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The town besieg'd, and how much blood it cost
nd how much blood it cost No friend has leave to bear away the dead. The female army and th' Athenian host;
But with their lifeless limbs his hounds are fed." The spousals of Hippolita, the queen;
At this she shriek'd aloud; the mournful train What tilts and turneys at the feast were seen; Echo'd her grief, and, groveling on the plain, The storm at their return, the ladies' fear: , With groans, and hands upheld, to move his mind, But these, and other things, 1 must forbear.
Besought his pity to their helpless kind ! The field is spacious I design to sow,
The prince was touch'd, his tears began to flow, With oxen far unfit to draw the plow :
And, as his tender heart would break in two, The remnant of my tale is of a length
He sigh'd, and could not but their fate deplore, To tire your patience, and to waste my strength; So wretched now, so fortunate before. And trivial accidents shall be forborn,
Then lightly from his lofty steed he flew, That others may have time to take their turn; And raising, one by one, the suppliant crew, As was at first enjoin'd us by mine host,
To comfort each, full solemnly he swore, That he whose tale is best, and pleases most, That by the faith which knights to knighthood Should win his supper at our common cost.
And whate'er else to chivalry belongs, [bore, And therefore where I left, I will pursue
He would not cease, till he reveng'd their wrongs: This ancient story, whether false or true,
That Greece should see perform'd what he deIn hope it may be mended with a new.
And cruel Creon find his just reward. [clar'd; The prince I mentioned, full of high renown, He said no more, but, shunning all delay, In this array drew near th' Athenian town;
Rode on ; nor enter'd Athens on his way: When, in his pomp and utmost of his pridė, But left his sister and his queen behind, Marching, he chanc'd to cast his eye aside, And wav'd his royal banner in the wind : And saw a choir of mourning dames, who lay
Where in an argent field the god of war By two and two across the common way:
Was drawn triumphant on his iron car; At bis approach they rais'd a rueful cry, [high, Red was his sword, and shield, and whole attire, And beat their breasts, and held their hands on. And all the godhead seem'd to glow with fire : Creeping and crying, till they seiz'd at last E v'n the ground glitter'd where the standard flew, His courser's bridle, and his feet embrac'd. And the green grass was dy'd to sanguine hue, “ Tell me," said Theseus, “what and whence High on his pointed lance his pennon bore you are,
His Cretan fight, the conquer'd Minotaur : And why this funeral pageant you prepare? The soldiers shout around with generous rage, Is this the welcome of my worthy deeds,
And in that victory their own presage. To meet my triumph in ill-omen'd weeds ? He prais'd their ardour; inly pleas'd to see Or envy you my praise, and would destroy His host the flower of Grecian chivalry. With grief my pleasures, and pollute my joy? All day he mareli'd; and all th' ensuing night; Or are you injur'd, and demand relief?
And saw the city with returning light. Name your request, and I will ease your grief.” The process of the war I need not tell,
The most in years of all the mourning train How Theseus conquer'd, and how Creon fell: Began (but swooned first away for pain);
Or after, how by storm the walls were won, Then scarce recover'd spoke : “ Nor envy we Or how the victor sack'd and burn'd the town :' Thy great renown, nor grudge thy victory;
How to the ladies he restor'd again 'Tis thine, O king, th'amicted to redress,
The bodies of their lords in battle slain : And Fame has fill'd the world with thy success: And with what ancient rites they were interr'd; We, wretched women, sue for that alone,
All these to fitter times shall be deferr'd : Which of thy goodness is refus'd to none;
I spare the widows tears, their woeful cries, Let fall some drops of pity on our grief,
And howling at their husband's obsequies ; If what we beg be just, and we deserve relief: How Theseus at these funerals did assist, For none of us, who now thy grace implore, | And with what gifts the mourning dames dismiss'd. Bat held the rank of sovereign queen before;
Thus when the victor chief had Creon slain, Till, thanks to giddy Chance, which never bears, And conquer'd Thebes, he pitch'd upon the plain That mortal bliss should last for length of years, His mighty camp, and, when the day return'd, She cast us headlong from our high estate, The country wasted, and the hamlets burn'd, And here in hope of thy return we wait:
And left the pillagers, to rapine bred, And long have waited in the temple nigh,
Without control to strip and spoil the dead. Built to the gracious goddess Clemency. [bears, There, in a heap of slain, among the rest But reverence thou the power whose name it Two youthful knights they found beneath a load Relieve th oppress'd, and wipe the widow's tears.
oppress'd I, wretched I, have other fortune seen,
Of slaughter'd foes, whom first to death they sent, The wife of Capaneus, and once a queen :
The trophies of their strength, a bloody moAt Thebes he fell, curst be the fatal day!
nument. And all the rest thou seest in this array"
Both fair, and both of royal blood they seem'd, To make their moan, their lords in battle lost Whom kinsmen to the crown the beralds deem'd; Before that town, besieg'd by our confederate That day in equal arms they fought for fame; bost:
Their swords, their shields, their surcoats, were But Creon, old and impious, who commands
the same. The Tbeban city, and usurps the lands,
Close by each other laid, they press'd the ground, Denies the rites of funeral fires to those
Their manly bosoms pierc'd with many a griesly Whose breathless bodies yet he calls his foes.
wound; Unburn'd, unbury'd, on a heap they lie;
Nor well alive, nor wholly dead they were, Such is their fate, and such his tyranny;
But some faint signs of feeble life appear:
The wandering breath was on the wing to part, | The garden, which before he had not seen,
And often wish'd he never had been born. He to his city sent as prisoners of the war,
At last, for so his destiny requir'd, Hopeless of ransom, and condemn'd to lie i With walking giddy, and with thinking tird, In durance, doom'd a lingering death to die. He through a little window cast his sight, This done, be march'd away with warlike sound, Though thick of bars, that gave a scanty light: And to his Athens turn'd with laurels crown'd, But ev'n that glimmering serv'd him to descry Where happy long he liv'd, much lov'd, and | Th’inevitable charms of Emily. (smart, more renown'd.
Scarce had he seen, but, seiz'd with sudden But in a tower, and never to be loos'd,
Stung to the quick, he felt it at bis heart; The woeful captive kinsmen are enclos'd.' Struck blind with over-powering light he stood,
Thus year by year they pass, and day by day, Then started back amaz'd, and cry'd aloud. Till once, 'twas on the morn of cheerful May, Young Arcite heard ; and up he ran with haste, The young Emilia, fairer to be seen
To help his friend, and in his arms embrac'd; Than the fair lily on the flowery green,
And ask'd him why he look'd so deadly wan, More fresh than May herself in blossoms new, And whence and how his change of cheer began, For with the rosy colour strove her hue,
Or who had done tb'offence? “ But if," said he, Wak'd, as her castom was, before the day,
“ Your grief alone is hard captivity, To do th' observance due to sprightly May: For love of Heaven, with patience undergo For sprightly May commands our vouth to keep L A cureless ill. since Fate will have it so: The vigils of her night, and breaks their sluggard So stood our horoscope in chains to lie, sleep;
And Saturn in the dungeon of the sky, Each gentle breast with kindly warmth she moves; Or other baleful aspect, rul'd our birth, Inspires new flames, revives extinguish'd loves. When all the friendly stars were under Earth : In this remembrance Emily, ere day,
Whate'er betides, by Destiny 'tis done; (shun.” A rose, and dress'd herself in rich array;
And better bear like men, than vainly seek to Fresh as the month, and as the morning fair; “Nor of my bonds," said Palamon again, Adown her shoulders fell ber length of hair:
Nor of unhappy planets I complain; A ribband did the braided tresses bind,
But when my mortal anguish caus'd me cry, The rest was loose, and wanton'd in the wind : That moment I was hurt through either eye; Aurora had but newly chas'd the night,
Pierc'd with a random shaft, I faint away,
Whom, like Acteon, unaware I found.
Not Juno moves with more majestic grace;
And all the Cyprian queen is in her face.
O help us captives from our chains t'escape;
Then be thy wrath appeas'd with our disgrace,
The fatal dart a ready passage found, Was one partition of the palace wall:
And deep within his heart infix'd the wound:
Arcite was hurt as much as he, or more:
“ The beauty I behold has struck me dead:
Thus Arcite : and thus Palamon replies, And saw with hateful eyes the temples crown'd (Eager his tone, and ardent were his eyes.) With golden spires, and all the hostile ground. “ Speak'st thou in earnest, or in jesting vein ?" He sigh’d, and turn'd his eyes, because he knew « Jesting,” said Arcite,“ suits but ill with pain." 'Twas but a larger gaol he had in view :
“ It suits far worse" (said Palamon again, (weigh, Then look'd below, and, from the castle's height, And bent his brows) “ with men who honour Beheld a nearer and more pleasing sight,
Their faith to break, their friendship to betray;
Bat worst with thee, of noble lineage born, And glar'd like angry lions ns they passid,
Itchanc'd at length, Pirithous came t'attend
And rose as childhood ripen'd into man :
But to pursue my tale: to welcome home
But on these hard conditions I recite: Thy bad pretence; I told thee first my pain : That if hereafter Arcite should be found For first my love began ere thine was born; Within the compass of Athenian ground, Thou, as iny council, and my brother sworn, By day or night, or on whate'er pretence, Art bound t' assist my eldership of right,
His head should pay the forfeit of th' offence. Or justly to be deem'd a perjur'd knight.”
Tothis Pirithous for his friend agreed,
Unpleas'd and pensive heuce he takes his way, « Forsworn thy self: the traitor's odious name At his own peril; for his life must pay. I first return, and then disprove thy claim.
Who now but Arcite mourns his bitter fate, If love be passion, and tbat passion nurst
Finds his dear purchase, and repents too late? With strong desires, I lov'd the lady first.
“ What have I gain'd,” he said, “in prison pent, Canst thou pretend desire, whom zeal inflam'd | If I but change my bonds for banishment? To worship, and a power celestial nam'd ? | And banish'd from her sight, I suffer more Thine was devotion to the blest above,
| In freedom, thau I felt in bonds before; I saw the woman, and desir'd her love ;
Forc'd from her presence, and condemn'd to live : First own'd my passion, and to thee commend Unwelcome freedom, and unthank'd reprieve: Th’important secret, as my chosen friend. Heaven is not, but where Emily abides; Suppose (which yet I grant not) thy desire And where she's absent, all is Hell besides. A moment elder than my rival fire;
| Next to my day of birth, was that accurst, Can chance of seeing first thy title prove ?
Which bound my friendship to Pirithous first: And know'st thou not, no law is made for love ; Had I not known that prince, I still had been Law is to things, which to free choice relate; lo bondage, and had still Emilia seen: Love is not in our choice, but in our fate;
For, though I never can her grace deserve, Laws are but positive; love's power, we see, 'Tis recompense enough to see and serve. Is Nature's sanction, and her first decree.
O Palamon, my kinsman and my friend, Each day we break the bond of huinan laws How much more happy fates thy love attend ! Por love, and vindicate the common cause.
Thine is th' adventure, thine the victory: Laws for defence of civil rights are plac'd, Well bas.thy fortune turn'd the dice for thee : Love throws the fences down, and makes a general | Thou on that angel's face may'st feed thine eyes, waste :
In prison, no; but blissful Paradise ! Maids, widows, wives, without distinction fail; Thou daily seest that sun of beauty shine, . The sweeping deluge, love, comes on, and covers And lov'st at least in love's extremest line. If then the laws of friendship I transgress, fall. I mourn in absence, love's eternal night; I keep the greater, while I break the less;
And who can tell but since thou hast her sight, And both are mad alike, since neither can And art a comely, young, and valiant knight, possess.
Fortune (a various power) may cease to frown, Both hopeless to be ransom'd, never more
And by some ways unknown thy wishes crown? To see the Sun, but as he passes o'er."
But I, the most forlorn of human kind, Like Æsop's hounds contending for the bone, Nor help can hope, nor remedy can find; Fach pleaded right and would be lord alone : But, doom'd to drag my loathsome life in care, The fruitless fight continued all the day;
For my reward, must end it in despair. A cur came by, and spatch'd the prize away. Fire, water, air, and earth, and force of fates " As courtiers therefore justle for a grant, (want, | That governs all, and Heaven that all creates, And, when they break their friendship, plead their Nor art, nor Nature's hand can ease my grief: So tbou, if Fortune will thy suit advance,
Nothing but death, the wretch's last relief: Lore on, nor envy me my equal chance :
Then farewel youth, and all the joys that dwell, For I tpust love, and am resolv'd to try
With youth and life, and life itself farewel. My fate, or, failing in th’adventure, die.”
But why, alas! do mortal men in vain Great was their strife, which hourly was re- Of Fortune, Fate, or Providence complain ? Dew'd,
God gives us what he knows our wants require, Till each with mortal bate his rival view'd : And better things than those which we desire : Now friends no more, nor walking hand in hand; Some pray for riches; riches they obtain; But when they met, they made a surly stand; But, watch'd by robbers, for their wealth are slain;
Some pray from prison to be freed; and come, A serpent shoots his sting at unaware;
An ambush'd thief forelays à traveller:
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, For far the greater part of men are blind.
While to his exil'd rival wè return.
The day had shorten'd, to prolong the night:
For Palamon in endless prison mourns,
And Arcite forfeits life if he returns:
'Tis hard to say who suffers greater pains : He frets, he fumes, he stares, he stamps the One sees his love, but cannot break his chains: ground;
One free, and all his motions uncontrol'd, The hollow tower with clamours rings around: Beholds whate'er he would, but what he would With briny tears he bath'd his fetter'd feet,
behold. And dropt all o'er with agony of sweat.
Judge as you please, for I will haste to tell “ Alas! he cry'd, “ I wretch in prison pine, What fortune to the banish'd knight befell. Too happy rival, while the fruit is thine:
When Arcite was to Thebes return'd again, Thou liv'st at large, thou draw'st thy native air, The loss of her he lov'd renewid his pain; Pleas'd with thy freedom, proud of my despair: What could be worse, than never more to see Thou mayst, since thou hast youth and courage | His life, his soul, his charming Emily? join'd,
He rav'd with all the madness of despair, A sweet behaviour, and a solid mind,
He roar'd, he beat his breast, he tore his hair. Assemble ours, and all the Theban race,
Dry sorrow in his stupid eyes appears, To vindicate on Athens thy disgrace;
For, wanting nourishment, he wanted tears : And after, by some treaty made, possess
His eye-balls in their hollow sockets sink: Fair Emily, the pledge of lasting peace.
Bereft of sleep, he loaths his meat and drink : So thine shall be the beauteous prize, while I He withers at his heart, and looks as wan Must languish in despair, in prison die.
As the pale spectre of a murder'd man: Thus all th' advantage of the strife is thine, Tiat pale turns yellow, and his face receives Thy portion double joys, and double sorrows The faded hue of sapless boxen leaves : mine.”
In solitary groves he makes his moan, The rage of Jealousy then fir'd his soul,
Walks early out, and ever is alone : And his face kindled like a burning coal:
Nor, mix'd in mirth, in youthful pleasures Now cold Despair, succeeding in her stead,
shares, To livid paleness turns the glowing red.
But sighs when songs and instruments he hears : His blood, scarce liquid, creeps within his veins, His spirits are so low, his voice is drown'd, Like water which the freezing wind constrains. He hears as from afar, or in a swoon, Then thus he said : “ Eternal deities,
Like the deaf murmurs of a distant sound: Who rule the world with absolute decrees,
Uncomb'd his locks, and squalid his attire, And write whatever time shall bring to pass, Unlike the trim of Love and gay Desire: With pens of adamant, on plates of brass;
But full of museful mopings, which presage What, is the race of human kind your care
The loss of reason, and conclude in rage. Beyond what all his fellow-creatures are ?
This when he had endur'd a year and more, He with the rest is liable to pain,
Now wholly chang'd from what he was before, And like the sheep, his brother-beast, is slain. It happen'd once, that, slumbering as he lay, Cold, hunger, prisons, ills without a cure,
He dream'd (his dream began at break of day) All these he inust, and, guiltless, oft endure; That Hermes o'er his head in air appear'd, Or does your justice, power, or prescience fail, And with soft words his drooping spirits cheard : When the good suffer, and the bad prevail? His hat, adorn'd with wings, disclos'd the god, What worse to wretched Virtue could befall, And in his hand he bere the sleep compelling If Pate or giddy Fortune govern'd all ?
rod : Nay, worse than other beasts is our estate ; Such as he seem'd, when, at his sire's command, Them, to pursue their pleasures, you create; On Argus' head he laid the snaky wand. We, bound by harder laws, must curb our will, “ Arise,” he said, “ to conquering Athens go, And your commands, not our desires, fulfil ; | There Fate appoints an end to all thy woe.' Then when the creature is anjustly slain,
The fright awaken'd Arcite with a start, Yet after death at least he feels no pain;
Against his bosom bounc'd his heaving heart; But inan, in life surcharg'd with woe before, 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, be 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 prepar'd 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 be brought, In low estate I may securely live,
Who swallow'd unaware the sleepy draught, And see unknown my mistress day by day.” And snor'd secure till morn, bis 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 be 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 his way Arriv'd at Athens, soon he came to court,
(For far he could not fiy, and fear'd the day). Uokuown, 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 bis intended fight. 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 be. Refus'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 bands the wood to bew,
Who little dreamt how nigh he was to care, He pass'd a year at least attending thas
Till treacherous Fortune caught him in the snare. On Emily, and call's Philostratus.
The morning-lark, the messenger of Day, Bat 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; Al think him worthy of a greater place,
He with his tepid rays the rose renews, And recommend him to the royal grace, .
And licks the drooping leaves, and dries the That, exercis'd within a higher sphere,
That scarcely prints the turf on which he trod :
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 cantiously conceal'd from whence it came. And rais'd his voice to welcome in the May. Thas for three years he liv'd 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:
For thee the Graces lead the dancing Hours,
So may thy tender blossoms fear no blight,
As thou shalt gu'de 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 he 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. Where hopeless Palamon in prison mourns. Full little thought of him the gentle knight, Por six long years immur'd, the captive knight | Who, flying death, had there conceal'd his flight, Had dragg'd his chains, and scarcely seen the In brakes and brambles bid, and shunning mortal,