683      For, also wis God yif me reste,                                                               wis certainly

                  For as surely as God may let me die,                                                                      

684      I dar wel swer she took the beste!

                  I would swear that she took the very best!                                                            

685      ¶’But through that draughte I have lorne                                                  lorne lost

                  But because of that move I have lost                                                                      

686      My blisse; allas that I was borne!

                  my happiness; alas, that I was borne!                                                                     

687      For evermore, I trowe trewly,                                                                trowe believe

                  For forever, I believe truly,

688      For al my will, my luste holly                                                              luste pleasure

                  despite all I want, my pleasure is wholly overthrown

689      Is turned; but yet, what to doone?

                  and yet, what is to be done?                                                                                     

690      By our Lorde, it is to die soone;

                  As our Lord wills, it is to die soon;                                                                         

691      For nothinge I ne leve it noght,                                                                leve believe

                  For I am sure of nothing                                                                                           

692      But live and dey right in this thoght.                                                             dey die                                                           

                  but that I will live and die in this one thought.

693      Ther nis planete in firmament,

                  There is neither planet in the heavens,                                                                   

694      Ne in air, ne in erth, non element,

                  nor element in the air or in the earth,                                                                     

695      That they ne yive me a yifte echon                                                              yive give

                  that does not each give me the gift                                                                         

696      Of weping, whan I am allon.                                                                                        

                  of weeping, when I am alone.

697      For whan that I avis me wel,                                                     avis me take account

                  For when I think about things carefully,                                                                

698      And bethenk me every del,                                                                             del part                                                           

                  and consider every part of this,

699      How that ther lith in rekeninge,                                                                                                                                              

                  how that there is nothing in my account

700      In my sorwe, for nothinge;

                  to balance my sorrow;

701      And how ther leveth no gladnesse                                                    leveth remains

                  and how no gladness remains                                                                                 

702      May gladde me of my distresse,

                  that may relieve me of my distress,                                                                        

703      And how I have lost suffisance,                                       suffisance all that I need

                  and how I have lost all that I need                                                                          

704      And therto I have no plesance,

                  and for that reason I have no pleasure,                                                                  

705     Than may I say, I have right noght.                       right noght absolutely nothing

                  then my I say that I have absolutely nothing.                                                       

706      ¶And whan this falleth in my thoght,

                  And when I think of this,

707      Allas! than am I overcome!

                  Alas! I am then overcome!                                                                                        

708      For that is doon is not to come!

                  for what is done cannot be done again!                                                                                                                             

709      I have moor sorwe than Tantale.’

                  I have more sorrow than Tantalus’.                                                                        

710      And whan I herd him tel this tale

                  And when I heard him tell this tale                                                                        

711      Thus pitously, as I you telle,

                  so pitiably, as I am telling you,                                                                                

712      Unnethe might I lenger dwelle,                                                        unnethe hardly

                  I could hardly remain there

713      It did min herte so much wo.

                  it all made me so sad.                                                                                                

714      ¶’A! good sir!’ quod I, ‘say not so!

                  ‘Ah!, good sir!’, I said, ‘say it isn’t so!’                                                                    

715      Have som pite on your nature

                  Make some allowance for nature                                                                            

716      That formed you to creature;

                  that shaped you as a human being;                                                                        

717      Remembre you of Socrates,

                  Remind yourself of Socrates

718     For he ne counted nat three strees                                                          strees straw

                  since he did not give three straws

719      Of noght that Fortune coude do.’                                                      noght anything

                  for anything that Fortune could do’.

720      ¶’No,’ quod he, ‘I can not so.’

                  ‘No’, he said, ‘I cannot do that’.                                                                               

721      ¶’Why so? good sir! parde!’ quod I;

                  ‘Why is that? good sir! indeed’, I said;                                                                   

722      Ne say noght so, for trewely,

                  do not say so, for truly,                                                                                             

723      Thogh ye had lost the ferses twelve,                                                   ferses queens

                  Even if you had lost twelve queens,                                                                       

724      And ye for sorwe mordred yourselve,                                                                        

                  and if you had killed yourself for sorrow,                                                             

725      Ye shold be dampned in this cas

                  you would be damned in this case                                                                         

726      By as good right as Medea was                                                                 good much

                  as justly as Medea was

727      That slough hir children for Jason;                                                                             

                  who slew her children because of Jason;                                                               

728     And Phyllis als for Demophon

                  and Phyllis also, who hanged herself for Demophon                                          

729      Henge hirself, so weylaway!

                  alas for that!                                                                                                                

730      For he had broke his terme-day

                  for he had failed to return on the day he promised                                             

731      To com to hir. Another rage

                  to come to her. Dido had another frenzy,                                                              

732      Had Dido, quene eek of Cartage,

                  queen of Carthage,

733      That slough hirself, for Eneas                                                                                      

                  who slew herself because Aeneas

734      Was false: whiche a fool she was!                                                         whiche what                                                           

                  was false: what a fool she was!                                                                                

735      And Ecquo died for Narcisus

                  And Echo died because Narcissus                                                                          

736      Nold nat love hir; and right thus

                  would not love her; and in just this way                                                                

737      Hath many another foly don.

                  have so many others behaved foolishly.                                                                

738      And for Dalida died Sampson,

                  As Delihlah died for Sampson                                                                                 

739      That slough himself with a pilere.                                                                              

                  who killed himself with a pillar.

740      But ther is noon alive here

                  But there is no one alive now                                                                                   

741      Wolde for a fers make this woo!’                                                                                 

                  who would feel such sorrow for a queen!’                                                            

742      ¶’Why so?’ quod he; ‘it is nat soo;

                  ‘Why so?’, he said; ‘it is not so;                                                                                

743      Thou wost ful litel what thou menest;                                        menest are saying

                  you understand very little of what you are saying;                                             

744      I have lost more than thou wenest.’                                                      wenest think

                  I have lost more than you think’.                                                                            

745      ¶’Lo, sir, how may that be?’ quod I;

                  ‘Sir, how can that be?’, I said;

746      ‘Good sir, tel me al holely

                  ‘Good sir, tell me the whole story                                                                           

747      In what wise, how, why, and wherefore

                  in what way, how, why, and for which reason                                                     

748      That ye have thus your blisse lore’.                                                                            

                  you have thus lost all your happiness’.                                                                  

749      ¶’Blithly,’ quod he, ‘com sitte adoun;                                                 blithly gladly

                  ‘Gladly’, he said, ‘come sit down;

750      I tell thee up a condicioun

                  I will tell you on one condition                                                                                

751      That thou shalt hooly, with al thy wit,

                  that you will wholly, and with all your understanding,                                     

752      Do thin entent to herkene it.’

                  do all you can to listen to it’.

753      ¶’Yis, sir.’ ‘Swere thy trouth therto.’

                  ‘Yes, sir’. ‘Give your word to do this’.                                                                    

754      ¶’Gladly.’ ‘Do than hold herto!’

                  ‘Gladly’. ‘Make sure you keep your promise!’                                                      

755      ¶’I shal right blithely, God me save,

                  ‘I will very gladly, God preserve me,                                                                     

756      Hooly, with al the witte I have,

                  wholly, with all the understanding that I have,                                                    

757      Here you, as wel as I can.’

                  listen to you as well as I can’.

758      ¶’A Goddes half!’ quod he, and began:—                                                          A on

                  ‘I swear on God’s behalf!’ he said, and began:—                                                                                                              

759      ‘Sir,’ quod he, ‘sith firste I couthe                                                         couthe could

                  ‘Sir’, he said, ‘since I was first able

760      Have any maner wit fro youthe,                                                           wit judgment

            to possess any kind of judgment from my youth,

761      Or kindely understondinge                                                               kindely natural

            or natural understanding                                                                                               

762      To comprehende, in any thinge,

            to comprehend, in any part,                                                                                           

763      What love was, in min owne witte,                                                                             

            what love was, in my own mind,

764      Dredles, I have ever yitte

            fearlessly, I have always                                                                                                 

765      Be tributarie, and yive rente                       tributarie been a subject; rente tribute

            been a subject of, and paid tribute to                                                                                                                                        

766      To Love hooly with goode entente,

            love, always with the best of intentions,                                                                      

767      And throgh plesaunce become his thralle,

            and through pleasure becomes its servant                                                                  

768      With good will, body, hert, and alle.

            with my good will, body, heart, and everything.                                                       

769      Al this I putte in his servage,                                                                                       

            All this I put in Love’s service

770      As to my lorde, and did homage;

            as my lord, and paid him homage;                                                                               

771      And ful devoutly praid him to,

            and very devoutly prayed to him,                                                                                

772      He shuld beset min herte so,                                                                  beset bestow

            that he should bestow my heart                                                                                    

773      That it plesaunce to him were,

            so that it would be pleasing to him                                                                                                                                           

774      And worship to my lady dere.                                                            worship honor

            and an honor to my dear lady.                                                                                      

775      ¶’And this was longe, and many a yere

            And it was a long time, and many years,                                                                    

776      Or that min hert was set owhere,                         or that before; owher anywhere

            before my heart was set anywhere,                                                                              

777      That I did thus, and niste why;                                                          niste knew not

            that I did this; and did not know why;

778      I trowe it cam me kindely.                                    trowe believe; kindely naturally

            I believe it came to me naturally.                                                                                  

779      Paraunter I was therto moste able                                               paraunter perhaps

            Perhaps I was particularly susceptible                                                                         

780      As a white walle or a table                                            table writing tablet

            like a white wall or a table,                                                                                                                                                        

781      For it is redy to cacche and take

            which is ready to capture and receive

782      Al that men wil therin make,

            all that a person might make there:                                                                              

783      Wherso men wil portrey or peint,                                                 wherso whatever

            whatever someone wants to draw or paint,                                                                

784      Be the werkes never so queint.                                                      queinte elaborate

            however elaborate the design.                                                                                       

785      ¶And thilke time I ferd right so thilke time at that time; ferd right so lived in such a way

            And at that time I lived in such a way                                                                         

786      I was able to have lerned tho,

            that I was able to learn things,                                                                                       

787      And to have kende as wel or better,                                                   kende learned

            and to have learned well or better,                                                                               

788      Paraunter, other arte or letter                                                                                       

         perhaps, some other discipline or subject                                                                                

789      But for love cam firste in my thought                                                     for because

            but because love was first in my thoughts                                                                  

790      Therfore I forgate it noght.

            I, therefore, never forgot it.                                                                                               

791      I ches love to my firste craft.                                                                       craft trade

            I chose love as my first trade.                                                                                                                                                    

792      Therfor it is with me ylaft.                                                                  ylaft remained                                                           

            Therefore it remained with me,

793      Forwhy I toke it of so yonge age,                                                     forwhy because

            because I took to it at such a young age,                                                                      

794      That malice hadde my corage                                                                                       

            that malice had not yet turned my desires                                                                  

795      Nat that time turned to nothinge

            into nothing                                                                                                                      

796      Through to mochel knowlachinge.

            because of too much knowledge.                                                                                  

797      For that time youthe, my maistresse,

            For at that time youth, my mistress,                                                                             

798      Governed me in idelnesse;

            encouraged me in laziness.                                                                                            

799      For it was in my firste youthe,

            For it was in my early youth,                                                                                         

800      And tho ful litel goode I couthe

                  and I knew how to do very little well

801      For al my werkes were flittinge                                                 flittinge temporary

            because all that I did was temporary,                                                                           

802      That time, and al my thoght varyinge;

            at that time, and all my thought changeable;                                                              

803      Al were to me yliche goode,                                          al all things; yliche equally

            all things were equally good to me,                                                                              

804      That I knew tho; but thus it stoode.                                                              tho then

            that I knew then; but that is how it was.                                                                      

805      ¶’It happed that I cam on a day

            It happened that I came one day                                                                                   

806      Into a place, ther that I say                                                                               say saw

            into a place where I saw                                                                                                 

807      Trewly, the fairest companye

            truly, the fairest company                                                                                              

808      Of ladies, that ever man with ye                                                                       ye eye

            of ladies that any one with eyes                                                                                    

809      Had seen togedres in oo place.

            had ever seen together in one place.                                                                             

810      Shal I clepe it happe other grace                       clepe call; happe chance; other or

            Shall I call it chance or grace                                                                                          

811      That broght me ther? nay, but Fortune,

            that brought me there? no, only Fortune,                                                                    

812      That is to lyen ful comune,                                                 ful comune accustomed

            who is so accustomed to lying,                                                                                      

813      The false traiteress, pervers,

            that false traitor, perverse,

814      God wolde I coude clepe hir wers!

            God, I wish that I could call her worse!                                                                                                                                   

815      For now she worcheth me ful wo,

            because now she causes me great sorrow,                                                                   

816      And I wol telle soon why so.

            and I will soon explain why.                                                                                          

817      ¶’Among these ladies thus echon,

            ‘Among each of these ladies,                                                                                                                                                     

818      Soth to seyn, I saugh ther oon

            truth to tell, I saw one there                                                                                           

819      That was lik noon of al the route;                                                     route company

            who was like none of all the company;                                                                        

820      For I dar swer, withoute doute,

            For I would dare to swear, without a doubt,                                                               

821      That as the sommers sonne brighte

            that as the summer’s bright son                                                                                    

822      Is fairer, clerer, and hath mor lighte

            is more beautiful, clearer, and brighter                                                                        

823      Than any other planet in hevene,

            than any other planet in the heavens,                                                                           

824      The moone, or the sterres sevene,

            than the moon, or the seven stars,                                                                                 

825      For al the worlde, so had she

            for all the world, she had so                                                                                           

826      Surmountede hem al of beaute,

            exceeded them all in beauty                                                                                           

827      Of maner and of comlinesse,

            in manners and graciousness,                                                                                        

828      Of stature and wel set gladnesse,

            in shape and befitting happiness,                                                                                 

829      Of goodlihed so wel besey—                                                            besey provided

            in virtue, so well provided—                                                                                         

830      Shortly, what shal I more sey?

            In brief, what can I say more?                                                                                        

831      By God, and by his halwes twelve,                                                      halwes saints

            By God, and by his twelve saints,                                                                                 

832      It was my sweet, right as hirselve!

            it was my sweetheart, just as herself!                                                                           

833      She had so stedfast countenaunce,

            She had such a composed appearance,                                                                        

834      So noble porte and meintenaunce. port and meintenaunce comportment and bearing

            such noble comportment and bearing,

835      And Love, that had wel herd my boone,                                             boone prayer

            And Love, who had heard my prayer well,                                                                

836      Had espied me thus soone,

            had seen me thus so soon,                                                                                              

837      That she ful sone, in my thoght,

            that she was very quickly, in my thought,                                                                  

838      As help me God, so was ycaught

            so help me God, caught up                                                                                            

839      So sodenly, that I ne toke

            so suddenly, that I took                                                                                                  

840      No maner reed but at hir loke                                                                  reed advice

            no advice except from her gaze                                                                                     

841      And at min hert; forwhy hir eyen                                                    forwhy because

            and from my heart; because my heart                                                                          

842      So gladly, I trow, min herte seyen,                                    trow believe; seyen saw

            so gladly saw her eyes, I believe,                                                                                  

843      That purely tho min owne thought                                                               tho then

            that my mind, completely, then said                                                                            

844      Seide it were bet serve hir for noght          bet better; for noght without reward

            said that it would be better to serve her without reward                                          

845      Than with another to be wel.

            than to be rewarded by another.                                                                                   

846      And it was soth, for, everydel,                                                                      soth true

            and it was true in every way,                                                                                         

847      I wil anonright tel thee why.

            and I will now tell you why.                                                                                          

848      ¶’I saugh hir daunce so comlily,                                                  comlily gracefully

            I saw her dance so gracefully,                                                                                        

849      Carole and sing so swetely,                                                                     carole dance

            dance and sing so sweetly,                                                                                             

850      Laughe and pley so womanly,

            laugh and play so like a woman,                                                                                   

851      And loke so debonairly,                                                          debonairly graciously

            and appear so courteous,

852      So goodly speke and so frendly,

            speak so well and so warmly,                                                                                        

853      That certes, I trow, that evermore

            that certainly, I believe, that there was never                                                              

854      Nas seyn so blisful a tresore.                                       nas seyn there was not seen

            seen so praiseworthy a treasure.

855      For every heer upon hir hede,                                                                       here hair

            For every hair on her head,                                                                                            

856      Soth to seyne, it was not rede,

            truth to tell, it was not red,                                                                                             

857      Ne nouther yelw, ne broune it nas;

            nor yellow, nor was it brown;                                                                                        

858      Me thoghte, most lik gold it was.

            It seemed to me most like gold.                                                                                     

859      ¶And which eyen my lady hadde!

            And what eyes my lady had!                                                                                         

860      Debonair, goode, glade, and sadde,                                               sadde composed

            courteous, good, joyful, and trustworthy                                                                    

861      Simple, of good mochel, noght to wide;                         good mochel perfect size

            modest, a perfect size, not at all wide

862      Therto hir look nas not aside,                                                                  nas was not

            and her look was not at all sly,

863      Ne overthwert, but beset so wele,                                             overthwert askance

            nor askance, but directed so well,                                                                                 

864      It drew and toke up, everydele,                                                    everydele entirely

            it drew in and gathered up entirely                                                                              

865      Al that on hir gan beholde.

            all who looked at her.                                                                                                      

866      Hir eyen semed anon she wolde

            Her eyes made it seem that she would quickly                                                          

867      Have mercy; fooles wenden so;

            be merciful; fools thought it so;                                                                                     

868      But it was never the rather do.                                                                                                                                                     but it was never the case.                                                                                                                  

869      It nas no countrefeted thinge,                                       countrefeted counterfeited                                                               It was not a counterfeit thing                                                                                                           

870      It was hir owne pure lokinge,

            it was her own, unadorned eyes                                                                                   

871      That the goddess, dame Nature,

            that the goddess, lady Nature.                                                                                      

872      Had made hem open by mesure,

            had made open moderately                                                                                                                                                       

873      And clos; for, were she never so glad,

            and close; because, however happy she might be                                                      

874      Hir loking was not foly sprad,         loking gaze; foly sprad foolishly cast about

            her gaze did not foolishly cast about,                                                                           

875      Ne wildely, thogh that she pleide;                                             though that even if

            nor heedlessly, even if she just played;                                                                        

876      But ever, me thoght, hir eyen seide,

            but always, it seemed to me, her eyes said,                                                                 

877      ‘By God, my wrathe is al foryive!’                                                   foryive forgiven                                                           

            By God, your anger is entirely forgiven!’

878      ¶’Therwith hir list so wel to live,                                            hir list it pleased her                                                           

And so life so pleased her

879      That dulness was of hir adrad.                                                                adrad afraid

            that boredom was afraid of her.                                                                                    

880      She nas to sobre ne to glad;                                                                    sobre serious

            She was neither too serious nor too happy;                                                                 

881      In alle thinges moor mesure

            No creature was ever more measured                                                                          

882      Had never, I trowe, creature.

            in all things, I believe.                                                                                                     

883      But many with hir look she hert,                                                             hert injured

            But she injured many with her gaze                                                                             

884      And that sat hir ful lite at hert,                          sat hir ful lite did not trouble her

            and that did not trouble her,                                                                                          

885      For she knew nothinge of hir thoght;                                                           hir their

            for she knew nothing of their feelings;                                                                         

886      But whether she knew, or knew it noght

            But whether she knew, or did not know                                                                      

887      Algate she ne rought of hem a stree! algate in any case; rought cared; stree straw

            nevertheless she did not give a straw for them!                                                         

888      To gete hir love no ner nas he                                                                     ner nearer

            He was no nearer to getting her to love him                                                               

889      That woned at hom, than he in Inde;                                                                          

            who stayed at home, than he who lived in India;                                                                                                                  

890      The formest was alway behinde.                                                            formest first

            The first in line was always last.                                                                                   

891      But goode folk, over al other,

            But good people, above all others,                                                                                

892      She loved as man may do his brother;

            she loved as a man may love his brother;                                                                    

893      Of which love she was wonder large,                                               large generous

            and of this kind of love she was very generous,                                                         

894      In skilful places that bere charge.                  skilful suitable; charge importance

            in suitable places of real importance.

895      ¶’Which a visage had she therto!

            ‘What a face she had though!                                                                                         

896      Allas! min hert is wonder wo

            Alas! my heart is so sorrowful                                                                                       

897      That I ne can discriven it!                                                             descriven describe

            That I cannot describe it!                                                                                                

898      Me lakketh both English and wit

            I lack both the English and the intelligence

899      For to undo it at the fulle;

            to describe it fully;

900      And eek my spirits be so dulle                                                                                    

            And also my spirits are too slow

901      So grete a thing for to devise.

            to explain such a large matter.                                                                                       

902      I have no wit that can suffise

            I am not intelligent enough

903      To comprehenden hir beaute;

            to understand her beauty;                                                                                              

904      But thus much dar I seyn: that she

            But I do dare to say this much: that she                                                                       

905      Was rody, fresh, and lively hewed;

            was rosy, fresh, and vividly colored;

906      And every day hir beaute newed.

            and every day her beauty was renewed.                                                                     

907      And negh hir face was alderbest;                 negh nearly; alderbest the very best                                                           

            and her face was nearly the very best;

908      For certes, Nature had swich lest                                                               lest desire                                                           

            for certainly, Nature had such a desire

909      To make that fair, that trewly she

            to make that fair one that she was truly                                                                       

910      Was hir chief patrone of beaute,                                                      patroune model

            her finest model of beauty,                                                                                             

911      And chief ensample of al hir werke,

            and best example of all her work,                                                                                                                                             

912      And moustre; for, be it never so derke,                                          moustre pattern

            and a pattern; for, however dark it might be,                                                             

913      Me thinketh I see hir evermo.

            it seems to me I see her always.                                                                                     

914      And yet, moreover, thogh al tho

                  And yet, moreover, even if everyone                                                                     

915      That ever lived were now alive,

            who had ever lived were now alive,                                                                             

916      Ne sholde have founde to discrive                                                discrive discover

            they would not have been able to discover                                                                 

917      In al hir face a wikked signe;

            in all of her face any sign of wickedness,                                                                     

918      For it was sad, simple, and benigne.                                                       sad modest

            because it was sober, modest, and kind.

919      ¶’And which a goodly softe speche                                                        which such

            And what pleasing, soft speech

920      Had that sweet, my lives leche!                                                         leche physician

            had my sweet lady, my life’s physician!

921      So frendly, and so wel ygrounded,                                                ygrounded settle

            So friendly, and so very well-trained                                                                           

922      Upon al resoun wel yfounded,

            in well-established reason.                                                                                             

923      And so tretable to al goode,                                                           tretable amenable

            and so amenable to all good things,                                                                             

924      That I dar swere by the roode,                                                                  roode cross

            that I would sweart on the cross,                                                                                  

925      Of eloquence was never founde

            that, in eloquence, no one was ever found                                                                  

926      So swete a sowninge facounde,  sowninge facounde sounding expressiveness                                                           

            with so sweet a manner of speaking,

927      Ne trewer tonged, ne scorned lasse,                                                                            

            nor truer tongued, nor scorned others less,                                                                 

928      Ne bet coud heel that, by the masse

            nor could heal others better that,  I would swear by the mass,                                                                                            

929      I durst swere, thogh the pope it songe,                                                 durst dared

            than had the Pope sung it;                                                                                                                                                          

930      That ther was never throgh hir tonge

            that no man nor woman, by means of her tongue,                                                     

931      Man ne woman gretly harmed;

            was ever greatly harmed;                                                                                               

932      As for hir was al harme hid;                                                                  for hir by her                                                           

            since all harm was hidden from her;

933      Ne lasse flateringe in hir worde,

            nor less flattery in her words,                                                                                        

934      That purely hir simple recorde

            so that her word alone                                                                                                    

935      Was founde as trewe as any bonde,                                                  bonde contract

            was understood to be as secure as any contract.

936      Or trouthe of any mannes honde.                                                          trouthe oath

            or oath made by any man’s hand.                                                                                 

937      Ne chide she coude never a dele,                                           never a dele not at all                                                           

            nor did she ever scold at all,

938      That knoweth al the world ful wele.

            she who knows the world so very well.                                                                       

939      ¶’But swiche a fairnesse of a nekke

            But  she had such a beautiful neck                                                                                

940      Had that sweet, that boon nor brekke                                                   brekke flaw                                                           

            that neither bone nor blemish

941      Nas ther non sene, that missatte.

            was seen there that was unsuitable.

942      It was whit, smooth, streght, and pure flatte,

            It was white, smooth, straight and completely even,                                                                                                             

943      Withouten hole or canel-boon,                     hole hollow; canel-bone collar bone                                                           

            without hollow or collar bone                                                                                       

944      As by seminge, had she noon.

            so that it seemed as if she had none.                                                                                                                                           

945      Hir throte, as I have now memoire,

            her throat, as I now remember it,                                                                                  

946      Semed a rounde toure of ivoire,                                                              ivoire ivory

            seemed a round tower of ivory,                                                                                    

947      Of good gretnesse, and noght to grete.                                                                       

            of a good size, but not too large.                                                                                   

948      ¶’And goode faire White she hete;                                                   hete was called

            And she was called good, fair White;                                                                           

949      That was my lady name righte.

            that was righly my lady’s name.                                                                                   

950      She was bothe faire and brighte,                                                                                 

            She was both beautiful and radiant;                                                                             

951      She hadde not hir name wronge.

            Her name was not wrong.                                                                                              

952      Right faire shuldres, and body longe                                                         longe tall

            She had very beautiful shoulders, and was tall                                                          

953      She had, and armes, every lith                                                                      lith limb

            and arms, and every limb                                                                                               

954      Fattish, flesshy, not great therwith;                                                                            

            was well-rounded and shapely, but not plump;                                                         

955      Right white handes, and nailes rede,

            she had very white hands, and red nails,                                                                    

956      Rounde brestes; and of good brede                                                    brede breadth

            round breasts; and her hips were of a good width

957      Hir hippes were, a streight flat bakke.

            with a straight, flat back.                                                                                                

958      I knewe on hir noon other lakke                                                          lakke default

            I knew of no other fault in her                                                                                       

959      That al hir limmes nere sewinge,                                                         nere were not

            that all her limbs were not in proportion                                                                     

960      In as ferre as I had knowinge.

            so far as I knew.

961      ¶’Therto she coude so wel pley,

            She was also so playful                                                                                                   

962      Whan that hir list, that I dar sey,

            when she wished to be that I would say

963      That she was lik to torche bright,

            that she was like a bright torch,                                                                                     

964      That every man may take of light

            that every person might receive enough light from                                                   

965      Ynogh, and it hath never the lesse.

            and it would never be less.                                                                                                                                                         

966      ‘Of maner and of comlinesse                                               comliness graciousness                                                           

            In her manner and graciousness

967      Right so ferd my lady dere,                                                                    ferd behaved                                                           

            my dear lady behaved just so 

968      For every wight of hir manere                                                               wight person

            that every man might perceive her ways                                                                     

969      Might cacche ynogh, if that he wolde,

            if he wished,

970      If he had eyen hir to beholde.

            if he had the eyes to see them.                                                                                       

971      For I dar sweren, if that she

            For I swear, if she                                                                                                             

972      Had among ten thousand be,

            if she had been among ten thousand people,                                                                                                                          

973      She wolde have be, at the lest,

            she would have been, at the very least,                                                                                                                                    

974      A cheef mirour of al the fest,                                                                mirour model

            best exemplar all in that group

975      Thogh they had stonden in a rowe,

            even if they had all been placed in a row                                                                    

976      To mennes eyen that coude knowe.

            so that everyone’s eyes could examine them.                                                             

977      For wherso men had pleid or waked,

            For wherever people had enjoyed themselves, staying up at feasts,                       

978      Me thoght the feliwshippe as naked                                               naked deprived

            it seemed to me the household was deprived                                                             

979      Withouten hir, that saw I ones,

            without her, who I saw once                                                                                          

980      As a corown withoute stones.                                                                stones jewels

            as a crown without jewels.                                                                                             

981      Trewly she was, to min eye,

            She was, truly, as I saw her,                                                                                           

982      The solein fenix of Arabye,                                              solein sole; fenix phoenix                                                           

            the sole phoenix of Arabia,

983      For ther liveth never but oon;                                              never but oon only one                                                           

            for only one lives at any one time;

984      Ne swich as she ne knowe I noon.

            and I know no one like her.

985      ¶To speke of goodness: trewly she                                                                             

            To speak of goodness: she truly

986      Had as moche debonairte                                                   debonairte graciousness                                                           

            had as much graciousness

987      As ever had Hester in the bible,

            as Esther ever had in the bible,

988      And more, if more were possible.

            and even more than that, if that were possible.                                                          

989      And, soth to seyne, therwithalle

            And, truth to tell, along with that                                                                                 

990      She had a wit so generalle,

            she had an intelligence that was so inclusive,                                                                                                                         

991      So hoole enclined to alle goode,

            so wholly inclined toward all that was good,                                                             

992      That al hir wit was set, by the roode,                                                        rood cross

            that all her thoughts were fixed, I swear on the cross,                                               

993      Withoute malice, upon gladnesse;                                                                              

            without any malice, on happiness;

994      Therto I saw never yet a lesse

            I also never saw before now anyone less                                                                     

995      Harmful, than she was in doinge.                                                                               

            harmful than she was in her actions.

996      I sey nat that she nad knowinge                                                     nad did not have                                                           

            I would even say that she had no knowledge of

997      What harme was; or elles she                                                             elles otherwise

            what doing harm was; or else she                                                                                 

998      Had coud no good, so thinketh me.                  had coud would not have known

would not have known goodness, it seems to me.                                                                 

999      ¶And trewly, for to speke of trouthe,                                               trouthe fidelity

            And, truly, to speak of honesty                                                                                     

1000    But she had hadde, it had be routhe.                               but unless; routhe a pity

            unless she had it, it would have been a pity.                                                               

1001    Therof she had so moche hir dele—                                                      dele portion

            She had such a large portion of it—

1002    And I dar seyn and swere it wele—

            and I would venture to say it well—                                                                            

1003    That Trouthe himselfe, over al and al,

            that Truth himself, over one and all,                                                                            

1004    Had chose his maner principal                                                             maner manor

            had made his chief dwelling                                                                                          

1005    In hir, that was his resting place.                                                                                 

            in her, which was his home.

1006    Therto she had the moste grace,

            In addition, she had the most good will                                                                      

1007    To have stedfast perseveraunce,

            toward firm constancy                                                                                                    

1008    And esy, attempre governaunce,                                                    attempre modest

            and easy, restrained comportment,                                                                                                                                          

1009    That ever I knewe or wiste yitte;

            that I ever knew before or have known since;                                                            

1010    So pure suffraunt was hir witte.                                                      suffrant flexible

            so very patient was her understanding.                                                                       

1011    And reson gladly she understoode,

            She understood reason willingly

1012    It folwed wel she coude goode.

            so it followed that she knew well how to be good.                                                                                                                

1013    She used gladly to do wel;

            She was accustomed to do well gladly;                                                                        

1014    Thes were hir maners everydel.                                          everydel in every thing

                  These were her manners in everything.

1015    ¶’Therwith she loved so wel right,

            And so she loved what is right so well,                                                                       

1016    She wrong do wolde to no wight;                                                         wight person

            that she would do no wrong to anyone;

1017    No wight ne mighte do hir shame,

            No person might bring her any shame,                                                                       

1018    She loved so wel hir owne name.                                                                                

            she cared so much for her good name.                                                                         

1019    Hir lust to hold no wight in honed, Hir lust she had no desire; hold. . . in honde deceive

            She did not wish to deceive anyone,

1020    Ne, be thou siker, she nolde fonde      siker certain; nolde would not; fonde try

            nor, you can be sure, would she try                                                                              

1021    To holde no wight in balaunce,                                     in balaunce in uncertainty

            to leave anyone in uncertainty,                                                                                     

1022    By half word ne by countenaunce,

            with a hint or by an expresssion                                                                                    

1023    But if men wolde upon hir lie;                                                               but if unless

            unless someone lied about her;                                                                                     

1024    Ne sende men into Walakie,                                    Walakie Wallachia (Romania)

            nor would she send men to Romania,

1025    To Pruyse and into Tartarie,                                      Pruyse Prussia; Tartarie Asia                                                           

            to Prussia and to Asia,

1026    To Alisaundre, ne into Turkye,                                           Alisaundre Alexandria

            to Alexandria, nor to Turkey                                                                                         

1027    And bid him faste anoon that he                                                            faste strictly

            and ask him to go quickly                                                                                              

1028    Go hoodles to the drye see,                                                       drye see Gobi Desert

            and uncovered to the Gobi Desert,                                                                               

1029    And com hom by the Carrenare;                          Carrenare Kara Nor (Mongolia)

            and come home by way of Mongolia,

1030    And seye, “Sir, be now right ware                                                                                                                                          

            and say, “Sir, be very careful

1031    That I may of yow here seyn

            that I may hear good things said of you                                                                      

1032    Worshippe, or that ye come ageyn!”                                                    or that before

            before you come here again!”                                                                                        

1033    She ne used no such knakkes smale.                                                 knakkes ruses

            She did not indulge in such small ruses.

1034    ¶’But wherfor that I tel my tale?

            ‘But on what subject do I tell my story?                                                                       

1035    Right on this same, as I have seide,

            on this very same woman, as I have already said,                                                     

1036    Was hooly al my love leid;

            was all my affection completely bestowed;

1037    For certes, she was, that swete wife,

            for, certainly, she was that sweet woman                                                                    

1038    My suffisaunce, my lust, my life,                                                          lust pleasure

            my satisfaction, my desire, my life,                                                                              

1039    Min hap, min hele, and al my blisse,                                hap chance; hele health

            my good fortune, my health, and all my happiness,                                                 

1040    My worlds welfare and my goddesse

            my whole world’s well-being and my goddess                                                          

1041    And I hirs hooly, everydel.’                                                             everydel entirely

            and I wholly hers, in every way’.

1042    ¶’By our Lord,’ quod I, ‘I trow yow wel!                                               trow believe

            ‘By Lord’, I said, ‘I believe you well!’

1043    Hardly, your love was wel besette,                                             hardly completely

            Your love was certainly well bestowed                                                                       

1044    I not how ye might have do bette.’                              not do not know; bet better

            I do not know how you might have done better’.                                                      

1045    ‘Bet? ne no wight so wel!’ quod he.

            ‘Better?’ No man has done so well!’, he said.                                                              

1046    ‘I trowe it, sir,’ quod I, ‘parde!’

            ‘I believe it, sir’, I said, ‘indeed!’                                                                                    

1047    ‘Nay, leve it wel!’ ‘Sir, so do I;                                                                  leve believe

            ‘Nay, believe it well!’ ‘Sir, I do;                                                                                      

1048    I leve yow wel, that trewely

            I believe you well, that truly                                                                                          

1049    Yow thoghte, that she was the beste,

            you thought that she was the best,                                                                                 

1050    And to behold the alderfaireste,                                     alderfaireste fairest of all

            and the fairest of all to behold,                                                                                      

1051    Who so had loked with your eyen.’                                                                            

                  whoever had looked at her with your eyes’.

1052    ¶’With min? nay, al that hir seyen                                                             seyen saw

            ‘With mine? no, all who saw her

1053    Seide, and swore it was so.

            said and swore that it was so.                                                                                        

1054    And thogh they nadde, I wolde tho                                  though even if; tho then

            And even if they had not, I would                                                                                

1055    Have loved best my lady free,                                                              free generous

            have loved my generous lady best,                                                                                                                                          

1056    Thogh I had hadde al the beautee

            even if I had possessed all the beauty                                                                          

1057    That ever had Alcipiades,                                                                                             

            that Alcibiades ever had,                                                                                                

1058    And al the strengthe of Ercules,

                  and all the strength of Hercules,

1059    And therto had the worthinesse

            and also had the excellence                                                                                            

1060    Of Alisaundre, and the richesse

            of Alexander, and all the riches                                                                                     

1061    That ever was in Babiloine,

            that ever were in Babilon                                                                                                

1062    In Cartage, or in Macedoine,

            in Carthage, or in Macedonia                                                                                        

1063    Or in Rome, or in Ninive;

            or in Rome, or in Ninevah

1064    And therto also hardy be                                                                hardy courageous

            and was also as courageous

1065    As was Ector, so have I joye,

            as Hector was, as I may be happy,                                                                                

1066    That Achilles slough at Troye—

             who Achilles slew at Troy—

1067    And therfor was he slain also

            and therefore he was also slain                                                                                     

1068    In a temple, for bothe two

            in a temple, for both of them                                                                                          

1069    Were slaine, he and Antilegius,

            were slain, he and Antilochus

1070    And so seith Dares Frigius,

            as says Dares Phrygius,                                                                                                  

1071    For love of hir, Polixena—

            for the love of her, Polyxena—                                                                                      

1072    Or ben as wis as Minerva,                                                                                             

            or if I were wise as Minerva,                                                                                          

1073    I wolde ever, withoute drede,                                                                 drede doubt

            I would always, without a doubt

1074    Have loved hir, for I most nede!                                                    most nede had to

            have loved her, because I needed to!

1075    “Nede!” nay, I gabbe nowe,

            “Nede!” I babble now,

1076    Noght “nede”, and I wol telle howe,

            for it was not “need,” and I will tell you how                                                             

1077    For of good will min hert it wolde,                                   of good will voluntarily                                                           

            my heart wishes it of my own free will

1078    And eek to love hir I was holde                                                                                   

            and also I was certain to love her                                                                                                                                              

1079    As for the fairest and the beste.

            since she was the fairest and the best.

1080    ¶’She was as good—so have I reste—

            She was so good—may I have rest—                                                                            

1081    As ever was Penelope of Grece,

            as Penelope of Greece ever was,                                                                                    

1082    Or as the noble wif, Lucrece,

            or as good as the noble wife, Lucrece,                                                                          

1083    That was the best—he telleth thus,

            who was the best—he tells us so,

1084    The Romain Titus Livius—

            the Roman Titus Livius—                                                                                               

1085    She was as good, and nothing like,

            she was as good, but also nothing like them,                                                                                                                          

1086    Thogh hir stories be autentike;

            although their stories may be true;

1087    Algate she was as trewe as she.                                                                                                                                                

                  all the same she was as true as she.

1088    ¶’But wherfor that I telle thee                                                wherefor that why do                                                           

            But why do I tell you

1089    Whan I first my lady say?

            when I first saw my lady?                                                                                              

1090    I was right yonge, soth to say,

            I was very young, truth to tell                                                                                                   

1091    And ful gret nede I had to lerne;

            and I had a great deal to learn;                                                                                      

1092    Whan my herte wolde yerne                                                                     yern desire

            when my heart desired                                                                                                   

1093    To love, it was a grete emprise.                                               emprise undertaking

            to love, it was a great undertaking.                                                                              

1094    But as my wit coud best suffise,                                                        suffise manage

            But as my understanding could do best                                                                      

1095    After my yonge childly wit,

            according to my my young, childish skills,                                                                 

1096    Withoute drede, I besette it                                                                                          

            without a doubt, I set about

1097    To love hir in my beste wise,

            to love her in the best way I could,                                                                               

1098    To do hir worship and servise                                                            worship honor

            to honor and serve her                                                                                                    

1099    That I tho coude by my trouthe,                                                                                  

            as I was then able to, in truth,                                                                                        

1100    Withoute feining outher slouthe;                                               slouthe negligence

            without pretense or negligence                                                                                     

1101    For wonder feine I wolde hir se.                     wonder feine with great eagerness

            for I wanted to see her with great eagerness.                                                              

1102    So mochel it amended me,                                        amended me lifted my spirits

            It lifted my spirits so much                                                                                            

1103    That, whan I saw hir first amorwe,                          first amorwe early in the day

            that, when I saw her early in the day,                                                                          

1104    I was warished of al my sorwe                                                          warished cured

            I was cured of all my sorrow                                                                                         

1105    Of al day after, til it were eve;

            for the whole day after, until it was evening;                                                              

1106    Me thoghte nothing might me greve,

            it seemed to me that mothing might upset me,                                                          

1107    Were my sorwes never so smerte.                                                                                

            not matter how painful my sorrows were.                                                                  

1108    And yet she sit so in min herte,

            And yet she sits so firmly in my heart                                                                          

1109    That, by my trouthe, I nolde noght,                          nolde noght would not want

            that, in truth, I would not want,                                                                                    

1110    For al this worlde, oute of my thoght                                                                         

            for all the world to let my lady go out of my thoughts;

1111    Leve my lady; no, trewly!’

            no, truly!’

1112    ¶’Now, by my trouthe, sir,’ quod I,

            ‘Now, in truth, sir’, I said,                                                                                                                                                          

1113    Me thinketh ye have suche a chaunce

            it seems to me you have a great opportunity                                                              

1114    As shrift withoute repentaunce.’                                                     shrift confession

            to have confession without repentaunce.

1115    ¶’Repentaunce! nay fy,’ quod he;

            ‘Repentance! no, not at all’, he said;                                                                              

1116    Shulde I now repente me

            Should I now repent to love?                                                                                         

1117    To love? nay, certes, than were I wel

            no, certainly, I would then be                                                                                        

1118    Wers than was Achitofel,                                                                                              

            much worse than Achitophel                                                                                         

1119    Or Anthenor, so have I joye,

            or Antenor, so may I have joy,

1120    The traitor that betraised Troye,

            the traitor who betrayed Troy,                                                                                      

1121    Or the false Genellon,                                                                                                    

            or the false Ganelon

1122    He that purchased the treson                                                                                                                                                   

            who committed treason

1123    Of Rowlande and of Olivere.

            against Roland and Oliver.

1124    Nay, while I am alive here

            No, while I am alive                                                                                                        

1125    I nil foryete hir nevermo.’                                                                          nil will not

            I will not forget her ever’.

1126    ¶’Now, goode sir,’ quod I right tho,                                                                            

            ‘Now, good sir’, I said right then

1127    ‘Ye han wel told me herbefore.

            ‘You have told me earlier.                                                                                              

1128    It is no need reherse it more:                                                                                        

            it is not necessary to repeat it further:                                                                          

1129    How ye sawe hir firste, and where;

            how you saw her first, and where;                                                                               

1130    But wold ye tel me the manere,

            but would you tell me the manner                                                                               

1131    To hir which was your firste speche—

            in which you first spoke to her—                                                                                  

1132    Therof I wolde yow beseche—

            I would like to know about that—                                                                                

1133    And how she knewe first your thoght,

            and how she knew your mind                                                                                       

1134    Whether ye loved hir or noght,

            whether you loved her or not                                                                                        

1135    And telleth me eek what ye have lore;                                                          lore lost

            and tell me also what you have lost;

1136    I herd you telle herbefore.’

            I heard you talk about that earlier’.

1137    ¶’Ye,’ seid he, ‘thou nost what thou menest;                               nost do not know

            ‘Yes’, he said, ‘you do not know what you mean;                                                      

1138    I have lost more than thou wenest.’                                     thou wenest you think

            I have lost more than you think’.

1139    ¶’What losse is that, sir?’ quod I tho;                                                                          

            ‘What loss is that, sir?’, I said then;

1140    ‘Nil she not love yow? is it so?

            ‘Will she not love you? is that it?                                                                                  

1141    Or have ye oght ydon amis,

            or have you done something wrong,                                                                            

1142    That she hath left yow? is it this?

            so that she has left you?                                                                                                  

1143    For Goddes love, tel me alle.’

            For the love of God, tell me everything’.                                                                     

1144    ¶’Befor God,’ quod he, ‘and I shalle.

            ‘Before God’, he said, ‘and so I shall’.                                                                           

1145    I saye right as I have seide,

            I say just as I have said,                                                                                                  

1146    On hir was al my love leide;

            that all my love was bestowed on her                                                                          

1147    And yet she niste it never a del                                                   niste did not know

            and yet she did not know it in any way                                                                       

1148    Noght longe time—leve hit wel.                                                              leve believe

            for a long time—believe it well.                                                                                    

1149    For be right siker, I durste noght                                                           durste dared

            For rest assured, I dared not                                                                                          

1150    For al this world tel hir my thoght,

            for all the world to tell her my thoughts,                                                                     

1151    Ne I wolde have wrathed hir, trewly.                                           wrathed angered

            nor would I have angered her, truly.                                                                            

1152    For wostow why? she was lady

            And do you know why? she was a mistress                                                               

1153    Of the body; she had the hert,

            of my body; she had my heart

1154    And who hath that, may not astert.

            and whoever has that, may not escape.

1155    ¶To kepe me fro idelnesse,

            To keep myself away from idleness,                                                                            

1156    Trewly I did my besinesse

            truly I made a great effort                                                                                              

1157    To make songs, as I best coude,                                                     coude knew how

            to make songs, as well as I knew how to,

1158    And ofte time I songe hem loude;

            and often I would sing them loudly;                                                                            

1159    And made songs a grete dele,                                                           made composed

            and I composed a great number of songs                                                                    

1160    Althogh I coud not mak so wele

            and even if I was not able to compose songs so well                                                                                                             

1161    Songs, ne know the arte alle,

            nor did I know that art as well                                                                                      

1162    As coude Lameks son Tuballe,

            as Lamech’s son Tubal knew it,

1163    That founde out first the art of songe,

            who first discovered the art of song,                                                                            

1164    For, as his brothers hamers ronge

            for, as his brother’s hammer rung                                                                                 

1165    Upon his anvelt up and doun,                                                                 anvelt anvil

            upon his anvil up and down,                                                                                         

1166    Therof he took the firste soun;

            he took the first sound from that;                                                                                  

1167    But Grekes seyn, Pictagoras,                                                                                        

            but the Greeks say, Pythagoras                                                                                     

1168    That he the firste finder was                                                     first finder inventor

            that he was the inventor                                                                                                 

1169    Of the arte; Aurora telleth so,

            of the art; Aurora says the same,                                                                                   

1170    But therof no fors, of hem two.                                                      no fors no matter

            but it does not matter what those two say.                                                                  

1171    Algates songes thus I made                                                          algates in any case

            In any case, I made songs                                                                                               

1172    Of my feling, min hert to glade;

            about my feelings, in order to comfort myself;                                                           

1173    And lo! this was the altherfirst,                                            althefirst the very first

            And look! this was the very first                                                                                   

1174    I not wher that it were the werst.—                     not do not know; wher whether

            I do not know whether it was the worst                                                                      

1175    ¶ ‘Lorde, it maketh min herte light,

            “Lord, it lightens my heart                                                                                             

1176    Whan I thenke on that swete wight                                                   wight creature

            when I think about that sweet creature                                                                        

1177    That is so seemly on to see;                                                              seemly beautiful

            who is so beautiful to look upon;                                                                                  

1178    And wissh to God it might so be,

            and I wish to God that it would be the case                                                                

1179    That she wold hold me for hir knight,                                  hold…for think of…as

            that she would thnk of me as her knight,                                                                    

1180    My lady, that is so faire and bright!’—

            my lady, who is so fair and beautiful!”—

1181    ¶’Now have I told thee, soth to say,

            Now I have told you, truth to tell,                                                                                

1182    My firste songe. Upon a day

            my first song. One day                                                                                                    

1183    I bethoghte me what wo

            I thought about what woe                                                                                              

1184    And sorwe that I suffred tho

            and sorrow I suffered then                                                                                             

1185    For hir, and yet she wist it noght,                                                              wist knew

            for her, and yet she did not know it,                                                                            

1186    Ne tel hir durst I nat my thoght.

            nor did I dare tell her my thoughts.                                                                              

1187    ‘Allas!’ thoght I, ‘I can no rede;                                                                    rede plan

            “Alas!” I thought, “I do not have any plan;                                                                                                                             

1188    And, but I telle hir, I am but dede                                                             but unless

and, unless I tell her, I will surely die                                                                                       

1189    And if I telle hir, to sey right sothe,

            and if I tell her, to tell the truth,                                                                                    

1190    I am adred she wol be wrothe;

            I am afraid that she will be angry;                                                                                

1191    Allas! what shal I thanne do?’

            Alas! what should I do then?”                                                                                       

1192    ¶’In this debate I was so wo,                                                              wo woebegone

            ‘In debating this I was so woeful,

1193    Me thoght min herte brast atweine!                             brast atweyne burst in two

            I thought my heart would burst in two!                                                                      

1194    So at the laste, soth to seyne,

            So at last, truth to tell,                                                                                                     

1195    I me bethoghte that nature

            I realized that nature                                                                                                       

1196    Ne formed never in creature

            had never formed in a living thing                                                                               

1197    So moche beaute, trewely,

            so much beauty, truly,                                                                                                    

1198    And bounte, withouten mercy.                                                      bounte goodness

            and virtue, without mercy.

1199    ¶’In hope of that, my tale I tolde

            ‘In hope of that, I told my tale                                                                                       

1200    With sorwe, as that I never sholde,

            with sorrow, as one who never had to                                                                         

1201    For nedes; and, maugree my hede,                                  for nedes out of necessity

            out of necessity; and, despite my wishes

1202    I most have tolde hir or be dede.

            I would have to tell her or be dead.                                                                              

1203    I not wel how that I began,                                                              not do not know

            I do not know how I began,                                                                                           

1204    Ful evel reherse it I can;                                                                        reherse repeat                                                           

            I can only repeat it very badly

1205    And eke, as help me God withalle,

            and also, as God may also help me                                                                                                                                           

1206    I trowe it was in the dismalle,                    trowe believe; dismalle unlucky days

            I believe it was in the unlucky days,                                                                             

1207    That was the ten wounds of Egipte;                                               wounds plagues

            that were the ten wounds of Egypt;                                                                              

1208    For many a worde I overskipte

            for I skipped over many words                                                                                     

1209    In my tale, for pure fere

            in my tale, out of pure fear                                                                                             

1210    Lest my wordes misset were.                                                          misset misplaced

            lest my words were misplaced.                                                                                                                                                 

1211    With sorweful herte, and woundes dede,                                             dede mortal

            with a sorrowful heart, and mortal wounds                                                               

1212    Softe, and quaking for pure drede                                             softe in a low voice

            softly, and shaking out of great fear                                                                             

1213    And shame, and stintinge in my tale                                        stintinge stuttering

            and shame, and stuttering as I spoke                                                                           

1214    For ferde, and min hewe al pale,

            out of fear, and my face so pale,                                                                                    

1215    Ful ofte I wex both pale and rede;                                                                                very often I grew both ashen and flushed       

1216    Bowing to hir, I heng the heed;

            bowing to her, I hung my head;                                                                                    

1217    I durste nat ones loke hir on,                                                                  durste dared

            I did not dare to look on her once                                                                                 

1218    For wit, manere, and al was gon.

            for sense, manners, and everything else was gone.                                                   

1219    I seide ‘mercy!’ and no more;

            I said “mercy!” and no more;

1220    It nas no game, it sat me sore.

            it was not some game, it was so painful.                                                                                                                                 

1221    ¶’So at the laste, soth to seyne,

            ‘So, finally, truth to tell                                                                                                   

1222    Whan that min hert was come ageyne,

            when I had come to my senses again,                                                                                                                                      

1223    To telle shortly al my speche,

            to narrate briefly all I said ,                                                                                            

1224    With hool herte I gan hir beseche

            I began to beg her with all my heart                                                                             

1225    That she wold be my lady swete;

            to be my dear lady;                                                                                                          

1226    And swore, and gan hir hertly hete                         hertly hete promise earnestly

            and swore, and began to promise her earnestly

1227    Ever to be stedfast and trewe,

            always to be steadfast and true,                                                                                    

1228    And love hir alwey freshly newe,

            and love her always as if anew,                                                                                     

1229    And never other lady have,

            and never to take another lady,                                                                                     

1230    And al hir worship for to save                                                    worship reputation

            and always to preserve her reputation,                                                                        

1231    As I best coude; I swore hir this—                                best coude knew best how

            as well as I knew how; I swore this to her—                                                               

1232    ‘For yours is al that ever ther is

            “For all that is yours is all that there ever is                                                                

1233    For evermore, min herte swete!

            forever, my sweetheart!                                                                                                  

1234    And never fals yow, but I mete,                                      but I mete unless I dream

            and never to betray you, unless I dream                                                                      

1235    I nil, as wis God help me so!’                                  nil will not; as wis as certainly

            I will not, as certainly as God will help me!”                                                              

1236    ¶’And whan I had my tale ydo,

            ‘And when I had said all this                                                                                         

1237    God wot, she acounted nat a stre                                          wot knows; stre straw

            God knows, she did not give a straw                                                                           

1238    Of al my tale, so thoghte me.

            for my tale, it seemed to me.                                                                                          

1239    To telle shortly as it is,

            To tell briefly as it is                                                                                                        

1240    Trewly hir answere, it was this:

            truly her answer, it was this:                                                                                          

1241    I can not now wel counterfete                                                  countrefete replicate                                                               I cannot now replicate                                                                                                                    

1242    Hir wordes, but this was the grete                                                        grete essence

            her words, but this was the essence                                                                              

1243    Of hir answere; she said, ‘nay’

            of her answer; she said, “no”                                                                                         

1244    Alle outerly. Allas! that day                                                         alle outrely utterly

            utterly. Alas! that day                                                                                                     

1245    The sorwe I suffred, and the wo!

            the sorrow I suffered, and the woe!                                                                              

1246    That trewly Cassandra, that so

            that truly Cassandra, who so                                                                                         

1247    Bewailed the destruccioun                                                          bewailed lamented

            lamented the destruction                                                                                                

1248    Of Troye and of Ilion,

            of Troy and of Ilium                                                                                                        

1249    Had never swich sorwe as I tho.

            never had such sorrow as I did then.                                                                           

1250    I durste no more say therto                                                                     durste dared

            I dared say no more about it                                                                                          

1251    For pure fear, but stale away;

            for utter fear, but stole away;                                                                                         

1252    And thus I lived ful many a day.

            and thus I lived very many days.                                                                                  

1253    That trewely, I had no need

            That truly, I did not need                                                                                               

1254    Ferther than my beddes hede                                                                     hede head

            no further than the head of my bed                                                                              

1255    Never a day to seche sorwe;                                                                        seche seek                                                           

            to look for sorrow at any time;

1256    I fonde it redy every morwe,

            I discovered it at the ready every morning                                                                 

1257    Forwhy I loved hir in no gere.                                                                                        because I did not love her lightly.

1258    ¶’So it befel, another yere,

            So it happened, another year                                                                                         

1259    I thoughte ones I wolde fonde                                                             fonde attempt

            I thought I would try once again                                                                                   

1260    To do hir knowe and understonde                               do hir knowe let her know                                                           

            to let her know and understand

1261    My wo; and she wel understode

            my woe; and she understood wel

1262    That I ne wilned thing but gode,

            that I wished nothing but good                                                                                     

1263    And worshippe, and to kepe hir name

            and honor, and to preserve her reputation                                                                  

1264    Over al thing, and dred hir shame,

            over all things, and protect her from shame,                                                              

1265    And was so besy hir to serve;—

            and was so eager to serve her;—                                                                                   

1266    And pitee were I shulde sterve,                                                                   sterve die                                                           

            and it would be such a shame if I should die

1267    Sith that I wilned noon harme, ywis.                                                          sith since

            since I wished her no harm, indeed.                                                                             

1268    So whan my lady knewe al this,

            So when my lady knew all this                                                                                                                                                  

1269    My lady yaf me al hooly

            she gave me, wholly,                                                                                                                                                                   

1270    The noble yifte of hir mercy,

            the noble gift of her mercy,                                                                                                                                                        

1271    Savinge hir worship, by al weyes;                                             savinge preserving

            preserving her honor in every way;                                                                             

1272    Dredles, I mene noon other weyes.

            certainly, I intend nothing else.                                                                                     

1273    And therwith she yaf me a ringe;                                                                  yaf gave

            And with that she gave me a ringe;                                                                              

1274    I trowe it was the firste thinge;

            I believe it was the first thing;                                                                                        

1275    But yif min herte was ywaxe                                                                 ywaxe grown                                                           

            But whether my heart had grown

1276    Glad, that is no need to axe!                                                                             axe ask                                                           

            happy, there is no need to ask!

1277    As help me God, I was as blive,                                                            blive rapidly

            So help me God, I was quickly                                                                                      

1278    Reised, as fro dethe to live,

            raised, as from death to life,                                                                                           

1279    Of alle haps the alderbeste,                                                                   haps chances

            of every chance the very best                                                                                         

1280    The gladdest and the moste at reste.                                                  at reste assure                                                               the happiest and the most assured.                                                                                     

1281    For trewely, that swete wight,                                                               wight person

            For truly, that sweet person                                                                                           

1282    Whan I had wrong and she the right,

          when I was wrong and she was right,                                                                    

1283    She wolde alwey so goodely

            she would always so graciously                                                                                    

1284    Foryeve me so debonairly.                                                                                            

         forgive me so courteously.                                                                                       

1285    In al my youthe, in alle chaunce,                                alle chaunce every occasion

            throughout my youth, at every occasion                                                                     

1286    She took me in hir governaunce.

            she took me into her keeping.                                                                                        

1287    ¶’Therwith she was alway so trewe,                                                    trewe faithful

            Also, she was always so faithful                                                                                   

1288    Our joy was ever yliche newe;                                                yliche newe renewed

            our joy was always renewed;                                                                                         

1289    Our hertes wern so evene a paire,                                             evene well matched

            our hearts were so well matched,                                                                                 

1290    That never nas that oon contraire

            that never was one contrary                                                                                           

1291    To that other, for no wo.

            to the other, for any woe.                                                                                                

1292    For sothe, ylich they suffred tho                                      ylich in the same manner                                                           

            For in truth, they suffered in the same manner then

1293    Oo blisse and eke oo sorwe bothe;

            one blisse and also one sorrow for both of them;                                                       

1294    Ylich they were both glad and wrothe;                                               wrothe angry

            they were equally happy and angry;

1295    Al was us oon, withoute were.                                                                  were doubt

            they were all one to us, without a doubt.

1296    And thus we lived ful many a yere

            and thus we lived very many years                                                                              

1297    So wel, I can nat telle how.’

            so well, I can not now describe how’.

1298    ¶’Sir,’ quod I, ‘where is she now?’

            ‘Sir’, I said, ‘where is she now?’                                                                                    

1299    ‘Now’? quod he, and stinte anoon.                       stinte anoon stopped suddenly

            ‘Now’? he said, and stopped suddenly.

1300    ¶Therwith he waxe as dede as stoon,                                                  waxe became

            With that he grew as still as a stone,                                                                             

1301    And seide, ‘allas! that I was bore!                                                               bore born

    &