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And after siker doeth her voice outring:
Right so Creseide, whan that her drede stent,

Opened her herte and told him her entent.” 1
He, as soon as he perceived a hope from afar,

“In chaunged voice, right for his very drede,
Which voice eke quoke, and thereto his manere,
Goodly abasht, and now his hewes rede,
Now pale, unto Cresscide his ladie dere,
With looke doun cast, and humble iyolden chere,
Lo, the alderfirst word that him astart

Was twice : ‘Mercy, mercy, O my sweet herte !"" This ardent love breaks out in impassioned accents, in bursts of happiness. Far from being regarded as a fault, it is the source of all virtue. Troilus becomes braver, more generous, more upright, through it; his speech runs now on love and virtue; he scorns all villainy; he honors those who possess merit, succors those who are in distress; and Cressida, delighted, repeats all day, with exceeding liveliness, this song, which is like the warbling of a nightingale :

6. Whom should I thanken but you, god of love,

Of all this blisse, in which to bathe I ginne?
And thanked be ye, lorde for that I love,
This is the right life that I am inne,
To flemen all maner vice and sinne :
This doeth me so to vertue for to entende
That daie by daie I in my will amende.
And who that saieth that for to love is vice,
He either is envious, or right nice,
Or is unmightie for his shreudnesse
To loven.
But I with all mine herte and all my might,
As I have saied, woll love unto my last,
My owne dere herte, and all mine owne knight,
In whiche mine herte growen is so fast,

And his in me, that it shall ever last.” 3 But misfortune comes. Her father Calchas demands her back, and the Trojans decide that they will give her up in exchange for prisoners. At this news she swoons, and Troilus is about to slay himself. Their love at this time seems imperishable; it sports with death, because it constitutes the whole of life. Beyond that better and delicious life which it created, it seems there can be no other :

1 Troilus and Cressida, vol. v. bk. 3, p. 40.

2 lbid. p 4.

3 Ibid. vol. iv. bk. 2, p. 292.

“But as God would, of swough she abraide,

And gan to sighe, and Troilus she cride,
And he answerde: ‘Lady mine, Creseide,
Live ye yet ?' and let his swerde doun glide :
“Ye herte mine, that thanked be Cupide,'
(Quod she), and therewithal she sore sight,
And he began to glade her as he might.

“ Took her in armes two and kist her oft,

And her to glad, he did al his entent,
For which her gost, that flikered aie a loft,
Into her wofull herte ayen it went:
But at the last, as that her eye glent
Aside, anon she gan his sworde aspie,
As it lay bare, and gan for feare crie.
“ And asked him why had he it out draw,

And Troilus anon the cause her told,
And how himself therwith he wold have slain,
For which Creseide upon him gan behold,
And gan him in her armes faste fold,
And said: “O mercy God, lo which a dede!
Alas, how nigh we weren bothe dede!

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At last they are separated, with what vows and what tears ! and Troilus, alone in his chamber, murmurs:

««•Where is mine owne lady lefe and dere?

Where is her white brest, where is it, where?
Where been her armes, and her eyen clere
That yesterday this time with me were?' ..
Nor there nas houre in al the day or night,
Whan he was ther as no man might him here,
That he ne sayd: 'O lovesome lady bright,
How have ye faren sins that ye were there?
Welcome ywis mine owne lady dere!'
Fro thence-forth he rideth up and doune,
And every thing came him to remembraunce,
As he rode forth by the places of the toune,
In which he whilom had all his pleasaunce:
• Lo, yonder saw I mine owne lady daunce,
And in that temple with her eien clere,
Me caught first my right lady dere.
And yonder have I herde full lustely
My dere herte laugh, and yonder play
Saw her ones eke ful blisfully,
And yonder ones to me gan she say,
“Now, good sweete, love me well I pray.

1 Troilus and Cressida, vol. v. bk. 4, p. 97.

And yonde so goodly gan she me behold,
That to the death mine herte is to her hold.
And at the corner in the yonder house
Herde I mine alderlevest lady dere,
So womanly, with voice melodiouse,
Singen so wel, so goodly, and so clere,
That in my soule yet me thinketh I here
The blissful sowne, and in that yonder place,
My lady first me toke unto her grace.'"1

None has since found more true and tender words. These are the charming “poetic branches” which flourished amid gross ignorance and pompous parades. Human intelligence in the middle


had blossomed on that side where it perceived the light.

But mere narrative does not suffice to express his felicity and fancy; the poet must go where “shoures sweet of rain descended soft.”

“And every plaine was clothed faire
With new greene, and maketh small floures
To springen here and there in field and in mede,
So very good and wholsome be the shoures,
That it renueth that was old and dede,
In winter time; and out of every sede
Springeth the hearbe, so that every wight
Of this season wexeth glad and light. .
In which (grove) were okes great, streight as a line,
Under the which the grasse so fresh of hew
Was newly sprong, and an eight foot or nine

Every tree well fro his fellow grew.He must forget himself in the vague felicity of the country, and, like Dante, lose himself in ideal light and allegory. The dreams of love, to continue true, must not take too visible a form, nor enter into a too consecutive history; they must float in a misty distance; the soul in which they hover can no longer think of the laws of existence; it inhabits another world; it forgets itself in the ravishing emotion which troubles it, and sees its well-loved visions rise, mingle, come and go, as in summer we see the bees on a hill-slope Autter in a haze of light, and circle round and round the flowers.

One morning,2 a lady sings, at the dawn of day, I entered an

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i Troilus and Cressida, vol. v. bk. 5, p. 119 et passim.

2 The Flower and the Leaf, vi. p. 244, l. 6–32.


“ With branches brode, laden with leves new,
That sprongen out ayen the sunne-shene,

Some very red, and some a glad light grene.
“ And I, that all this pleasaunt sight sie,

Thought sodainly I felt so sweet an aire
Of the eglentere, that certainely
There is no hert, I deme, in such dispaire,
Ne with thoughts froward and contraire,
So overlaid, but it should soone have bote,
If it had ones felt this savour sote.

“And as I stood, and cast aside mine eie,

I was ware of the fairest medler tree
That ever yet in all my life I sie,
As full of blossomes as it might be;
Therein a goldfinch leaping pretile
Fro bough to bough; and, as him list, he eet
Here and there of buds and floures sweet.

“And as I sat, the birds harkening thus,

Methought that I heard voices sodainly,
The most sweetest and most delicious
That ever any wight, I trow truly,
Heard in their lise, for the armony
And sweet accord was in so good musike,

That the voice to angels most was like.” 2 Then she sees arrive "a world of ladies ... in surcotes white of velvet . . . set with emerauds . . . as of pearles round and orient, and diamonds fine and rubies red.” And all had on their head “a rich fret of gold . . . full of stately riche stones set,” with “a chapelet of branches fresh and grene . . . some of laurer, some of woodbind, some of agnus castus ; and at the same time came a train of valiant knights in splendid array, with “harneis” of red gold, shining in the sun, and noble steeds, with trappings “of cloth of gold, and furred with ermine.” These knights and ladies were the servants of the Leaf, and they sate under a great oak, at the feet of their queen.

From the other side came a bevy of ladies as resplendent as the first, but crowned with fresh flowers. These were the servants of the Flower. They alighted, and began to dance in the meadow. But heavy clouds appeared in the sky, and a storm broke out. They wished to shelter themselves under the

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oak, but there was no more room; they ensconced themselves as they could in the hedges and among the brushwood; the rain came down and spoiled their garlands, stained their robes, and washed away their ornaments; when the sun returned, they went to ask succor from the queen of the Leaf; she, being merciful, consoled them, repaired the injury of the rain, and restored their original beauty. Then all disappears as in a dream.

The lady was astonished, when suddenly a fair dame appeared and instructed her. She learned that the servants of the Leaf had lived like brave knights, and those of the Flower had loved idleness and pleasure. She promises to serve the Leaf, and came away.

Is this an allegory? There is at least a lack of wit. There is no ingenious enigma; it is dominated by fancy, and the poet thinks only of displaying in quiet verse the fleeting and brilliant train which had amused his mind, and charmed his eyes.

Chaucer himself, on the first of May, rises and goes out into the meadows. Love enters his heart with the balmy air; the landscape is transfigured, and the birds begin to speak:

6. There sate I downe among the faire flours,
And saw the birds trip out of hir bours,
There as they rested hem all the night,
They were so joyfull of the dayes light,
They began of May for to done honours.
* They coud that service all by rote,
There was many a lovely note,
Some song loud as they had plained,
And some in other manner voice y fained
And some all out with the ful throte.

“The proyned hem and made hem right gay,

And daunceden, and lepten on the spray,
And evermore two and two in fere,
Right so as they had chosen hem to yere,
In Feverere upon saint Valentines day.

“ And the river that I sate upon,
It made such a noise as it ron,
Accordaunt with the birdes armony,
Methought it was the best melody

That might ben yheard of any mon.
This confused harmony of vague noises troubles the sense; a se-

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1 The Cuckow and Nightingale, vi. p. 121, l. 67-85. VOL. I.

I 2

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