Troy Book: Book 4
JOHN LYDGATE, TROY BOOK, BOOK 4: NOTES
154 it were no nede. Bergen emends to that it were no nede.
159 How I th'estat. Grammatically parallel with that I have governaunce as direct objects of muse and grucchen.
163 brocage. MS: procage.
196 dewly may. Bergen emends to may dewely.
208 shuld. Bergen emends to shulde.
215 obeied. MS: ben obeied.
220 compleyne. Bergen emends to pleyne.
279 highe. Bergen emends to your highe.
287 a. Bergen emends to the.
301 In Lydgate as in Chaucer, newe usually carries a pejorative sense and represents a self-indulgent wish for novelty rather than stability and proven worth. In politics as much as in love, the poets censure newfongilnes. See note to 1.2090.
317 in every cost. Bergen emends to aboute in every cost, but the couplet remains a metrical problem. One alternative is to emend the next line to The emperour.
553 sothly. MS: soth.
556 unto. Bergen emends to to.
556-57 Achilles's attendance at the rites in Apollo's temple, where he falls in love with Polyxena, recalls Troilus's first sight of Criseyde in the temple at the feast of the Palladium (Troilus and Criseyde 1.161).
561 wer. Bergen emends to was.
564 gadered. Bergen reads gadred.
575 lowe. MS: lawe.
590 to. MS: unto.
592 Of. Accepting Bergen's addition.
603 percyng stremys of hir eyen two. Achilles falls in love with Polyxena in a way that recalls Troilus's falling in love with Criseyde as Love dwells "[w]ithinne the subtile stremes of hir yen" (Troilus and Criseyde 1.305; see also Troilus and Criseyde 3.129). Lydgate repeats the image at 4.673.
612 lyke. Bergen emends to lykly.
619 lovis snare. See Troilus's and Pandarus's descriptions of his predicament (Troilus and Criseyde 1.507 and 663), echoed later by Criseyde in the Greek camp (Troilus and Criseyde 5.748).
622 best to do. See Troilus and Criseyde 1.828 and 2.1485.
629 This to seyn, the sonne wente doun. Typical Chaucerian phrasing in the Canterbury Tales (I.181, I.1839, I.1857), perhaps best exploited for the effect of rhetorical deflation in The Franklin's Tale (V.1017-18).
640-43 See Troilus's taking to bed and making a mirror of his mind in which to see the image of Criseyde (Troilus and Criseyde 1.358-67). Lydgate injects a perhaps unconscious irony by using Troilus as a model for the figure who will dispatch him without pity later in the poem and "Despitously" in Chaucer's poem (Troilus and Criseyde 5.1806).
645 final cause. In Aristotle's analysis of cause, the final cause is the reason for which an action is undertaken, as distinct from the formal, material, and instrumental causes. Lydgate conspicuously modifies Guido, who portrays Polyxena as the efficient cause of Achilles's love sickness.
673 the stremys of hir eyen tweyne. See above, 4.603.
674 corve. Bergen emends to corven; see 2.988.
686 availlen. Bergen emends to availle. or. Bergen emends to nor.
686-701 Once he falls in love with Polyxena, Achilles changes his assessment of Hector's worth.
690 outrage. MS: autrage.
698-701 Once he falls in love with Polyxena, Achilles changes his perception of Hector's worth.
712 provyde. MS: pvyde.
725 fretyng. The term used here to describe Achilles's lovesickness is applied elsewhere to anger; see Peleus's anger toward Jason (1.229) and Lamedon's fury in battle (1.4167).
730 or. Accepting Bergen's emendation for MS: and.
742 mene. See above, 3.4217. Lydgate's allusion to Chaucer's Pandarus plays off his straightforward use of the term earlier (4.709) to signify a course of action.
756 And. Accepting Bergen's addition.
756-84 Lydgate goes beyond Guido's spare account of the messenger's mission and describes his speech as a logical argument, proceeding through an ordered sequence of premises to a necessary conclusion. The messenger proposes that marrying Polyxena to Achilles will end a war caused in part by the loss of Hesione and Paris's abduction of Helen.
761 Effectuously. Bergen emends to Effectuelly.
773 thorugh. Bergen emends to by and avoids repetition with next line, which seems to be the rhetorical aim.
778 performyd. Bergen reads parformyd.
782 him. MS: hem. The emendation reflects the two conditions of the proposal: that the Greeks end the war and Priam (him) live in peace thereafter.
784 knyt up in a cheyne. The same image is used earlier to describe Achilles's relationship with Patroclus (3.611, 3.3835-39).
787 or that. MS: that or.
798 To. MS: For.
for. Accepting Bergen's addition.
817 to. Bergen emends to into.
820 for. Accepting Bergen's addition.
835 how. Bergen emends to that.
881 the treté. Bergen emends to this treté.
907 th'effect of this mater. Chaucerian phrasing (Sir Thopas VII.958 and Troilus and Criseyde 4.890).
914 alway. MS: away.
918 cast. Bergen emends to caste.
920 cruellé. Bergen emends to cruelly.
933 take. MS: toke.
935 a verray impossible. See Aurelius's exclamation at the task Dorigen gives him in The Franklin's Tale: "this were an inpossible" (V.1009).
936 ben so. Bergen emends to ben ay so.
966 flouring yit in fame. Bergen emends to floureth yit the fame for grammar, but the MS phrasing is consistent with Lydgate's style.
974 liften. Bergen emends to lifte.
987 Was. MS: As.
993 desolat; see 3.5487-88.
1017 Bergen (4:223) notes that the phrase refers to Achilles rather than Hector.
1019 yit. Accepting Bergen's addition.
1035 into. MS: to.
1049 gilt. Bergen emends to gilte.
1051 dyvos. Bergen (4:223) notes that Guido does not mention divorce and that Lydgate here moves from canon to Roman law.
1052 knowe. Bergen emends to iknowe.
1089-90 The lines echo the beginning of Book 4 of Troilus and Criseyde, as Fortune withdraws her favor from Troilus: "From Troilus she gan hire brighte face / Awey to writhe, and tok of hym non heede, / But caste hym clene out of his lady grace" (4.8-10).
1095 home that we. Bergen emends to that we home.
1108 to. MS: in.
1109 Whiche. Bergen emends to While.
1111 so. Accepting Bergen's addition.
1119-29 Achilles ironically echoes the argument made earlier by Paris (2.2341-47) that a Greek woman should be taken as recompense for Telamon's seizing Hesione after the fall of Lamedon's Troy.
1134 Repeats the last line of Chaucer's The Franklin's Tale (V.1624).
1142 perturbid. Bergen reads parturbid.
1147 nold. Bergen emends to nolde.
1162 the felde. Bergen emends to felde.
1164 yaf. MS: yaf in.
1170 the. Bergen emends to his.
1197 the request. Bergen emends to request.
1213 mendyn. Bergen emends to amendyn. repeire. Bergen emends to repare to clarify rhyme with spare; see 4.857-58, where contrarie rhymes with apaire.
1221 purpos. Bergen emends to purpose.
2036 That as the deth thei fledde fro his sight. See Chaucer's description of Troilus's martial valor: "the Grekes as the deth him dredde" (Troilus and Criseyde 1.483).
2058 tariyng. Bergen emends to lettyng.
2059 throwe. MS: threwe.
2075 myghty. MS: myghte.
2085 han. Bergen emends to had.
2088 the knyghthod. MS: his knyghthod. the highe. MS: his highe.
2095 ridyng. Bergen emends to hym ridyng, to emphasize that the knights are riding around Agamemnon in an escort.
2103 ther. MS: thei.
2110 hym. Bergen emends to hem. In the MS reading, Agamemnon sees the distress Troilus has inflicted on him and how the Greeks are unable to resist Troilus.
2111 the. Bergen emends to his.
2139 Lydgate adds reminiscences of Criseyde's interviews with Troilus in Book 3 of Troilus and Criseyde; Guido says that Diomede is lying in bed, not that Briseida sits on the side of it.
2144 Lydgate, unlike Chaucer, identifies the point at which Criseyde shifts her love from Troilus to Diomede. The source is Guido, Book 26.
2148 Loo, what pité is in wommanhede. Pearsall (1990), p. 48, relates this passage to Troilus and Criseyde 5.1048-50. See 4.2172, where Criseyde would rather be thought changeable than lacking pity. Lydgate's references to Criseyde's pity offer an ironic comment on Chaucer's repeated assertion in the Canterbury Tales, "pitee renneth soone in gentil herte." See above, 1.4266.
2150 olde. MS: newe.
2151 late slyppe asyde. See Chaucer's description of Criseyde: "Ne nevere mo ne lakked hire pite; / Tendre-herted, slydynge of corage" (Troilus and Crisyde 5.824-25).
2155 Lombard Strete. Lombard merchants settled in London in the twelfth century. In 1318 Langbourn Street changed its name to Lombard Street. The name was in common use in the fourteenth century. From the early years of Edward I's reign onwards, Lombards served as bankers to the English crown. Their influence caused frequent resentment. In 1359, Lombards were attacked during riots. In 1376, the Mayor, Aldermen, and commons of London petitioned the King to forbid Lombards to live in the city or act as brokers in retail sales. Lombards were a target during the Rising of 1377.
2175 to. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2660 And withinne. Bergen emends to Withinne.
2679 worthiest. Bergen emends to worthieste.
2681 I fele myn herte. Bergen emends to myn herte I fele.
2697 of highe. Accepting Bergen's addition to MS: highe.
2726 to lasse and to discres. Bergen emends to gan to lasse and discrese without repairing the meter fully.
2732 at. Bergen emends to under.
2734 worthy. MS: manly.
2741 grounde. Bergen emends to ygrounde.
2748 severed. Bergen emends to severe.
2750 man. Bergen emends to wight.
2763 cruel cursed. Bergen emends to cursed cruel.
2764 thought pleynly. Bergen emends to thoughte platly.
2773-79 Achilles's mistreatment of Troilus's body is the same that he shows Hector's corpse in the Iliad.
2783 that he. Bergen emends to he.
2801 unto. MS: to.
2836 arace. MS: race.
2840 so foule is. MS: is so foule.
2849 for. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3105 with hevy. Bergen emends to ful hevy.
3113 of Troylus. Bergen emends to Troylus.
3121 of right and equyté. Hecuba's justification for plotting Achilles's death is the same that Priam uses earlier (2.1203, 2.1214, 2.1253) to urge retaliation for Hesione's abduction; Hector uses the phrasing in his interview with Achilles (3.3897), and Priam repeats it in arguing that King Thoas should be put to death after his capture (3.3139).
3155 firé. Bergen emends to firy; see Pro.11 and 2.3748
3161 whan. MS: wan.
3171 temple. Bergen emends to the temple.
3190 the. Bergen emends to his.
3191 therwithal. MS: therwith.
3204 body was. MS: bodies wern.
3210-11 See Chaucer's reproval of the pagan world at the end of Troilus and Criseyde (5.1849-55).
3213 knot. See Chaucer's The Squire's Tale: "The knotte why that every tale is toold" (V.401). The term is repeated at 5.2301.
3227 thei. MS: the.
3228 hem. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3766 custom. Bergen emends to custome.
3772 The Amazons' service to Mars is an ironic echo of the service to Venus conventionally offered by chivalric heroes; see, for example, Palamon's wish to die in Venus's service in The Knight's Tale (I.2243).
3835 the. MS: hir.
3843 to. Bergen emends to hir.
3864 famous. MS: grete.
3865 kyng. MS: quene.
3885 Rounde. MS: Ronde.
3888 And. Bergen emends to But.
3896 myght. Bergen emends to myghte.
3905 that. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3908 the. Bergen emends to this.
3941 had. Bergen emends to hadde.
3946 as a sturdy wal. The image used to describe Hector (3.4938) and Troilus as well as Nestor (1.4084) is applied to Diomede. Guido says only that Diomedes offered wondrous resistance to the Amazons (Book 28).
4307 gan. Bergen emends to dide.
4318 maked. MS: maketh.
4326 the Grekis. Accepting Bergen's emendation for MS: Grekis.
4340 The dismemberment of Penthesilea looks forward to Pyrrhus's dismemberment of Polyxena after the fall of Troy (4.6852-57).
4341 so. Bergen emends to to. See 4.4427
4398 al. Bergen reads all.
4414 burie. Bergen emends to burie it, but the syntax suggests that the Trojans want the body to bury and inter (grave).
4429 that. Bergen emends to how.
5121 thei. MS: ye.
5152 ben. Bergen emends to were.
5166 that. MS: that ye.
5193 the. Bergen emends to this.
5198 foreyns. MS: forereyns.
5220 Lydgate here tropes the repeated phrase crop and rote, meaning "the whole."
5221 of. MS: of a.
5236 to holde champartie. In OF champart is the Lord's share in the crop of a tenant's land (MED). "To hold champartie" means "to hold one's own" or "to contend successfully."
5245 though. MS: yough.
5256 that. Accepting Bergen's addition.
5259 with. Bergen emends to by.
5262 also. MS: also of.
5274 Wherfore. Bergen emends to Therfore.
5280 in mewe. Antenor's use of the term contrasts with earlier associations with love and desire; see 1.1901 and 2.3600.
5286 al. Bergen reads all.
5294 pes. Bergen emends to a pes. with. Bergen emends to for.
5553 goddes. MS: goodes.
5575 The clause requires the verb was to be understood.
5579 it in. Bergen emends to in.
5588 ywrought. MS: wrought.
5590 in the Rose. Lydgate refers anachronistically to the story of Pygmalion in the Roman de la Rose, lines 20817-21214.
5596 sent. MS: it sent.
5634 immortal. Bergen reads inmortal.
5636 that. Accepting Bergen's addition.
5638 of. MS: in.
5639 and. Bergen emends to of and glosses "from all assault and danger; dangerous attack."
5670 Bergen (4:224) suggests a colon after dwelle to indicate that the priest will be spoken to privately. Antenor seems, however, to be telling Ulysses to stay calm.
5671 outher. MS: outhe.
5695 and. Bergen emends to to.
5732 as. Bergen emends to that.
5742 And. MS: And to.
5752 in. MS: and.
5756 pleinly. Bergen emends to platly.
5767 ensclaundrid. Bergen emends to esclaundrid.
5768 shal shape. Bergen emends to shape shal.
5775 with. Bergen emends to of.
5783 partener. MS: parcener.
5788 that. Accepting Bergen's addition.
5791 aweye. Bergen reads aweie.
5795 his. MS: to his.
5818 no. Bergen emends to in. There is nothing in Isidore, Pliny, or Trevisa to suggest that gold can penetrate steel and marble; Lydgate seems to suggest that these substances resist gold but the priest does not. See 3.2063 and 4.1529.
5820 shal his purpos. MS: his purpos shal.
5829-30 The verb were must be understood with dismaied and outtraied.
6023 Bysshop Calchas. Lydgate's syntax is convoluted here, but the phrase stands in apposition to hym in the main clause at 4.6038: Recorde of hym.
6028 To. MS: Te.
6045 How. MS: How the.
6047 shal yow. Bergen emends to shal.
6102 of the. Bergen emends to of.
6135 be. Bergen emends to was.
6163 Duringe. MS: Durige.
6185 the. Bergen emends to this.
6202 into. MS: unto.
6212 whiche. MS: the whiche.
6277 Tenedoun. Tenedos is an island off the coast of Troy that the Greeks captured (see summary of Book 2.4896-6576) and used as a mustering point. In their ruse it remains a secure place from which to rally their troops in short order.
6285 he. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6290 to. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6294 On. MS: An.
horsebak. MS: horsbak.
6295 Troye. Bergen reads Troy.
6314 toke. Bergen emends to ne toke.
6331 Now. MS: And now.
6338 Wherof. MS: Wherfore.
6345 her. MS: the.
6347 bareyn and bare ymaked. Bergen emends to bare and bareyne maked.
6356-60 The Greeks' despoiling of the Trojan temples recalls Paris's desecration of the temple at Cythera (2.3809-27).
6365 in. Bergen emends to and.
6366 And. MS: And of.
the. Bergen emends to that.
6376 Mi penne shuld of verray routhe rive. See the narrator's phrase in Troilus and Crisyde: "Thise woful vers, that wepen as I write" (1.7).
6388 on the. Bergen emends to the.
6389 fals. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6400 raught. Bergen emends to raught away.
6402 party. MS: part.
6403 nor. Bergen emends to or.
6418 aside. Bergen emends to beside. In Guido (Book 30) Pyrrhus slays Priam in the sight of Aeneas and Antenor. MS reading gives the sense that the traitors both allow the murder to occur and witness it.
6425 her. Bergen emends to the.
6427 with. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6428 with his. Bergen emends to his.
6458 traitour. MS: troitour.
6460 him. MS: hm.
6488 the. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6500 be so. Bergen emends to so be.
6550 how. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6739 conselit. Bergen emends to conseled.
6747 now that I. MS: that I now.
6748 this. MS: the.
6772 The understood subject "I" must be supplied for this clause.
6779 wrathe. MS: wroth.
6794 bewepe hir virginité. Lydgate appears to echo Jephthah's daughter, another innocent destroyed by men's misguidance (Judges 11.37)
6795 pitous. Bergen emends to this pitous.
6805 unto. MS: to.
6818 me. Bergen emends to here.
6831 the. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6853 Dismembrid. Pyrrhus's vengeance recalls the death of Penthesilea (above, 4.4340-41). In Ovid (Metamorphoses 13.445-48), the ghost of Achilles demands that Polyxena be sacrificed on his tomb. swerd. Bergen reads swerde.
6866 ful. Accepting Bergen's addition. ybe. MS: be.
6880 wisly. Bergen emends to wistly but glosses the line under wysly.
6888 the. Bergen emends to this.
6899 a. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6914 ther men. Bergen emends to men ther.
6929 take. MS: toke.
6931 to. Accepting Bergen's addition.
6938 forget. Bergen emends to forged.
6940 confusioun. MS: conclusioun.
6944 the. MS: to do.
unto. MS: to.
6948 Lydgate's repudiation of the pagan gods, like Chaucer's rejection of "payens corsed olde rites" (Troilus and Criseyde 5.1849), also implies a repudiation of the poetic narratives associated with the gods. See also Lydgate's remarks at 4.7029-31.
6951 Mars, Pallas. MS: Pallas Mars.
6956 Nouther. MS: Nor.
6969-70 Lines transposed in MS.
6975 Genyus the prest. Genius was originally a deity assigned to individuals, but his most important role is as a god connected with the process of birth and regeneration. In this capacity, he appears as a figure in the Cosmographia of Bernardus Silvestris and the De planctu naturae of Alan of Lille. Jean de Meun incorporates and amplifies Alan's portrayal in the Roman de la Rose. Genius is the Lover's confessor in John Gower's Confessio Amantis.
6984-85 See Chaucer's The Wife of Bath's Tale (III.873-75)
6986 fawny. MS: fauner. Bergen emends to fauni. The form fawny appears elsewhere in the MS (2.5652, 2.7702 - not in selections for this text) and in Chaucer (Troilus and Criseyde 4.1544).
6991 the. Accepting Bergen's addition.
7018 exanple. Bergen emends to example, but the MS form is attested elsewhere in Lydgate's works in the sense of instructive narrative (exemplum).
7027 have. Bergen reads han.
7033 May now ought. Bergen emends to What may now.
7035 allas. Accepting Bergen's addition.
7036 The lament for fallen cities is a common topic in classical, biblical, and Near Eastern literatures; one prominent example is the medieval poem Pergama flere volo.
7057 gret. Bergen emends to grete; see 4.2732.
7058 Jeremye. The Book of Lamentations, a sequence of five poems on the fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 587 B.C., was commonly ascribed to the prophet Jeremiah.
7062 transmygracioun. MS: transmutacioun. Bergen's emendation fits the historical context. Chaucer uses transmutacioun in something close to Lydgate's sense in The House of Fame when he speaks of "dyvers transmutacions / Of estats, and eke of regions" (lines 1969-70). OED cites a rare late-sixteenth-century usage of the term that means the transmigration of souls from one body to another.
7066 Babilon. MS: Bailon.
7068 he that was departed with a sawe. According to apocryphal tradition, the prophet Isaiah was sawed in two during the reign of Manasseh. St. Paul makes reference in Hebrews 11.37, as does the ninth-century commentator Christianus Stabulensis in his Expositio in Euangelium Matthaei (chs. 4 and 35).
7095 sympelnesse. Bergen emends to symplesse; see Env.63.
7096 blottid. MS: blottid be.
7106 that. Accepting Bergen's addition.
7108 fifthe. MS: fithe.
Hector thus ded, as ye han herd me seid,
And Achilles in his tent ileied
With his woundis mortal, freshe, and grene,
Upon a morwe, whan the sonne shene
Enchasid had away the dirke nyght,
Agamenoun, the wyse worthi knyght,
In his werkis passingly prudent,
Hath in al haste for his lordis sent.
[Agamemnon is convinced that Fortune has sealed
Troy's doom. He advises that the Greeks wait for Achilles's
wounds to heal and seek a two months' truce from Priam to
burn the dead and forestall the threat of pestilence. During the
truce, Palamedes renews his dispute over Agamemnon's
governance. Agamemnon chooses his moment and then
confronts Palamedes in open audience with the Greek leaders
"Sothly," quod he, "yif ye taken hede,
Me semeth pleinly it were no nede,
Avisely yif ye list adverte,
To muse so nor grucchen in youre herte
Of al this hoste that I have governance,
Wisly considered every circumstaunce,
How I th'estat (whiche no man may denye)
Wolde in no maner never occupie
By other title than fre elleccioun,
Nat interrupt by mediacioun
Of brocage, roted upon mede,
Ay undermeynt with favour or falshede,
Depict with colour of trewe entencioun
To support swiche false ambicioun;
Of whiche thing here I wil me quyte
Tofore yow alle that I am not to wyte
In any wyse of so highe offence
But stonde clere in my conscience
Withoute spot of any swiche veynglorie
Touchinge th'estat, whiche is transitorie.
Yet nevertheles I have do my cure
With al my wit to helpen and procure
That everything touching the commounté
Persevere myght in prosperité,
Havyng the eye of myn inward sight
Unto the estat of every maner wyght
That were committed to my governance,
With gret labour and besy attendaunce,
Indifferent unto highe and lowe,
To helpe and fostre wher I coude knowe
That any stood in meschef or in nede,
Day and nyght for to taken hede,
As I best koude, by avisenesse,
Ay dillygent that nat felle in distresse.
For sothfastly, whoso loke aright,
Mi daies thinkyng and my wache anight
And of myn hert th'inly advertence
Withoute fraude, slouth, or necligence
Was feithfully with al my fulle myght
Me to aquyte to every maner wight,
Liche his estat withoute excepcioun;
So that no man justly of resoun,
Greke nor other that is now alyve,
Unto my gilt dewly may ascrive
Any falsehed, engyn, or trecherie
Of love or hate, favour or flaterie
In any cause named in special,
But that I have ben eliche egal
To oon and alle with al my besy peyne,
That no man hath mater to compleyne
For his party, of highe nor lowe estat.
And to devoide al rancour and debat
Amongis yow, I have do my dever
In general thing and particuler,
That hertoward nothing hath mescheved.
And God wot wel, it shuld nat agrevid
To my herte t'aset at any prys,
Yow t'achose by youre discret avis
Som other to this domynacioun
And I to have ben in subjeccioun
With ese of herte and tranquillité
Liche other lordis here of my degré
And in my wil fully han obeied -
Like on of yow outterly to have deyed
In the quarel that we han undirtake,
Yif destiné had it so yshape:
I seie in soth, me is ful loth to feyne.
And overmore also, wher ye compleyne
That I was chose withoute your assent,
Merveileth nat, sith ye ne were present;
Nor longe after, yif ye remembre aright,
Toward Troye your weie was nat dight.
Yif ye considre, it was after ner
Or that ye cam passed ful two yer;
And so longe t'abide youre commynge
It hadde ben to Grekis gret hyndrynge,
Passynge harme, and ful gret damage,
And huge lettynge unto oure viage.
For yif we had withouten any wene
On your comynge taried at Athene,
It likly is - ye can nat wel seie nay -
To have be there yit into this day.
And whereas ye, though it be nat credible,
Affermen eke for an impossible
That Grekis shuld in any maner wyse
Dor take on hem any gret emprise
In youre abscence manly to achewe,
It is but wynde, nothinge for to leve.
For so it be to you noon offence,
The Grekis han withoute youre presence
Thorugh her force on water and on lond
Ful many thing parformed with her hond
And acheved thorugh her worthines.
And of o thing that in me ye gesse
(This to seyne, that of my degré
I shulde in herte so rejoisshe me
Of this lordshipe and this grete estat,
The more to be pompos and elat
In chere or port that I it occupie)
But me to aquite trewly and nat lye
And to devoide al suspecioun,
I wil make a resignacioun
Tofore yow alle, for to excuse me.
Now beth avised discretly for to se
Whom ye list han ageyn tomorwe prime
Withoute settynge of any lenger tyme,
Prolonging forthe, or any more delay."
And thus thei made an ende of that day
And went her weye only for that nyght
Til on the morwe that Titan shadde his light,
At whiche tyme a conseil general
The Grekis hilde; but moste in special
Of lordis was ther congregacioun,
As I have tolde, for the eleccioun.
And whan thei were alle met ifere,
Agamenoun anoon, as ye shal here,
Seide evene thus, with sadde countenaunce.
"Lo, sirs," quod he, "touchynge governaunce
That I have had and domynacioun,
I have herto with hool affeccioun
And clene entent do my besynes
That everything might in welfulnes
To youre encres perseveren and contune.
Recorde I take of God and Fortune,
Whiche han conservid and the cause be
You for to floure in felicité,
That youre honour and highe noblesse
Stant hool and sounde yit in sikirnes.
And while your fame is most in flouringe,
As semeth me, it is right wel sittinge
Myne estat fully to resygne,
Specially while Fortune is benygne;
For of so many that be now present
I am allone insufficient
Withoute helpe for to bere a charge:
Men with to moche may overlade a barge
And namely in tempest and in rage.
And sith ye bene so discret and sage,
Of my berthene late me be releved
So that no man therwith be agrevid;
But late us alle of oon entencioun,
Withoute strife or dissencioun,
Chesen swiche oon that be most acceptable
To yow echon and most covenable,
Yow to governe by discressioun."
And thei echon with hool affeccioun
Assentid ben. To speke in general,
Here men may se how it is natural
Men to delite in thinge that is newe:
The trust of peple is feint and untrewe,
Ay undiscrete and ful of doubilnes
And variable of hir sikernesse,
Ay awaitynge in her oppinioun
After chaunge and transmutacioun,
Selde or never stondyng hool in oon
(Today thei love, tomorwe it is gon),
In whom ful selde is any sikernes.
For only now of newfongilnes
That hath enbracid her affeccioun
Thei have in stede of Agamenoun
Of newe chose, only of favour,
Pallamydes to ben her governour,
And of Grece, liche as thei desyre,
To have the septre of the hool empire,
And to be called in every cost
Emperour of the Grekis host,
Right as toforn was Agamenoun.
And this was fyn and conclusioun
For thilke day of her parlement.
And after that, every man is went
To his loggynge, home the righte wey.
[After the truce expires, Priam takes the field with one
hundred and fifty thousand troops. His old hatred for the
Greeks now doubled by Hector's death, he slays many foes.
The King of Persia is killed in the fighting, and the next day
Priam seeks a truce in order to embalm his body. Meanwhile,
the funeral rites for Hector begin, and warriors from the two
sides exchange visits. Achilles is taken by a desire to visit Troy
And forthe he went on a certein day
Toward Troye in al the hast he may,
Unarmyd sothly, as myn auctor seith,
Withoute assuraunce or any other feith
Excepte the trew, whoso be lefe or loth.
And first of al unto the temple he goth
Of Appollo. Halwed was the feste
Thorughoute the toun doun unto the lest,
That clepid was the anyversarie,
As ye han herde - what shuld I lenger tarie -
And many worthi present wer therat
Amyd the temple, of highe and lowe estat,
Lordis and ladyes of affeccioun
From every part gadered of the toun.
Now was the cors of this worthi knyght
As freshe of colour kepte unto the sight,
As lifly eke and as quik of hewe
To beholde as any rose newe
Thorugh vertu only of the gommys swete
And the bawme that gan aboute flete
To every joynt and eche extremyté.
And at this feste and solempnyté
Was Eccuba and yonge Polycene,
So wommanly and goodly on to sene,
With many other of highe estat and lowe
Tofore the cors sittynge on a rowe
With heer untressid, clad in wedis blake,
That evere in on swich a sorwe make
That routhe was and pité for to sene
How thei pleyne and the deth bemene
Of worthi Hector, of knyghthod grounde and welle.
But trowe ye (as Guydo list to telle)
That Polycene in al hir woful rage
Ichaungid hath upon hir visage
Hir natif colour, as fresche to the sight
As is the rose or the lillye whight,
Outher the freshenes of hir lippes rede,
For al the terys that she gan to shede
On hir chekis, as any cristal clere?
Hir heer also resemblyng to gold wyre,
Whiche lay abrood like unto the sight
Of Phebus bemys in his spere bright
When he to us doth his light avale.
And ay she rent with hir fyngeris smale
Hir golden here on hir blake wede,
Of whiche thing Achilles toke good hede
And gan merveille gretly in his thought
How God or Kynde ever myght have wrought
In her werkis so fair a creature:
For he thought he myghte nat endure
To beholde the brightnes of hir face,
For he felt thorugh his herte pace
The percyng stremys of hir eyen two;
Cupides brond hath hym markid so
For love of hir that in his desire
He brent as hoote in soth as any fire,
And after sone with sodeyn colde he quoke,
And alweye fix on hir he hadde his loke,
So that the arwe of the god Cupide
Percid hym evene thorugh the syde
To the herte and yaf hym swiche a wounde
That nevere was lyke for to sounde.
And ay in oon his loke on hir he caste,
As he durste, and gan to presse faste
Toward hir, namly, with his eye,
That hym thought he most nedis deye
But yif that he founde in hir some grace.
Ther was no geyn, for pleinly in that place
Of newe he was kaught in lovis snare,
That of helth and of al welfare
He was dispeired in his herte so
That he ne knew what was best to do.
Eche other thing, I do yow wel assure,
He set at nought and toke of hit no cure;
His thought was hool on hir and on no mo.
The longe day thus went he to and fro,
Til Phebus char lowe gan declyne
His golden axtre that so cler doth shine
(This to seyne, the sonne wente doun)
Whan Eccuba, Quene of Troye toun,
And hir daughter Pollycene also
Oute of the temple to the paleis go;
And ay Achilles on hir hadde a sight
While he myght, til for lak of light
He may no more have leyser oportune
To loke on hir, cursed be Fortune.
For whiche in haste he makid hathe his went
With his knyghtes home unto his tent,
Wher he anon withoute more tariyng
To bedde goth, ful trist in compleyning,
Ay in hymsilf casting up and doun
In his mynde and eke in his resoun
From hed to foot hir bewté everydel.
And in his hert he felt and knewe ful wel
That final cause of his languysshinge
Was Polycene, of bewté most passinge:
For love of whom so moche peine he felte
That with the hete he thought his herte melte,
Ay on his bedde walwyng to and fro
For the constreint of his hidde wo,
For whiche almost him thoughte that he deide;
And to himsilfe even thus he seide.
"Allas," quod he, "how me is wo begoon,
That of my sorwe knowe ende noon,
For I suppose, sith the world began
Ne was ther nevere a wofuller man:
For I that whilom was of so gret myght,
So renomed of every maner wyght
Thorughoute the world, bothe of highe and lowe,
For ther was noon in sothe that koude knowe
A man in armys that was more famus
Nor iholde more victorius,
Tofore this tyme remembrid be no stile
Into this day - allas, the harde while -
Nouther Hector pleinly nor noon other,
Of Polycene that was the worthi brother,
That power had whan thei with me mette,
For al her myght, me to oversette,
Nor in the felde my force for to daunte,
Here prively as I me dar avaunte.
But now, allas, a mayde of tender age
Hath sodeinly me brought in swiche a rage
That with the stremys of hir eyen tweyne
She percid hath and corve every veyne
Of myn hert, that I may nat asterte
For to be ded thorugh constreint of my smerte.
For who shal now wissen me or teche,
Or who, allas, shal now be my leche,
Or who shal now helpe me or save?
Ther is but deth and after that my grave,
For other hope pleinly is ther noon,
Save in hir mercy, allas, and that is goon.
For nouther prayer, tresour, nor richesse,
Force nor myght, nouther highe prowesse,
Highnes of blood, birthe, nor kynrede
May availlen or helpen in this nede
To meven hir, nor my sadde trouthe,
Upon my wo evere to have routhe.
What newe furie or importune rage
Hath brought myn herte into swyche outrage
Ageynes whiche I can not debate:
To love hir best that dedly doth me hate.
And in good feith, who wisly list adverte,
Litel wonder though she me hate of herte,
Sith I am come hyder fro so ferre
On hir kynrede for to make werre,
In the whiche to my confusioun
Hir knyghtly brother, most worthi of renoun,
Have fatally with myn hondis slawe,
Whiche in this worlde hadde no felawe
Of worthinesse nor of manlyhede.
Allas, allas, now may I quake and drede
And of my lyf fallen in dispeire,
For how shuld I be bold to have repeire
Or dorn, allas, comen in hir sight,
I woful wreche, I unhappy wyght?
Or how shal I ben hardy to appere
In the presence of hir eyen clere?
Certys, I se non other mene weye
But finally that I muste deye,
So dispeired I stonde on every syde,
Of other helpe I can me nat provyde."
And right anoon with profounde sighes depe
This Achilles brast oute for to wepe
With dedly chere, pale and funeral,
And with his face turned to the wal,
That routhe was and pité for to sene
The hertly furie of his peynes kene.
For so oppressed he was in his thought
Of lyf nor deth that he roughte nought,
And this contuneth til it drow to nyght,
That Titan hath withdrawe his clere light.
And evere in oon lith this woful man
Iliche sike, of colour pale and wan,
Withoute slepe, so fretyng was his sorwe,
Til Lucifer on the nexte morwe,
Tofore the sonne, with his bemys clere
Ful lustely gan for to appere
In the orient, whan this Achilles,
Unpacient, withoute reste or pes,
Quakynge evere in his fevere newe
(As it was sene pleinly in his hewe),
Til he abreide of anguysshe sodeynly
And called oon that was with hym prevy
And of counseil whom he tristeth wel;
And unto hym he telleth everydel
From point to point with him how it stood
And sent him forthe because he koude his god
On his message streight to Troye toun
With ful avis and informacioun
Of this mater to Eccuba the Quene
Thorugh his wisdam for to ben a mene,
Yif he myght by his discrecioun
Fynde any waye of savacioun
Unto his lord that he lovyd so.
And to the quene anon he is go
And his mater wysly gan conveie
Toforn or he of grace wolde preie
That she enjoieth to yeve hym audience,
For in his tale ther was noon offence:
He was no fool or newe for to lere.
Wherfore the quene goodly gan hym here
Of al that evere hym liketh for to seyn;
Ther was no worde ylost nor spoke in veyn,
For his tale no man koude amende.
And craftely he gan to discende
To the substaunce and tolde clerly out,
With premisses ful wel brought about,
That finally in conclusioun
The chefe, he seide, of his entencioun
Effectuously, yif it wolde be,
Was for to make pes and unité
Atwene Grekis and the folke of Troye.
To whiche thing he knew no better woye
Than of the werre, for her alder ese,
By his wit prudently t'apese
The mortal strife and the bitter rage
By allyaunce only of mariage,
Yif that hir liste, this wyse, worthi quene,
That hir doughter, faire Pollycene,
May weddid be unto Achilles.
Wherthorugh ther myght be a final pes,
Yif Eccuba thorugh hir discresioun,
Thorugh hir wit and mediacioun
And hir prudence myght aboute brynge
That Priamus were fully assentynge
That Achilles myght his doughter wyve,
So that it myght performyd ben as blyve
(Lyke as I have made mencioun)
By covenaunt only and condicioun
That the Grekis shal her werre lete
And suffre him to lyven in quyete,
Yif the mariage of this ilke tweyne
Parformed be and knyt up in a cheyne.
And whan the quene hath knowen his entent,
Ful sobirly, by good avysement,
Toforn or that any word asterte,
Ful pitously she syghed in hir herte,
And at the laste with a sobir chere
She seide thus to the messager.
"My frend," quod she, "touching thi request,
I can no more make the beheste,
But at the leste I wil condiscende
What lyth in me to bringe to an ende
Thi lordis wil with al myn herte entere.
But hereupon I muste firste requere
The kynges wil, yif he wil yeve assent
To the purpos for whiche thou art sent.
And overmore I muste wyte also
Yif that Parys be willyng eke therto,
Of whiche thing with every circumstaunce
I wil mysilfe maken enqueraunce
Ful feithfully of Priam and Parys
The menewhyle, what is her avys,
Withoute more withinne dayes thre,
At whiche tyme come ageyn to me
From Achilles, yif he wil the sende,
And finally thou shalt knowe an ende
Of this mater and an answere pleyn."
And home he goth to Achilles ageyn
With ful glad chere, his lord the mor to plese;
And for to sette his herte bet at ese,
Avisely of highe discrecioun,
He hath so made his relacioun
And told his tale in so thrifti wyse,
As he that koude his wordis so devyse
To bringe in hope to his lordis herte
With ful reles of his peynes smert,
Wherby he made his sorwe to withdrawe.
And thus while hope gan for to adawe
Amyd his brest, Eccuba the Quene
To Priam spak of this Polycene,
Touchinge the sonde of this Achilles
And of his profre for to make a pes;
She tolde hym al and forgat nothinge.
Wherof astonyd, Priamus the Kyng
Spak nat a word half an oures space
But in hymsilfe gan for to compasse
Ful prudently what it myghte mene
That Achilles wolde have Polycene
Unto his wyf, ay wondring mor and more;
And at the last, sighynge wonder sore,
He discloseth the conceit of his herte
And seide, "Allas, how sore it doth me smerte
To remembre how I may have no pes -
The grete offence of this Achilles
Towardis me pleinly whan that he
Slowe worthi Hector thoru his cruelté,
That hooly was upon every side
Th'assuraunce, governour, and guyde
Of me and myn platly for to seyne
And therwithal of myn eyen tweyne
He was allone the verray sothfast lyght,
Shelde, and protectour thorugh his grete myght
And his manhod ageyn the mortal rage
Of Grekis werre in my croked age.
But now, allas, to my confusioun
He slawen is, so worthi of renoun,
Be Achilles, whiche may not out of mynde,
That in myn hert I can nevere fynde
To ben allyed with my mortal foo,
Rote and grounde of al my sorwe and wo.
It were ful harde myn herte to apese
To loven hym that causeth myn unese
On every half, wherthorugh my cruel foon,
The proude Grekis, hertid ben echon
Ageynes me, now Fortune is contrarie,
Torned of newe my quarel to apaire,
That causeth Grekis, wood and furious,
On me, allas, to be presumptuous
Only for Hector is me berafte away.
But sithen I noon other chese may,
Ageynes herte, though it for anger ryve,
In this mater assay I shal to strive,
Though me be loth and sitteth me ful sore;
Yit to eschewe harmys that ben more,
Whiche likly ben hereafter for to falle,
And for to save myn other sonys alle,
I wil concent that this Achilles,
So that he make a trewe final pes
Atwene Grekis and also this cité
Withoute more pleinly, how that he
Have unto wyfe my doughter Polycene.
But list that he any tresoun mene,
My wil is, first, howso that it wende,
Of his beheste that he make an ende
Withoute fraude - this is myn avis."
To whiche conseil assenteth eke Parys
And more rathe in conclusioun,
For ther was made noon excepcioun
In the treté of the Quene Eleyne,
That Menelaye evere shulde atteyne
Hir to recure ageyn unto his wyf,
For whiche Paris withoute noise or strife
Or grucchinge outher unto this entent
Withinne hymsilf was fully of assent,
Therby hopynge withoute fere or drede
Perpetuelly Eleyne to possede
Right at his lust and no man shal seie nay.
And after this uppon the thridde day
Achilles hath, to wyte of this mater,
To Eccuba sent his messanger;
And she tolde hym the answere of the kyng,
Ceriously gynnynge and endynge,
And how that he assenteth wel therto
And Paris eke and she hirsilfe also,
Yif it so were pleynly, she hym tolde,
Touchinge the pes that the purpos holde
And firste that he his heste bring aboute
That thei be sure; thanne him dar not doute
That he shal have his purpos everydel,
Yif that he wirke prudently and wel.
And hereupon with informacioun
This messanger oute of Troye toun
Withoute abood, in al the haste he may,
To Achilles helde the righte way
And tolde him hool th'effect of this mater.
And he alweie fervent and entere
In herte brent hoot as any glede
And saw ther was no waye for to spede
But only pes, as ye han herd me telle;
And ay his brest with sighes gan to swelle
For the love of this Polycene
And cast alway amonge his peines kene
To his purpos a weie for to fynde.
And whiles he was besy in his mynde
How he shuld his purpos bringe aboute
And in hymsilf cast many a doute,
Anoon Dispeir in a rage upsterte
And cruellé caughte hym by the herte,
Whiche hath hym throwe into swiche a were
That hym thoughte it nas in his power
His beheste to fulfille in dede,
Excepte he hadde wel the lasse drede
Everything to putten in certeyn,
Wenyng no Greke wolde his lust withseyn,
From his desire to be variable.
And to hymsilf thus was he favourable
For to parforme and no thing denye
Al that was lusty to his fantasye,
As is the maner of lovers everychon,
That thei suppose to acheve anon
What thing it be that thei take on honde,
In what disjoint that the mater stonde,
Altheigh it be a verray impossible:
In her foly thei ben so credible.
And so Achilles trusteth finally
To fulfille his hestes outterly,
Supposyng ay for his worthines,
For his manhod and his highe prowes,
In whiche he dide hymsilfe glorifie
Somwhat of pride and of surquedie,
How the Grekis shulde be dispeired,
Bothe of her trust and her myght apeired
Upon Troyens to wynnen any londe,
Yif it so were he withdrowe his honde
To helpen hem, and therwithal also
Home into Grece that thei wolde go
From the sege only for his sake
And her quarel outterly forsake,
But it so were this hardy, ferse Achille
With hem abood the cité for to spille.
For whiche thing the lordis by assent
Assemblid wern to heren the entent
Amonge hem alle of this Achilles,
By the biddynge of Pallamydes.
And whan thei wern gadrid alle ifere,
Toforn hem alle, like as ye shal here,
This Achilles hath his tale gonne
And seide: "Sirs, that so moche konne
Bothe of wisdam and of highe prudence,
So renomed eke of sapience
Thorughoute the worlde and of discrecioun,
And ben so worthi also of renoun,
Kynges, dukis, of whom the rial name
From est to west flouring yit in fame,
Bothe of knyghthod and of manlihede,
To that I seie I praye you taketh hede:
This to seyne, yif that ye considere
The pleyn entent of oure comynge hider
By good avis and discrecioun
Had no grounde founded on resoun
Nor cause roted on no titel of right,
Yif it so be, that ye liften up youre sight
And adverten clerly in youre mynde,
Ful fer abak wit was sette behynde,
Prudent lokynge and avisenesse.
For first whan we of foly hastynesse
Toke upon us to come fro so ferre
Ageynes Troyens for to gynne a werre
And to juparde oure lyves everychon
For the love of o man allone -
Ye weten alle, I trowe, whom I mene,
Kynge Menelay, defrauded of his quene,
To telle trouthe (me list nat for to feyne) -
For ye wel wite only that Eleyne
Was grounde and gynnynge of al this debate,
For whom so many worthi of estate,
Recurles of any remedye,
Life and good han putte in jupartie,
Oure londis left and oure regiouns,
Oure cités eke and oure riche tounes,
Whiche by oure absence stonde desolat.
Wives and childer eke disconsolat
In wo abide, mournynge, and distresse,
Whiles that we, the sothe to expresse,
Fro day to day beset on every syde,
Lyn in the felde and oure deth abide
In sorwe and care, in labour and in wo.
And with al this ye wete wel also,
Sithen tyme that the werre began,
Of oure Grekis how many worthi man
Hath loste his lyf thorugh dethis fatal wounde,
That myght herto have lyved and be sounde
At home in Grece assured wel in joye,
Yif thei ne hadde comen unto Troye -
That to remembre it is ful gret pité.
And over this I seie also for me:
Amonge Troyens in her cruel mood
I have ylost so moche of my blood
That hath ful ofte made me pale of hewe.
This other day also, grene and newe,
I hadde of Hector swiche a mortal wounde
With a quarel sharpe whet and grounde
Above the thighe - so kene was the hed -
The same day aforn that he was ded,
Of verray hap as it was yshape,
That fro the deth unnethe I myghte eskape.
Whiche yit al freshe is uppon me sene
Large and wyde and as yit but grene,
The smert of whiche sore yit I pleyne.
And in good feith, me semeth that Eleyne,
Yif ye adverte wysly in your thought,
With swiche a pris shulde nat be bought,
Wherthorugh oure lyf and oure good yfere
And oure honour arn yput in were
And dredfully hangen in ballaunce.
For yif that ye in youre remembraunce
Conceyve aright and casten up and doun
The sodeyn chaunge and revolucioun
That fallen hath sith the werre gan,
The slaughter and deth of many worthi man
That for hir sake hath here lost his lyf,
Yet the werst of this mortal strif
Doth most rebounde into oure damage
To disencres and eke disavauntage
And likly is to encrese more,
Yif ordynaunce be nat made therfore
And remedie shape on outher side,
By fyn only that Eleyne abide
With hem of Troye, stille here in the toun.
And late us cast by good inspeccioun
For oure ese som other mene way
So that the kyng called Menelay
Chese hym a wyf in som other lond
Lyk his estat be suraunce or be bonde,
Under wedlock confermed up of newe,
That unto hym wole be founde trewe,
Sithen that he withoute gilt or synne
May be the law from Eleyne twynne;
For of dyvos causis ben ynowe
Thorughoute the worlde of every wight knowe
Of avoutri for the foule vice.
For to lawe is no prejudice,
Though Menelay justly hir forsake
Whan so hym list and another take
That shal him bet bothe queme and plese.
And so to us it shal be ful gret ese,
Whan the werre is brought to an ende,
Whiche likly is many man to shende,
Yif it so be that it forthe contune.
The grete labour is so inportune
That we ne shal no while mowe sustene;
For this is soth withouten any wene:
Troyens yit ben flourynge in her myght
And with hem han ful many worthi knyght
To helpen hem, of highe and lowe degré;
And therwithal so stronge is her cyté
On every parte withouten and withinne
That we ar nat likly for to wynne
In oure purpos, though we evere abide.
Wherfore be wisdam lete us voide pride
And wilfulnes, only of prudence
To han the eye of oure advertence
To oure profyt more than to veynglorie;
And while oure honour shyneth by victorie,
A wysdam is to withdrawe oure hond,
Sith we may nat constreyne by no bond
Fortunys whele for to abide stable.
Wherfor I rede, or she be mutable,
This gery goddes with hir double cher,
Let us yeve up swiche thing as lithe in wer
Whiles that we mow oure worship save:
For of the werre the laude yit we have,
Considered wel how by oure manlyhede
Oure moste fo, Hector, is now dede.
And while that we in oure honour floure,
My counseil is, or Fortune loure,
As I seide er, to chaunge hir brighte face,
While that best we stonde in hir grace,
By on assent and oon oppinioun
Withouten any contradiccioun
Of hert and wil, bothe of on and alle,
Or oure honour on any party palle,
Into Grece home that we retourne.
For yif that we lenger here sojourne
On the quarel that we have longe swed,
Douteles - it may nat bene eschewed -
Ful gret damage - this withoute faile -
Or we have don shal folwen at the taile:
Wherfore best is oure foly up resigne.
And while oure hap is welful and benygne,
Most blaundisshinge and of face faire,
The tyme is best to maken oure repeire,
While that we stonde in party and in al
With oure enemyes in honour perigal
And fer above pleinly, yif that we
Koude han an eye to oure felicité,
Whiche that is in his ascenceoun.
But list som man wil make objeccioun
That we may nat so oure honour save,
To repeire pleynly but we have
Eleyne ageyn that is cause of al,
To whiche thing anoon answer I shal:
Yif any man in his fantasie
To dishonour or to vyllenye
Arrette wolde in any maner kynde
We to gon hom and leven hir behynde,
Shortly to seyn, I holde it be no shame,
Sith that we han on as gret of name
As is Eleyne and of berthe as good,
Amongis us ycome of kynges blood,
Suster to Priam, lord of Troye toun,
Exyona, whom that Thelamoun
In kepyng hath, yif I shal nat feyne,
In Troye toun as Paris hath Eleyne.
And sithe now it may bene noon other,
Lete the ton be sette ageyn the tother
And the surplus of olde enmyté
Betwyxen us and Troye the cité.
My conseil is, for oure bothen ese,
By on assent wysly to appese,
This al and som, and that we hennes wende.
I can no more; my tale is at an ende."
To whom anoon Kyng Menelaus,
For verray ire wood and furious,
And Kyng Thoas, the duke eke of Athene,
As thei that myght no lenger hym sustene
(To suffren hym thei were so rekeles),
Spak alle attonis unto Achilles.
Nat only thei but thorugh inpacience
The court, perturbid, withoute providence,
With tumult gonne to repreve
This Achilles and proudly hem commeve
Ageynes hym and hys oppinioun,
And seide shortly in conclusioun
Unto his reed thei nold nevere assent
Nor condescende to nothing that he ment,
To be governed by hym in this cas.
For whiche thing anoon Achilles was
So full of ire and rancour in his hert
That sodeinly from his se he sterte,
And went his way, as he were in a rage,
Triste and pale, and a wood visage,
And shortly seide, for hym list nat feyne,
That he ne wolde lenger don his peyne
To helpen hem, howso that thei spede,
Ageynes Troyens for no maner nede,
And bad anon, this hardy Achilles,
To his knyghtes called Mirmidones
That thei no more with spere nor with shelde
To helpe Grekis entren into the felde
But kepe hem clos at home withinne her tent.
Thus in his ire he yaf commaundement
To alle his men, as ye han herd devise,
Hem to withdrawe at every hyghe emprise,
Whansoevere thei goon into bataille.
And in this while skarsenes of vitaille
Fil in the hoste of fleshe, bred, and wyn,
That many Greke brought unto the fyn,
For thei ne myght endure for distresse,
Constreint of hunger dide hem so oppresse,
Til at the last Kyng Pallamydes,
As he that was in no thing rekeles,
Hath therupon maked purviaunce,
Remedie, and redy ordinaunce.
And by assent and counseil of echon
He hath ysent wyse Agamenoun,
The worthi kyng, to Messa there beside,
A litel ile, only to provide
For the Grekis, yif he myghte spede,
Hem to releve in this grete nede.
And Thelephus, kyng of thilke lond,
Of gentilnes hath put to his hond,
As he that was large and wonder fre
And renomyd of humanité,
To socour hem, commaundinge anoon
His purvyours in al haste to goon
From every party abouten enviroun
Thorugh alle the boundis of his regioun
And feithfully to cerchyn every coste
To take up vitaille for the Grekis host.
And after that ful hastely he made
To stuffe her shippes pleinly, and to lade
With everything that was necessarie
To the Grekis, and be water carie
At the request of Agamenoun,
Withoute tariynge or dilacioun.
And so the kyng with plenté of vitaille
Fraught and ylade gan anon to saille
Toward the sege, he and his meyné,
Ay costeiynge by the Grekysshe se.
The wynde was good, and the kyng as blyve
With his navie at Troye dide aryve
In fewe dayes, and Grekis anon right
Of his repeire were ful glad and lyght,
Of his expleit and his gode speed,
That he so wel hath born hym in this nede.
And after this Pallamydes anoon,
As seith Guydo, is to his shippes goon
For to considre and loken al aboute
Wher nede was withinne and withoute,
Any of hem to mendyn or repeire,
As he that list for no cost to spare
In everything, withoute necligence,
Touching his charge to don his dilligence,
Til the trews fully wern oute ronne
And the werris new ageyn begonne,
Whiche many man sothly dere abought.
And ceriously to write how thei wrought
My purpos is pleinly in sentence,
Under support of youre pacience.
[When the war resumes, Deiphebus, one of Priam's sons,
is mortally wounded by Palamedes. He calls on Paris to
avenge him, and Paris kills Palamedes with a poisoned arrow,
as the Greeks are routed. Only the valor of Ajax Telamon
saves them from complete destruction. The Greeks appeal to
Achilles for help, but he does nothing, fearing to offend
Polyxena. With Palamedes dead, Agamemnon reassumes his
role as the Greek leader. Troilus inflicts heavy losses on the
Greeks, and they seek a two-month truce from Priam, during
which Agamemnon sends Ulysses and others to prevail on
Achilles to return to battle. Achilles refuses, and the Greek
lords, meeting in council with Agamemnon, are at the point of
abandoning the war, until Calchas tells them that they are
destined to conquer Troy (lines 1223-2028).]
The trewes passid of the monthes tweyne,
Into the feld the Grekis hem ordeyne,
And thei of Troye ageyn hem issen oute.
And worthi Troylus with an huge route
The Grekis gan alderfirst assaille,
And with his swerd he made first to raile
The rede blod thorugh her harnes bright,
That as the deth thei fledde fro his sight;
For he that day thorugh his cruelté
Cast hym fully avenged for to be
Upon the deth of Hector, outterly.
And as Dares reherseth specially,
A thousand knyghtes this Troyan champioun
That day hath slayn, ridyng up and doun,
As myn auctor, Guydo, list endite,
Save after hym I can no ferther write -
In his boke he yeveth him swiche a name -
That by his manhod and his knyghtly fame
The Grekis alle wer put unto the flight
Al thilke day, til it drowe to nyght.
And on the morwe in the dawenynge,
The Grekis han at Phebus uprysynge
Iarmed hem with gret dilligence,
Ageyn Troyens to stonden at diffence.
Amonges whom that day, as I rede,
So wel hym bar worthi Diomede
That many Troyan thorugh his cruelté
Hath loste his lyf, til Troilus gan to se
This Diomede in the feld ridyng,
To whom anoon withoute more tariyng,
With his spere throwe into the reste,
This Troilus rod and hit hym oon the breste
So myghtely that of verray nede
Doun of his hors he smet Dyomede,
Albe of wounde he hadde no damage.
And furiously Troilus in his rage
Of envie gan hym to abreide,
Whan he was doun, the love of Cryseide,
Of his deceit and his trecherie.
And Grekis than faste gan hem hye
Amonge the hors in meschef where he lay,
To drawe him oute in al the hast thei may;
And on a sheld, brosed and affraied,
Thei bare him hom, so he was dismaied
Of the stroke, home unto his tent.
And Menelay the same while hath hent
A myghty spere t'avenge Dyomede
And to Troilus faste gan hym spede,
Fully avysed to unhorsen hym anon.
But Troylus first made his stede goon
So swyfte a course toward Menelay
That he anoon at the erthe lay,
So myghtely he hit hym with his spere
That shelde and plate myghte hym nat were
To saven hym from a mortal wounde.
But his knyghtes, anon as thei him founde,
Oute of the pres whan thei han hym rent,
Thei bar hym hom to his owne tent,
The Grekis ay stondyng in distresse
Thorugh the knyghthod and the highe prowes
Of this Troylus, whiche hath hem so beleyn
On every part, where he rod on the pleyn,
Til unto tyme that Agamenoun
Into the felde is avaled doun
With many worthi abouten his baner
That shon ful shene ageyn the sonne cler.
And with his knyghtes ridyng enviroun,
He sore enchased hem of Troye toun,
Woundeth and sleth and put hem to the flight,
Hymsilfe aquytynge lik a manly knyght;
But for al that, withoute more abood
Amongis Troyens fersely as he rood,
This worthi kyng, grete Agamenoun,
With a spere Troylus smet hym doun
Maugre his Grekis - ther geineth no socour.
And whan thei sawe her lord, her governour,
In swyche meschef at the grounde lyende,
Thei hent hym up and made hym to ascende
Thorugh her manhod on his stronge stede.
And he of wyt gan to taken hede
And consider wysly in his thought
In what disjoynt Troylus had hym brought
And how the Grekis, for al her grete pride,
Toforn his swerde myghte nat abide.
He prudently of highe discrecioun,
This noble knyght, Kyng Agamenoun,
As he that hadde ay his advertence
On governaunce thorugh his providence
Whanne he sawe his Grekis gonne faille
And wexe feble to stonden in bataille
For lak of stuf that shulde hem recounforte,
Ful prudently he made hem to resorte,
Everyche of hem, to his owne tent.
And after that he hath to Priam sent
For a trew, to Troye the cité,
For sixe monthes, yif it myghte be.
And by his conseil Priamus the Kyng
Withoute abood granted his axyng,
Albe that somme, as Guydo list endite,
Were evel apaied so longe to respite
Her mortal fon in any maner wyse;
But yit his graunt, as ye han herd devise,
Stood in his strengthe fully, as I rede.
In whiche tyme, of verray womanhede,
Cryseyde list no lenger for to tarie,
Though hir fader wer therto contrarie,
For to visite and to han a sight
Of Diomede, that was become hir knyght,
Whiche had of Troylus late kought a wounde.
And in his tent, whanne she hath hym founde,
Benignely upon his beddis syde
She set hir doun in the silve tyde,
And platly cast in hir owne thought,
Touchinge Troylus, that it was for nought
To lyve in hope of any more recure,
And thought she wolde for no thing be unsure
Of purvyaunce nor withoute stoor:
She yaf anoon, withouten any mor,
Hooly hir herte unto Diomede.
Loo, what pité is in wommanhede,
What mercy eke and benygne routhe
That newly can al her olde trouthe,
Of nature, late slyppe asyde
Rather thanne thei shulde se abide
Any man in meschef for hir sake!
The change is nat so redy for to make
In Lombard Strete of crowne nor doket:
Al paie is good, be so the prente be set.
Her lettre of change doth no man abide.
So that the wynde be redy and the tyde,
Passage is ay, whoso list to passe.
No man is lost that list to seke grace;
Daunger is noon but counterfet disdeyn;
The se is calme and fro rokkis pleyn:
For mercyles never man ne deide
That soughte grace. Recorde of Cryseyde,
Whiche finally hath yoven al hir herte
To Diomede in reles of his smerte,
And praide hym to be right glad and light,
And called hym hir owne man, hir knyght,
And hym behight, rather than he deie,
In everything how she wolde obeye
That were honest, hym to do plesaunce:
For levere she had chaunge and variaunce
Were founde in hir thanne lak of pité,
As sittyng is to femynyté,
Of nature nat to be vengable,
For feith nor othe but rather mercyable
Of mannys lyf stondyng in distresse.
[Agamemnon goes himself to prevail on Achilles to
return to the war. Achilles refuses but allows his Myrmidons to
fight. In the ensuing battle, many of Achilles's men are slain,
and he is caught between his love for Polyxena and his grief
for his men. After another truce, Troilus attacks the
Myrmidons so furiously that their cries and the threat of a
Trojan victory finally move Achilles to take the field in anger.
He and Troilus meet and wound one another. When his wound
heals, Achilles calls his men together and plots Troilus's death
. . . This felle envious Achilles
To his knyghtes, called Mirmidones,
Upon Troylus gan hym to compleyne,
Besechynge hem for to done her peyne
Ageyn this Troylus in the feld that day
To cachen hym at meschef yif thei may,
And besely to done her dilligence
On hym to han her ful advertence,
By oon assent, wherso that he ride -
Al other thing for to sette asyde
And of nought ellis for to taken hede,
Sauf finally ageyn hym to procede
Yif thei myght cacche hym in a trappe
And withinne hemsilf Troilus for to clap,
To enclose and sette hym rounde aboute
In al wyse that he go nat oute.
And whan he were beset amonge hem alle,
Nat to slen hym, whatsoevere falle,
But thorugh her myght manly hym conserve,
Til he hymsilfe come and make hym sterve
With his swerd, he and noon other wyght.
Lo, here a manhod for to preise aright!
Vengaunce of deth, of rancour, and of pride,
Compassid tresoun, knyghthod leyde aside!
Worthines be envie slawe,
Falshed alofte, trouthe abak ydrawe!
Allas, in armys that it shulde falle,
Of trecherie that the bitter galle
Shuld in this world in any knyght be founde,
That be to trouthe of her order bounde.
Allas, allas, for now this Achilles
Conspired hath with his Mirmidones
The deth of oon the worthiest wyght
That evere was and the beste knyght.
Allas, for wo I fele myn herte blede
For his sake, this story whan I rede.
But whan Fortune hath a thing ordeyned,
Though it be evere wailled and compleined,
Ther is no geyn nor no remedie
Though men on it galen ay and crye,
I can no more touchinge this matere
But write forthe, lik as ye shal here,
How Mirmidones han her lord behight
With al her power and her fulle myght
To fulfillen his comaundement;
And into feld with Grekis thei be went.
But Troylus first, in the opposit,
Of verray knyghthood hath so grete delit
Withoute abood manly hem to mete;
He was ybrent with so fervent hete
Of hardines and of highe corage,
Of worthines and of vasselage
That hym ne list no lenger to abide
But with his folk in began to ride
Amonge Grekis, this stok of highe renoun.
And with his swerd he woundeth and bereth doun,
Sleth and kylleth upon every halfe
So mortally that ther may no salve
Her sores sounde; for ther was but deth,
Wherso he rood, and yelding up the breth,
So furiously he gan hem enchase
And made hem lese in a litel space
Her lond echon and aforn hym fle:
In Troylus swerd ther was swiche cruelté
That maugre hem he the feld hath wonne.
The same tyme whan the brighte sonne
Highe in the south at mydday marke shon,
Evene at the hour whan it drowe to noon,
Whan Mirmidones, gadred alle in oon,
In compasse wyse rounde aboute hym gon
And furiously of oon entencioun,
Thei made a cercle aboute hym enviroun,
Whan thei sawe him of helpe desolaat.
But he of hert nat disconsolat
Upon no side, thorugh his manlyhede,
Lik a lyoun toke of hem noon hede,
But thorugh his famus knyghtly excellence
As a tigre stondeth at diffence,
And manfully gan hem to encombre,
And to lasse and to discres her noumbre.
And somme he maymeth and woundeth to the deth,
And somme he made to yelden up the breth,
And somme he laide to the erthe lowe,
And somme he made for to overthrowe
With his swerd of her blood al wet
At gret meschef at his horse fet;
Upon his stede sturdy as a wal,
This worthy knyght, this man most marcial,
Pleyeth his pley amonge Mirmidones,
Hymsilf, God wote, allone al helpeles.
But tho, allas, what myght his force avail
Whan thre thousand knyghtes hym assail
On every part, bothe in lengthe and brede?
And cowardly first thei slow his stede
With her speris, sharpe and square grounde;
For whiche, allas, he stont now on the grounde
Withoute reskus, refut, or socour,
That was that day of chivalrie flour.
But, weillawey, thei han hym so beset
That from his hed thei smet his basenet,
And brak his harneis, as thei hym assaille,
And severed of stele the myghti stronge maille.
He was disarmyd bothe nekke and hed,
Allas the whyle, and no man toke noon hede
Of alle his knyghtes longynge to the toun;
And yit alweye this Troyan champioun
In knyghtly wyse, naked as he was,
Hymsilfe diffendeth, til Achilles, allas,
Cam ridynge in, furious and wood.
And whan he sawe how Troilus nakid stod,
Of longe fightyng awaped and amaat
And from his folke allone disolat,
Sool by hymsilf at meschef pitously,
This Achilles wonder cruelly,
Behynde unwarly, or that he toke hed,
With his swerd smyteth of his hed
And cast it forthe of cruel cursed herte;
And thought pleynly, it shuld him nat asterte
To shewe his malys, this wolfe unmerciable.
Ful unknyghtly to be more vengable
Upon the body that lay ded and colde -
Allas, that ever it shuld of knyght be tolde,
Wryte, or rehersed, to do so foule a dede,
Or in a boke, allas, that men shuld rede
Of any knyght a story so horrible,
Unto the eris passingly odible -
For this Achille of cruelté, allas,
The dede cors toke oute of the taas,
And vengably bond it, as I fynde,
At the taille of his hors behynde,
And hatfully, that every wyght behilde,
Drowe it hymsilf endelonge the feld
Thorugh the rengis and the wardis alle.
But, O allas, that evere it shulde falle
A knyght to bene in herte so cruel
Or of hatred so dispitous fel
To drawe a man after that he were ded.
O thou, Omer, for shame be now red
And be astonyd, that haldest thisilfe so wyse,
On Achilles to setten swiche a pris.
In thi bokes for his chivalrie
Above echon dost hym magnyfye,
That was so sleighty and so ful of fraude -
Whi yevest thou hym so highe a pris and laude?
Certis, Omer, for al thin excellence
Of rethoryk and of eloquence,
Thi lusty songes and thi dites swete,
Thin hony mouthe that doth with sugre flete,
Yet in o thing thou gretly art to blame:
Causeles to yeve hym swiche a name,
With a title of triumphe and glorie
So passingly putte hym in memorie,
In thi bokes to seyn and write so,
Thorugh his knyghthod he slowe Hectoris two -
First hym that was lik unto noon other,
And Troilus after, that was his owne brother.
Yif thou arte meved of affeccioun,
Whiche that thou hast to Grekis nacioun,
To preise hym so, for thou canst endite,
Thou shuldest ay for any favour write
The trouthe pleinly, and ben indifferent,
And seie the sothe clerly of entent.
For whan he slowe Hector in the felde,
He was aforn disarmyd of his shelde
And besy eke in spoylyng of a kyng:
For yif he had be war of his comyng,
He had hym quytte thorugh his chivalrie
His fals deceit and his trecherie,
That he ne had so lightly from hym gon.
Troilus also was naked and allone,
Amyd foure thousand closed and beshet
Whan Achilles hath his hed of smet,
At his bak of ful cruel herte,
Whan he no thing his tresoun dide adverte.
Was that a dede of a manly knyght,
To slen a man forweried in fight,
Feynt of travail, al the longe day
Amonge so many stondyng at abay,
A kynges sone and so highe born,
Naked the hed, his armure al totorn,
Evene at the deth on the silfe point,
At disavauntage, and pleinly oute of joynt,
Of his lyf stondyng on the wrak,
Whan Achilles cam falsly at the bak,
Assaillynge hym whan he was half ded,
And lyk a coward smot of thanne his hed,
That was toforn hurte and wounded sore?
Wherfor, Omer, preise hym now no more.
Lat nat his pris thi rial boke difface
But in al haste his renoun oute arace:
For his name whan I here nevene,
Verrailly up unto the hevene
(As semeth me) infect is the eyr,
The sown therof so foule is and unfair.
For yif that he had hadde his advertence,
Outher the eye of his providence
Unto knyghthod or to worthines,
Outher to manhod or to gentilnes,
Or to the renoun of his owne name,
Or to the report of his knyghtly fame,
In any wyse to have taken hede,
He hadde never don so foule a dede:
So vengably for to have ydrawe
A kynges sone after he was slawe -
And namly hym, that was so gode a knyght,
Whiche in his tyme, whoso loke aright,
Passed Achille, I dar it wel expresse,
Bothe of manhod and of gentilnes.
But for al that, he is now ded, allas.
[King Menon reproves Achilles for the treachery of
Troilus's death. He wounds Achilles, who is rescued by the
Myrmidons. Achilles then plots Menon's death in the same
way he earlier contrived to surround and kill Hector and
Troilus. All Homer's rhetoric cannot disguise Achilles's fraud
and treachery. The Greeks drive the Trojans into the city.
Their sorrow at Troilus's death is beyond the power of
Boethius, Statius, or Ovid to describe. Priam asks for a truce
and builds tombs for Troilus and Menon (lines 2856-
But I purpose ceriously to telle
How Eccuba, as I can endyte,
Hir caste fully Achilles to quyte
His tyranny, sothly, yif she may.
And unto hir she calleth on a day
Alysaundre in ful secré wyse
And unto hym, as I shal devyse,
With wepynge eyen and with hevy chere
Seide evene thus, lyk as ye shal here.
"Parys," quod she, "allas, sauf Goddis wille,
Thou knowest wel how the ferse Achille
My sonys hath slayen nyghe echon;
Ther is non lefte but thisilf allone:
He hath me made (allas, ther is no geyn),
Ful cowardly, of children now bareyn,
Bothe of Hector and of Troylus eke therto
Whiche were to me in every trouble and wo
Fully counfort, plesaunce, and solace.
Wherfore, I caste pleynly to compasse
By som engyn his deth to ordeyne;
And lyke as he by tresoun dide his peyne,
Traytourly with his swerd to smyte,
Right so, I think, with tresoun hym to quyte,
As sittyng is of right and equyté.
And sith thou wost pleynly how that he
Hath sette his herte and his love clene
On my doughter, yonge Polycene,
To fyn only to haven hir to wyve;
For whiche I caste to hym sende blyve
For to come and trete of that mater
In the temple of Appollo here,
In the temple most chef of this cité.
Whiche tyme my wil is that thou be
Thisilven armyd ther ful prively,
With certeyn knyghtes in thi company
Armyd also ageyn the same day,
That in no wyse he skape nat away
From your hondis but that he be ded,
As I have seid; and therfor take good hed
Unto this thing, with al myn herte, I praie,
Fro point to point my biddyng to abeie."
And he assenteth with al his hoole herte,
Behotyng hir he shulde nat asterte.
And with hym toke twenty and no mo
Of manly men that wel durste do;
And in the temple by ful good avys
Thei wern yhyd by byddyng of Paris,
While Eccuba, covert in hir entent,
Hir messager to Achilles hathe sent,
As ye han herde, in conclusioun,
To come in haste unto Troye toun
After th'effect was of hir message,
Only to trete for a mariage.
And he in haste cometh at hir sonde,
As he that koude no thing undirstonde
Hir tresoun hid nor pleinly it adverte:
He was so hote marked in his herte
With lovys brond and his firé glede,
Of lyf nor deth that he toke noon hede
But sette aside wit and al resoun,
To caste aforn by gode discrecioun
What was to do, with lokyng ful prudent.
But he in soth was with love blent,
Into Troye whan he shulde goon,
Lyke as it fareth of lovers everychon:
Whanne thei have kaught in herte a fantasie,
For no pereil, though thei shulde deye,
Thei have no myght nor power to be ware,
Til thei unwarly be trapped in the snare:
Her maladie is so furious.
And thus Achilles and Anthilogus,
Nestoris sone, han the weye nome
Toward the toun and ben togidre come
Into temple, as ye han herd me telle.
And Paris tho list no lenger duelle
But, unwarly, with his knyghtes alle
On Achilles is at meschef falle,
Everyche of hem with a swerd ful bright.
And somme bokis seyn it was by nyght,
Whan his deth, longe aforn desired,
By Eccuba and Paris was conspired.
But Achilles in this mortal caas,
Amonge hem alle naked as he was,
Hent oute a swerde in the silve stevene;
And like a knyght he slow of hem sevene
Of verray force, maugre al her myght.
But whan Paris therof hadde a sight,
Thre dartes raught that were kene and square,
And sodeinly, or that he was ware,
Ful secrely hid under the shade,
Markyng at hym and no noyse made,
Caste at hym evene as evere he can,
That hed and shafte thorugh the body ran;
And therwithal knyghtes nat a fewe
With sharpe swerdis gan upon him hewe
And left hym nat til he lay at grounde
Ful pale ded, with many mortal wounde.
And rightfully, of resoun as it sit,
Thus was the fraude and the falshede quit
Of Achilles, for his highe tresoun:
As deth for deth is skilfully guerdoun
And egal mede, withouten any fable,
To hem that be merciles vengable.
For thilke day, Guydo writeth thus,
That Achilles and Anthilogus
Of Paris wern in the temple slawe;
And afterward the body was out drawe
Of Achille fro the holy boundis
And cruelly throwen unto houndis
To be devourid in the brode strete,
The canel rennynge with his wawes wete
Withoute pité or any maner routhe.
Loo, here the ende of falshed and untrouthe,
Loo, here the fyn of swiche trecherie,
Of fals deceit compassid by envie.
Loo, here the knot and conclusioun,
How God quyt ay slaughter by tresoun.
Loo, here the guerdoun and the final mede
Of hem that so deliten in falsehede:
For everything, platly for to seyne,
Like as it is, his guerdoun doth atteyne,
As ye may se of this Achilles,
Whiche on a nyght in the temple les
His lyf; for he was ay customable
By fraude and tresoun for to be vengable.
But it befel at request of Eleyne
That the bodies of this ilke tweyne
Conservid wern from the hungri rage
Of best and foule, gredy and ramage.
And yit thei laie amyddes the cité
Ful openly, that men myght hem se,
To grete gladnes to hem of the toun,
Into tyme that Agamenoun
To Kyng Priam sent his massageris
To have licence to fet hem hom on beris;
By graunt of whom thei han the corsis take.
For whom Grekis swiche a sorwe make
That pité was and routhe for to here.
[After Achilles's death, Agamemnon challenges the
Greeks to exact vengeance. Ajax Telamon urges them to send
for Achilles's son, Pyrrhus, whom prophets say will bring the
downfall of the city. Menelaus is dispatched to bring him to
Troy. In June, the Greeks take the field. Ajax Telamon rides
without armor, carrying only a sword. He has survived many
battles, but Fortune now turns against him. Paris shoots him
with a poisoned arrow. Ajax, mortally wounded, splits Paris's
skull in two. Troy is thrown into shock by the death of the last
of Priam's sons, and Helen cannot contain her grief. Priam
closes the gates of the city and will not give battle to the
Greeks, despite Agamemnon's challenge (lines 3236-
And yit in soth cause of his tariynge
Was for the hardy Quene of Femynye
Toward Troye faste gan hir hiye
Oute of hir lond, a litel regioun,
The whiche, as bokis make mencioun,
After the syyt of the firmament
Is in the plage of the orient,
And called is the regne of Amazonys,
Of whiche the custom and the wone ys
That only wommen therin shal abide:
And thei ar wont armyd for to ryde
And han in armys gret experience;
For her labour and her dilligence
Is finally to haven excersyce
Fro day to day in Martis highe servyse.
And overmore her custom and usaunce,
As to this day is maked remembraunce,
Is that no man shal hem nyghe ner,
But yif it be thre monthes in the yer:
This to seyn, in June, April, and May;
And than the wommen han in custom ay
Unto an yle a litel therbesyde,
Wher as the men by hemsilfe abide
Fro yere to yere togidre everychon,
Unto the men oute of her lond to gon,
And there abide in that regioun
Til tyme cometh of concepcioun,
Withoute tariynge any lenger while;
For thanne anoon home unto her ile
Thei repeire oute of that contré
Unto tyme that thei delyvered be.
And as faste as the childe is born,
For lak of kepynge that it be nat lorn,
He fostrid is til thre yere be agoon
Amonge the wommen; and thanne right anon
To the ile besiden adjacent
Unto the men the childe in haste is sent,
Yif that it be of kynde masculyn.
And yif it falle that it be femynyn,
With the wommen abide stille it shal
Til that it be in actis marcial
Ful wel experte and that she can eke knowe
To handle a spere or to drawe a bowe,
Lyke the statutis of that regioun,
The whiche, as bokes make mencioun,
Is set betwene Ewrope and Asya.
And of this lond was Pantysyllya
Whilom lady and governeresse,
Ful renomed of strengthe and hardynes
Thorughoute the world, bothe in lengthe and brede;
And yit in soth to speke of wommanhede,
For al her myght she had an huge pris,
For bothe she was vertuous and wys,
Wonder discret, and had an honest name,
Natwithstondynge the excelle of fame
Of hir renoun in armys and the glorie:
For of conquest and of highe victorie
She was most surmountyng out of drede
Of any womman that I can of rede;
And sothly yit bokes bere witnesse,
Of wommanhede and of gentilnesse
She kepte hir so that nothinge hir asterte.
The whiche loved with al hir hoole herte
Worthi Hector and with al her myght,
Only for he was so noble a knyght
That hir joye and worldly plesaunce,
Hir hertly ese and sovereyne soffisaunce,
In verray soth, where she wake or winke,
Was evere in oon upon hym to thinke,
Of verray feith, withouten any slouthe.
And unto hym she was be bond of trouthe
Confederat of olde affeccioun,
That whan she herd how that Troye toun
Besegid was of the Grekis felle,
This hardy quene liste no lenger dwelle
But hasteth hir as fast as evere she may
Toward Troye in ful good array
With alle the worthi wommen of hir londe,
Ful wel expert and preved of her honde,
Wel horsed eke and armed richely.
And as I fynde, in her company,
A thousand maidenes ridinge by her side,
This worthi quene, that durste wel abide,
She with hir brought in steel armyd bright
For love of Hector, hir owne trewe knyght.
And on hir weie fast she gan to spede
To helpen hym yif she seie nede:
For in nothinge she koude hir more delite
Thanne towarde hym feithfully hir quyte,
For that was al hir lust and hertis joye.
But whan that she comen was to Troye
And herde telle by relacioun
That he was ded, most worthi of renoun,
To whom she was so lovinge and so trewe,
Anoon she gan to chaungen cher and hewe,
And pitously for to wepe and crye,
And ferd in soth as she wolde deye
For verray wo and hertly hevynes,
And thought she wold thorugh hir worthines
Avenge his deth platly, yif she may,
On the Grekis; and so uppon a day
She preieth Priam with gret affeccioun
For to oppene the gatis of the toun,
And to gon oute with Grekis for to fight,
That thei may knowe and be expert aright
Of this womman the grete worthines,
And of this quene the famous hardines;
And so the kyng, hopynge for the beste,
Withoute abood graunted hir requeste
The nexte morwe, whan Phebus shon ful shene;
And al toforn out goth Phylymene,
The noble kyng, with hem of Paffaganye;
And after hym other knyghtes manye
Folwed after with worthi Eneas,
The Troyan eke, Daungh Pallydamas.
And thanne the Quene Pantasyllya
By the gate called Dardanyca
Toward Grekis proudly issed oute,
With hir wommen ridyng hir aboute.
The whiche anoon whan Grekis dide espie,
Into the felde gan hem faste hiye:
And first of alle worthi Meneste,
Pantasillia whanne he dide se,
With his sporis made his stede gon,
And with a spere rood to hir anoon,
Of whom the quene astonyd neveradel,
Caught eke a spere that was squarid wel,
Rounde the shafte, and the hed wel grounde,
Whiche as thei coupe smet him doun to grounde
And maugre hym reved him his stede.
And thanne in haste in cam Diomede
And cruelly to the quene gan ride;
And she as faste on the tother side
Rood eke to hym in platis bright and shene;
And as thei mette with her speris kene,
She hitte so this felle Diomede,
For al his myght and his manlyhede,
That she hym made his sadel for to lese.
Ther is no more - he myght tho nat chese.
And in dispite of his men echon,
She hath his sheld hym beraft anoon
And it delyvereth, proudly as she rood,
To a maide that uppon hir abood.
And like a tigre in his gredinesse
Or like, in soth, to a lyounesse,
That day she ferde, ridynge up and doun
Amonge the Grekis, til that Thelamoun
Gan beholde the slaughter that she made,
Of highe dispit and rancour overlade,
As he that myght for ire not sustene,
Gan ren his hors to falle uppon the quene.
But whan that she his comynge dide espie,
She fil on hym in hir malencolye
So mortally, maugre his knyghtes alle,
That to the grounde she made him for to falle
And Grekis put in so grete disaray,
Wherevere she rood al that ilke day;
For thei myght aforn hir nat sustene.
And thorugh the helpe of Kyng Philymene,
As myn auctor recordeth in his boke,
Amyd the feld Thelamoun she toke
And sent hym forthe thorugh her highe renoun
As prisoner toward Troye toun,
Til unto rescus cam cruel Diomede,
And cruelly on hem that gan him lede
He fil unwarly with an huge route
Of his knyghtes ridynge hym aboute,
And from her hondis, maugre al her myght,
He hym delivereth like a manly knyght.
At whiche tyme, this hardy quene anon,
With hir wommen aboute hir everychon,
The Grekis hath aforn hir on the pleyn
(As writ Guydo) so mortally beleyn
That she hem made of necessité
Oute of the feld with her swerd to fle,
That verrayly it was incredible
And to leve a maner impossible
To sene the wommen Grekis so enchase,
Whiche myghte nat abide aforn her face
Nor in the feld in any wyse stonde:
For thei hem dryve to the silfe stronde,
Doun to the clyf of the salte se
And slowe of hem so huge gret plenté
That finally thei had be distroyed
For everemore and outterly accloied,
Nadde Diomede stonden at diffence
And of knyghthod maked resistence:
For he that day in parti and in al
For Grekis stood as a sturdy wal
And was allone her helpe and chef socour.
But for al that, with worship and honour
Pantasillya, as made is memorie,
Repeired is with conquest and victorie,
With alle hir wommen into Troye toun
Upon the hour of Phebus goynge doun.
And by the side of this hardy quene
Armyd in stel rood Kyng Phylymene,
Whom Priamus hath with gret reverence
Knyghtly reseved and dide his dilligence
Hem to refreshe with every maner thing
That myghte be unto her likyng,
As her hertis koude best devyse.
And after this, in ful goodly wyse,
He thanked hath the noble hardy quene
Of hir goodnes that hir lyste to sene
To helpyn hym in his grete nede
And offrid hir (in Guydo as I rede)
Al that he hath, tresour and richesse,
Hopynge fully thorugh hir worthines
Upon Grekis avengid for to be
And for to kepe hym and his cité
Maugre Grekis, whiche of hem seye nay.
For as I rede, after day be day
She stinte nat proudly hem t'assaile,
Ageyn whos swerd thei myghte nat availe,
So mortally she made her sides blede.
[Meanwhile, Menelaus arrives at Troy with Pyrrhus.
Agamemnon knights him, and the Myrmidons pledge him their
fealty. Pyrrhus carries his father's arms into battle, and he is
ashamed when Penthesilea drives the Myrmidons back and
reproaches him for Achilles's cowardly murder of Hector. She
unhorses Pyrrhus, and the Myrmidons have to rescue him
from her. Fighting continues daily for a month, during which
a hundred Amazons are slain. Fortune, never stable, begins to
turn her favor from Penthesilea (lines 3974-4280).]
The fatal hour, harde for to remewe,
Of cruel deth, which no man may eschewe
Nor in this lyfe finally eskape,
Specially whan Parchas han it shape,
Aproche gan - it may noon other bene,
Allas the while - of this hardy quene,
Whiche on a day, furious and wroth,
Into the feld oute of Troye goth
And gan on Grekis proudly for to sette.
And alderfirst Pirrus with hir mette
Of mortal hate and indignacioun;
And she in haste by the rengis doun
Rood unto hym swiftly on hir stede,
Whos sporis sharpe made his sides blede.
And as thei mette, her speris in the rest,
Thei bare so evene, markyng at the brest,
That her shaftis, sothly this no tale,
Gan to shyvere alle on pecis smale
Withoute bowynge outher bak or chyne:
For nouther made other to enclyne,
Save the hed forged harde of steel
Of Pantasillya, that was grounde wel,
In Pirrus brest percid hath so depe
That plate in soth nor maille myght hym kepe,
But the sharpnes of the speris hede
Was of his blod in party died rede.
The whiche strok whan Grekis gan espie,
Forastonyd loude gan to crye
And alle attonys for the noise and soun
Upon this quene in the feld cam doun,
In compas wyse goynge enviroun.
But thorugh hir prowesse and hir highe renoun
She hir diffendeth, that it was mervaille;
But thei, allas, so sore hir gan assaille
That al tohewe thei han hir basenet;
Amyd Grekis so thikke she was beset
That with axes and her swerdis square
Hir hed in soth maked was al bare
And hir shuldris were nakid eke, allas,
The maille hewe of and the rerebras.
And Pirrus than, lyke as it is founde,
For anguyshe only of his grene wounde,
In doute pleynly wher he shulde eskape,
Toward this quene faste gan hym rape
To be avengid, whatsoevere falle,
Amyd the feld amonge the Grekis alle.
And whan she sawe that he cam so faste,
Of force only to mete him yit she cast
And with hir swerd first gan hym assaille;
But of hir strok it happed hir to faille,
Amonge the pres so narwe she was beset.
And Pirrus swerd was so sharpe whet
That sodeinly of hir arme he smette.
Allas, ther was non armour hym to lette
But raceth thorugh al the shulder bon,
So that this quene fil doun ded anon.
And of malys for to venge hym more,
At his hert the ire frat so sore
That with a chere of verray angir pale
He hath hir hewe al on pecis smale,
The whiche was so foule a cruel dede.
But evere in on Pirrus so gan blede,
Nighe to the deth of his mortal wounde,
For lak of blod that he fil to grounde.
In a trawnce ful longe gruf he lay,
Til his knyghtes in al the haste thei may
Han take hym up and leide him on a sheld;
And doolfully home oute of the feld
Thei han hym born, wounded as he was.
And the wommen of the quene, allas,
For verray sorwe and inward dedly wo,
Whan thei sawe her lady was ago,
For to be ded thei were so desirous
That in al haste, wood and furious,
In a rage, withoute governaile,
Grekis thei gan of newe for to assaille -
T'avenge her quene thei wer so hertly kynde -
That thei slowe, sothly as I fynde,
Two thousand Grekes - on hem thei wer so wod.
But, O allas, in gret disjoint thei stood,
Only for lak thei have no governour;
For she was goon that was her chef socour,
Whiche was also, to speke of hardynes,
Of wommen alle lady and maistresse,
As of hir hond that I can of rede.
O ye Troyens, ye stonden in gret drede,
Amyd the feld al oute of governaunce.
The day is come of youre unhappi chaunce,
For now have ye leder noon nor gyde:
Farwel youre trust now on every side.
And Grekes ben upon you so stronge
That ye the feld may nat kepe longe;
For thei cast hem fully you to quyte
This same day, as Dares list endite;
For as he writ, homward as thei drawe,
Ten thousand Troiens wern of Grekis slawe.
For alle her wardis cam attonys doun
And mortally, withoute excepcioun,
Thei kille and sle al that hem withstood;
And moste thei wern on the wommen wood
To be avenged, pleinly as I rede,
On every halfe and her blood to shede
Withoute mercy or remyssioun,
Chasyng Troiens home into the toun
Oute of the felde; for ther was noon abod,
So pitously tho with hem it stood
That thei ne can noon other recure caste
But kepe her toun and shet her gatis faste,
For al her hope clene was agoon
Anymore to fighte with her foon.
For now her trust of knyghthod was away,
Her worthi men slayen, weillaway.
Refut was noon but in her cyté
To kepe hem clos - it may noon other be.
For hem thought thei myght it kepe longe,
Her walles wern so myghti and so stronge,
Yif thei had plenté of vitaille;
Though al the world attonis hem assaille,
Thei may be sure while thei kepe hem in
Foreveremore that no man shall hem wynne.
Yet nevertheles erly and eke late
The Grekes made toforn every gate
Ful myghti wache and await ful stronge,
With pryvy spies goynge in amonge,
That of her foon noon eskape away
By noon engyn, as ferforthe as thei may.
And in this while, withinne Troie toun,
More than I can make descripcioun,
For the quene ther was so gret a sorwe
Of every whight bothe at eve and morwe,
That she, allas, was slayen for her mede,
Whiche cam so fer to helpe hem in her nede;
And aldermost for thei ne myghte have
The dede cors to burie and to grave
With reverence and with honour dwe,
For whiche thei gan to the Grekis swe
With gret praier and grete besynes.
But al in veyn and in ydelnesse
Was her requeste - the Grekis wer so wrothe.
And finally, with many sondry othe,
Only of malys and of hoot envie,
The dede cors to hem thei denye
And shortly seide of mortal enmyté
That of houndis it shal devoured be -
Ther was no geyn - her rancour to compesse.
But Pirrus thanne of verray gentilnesse
Nolde assent to so foule a dede;
But wood and wrothe, cruel Diomede
Seide openly that it was fittynge
That she faile of hir buriynge,
That slayen hadde so many worthi man.
And thus the strif amonge the Grekis gan,
With grete rumour and altercacioun,
Til at the laste under Troye toun
Of hir thei han the dede cors ytake,
And cruelly in a profounde lake
Thei han it cast, where I lete hir lye,
And unto Troie ageyn I wil me hye
To telle forthe howe thei lyve in pyne.
[Lydgate reproves Mars for his delight in murder, death,
and dissension. Mars has brought treason and discord to Troy
in the conspiracy of Anchises, Aeneas, Antenor, and
Polydamas to betray the city. They urge Priam to return Helen
and sue for peace, even though they know the Greeks will
never accept anything less than the end of Priam's lineage and
dynasty. Priam holds a council to discuss the peace proposal.
Antenor's loyalty and integrity are publicly disputed, but
Aeneas uses his skill at verbal subterfuge to argue for peace.
Priam reminds both of them of their own complicity in the
events that have led to the war. They leave in rage, while
Priam can scarcely contain his grief and sense of doom. He
conspires with his son Amphimachus to kill them at a council,
but word of the plot escapes, and Aeneas, Antenor, and the
others swear their determination to destroy Troy, if the Greeks
will spare them and their possessions. When Priam convenes
the council again, the conspirators show up in force. Aeneas
seizes the initiative to persuade the Trojans to seek peace.
Priam must concede and allows Antenor to be the Trojan
emissary to the Greeks (lines 4440-5098).]
And in this while that Anthenor was oute
For to trete with the Grekis stoute,
As ye han herde, for a pes final,
In the toun aboute on every wal
Thei of Troie gan ascende blyve
With the braunchis of many freshe olive
In tokne of pes; and Grekes eke ageyn
Amyd the feld endelonge the pleyn
Shewed hem, that alle myghte sene,
Eke of olyve lusti bowes grene.
And to conferme this fro point to point
And that nothing stood in no disjoint,
The worthi kyng, grete Agamenoun,
Committed hath of highe discrecioun
Fully power and auctorité
For the Grekis pleinly unto thre
First of al for a pes to trete:
Unto the wyse worthi Kyng of Crete,
To Ulixes, and to Diomede.
To chese mo hem thought it was no nede,
For what thei do thei wil holde stable
And finally nat be variable
From the ende platly that thei make.
And hereuppon was assurance take
Of outher part by bonde of sacrament.
And so thei be with Anthenor ywent
Oute aside, these worthi lordes thre.
And whanne thei wern at her liberté,
From al tumulte allone prively,
This Anthenor, ful of trecchery,
Replet of falsehod and of doubilnesse,
Gan his purpos unto hem expresse,
Byhotynge hem to traisshe the cité,
So thei wolde make hym sureté
That first hymsilfe and with hym Eneas
Shal fredam han in every maner caas
With her allies and goodis everychon,
Wher that hem list at large for to goon
At her chois or dwellen in the toun
With her richesse and posessioun
Withouten harme or any more damage,
Liche as thei se it be to avauntage
Of her personys to voiden or abide.
And thei wer sworn on the Grekis side
Covenaunt to holde in parti and in al,
As was rehersid aforn in special,
And as thei werne by her othes bounde,
So that ther be no variaunce founde
On outher parti platly nor no strif,
And thei behighte up pereil of her lyf.
And whan he had assuraunce of hem thre,
He charged hem to kepen in secré
Al that was seid, that nothing be discured
Unto tyme that thei ben assured
Of the ende, grocid up in dede:
For it were good that thei toke hede,
List her purpos perturbed were or shent
By communynge, withoute avisement,
Of this tongis that be so longe and large.
Wherfore he gan conjuren hem and charge
In alle wyse for to bene prevé,
So that no wyght but he and thei thre,
Of noon estat, nowther highe nor lowe,
Fully the fyn of her entent ne knowe.
"And covertly oure purpos for to hide,"
Quod Anthenor, "upon every side
To voide aweie al suspecioun,
This myn avys: that to Troye toun
The wyse kyng called Taltibyus
Shal go with me to Kyng Priamus,
For he is hoor and yronne in age,
Coy of his port, sleighti and right sage,
And therwithal sadde, demwr, and stille.
Of whom Troyens nothing shal mysille,
But that he come to tretyn for a pes,
To ben assured and witen douteles
Wher the Troiens agreen wil therto
In everything finally to do
As Anthenor the Grekis hath behight.
Thus shal thei ben devoided anoon right
Thorugh his comynge from al suspecioun,
Til that we han oure conclusioun,
As ye han herde, parformed everydel."
Of whiche thing the Grekis like wel
And ben apointed upon everything
What thei wil do and how this olde kyng
With Anthenor shal to Troye goo.
And after this, he axede eke also
Of Pantasile the body for to have,
In the cité that men myght it grave
With due honour longynge to hir estat,
To voide aweie suspecioun and debat.
And Anthenor (for it drowe to eve)
Of the Grekis taken hath his leve
And with the kyng repeireth into toun.
Whereof was made anoon relacioun
To Kyng Priam withoute more delay.
And he in hast upon the nexte day
Made assemble alle his citezeyns,
Secrely devoidyng alle foreyns,
Where Anthenor in open audience,
Thorugh the halle whan maked was silence,
His tale gan with sugred wordis swete,
Makyng the bawme outward for to flete
Of rethorik and of elloquence,
Of cher nor word that ther was noon offence;
In shewynge oute so circumspect he was
That no man koude in no maner cas,
Be signe outward nor by countenaunce,
Parceive in hym any variance
(So harde it was his tresoun to espie),
Th'effect declaringe of his embassatrie
With cler report of his answer ageyn,
In his menyng though he wer nat pleyn.
For undernethe he was with fraude fraught,
This sleighti wolfe, til he his pray hath kaught:
For he was clos and covert in his speche
As a serpent, til he may do wreche,
Hydinge his venym under floures longe;
And as a be that stingeth with the tonge
Whan he hath shad oute his hony sote -
Sugre in the crop, venym in the rote -
Right so in soth with tonge of scorpioun
This Anthenor, rote of al tresoun,
His tale tolde with a face pleyn,
Liche the sonne that shyneth in the reyn,
That faire sheweth though the weder be
Wonder divers and troubly for to se.
So this tigre, ful of doubilnesse,
So covertly his tresoun dide expresse,
As he nat ment but trouthe to the toun,
Fully affermyng in conclusioun
How the Grekis myghti were and stronge,
And likly eke to abide longe
Day be day redy hem t'assaille,
And hadde also plenté of vitaille,
Concludynge ay ther was no remedie
Ageynes hem to holde champartie
Nor with hem anymore to stryve.
For (he seide) thei had yet alyve
Her worthi knyghtes, hardy as lyouns,
Her manly men and her champiouns,
Whiche here lyves platly to juparte,
From the cité caste hem nat departe
Til her purpos acheved be in al.
"For finally nouther tour nor wal
Nor youre gatis of iren though ye shette,
The Grekis shal on no side lette,
But that thei wiln us wynne at the laste.
Wherfor, it nedeth a mene weie to caste,
Sithen of myght nor favour of Fortune
We may nat longe ageynes hem contwne.
Wherfore," quod he, "so ye condescende,
I can right wel al this thing amende,
Remedien, so that ye nat varie
To that I seie for to be contrarie -
This to mene, shortly out of doute,
Embassatour whan that I was oute
With the Grekis last whan ye me sent,
Thei seide goodly how thei wold assent
Unto a pes with this condicioun:
That ye wil make restitucioun
Of the harmys and the violencis,
The wrongis done, and also the offencis
By Paris wrought in Grece at Citheroun,
As it is right, me semeth, of resoun.
For her request is meint with equité,
And we be driven of necessité
Unto her lust justly to enclyne,
Maugre oure wil the werre for to fyn:
For al is now in her elleccioun;
We may nat make no rebellioun;
Now the mater is so fer ybrought,
To strive ageyn, in soth, it helpith nought;
It may apeire but nothing availle.
Wherfore the beste that I can consaille,
As in proverbe it hath be seied of yore,
That yif a man be constreyned sore
And may nat fle to fallen in a treyne,
Lete hym chese the lasse harme of tweyne
And the gretter prudently eschewe.
And lete oure gold that is kepte in mewe,
To save oure lif make redempcioun:
For better it is, demeth of resoun,
Spoiled to ben only of richesse
Than wilfully deyen in distresse.
The lyf is bet than gold or any good -
Set al at nought in saving of your blood,
For foly is a man for his welfare
Thorugh covetyse any gold to spare.
And now oure lyf dependeth in balaunce,
Late gold fare wel and goon with meschaunce;
We may hereafter by sort or aventure
Gold by grace and good ynowgh recure.
And sithen we, as I have yow tolde,
May byen pes finally with golde
And with oure tresour stinten eke the werre,
It were foly pleinly to differre
With the Grekis outterly t'acorde:
For yif so be I to hem recorde
That ye assent withouten variaunce,
Ther may of pes be no parturbaunce -
It is so lyght now to be recured.
For as sone as thei ben assured
By just report of youre entenciouns,
Thei wil do write obligaciouns
Of covenauntis, that nat be byhynde;
And that ye shal in hem no faute fynde,
Whan assuraunce from outher parte is hadde,
Theruppon endenturis shal be made,
So that of feith ye mow hem nat repreve.
And for that thei fully trust and leve
Withoute fraude my relacioun,
I wil now make no dilacioun
To signefie to hem in certeyn
Hooly th'effect of that ye wil seien."
[The Trojans accept Antenor's proposal and appoint
Antenor, Aeneas, and old King Talthybus to make a final
peace. Helen asks Antenor to act as an intermediary and help
reconcile her with Menelaus. Antenor goes to talk with the
Greeks, while a funeral is prepared for Penthesilea and her
corpse is embalmed for the journey to her homeland and final
burial. Ulysses, Diomede, and the King of Crete return to Troy
with Aeneas. Ulysses asks for a huge quantity of gold as
compensation and for the banishment of Amphimachus, the
latter at Antenor's suggestion. During the discussion of these
terms, a great tumult breaks out. Ulysses and Diomede are
frightened, but Antenor hides them. Ulysses suspects treachery
on Antenor's part. Antenor then explains one complication in
their plan to betray Troy (lines 5315-5551).]
"Iwys," quod he, "I take unto witnesse
The highe goddes, that everything may se,
Withoute feynynge that I have besy be
Fro point to point your purpos to acheve;
But finally, so it yow nat greve
And paciently that ye list to here,
There is o thing perturbeth this mater,
Whiche that I shal, so it be noon offence,
Pleinly remembre here in youre presence:
This to seyn, of olde antiquité,
First at the bildyng of Troye the cité,
That whilom was ycalled Yllyoun -
For cause only at his fundacioun
Kyng Ylyus, sithen go ful longe,
The founder was of the walles stronge,
After whom, as made is mencioun,
It called was and named Ylyoun -
In the whiche with grete and besy charge
In Pallas name he made a temple large,
That passyngly was hadde in reverence.
And whan this phane of most excellence
Parformed was by masounri ful wel
And, save the rofe, complet everydel,
Of myghti stoon the bildynge wel assured -
But or it was with led and tymber cured
Ageynes tempest for to bene obstacle,
Ther fil a wounder only by myracle
That I dar wel afferme it in certeyn,
Swiche another was there nevere seyn -
Whoso list se and considren al -
This merveil was so celestial.
For ther cam doun from the highe hevene,
By Pliades and the sterris sevene
And thorugh the eyr holdyng his passage,
Like a fairy a merveillous ymage
That in this world, though men hadde sought,
Ne was ther noon halfe so wel ywrought.
For, as it is trewly to suppose,
Pigmalyon, remembrid in the Rose,
In his tyme hadde no konnyng
To grave or peint so corious a thing:
For it was wrought with dilligent labour
By hond of aungil in the hevenly tour,
Thorugh Goddes myght and devyn ordinaunce,
And hider sent thorugh his purvyaunce
For a relik, only of his grace,
And provided to the same place,
Ther t'abide for a proteccioun,
For a diffence and salvacioun,
Perpetuelly whil the world may dure,
Ageyn al meschef and mysaventure,
Every trouble and tribulacioun,
In sustenynge and revelacioun
And sovereyn helpe eke of this cité.
The whiche never may distroyed be
By noon engyn that men may purchase:
The goddes han graunted swiche a grace
And swiche vertu annexed eke therto,
That Troye in soth may never be fordo
Til this relik stole be away.
And yit in soth ther is no man that may
From the place stere it nor remewe,
But the prest to whom it is dwe
Only of offys to touche it with his hond.
So myghtely conservyd is the bond
That who attempteth in conclusioun
It to remewe of presumpcioun,
At the fyn platly he shal fayle:
For force noon may him nat availle;
For it in soth wil nat remeved be
Excepte of hym to whom of dueté
It aparteneth, as ye han herde toforn.
And overmore ther is no man yit born
That rede can nor telle in no degré
Verraily wher it be stoon or tre,
Nor how it was devysed nor ywrought -
Ther is no wyght so sotil in his thought
Ceriously to tellen the manere.
For Minerva that is so freshe and clere,
The sterne goddesse, thorugh hir grete myght,
That is so dredful bothe of loke and sight,
Whiche on hir brest haveth of cristal
Hir shilde Egys, this goddesse immortal,
Igraunted hath, in bokes as I lerne,
Thorugh hir power whiche that is eterne
This holy relik for a memorial
To hir temple of bildyng most royal,
It to conserve from al assaut and drede
And to socour in every maner nede
Ageyn her foon unto Troye toun,
While it is kept with devocioun:
So that alweye by successioun,
From kyng to kyng in the lyne doun,
By just title lyneally succede,
Hereto annexed that thei taken hede,
Prudently avoidynge necligence,
It to conserve with due reverence,
As thei are bounde and yholde of right.
Thanne shal noon enmy power have nor myght
To do damage in hyndrynge of the toun.
And whi it is called Palladyoun,
Like as clerkis write of it and seyn,
Is for Pallas to make hir toun certeyn,
This relyke sent fro the hevene doun;
And to conclude shortly my resoun,
This is the cause oure purpos is so let."
"Than," quod Ulixes, "sith it may be no bet,
Oure labour is in ydel and in veyn,
Withoute recure, yif it be certeyn,
As thou hast seyd, this toun in no degré
Thorugh this relyk may not distroied be:
It was foly the to undirtake
Unto Grekis beheste for to make
Withoute this - thou haddest be ful sure."
Quod Anthenor, "Yit ther is recure:
As I have hight, ye shal have the toun,
Altheigh ther be a dilacioun;
And the maner anoon I shal telle,
Yif it so be ye list a whyle dwelle
Withoute noyse outher perturbaunce.
The prest, the whiche hath the governaunce
Of this relyk, shal be spoke unto
By good avys and ytreted so
That he shal be ful of oure assent;
For he with gold and tresour shal be blent,
That he accorde shal to oure purpos,
To bringe the relike, whiche is kept so clos,
To what place that ye list assigne.
Beth stille of port, goodly, and benigne
In youre werkis, til I have brought aboute
Fully this thing; and beth no thing in doute,
I dar mysilfe take it wel on honde."
And whan thei had his menyng undirstonde,
Thei toke leve and wente oute of the toun.
But first to voide al suspecioun,
At her goynge Anthenor hath hight
How that he wold goon the same nyght
To Priamus, "to maken ordinaunce
How the bondis and the assuraunce
Of the pes shulde ymaked be
And for to knowe eke the quantité
Of the gold that ye shal receyve:
Thus shal I best the purpos aparceyve
Of the kyng and knowe it everydel."
And thei concent and like wonder wel
Everything that Anthenor hath seide;
And so thei parte, glad and wel apaide,
And wente her way and made no tariyng.
And Anthenor goth unto the kyng,
Hym counseillynge he make no delay
To calle his lordis ageyn the nexte day
And his liges to assemble yfere,
Finally t'engrosse this matere,
As it was sittinge and expedient.
And whanne the kyng in open parlement
Crowned sat in his regalie,
This Anthenor gan to specefie
In audience, that men myghte knowe,
To eche estat, bothe highe and lowe,
The Grekis wille, yif thei agré therto,
And what the some was of gold also
Whiche thei axe, yif the pes shal stonde:
Twenti thousand marke to have in honde
Of pured gold, whiche most anon be paid;
And of silver, that may nat be delaied,
Thei most eke han the same quantité;
And over this, as thei accorded be,
Certeyn mesours be covenaunt also have
Of whete and flour, her lyves for to save
In her repeire by the large se,
Whan thei saille home to her contré,
And that the collect maked be anoon
By good avis of hem everychoon,
That al be redy be a certeyn day.
Ther was no man that durst tho seie nay
Nor contrarie that Anthenor hath seide,
Wherso thei wer wel or evele apaide,
But ful assent in conclusioun.
And in al haste thorughoute al the toun
The colytours gadrid up the gold,
Like the somme as I have you told -
Of pore and riche ther wer spared noon.
The whiche tyme Anthenor is goon
Unto the prest that called was Thonaunte,
Yif he myght in any wyse hym daunte:
To make his herte fully to enclyne,
Ful craftely he leyde oute hoke and lyne,
With lusty bait of false covetyse,
Excitynge hym in ful secré wyse,
That he wolde ben of his assent
And condescende unto his entent,
To putten hym in pocessioun
Of the relik called Palladioun,
Withoute abood it may delyvered be;
And yaf hym gold an huge quantité;
And hym to blende moche more him behyght -
And this was don ful prevely by nyght -
Shortly concludynge, yif he condescende,
That he wolde his estat amende
So passyngly that forevermore
He and his heires shulde have gold in store,
Plenté ynowe, that noon indigence
Shulde have power him to done offence.
"For unto the, this avow I make,"
Quod Anthenor, "and pleinly undirtake:
Of gold and good thou shalt have suffisance
And of tresour passinge habundaunce,
That thou shalt in verray sikernesse
Al thi kyn excellen in richesse,
Yif thou delyvere like to myn axynge
Palladioun, whiche is in thi kepynge.
And I behote - thou maist treste me -
By bond of feith it shal be secré,
List it were hindringe to thi name:
For yif so be, that thou drede shame
To be ensclaundrid of so foule a dede,
I shal shape that the thar nat drede
Nor ben agast in no maner wyse;
For swiche a way in soth I shal devise
That no man shal be suspecious
To thi persone nor engynyous
To deme amys, how this mater goth.
For be wel ware, that me were as loth
To be diffamed with so false a thing,
To knowe therof, or be assentynge
In any maner, that thei of the toun
Sholde to me have suspecioun.
Lat be, lat be - levere I hadde deie.
We shal therfor cast another weie,
Oure honour save, so that thou and I
Shal goon al quyte. I seie the outterly,
That nouther shal be holde partener
Of this thefte but stonde hool and cler
Whatevere falle, withouten any shame:
For Ulixes shal beren al the blame
Of this dede and this thefte also.
For men shal sein, whan that it is go,
By his engyn and his sleighti wyle,
Thorugh his treynes and his false gyle,
That he hath stole aweye Palladioun
From the temple in lesyng of the toun,
That finally duringe al his lyve
Men shal to hym this falshed ascryve,
And al the gilt arretten his offence,
That thou and I, only of innocence,
Thorughoute the world of this iniquité
Shal be excused platly and go fre.
It nedeth not tarie in this matere.
Come of attonys! Lo, thi gold is here!
For thou ne shalt lenger delaied be.
And sith thou seste that no difficulté
Is on no part, pereil nor repref,
Shame nor drede, sclaunder nor meschef,
Delaie nat to take this thing on honde."
And first this prest gan hym to withstonde
Ful myghtely and seide, for nothinge,
Nouther for praier nor for manacinge,
For gold nor good, ne no maner mede
He nolde assent to so foule a dede.
Thus he answered at the prime face.
But ofte sithe it happeth men purchase
By gifte of good, to speke in wordis pleyn,
That trouthe in povert myght never atteyne:
For mede more by falshede may conquere
Than title of right, that men in trouthe lere;
And giftes grete hertis can encline;
And gold, that may no stele and marbil myne,
This prestis hert hath so depe grave
That Anthenor shal his purpos have,
For to possede the Palladioun
Thorugh false engyn and conspiracioun
Of this prest that called was Tonaunt,
Whiche of falshede myght hym best avaunte,
That this relik fro the temple rent.
And to Ulixes Anthenor it sent
Oute of the toun, in al the haste he myght,
By a servaunt secrely by nyght:
Wherof Troyens mortally dismaied
And thorugh tresoun finally outtraied,
Wrought by this prest with covetise blent,
False Anthenor beynge of assent.
[Lydgate complains against the duplicity of Thonant and
the covetousness of priests. When the Trojans try to sacrifice
to Apollo, the fire will not burn and the entrails of the animals
are carried off by an eagle who drops them over the Greek
ships. Cassandra explains to them that the first sign means
they must purge Apollo's temple of the pollution caused by
Achilles's murder there. The second sign, she says, is a token
of treason, for Troy and Ilium will surely fall. The Greeks also
seek an explanation; Calchas assures them of a good end to
the war and advises them to prepare offerings to Pallas (lines
Bysshop Calchas with his lokkes hore,
Traitour forsworn sithen go ful yore,
That falsid hath trouthe and his lygaunce,
Whom clerkis han putte in remembraunce
In her bokis with lettris olde and newe,
To exemplifie no man be untrewe -
For thaugh yeris passe faste aweye,
Ruste of sclaundir lightly wil nat deye;
The fret therof is so corosif
That it lasteth many mannys lyf
And is ful hard to arrace away;
Of whos venym ful selde is made alay;
Reporte therof blowen is so wyde
Perpetuelly that it wil abide,
Remembrid new and freshly had in mynde -
Recorde of hym that koude a weye fynde.
Olde Calchas (evele mote he sterve)
Under colour of offringe to Mynerve,
To make Grekes entren into toun,
This sleighti serpent, fader and patroun
And fynder-up of tresoun and of gyle,
Compassid hath and yfounde a wyle
How Grekis shal the cité wynne and take,
Pretendynge hem sacrifise to make
Unto Pallas, as I shal yow expresse:
For this traitour, merour of falsnesse,
The Grekis bad for to do her peyne
To Minerva an offeringe to feyne
And in al haste that thei shuld hem spede.
And of assent thei dide make a stede
Large and wyde, of coper and of bras,
By crafte of Synoun, that contrived was
That it myght resseive large and wel
A thousand knyghtes armed bright in stel,
Thorugh the sleighte and the compassynge,
The sotil wit and merveillous werchinge
Of this wyse and crafty Greke Synoun,
Whiche thorugh his castynge and discrecioun,
Parformed hath this riche stede of bras,
As ye han herd, be biddinge of Calchas
And by th'avys of Appius the wyse,
That halpe also the stede to devyse,
To fyn only that of devocioun
Grekis myght requeren of the toun,
Whan it were made, to graunte hem licence
It to present in the reverence
Of myghti Pallas, in stele armyd bright,
Amyd hir temple, large and ful of light -
By the offringe to fynde occasioun
To have entré frely into toun,
By pilgrimage her vowes to fulfille:
In whiche stede daren shal ful stille
A thousand knyghtes, as Calchas be devis
Ordeyned hath, that was so slighe and wys.
By crafte of Synoun and of Appius,
This large stede of makynge merveillous,
Under pretence of oblacioun,
Was complet ful to his perfeccioun
Of werkemanshipe, as I tolde afore,
The same yere that Troye was forlore,
Whan the sege sothly gan to fyne,
And the cité was brought to ruyne
Thorugh Grekis myght, and the walles stronge
Were bete doun - large, thikke, and longe -
The whiche yere, as made is mencioun,
A lite aforn takynge of the toun,
Kynges echon that come fro so ferre
Alyve lefte after the mortal werre,
Whan thei saw how Priam be covenaunte
Unto Grekis hath outterly made graunte
Al hast possible to paien his ransoun:
Thei toke leve and went oute of the toun.
And first I fynde how Kyng Philymene
With hym ladde the body of the Quene
Pantasillya home to hir contré,
Ful richely ther to buried be;
And of two thousand knyghtes that this kyng
Brought unto Troye first at his comyng,
No mo than fifty home with hym he ladde.
And of the wommen that the quene eke hadde,
Of a thousand, the story seith certeyn,
But foure hundrid repeired hom ageyn.
And thus whan alle were fro Troie gon,
The morwe next Priamus anon
With his lordis rood oute of the toun,
As was th'acord for confirmacioun
Of pes final upon outher syde.
And in the feld Grekis hym abide;
And on relikes openly yborn,
Ther thei wern on outher parti sworn
On the forme to yow afore recorded,
As Anthenor with Grekis was accorded.
And for Grekis firste swore Diomede,
Thei of Troie takynge lytel hede
How the othe was in condicioun,
Cured above under false tresoun,
Sithen Grekis tho in her sweryng
Ne bounde hemsilfe to no manere thing
To stonde to, as in special,
But for to holde and kepe in general
The poyntes hool engrosid and no mor,
In thilke treté that Daungh Anthenor
With Grekis helde, this traytour fraudelent.
In whiche thei werne ful double of entent -
Meint with tresoun, as ye han herd toforn -
Whiche to observe only thei wer sworn
By fraude of othe and nat by wordis pleyne,
Her adversaries to taken in a treyne,
Excludyng hem fro her menyng ferre,
Pes in the face but in the herte werre,
Al openly confermyd with her hond,
Inly to tresoun, by assurance of bond.
But though the venym be closid with a wal,
It was nat hid from him that knoweth al:
For certeynly, so as clerkes teche,
Who that swereth falsly in his speche,
Florisshinge outward by a fair colour
For to desseive his trewe neghebour,
He is forsworn, whatsoevere he be.
The tresoun hid though men may nat se,
Howso the word be away yborn,
Who swereth by craft is by craft forsworn;
Ther may be made noon excusacioun.
For God, that knoweth the entencioun,
Demeth the herte and the word right nought;
For he the wil knoweth and the thought
Of every man, nyghe and eke afere:
Therfore be war, no man him forswere,
As Grekis dide Troiens to deceyve,
That the fraude koude nat conceyve,
Supposinge that the Grekis hadde be
Feithful and trewe of her sureté -
But nothing oon thei in herte thought -
Whiche in the ende thei ful dere abought,
Whan thei founde fully the revers
And to her speche the dede so divers.
It were but veyn by and by to write
Her feyned othes, nor her wordis whyte,
Nor the cheris that thei koude feyne.
But to conclude with, the Quene Eleyne
Duringe the treté, upon the same day,
Delyvered was to Kyng Menelay;
And after that was payed the raunsoun,
Grauntid toforn and gadrid in the toun,
Gold and silver, whete and also flour;
And to her shippes with dilligent labour,
In ful gret hast everything was brought,
Wherthorugh the cité after cam to nought.
And Grekis thanne by symulacioun,
Makyng a colour of devocioun,
Thorugh holynes, under ypocrosye,
Falsly feyned by fraude and flaterie,
The kyng han preied to han liberté
Frely to entre into the cité,
To make aseth by oblacioun
For the thefte of Palladioun
And offren up the riche stede of bras
To the goddes that called is Pallas -
Whan Kyng Priam liketh to assigne -
That she to hem be willy and benygne
In her repeire, seilynge be the se
Home into Grece toward her contré,
Whan she is quemed with the large stede.
Of whiche, allas, Priam toke noon hede:
The tresoun hidde he koude nat adverte
But graunted hem with al his hole herte,
Whan that hem list to bringe it into toun,
By false entising and suggestioun
Of Anthenor and also of Enee,
Havynge no drede nor ambyguyté
In his entent, nor suspecioun
Nouther of feynyng nor of fals tresoun,
But right frendly, liche to his beheste,
Condescendeth unto her requeste,
Her avowes that thei myght observe,
To offren up this hors unto Minerve.
And Grekis tho, with grete dilligence,
Ful gret honour and huge reverence
Han shapen hem with processioun
To bringe the stede into Troie toun,
The men of armys being ay therinne,
By whom thei cast Troie for to wynne
In short tyme, for it stood on the date.
And whan this hors brought was to the gate,
It was so narwe that ther was no space
For the stede into the toun to passe,
Albe that thei assaied overal.
Wherfore Priam bete adoun the wal
To make it large, right at her devys,
In whiche thing, allas, he was unwis;
For cause chef of his confusioun
Was that this hors cam into the toun.
[The Greeks make offerings at Pallas's temple. The
Trojans are comforted and hopeful, but all too often adversity
and misadventure come after gladness. The Greeks leave the
horse in the custody of Sinon and tell Priam they wish to go
toward Tenedos and thence sail homeward. To save Helen
from danger, they advise sending her secretly to Tenedos
And whanne thei had at leiser and good ese
Fro Troye seiled unto Tenedoun
With her navie, the false Greke Synoun
In Troie waker gan to take kepe
The hour whan men wern in her first slepe;
And in al haste, with his sleighty gyn
Many vys and many sotyl pyn
In the stede he made aboute goon,
The crafty lokkes undoynge everychon;
And oute he goth and gan anoon to calle
Withinne the hors the worthi knyghtes alle,
So secrely no man myght espie;
And traitourly he gan hym for to hiye
Upon the walles the silfe same nyght
And toward Grekis gan to shewe a lyght,
Where as thei leye tofore Tenedoun,
Redy armyd to falle uppon the toun.
And whan thei hadde the sodein light espied,
On horsebak anoon thei han hem hyghed
Toward Troye, armed clene at al;
And in thei went by the same wal
Whiche for the hors was but late broke;
And mortally, for to ben awroke,
The knyghtes eke in the stede of bras
Han with hem mette, a ful sterne pas,
And gan anoon thorughoute the cité
On every half for to kylle and slee
With blody swerd upon every side,
And made her wondes brode, large, and wyde,
While thei, allas, nothing advertinge,
At mydnyght hour abedde laie slepynge
Ful innocent and thoughte nought but good,
Al forbathed in her owne blood,
Bothe man and childe withoute excepcioun,
The Grekis sparinge no condicioun
Of old nor yong, womman, wif, nor maide -
That with the cry Priamus abraide
Oute of his slepe and sodeynly awoke,
Whiche laye al nyght and noon hede toke
Of the slaughter and mordre in the toun.
But tho he wist that ther was tresoun
Falsly compassid unto his cité
By Anthenor and also by Enee,
Of whos malis he was no mor in doute;
For the venym was now broken oute,
And now the galle of conspiracioun,
That under sugre of symulacioun
Hath so longe closid ben and hidde,
In dede is now execut and kyd.
And now the fraude fully of tresoun,
The cast also of false collusioun
Be raked oute and abrood yblowe,
And the autours openly yknowe.
Now hath envie and contrived hate
Of her engyn set abrood the gate;
Now hath deceit and olde conspiracie
And feyned othes, alle of oon allie,
Openly shewed her falsnesse
And disclosid al hir doubilnesse
So fer abrod that now is ther no geyn.
For now, allas, the wilde fire is seyn
In touris highe with the wynde yblasid,
Wherof Priam, astonyd and amasid,
Al awaped sterte oute of his bedde
And counfortles to the temple is fledde
Of Appollo, to save hym yif he myght.
And ay the flawme of the fires bright
Brent in the toun and conswmeth al
The riche bildinge, whilom so royal,
That the walles with her roves huge,
Covered with leed for a chef refuge,
Were now, allas, bareyn and bare ymaked.
The Grekis ay with her swerdes naked
Mordre and sle whereso that thei go,
That twenti thousand thilke nyght and mo
Thei kylled han, longe or it was day;
And in this slaughter and this grete affray
Spoile and robbe and take what thei fynde,
Tresour and good, and lefte nat bihinde,
Be myghti hond and sturdi violence.
And the temples withoute reverence
Thei han dispoilled thorughoute al the toun
And gredely rent and racid doun
Of golde and silver the ornementes alle
Tofore the goddes - foule mote hem falle -
Kyng Priam ay with a dedly chere
To Appollo makyng his praiere
Furiously, this hertly woful man,
As he in soth that no red ne can
But waite his deth in his fatal ewre.
And Cassandra, the holy creature,
Of inward wo desirous to sterve,
Compleynynge ran unto Minerve,
Makynge to hir a lamentacioun
With other gentilwommen of the toun.
And ther, allas, as thei wolde dye,
Ful pitously thei sobbe, wepe, and crie.
And in her dool ther Y lete hem dwelle;
For alle her sorwes yif I shulde telle
In this story and her wo descrive,
Mi penne shuld of verray routhe rive,
Rehersinge eke how in every strete,
Her clothes blake, rodi, moiste, and wete,
As thei, allas, bothen oon and alle,
On her lordes doun aswone falle,
With her blod bedewed and yspreint,
Wher men may seen the cristal teris meynt
Of her wepinge in ther woundes grene,
That lay and bledde ageyn the sonne shene,
With dedly eyen castinge up the whyte:
It were but veyne al her wo to write
Nor the maner of her mortal sorwe.
But Guydo writ that on the same morwe
How Anthenor and with hym fals Enee
Conveied han thorughoute the cité
The myghti Grekis unto Ylyoun,
The royal tour and riche mancioun
That whilom was of most excellence;
In the whiche thei founde no diffense
Of highe nor lowe nor of noon estat,
For it was left allone dissolat,
With al the gold and richesse of the toun
Shet and closed in the chefe dongoun.
But for ther was no man that withstood,
Thei brake the lokkes and raught the good
And the tresour that was shet withinne,
Eche for his party that he myghte wynne:
Thei yaf no fors who was lef nor loth.
And Pirrus after to the temple goth
Of Appollo by gret cruelté,
And fil on Priam knelynge on his kne,
And with his swerd, furious and wood,
Tofore the autere shadde there his blood,
That the stremys of his woundys rede
So highe raught, bothe in lengthe and brede,
That the statue of gold bornyd bright
Of this Appollo, for al his grete myght,
For al his power and his sterne face,
Defouled was and pollut al the place -
Only by deth of this worthi kynge
By Pirrus slayn while he lay knelynge,
Of olde hatrede and envious pride,
While Anthenor and Enee stod aside,
That routhe was and pité to beholde
To sen hym lyn on the stonys colde,
So pitously toforn the auter blede.
Whereof, allas, whan Eccuba toke hede
And hir doughter, faire Polycene,
With here torent as any gold wyr shene,
Inly supprised with sorwe to her herte,
Whan thei began considren and adverte
The noble kyng, with blody stremys rede
Al fordrowned, with his eyen dirke and dede,
With Pirrus swerd girt thorugh outher side,
For mortal fere thei durste nat abide;
But inwardly thorughdarted with the sight,
Al in a rage toke hem to the flight.
And yit in soth thorughoute the cité
Thei wiste never whiderward to fle,
Reskus was noon nor no remedie
Of kyn nor frend nor of noon allie;
With Grekis swerd the toun was so beset.
And in her flight this woful quen hath met
Eneas, causer of al this wrak,
Unto whom, rebukynge, thus she spak:
"O thou traitour, most malicious!
Thou false serpent, adder envious!
Crop and rote, fynder of falsnesse,
Sours and welle of unkyndenesse,
How myghtestow in thin herte fynde
Unto thi kyng to be so unkynde?
Gynner and ground, exaumple of tresoun,
And final cause of oure destruccioun,
How myghtestow, devoide of al pité,
Behold, allas, thorugh thi cruelté
Of thi kyng to shede so the blood,
That evere hath ben so gentil and so good,
So gracious lord, specialy to the,
And overmore thorugh his highe bounté
The honoured and ymagnified
Al his lyve - it may nat be denyed -
That lith now ded in the temple, allas?
Thou wer nat only traitour in this cas
But to his deth conspiryng and unkynde,
Pirrus conveiyng where he shuld him finde,
Toforn Appollo myd of this cité,
Where thou sholdest of verray dueté
Rather have ben his protectioun,
His myghti sheld and savacioun,
That hast this cité and this toun ylorn
In whiche thou were fostrid and yborn,
On the gretest of reputacioun
Of alle the lordis dwellyng in this toun,
In whiche thou haddest whilom most plesaunce.
But al is now oute of remembraunce.
Yit in thin herte yif any drope be
Of gentilnesse, merci, or pité,
In this dedly rage ful of tene,
Rewe on my doughter, yonge Polycene,
From Grekis swerd hir youthe for to save.
Yif thin herte may eny routhe have,
Of manly pité on hir maydenhede
Diffende hir now and kepe hir oute of drede,
Yif thou canst fynde any weye
In any wyse that she may nat deye,
That herafter, whan men sen and rede
The false tresoun and the foule dede
That thou hast don unto Troye toun,
It may in parti be proteccioun
To thi fame, the venym to allaye
Of this tresoun. Whan men wiln assaie
By just report thi name to accuse,
This dede may the helpen to excuse
Ageyns tonges that speken of Enee;
Than wiln thei seyn thou haddist yit pité
On Polycene only of gentilnes,
Therwith to sugre al the bitternesse
Of thi decert, blowe forthe by fame,
By rehersaille of the foule blame
That shal of the thorugh the world be born,
With sclaunder infect whan thou art al totorn,
That thou ne shalt the shame mowe sustene.
Than shal my doughter faire Polycene
Be thi defence ageyns swiche famus strif,
Yif it be so now thou save hir lyf.
Of me no fors, though thou make as blive
The swerde of Grekis thorugh myn herte rive."
And so by praier of this woful quene,
This Eneas toke to hym Polycene,
Whos traitour hert, for al his cruelté,
On hir youthe was mevid of pité,
Only of routhe that in his brest aros,
And secrely putte hir up in clos,
List that Grekis founde occasioun
Ageynes hym. And Ajax Thelamoun
Toke to his warde Andronemecha,
Ectoris wyf and wyse Cassandra
Oute of the temple longinge to Minerve,
From Grekis swerd her lyves to conserve.
And Menelay toke the Quene Eleyne
Into his garde, for whom so grete a peyne
Bood in his hert many day toforn,
By whom, allas, the cité is now lorn.
And Grekes ay were besy in her ire
To sleen and kylle and cruelly to fire
On every side and to bete doun
Palais and house and walles of the toun:
Thei spare nought, for al goth to the fire.
So fervent hate brent in her desire
Of olde envie avenged for to be
That thei ne lefte withinne the cité
Nothing unbrent, and also Ylyoun
Was in this rage turned upsodoun.
Ther maked wern noon excepciouns,
Only outake the possessiouns
Of Anthenor (evele mote he fare)
And Eneas, whom the Grekis spare,
As thei to hem were bounde by her othe.
And thus the Grekis, furious and wrothe,
Han al that day robbed and ybrent,
Til that the Kyng Agamenoun hath sent
For his lordis to assemble ifere
In Pallas temple, only for to here
Her wyse avis uppon thinges tweyne:
First, yif thei wolde holde and nat feyne
Holy her feith, withoute excepcioun,
To hem by whom thei wan first the toun?
And overmore he axed hem also,
Touching the goodis, what thei wolde do
With gold, tresour, and possessioun
That thei have wonne thorugh her highe renoun?
And thei answerid, withoute more tariyng,
Thei wolde her feith kepe in everything
As thei wer sworn and her hestis holde;
And over this thei seide how thei wold
That gold, tresour, and good of the cité,
As right requereth and also equyté,
Be justly partid by divisioun,
To every wyght made distribucioun
Liche his merit, of highe and lowe degré;
And that the kyng eke of resoun se
Eche to rewarde after his labour,
So as it longeth to a conquerour,
That no man have mater to compleyne.
[Ajax Telamon insists that Helen deserves death, while
Ulysses tries to save her. Agamemnon asks for Cassandra as
his prize; Aeneas and Antenor plead that Helenus be spared
for saving Achilles's body from defilement. Helenus, in turn,
asks Agamemnon to save the lives of Hector's sons and
Hecuba, which he grants. The Greeks prepare to sail, but a
storm detains them for a month. Asked by the Greeks to
explain the cause of the storm, Calchas falsely says that the
gods and furies are still unappeased for Achilles's death. Only
the sacrifice of Polyxena, he tells them, will satisfy the deities,
since her beauty was the root cause of Achilles's death.
Enraged, Pyrrhus searches for her, and Antenor at length
betrays her hiding place. Pyrrhus drags her into the presence
of Agamemnon, who assigns her to Pyrrhus. Polyxena is led to
the place of her execution, Achilles's grave. The Greeks weep
in pity and compassion for her, but they are convinced, at
Calchas's suggestion, that they will never return home unless
she dies. She kneels down and offers her lament to the gods
"O ye almyghti that this world governe
And everything considren and discerne,
By whom this world, so huge, large, and rounde,
Bothe eyr and see, hevene and eke the grounde
At youre devis with a word was wrought,
And sothfastly knowen every thought,
Right as it is, of every maner wyght,
Withoute lettinge, so percynge is youre sight,
That nothing is conselit nor ywrye
From the beholdyng of youre eternal eye,
And everything may attonis se,
Upon my soule hath merci and pité.
And of youre grace and benigne cure,
Upon my wo and pitous aventure
Haveth som routhe, now that I shal dye,
My woful spirit to leden and conveye
Whereas yow list, now that I shal pace.
For unto you in this silfe place,
I me confesse with al humylyté,
That hedertowarde I have in chastité
Lad al my lyf and kept my maydenhede
In youre servyse, bothe in thought and dede,
In port and chere, and in countenaunce,
Or forfeture of any dalyaunce,
With o mysloke I never yit abreide,
So that in soth I deye shal a mayde,
As ye wel knowe, of synne al innocent,
Though I be now dempte by jugement
For to be ded, withoute gilt at al:
Witnesse of you that ben inmortal,
Clene of entent of that I am accused.
And yit, allas, I may nat be excused
But that the swerd of vengaunce mote byte
Routheles, whiche am no thing to wyte
But stonde clere and pure of al offence,
And dischargid in my conscience,
I dar afferme, and fully gilteles
Touchinge the mordre of worthi Achilles,
Whiche slowe my brother, and after loved me,
And is now cause of myn adversité:
And yit in wil, dede, word, nor thought,
Unto his deth assentid was right nought
But therof was right sory in myn herte,
Albe that I may nat now asterte
For to be ded, only for his sake.
On me allone vengaunce shal be take
Withoute merci, in ful cruel wyse,
With my blood to make sacrifice
To the goddis, her wrathe for to queme.
O peple blinde, in soth, amys ye deme;
Ageynes me youre herte is to cruel,
To merciles, to irous, and to fel,
Withoute routhe, to mykel indurat,
To sleen a maide, allone disolat.
Oute of youre herte, allas, pité is gon -
Harder in trouthe than outher stok or stoon
And more cruel in youre oppinioun,
For lak of pité, than tigre or lyoun.
Certis, ye ben gretly for to blame
And oughte herof for to have gret shame
To assent to so foule a dede,
To slen a maide, quakyng in her drede,
And graunte hir noon oportunyté
For to bewepe hir virginité:
That of this cruel and pitous wreche
My blood youre gilt herafter shal apeche
And accuse also youre grete envie
To the goddes, that shal justefie
Every unright, bothe of highe and lowe,
Ful egally, and make to be knowe
The trouthe plein, and spare no degré
But maken open that is nowe secré.
I seie nat this nor mysilfe compleyne
To have redres of my fatal peyne,
For deth is now more welcom unto me
Than is my lyf and more itake at gré,
Sithen my brethere, most worthi of renoun,
Be slayen alle and buried in this toun:
My fader ded in his unweldy age,
And I allone lefte in al this rage,
And have abide pitously to se
Fynal ruyne now of this cité,
Whiche at myn herte sitteth now so sore
That levere I have thanne to wepe more
Deye attonis in reles of my wo,
Sith al my kyn is passed and ago -
Lenger to lyve were to me a deth.
For bet is me to yelden up the breth
Than to be ladde oute of this cité,
Amonge straungeris to live in poverté.
O deth, welcome, and no lenger lette
Thi dredful dart to filen and to whette,
My tendre hert therwithal to ryve;
Ageyn thi myght I shal never strive.
Now is tyme to kythe thi power
On me that am of wil and herte entere
A clene maide, so as I began,
Withoute touche of eny maner man
In al my lyf to this same day.
This lite avaunte make yit I may,
In myn ende, to the goddes alle,
After whos helpe now I clepe and calle.
And to her merci mekely I commende
My woful spirit and praie hem that thei sende
To every maide better happe and grace
Than I have now and a lenger space
In hertly joie and honour to contune,
Withoute assaut of any infortwne
To lede her lyf in prosperité.
And alle maidenes, remembreth upon me
To take exaumple how ye shal yow kepe
And that ye wolde a fewe teris wepe
Whan that ye thinke uppon Polycene,
That was of age and of yeris grene
Whan she was slayn by cruel aventure.
And to the goddes, for to han in cure,
My dredful goost hooly I betake
Eternally; and thus an ende I make."
And with that word hir hed she gan enclyne
Ful humblely, whan she shulde fyne,
And of hir eyen helde the lydes down.
And Pirrus thanne, woder than lyoun,
Dismembrid hath with his sharpe swerd
This maide yonge, dredful and aferd;
And overmore, his cruelté to shewe,
On pecis smale he hath hir al tohewe
Endelong his fadris sepulture.
Allas, how myght his cruel herte endure,
Merciles to done so foule a dede?
I am astonid sothly whan I rede,
After hir deth, how it dide hym good,
Like a tiraunte to cast abrood hir blood
Or a tigre, that can no routhe have,
Rounde enviroun aboute his fadris grave
He spreint of hate and of cruelté.
O thou Pirrus, thou maist ful wel ybe
Achilles sone by lyneal discent;
For like to hym of herte and of entent
Thou wer in soth devoide of al pité
And wers than he yit in o degré:
For of thi fader in al his lyvynge
Ne redde I nevere yit so foule a thing -
Though I wold of hatrede hym abraide -
For no rancour that evere he slow a maide.
I fynde wel that he hadde his part
Whilom in love of Cupides dart,
That made hym sore in his lyve smerte,
Whan that he was wounded to the hert
With the castyng only of an eye,
Wenynge therby wisly for to deye -
He myghte nat the sodeyn stroke eskape.
And afterward, as his fate hath shape,
He mordrid was for love of Polycene,
Whom thou hast sleyn in thi cruel tene
Furiously, withoute routhe or shame:
For whiche thing the foule hatful fame
Thorugh al the world herafter shal be sprad,
Whan the story rehersid is and rad;
Than shal be seide how Pirrus routheles
Slowe in his ire a maide gilteles
And warie shal thi name most odible
For this dede passingly horrible,
For love only of faire Polycene.
The deth of whom whan Eccuba the Quene
Hath seyn, allas, as she beside stood,
For verray wo gan to wexe wood,
And for sorwe oute of hir wit she went,
And hir clothes and hir heer she rent
Al in a rage, and wot nat what she doth,
But gan anoon with hondis and with tothe
In her furie cracchen and eke byte,
Stonys caste, and with fistes smyte
Whom she mette; til Grekis made her binde,
And sent hir forthe, also, as I fynde,
Into an ile to Troye pertenent,
Wher she was slayn only by jugement
Of the Grekis and stonyd to the deth.
And whan she had yolden up the breth,
This woful quene, by cruel aventure,
The Grekis dide make a sepulture
Coriously of metal and of stoon;
And toke the cors and buried it anoon
With gret honour and solempnité,
That longe after ther men myghte se
The riche toumbe, costful and royal,
There set and made for a memorial
Of Eccuba, whilom of grete fame;
And after yaf to that place a name
And called it, to be long in mynde,
Locus infestus, in Guydo as I fynde.
And thus the quene only for sorwe wood,
Whan hir doughter hadde shad hir blood,
Of Grekis stonyd dide hir ende make,
As ye han herde, pleinly for the sake
Of Polycene, whilom by Calchas
Unto Appollo falsly offrid was,
By Pirrus swerd Achilles avengynge,
To make the se calm and blawndisshinge,
That the goddes take no vengaunce
Upon Grekis. That an evele chaunce
Come to theis false goddes everychoon
And her statues of stokkes and of stoon,
In whiche the serpent and the olde snake,
Sathan hymsilf, gan his dwellinge make,
And fraudently folkes to illude,
Ful sotilly kan hymsilfe include
In ymagis for to make his hold,
That forget bene of silver and of gold -
That by errour of false illusioun,
He hath ybrought to confusioun
Thorugh myscreaunce the worthi kynde of man,
Sithen tyme that aldirfirst began
The false honour of ydolatrie
And the worship unto mawmetrie
By sacrifice of bestis and of blood,
T'apesen hem whan that thei are wood
And to queme, bothe at eve and morwe.
I praie to God, yeve hem alle sorwe,
Wherso thei ben, withinne or withoute.
I noon excepte of the false route -
Satorn nor Mars, Pallas nor Juno,
Jubiter, Mercurius, nor Pluto,
Nouther Flora that doth the floures sprede,
Nouther Bachus with grapis whyte and rede,
Nor Cupido with his eyen blinde,
Nouther Daphne closed under rinde,
Thorugh Tellus myght, of the laurer tre,
Nor thou Diane with thi chastité,
Mighti Venus, nor Cytherea
With thi dartis, nor Proserpyna
That lady art depe doun in helle,
Nor Belides that draweth at the welle,
Ixyoun, nor thou Zeziphus,
Nor with thin appil, thou cruel Tantalus,
Nor the Furies that bene infernal,
Nor ye that spynne the lives threde fatal
Upon the rokke of every maner man,
Nor the Muses that so singen can
Atwen the coppis of Nysus and Cirra,
Upon the hil beside Cirrea,
Nor the, Cibeles, nor Ceres with thi corn,
Nor Eolus of whom the dredful horn
Is herde so fer, whan thou list to blowe,
Nor Janus Bifrons with bak corbed lowe,
Nor Priapis, nor Genyus the prest
That curseth ay, with candel in his fist,
Hem tho echon that froward be to Kynde,
Nor Imeneus whos power is to bynde
Hertis that ben conjunct in mariage,
Til the goddesse of discorde and rage
Discevereth hem by divisioun,
Nouther Manes that han her mansioun
Mid the erthe in derknesse and in wo,
Nor theis elves that are wont to go
In undermeles whan Phebus is most shene,
Nouther fawny in tender grevis grene,
Water-nymphes, nor this nayades,
Satiry, nouther driades
That goddesse bene of wode and wildernes,
Nor other goddes - nouther more ne lesse -
As Morpheus that is the god of slepe.
I holde hym wood that taketh any kepe
To done to hem any observaunce:
He may nat faille for to have meschaunce
At the ende pleinly for his mede.
For al swiche feined falsnes, oute of drede,
Roos of the devel and first by his engyn
And of his sleighti treynes serpentyn,
Only mankynde whane he made loute
To false ydoles, the whiche, oute of doute,
Are but develis. David bereth witnesse
In the Sauter, where he writ expresse
And confermeth ther as he endites
How the goddes of paganysme rytes,
On and alle (he excepteth noon),
Be made of gold, of silver, and of stoon,
Forged of bras, of metal, and of tre,
And eyen han and yit thei maye nat se,
And alle are fendes, so as David seith:
That who in hem haveth any feith,
Hope, credence, or in hem delite,
It is no drede that thei wil hym quyte
With swiche guerdoun as the soule sleth
Perpetuelly, so that the fyn is deth
Of her servise whan men hennes passe
And in her lyf unhap and evele grace,
Meschef and wo, and confusioun,
As men may sene exanple be this toun,
That wende wel assured for ta be
And to have stonde in longe prosperité
Ageyn her fon thorugh helpe of Appollo,
Of Venus eke, and favour of Juno,
Thorugh Pallas myght, Diane and Minerve,
Whom thei wer wont to honour and to serve
With cerymonyes and with sacrifise,
As ye toforn han herde me devise,
That hem have brought now unto ruyne,
By cruel deth maked hem to fyne.
Here may ye sen how the venym bites
At the ende of swiche olde rytes,
By evidence of this noble toun.
What may availle now Palladioun?
May now ought helpe her frauded fantasie
Of al her olde false ydolatrie?
Allas, allas, thei bought it al to sore.
Now farewel, Troye, farwel for everemore.
Farwel, allas. To cruel was thi fal.
Of the no more now I write shal.
For thi sake in sothe, whan I take hede,
Of inward wo myn herte I fele blede,
And whan that I remembre in my thought,
By ruyne how thou art brought to nought,
That whilom were so noble and so riche,
That in this world I trowe noon was liche
Nor perigal, to speken of fairnesse,
To speke of knyghthod and of worthinesse,
As clerkis seien that thi bildyng knewe,
That al the world oughte for to rewe
On thi pitous waste walles wylde,
Whilom so rial whan men gan to bilde
Thin touris highe and Kyng Priamus
The first began, most riche and glorious,
And sette his se in noble Ylyoun.
O, who can write a lamentacioun
Convenient, O Troye, for thi sake?
Or who can now wepe or sorwe make,
Thi gret meschef to compleyne and crie?
Certis, I trowe nat olde Jeremye,
That so bewepte the captivité
Of thilke noble rial chefe cité
Jerusalem and his destruccioun,
With al the hole transmygracioun
Of the Jewes; nor thou Ezechiel,
That were that tyme that the meschef fel
Unto the kyng ycalled Sedechie
In Babilon and for thi prophesie
With stonys were cruelly yslawe;
Nor he that was departed with a sawe -
Ye bothe two, that koude so compleyne -
Nor Danyel that felt so grete peyne
For the kynges transmutacioun
Into a beste, til thorugh the orisoun
Of Daniel he restored was
To mynde ageyn and ete no more no gras.
Yet verrailly, though ye alle thre
With youre weping had alive be
And present eke at the destruccioun
Of this noble worthi royal toun,
To have beweiled the meschef and the wo
And the slaughter at the sege do
On outher party in ful cruel wyse,
Alle youre teris myghte nat suffise
To have bewepte her sorwes everychon,
Be tresoun wrought, as wel as be her foon.
Hereof no more, for it may nat availle.
But like as he that gynneth for to saille
Ageyn the wynde, whan the mast doth rive,
Right so it were but in veyn to strive
Ageyn the fate, bitterer thanne galle,
By highe vengaunce upon Troye falle
Nor to presume her furies, sharpe whette,
Ceriously in this boke to sette:
So gret a thing I dar nat undirtake
But evene here a pitous ende I make
Of the sege, after my sympelnesse.
And though my stile, blottid with rudenes
As of metre, be rusty and unfiled,
This ferthe boke, that I have compiled
With humble hond, of fer that doth me quake,
Unto youre grace holy I betake,
Of youre merci no thing in dispeir,
So as I can, makyng my repeir
To the Grekis and no lenger dwelle,
Her aventures of the se to telle
In ther resort home to her contré
And how that thei there received be,
Only of support, so ye not dispise,
The fifthe boke shortly shal devise.
Wisely; wish to consider
position; (see note)
hindered by means
bribery; gifts; (see note)
prove myself innocent
to be blamed
Of his part
So that; miscarried
knows; cause grief; (see note)
to take lightly
I am reluctant
would have been; hinderance
wish; tomorrow at the first hour
Call to witness
it is appropriate
burden; (see note)
overload a ship
truce; liked it or not
people in lowest social position
wire; (see note)
sphere; (see note)
eyes; (see note)
likely; heal; (see note)
has taken his way
sad; (see note)
every detail of her beauty
reason; (see note)
type of person
pierced; (see note)
extremity; (see note)
paid attention to nothing
consuming; (see note)
the morning star
Impatient; (see note)
knew what was good for him
intermediary; (see note)
carefully; (see note)
In effect, if; (see note)
for both of their advantages
If; she wished
quickly; (see note)
their war abandon
Before; might escape; (see note)
rise; (see note)
Provided; truly lasting peace
In due order
[he] considered always; (see note)
At once; arose
Thinking; wish reject
in no way renounce
willing to believe; (see note)
If it happened
I do not wish
strife; (see note)
bolt sharply whetted
chance; (see note)
Appropriate to; pledge
Since; (see note)
divorce; enough; (see note)
person; (see note)
Whenever he wishes
be able to
do away with
advise before she changes
give; adheres to war
before; (see note)
in the end
Since; have one
the one; the other
ease of both of us
advice; (see note)
whatever happened to them
gave; (see note)
they (the Greeks)
in no way
if; have success
sailing along the coast
in due order
draw into battle formation
first of all
wishes to write
immediately; (see note)
thrust; (see note)
at once on
troop; taken; (see note)
around; (see note)
Despite; (see note)
peril; (see note)
Although; wishes to write
displeased; grant a respite to
in no way; (see note)
gave at once; further delay
ducat; (see note)
money; impression [on a coin]
exchange; wait for
she would prefer
vengeful; (see note)
shut up inside with a bang; (see note)
whatever might happen
exclaim against it
on the opposite side
he did not wish
lessen; (see note)
distress; (see note)
ground at a cutting angle; (see note)
stunned and wearied (check-mated)
without warning before
fail; (see note)
ears exceedingly hateful
the length of
He would have repaid him (Achilles)
in no way; foresee
Tired out by his effort
erase; (see note)
sound; (see note)
if; paid heed
drawn; (see note)
in due order
plan; at once
in no way
brand; coal; (see note)
at the very moment
gutter; waves (of blood)
main point; (see note)
position; sphere of the fixed stars
habit; (see note)
come near them
she was never indiscreet
trained by experience
cut at the proper angle
met in tilting
he had no choice; (see note)
Telamon (son of Ajax and Hesione)
turned; (see note)
without warning; troop
first of all
support for a lance
came straight aiming
at once; sound
cut apart; head armor
armor to protect upper arm and shoulder
whatever might happen
cut; into; (see note)
chose to write
stood against them
remedy think of
at once; (see note)
most of all
inter; (see note)
along the length of
plainly; (see note)
On condition that
were bound by their oaths
put into effect
counsel; (see note)
Retiring in manner, crafty; wise
serious, gentle in disposition
returns; (see note)
getting rid of all outsiders; (see note)
soothing influence; flow
poured out its sweet honey
head (of a flower); (see note)
contend successfully; (see note)
their wish; bow
Despite our intention
concealment; (see note)
purchase peace; (see note)
stop also the war
Ilius, a long time ago
[was] made certain; (see note)
mentioned; (see note)
stir nor remove
In the end utterly
In due order
shield Aegis; (see note)
wish; (see note)
you wish to designate
quiet of bearing
not at all
Whether; pleased; displeased
agree; (see note)
devise; need not worry; (see note)
Shall get off unblamed
neither of us; accomplice; (see note)
impute to; (see note)
Come away at once
penetrate; (see note)
grey; (see note)
since long ago
to illustrate by example; (see note)
set forth; (see note)
brought to ruin
In the way
their intention by a long way
Adorning with rhetoric
conference; (see note)
to designate [a place]
conciliated; (see note)
according to his promise
Without further delay; it was time
just as they had planned
hurried; (see note)
properly; (see note)
recently; broken down
joined, a ferocious maneuver
akin by nature
astonished; terrified; (see note)
roofs; (see note)
let evil befall them
truth who knows no help
destiny; (see note)
split; (see note)
Locked up; tower
plundered; (see note)
gave no care; (see note)
hair torn; wire bright
overcome; (see note)
Branch and root, deviser
you; (see note)
punishment, proclaimed; report
be able to bear
no matter; quickly
let evil befall him
As it is appropriate
concealed; hidden; (see note)
wish; (see note)
sinful mislooking; raised [my eyes]
Pitiless; not at all to blame
not at all; (see note)
appease; (see note)
lament; (see note)
vengeance; (see note)
is so distressed
I would die
fearful spirit; entrust
Beheaded; (see note)
small bits; cut
Thinking; surely; (see note)
recited; (see note)
knew; (see note)
had her bound
Let misfortune befall
forged; (see note)
destruction; (see note)
Since; first of all
idolatry; (see note)
give; (see note)
tree bark; (see note)
summits; (see note)
each one; perverse; Nature
The spirits of the dead; place
early afternoons; bright
fauns; thickets; (see note)
pays any attention
anything; baseless fancy; (see note)
misfortune; (see note)
Jeremiah; (see note)
In due order
writing instrument; faulty; (see note)
not at all
set forth; (see note)
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