Troy Book: Book 2
JOHN LYDGATE, TROY BOOK, BOOK 2: FOOTNOTES1 With openings to the outside for [thwarting] assaults or probes
2 Of velvet, sendal (thin, rich silken material), and double fine silken cloth also
3 Carved all along their length with embossed ornaments [were]
JOHN LYDGATE, TROY BOOK, BOOK 2: NOTES1 Fortunas. MS: fortunat. Torti, p. 184n, remarks that the description of Fortune's mutability forecasts the attitude toward women in Guido and Lydgate. Finlayson, p. 150, sees the passage indebted to the description of Fortune in Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess.
3 wil. Bergen reads will.
134 thei. MS: ye.
141 that. Bergen emends to the.
142 Antropos. Atropos. One of the three daughters of Night, later identified as the three Fates. Atropos is the Fate who cuts the thread of a person's life; compare 2.880, 2.2290, 2.4695.
168 Echoes Chaucer's "The Complaint of Venus": "Syth rym in Englissh hath such skarsete" (line 80). Boffey, p. 31, notes that the line reappears in Lydgate's Fall of Princes (9.3312).
173 Accepting Bergen's emendation of a plausible, if less likely, reading in MS: To schewe his stile in my transmutacioun. MED cites no instances of transmutacioun used in a sense appropriate to the passage. Lydgate uses the term in the normal sense at 1.58; compare 4.7062.
178 cam. Bergen emends to com.
180 Lydgate follows the convention, defined by Cicero and St. Jerome, of translating meaning by meaning rather than word for word.
192-97 See the supposed rejection of rhetorical figures by Chaucer's Franklin (V.716-27). Lydgate repeats the allusion below at 3.551-56 and Env.100- 01.
198 in. Accepting Bergen's addition for meter.
200 anon I wil. Accepting MS reading over Bergen's I wil anon.
288 Hector the secounde. Lydgate echoes Pandarus (Troilus and Criseyde 2.158).
481 callyd. Norton-Smith emends to ycallyd based on Digby 232 and Digby 230 to avoid a Lydgate line.
493 Or. MS: Of.
511 As Bergen notes, the phrase "with countenaunces glade" applies to the images and not the workmen; see 2.610.
515 Appollo. The reference should be to the craftsman Appelles who is mentioned in Walter of Chatillon's Alexandreis 7.383-84 (Norton-Smith, p. 133); Bergen suggests that Lydgate borrowed the passage from the Wife of Bath's recollection of her fourth husband's tomb (III.495-500).
523 joignour. Trisyllabic.
528 Of. MS: Or.
533 wer. Bergen emends to were.
534 aboute. Bergen emends to abouten.
542 that. Accepting Bergen's addition.
545 defoulit. Bergen emends to defouled.
552 Lydgate echoes the asseveration of Chaucer's Franklin in the Canterbury Tales: "I ne kan no termes of astrologye" (V.1266).
559 in. MS: on; see 4.2739.
560 For. Bergen amends to But.
564 this. Bergen emends to his.
569 aforn. Bergen emends to toforn, but see 2.3585 and 2.3703 for similar usage.
599 peerles. Trisyllabic. Bergen emends to peereles.
602 Tymbria. The second gate of Troy according to Guido (Book 5), the fifth in Benoît (line 3152). It is mentioned again at 3.5611.
614 tour. MS: tourn.
616 on. MS: up on.
618 serpentys. Bergen reads serpentis.
628 And. MS: A.
629 non. Bergen emends to noon. The sense of the clause is that anyone contemplating an attack would be dissuaded by the iron grating that hangs down over the gates.
634 barrerys. MS: barreys.
639 paleys. MS: hous.
640 thorughout. MS: thorugh.
654 babewynes. MS: bakewynes.
655 koynyng. MS: kaxenyng. Norton-Smith emends to copurnyng from Digby 232 (kopurnynge) and Digby 230 (copurnynges), but the emendation is hypermetric.
656 Vynettis. Bergen reads Vynnettis.
668 the. Bergen emends to this.
672 morwe. MS: the morwe.
681-82 Here and elsewhere (e.g., 2.669) Lydgate uses the language applied earlier to the conduct of statecraft to suggest the resemblance between practical wisdom in political affairs and the rational construction of New Troy according to an informing plan. At the end of Book 2, Agamemnon's care in arranging his camp will furnish a small echo of Priam's design. Guido emphasizes the skill of the mechanical arts in Troy, while Lydgate stresses the intellectual power of design. Geoffrey of Vinsauf's Poetria Nova, in a passage that Chaucer parodies in Troilus and Criseyde (1.1065-69), compared the invention of a poem to the architect's plan for his building.
689 reclinatories. Bergen speculates that these may be couches with canopies over them. Norton-Smith glosses it as "a covered place provided with a half-seat" and treats it as Lydgate's coinage.
695 cured was. The grammatical construction is parallel with raught (line 698) and paved (line 701).
710 hymsilfe. MS: hem silfe.
720 square grounde. Bergen emends to ygrounde, but see 2.2561. MED defines square (adj. 2a) as "ground or whet at a cutting angle or to a point."
722 Bowyers. MS: Bowers.
fast. Bergen emends to faste.
725 also. Bergen indicates MS reading is his emendation.
737 that. Bergen emends to this.
769 enabite. Bergen emends to enhabite.
777 many. Bergen emends to any.
784 to. Accepting Bergen's addition.
788-926 The account of Priam's steps to "magnyfye" his new city and increase its renown provides a good example of the poet's skill at amplificatio. Lydgate describes the civil activites of Priam's reinvention of a healthy society after the fall of Lamedon's Troy. He adds tournaments, jousts, and tilting to the "diuersa genera" of games that Guido mentions vaguely (Book 5), and he significantly expands the discussion of chess. His greatest addition is in the description of theatre. He not only defines genre but gives details of production, such as staging and sets (a "theatre schrowdid in a tent," line 900); masks ("viseris") used for disguise (lines 901-02); the signs and formulaic expressions used to convey joy, heaviness, trust, gladness, and mixtures of emotions, always "from point to point" (line 910), answering to the requirements of the play; the place of music and rhetoric in the plays; and the controlling themes (e.g. the fall-of-prince topos, or the Boethian themes of fate and fortune). Priam's "fantasye" provides a glimpse of the idealized social and ideological geography of fifteenth-century urban life. Meek (p. 286n) suggests that Guido misread Benoît's claim that Troy's inhabitants could find all these pleasures in the city (trovassent, line 3182).
790 observaunce. MS: observaunces.
802 other. MS: ther.
806-23 Persian, Indian, and Arabic texts refer to chess as early as the fifth century, but no unambiguous references appear before the seventh century. The game was popular by the tenth century, and entered the west by way of Spain in the tenth or eleventh century. European literary and documentary references date from around the year 1000. A short poem describing the game (Versus de scachis) survives in manuscripts from the 990s. In the eleventh and twelfth centuries the game was popular in both courtly and monastic milieux. Petrus Alfonsi's Disciplina clericalis (c. 1100) lists chess as one of the seven knightly accomplishments, and the game is frequently mentioned in chivalric romances. Lydgate champions Guido's claim that chess was first invented in Troy. He incorrectly ascribes a competing claim to Jacques de Vitry. Marquardt points out that Jacobus de Cessolis's De ludo scaccorum (c. 1280) is the source for claiming that Philometer is the inventor.
812 juparties. MS: imparties.
830 be sodeyn variaunce. Bergen emends to with sodeyn variaunce.
833 plounged. MS: plaunged.
835 Against Bergen, I punctuate with a full stop here because the line is the kind of summative statement that often ends Lydgate's longer sentences.
836-38 The passage needs to be taken in the sense that if one person succeeds in various games of chance, another person necessarily loses.
Adevaunte. Bergen suggests the possibility of separating A from devaunt (the name of a game of chance) and assigning it the value of the preposition in. Hasord and passage are, like devaunt, games played with dice.
837 suffereth. MS: sufferey.
842-59 The generic descriptions of comedy and tragedy are commonplaces. See, for example, Dante's Letter to Can Grande della Scala and the Prologue to Chaucer's The Monk's Tale (VII.1971-81).
861 Against Bergen, I punctuate with a full stop here because line 862 begins another independent clause.
864-69 In the medieval conception of classical drama, the poet recited his work while the action was mimed below him; see Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae 18.44 and 18.49.
867 awncien. MS: awcien.
875 by old date. Accepting Bergen's emendation for MS: by date.
876 See note to Prologue line 51.
878 gan. "The poet" is the understood subject of the sentence; see line 896. Lydgate speaks of a poet reciting but his image is of writing.
886 highe. Bergen emends to in highe. distresse. Bergen emends to tristesse.
887 and. Bergen emends to or for parallelism with the following two lines.
890 that. Accepting Bergen's addition.
902 Disfigurid her facis. The phrase is an absolute: the men's faces are disguised.
908 or. MS: and.
911 now light. Accepting Bergen's emendation for MS: light.
918 hay. MS: bay.
922 the. Bergen emends to these.
924 ryht of tragedies olde. The of is Bergen's addition.
927-1066 Lydgate's description of Priam's palace, like that of the city earlier (2.489-768), expands and changes the basic details in Guido (Book 5). These lines offer a tour de force in Utopian city planning, from the geometry of the layout, where the city itself becomes a kind of theater in the round (lines 941-57), down to the wood used for specific architectural functions; where equitable housing is provided for rich and poor, and where we are privileged to glimpse the decor of interiors of houses as well as religious practices. No poet in English before Lydgate has been so attentive to this kind of detail, as he depicts the aspirations and exuberance of early fifteenth-century expansion.
931 werkes. MS: werkmen.
940 cast. Sense requires the phrase to be understood as was cast, "was laid out by compasses." I have treated lines 939-40 as a subordinate clause modifying Ilyoun; Bergen punctuates them as an appositive beginning the next sentence.
943 he most first. Bergen emends to first he moste.
944-48 Lydgate follows the common practice of approximating pi by using its upper limit (3 1/7). The practice derived from the third proposition of Archimedes's On the Measurement of the Circle, which the Middle Ages knew in several translations. Plato of Tivoli produced an incomplete translation from the Arabic between 1134 and 1145. Gerard of Cremona completed a better translation, again from the Arabic, in the third quarter of the twelfth century. William of Moerbeke, Latin archbishop of Corinth, made a translation from the Greek in 1269. William's translation was incorporated into Johannes de Muris's De arte mensurandi around 1343.
949-50 withinne the stronge wal . . . pleynly eke with al. Bergen emends by transposing these phrases.
955 reysed. MS: reysen.
956 unto. Bergen emends to to.
961 stond rounde. MS: stond rounde rounde. Bergen emends to stoode rounde.
969 fenestral. Bergen emends to eche fenestral.
991 his. Bergen emends to this.
1006 was set a dormont. Bergen emends to was a dormant.
1012 Right as any. Bergen emends to Right as.
opposyt. MS: apposyt.
1014 riche. Bergen reads rich.
1022 With. MS: Withoute.
1023 of. MS: of of.
1034 and of. Bergen emends to of but is willing to accept MS reading as equally good.
1037 excellence. MS: excenlence.
1050 felicité. MS: ffelicite.
1061 his. Bergen emends to this.
1797-1902 Lydgate apostrophizes Priam as an imprudent ruler. He builds on Guido's suggestion (Book 6) that Boethian ideas about fortune and chance lead to Priam's renewing the war, but he relocates these ideas from the external world to the individual. His sentiment is akin to Gower's, who locates all disasters within the choices of individuals. See Ebin (1985), pp. 41-44.
1798 new. Bergen emends to newe.
1807 savour. MS: more savour.
1816 to. Accepting Bergen's addition.
1831 chance. Bergen reads chaunce.
1847 Adverting. MS: Adverte.
1851 surly. MS: only.
1853 if. MS: it.
1857 rekles. Bergen emends to rekeles.
1865 royal. MS: rayal.
1883 this. MS: his.
1892 which in. MS: with.
2184 to. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2197-2209 Hector argues for distributive rather than rectificatory justice. As Aristotle explains in Book 5 of the Nicomachean Ethics, distributive justice remedies discrepancies between persons of unequal worth by a geometrical progression, while rectificatory justice works among equals by an arithmetic progression. Thus an injury done a great person is greater in magnitude than one done a person of lesser social stature. Lydgate is expanding on a theme in Guido (Book 6).
2210 gretly. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2216 instynt. MS: instymt.
2246 causeth. MS: caused.
2264 lak. MS: lat.
2268 many. MS: many other.
2276 at. Bergen emends to in. The MS reading accords with Chaucer's usage in the Canterbury Tales (II.504, II.658, VII.1300) and Troilus and Criseyde (4.1106, 4.1532).
2292 and sorow. Bergen emends to sorow.
2297 hold. MS: held.
2298 cowarddyse. Bergen reads cowardyse.
2321 Of. MS: To.
2355 unto. Bergen emends to to.
2358 Unto the whiche. Bergen emends to Unto whiche.
2364 yeve. MS: gif.
credence. MS: credendence (corrected to credence).
2365 nat. Bergen emends to not.
2373 cherité. MS: cherte.
2375 upon. MS: on.
2387 Pirrous. MS: Pirous.
2393 Then out I roos. MS: Out I roos. Bergen emends to Up I roos out.
2424 severyd. MS: severy.
2427 thinne. Bergen emends to thorugh thinne.
2434 so fer. MS: fer.
2435 that I. Accepting Bergen's addition to MS: I.
2440 upon. MS: on.
2448 he. Following the MS reading and taking the pronoun to refer to the horse that reaches a pleasant dell; Bergen emends to I, so that Paris is the grammatical subject.
2450 yonge. MS: soft.
2451 alight. MS: light.
2464 aslepe. Bergen emends to asleped.
2465 wonder swevene. Lydgate renders Guido's "mirabilem visionem" in a way that recalls the phrasing Chaucer gives to dreams in his dream visions; see "Me mette so ynly swete a sweven, / So wonderful" (The Book of the Duchess, lines 276-77).
2469 first somdel. Bergen emends to somdel first.
2482 ravasched. Bergen emends to ravisched.
2486-2516 Fulgence. The sixth-century mythographer Fabius Planciades Fulgentius, author of commentaries on the allegories supposedly contained in the pagan myths (Mythologiae) and in Vergil (Vergiliana continentia). Fulgentius is an important, though sometimes discredited, source for medieval and Renaissance writers, including Boccaccio (see Genealogie deorum gentilium 4.24 and 11.7). The mythological interpretations are largely Lydgate's addition. Fulgentius is sometimes confused with Saint Fulgentius, Bishop of Ruspe (d. 532 or 533). Lydgate's iconographical details for Mercury do not appear in the corresponding passages of Benoît and Guido. The details of the rod, the snakes, and the cock are in Fulgentius's Mythologiae; but Lydgate purges Fulgentius's association of Mercury with the mendacity of commerce, making him instead into an allegory of the more aristocratic virtues of good governance and prudence. Vatican Mythographer 2 defines Mercury as "deus prudentie et rationis" (ch. 83) and "deus prudentie" (ch. 124). Lydgate also supplements the iconography of Fulgentius with the pipes of rhetoric and eloquence, and the sword. His likely source here is the story of the slaying of Argos told in Ovid's Metamorphoses 1.668-721, in which Mercury puts Argos to sleep with his pipes and then cuts off his head with a sword.
2490 to take the moralité. See the admonition at the end of The Nun's Priest's Tale: "Taketh the fruyt, and lat the chaf be stille" (VII.3443).
2508 forget. Bergen emends to forged.
ymade. MS: made. veyn. Bergen reads weyn.
2519-20 Cithera . . . Juno, and Pallas. The three goddesses (Venus, Juno, and Athena) whose beauty contest, judged by Paris, was one of the favorite stories in literature and art throughout the Middle Ages. The Judgment of Paris is often treated in art as the cause of the Trojan War.
2521 this. MS: thus.
2522 dowes white. Doves are a standard feature of Venus's iconography. They also figure prominently in the Song of Songs, which links them to innocence as well as passion. See Roman de la Rose, lines 15755-56 on the doves that accompany Venus. Morgan MS 132 fol. 117v has a drawing of Venus's chariot being drawn by six white doves as she sets out to assail chastity. The image is reprinted in Harry Robbins, trans., The Romance of the Rose (New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., 1962), p. 336.
2525 schortly. Bergen emends to sothly.
2526 dowes verray innocence. The innocence represented by the doves is identified with the turtle dove in Chaucer's The Parliament of Fowls, who blushes at the very thought of infidelity, or in the illusions of lecherous old lovers like January in Chaucer's The Merchant's Tale, or younger lechers like Absolon, in The Miller's Tale, who dramatize the innocence, piety, and purity of their lechery by quoting from the Song of Songs. In the Roman de la Rose, Guillaume de Lorris allegorizes this component of love as Simpleice, the second arrow to wound the lover's heart (lines 1734-45).
2531 fairnes of the roses rede. The rose is regularly affiliated with female desirablity, as in the lover's quest in the Roman de la Rose. It, more than any other, is the love flower. Bergen emends fairnes to fresshnesse.
2548 ay with. MS: with many.
2549 ff. Pallas I behelde. Lydgate is meticulous in giving to Athena all her traditional iconography - the spear, the olive tree, and the owl.
2555 his. MS: hir.
2577 chaunging. MS: chaungith.
2578 pley. Bergen reads play.
2581 Fulgense. MS: Fulgens.
2596 ther. MS: the.
2598 Fortune the fresche fetheris pulle. Compare Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde 5.1541-47.
2602 oft. Bergen emends to ofte.
2619 attonys. Bergen emends to al attonys, but see 2.4415: "And attonys done oure besynes."
2628 an. MS: in.
2642 Discord. Bergen observes that Discord is not mentioned by Guido.
2658 deyvious. Bergen reads deynious, which is equally plausible.
2670 for. Bergen emends to of.
2687 onymentis. Bergen emends to oynementis.
2692 for. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2695 liche as bit Ovide. Ovid's Medicamina faciei; see Ars amatoria 3.193-228.
2708 fro. MS: therfro.
2738 unto. MS: to.
2744 stare. MS: to stare.
2749 fully. MS: ful.
2760-65 Paris's inspection of the beauty of the goddesses' bodies emphasizes the elements of joining and order that appear in the earlier description of the building of New Troy, albeit now in an erotic vein.
2765 jugen. MS: given.
2769 in. Bergen emends to of.
2772 Stremys are "the rays sent out from the eye to the object seen" (MED).
2789 without. Bergen emends to withoute.
2793 love and drede. See Chaucer's description of the feelings that the people have for Walter - "Biloved and drad" - in The Clerk's Tale (IV.69).
2797 Bergen ends the sentence here, without a main clause. I punctuate it so that Yif ye adverte (line 2794) is completed by I rede (line 2798).
2800 abood. MS: abote.
3448 As. Bergen emends to And.
3470 taketh. Bergen emends to took, but see the combination of the preterite and historical present immediately below at 2.3476-77: "He spendeth ther, liche to his degré, / And quit hym manly in his oblaciouns."
right. Bergen emends to righte.
3477 oblaciouns. MS: oblacioun.
3518-24 The report of Paris recalls the effect of rumor in the Piramus and Thisbe story; see Chaucer's The Legend of Good Women, lines 719-20: "The name of everych gan to other sprynge / By women that were neighebores aboute."
3527 pylgrymage. Bergen reads pilgrymage.
3531-51 For the possibilities of unlicensed behavior and erotic encounters, see the example of Chaucer's Wife of Bath who uses "pleyes of myracles" (III.558) as one occasion among many for entertainment and the company of "lusty folk." The signals described in the passage are Ovidian.
3545 or. MS: of.
3547 stole. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3575-3661 Lydgate significantly expands Guido's apostrophe in Book 7.
3594 unto. MS: to.
3600 out of mwe. See Troilus and Criseyde 1.381: "First to hiden his desir in muwe," where Chaucer describes Troilus's effort to hide his love. See also 2.3701-02.
3602 as hare among houndis. The proverb usually expresses fright rather than carelessness. It is so used by Chaucer in The Shipman's Tale (VII.103-05) and Boece (3m12.12) and by Gower (Confessio Amantis Pro.1061). Bergen emends to the houndis.
3624 nadde. MS: nat.
wikke. MS: wikked.
3630 on Troye. MS: Troye.
3636 Made. "She" is the understood subject.
3646 nist. Bergen emends to niste.
3649 wende. Bergen emends to ne wende.
3654 be. MS: have ben.
3659 considereth. I take this verb as syntatically parallel with thought; Bergen begins a new sentence and requires "he" as the understood subject.
3672 Lydgate's phrasing recalls Chaucer's portrait of Criseyde in Book 5: "Paradis stood formed in hire yën" (Troilus and Criseyde 5.817).
3680 want. Bergen emends to wante.
3701-02 In adapting Guido, Lydgate ascribes to Helen the dissembling that Chaucer makes a feature of Troilus's response to first seeing Criseyde (Troilus and Criseyde 1.278-80).
3702 no. MS: that no.
3705 plesance. Bergen reads plesaunce.
3718 eyen. Bergen emends to eye.
3745 fyré. Bergen emends to fyry; see Pro.11 and 4.3155.
4344 lightly. Bergen emends to slighly.
dissymble. MS: dissymuble. Lydgate returns to this problematic notion of prudence as dissembling when Priam later rebukes his men for attacking Diomede (2.7020) when Ulysses and Diomede come to Troy as ambassadors in the last diplomatic effort before the war begins.
4354 kyndle. MS: kyndly. Bergen emends the line to read That he of vengaunce kyndle may the fer.
4366 good. MS: glad.
glad. MS: good.
the. MS: thou. Accepting Bergen's transposition of good and glad for sense. Menelaus may be either good or glad in appearance, but he is advised to feign glad behavior in public.
4368 woldest. MS: wost.
4369 grevaunce. Bergen reads grevance.
4388 of oure hevy. Bergen emends to oure hevy.
4402 undirstonde. MS: to undirstonde.
4405 happe. MS: hap. Bergen emends to or hap, which then must be governed by What that and be taken as grammatically parallel to befalle; the phrase is, however, merely parenthetical: "come what may."
4427 th'effect. MS: the theffect.
4697 Galfride. Geoffrey of Vinsauf, whose Poetria Nova (c. 1210) became a standard school text for rhetoric even into the fifteenth century. Chaucer often cites Geoffrey, and quite playfully in The Nun's Priest's Tale, VII.3347, where the teller defers to his formulae as he attempts to explain the hubbub caused by Chaunticleer's ill-fate with the fox.
4704 The phrasing echoes Chaucer's mock deference to courtly lovers who compose ("make") as amateur poets: "[I] am ful glad yf I may fynde an ere / Of any goodly word that ye han left" (The Legend of Good Women F 76-77).
4711 ethe to knowe. Bergen emends to ethe knowe but notes MS reading.
4717 Tempere. Bergen reads Tempre.
oure. Bergen reads our.
vermyloun. Bergen proposes to read as four syllables - vermilioun.
4719 folweth. MS: forweth.
4731 Baiard. The proverbially proud horse; see Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde 1.218 and The Canon's Yeoman's Tale (VIII.1413). Lydgate uses the figure again at 5.3506.
4732 wey. Bergen emends to weye.
4733 on hede. Bergen emends to of hede.
4736-62 Atwood (pp. 40-41) and Pearsall (1990), p. 41; (1970), pp. 55-58, note that Lydgate's portrait incorporates a number of details from Chaucer's portrait of Criseyde (Troilus and Criseyde 5.806-26).
4739 Bergen wrongly indicates that be must be added.
4740 to lowe. Bergen emends to lowe.
4747 were. MS: where.
4748 And. Accepting Bergen's addition.
4752 ne. Accepting Bergen's addition.
4761 unstedfastnes. MS: unstefastnes.
4861-65 The verbal portrait of Troilus derives from Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde 5.827-40.
4863 to. MS: for to.
4864 of. Bergen emends to on. See Troilus and Criseyde 5.827 for description.
4865 See Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde 5.830.
4887 Grekis. Bergen emends to the Grekis.
4888 help. Bergen emends to shelde.
6539 is ther. Bergen emends to ther is.
6553 or. Accepting Bergen's emendation of MS: and; see same phrase above at 2.6548.
6563 eke in. Bergen emends to in.
6600 namly. MS: manly.
6635 broght. Bergen reads brought.
6638 decut. Following Bergen who restores decut (from Latin decoquo), with the sense of "to ripen, digest in the mind by thinking over."
6640-61 Lydgate, amplifying Guido, introduces a Christian notion of choice into the evolving pattern of deterministic tragic action. Agamemnon concedes that the Greeks could have restored Hesione and so forestalled the events set in motion by Paris's sack of Cythera and his abduction of Helen. At the same time, however, he prepares to send the Trojans demands for recompense that they cannot accept.
6677 to falle. Bergen emends to for to falle.
6682 for. Accepting Bergen's addition.
8706 boke. Accepting Bergen's addition.
The envious ordre of Fortunas meving,
In worldly thing fals and flekeryng,
Ne wil not suffre us in this present lyf
To lyve in reste withoute werre or striffe;
For sche is blinde, fikel, and unstable,
And of her cours fals and ful mutable.
[Fortune brings those who sit highest to ruin. She gives some
renown and victory, and humbles others. She overthrows all
who trust her, just as she did King Lamedon. Thus I advise
every man to take heed before starting a dispute. Be warned
by Lamedon's example and show kindness to strangers. Old
Troy was destroyed, the people were led into exile, and
Hesione was given to Telamon because of Lamedon's
unkindness. Great war and destruction can be caused by small
events (lines 77-133).]
Allas, whi nyl thei taken better hede?
For olde Troye and afterward the newe
Thorughe smal enchesoun, who the trouthe knewe,
Wer finally brought to distruccioun,
As olde bokes maken mencioun,
And many worthi and many noble knyght
Slayn in the feld by dures of that fight;
Kynges, princes at that sege ded
Whan Antropos tobrak hir lyves thred,
That for to telle the meschef and the wo
I wante connynge and I fele also
My penne quake and tremble in my hond,
List that my lord, dredde on see and lond,
Whos worthines thorugh the world doth sprede,
My makyng rude schal beholde and rede,
Whiche of colour ful nakyd is and bare:
That but yif he of his grace spare
For to disdeyne and list to have pité,
For fere I tremble that he schuld it se.
But only mercy, that dothe his hert embrace,
Byt me preswme fully in his grace,
Seynge in hym, most vertuous and good,
Mercy anexid unto royal blood,
As to a prince longeth nyghe and ferre,
Ay tofore ryght pité to preferre.
For thorughe the support of his highe noblesse
Sowpowailled, I wil my stile dresse
To write forthe the story by and by
Of newe Troye in ordre ceriously
As myn auctor in Latyn, Guydo, writ,
Preying the reder wher any word myssit,
Causyng the metre to be halte or lame,
For to correcte, to save me fro blame:
Late hym nat wayte after coryousté,
Syth that in ryme Ynglysch hath skarseté.
I am so dulle, certeyn, that I ne can
Folwen Guydo, that clerke, that coryous man,
Whiche in Latyn hath be rethorik
Set so his wordis that I can nat be lyke.
To sewe his stile in my translacioun
Word by word lyche the construccioun
After the maner of gramariens
Nor lyke the stile of rethoricyens,
I toke nat on me this story to translate;
For me to forther Clyo cam to late,
That in swyche craft hath gret experience;
I leve the wordis and folwe the sentence.
And trouth of metre I sette also asyde,
For of that arte I hadde as tho no guyde
Me to reducyn whan I went awrong;
I toke non hede nouther of schort nor long
But to the trouthe and lefte coryousté
Bothe of makyng and of metre be,
Nat purposyng to moche for to varie
Nor for to be dyverse nor contrarie
Unto Guydo, as by discordaunce,
But me conforme fully in substaunce,
Only in menyng to conclude al on;
Albe that I ne can the weye goon
To swe the floures of his eloquence
Nor of peyntyng I have noon excellence
With sondry hewes noble, fresche, and gay,
So riche colours biggen I ne may;
I mote procede with sable and with blake.
And in enewyng wher ye fynde a lak,
I axe mercy or I fro yow twynne;
And with your favour anon I wil begynne
And in al haste my style furthe directe;
And where I erre, I praye yow to correcte.
[At the time Old Troy was destroyed and Lamedon killed, his
son Priam and his family were besieging a castle. Priam
performed great deeds of arms, risking his life in battle. He
had five sons and three daughters. The oldest son was Hector,
the root and stock of chivalry, who excelled everyone in
knighthood. Paris was Hector's next brother, and he was the
most handsome man alive. Deiphebus, a brave and wise man,
was the third son. The fourth was Helenus, a man known for
his learning in the liberal arts. Troilus was the fifth son, and
he was called "Hector the secounde" (line 288) because of his manliness. Vergil records that Priam had two other sons.
Polydorus was sent from Troy by Priam to a king he trusted,
but the king cut the boy's throat and buried
him in a hidden grave. The other son, Ganymede, was carried
off by Jupiter who made him his butler. Priam's oldest
daughter was Creusa, who married Aeneas, son of Anchises
by the goddess Venus. Priam's second daughter was
Cassandra, who had the power of prophecy. His third
daughter was Polyxena, a maiden whom Pyrrhus, the son of
Achilles, eventually slew. Priam also had thirty natural sons,
all of them noble and hardy in arms.
While Priam was besieging the castle, he was told of the fall
of Old Troy, his father's death, and the fate of Hesione.
Sorrow overcame him; he dressed in black, raised the siege,
and returned to Troy. He found a wilderness and lamented for
three days, at the end of which he resolved to rebuild Troy
The sorwe aswaged and the syghes olde
By longe processe, liche as I yow tolde,
This worthi kyng, callyd Priamus,
Is in his herte nowe so desyrous
Upon the pleyn that was so waste and wylde,
So strong a toun of newe for to bilde,
At his devyse a cité edefye,
That schal th'assautys outterly defye
Of alle enmyes and his mortal foon
With riche tourys and wallys of hard stoon.
And al aboute the contrés enviroun
He made seke in every regioun
For swiche werkemen as were corious,
Of wyt inventyf, of castyng merveilous,
Or swyche as coude crafte of gemetrye,
Or wer sotyle in her fantasye;
And for everyche that was good devysour,
Mason, hewer, or crafty quareour;
For every wright and passyng carpenter
That may be founde, owther fer or nere;
For swyche as koude grave, grope, or kerve;
Or swiche as werne able for to serve
With lym or stoon for to reise a wal
With bataillyng and crestis marcial;
Or swiche as had konyng in her hed,
Alabastre, owther white or redde,
Or marbil graye for to pulsche it pleyn
To make it smothe of veynes and of greyn.
He sent also for every ymagour,
Bothe in entaille, and every purtreyour
That coude drawe, or with colour peynt
With hewes fresche, that the werke nat feynt;
And swiche as coude with countenaunces glade
Make an ymage that wil nevere fade -
To counterfet in metal, tre, or stoon
The sotil werke of Pigmaleoun
Or of Appollo, the whiche as bokis telle
In ymagerye alle other dide excelle;
For by his crafty werkyng corious,
The towmbe he made of Kyng Daryus
Whiche Alysaundre dide on heyghte reise,
Only for men schuld his fame preise
In his conquest by Perce whan he went.
And thus Priam for every maister sent,
For eche kerver and passynge joignour
To make knottis with many corious flour,
To sette on crestis withinne and withoute
Upon the wal the cité rounde aboute;
Or who that wer excellyng in practik
Of any art callyd mekanyk
Or hadde a name flouryng or famus
Was after sent to come to Priamus.
For he purposeth, this noble worthi kyng,
To make a cité most royal in byldyng -
Brod, large, and wyde - and lest it wer assailled,
For werre proudly aboute enbatailled.
And first the grounde he made to be sought,
Ful depe and lowe, that it faille nought
To make sure the fundacioun;
In the place where the olde toun
Was first ybilt he the wallis sette;
And he of lond many myle out mette
Aboute in compas for to make it large,
As the maysters that toke on hem the charge
Devysed han the settyng and the syyt,
For holsom eyr to be more of delyt.
And whan the soille, defoulit with ruyne
Of walles old, was made pleyn as lyne,
The werkmen gan this cité for to founde
Ful myghtely with stonys square and rounde,
That in this world was to it noon lyche
Of werkmanschip nor of bildyng riche
Nor of crafte of coryous masounry.
I can no termys to speke of gemetrye;
Wherfore as now I muste hem sette asyde,
For douteles I radde never Euclide
That the maister and the foundour was
Of alle that werkyn by squyre or compas
Or kepe her mesour by level or by lyne;
I am to rude clerly to diffyne
Or to discrive this werk in every parte
For lak of termys longyng to that arte.
For I dar wel of trouthe affermyn here,
In al this world ne was ther never pere
Unto this cité, and write it for a sothe,
As in this boke my mayster Guydo doth.
And that it myght in prosperité,
In hyghe honour and felicité,
From al assaut perpetuelly contune,
It reysed was in worschip of Neptune
And namyd Troye, as it was aforn,
Lyche the firste that was thorugh Grekis lorn.
The lenthe was, schortly to conclude,
Thre dayes journé, lyche the latitude,
That never I herd make mencioun
Of swiche another of fundacioun
So huge in compas nor of swiche larges,
Nor to counte so passyng of fayrnes,
So edyfied or lusty to the syght.
And, as I rede, the walles wern on highte
Two hundrid cubites, al of marbil gray,
Maskowed withoute for sautis and assay; 1
And it to make more plesaunt of delyt,
Among the marbil was alabaster white
Meynt in the walles, rounde the toun aboute,
To make it schewe withinne and withoute
So fresche, so riche, and so delitable,
That it alone was incomperable
Of alle cités that any mortal man
Sawe ever yit sithe the world began.
And at the corner of every wal was set
A crowne of golde with riche stonys fret
That schone ful bright ageyn the sonne schene;
And every tour bretexed was so clene
Of chose stoon that wer nat fer asondre,
That to beholde it was a verray wonder.
Therto this cité compassed enviroun
Hadde sexe gatis to entre into the toun:
The first of al and strengest eke with al,
Largest also and most principal,
Of myghty bildynge allone peerles,
Was by the kyng callyd Dardanydes;
And in story, lyche as it is fownde,
Tymbria was named the secounde;
And the thridde callyd Helyas;
The fourte gate hight also Cethas;
The fyfte Troiana; the syxte Anthonydes,
Strong and myghty bothe in werre and pes,
With square toures set on every syde.
At whos corners, of verray pompe and pride,
The werkmen han with sterne and fel visages,
Of riche entaille, set up gret ymages
Wrought out of ston, that never ar like to fayle,
Ful coriously enarmed for batayle.
And thorugh the wal, her fomen for to lette,
At every tour wer grete gunnys sette
For assaut and sodeyn aventurys;
And on tourettis wer reysed up figurys
Of wylde bestis, as beris and lyouns,
Of tigers, bores, of serpentys and dragouns
And hertis eke with her brode hornes,
Olyfauntes and large unicornes,
Buglis, bolys, and many grete grifoun,
Forged of brasse, of copur and latoun,
That cruelly by sygnes of her facys
Upon her foon made fel manacys.
Barbykans and bolewerkys huge
Afore the toun made for highe refuge,
Yiffe nede were, erly and eke late;
And portecolys stronge at every gate,
That hem thar nat non assailyng charge;
And the lowkis thikke, brode, and large,
Of the gatys al of yoten bras;
And withinne the myghty schittyng was
Of strong yrne barres square and rounde
And gret barrerys picched in the grounde
With huge cheynes forged for diffence,
Whiche nolde breke for no violence,
That hard it was thorugh hem for to wynne.
And every hous that was bilt withinne,
Every paleys, and every mancioun
Of marbil werne thorughout al the toun,
Of crafty bildyng and werkyng most roial.
And the heght was of every wal
Sixty cubites from the grounde acountid;
And ther was non that other hath surmountid
In the cité, but of on heght alyche,
In verray sothe, bothe of pore and riche,
That it was harde of highe estat or lowe
Hous or palys asounder for to knowe,
So egaly of tymbre and of stoon
Her housis wern reysed everychon.
And if I schulde rehersen by and by
The korve knottes by crafte of masounry,
The fresche enbowyng with vergis right as linys,
And the vowsyng ful of babewynes,
The riche koynyng, the lusty tablementis,
Vynettis rennynge in the casementis;
Though the termys in Englisch wolde ryme,
To rekne hem alle I have as now no tyme
Ne no langage pyked for the nonys,
The sotil joynyng to tellen of the stonys,
Nor how thei putten in stede of morter
In the joynturys copur gilt ful clere
To make hem joyne by level and by lyne
Among the marbil, freschely for to schyne
Agein the sonne, whan his schene lyght
Smote in the gold that was bornyd bright,
To make the werke gletere on every syde.
And of the toun the stretis large and wyde
Wer by crafte so prudently provided
And by werkemen sette so and devided
That holsom eyr amyddis myght enspire
Erly on morwe to hem that it desyre;
And Zephirus, that is so comfortable
For to norysche thinges vegetable,
In tyme of yere thorughoute every strete,
With sugred flavour, so lusty and so swete,
Most plesantly in the eyr gan smyte,
The cytezeyns only to delyte,
And with his brethe hem to recomfort,
Whan thei list walke hemsilven to disport.
And thorugh the toun by crafty purviaunce,
By gret avys and discret ordynaunce,
By compas cast and squared out by squires,
Of pulsched marbil upon strong pilleris
Devised wern, longe, large, and wyde,
In the frountel of every stretis syde
Fresche alures with lusty highe pynacles
And moustryng outward riche tabernacles,
Vowted above like reclinatories,
That called werne deambulatories,
Men to walke togydre tweine and tweyne
To kepe hem drie whan it dide reyne
Or hem to save from tempest, wynde, or thonder,
Yif that hem list schrowde hemsilve therunder.
And every hous cured was with led;
And many gargoyl and many hidous hed
With spoutis thorugh and pipes as thei ought
From the stonwerke to the canel raught,
Voyding filthes low into the grounde
Thorugh gratis percid of yren percid rounde;
The stretis paved bothe in lengthe and brede
In cheker wyse with stonys white and rede.
And every craft that any maner man
In any lond devise or rekene can
Kyng Priamus, of highe discrecioun,
Ordeyned hath to dwellyn in the toun
And in stretis severyd her and yonder,
Everyche from other to be sette asonder
That thei myght for more comodité
Eche be hymsilfe werke at liberté:
Goldsmythes first; and riche jowellers;
And by hemsilf crafty browdereris;
Wevers also of wolne and of lyne,
Of cloth of gold, damaske, and satyn,
Of welwet, cendel, and double samyt eke, 2
And every clothe that men list to seke;
Smythes also that koude forge wele
Swerdis, pollex, and speris scharp of stele,
Dartis, daggeris, for to mayme and wounde,
And quarel hedis scharp and square grounde.
Ther wer also crafty armoureris,
Bowyers, and fast by fleccheris,
And swyche as koude make schaftes pleyn,
And other eke that dide her besy peyn
For the werre to make also trappuris,
Bete baners and royal cote armuris,
And by devise stondardis and penowns,
And for the felde fresche and gay gytouns.
And every crafte that may rekned be,
To telle schortly, was in this cité.
And thorugh this toun, so riche and excellent,
In the myddes a large river went,
Causyng to hem ful gret commodité;
The whiche on tweyne hath partid the cité,
Of cours ful swyft, with fresche stremys clere;
And highte Xanctus, as Guydo doth us lere.
And as I rede, that upon that flood,
On eche asyde many mylle stood,
Whan nede was her grayn and corn to grinde,
Hem to sustene, in story as I fynde.
This river eke, of fysche ful plenteuous,
Devided was by werkmen corious
So craftely, thorugh castyng sovereyne,
That in his course the stremys myght atteyn
For to areche, as Guydo doth conjecte,
By archis strong his cours for to reflecte
Thorugh condut pipis, large and wyde withal,
By certeyn meatis artificial,
That it made a ful purgacioun
Of al ordure and fylthes in the toun,
Waschyng the stretys as thei stod a rowe
And the goteris in the erthe lowe,
That in the cité was no filthe sene;
For the canel skoured was so clene
And devoyded in so secré wyse
That no man myght espien nor devyse
By what engyn the filthes, fer nor ner,
Wern born awey by cours of the ryver -
So covertly everything was cured.
Wherby the toun was outterly assured
From engenderyng of al corrupcioun,
From wikked eyr and from infeccioun,
That causyn ofte by her violence
Mortalité and gret pestilence.
And by example of this flode ther was
Made Tibre at Rome and wrought by Eneas,
The whiche also departeth Rome on two,
Myn auctor seith, I not wher it be so.
And to enabite this royal chef cité
Kyng Priam hath aboute in the contré
Made for to serche with al his hool entent
And in provinces that werne adjacent,
In borwys, townys, and in smale villages,
Igadred out of al maner ages,
And of thropis folkys ful divers;
And swiche as wern vacaunt and dispers
Aboute Troye in many regioun;
He maked hath to entre into the toun
Gret multitude, what of yong and olde,
It to enhabite, as ye han herde me tolde.
And hem that wern afore to hym foreyns
He hath in Troye maked citezeyns,
Ful discretly, liche as it is founde.
And whan thei gan with peple to abounde,
Kyng Priamus of highe affeccioun
After the bildyng of this myghty toun
Hath in his hert caught a fantasye
His newe cité for to magnyfye.
And it to put the more in remembraunce
He cast fully to do some observaunce
To myghty Mars, sterne and ferse of hewe;
And specialy with certeyn pleies newe,
On horse and fote, in many sondry wyse,
To yeve his men in knyghthod excersyse,
Everyche to putten other at assaye
In justis, bordis, and also in tornay,
To preve her force whan thei happe mete.
The whiche pleies wer fondid first in Crete,
And in that lond of highe and lowe estat
In Martys honour thei wer dedicate.
And in palestre at wakys on the nyght
Wern other pleies men t'assay her myght,
Only on fote with many sotil poynt;
And some of hem wer nakyd and anoynt;
To wynne a prys thei dide her ful entent.
And ther was founde by clerkys ful prudent
Of the ches the pleye most glorious,
Whiche is so sotil and so mervelous
That it wer harde the mater to discryve;
For thoughe a man stodied al his lyve,
He schal ay fynde dyvers fantasyes
Of wardys makyng and newe juparties:
Ther is therin so gret diversité.
And it was first founde in this cité
Duryng the sege, liche as seyth Guydo;
But Jacobus de Vitriaco
Is contrarie of oppynioun:
For, like as he makyth mencioun
And affermeth fully in his avys,
How Philometer, a philysofre wys,
Unto a kyng, to stynte his cruelté,
Fond first this pleie and made it in Caldé;
And into Grece from thense it was sent.
Also in Troye by gret avysement
The pleye was first founde of dees and tables
And of castyng the chaunces deceyvables,
That han be cause ofte of gret debat:
For yif that on be nowe fortunat
To wynne a while be favour of his chance,
Or he be war be sodeyn variaunce
Unhappely he is putte abak
And another, that stood upon the wrak
And of losse was plounged in distresse,
Thei reysed han unto hyghe ryches;
Gladnes of on is to another rage.
Adevaunte, hasard, and passage -
Yif on have joye, another suffereth wo,
Liche as the bonys renne to and fro;
An hundrid sythe in a day thei varie,
Now blaundisschyng and now thei be contrarie;
No man with hem assured is in joye.
And first also I rede that in Troye
Wer song and rad lusty fresche comedies
And other dites that called be tragedies.
And to declare schortly in sentence
Of bothe two the final difference:
A comedie hath in his gynnyng,
At prime face, a maner compleynyng
And afterward endeth in gladnes;
And it the dedis only doth expres
Of swiche as ben in povert plounged lowe;
But tragidie, whoso list to knowe,
It begynneth in prosperité
And endeth ever in adversité;
And it also doth the conquest trete
Of riche kynges and of lordys grete,
Of myghty men and olde conquerouris,
Whiche by fraude of Fortunys schowris
Ben overcast and whelmed from her glorie.
And whilom thus was halwed the memorie
Of tragedies, as bokis make mynde;
Whan thei wer rad or songyn, as I fynde,
In the theatre ther was a smal auter
Amyddes set that was half circuler,
Whiche into the est of custom was directe;
Upon the whiche a pulpet was erecte,
And therin stod an awncien poete
For to reherse by rethorikes swete
The noble dedis that wer historial
Of kynges, princes for a memorial
And of thes olde, worthi emperours,
The grete emprises eke of conquerours,
And how thei gat in Martis highe honour
The laurer grene for fyn of her labour,
The palme of knyghthod disservid by old date
Or Parchas made hem passyn into fate.
And after that with chere and face pale,
With stile enclyned gan to turne his tale,
And for to synge after al her loos
Ful mortally the stroke of Antropos,
And telle also, for al her worthihede,
The sodeyn brekyng of her lives threde:
How pitously thei made her mortal ende
Thorugh fals Fortune, that al the world wil schende;
And howe the fyn of al her worthines
Endid in sorwe and highe distresse
By compassyng of fraude and fals tresoun,
By sodeyn mordre or vengaunce of poysoun,
Or conspiringe of fretyng fals envye;
How unwarly that thei dide dye;
And how her renoun and her highe fame
Was of hatrede sodeynly made lame;
And how her honour drowe unto decline;
And the meschef of her unhappy fyne;
And how Fortune was to hem unswete -
Al this was tolde and rad of the poete.
And whil that he in the pulpit stood
With dedly face al devoide of blood,
Singinge his dites with Muses al torent,
Amydde the theatre schrowdid in a tent
Ther cam out men gastful of her cheris,
Disfigurid her facis with viseris,
Pleying by signes in the peples sight,
That the poete songon hath on hight;
So that ther was no maner discordaunce
Atwen his dites and her contenaunce:
For lik as he alofte dide expresse
Wordes of joye or of hevynes,
Meving and cher, bynethe of hem pleying
From point to point was alwey answering.
Now trist, now glad, now hevy, and now light,
And face chaunged with a sodeyn sight,
So craftily thei koude hem transfigure,
Conformyng hem to the chaunteplure,
Now to synge and sodeinly to wepe,
So wel thei koude her observaunces kepe.
And this was doon in April and in May,
Whan blosmys new bothe on busche and hay
And flouris fresche gynne for to springe;
And the briddis in the wode synge
With lust supprised of the somer sonne,
Whan the pleies in Troye wer begonne
And in theatre halowed and yholde.
And thus the ryyt of tragedies olde
Priamus the worthi kyng began.
Of this mater no more telle I can.
But I wil furthe of this story wryte
And on my maner boistusly endyte,
How Priamus was passyng dilligent,
Right desyrous, and inwardly fervent,
Yif he myght among his werkes alle
To bilde a paleys and a riche halle
Whiche schulde ben his chose chef dongon,
His royal se and sovereyn mansioun.
And whan he gan to this werke aproche,
He made it bilde highe upon a roche
(It for t'assure in his fundacioun)
And callyd it the noble Ylyoun,
The sight of whiche, justly circuler,
By compas cast rounde as any spere.
And who that wold the content of the grounde
Trewly acounten of this place rounde
In the theatre he most first entre,
Takyng the lyne that kerveth thorugh the centre
By gemetrie, as longeth to that art,
And treblid it with the seventhe part;
He fynde myght by experience
The mesour hool of the circumference,
What lond also withinne the stronge wal
Contened was pleynly eke with al -
The creste of whiche, wher it lowest was,
Hadde in hight ful sixe hundred pas,
Bilt of marbil, ful royal and ful strong,
And many other riche stoon among;
Whos touris wern reysed up so highe
That thei raght almost unto the skye;
The werk of whiche no man myght amende.
And who that list by grecis up ascende,
He myghte seen in his inspeccioun
To the boundis of many regioun
And provincys that stond rounde aboute.
And the wallys, withinne and withoute,
ong with knottis grave clene, 3
Depeynt with azour, gold, ginopre, and grene,
That verraily, whan the sonne schon,
Upon the gold meynt among the stoon,
Thei yaf a light withouten any were
As Phebus doth in his mydday spere -
The werke of wyndowe and fenestral,
Wrought of berel and of clere cristal.
And amyddys of this Ylyoun,
So fresche, so riche of fundacioun,
Whiche clerkys yit in her bokis preyse,
Kyng Pryam made an halle for to reyse,
Excellyng alle in bewté and in strenthe,
The latitude acordyng with the lengthe.
And of marbil outeward was the wal;
And the tymbre, most nobil in special,
Was halfe of cedre, as I reherse can,
And the remenant of the riche eban,
Whiche most is able, as I dar specefye,
With stoon to joyne by craft of carpentrie;
For thei of tymbre have the sovereynté.
And for to telle of this eban tre,
Liche in bokys sothly as I fynde,
It cometh out of Ethiope and Ynde,
Blak as is get; and it wil wexe anoon,
Whan it is korve, harde as any stoon,
And evermore lasten and endure,
And nat corrupte with water nor moysture.
And of his halle ferther to diffyne,
With stonys square by level and by lyne
It pavid was with gret diligence
Of masownry and passyng excellence.
And al above, reysed was a se,
Ful coriously of stonys and perré,
That callid was, as chefe and principal,
Of the regne the sete moste royal.
Tofore whiche was set by gret delyt
A borde of eban and of yvor whyt,
So egaly joyned and so clene
That in the werk ther was no rifte sene;
And sessions wer made on every syde,
Only the statis by ordre to devyde.
Eke in the halle, as it was covenable,
On eche party was set a dormont table
Of evor eke and this eban tre;
And even ageyn the kynges royal see,
In the party that was therto contrarie
Ireised was by many crafty stayre
Highe in the halle in the tother syyt,
Right as any lyne in the opposyt,
Of pured metal and of stonys clere
In brede and lengthe a ful riche auter.
On whiche ther stood of figure and visage
Of massé gold a wonderful ymage,
To ben honoured in that highe sete,
Only in honour of Jubiter the grete.
And the statue, for al his huge weghgte,
Fiftene cubites complet was of heighgte,
A crowne of gold highe upon his hed
With hevenly saphirs and many rubé red
Fret enviroun with other stonys of Ynde;
And among wer medled, as I fynde,
Whyte perlis - massyf, large, and rounde;
And for most chefe al dirkenes to confounde,
Was a charbocle, kyng of stonys alle,
To recounfort and gladyn al the halle
And it t'enlumyn in the blake nyght
With the freschenes of his rody light.
The valu was therof inestimable
And the riches pleynly incomperable,
For this ymage by divisioun
Was of schap and of proporcioun
From hed to foot so maisterly entayled
That in a point the werkeman hath nat failed
It to parforme by crafty excellence.
Whom Priamus with drede and reverence
Honoured hath above the goddys alle,
In al meschef to hym to clepe and calle;
For in hym was his hool affeccioun,
His sovereyn trust and devocioun,
His hope also and his affyaunce,
His heile, his joye, and his assuraunce;
And his welfare and prosperité
He hath commytted to his deité,
Wenyng in hert wonder sekerly
To ben assured from al meschef therby,
And diffended in eche adversité,
And hold his regne in highe felicité,
And in honour continuelly to schyne,
Whil Jubiter thorugh his power divyne
Hym and his hath in proteccioun -
This was his trust and ful oppinioun.
And thus this werke finally acheved,
Wherof Priam with joye ful releved
That he his cité and noble Ylyoun
Hath fully brought unto perfeccioun,
Liche his entent whan that he began.
And thus Priam, this kyng, this worthi man,
Ful many day in his newe Troye
With his liges lad his lyf in joye,
Wher I hym leve in his royal sete
Sovereynly regnynge in quiete,
Procedyng forthe, yif ye liste to here,
Unto the effect anoon of my matere.
[Anger and malice continue to stir Priam to seek vengeance
on the Greeks. Though Hector is away, Priam calls a council
in Troy to announce his intent to seek revenge. Before starting
a war, however, he will seek peaceful redress, and he decides
to ask that Hesione be returned. Antenor is chosen as an
ambassador; he sails to Thessaly where King Peleus receives
him graciously but then orders him to leave when he reveals
Priam's demand to return Hesione. Antenor sails next to King
Telamon, who holds Hesione. Telamon listens to Antenor's
message, derides him and Priam, and orders him to leave.
Antenor sails to Achaia where Castor and Pollux angrily
reject the demand. His final visit is to Pylos where King
Nestor can barely control his anger when Antenor delivers his
message. After a terrifying storm at sea, Antenor reaches Troy
and reports to Priam. Driven by his anger, Priam decides to
risk war by sending a fleet to attack the Greeks (lines 1067-1796).]
But seye, Priam, what infelicité,
What new trouble, what hap, what destyné,
Or from above what hateful influence
Descendid is by unwar violence
To meve the - thou canst not lyve in pes!
What sodeyn sort, what fortune graceles,
What chaunce unhappy, withoute avisenes,
What wilful lust, what fonnyd hardynes
Han putte thi soule out of tranquillité,
To make the wery of thi prosperité!
Whi hast thou savour in bitter more than swete,
That canst nat lyve in pes nor in quyete?
Thou art travailed with wilful mocions,
Overmaystred with thi passiouns,
For lak of resoun and of highe prudence
Dirked and blind from al providence,
And ful bareyn to cast aforne and see
The harmys foloyng of thin adversité!
Thou wer to slow wisely to consydre;
For want of sight made the to slydre,
Thorugh myst of errour falsely to forveye
By pathis wrong from the righte weye,
To voyde resoun of wilful hastynes!
Wher was thi guyde, wher was thi maistres
Discrecioun, so prudent and so sad,
Avisely that schulde the have lad
From the tracis of sensualité,
Though it ful selde in mannys power be
By suffraunce hymsilven to restreyne,
Whan sodeyn ire doth his herte streyne?
Thou schust aforn bet ha cast thi chaunce,
Wrought by counseil, and nat put in balaunce
Thi sikernes - allas, whi distow so? -
And have symuled somdel of thi wo,
And cast thi chance wel afore the prime
To have forgoten wrongis of old tyme,
And thought aforn in thin advertence
That ofte falleth in experience
That whyles men do most besynes
Vengably her wrongis to redres,
With double harme, or that thei ar ware,
Thei falle ageyn in a newe snare;
And damages that wer foryete clene
By fals report of rumour fresche and grene
Renewed ben, thorugh the swifte fame
That fleth so fer to hindre a lordis name;
Namly, whan thei to a purpos wende
Only of hed and se nat to the ende.
For of pride and of sodeyn hete
Thei voide hemsilf out of al quiete,
Adverting nat to wirke avisely
Nor the proverbe that techeth commounly,
"He that stant sure, enhast hym not to meve";
For yif he do, it schal hym after greve;
And he that walkyth surly on the pleyn,
Yif he stumble, his wit is but in veyn;
But if so be he list of his foly
Be necligent to putte hym wilfully
In aventure and of hymsilf ne reche
T'eschewen perel, I hold he be a wreche.
For sothly, Priam, thou wer to rekles
For to comytte thi quiete and thi pes
So dredfully, duryng by no date,
To cruel Fortune or to fikel Fate;
Whos maner is of costom comounly
That whan a man trusteth most sovereynly
On this goddesse, blind and ful unstable,
Than sche to hym is most deceyveable,
Hym to abate from his royal stalle,
And sodeynly to make hym doun to falle,
And with a trip throwe hym on the bake -
Who that geynstryveth schal have litel tak.
Sche is so sleighty with hir gynny snare
That sche can make a man from his welfare
With hir panter, that is with fraude englued,
Whan he lest weneth for to be remewed.
Therfor, no man have noon affyance,
In Fortune nor in hir variaunce;
Ne late no wight his ese more jupart -
List that the pleye wil afterward departe -
To turne his chaunce outher to wel or wo:
For selde in oon sche doth the gamen go,
As ye may se be example of Priamus
That of foly is so desyrous
To wirke of hede and folwe his oune wille,
To trouble, allas, the calm of his tranquille -
As in this boke hereafter schal be founde -
Hym and his cité platly to confounde
And outterly to his confusioun;
That afterward by long successioun
It schal be rad in story and in fable
And remembrid with dites delytable
To do plesaunce to hem that schal it here:
That be example thei may be war and lere
Of hasty lust or of volunté
To gynne a thing which in nounsureté
Dependeth ay, as strif, werre, and debate;
For in swiche pley unwarly cometh chekmate;
And harme ydone to late is to amende,
Whos fyn is ofte other than thei wende -
In this story as ye schal after seen.
And late Priam alwey your merour ben,
Hasty errour be tymes to correcte.
For I anoon my poyntel wil directe
After the maner of his tracis rude
Of this story the remnaunte to conclude.
[Priam summons lords from every part of the town to a
parliament at which he discloses the Greeks' rejection of
Antenor's mission. He reminds his men of the need for unity
and proposes to send a force by ship to attack Greek towns
and lay waste to their fields. Mindful of Fortune's instability,
he thinks it may now be time for her to favor the Trojans over
the Greeks who have been lifted up so high. Priam then
recesses parliament and calls for his sons to gather in council,
where he can reveal his intention to seek vengeance for the
death of their ancestors, the destruction of Old Troy, and the
outrage to Hesione. He calls first on Hector to carry out his
purpose, and Hector answers with soft, courteous speech
"Myn owne lord and my fader dere,
Benignely yif ye list to here,
After the force and the grete myght
And the somme of naturis right,
Whiche everything by kynde doth constreyne
In the boundis of hir large cheyne,
It fittyng is, as sche doth enspire,
And acordyng that every man desyre
Of wrongis don to han amendement
And to hir law right convenient;
Namly, to swiche that with nobilité
Kynd hath endewed and set in highe degré;
For to swiche gret repref is and schame
Whan any wrong be do unto her name;
For eche trespas mote consydered be,
Justly mesurid after the qualité
Of hym that is offendid and also
After the persone by whom the wrong is do;
Be it in werre, in contek, or debate.
For gretter gref is to highe estate
To suffre an harme, of cas or aventure,
Or any wrong unjustly to endure,
Or injuries compassed of malys
Is more offence by discret avys
To hem that ben famous in manhod,
Renomed, and born of gentyl blood,
Than to swiche on that holde is but a wreche.
Wherfore, we most gretly charge and reche
Only of knyghthod oure worschip for to eke,
Of wrongis don amendis for to seke,
Oure staat consydered and oure highe noblesse
And in what plyte we stonde of worthines,
Whan that bestis of resoun rude and blinde
Desire the same by instynt of kynde.
And for my part trusteth in certeyn,
Ye have no sone that wolde halfe so feyn
Upon Grekis avenged ben as I:
For here my trouth I seye yow feithfully,
For ire of hem I brenne as doth the glede;
I thurst her blood more than other mede;
For right as I eldest am of age
Among your sonys, so am I most with rage
Ifret withinne, justly of knyghthood,
With my right hond to schede the Grekys blod,
As thei schal fynd paraunter or thei wene:
Whan tyme cometh, the sothe schal be sene.
But first I rede, wysely in your mynde
To cast aforn and leve nat behynde,
Or ye begynne, discretly to adverte
And prudently consyderen in your herte
Al, only nat the gynnyng but the ende
And the myddes, what weie thei wil wende,
And to what fyn Fortune wil hem lede:
Yif ye thus don, amys ye may nat spede.
For that counseil in myn oppinioun
Is worthi litel by discrecioun
To have a pris that cast nat by and by
The course of thinges by ordre ceryously,
What weye thei trace to wo or to delite;
For though a gynnyng have his appetite,
Yet in the ende, pleynly this no fable,
Ther may thing folwe whiche is nat commendable.
For what is worthe a gynnyng fortunat,
That causeth after strif and gret debat?
Wherfor in sothe principles are to drede,
But men wel knowe what fyn schal succede;
For a gynnyng with grace is wel fortunyd,
Whan ende and myddes aliche ben contunyd.
But whan that it in wele ne may contene,
It is wel bet bytymes to abstene
Than put in doute that stant in sureté;
For whoso doth hath ofte adversité.
But humblely to your estat royal
Of hert I praye, lat nat offende at al,
That I am bolde to seie my mocioun;
For in good feith, of noon entencioun
I no thing mene yow to don offence;
But only this - that your magnificence
Procede nat of hede wilfully
Ne that no spirit you meve folyly
To gynne thing that after wil you schende,
For lak that ye se nat to the ende
Nor taken hede in youre advertence
To consydere by good providence
How Grekis han in her subjeccioun
Europ and Aufrik with many regioun
Ful large and wyde, of knyghthod most famus,
And of riches wonder plentevous,
Right renomed also of worthines.
With your support that I dar wel expresse,
Ful perlous is displese hem or disturbe;
For yif that we oure quiete now pertourbe,
Whiche stant in pes, gretly is to drede;
For though al Asye help us at our nede,
Yif it be lokid on every part aright,
Thei be nat egal unto Grekis myght;
And though also myn aunte Exioun
Ageyn al right be holde of Thelamoun,
It is nat good for hir redempcioun
To putte us alle to destruccioun.
I rede nat to bien hir half so dere;
For many of us in hap that sitten here
And other mo myghten for hir sake
Deth underfonge and an ende make;
Whiche were no wisdam, liche as semeth me.
And it may happen also how that sche
In schort tyme hir fatal cours schal fyne,
Whan Antropos the threde atwo schal twyne.
What had we wonne thanne and sche wer go
But enmyté, thought, and sorow and wo,
Slaughter of oure men, deth and confusioun!
Wherfore I rede, by dissymulacioun,
Withoute more that we oure wo endure
And nat to putte ouresilf in aventure -
This hold I best - and wirkyn as the wyse.
But douteles for no cowarddyse
I seie nat this in youre highe presence.
But for cause I hold it no prudence
To Fortune, ful of doubilnes
(Sith we be sure) to putte oure sikernes:
This al and som, th'effect of al my wille."
And with that worde Hector held hym stille.
And whan Hector by ful highe prudence
Concluded hath the fyn of his sentence,
Ful demurly he kepte his lippis cloos.
And therwithal Parys up aroos
And gan his tale thus afore the kyng.
"My lord," quod he, "so it be lykyng
To youre highnes for to taken hede,
As me semeth, we schuld litel drede
In knyghtly wyse for to undirtake
Upon Grekis a werre for to make,
Al attonys her pride to confounde;
Sith that we passyngly habounde
Of chivalrie here withinne our toun
And have plenté and pocessioun
Of eche thing that may to werre aveile,
Stuf in oursilf and ryal appareile
Of al that longeth to assautis marcial,
And with al this, more in special,
Help and socour of many regioun
With us to werke to her destruccioun,
The pompe and pride manly to abate
And of Grekis the malis for to mate;
For al that thei of herte ben so stoute,
Me semeth schortly that we dar nat doute
Nor on no part for to be dismaied.
Wherfor I rede, lat nat be delaied
Our schippes first redy for to make;
And I mysilf wil fully undirtake,
So it to you be lykyng and plesance,
Of this emprise hoolly the governaunce,
And yow assuren and putte in certeyn
Exyona to recure ageyn.
And in what forme that it schal be wrought
I have a weye founden in my thought
That likly is hereafter to be don,
Whiche unto yow I wil declare anoon.
First, I have cast with strong and myghty hond
For to ravysche som lady of that lond
Of heyghe estat, and make no tarying,
And myghttyly into Troye hir bring,
Maugre her myght, for this conclusioun:
That ye may have restitucioun
Be eschange of hir that ye desyre so.
And hereupon schal be no long ado,
I you behete, for al the Grekis strong.
And for that I schal yow nat prolonge,
I wil yow seyn excludyng every dout
How this avis schal be brought aboute:
First, how that I schal this purpos fyn
The goddis han thorugh her power devyne
Schewed unto me be revelacioun;
For theruppon I had a visioun
But late agoon, as I ley and slepe,
Unto the whiche, yif ye taken kepe,
Ye may not faile nor be in no dispeire
To han recur of hir that is so faire,
For whom ye have now so moche care.
And the maner hol I wil declare
Of this drem to your magnificence,
Yif it so be ye yeve wil credence
To my tale; for I schal nat dwelle
Ceriously in ordre for to telle
The trouthe pleyn and no fable feyn
To yow that ben my lord most sovereyn.
First, yif that ye remembryn in your mynde,
This other day whan I was last in Ynde
By your avis and commaundement
For a mater whiche in your entent
Was specialy had in cherité,
As it is kouthe atwixe you and me,
Of whiche I toke upon me the charge
In the boundis of that lond ful large,
The same tyme your desyre to spede -
Whan that Tytan with his bemys rede
From Gemmyny drof his chare of gold
Toward the Crabbe for to take his holde,
Whiche named is the paleys of Dyane,
The bente mone that wexe can and wane;
Whanne halwed is the sonnys stacioun
Nighe the myddes of the moneth of Jun -
At whiche sesoun erly on a morwe,
Whan that Phebus to voide nyghtes sorwe
Doth Pirrous hys wayn ageyn up drawe
And Aurora estward doth adawe,
And with the water of hir teris rounde
The silver dewe causeth to abounde
Upon herbis and on floures soote
For kyndely norissyng bothe of crop and rote;
Then out I roos of my bedde anoon
Ful desyrous on huntyng for to goon,
Priked in hert with lusty fresche plesance
To do to Love some due observaunce
And Lucyna that day to magnifie,
Which callid is lady of venarye;
And duely oure rytis to observe,
Cithera and hire for to serve,
I and my feris, oure hertis to releve,
Cast us fully til it drowe to eve,
In the forest to pley us and disport
And plesauntly us to recomfort,
As it longeth to love of lustines.
For thilke day to Venus the goddes
Isacrid was by ful gret excellence,
With gret honour and due reverence
Doon unto hir, bothe of on and alle;
And on a Fryday this aventure is falle,
Whan we gan hast us to the wodis grene
In hope that day som game for to sene,
With gret labour rydyng to and fro,
Til we hadde ful many buk and do
By strengthe slaw, as we myght hem fynde,
The hert ichasid with houndis and the hynde
Thorugh the downys and the dalys lowe,
Til brighte Phebus of his daies bowe
Amyd the arke was of meridyen,
Whan his bemys ful hote wern and schene,
And we most besy wern upon the chas,
Than me byfil a wonder divers cas.
For of fortune it happed sodeynly,
Whil I was severyd fro my company
Sool be mysilf among the holtis hore
To fynde game desyrous evermore,
Or I was war, thorugh thikke and thinne,
A ful gret hert I sawe afore me renne
Doun by the launde and the walys grene
That I in soth myghte nat sustene,
He was so swyft, for to nighe hym ner;
Albe that I priked my courser
Nighe to the deth thorugh many sondri schaw,
Out of my sight so fer he gan withdrawe,
For al that ever that I sewen myght,
That I anoon lost of hym the sighte
In a wode that Ida bare the name.
And I so feynt gan wexen of that game,
And myn hors on whiche I dide ryde,
Fomyng ful whit upon every syde
And his flankis al with blood disteyned -
In my pursute so sore he was constreyned
With my sporis, scharp and dyed rede -
After the hert so priked I my stede
Now up, now doun, with a ful besy thought;
But my labour availed me right nought,
Til at the last among the bowes glade
Of aventure he caught a plesaunt slade,
Ful smothe and pleyn and lusty for to sene
And soft as welwet was the yonge grene -
Wher fro myn hors I alight as faste
And on a bowe I his reyne cast,
So feynt and maat of werynes I was
That I me laide doun upon the gras,
Upon a brink, schortly for to telle,
Besyde a river and a cristal welle.
And the water, as I reherse can,
Like quiksilver in his stremys ran,
Of whiche the gravel and the brighte stoon
As any gold ageyn the sonne schon.
Wher right anon for verray werynes
A sodeyn slep gan me so oppresse
That fro tyme that I first was born
I never was aslepe so toforn;
And as I ley I hadde a wonder swevene.
For methought highe doun fro hevene
The wynged god wonderful of cher,
Mercuryus, to me dide appere,
Of whom I was first somdel aferde;
For he was girt with his crokyd swerde,
And with hym brought also in his honde
His slepy yerde, plyaunt as a wonde,
With a serpent goyng enviroun.
And at his fete also lowe adoun
Me sempte also that ther stood a cok,
Singyng his houris trewe as any clok.
And to the mouthe of this god Mercurie
Wer pipes sette that songe wonder merye,
Of whiche the soote sugred armonye
Made in myn eris swiche a melodye
That me sempte tho in myn avis
I was ravasched into paradys.
And thus this god, divers of liknes,
More wonderful than I can expresse,
Schewed hymsilf in his apparence
Liche as he is discrived in Fulgence,
In the book of his Methologies,
Wher be rehersed many poysyes
And many liknes, liche as ye may se.
And for to take the moralité,
His longe yerde, right as is a lyne,
Whiche on no syde wrongly may decline,
Signefieth the prudent governaunce
Of discret folke that thorugh her purviaunce
Cast a perel or that it befalle;
And his pipes, loude as any schalle,
That thorugh musik ben entuned trewe
Betokeneth eke, with many lusty hewe,
The sugred dites by gret excellence
Of rethorik and of eloquence,
Of whiche this god is sovereyn and patroun;
And of this cok the soote lusty soun
That justly kepeth the houris of the night
Is outerly th'avise inward sight
Of swiche as voide by waker dilligence
Oute of her court slouthe and necligence;
And his swerd, whiche croketh so ageyn,
That is nat forget nor ymade in veyn,
Is to revoke to the righte weye
Swiche as wrongly fro trouthe do forveye;
And the serpent, whiche that I of tolde,
Whiche wrinkled is, as ye may beholde,
Upon the yerde and aboute goth,
Signefieth that falshede wood and wroth
Lith in aweyt by many sleighty weye,
With his gynnes trouthe to werreye.
And this god, of elloquence kyng,
Brought with hym eke in his commyng
Cithera, whom loveres serve,
Juno, and Pallas, that callid is Minerve.
And this Venus, her legis to delite,
Aboute hir hed hadde dowes white,
With loke benigne and eyen deboneyre,
Ay flikeryng with snowy wyngys fayre,
For to declare schortly in sentence
By the dowes verray innocence
Of hem in love that but trouthe mene,
And that her grounde schulde honest be and clene,
Itokenyd is, clerly be witnes,
Without soillyng or any unclennes;
And the fairnes of the roses rede,
That in somer so lustyly do sprede
And in wynter of her colour fade,
Signyfieth the hertly thoughtis glade
Of yonge folkis that ben amerous,
Fervent in hope, and inly desyrous,
Whan love gynneth in her hertis flour
Til longe proces maketh hem to lour
With the wynter of unweldy age,
That lust is pallid and dullid with the rage
Of febilnes whan somer is agoon,
As folkys knowe, I trowe mo than on;
And therfor Venus fleteth in a se
To schewe the trowble and adversité
That is in love and his stormy lawe,
Whiche is beset with many sturdy wawe,
Now calm, now rowe, whoso taketh hede,
And hope assailled ay with sodeyn drede.
And next Venus, Pallas I behelde,
With hir spere and hir cristal schelde
And a raynbowe rounde aboute hir hed,
That of colour was grene, blew, and red;
And aforn hir, as I can discryve,
Sche growyng had a grene fresche olyve;
And theruppon with his browes fowle
In the brawnchis I sawe sitte an owle.
And first the scheld of Pallas the goddes
Signified, as I can expresse,
In vertu force, by manly highe diffence
Ageyns vices to maken resistence;
And hir spere, scharp and kene grounde,
By just rygour was forged to confounde
Hem that be false and to putte abake;
And for that mercy schal medle with the wrak,
The schaft in soth schave was ful pleyn,
List merciles that right ne wrought in veyn;
And after werre to make a ful reles
Ther was the olyve that betokneth pes;
The owle also, so odyous at al,
That songis singeth at festis funeral
Declareth pleynly the fyn of every glorie
Is only deth, who hath it in memorie;
And the raynbow grene, red, and pers
Signifieth the changis ful divers
That ofte falle in werre and bataille,
Now to wynne and sodeynly to faille,
Now stable as blew, chaunging now as grene;
For Pallas pley is alwey meynt with tene.
And alderlast, as I have in mynde,
With hir nymphes Juno cam behynde,
Whiche of custom, as Fulgense tellis,
Abide in flodis and in depe wellis.
And this Juno, as poetis seyn,
A mayden is and of frute bareyn;
And the pecok to this fresche quene
Isacrid is with his fetheris schene,
Splayed abrod as a large sail
With Argus eyen enprented in his tail.
The water rennyng in river and in flood
Is the labour that men have for good,
The grete trouble and the besynes
That day and nyght thei suffre for ryches;
That who that ever in this flodis rowe,
Lat hym be war, for ay after the flowe
Of nature, right as it is dewe,
Folwyng the mone ther mote an ebbe sewe;
The moste drede is ay uppon the fulle,
List Fortune the fresche fetheris pulle
Of riche folke that schyne in gold so schene,
Sith sche of chaunge lady is and quene.
And Argus eyen that ar sette behynde
In nygard hertis be oft sythes blynde,
Whiche nat adverte of goodis to the ende,
That liche an ebbe sodeynly wil wende,
Whyche thei no thing consydren in her sight;
For as the faire lusty fetheris bright
Of a pecok unwarly falle awey,
Right so riches schortly at a day
Wiln her maister sodeynly forsake,
Seyn adieu, and her leve take.
And as Juno bareyn is of frute,
Right so nakid, bare, and destitute
Ar thes gredy hertis covetous,
Whiche to gadre ben so desyrous
That in nothing can have sufficiaunce;
The fret of drede hem putte in swiche meschaunce,
Ymagenyng that the world wil faille;
And in her fere ageyn the wynd thei saille
Til attonys thei mote go ther fro.
And thus of good ay the fyn is wo,
Namly of hem that so pynche and spare:
For this no drede, as clerkis can declare,
The frute of good is to spende large;
And who is manful, set but litel charge
To parte frely his tresour in comoune,
Whan he discretly seth tyme oportune.
He hath no joye to put his good in mwe;
For an hert that fredam list to sewe
Of gentilnes taketh noon hed therto.
And in this wyse, Pallas and Juno
With fresche Venus ben adoun descended,
Liche as I have schortly comprehended,
Under the guying of Mercurius,
Whiche unto me gan his tale thus.
"Parys," quod he, "lifte up thin eye and se!
Loo, this goddesses here in noumbre thre,
Whiche fro hevene with her eyen clere
So diversly unto the appere,
Wern at a fest, as I the tellyn schal,
With alle the goddis above celestial
That Jubiter held at his owne borde.
Was non absent only save Discord;
And for dispit sche was not ther present,
To be avenged sche sette al hir entent
And in hir wittes many weyes sought,
Til at the last evene thus sche wrought,
Of poetis liche as it is tolde:
Sche toke an appil rounde of purid gold
With Greke lettris graven up and doun
Whiche seide thus, in conclusioun,
Withoute strife that it were yove anon
To the fairest of hem everychon.
And of Discord this lady and goddes,
As sche that is of debat maistres,
Hath this appil, passyng of delit,
Brought to this fest, of malis and despit,
And cast it doun among hem at the bord
With deyvious chere, spekyng not a word;
But on hir weye faste gan hir hiye.
And sodeynly so privé gret envie
Into the court this appil hath in brought,
So gret a werre and swiche a contek wrought
In the hertis of this ilke thre
That after long may not staunched be;
Among hemsilf so thei gan disdeyn
Whiche in bewté was most sovereyn
And whiche of hem hath best title of right
For to conquere this bornyd appil bright.
And first thei gan thus for bewté strive,
That for rancour her hertis almost ryve
To wit of right who schuld it first possede -
Loo, yit envye regneth in womanhede,
That on is fayrer than another holde;
For eche woman of hir kynde wolde
Have on som part pris above another;
In eche estat, in soth it is noon other.
And eche of hem in her owne avis
Hath joye in bewté for to han a pris;
For non so foule doth in a myrour prye
That sche is feir in hir owne eye.
But liche a fool he hymsilf doth quite
That awmber yelwe cheseth for the white.
A gowndy eye is deceyved sone,
That any colour cheseth by the mone;
For som colour is with fir made fyn,
And som encresid with spicis and with wyn,
With onymentis and confeccions;
And on nyght by false illusiouns
Somme appere wonder fresche and faire,
That loke dirke a daylight in the eyre.
Ther is no pref but erly by the morwe
Of swiche as nede no bewté for to borwe
But as Nature hath hirsilf disposed.
Therfore fastyng, or boystis ben unclosyd,
Make thi choyse, liche as bit Ovide,
Whan every drogge and pot is set asyde,
List that thou be, after his sentence,
Deceyvid lightly by fals apparence;
For nowadayes swiche craft is ful rife.
And in this wyse thus began the stryf
Betwixe Juno, Venus, and Pallas
That be descendid for this sodeyn caas,
By on assent, towching her bewté,
The dom therof comitted unto the.
I speke to the, that callid art Parys,
And holdyn art right prudent and right wys;
Be avysed how thi dom schal fyne;
For thei ne may to nor fro declyne
But obeie, alle, by oon assent
Withoute strif to thi jugement.
But herke, frist, or that thou procede,
Of eche of hem what schal be thi mede;
Considere aright, and take good hede therto:
Yif thou the appil graunte unto Juno,
Sche schal the yef plenté of riches,
Highe renoun, of fame eke worthines,
With habundaunce of gold and of tresour,
And do the reise to so highe honour
That thou allone alle other schalt excelle
For thi guerdoun, liche as I the telle.
And yif to Pallas, goddesse of prudence,
The liste the fyn conclude of thi sentence
That sche may lady of the appil be,
For thi mede sche schal assure the
That of witte and of sapience
Thou schalt hooly han the excellence,
And of wisdam and discrecioun,
To discerne by clernes of resoun;
Also fer as Phebus cast his light,
Ther schal nat be a more prudent knyght,
Nor in this world, sith that it began,
Of just report a manlier man,
Nor to thi name noon equipolente.
And yif to Venus of trew and clene entent
The list to graunt in conclusioun
Of the appil to have pocessioun,
The fresche goddes that sit so highe above
Schal the ensure to have unto thi love
The fairest lady that is or was tofore
Or in this world ever schal be bore;
And in Grece thou schalt hir knyghtly wynne.
Now be avised or that thou begynne
Justly to deme and for nothing spare."
And I anoon gan loken up and stare,
Gretly astoned what me was best to do,
Til at the last I spake Mercurye to,
And seide, certeyn, that I ne wolde there
Yeven no dom but thei naked were,
So that I myght have fully liberté
Everyche of hem avisely to se
And consyderen every circumstaunce
Who fairest wer unto my plesaunce
And goodliest, to speke of womonhede,
And after that to my doom procede.
And thei anoon, as ye have herde me seie,
To my desyre mekely gan obeie
In al hast to don her besy cure
Hem to dispoille of clothing and vesture,
Liche as the statut of my dom hem bonde:
In a poynt, thei nolde it not withstonde
That I myght have ful inspeccioun
Of forme and schap and eche proporcioun,
For to discerne, as I can remembre,
Avisely by ordre every membre
And thanne at erst to jugen after right.
But whanne that I of eche had a sight,
I yaf to Venus the appil right anoon,
Because sche was fairest of echon
And most excellyng, sothly, in bewté,
Most womanly and goodly on to se,
As I dempte pleynly in my sight.
For the stremys of hir eyen bright
Iliche glade and egal evene of light
Wern to that sterre that schewith toward nyght,
Whiche callid is Esperus so schene,
Venus hirsilf, the fresche lusty quene.
The whiche anon, this hevenly emperesse,
After my doom, of hertly highe gladnesse,
That of the appil sche hooly hath the glorie
And wonyn hit justly by victorie
Rejoysched hir more than I can telle,
That sche hir feris in bewté dide excelle.
And sche in hast, of trewe affeccioun,
Concluded hath fully for my guerdoun,
Ful demurly, lowe and nat alofte,
To Mercurye with sobre wordis softe,
Devoide bothe of doubilnes and slouthe,
Liche hir behest holde wil hir trouth.
And sodeynly without more injurye
Thei disapered, and the god Mercurie
Streght to hevene the righte weye toke;
And I anon out of my slepe awoke.
Wherof, my lord, whom I most love and drede,
Yif ye adverte and wysly taken hede
That this behest, affermyd in certeyn,
Was unto me assured nat in veyn
Of goodly Venus, liche as I have tolde,
Wherfore, I rede ye ben of herte bolde
Me for to sende with strong and myghty hond
Withoute abood into Grekis lond
After the forme that I have yow seyde.
And, I hope, ye schal be wel apayde,
Whan I have sped, as Venus hath behight,
And hom retourned with my lady bright:
So schal ye best, me list nat speke in veyn,
Beschaunge of hir your suster wynne ageyn,
Whom Thelamoun withholden hath so yore.
Lo, this is al; I can seye you no more
Towching th'effect hooly of myn avis."
[After Paris recounts his dream, Deiphebus speaks in favor
of sending him to capture a prisoner to exchange for Hesione,
but Helenus, who has the power of prophecy, warns that Troy
will be destroyed if Paris is sent. Troilus then speaks in favor
of the expedition, urging the Trojans not to rest idly nor to
presume to know God's hidden intents. The parliament
recesses, and when it resumes the next day the mission is
confirmed, despite further warnings by Pentheus and
Cassandra. In May, Paris sets out with 3,000 knights and 22 ships. Along
the way he happens across Menelaus who is sailing to visit
Nestor, but the two proudly sail past each other, neither
deigning to greet the other. Paris arrives at the harbor of
Cythera, an island sacred to Venus (lines 2810-3434).]
Now in this ile of passyng excellence
Ther was a temple of gret reverence
That bilded was of olde fundacioun
And most honoured in that regioun
Thorughoute the lond bothe fer and ner -
The feste day ay from yer to yer,
Liche as it fil by revolucioun,
Repeyryng theder of gret devocioun,
In honour only of Venus the goddes,
Whom the Grekis with al her besynes
Honoured most of every maner age
With giftes bringyng and with pilgrimage,
With gret offeryng and with sacrifyse,
As usid was in her paynym wyse.
For in this phane, as thei knele and wake
With contrit hert and her prayer make,
The statue yaf of every questyoun
Pleyn answer and ful solucioun,
With cerymonyes to Venus as thei loute;
Of everything that thei hadde doute
Thei hadde ful declaracioun.
And thus the Grekis upon Cytheroun
Halwyn this fest with riche and gret array,
With rytis due, as ferforthe as thei may,
In hope fully the better for to thrive.
And of fortune, whan he dide aryve
Upon the lond by aventure or cas,
The same tyme this feste halwed was
Of many Greke commyng to and fro
From every cost that to the temple go
On pilgrimage her vowes to acquyte,
Of the place the reliques to vesyte.
And whan Paris dide this espie,
He gadred out of his companye
The worthiest that he chesen may;
And to the temple he taketh the right waye
Ful wel beseyn and in knyghtly wyse,
And dide his honour and his sacrifyse
Ful humblely to the Grekis liche;
With many nowche and many jouwel riche,
With gold and silver, stonys and perré
He spendeth ther, liche to his degré,
And quit hym manly in his oblaciouns;
And devoutly in his orisouns
He hym demeneth, that joye was to se.
Now was Parys of passyng gret bewté
Amonges alle that ever werne alyve:
For ther was non that myght with hym strive,
Troyan nor Greke, to speke of semlyhede,
Wonder fresche and lusty, as I rede,
And in his port ful lik a gentil knyght.
Of whos persone for to han a sight
Thei gan to prese bothe nyghe and fere,
So ryally he had hym in his gere,
And coveyte of highe estat and lowe
What he was gretly for to knowe;
And of his men thei aske besely
Fro when he cam and the cause why
Of his comyng, enqueryng on by on.
But prudently thei kepte hem everychon,
That nothing was openly espyed
In her answere; so thei han hem guyed
That everything kepid was secré;
Everyche of hem was so avisee;
Albe that somme oppenly declare
What that he was and ne list not spare
But tolde pleynly the cause of his commyng
And how Priam, the stronge myghty kyng,
His fader was, most royal of renoun,
And how he cam also for Exyoun.
Thus eche of hem gan with other rowne
At pryme face whan he cam to towne,
And therupon wer ymagynatyf,
Sore musyng and inquisytif,
Eche with other be suspecioun
Demyng therof liche her oppinioun,
And rathest thei that nothing ne knewe,
As folkis don of thinges that be newe.
And whiles thei of this mater trete
In sondry wyse amonge her wordes grete,
The fame of hem gan anoon atteyne
To the eris of the Quene Eleyne,
Nighe besyde in that regioun.
And whan sche herd be relacioun
And by report of hem that cam bytwene,
This faire Eleyne, this fresche, lusty quene,
Anon as sche the sothe undirstood
Withoute tarying or any more abood
Sche hasteth hir to this solempnité,
The fresche folke of Frigye for to se -
Wel mor, God wot, in hir entencioun
To se Parys than for devocioun.
Under colour of holy pylgrymage
To the temple sche taketh hir viage
With gret meyné and ryal apparaille,
Parys to sen for sche wil nat faille.
But, O allas, what lusty newe fyre
Hath hir hert enflawmyd be desyre
To go to vigiles outher to spectaclis!
Noon holynes to heryn of myraclis
Hath mevid hir, that ther schal befalle;
But as the maner is of women alle
To drawe thedir, platly to conclude,
Where as thei be sure that multitude
Gadrid is at liberté to se,
Wher thei may finde opportunyté
To her desyre, ful narwe thei awaite,
Now covertly her eyne for to baite
In place wher as set is her plesaunce,
Now prively to have her daliaunce
Be som sygne or castyng of an eye
Or toknes schewyng in herte what thei drye,
With touche of hondis stole among the pres,
With arm or foot to cache up in her les
Whom that hem list, albe he fre or bonde,
Of nature thei can hym holde on honde -
Ageyn whos sleight availeth wit nor myght:
For what hem list, be it wrong or right,
Thei ay acheve, who seyth ye or nay,
Ageyn whos lust diffende him no man may.
Thus Guydo ay of cursid fals delit
To speke hem harme hath kaught an appetit
Thorughoute his boke of wommen to seyn ille,
That to translate it is ageyn my wille.
He hath ay joye her honour to transverse;
I am sory that I mote reherse
The felle wordis in his boke yfounde.
To alle women I am so moche bounde:
Thei ben echon so goodly and so kynde,
I dar of hem nat seyen that I fynde
Of Guydo write thorughout Troye Book;
For whan I radde it, for fer myn herte quoke;
And verrailly my wittis gonne faille,
Whan I therof made rehersaille.
Liche his decert lat Guydo now be quit;
For ye schal here anon how that he chit
The Quene Eleyne, for cause that sche went
With devoute hert hir offring to present
To the temple of Venus the goddes;
Thus, word by word, he seith to hir expres:
"O mortal harme that most is for to drede!
A, fraude ycast be sleight of wommanhede!
Of every wo gynnyng, crop, and rote,
Ageynes whiche helpe may no bote.
Whan lust hath dryve in her hert a nail,
Ay dedly venym sueth at the tail,
Whiche no man hath power to restreyne;
Recorde I take of the Quene Eleyne
That hoote brent, allas, in hir desires
Of newe lust to dele with straungeris
Whom sche knewe nat ne never saw aforn,
Wherthorugh, allas, ful many man was lorn,
Of cruel deth embracid in the cheyne
Withoute pité. Now, sey, thou Quene Eleyne,
What gost or spirit, allas, hath mevid the
Sool fro thi lord in swiche ryalté
Oute of thin house to gon among the pres?
Whi were thou wery to live at home in pes
And wentist out straungeris for to se,
Takyng noon hed unto thin honesté?
Thou schust a kepte thi closet secrely
And not have passed out so folily
In the abscence of thi lorde, allas!
Thou wer to wilful and rakil in this cas
To sen aforn what schuld after swe;
For al to sone thou wer drawe out of mwe,
That koudist nat kepe at home thi boundis.
Thou wentist out as hare among houndis
For to be caught of verray wilfulnes,
And thi desyre koudist not compesse;
For thou thi lust list nat to refreyne.
O many woman hath kaught in a treyne
Her goyng oute swiche halwes for to seke;
It sit hem bet hemsilven for to kepe
Clos in her chaumbre and fleen occasioun:
For never schip schulde in pereil drown,
Nor skatre on rok, nor be with tempest rent,
Nor with Karibdis devourid nor yschent,
Nor gon to wrak with no wedris ille,
Yif it wer kepte in the havene stille.
For who wil not occasiouns eschewe
Nor dredith not pereil for to swe,
He most among of necessité,
Or he be war, endure adversité;
And who can nat hir fot fro trappis spare,
Lat hir be war or sche falle in the snare:
For harme ydon to late is to compleine.
For yif whilom the worthi Quene Eleyne
Hirsilven had kepte at home in clos,
Of hir ther nadde ben so wikke a loos
Reported yit, grene, fresche, and newe;
Whos chaunce unhappi eche man oughte rewe,
That cause was of swiche destruccioun
Of many worthi and confusioun
Of hir husbonde and many other mo
On Grekis syde and on Troye also,
In this story as ye schal after rede."
And so this quene, as fast as sche may spede,
To the temple hath the weye nome
Ful rially; and whan that sche was come
Ful devoutly withinne Cytheroun,
Made unto Venus hir oblacioun
In presence and sight of many on,
With many jowel and many riche stoon.
And whan Parys hadde this espied,
To the temple anon he hath hym hyed
Ful thriftely in al the hast he myght;
And whan that he hadde first a sight
Of the goodly, faire, fresche quene,
Cupidis dart, that is whet so kene,
Or he was war, hathe hym markid so
That for astonyed he nist what to do,
So he merveileth hir gret semlynes,
Hir womanhed, hir port, and hir fairnes:
For never aforne wende he that Nature
Koude have made so faire a creature;
So aungillyk sche was of hir bewté,
So femynyn, so goodly on to se
That he dempte, as by liklynes,
For hir bewté to be som goddes.
For his hert dide hym ay assure
That sche was no mortal creature;
So hevenly faire and so celestial
He thought sche was in party and in al
And considereth ful avisely
Hir feturis in ordre by and by
Ententifly withinne in his resoun,
Everything by good inspeccioun:
Hir golden her lik the schene stremys
Of fresche Phebus with his brighte bemys,
The goodlyhed of hir fresche face,
So replevished of bewté and of grace,
Evene ennwed with quiknes of colour
Of the rose and the lyllie flour,
So egaly that nouther was to wyte
Thorugh noon excesse of moche nor to lite.
Withinne the cerclyng of hir eyen bryght
Was paradys compassid in hir sight,
That thorugh a brest the bewté wolde perce.
And certeynly, yif I schal reherse
Hir schap, hir forme, and feturis by and by,
As Guydo doth by ordre ceryously,
From hed to foot, clerly to devise,
I han non Englysche that therto may suffyse;
It wil nat be - oure tonge is not lyke.
I want flouris also of rethorik
To sue his florischyng or his gey peynture,
For to discrive so fayre a creature;
For my colours ben to feble and feynt,
That nouther can ennwe wel nor peint;
Eke I am nat aqueintid with no mwse
Of alle nyne: therfore I me excuse
To you echon, nat al of necligence
But for defaut only of eloquence,
And you remitte to Guydo for to se
How he discriveth bi ordre hir bewté;
To take on me it were presumpcioun.
But I wil telle how Parys up and doun
Goth in the temple, and his eye cast
Toward Eleyne, and gan presen fast,
As he that brent hote in Lovys fyre,
That was enflawmed gretly be desyre.
And oft he chaungeth countenaunce and chere,
And ever he neieth to hir ner and nere,
Idarted thorugh with hir eyen tweyne.
And ageynward the fresche Quene Eleyne
As hote brent in herte pryvely,
Albe no man it outward koude espie;
For sche thought sche had never aforn
Of alle men that ever yet wer born
Sey non so fair nor like to hir plesance;
On hym to loke was hir sufficiaunce.
For in the temple sche toke hede of right nought
But to compasse and castyn in hir thought
How sche may cachen opportunyté
With hym to speke at good liberté:
This holly was al hir besynes.
For hym sche felt so inly gret distres
That ofte sche chaungeth countenaunce and hewe.
And Venus hath marked hem of newe
With hir brondes fired by fervence
And inflawmed be sodeyn influence,
That egaly thei wer brought in a rage.
And save the eyen atwen was no message:
Eche on other so fixe hath cast his sight
That thei conseive and wisten anon right
Withinne hemsilfe wat her herte ment.
And nere to hir ever Parys went
To seke fully and gete occasioun
That thei myght by ful relacioun
Her hertis conceit declare secrely.
And so bifel that Paris neigheth nyghe
To the place wher the Quene Eleyne
Stood in her se, and ther atwen hem tweyne
Thei broken out the somme of al her hert
And yaf issu to her inward smerte.
But this was don, list thei werne espied,
Whan the peple was most occupied
In the temple for to stare and gase,
Now her, now ther, as it wer a mase.
Thei kepte hem clos, that no worde asterte;
Ther was no man the tresoun myght adverte
Of hem tweyn ne what thei wolde mene;
But at the last, Paris and this quene
Concluded han with schort avisement
Fully the fyn of her bothe entent
And sette a purpos atwix hem in certeyn
Whan thei cast for to mete ageyn.
But list men had to hem suspecioun,
Thei made an ende withoute more sermoun
And depart, albe that thei wer lothe.
And sobirly anoon this Paris goth
Out of the temple, his hert in every part
Wounded thorughout with Lovys fyré dart;
To his schippis he halt the righte way.
[Paris gathers his men, and that night they rob the temple
sanctuary of its jewels, killing all who oppose them and
carrying off many Greeks as slaves. Paris goes to Helen, who
accompanies him to his ship without a struggle. He then
returns to plundering the island and sails back to Troy. Priam
prepares a feast in honor of Paris's return. Helen meanwhile
grows distraught as she realizes how isolated she is from her
family and homeland. Paris comforts her and proposes to
marry her. Helen accepts the fate the gods have prepared for
her. Paris ceremoniously leads Helen into Troy, guiding her
horse by the reins. The next day they are married in Pallas's
temple. At the marriage feast, Cassandra foretells the
destruction of Troy and names Helen as the cause. To end
Cassandra's disruption, Priam casts her in prison. While the
Trojans enjoy their good fortune, Menelaus hears word of the
sack of the island, the slaughter of its defenders, and the
abduction of his wife. Nestor sends for Agamemnon,
Menelaus's brother, to comfort him (lines 3750-4336).]
"O brother myn, what wo, what hevynes,
What dedly sorwe thus inly may oppres
Your knyghtly hert or trouble youre manhede,
More furiously ywis than it is nede;
For though that right requered outerly
Yow for to sorwe and had cause why,
Yet, me semeth, by juste providence
Ye schulde lightly dissymble youre offence:
Sith eche wiseman in his adversité
Schulde feyne cher and kepen in secré
The inward wo that bynt hym in distresse,
Be manly force rathest ther compesse
The sperit of ire and malencolie,
Where the peple it sonest myght espie.
It is a doctrine of hem that be prudent
That, whan a man with furie is torent,
To feyne chere til tyme he se leyser
That of vengaunce he kyndle may the fer;
For sorwe outeschewid, yif I shal nat feine,
Whoso take hede, it doth thinges tweyne:
It causeth frendis for to sighe sore,
And his enymyes to rejoische more.
Thi frende in hert is sory of nature;
Thin enemy glad of thi mysaventure.
Wherfore in hert, whan wo doth most abounde,
Feyne gladnes thin enmy to confounde
And schewe in cher as thou roughtist nought
Of thing that is most grevous in thi thought.
And wher thou hast most mater to compleyne,
Make ther good face and glad in port the feine;
For into teris, though thou al distille
And rende thisilfe, as thou woldest the spille,
It helpith nat to aleggen thi grevaunce:
For nouther honour nor pursut of vengaunce
With sorwe makyng mow ben execut -
Though it last ay, ther cometh thereof no frut.
Men seyn how he that can dissymble a wrong,
How he is slighe and of herte stronge;
And who can ben peisible in his smerte,
It is a tokene he hath a manly herte
Nat to wepen as wommen in her rage,
Whiche is contrarie to an highe corage.
With word and wepyng for to venge oure peyne
Be no menys to worschip to attayne;
Lat us with swerde and nat with wordis fight;
Oure tonge apese, be manhod preve oure myght:
Word is but wynde, and water that we wepe;
And though the tempest and the flodis depe
Of this two encresen everemo,
Thei may nat do but augmente oure wo;
And to oure foon, therof whan thei here
Bothe of oure dool and of oure hevy chere,
Al is to hem but encres of joye.
Wherfore, brothir, a while dothe acoye
The cruel torment that byndeth yow so sore;
For in proverbe it hath ben said ful yore
That the prowes of a manly knyght
Is preved most in meschef, and his myght:
To ben assured in adversité,
Strongly sustene what wo that it be,
Nat cowardly his corage to submitte
In every pereil, nor his honour flitte
Thorugh no dispeire, but hopen alwey wel
And have a trust, trewe as any stel,
T'acheven ay what he take on honde.
For finally I do you undirstonde
That of hymsilfe who hath good fantasie
To sette upon and putte in jupartie
What that befalle (hap what happe may),
Takyng what chaunce wil turnen on his play,
The fyn of whiche gladly is victorie,
Thei feile selde of the palme of glorie.
And tyme is now, to speke in wordis fewe,
O brothir myn, manhod for to schewe,
To pluk up herte and you to make strong;
And to venge your damages and youre wronge,
We schal echon help and leye to honde -
Kynges, dukes, and lordis of this londe -
And attonys done oure besynes,
I you behete, your harmys to redresse.
And in dispit of whom that evere us lette,
We schal us loge and oure tentis sette
Evene in the felde afore Troye toun
And leyne a sege to her distruccioun,
Albe herof I sette as now no day.
But, brothir, first, in al the haste we may,
Lete make lettris, withoute more sermoun,
To alle the lordis of this regioun,
Of this mater touching youre villenye,
To come togidre and schape remedie -
This is th'effect of al that I can seyn."
[Menelaus follows Agamemnon's advice and dispatches
letters to his kinsmen and allies. Achilles, Patroclus, Diomede,
and others come to his aid. In open parliament they agree to
be governed by Agamemnon. In the meantime, Helen's
brothers, Castor and Pollux, take it upon themselves to avenge
her abduction and set forth for Troy. A storm destroys their
ship at sea and all hands drown, except the two brothers; one
was sent to heaven and the other to hell, though some poets
make up the story that they were made into stars. Dares the
Phrygian, who passed between the camps during times of
truce, wrote descriptions of all the principal characters; he
says the following about Criseyde (lines 4428-4676).]
And overmore, to tellen of Cryseyde
Mi penne stumbleth, for longe or he deyde
My maister Chaucer dide his dilligence
To discryve the gret excellence
Of hir bewté, and that so maisterly,
To take on me it were but highe foly
In any wyse to adde more therto;
For wel I wot, anoon as I have do,
That I in soth no thanke disserve may
Because that he in writyng was so gay -
And but I write, I mote the trouthe leve
Of Troye Boke, and my mater breve,
And overpasse and nat go by and by,
As Guydo doth in ordre ceryously.
And thus I most don offencioun
Thorughe necligence or presumpcioun:
So am I sette evene amyddes tweyne!
Gret cause have I and mater to compleyne
On Antropos and upon hir envie
That brak the threde and made for to dye
Noble Galfride, poete of Breteyne,
Amonge oure Englisch that made first to reyne
The gold dewedropis of rethorik so fyne,
Oure rude langage only t'enlwmyne.
To God I pray that He his soule have,
After whos help of nede I moste crave
And seke his boke that is left behynde
Som goodly worde therin for to fynde
To sette amonge the crokid lynys rude
Whiche I do write; as by similitude
The ruby stant, so royal of renoun,
Withinne a ryng of copur or latoun,
So stant the makyng of hym, douteles,
Among oure bokis of Englische pereles:
Thei arn ethe to knowe, thei ben so excellent;
Ther is no makyng to his equipolent;
We do but halt, whoso taketh hede,
That medle of makyng, withouten any drede.
Whan we wolde his stile counterfet,
We may al day oure colour grynde and bete,
Tempere oure azour and vermyloun:
But al I holde but presumpcioun -
It folweth nat; therfore I lette be.
And first of al I wil excuse me
And procede as I have begonne
And thorugh his favour certeyn, yif I konne,
Of Troye Boke for to make an ende;
And ther I lefte ageyn I wil now wende
Unto Cryseyde; and though to my socour
Of rethorik that I have no flour
Nor hewes riche, stonys nor perré -
For I am bare of alle coriousté
Thorugh crafty speche to enbroude with her sleve -
Yet for al that, now I wil not leve
But ben as bolde as Baiard is, the blynde,
That cast no peril what wey that he fynde;
Right so wil I stumble forthe on hede
For unkonnyng and take no better hede,
So as I can, hir bewté to discrive.
That was in soth of alle tho on lyve
On the fayrest, this Calchas doughter dere;
Therto of schap, of face, and of chere,
Ther myghte be no fairer creature
To highe nor to lowe, but mene of stature -
Hir sonnysche her, liche Phebus in his spere,
Bounde in a tresse, brighter thanne golde were,
Doun at hir bak, lowe doun behynde,
Whiche with a threde of golde sche wolde bynde
Ful ofte sythe of acustummaunce;
Therto sche hadde so moche suffisaunce
Of Kyndes wirke withouten any were,
And save hir browes joyneden yfere,
No man koude in hir a lake espien.
And, ferthermore, to speken of hir eyen,
Thei wer so persyng, hevenly, and so clere,
That an herte ne myght hymsilfe stere
Ageyn hir schynyng, that thei nolde wounde
Thorughout a brest, God wot, and biyonde.
Also sche was, for al hir semlynes,
Ful symple and meke and ful of sobirnes,
The best norissched eke that myghte be,
Goodly of speche, fulfilde of pité,
Facundious, and therto right tretable,
And, as seith Guydo, in love variable -
Of tendre herte and unstedfastnes
He hir accuseth, and newfongilnes.
[Dares tells how the King of Persia, a tall, fat, red-headed
man with warts on his face, came to aid the Greeks; and then
he turns to the Trojans, describing Priam and Hector before
coming to Troilus (lines 4763-4860).]
But Troylus schortly yif I schal discryve,
Ther was of hert non manlier on lyve
Nor more likly in armys to endure:
Wel woxe of heighte and of good stature,
Yong, fresche, and lusty, hardy as a lyoun,
Delivere and strong as any champioun,
And perigal of manhod and of dede
He was to any that I can of rede
In doring do, this noble worthi knyght,
For to fulfille that longeth to a knyght.
The secunde Ector for his worthines
He callid was and for his highe prowes
Duryng the werre, he bare hym ay so wel;
Therto in love as trewe as any stele,
Secré and wys, stedefast of corage,
The moste goodly also of visage
That myghte be, and benigne of cher,
Withoute chaunge, and of on hert entere.
He was alwey feithful, just, and stable,
Perseveraunt, and of wil inmutable
Upon what thing he onys set his herte,
That doubilnes myght hym nat perverte;
In his dedis he was so hool and pleyn;
But on his foon, the sothe for to seyn,
He was so fers thei myght him nat withstonde
Whan that he hilde his bloodly swerde on hond:
Unto Grekis deth and confusioun,
To hem of Troye help and proteccioun.
And his knyghthod schortly to acounte,
Ther myght in manhod no man him surmounte
Thorugh the worlde, though men wolde seke
To reknen al, Troyan nouther Greke,
Noon so namyd of famus hardynes,
As bokis olde of hym bere witnes;
Excepte Ector, ther was nat swiche another.
[Dares continues his portraits with descriptions of Paris,
Aeneas, Antenor, and other warriors and with descriptions of
the Trojan women - Hecuba (man-like in appearance but the
true example of femininity), Andromache, Cassandra, and
Polyxena. These are all he described at this point, and I shall
hurry on to the story of the war. In February, the Greeks
assemble their ships at Athens. My author, Guido, gives a
catalogue of which heroes came and how many ships they
brought with them. Agamemnon calls a council and advises
that Apollo be consulted at Delos. The Greeks send Achilles
and Pirithous, and an explanation of the origin and history of
idolatry is offered. Apollo tells Achilles that after ten years the
Greeks shall conquer Troy and slay Priam's family. At that
moment, Calchas, sent by Priam to consult the god, also
appears, and he is advised not to go back to Troy but to join
the Greeks. Returning to Athens, Achilles conveys the god's
prophecy, and the Greeks accept Calchas. At the feast that
Priam holds the next day, Calchas advises the Greeks to strike
immediately. They set out in fair weather, but a storm soon
strikes and Calchas uses his powers to assuage it. He explains
that Diana must be appeased; she is angry at their setting out
without first sacrificing to her. Putting in at Aulus,
Agamemnon prepares to sacrifice his daughter, Iphigenia, in
the temple, but Diana sets a hart in her place. The Greeks
reach the boundaries of Troy and destroy the castle Sarobona,
before landing at Tenedos, six miles from Troy. The Greeks
lay siege to Tenedos and conquer it by force of their numbers.
Agamemnon convokes the lords and kings to distribute the
plunder according to their merits, and he addresses them as a
body (lines 4896-6516)
"Sirs," quod he, "ful worthi of degré,
Of verray right and necessité
We be compelled, bothe highe and lowe,
With al oure myght, liche as ye wel knowe,
To redresse a thing that is amys:
For thorugh the world, as it reportid is,
We ben of force, of power, and of myght,
Of worthines in every wighttes syght
Most renomed and most worschipable,
And idempte and juged for most able
Of alle peples, and likliest to stonde
For to parforme what we take on honde,
Who that evere gruccheth or seyth nay.
Yit me semeth, yif it be to your pay,
Thilke power most is acceptable
Unto goddis and lengest stondeth stable
That is devoide of surquidie and pride;
For it is kouthe uppon every syde,
In eche lond, bothe of oon and alle,
How many harmys and grevis han befalle
Thorugh rancour only, pride and wilfulnes,
So importable, as I coude expresse,
That thorugh pride is ther don offence;
The highe goddis make resistence
To alle tho that be surquedous,
Whiche is a vice so contrarius
That it may in no place abide.
And in good feith, manhood is no pride:
For who that hath any acqueintaunce
Outher by frenschip or by alyaunce
With a prowde man, to be confederat
With hym in herte, of highe or lowe estat,
He nedis muste, whatever that he be,
To many other of necessité
Be lothsom first, enmy, and contraire;
For nothing may a man so moche apaire
As pride, in soth, in highe or lowe degré.
Wherfore, I rede pleinly how that we
This foule vice oute of our hert arrace,
That our quarel may have the more grace;
And specially that oure dedis alle
Conveied ben, however that it falle,
Be rightwesnesse more than volunté:
For yif trouthe oure sothfast guyde be,
Us to directe by his rightful lyne,
Than oure quarel schal ay in honour schine
And contune eke in ful felicité.
And ferthermore, this knowen alle ye,
How we ar come for to do vengaunce
With oure frendschip and oure alliance
Upon Priam for wrongis don of olde
By hym and hyse, as I have ofte tolde;
And hereupon we han his grounde itake,
And some of his maked to awake
With manful honde, and his castellis strong
Ibete doun, that stonden have so longe,
And take there the riches that we founde,
And slawe his men with many blody wounde,
And harmys mo don in his contré
That I wot wel, yif her enmyté
Was unto us gret and moche afore,
I dar seie now it is in double more;
That yif that thei avenged myghte be
On us echon, anon ye schulde se
Her gret ire, so cruel and so huge,
Ben execute withoute more refuge.
And yit, in soth, I wote thei han espied
Oure beyng here; though we be nat askried
Of hem as yit, I dar seyn outterly
Thei are wel war that we ar faste by;
And overmore, this wote I wel also,
Of the harmys that we han hem do,
The whiche as yit ben but fresche and grene,
Yif thei wer strong and myghti to sustene,
A werre on us anon thei wolde gynne.
And yit the cité whiche thei ben inne
Is wallid strong and tourid rounde aboute,
That thei wene fully, oute of doute,
With the meyné that thei have gadrid inne
Of her alies, that we schal nat wynne
Of hem but smal in werre nor in strif:
For he in sothe hath a prerogatyf
And avauntage, that in his contré
Hymsilfe diffendith; namly, yif that he
Be stuffid strong of frendis hym beside
And of allies, where he doth abyde;
Like as the raven with his fetheres blake
Withinne his nest wil ofte tyme make
Ageyn the faukon - gentil of nature -
Ful harde diffence whiles he may dure,
Or that he be venquissched and outtraied.
And yit som while the faukon is delaied,
Whils the raven besyde his nest doth fle
Withinne his covert at his liberté;
As every foule is froward to arest
For to be daunted in his owne nest.
And yit this wordis to you I nat sey
In any wyse to putten in affray
Youre knyghtly hertis, so manly and so stable,
Nor that to you it schulde be doutable,
But the Troiens that we schal confounde
And her cité, in whiche thei habounde,
Pleinly distroie, although that it be strong,
And thei and alle that ben hem among
Schal finally consumpte be with deth,
Thorugh Grekis swerde yelden up the breth.
But the cause, withouten any drede,
Why I seye thus is that ye take hede
For any pride or presumpcioun
To adverte in youre discrecioun
So prudently that resoun in this nede
For any hast may oure bridel lede
And so ordeyn, or we hennes wende,
That laude and pris aftir in the ende
May be reported, as I have devised:
For many man that hath nat ben avised
In his pursut, for lak of providence
To sen toforn in his advertence
What schulde falle, to deth it hath him broght:
Swiche wilful hast wer good to be thoght
Of us aforn be examynacioun
And wel decut by revolucioun
Of thingkyng ofte, that we nat repente.
And first remembrith how that Priam sente
To us but late only for Exyoun,
That is yit holde of Kyng Thelamoun,
Whiche was of us withoute avisement
Undiscretly denyed by assent;
Whiche hath to us be non avauntage
But grounde and rote of ful gret damage.
For yif that we thorugh wys purviaunce
Of hir had maked delyveraunce,
The harmys grete hadde ben eschewed,
That aftir wern of Parys so pursewed
In the temple of Cytherea,
That bilded is beside Cirrea.
The tresour gret also that he hadde,
And jowellis that he with hym ladde
Thene to Troie, and the gret riches,
The slaughtre of men, and the hevynes
That yit is made for the Quene Eleyne
Thorughoute Grece, and the grete peyne
Of Menelay - al had ben unwrought,
Yif we hadde seyn this in oure thought
Wisely aforn and Exyoun restored.
Than had nat the harmys be so morid
On us echon in verray sothfastnes,
Nor spent oure labour so in ydelnes,
Tresour nor good wasted so in veyn,
Nor come so fer for to fecche ageyn
The Quene Eleyne with costis importable,
Withoute harmys, now ineschuable:
And for al this yit ne wite we
Whether to joye or adversité
The thing schal turne that we be aboute,
Sith ofte sithe dependent and in doute
Is fatal thing, unsiker and unstable;
And fro the gynnyng ofte variable
The ende is seyn. Fortune can transmewe
Hir gery cours, and therfore, to eschewe
The harmys likly possible to falle,
My conseil is, here among yow alle,
Upon travail traveil to eschewe
In this mater or we ferther swe:
To Priamus withouten any more
To sende first ageyn for to restore
The Quene Eleyne, as right and resoun is,
And other harmys don eke be Parys,
Aftir his trespas and offencioun
Justly to make restitucioun.
Than may we alle in worschip and honour
Retournen hom withoute more labour,
Yif thei assent to don as we require;
And oure axyng yif hem list nat here
But folily of her wilfulnes
Refusen it, than oure worthines
Is double assured on a siker grounde,
By juste title Troyens to confounde.
With thinges two we schal ben underpight:
First oure power, borne up with our right,
Schal for us fight our quarel to dareyne,
In balaunce to weye atwixe us tweyne
To fyn that we schal be more excusid;
For thei toforn han wilfully refusid
Oure just proferes made to hem afore;
And we schal be thorugh the world, therfore,
Withoute spot of trespace or of blame,
Of mysreport in hyndring of our name,
Wher thei of foly schal ynoted be
Of wilful wodnes, pleinly, wher that we
Schal stonde fre oure power for to use;
And every man schal us wel excuse,
Though that we doon execucioun
Be takyng vengaunce for her offencioun
Of man and childe, of eche sect and age,
That schal of deth holde the passage
And be the swerd withouten mercy pace,
Oon and other - ther is no better grace.
But yit toforn, I conseil taketh hede
That ye to hem alle mesour bede:
This hold I best and most sikirnes;
And werketh now be good avisenes
Among yoursilf, and no lenger tarie."
[Ulysses and Diomede are chosen to carry Agamemnon's
message to Troy, and they present the Greek demands with a
rudeness calculated to offend Priam. Though himself driven to
anger, Priam restrains his men, who wish to punish the
messengers on the spot. After the ambassadors return,
Agamemnon sends Achilles and Telephus to secure provisions
from the island of Mysia. During the ensuing battle Telephus
prevails on Achilles to spare the mortally wounded King of
Mysia, Teuthras, who names Telephus as his heir because
Telephus's father, Hercules, originally helped him secure the
kingship. The book next recounts the kings and lords who
come to the aid of Troy: Dares says that 32,000 knights and lords,
besides those of India, flocked
to Priam's city. King Palamedes, delayed earlier by illness,
joins the Greeks at Tenedos. Diomede urges that the Greeks
attack Troy immediately. When the Greeks arrive in force the
next day, the Trojans sally forth to oppose their landing. The
Greeks have no choice but to fight or be thrown back into the
sea. Battle rages back and forth with terrible slaughter. First
one side and then the other holds the advantage as heroes like
Hector and Achilles enter the battle at decisive points and
subsequently retire. At length, the Greeks are able to land
their main force. Agamemnon decides on a place to establish
the Greek camp, oversees the fortification, and sets a watch to
guard the camp while his men rest in their tents before Troy
And thus eche thing disposid as it ought,
I wil procede to telle how thei wrought,
Ceriously withoutyn and withinne,
With youre support the thridde boke begynne.
Fortune's; (see note)
will they not; (see note)
siege died; (see note)
broke; (see note)
lack skill; feel
is due near and far
Aided; writing instrument prepare
scarcity; (see note)
follow his stylus (writing instrument); (see note)
did not undertake
Clio (muse of history); (see note)
short or long [syllables]
way; (see note)
the color black
shading; (see note)
immediately; (see note)
By his direction; to build
made to be sought
such as knew; geometry; (see note)
were subtle; imagination
carve; incise; sculpt
battlements; warlike cresting
polish it smooth
vein-like roughnesses; rough surfaces
patterns; portrait painter
To imitate; wood
Apollo (Appelles); (see note)
Alexander the Great
wood worker; (see note)
knobs beautifully wrought
cresting inside and out
mechanical; (see note)
attacked; (see note)
war; furnished with battlements; (see note)
examined by probing
themselves; (see note)
soil strewn; (see note)
level as a line
I know; (see note)
pertaining to; (see note)
before; (see note)
in circuit; size
were in height
cubits (c.300 feet)
shone; sun's shining
furnished with battlements
unequalled; (see note)
fierce and cruel gargoyles
their foes to hinder
catapults; (see note)
turrets; (see note)
Wild oxen, bulls
latten (brass-like alloy)
foes; evil threats
Double towers over gates; ramparts
Before; [were] made; shelter
portcullises (iron grating); (see note)
dissuade; (see note)
bars and bolts
barriers; (see note)
to force one's way
was; (see note)
exceeded in height
one same height
distinguish from one another
were each raised (built)
arches; shafts of columns straight
vaulting; grotesque figures; (see note)
corner work; pleasant cornices; (see note)
Ornamental leaves; hollow mouldings; (see note)
account for them
chosen for the occasion
blow in gently
arrangement; (see note)
compass; carpenter's squares
covered passages; turrets
outward facing; shrines
Vaulted; canopied beds; (see note)
two by two
roofed; (see note)
masonry; gutter extended
gratings perforated; iron punctured
crossbow bolts; pointed; (see note)
Bowmakers; arrow makers; (see note)
trappings for horses; (see note)
it was named; inform
many a mill
be able; conjecture
do not know whether
populate; (see note)
glorify; (see note)
to the test
athletic practice fields; watches
test; (see note)
covered with oil
protective moves; problems; (see note)
by; (see note)
was near ruin
one; (see note)
in elegant expressions
laurel as a reward for their
Before; (see note)
verses; torn furiously
visors; (see note)
Movement; facial expression
sad; (see note)
mixture of joy and sadness
hedges; (see note)
ordered it to be built; rock
multiplying it by three and one seventh
built; (see note)
extended (see note)
window pane; (see note)
as long as it was wide
jet (lignite); grow
royal throne (see)
places for sitting
table fixed to the floor; (see note)
altar; (see note)
cubits (c.25 feet); height
Richly adorned; (see note)
unhappiness; (see note)
chance; (see note)
slip; (see note)
takes to flight; slander
withdraw themselves from
Considering; prudently; (see note)
hasten him; move
surely; (see note)
wishes; (see note)
too; (see note)
cast down; station; (see note)
resists; power of resistance
let; person; risk
Lest; be stopped
happiness or grief
seldom; lets an undertaking go
plainly to ruin
uncertainty; (see note)
its crude verses
if you wish; (see note)
keep in bounds
on competent opinion
are anxious; (see note)
instinct; (see note)
burn; hot coal
before they think
one after another
later; contention; (see note)
truth; beginnings; to be feared greatly
given good fortune
express my view
in no way
begin; bring to ruin
advise; redeem her
in two; part
care; (see note)
Seeing that; security
pertains to; (see note)
Providing it be to your
get back again
heed; (see note)
If; give; (see note)
Point by point
Was dear to you; (see note)
to do away with
chariot; (see note)
of the chase
Determined; darkness fell
buck and doe
hart hunted; hind
sun's semicircular course
parted; (see note)
Alone; grey (aged) woods
follow; (see note)
By chance; reached; dell; (see note)
velvet; (see note)
dream; (see note)
somewhat; (see note)
It appeared to me
carried off; (see note)
strange in appearance
Fulgentius; (see note)
long stick, true
Foresee peril before
schawm (instrument like oboe)
sweet lively sound
absolutely the guide for insight
followers; (see note)
doves; (see note)
look dull and feeble
mixed; woe; (see note)
last of all
moon; must an ebb tide follow; (see note)
Lest; (see note)
miserly; (see note)
do not foresee the end
in no way
are miserly and niggardly
he has no scruples
generosity; (see note)
devious; (see note)
split; (see note)
place of honor
boxes [of cosmetics] are opened
bids; (see note)
judgment shall end
By right account
equal in value
insure that you have; (see note)
Give no judgment unless
Themselves to strip; garments
refuse; (see note)
at first; (see note)
to look upon
wrongs; (see note)
delay; (see note)
I do not wish to speak
for so long
by yearly repetition
observed; pagan custom; (see note)
temple; keep vigil
on the island of Cythera
to the extent that
filled with speculation
pretext; (see note)
makes her way
thither, plainly to say
feast [the eyes]
crowd; (see note)
Whomever places them
As he deserves; requited
beginning, root, and branch
have stayed in; room
hiding; (see note)
saints to seek
would not have been; reputation; (see note)
offering; (see note)
thought; (see note)
Evenly shaded; living reality
contained; (see note)
one by one
Although; discern; (see note)
object of their mutual
he went directly
feign; grievance; (see note)
fire; (see note)
outwardly visible; lie
appearance as if you did not care
bearing; dissemble; (see note)
tear apart; kill yourself; (see note)
alleviate; (see note)
may be carried out
sorrow; (see note)
make; (see note)
the wrong done to you
unless I write a book; depart
point by point
between the two
crude, rough lines
easy to know; (see note)
equal in value
Mix [with oil]; (see note)
It does not follow as a consequence; (see note)
foresees no trouble; (see note)
rashly; (see note)
lack of skill
Too tall; (see note)
Nature's; doubt; (see note)
except that; joined together; (see note)
govern; (see note)
Eloquent; capable of discussion
fond of novelty
describe; (see note)
prevail; (see note)
grown; (see note)
against his foes; truth
remain; (see note)
carried out; remedy
defended by towers
as long as he can
ripened by thought; (see note)
all would not have been done
Since often times
occur; (see note)
to settle by combat
In due order