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Some pray from prison to be freed; and come, A serpent shoots his sting at unaware;
One gains the thickets, and one thrids the brake.
And Juno's wrath, that persecutes my race ;
My pangs of jealousy for Arcite's love."
Let Palamon, oppress'd in bondage, mourn,
While to his exil'd rival we return.
The day had sborten'd, to prolong the night :
For Palamon in endless prison mourns,
And Arcite forfeits life if he returns:
The banish'd never hopes his love to see,
'Tis hard to say who suffers greater pains:
Ove free, and all his motions uncontrold,
Judge as you please, for I will haste to tell
When Arcite was to Thebes returp'd again,
He rav'd with all the madness of despair,
He roar'd, he beat his breast, he tore his hair.
Dry sorrow in his stupid eyes appears,
For, wanting nourishment, he wanted tears :
His eye-balls in their hollow sockets sink:
Bereft of sleep, he loaths his meat and drink :
As the pale spectre of a murder'd man:
In solitary groves be inakes his moan,
Walks early out, and ever is alone :
Nor, mix'd in mirth, in youthful pleasures
But sighs when songs and instruments he bears :
Like the deaf murmurs of a distant sound:
This when he had endur'd a year and more,
Now wholly chang'd from what he was before,
He dream'd (his dream began at break of day)
The fright awaken’d Arcite with a start,
Against his bosom bounc'd his heaving heart; in life surcharg'd with woe hefore, But soon he said, with scarce recover'd breath, Not freed when dead, is doom'd to suffer more. “ And thither will I go, to meet my death,
Sure to be slain, but death is my desire,
Lost liberty, and love, at once he bore : Since in Emilia's sight I shall expire."
His prison pain'd him much, his passion more: By chance he spy'd a mirror while he spoke, Nor dares he hope his fetters to remove, And gazing there beheld his alter'd look;
Nor ever wishes to be free from love. Wondering, he saw his features and his hue
But when the sixth revolving year was run, So much were chang'd, that scarce himself he And May within the Twins receiv'd the Sun, knew,
Were it by Chance, or forceful Destiny, A sudden thought then starting in his mind, Which forms in causes first whate'er shall be, “Since I in Arcite cannot Arcite find,
Assisted by a friend, one moonless night, The world may search in vain with all their eyes, This Palamon from prison took his flight: But never penetrate through this disguise. A pleasant beverage he prepard before Thanks to the change which grief and sickness of wine and honey, mix'd with added store give,
Of opium; to his keeper this he brought, In low estate 1 may securely live,
Who swallow'd unaware the sleepy draught, And see unknown my mistress day by day.” And snor'd secure till morn, his senses bound He said; and cloth'd himself in coarse array: In slumber, and in long oblivion drown'd. A labouring hind in show, then forth he went, Short was the night, and careful Palamon And to th’ Athenian towers his journey bent: Sought the next covert ere the rising Sun. One squire attended in the same disguise,
A thick spread forest near the city lay, Made conscious of his master's enterprise.
To this with lengthen'd strides he took bis way Arriv'd at Athens, soon he came to court,
(For far he could not fly, and feard the day). Unknown, unquestion'd, in that thick resort : Safe from pursuit, he meant to shun the light, Proffering for hire his service at the gate,
Till the brown shadows of the friendly night To drudge, draw water, and to run or wait. To Thebes might favour his intended flight. So fair befell him, that for little gain
When to his country come, his next design He serv'd at first Emilia's chamberlain;
Was all the Theban race in arms to join, And, watchful all advantages to spy,
And war on Theseus, till he lost his life, Was still at hand, and in his master's eye; Or won the beauteous Emily to wife. And as his bones were big, and sinews strong, Thus while his thoughts the lingering day beRefus'd no toil, that could to slaves belong;
guile, Bat from deep wells with engines water drew,
To gentle Arcite let us turn our style ; And us'd his noble hands the wood to hew.
Who little dreamt how nigh he was to care, He pass'd a year at least attending thus
Till treacherous Fortune caught him in the snare. On Emily, and call'd Philostratus.
The morning-lark, the messenger of Day, But never was there man of his degree
Saluted in her song the morning gray ; So much esteem'd, so well belov'd as he.
And soon the Sun arose with beams so bright, So gentle of condition was he known,
That all th’ horizon laugh'd to see the joyous That through the court his courtesy was blown :
sight; All think him worthy of a greater-place,
He with his tepid rays the rose renews, And recommend bim to the royal grace,
And licks the drooping leaves, and dries the That, exercis'd within a higher sphere, His virtues more conspicuous might appear.
When Arcite left his bed, resolv'd to pay Thae by the general voice was Arcite prais'd, Observance to the month of merry May : And by great Theseus to high favour rais'd: Forth on his fiery steed betimes he rode, Among his menial servants first enrolld,
That scarcely prints the turf on which he trod : And largely entertain'd with sums of gold: At ease he seem'd, and, prancing o'er the plains, Besides what secretly from Thebes was sent, Turo'd only to the grove his horse's reins, Of his own income, and his annual rent:
The grove I nam'd before ; and, lighted there, This well employ'd, he purchas'd friends and A woodbine garland sought to crown his hair ; fame,
Then turn'd his face against the rising day, But cautiously conceal'd from whence it came. And rais'd his voice to welcome in the May. Thus for three years he livd with large increase, “ For thee, sweet month, the groves green In arms of honour, and esteem in peace;
liveries wear, To Theseus' person he was ever near;
If not the first, the fairest of the year :
And Nature's ready pencil paints the flowers:
So may thy tender blossoms fear no blight,
As thou shalt guide my wandering feet to find OR THE KNIGHT'S TALE.
The fragrant greens I seek, my brows to bind.”
His vows address'd, within the grove be BOOK II.
Till Fate, or Fortune, near the place convey'd While Arcite lives in bliss, the story turns His steps where secret Palamon was laid. Wbere hopeless Paramon in prison mourns. Full little thought of him the gentle knight, Por six long years immurd, the captive knight Who, flying death, had there conceal'd his Áight, Had draggd his chains, and scarcely seen the In brakes and brambles hid, and shunning mortal light:
And less he knew him for his hated foe,
But rest assur'd, that either thou shalt die, But feard him as a man he did not know.
Or else renounce thy claim in Emily: But as it has been said of ancient years,
Por, though unarm'd I am, and (free'd by chance; That fields are full of eyes, and woods have ears; Am here without my sword, or pointed launce : For this the wise are ever on their guard,
Hope not, base man, unquestion’d hence to go, For, unforescon, they say, is unprepar'd.
For I am Palamon, thy mortal foe.” Uncautious Arcite thought himself alone,
Arcite, who heard his tale, and knew the man, And less than all suspected Palamon,
His sword unsheath'd, and fiercely thus began : Who, listening, heard him, while he search'd the “Now by the gods who govern Heaven above, grove,
Wert thou not weak with huniger, mad with love, And loucliy sung bis roundelay of love:
That word had been thy last, or in this grove
And Jove but laughs at lovers perjury.
But since thou art my kinsman, and a knight,
Will come, and keep the cause and quarrel both Curs'd be the day when first I did appear;
unknown; Lèt it be blotted from the calendar,
With arms of proof both for myself and thee; Lest it pollute the month, and poison all the Choose thou the best, and leave the worst to me, year.
And, that a better ease thou may’st abide, Still will the jealous queen pursue our race? Bedding and cloaths I will this night provide, Cadmus is dead, the Theban city was :
And needful sustenance, that thou mayst be
To keep it better than the first he made.
Thus fair they parted till the morrow's dawn, In mean estate I serve my mortal foe,
For each lad laid his plighted faith to pawn. The man who caus'd my country's overthrow. O Love! thou sterniy dost thy power mainThis is not all; for Juno, to my shame,
tain, Has forc'd me to forsake my former name; And wilt not bear a rival in thy reign, Arcite I was, Philostratus I am.
Tyrants and thou all fellowship disdain. That side of Heaven is all my enemy :
This was in Arcite provid, and Palamon; Mars ruin'd Thebes : his mother ruin'd me. Both in despair, yet each would love alone. Of all the royal race remains but one
Arcite return'd, and, as in honour ty'd, Besides myself, the unhappy Palamon,
His foe with bedding and with food supply'd; Whom Theseas holds in bonds, and will not | Then, ere the day, two suits of armour sought, free;
Which borne before biin on his steed he brought : Without a crime, except his kin to me.
Both were of shining steel, and wrought so pure, Yet these, and all the rest, I could endure;
As might the strokes of two such arms endure. But love's a malady without a cure;
Now, at the time, and in th' appointed place, Fierce Love has pierc'd me with his fiery dart, The challenger and challeng’d, face to face, He fires within, and hisses at my heart.
Approach; each other from afar tbey knew, Your eyes, fair Emily, my fate pursue ;
And from afar their hatred chang'd their hue. I suffer for the rest, I die for you.
So stands the Thracian herdsman with his spear, Of such a goddess no time leaves record,
Full in the gap, and hopes the hunted bear, Who burn'd the temple where she was ador'd; And hears him rustling in the wood, and sees And let it burn, I never will complain,
His course at distance by the bending trees, Pleas'd with my sufferings, if you knew my | And thinks, here coines my inortal enemy, pain."
And either he minst fall in fight, or 1:
A generous chilness seizes every part;
'The veins pour back the blood, and fortify the But soon to deadly pale he chang'd his look:
heart. He trembled every limb, and felt a smart,
Tbus pale they mect; their eyes with fury burn; As if cold steel had glided through bis heart; None greets; for none the greeting will return : No longer staid, but, starting from his place, But in dumb surliness, each arm'd with care Discoverd stood, and show'd his hostile face: His foe profest, as brother of the war: “ False traitor Arcite, traitor to thy blood, Then both, no moment lost, at once advance Bound by thy sacred oath to seek my good, Against each other, arm'd' with sword and lance: Now art thou found foresworn, for Einily ; They lash, they foin, they pass, they strive to And darst attempt her love, for whom I die.
bore So hast thou cheated Theseus with a wile,
Their corslets, and the thinnest parts explore. Against thy vow, returning to beguile
Thus two long hours in equal arms they stood, Under a borrow'd name: as false to me,
And wounded, wound ; till both were bath'd in So false thou art to lin who set thee free:
And not a foot of ground had either got,
Now, as thou art a sovereign judge, decree As if the world depended on the spot.
The rightful doon of death to him and me, Fell Arcite like an angry tiger far'd,
Let neither find thy grace, for, grace is cruelty. And like a lion Palamon appear'd:
Me first, o kill me first; and cure my woe; Or as two boars whom love to battle draws, Then sheath the sword of Justice on my foe: With rising bristles, and with frothy jaws, Or kill him first; for when his name is heard, Their adverse breasts with tusks oblique they | He foremost will receive his due reward. wound,
Arcite of Thebes is he; thy mortal foe: With grunts and groans the forest rings around: On whom thy grace did liberty bestow; So fought the koights, and figbting must abide, But first contracted, that if ever found Till Fate an umpire sends their difference to decide. By day or night upon th’ Athenian ground, The power that ministers to God's decrees, His head should pay the forfeit; see return'd And executes on Earth what Heaven foresees, The perjur'd knight, his oath and honour scorn'd, Calld Providence, or Chance, or Fatal Sway, For this is he, who, with a borrow'd name Comes with resistsess force, and finds or makes her And proffer'd service, to thy palace came, Nor kings, nor nations, por united power, (way. Now call'd Philostratus: retain'd by thee, One moment can retard tb'appointed hour. A traitor trusted, and in high degree, And some one day, some wondrous chance ap. Aspiring to the bed of beauteous Emily. pears,
My part remains; from Thebes my birth I own, Which happen'd not in centuries of years : And call myself th' unhappy Palamon. For sure, whate'er we mortals hate, or love, Think me not like that man; since no disgrace Or hope, or fear; depends on powers above; Can force me to renounce the honour of my race, They move our appetites to good or ill,
know me for what I am: 1 broke my chain, And by foresight necessitate the will.
Nor promis'd I thy prisonerto remain : In Theseus this appears; whose youthful joy The love of liberty with life is given, Was beasts of chase in forests to destroy.
And life itself th' inferior gift of Heaven. This gentle knight, inspir'd by jolly May, Thus without crime 1 filed; but farther kuow, Forsook his easy couch at early day,
I with this Arcite am thy mortal foe: And to the wood and wilds pursued his way. Then give me death, since I thy life pursue; Beside him rode Hippolita the queen,
For safeguard of thyself, death is my due. And Emily attir'd in lively green,
More wouldst thou know? I love bright Emily, With horns, and hounds, and all the tuneful cry, And for her sake and in her sight will die : To hunt a royal hart within the covert nigh: But kill my rival too; for he no less And as he follow'd Mars before, so now
Deserves; and I thy righteous doom will bless, He serves the goddess of the silver bow.
Assur'd that what I lose, he never shall possess." The way that Theseus took was to the wood To this reply'd the stern Athenian prince, Where the two knights in cruel battle stood ; And sourly smild: “In owning your offence, The lawn on which they fought, th' appointed | You judge yourself; and I but keep record place
In place of law, while you pronounce the word. In which th' uncoupled hounds began the chase. Take your desert, the death you have decreed; Thither forth-right he rode to rouse the prey, I seal your doom, and ratify the deed : That, shaded by the fern, in harbour lay; By Mars, the patron of my arms, you die." And, thence dislodgd, was wont to leave the wood, He said ; dumb Sorrow seiz'd the standers-by. For open fields, and cross the crystal flood. The queen abbve the rest, by nature good, Approach'd, and looking underneath the Sun, (The pattern form’d of perfect womanhood) He saw proud Arcite, and fierce Palamon,
For tender pity wept: when she began, In mortal battle doubling blow on blow,
Through the bright quire th’infectious virtue ran. Like lightning flam'd their faulchions to and fro, All dropt their tears, ev’n the contended maid, And shot a dreadful gleam ; so strong they strook, And thus among themselves they softly said: There seem'd less force requir'd to fell an oak: “What eyes can suffer this unworthy sight! He gaz'd with wonder on their equal might, Two youths of royal blood, renown'd in fight, Look'd eager on, but knew not either knight: The mastership of Heaven in face and mind, Resolv'd to learn, he spurr'd his fiery steed And lovers, far beyond their faithless kind : With goring rowels to provoke his speed.
See their wide streaming wounds; they neither The minute ended that began the race,
For pride of empire, nor desire of fame: [came So soon he was betwixt them on the place; Kings for kingdoms, madmen for applause; And with bis sword unsheath'd, on pain of life But love for love alone; that crowns the lover's Commands both combatants to cease their strife:
cause." Then with imperious tone pursues his threat : This thought, which ever bribes the beauteous “What are you? why in arms together met? Such pity wrought in every lady's mind, [kind, How dares your pride presume against my laws, They left their steeds, and prostrate on the place, As in a listed field to fight your cause?
From the fierce king, implor'd th' offenders grace. Unask'd the royal grant; bo marshal by,
He paus'd a while, stood silent in his mood As knightly rites require; nor judge to try?” (For yet bis rage was boiling in his blood); Then Palamon, with scarce recover'd breath, But soon his tender mind th' impression felt, Thus hasty spoke: “We both deserve the death, (As softest metals are not slow to melt And both would die ; for look the world around, And pity soonest runs in softest minds): A pair so wretched is not to be found:
Then reasons with himself; and first hé finds Our life's a load; encumber'd with the charge, His passion cast a mist before his sense, We long to set th' imprison'd soul at large. And either made, or magnify'd th’offence.
“ Offence! of what? to whom? who judg'd the . Now hear th’award, and happy may it prore cause?
To ber, and him who best deserves her love! The prisoner freed bimself by Nature's laws: Depart from hence in peace, and free as air, Born free; he sought his right : the man he freed Search the wide world, and where you please Was perjur'd, but his love excus'd the deed.” But on the day when this returning Sun (repair; Thus pondering, he look'd under with his eyes, To the same point through every sign has run, And saw the women's tears, and heard their cries, Then each of you his hundred knights shall bring; Which mov'dcompassion more; he shook his head, In royal lists, to fight before the king; And softly sighing to himseit he said:
And then the knight, whom Fate or happy Chance “ Curse on th’unpardoning prince, whom tears Shall with his friends to victory advance, can draw
And grace bis arms so far in equal fight, To no remo.se; who rules by lions' law;
From out the bars to force his opposite, And deaf to prayers, by no submission bow'd, Or kill, or make him recreant on the plain, Rends all alike; the penitent, and proud."
The prize of valour and of love shall gain; At this, with lock serene, he rais'd bis head; The vanquish'd party shall their claim release, Reason resum'd her place, and Passion fled: And the long jars conclude in lasting peace. Then thus aloud he spoke: “ The power of Love, The charge be mine t'adorn the chosen ground, In Earth, and seas, and air, and Heaven above, The theatre of war, for champions so renown'd; Rules, uresisted, with an awful nod;
And take the patron's place of either knight, By daily miracles declar'd a god :
With eyes impartial to behold the fight; He blinds the wise, gives eye-sight to the blind; And Heaven of me su judge, as I shall judge And moulds and stamps anew the lover's mind.
aright. Behold that Arcite, and this Palamon,
If both are satisfied with this accord, Freed from my fetters, and in safety gone,
Swear by the laws of knighthood on my sword." What hinder'd either in their native soil
Who now but Palamon exults with joy? At ease to reap the harvest of their toil;
And ravish'd Arcite seeins to touch the sky: But Love, their lord, did otherwise ordain, The whole assembled troop was pleas'd as well, And brought them in their own despite again, Extol th' award, and on their knees they fell To suffer death deserv'd; for well they know, To bless the gracious king. The knights, with "Tis in my power, and I their deadly foe;
leave The proverb
) holds that to be wise and love, Departing from the place, his last commands Is hardly granted to the gods above. )
On Emily with equal ardour look, [receive;
It might be deem'd, on our historian's part,
If he forgot the vast magnificence
A trench was sunk, to moat the place about.
Within, an amphitheatre appear'd, And all are fools and lovers, first or last:
Rais'd in degrees, to sixty paces rear'd; This both by others and myself I know,
That when a man was plac'd in one degree,
Height was allow'd for him above to see.
Rome never saw: nor of so vast a space:
All arts and artists Theseus couled command: I give their forfeit lives; on this accord,
Who sold for hire, or wrought for better fail, To do me homage as their sovereign lord ; The master-painters, and the carvers, came. And as my vassals, to their utmost might,
So rose within the compass of the year
An age's work, a glorious theatre.
A temple, sacred to the queen of love; “ [t' wealth, or honour, or a royal race,
An altar stood below: on either hand Or cach, or all, may win a lady's grace,
A priest with roses crown'd, who held a myrtle Then either of you knights may well deserve
wand. A princess born; and such is she you serve :
The dome of Mars was on the gate oppos'd, For Emily is sister to the crown,
And on the north a turret was enclos'd, And but too well to both her beauty known:
Within the wall, of alabaster white, But should you combat till you both were dead,
And crimson coral, for the queen of night, Two lovers cannot share a single bed :
Who takes in sylvan sports her chaste delight. As therefore both are equal in degree,
Within these oratorirs might you see The lot of both be left to Destiny,
Rich carvings, portraitures, and imagery: