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Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knight's Tale, Part Iv - (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation) - Poem by Forrest Hainline
The Knight's Tale, Part 4
Sequitur pars quarta
Great was the feast in Athens that day,
And too the lusty season of that May
Made every wight to be in such pleasance
That all that Monday joust they and dance,
And spend it in Venus' high service.
But because that they should rise
Early for to see the great fight,
Unto their rest went they at night.
And on the morrow, when that day did spring,
Of horse and harness, noise and clattering
There was in hostelries all about.
And to the palace rode there many a route
Of lords, upon steeds and palfreys.
There may thou see devising of harness
So uncouth and so rich, and wrought so well,
Of goldsmithry, of embroidery, and of steel;
The shields bright, testers, and trappers;
Gold-hewn helms, coats of mail, coat of armors;
Lords in adornment on their corsairs,
Knights with retinues and also squires,
Nailing the spears, and helm buckling,
Fitting of shields, with lanyards lacing.
There as need is, they were nothing idle.
The foamy steeds on the golden bridle
Gnawing, and fast the armorers also
With file and hammer pricking to and fro;
Yeomen on foot and commons many a one,
With short staves thick as they may go on,
Pipes, trumpets, nakers, clarions,
That in the battle blow bloody sounds;
The palace full of people up and down,
Here three, there ten, holding their question,
Divining of these Theban knights two.
Some said thus, some said "it shall be so, "
Some held with him with the black beard,
Some with the bald, some with the thick-haired,
Some said he looked grim, and he would fight,
"He hath a sparth of twenty pound of weight, ",
Thus was the hall full of divining
Long after that the sun began to spring.
The great Theseus, that of his sleep awaked
With minstrelsy and noise that was maked,
Held yet the chamber of his palace rich,
Til that the Theban knights, both aliche
Honored, were into the palace fetched.
Duke Theseus was at a window set,
Arrayed, right as he were a god on throne.
The people pressed thitherward full soon,
Him for to see and do high reverence.
And too to hear his heste and his sentence.
An herald on a scaffold made an 'Oo! '
Til all the noise of people was do,
And when he saw the people of noise all still,
Then showed he the mighty duke's will.
The lord has of his high discretion
Considered that it were destruction
To gentle blood to fight in the guise
Of mortal battle now in this emprise.
Wherefore, to shape that they shall not die,
He will his first purpose modify.
No man therefore, on pain of loss of life,
No manner shot, nor poleaxe, nor short knife
Into the lists send or thither bring;
Nor short sword, for to stoke with point biting,
No man neither draw, nor bear it by his side.
And no man shall unto his fellow ride
But one course with a sharp ground spear;
Foin, if he wish, on foot, himself to ward.
And he that is at mischief shall be take
And not slain, but be brought unto the stake
That shall be ordained on either side;
But thither he shall by force, and there abide.
And if it fall the chieftain be take
On either side, or else slain his make,
No longer shall the tourney last.
God speed you! Go forth and lay on fast!
With long sword and with mace fight your fill.
Go now your way; this is the lord's will.'
The voice of people touched the heaven,
So loudly cried they with merry stevene,
'God save such a lord, that is so good
He wills no destruction of blood! '
Up go the trumpets and the melody,
And to the lists ride the company,
By ordinance, throughout the city large,
Hanged with cloth of gold, and not with sarge.
Full like a lord this noble duke did ride,
These two Thebans upon either side,
And after rode the queen and Emily,
And after that another company
Of one and other, after their degree.
And thus they pass throughout the city,
And to the lists come they by time.
It was not of the day yet fully prime
When set was Theseus full rich and high,
Hippolyta the queen, and Emily,
And other ladies in degrees about.
Unto the seats press all the rout.
And westward, through the gates under Mars,
Arcite, and too the hundred of his party,
With banner red is entered right anon;
And in that self moment Palamon
Is under Venus, eastward in the place,
With banner white and hardy cheer and face.
In all the world, to seek up and down,
So even, without variation,
There were not such companies tway,
For there was no one so wise that could say
That anyone had of other advantage
Of worthiness, nor of estate, nor age,
So even were they chosen, for to guess.
And in two ranks fair they them dress.
When that their names read were everyone,
So that in their total number guile were there none,
Though were the gates shut, and cried was loud:
'Do now your devoir, young knights proud! '
The heralds left their pricking up and down;
Now ring trumpets loud and clarion.
There is no more to say, but west and east
In go the spears full sadly in arrest;
In goes the sharp spur into the side.
There see men who can joust and who can ride;
There shivered shafts upon shields thick;
He feels through the heart-bone the prick.
Up spring spears twenty foot on hight;
Out go the swords as the silver bright;
The helms they hew and shred;
Out burst the blood in stern streams red;
With mighty maces the bones they brest.
He through the thickest of the throng did thest;
There stumbled steeds strong, and down go all,
He rolls under foot as does a ball;
He foins on his feet with his truncheon,
And he him hurtles with his horse down;
He through the body is hurt and then take,
Despite his heed, and brought unto the stake;
As forward was, right there he must abide.
Another lad is on that other side.
And some time does them Theseus to rest,
Them to refresh and drink, if they lest.
Full oft a day have these Thebans two
Together met, and wrought his fellow woe;
Unhorsed has each other of them tway.
There was not any tiger in the vale of Gargaphiay,
When that her whelp is stolen when it is lite,
So cruel on the hunt as is Arcite
For jealous heart upon this Palamon.
Nor in Belmarye there is not so fell a lion,
That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
Nor of his prey desires so the blood,
As Palamon to slay his foe Arcite.
The jealous strokes on their helms bite;
Out runs blood on both their sides red.
Some time an end there is of every deed.
For ere the sun unto its rest went,
The strong king Emetreus did hente
This Palamon, as he fought with Arcite,
And made his sword deep in his flesh to bite,
And by the force of twenty is he take
Unyielded, and drawn to the stake.
And in the rescue of this Palamon
The strong king Lycurgus is born down,
And king Emetreus, for all his strength,
Is born out of his saddle a sword's length,
So hit him Palamon ere he was take.
But all for naught; he was brought to the stake.
His hardy heart might him help not:
He must abide, when that he was caught,
By force and too by composition.
Who sorrows now but woeful Palamon,
That must no more go again to fight?
And when that Theseus had seen this sight,
Unto the folk that fought thus each one
He cried, 'Hoo! No more, for it is done!
I will be true judge, and no party.
Arcite of Thebes shall have Emily,
Who by his fortune has her fairly won.'
Anon there is a noise of people begun
For joy of this, so loud and high withall
It seemed that the lists should fall.
What can now fair Venus do above?
What says she now? What does this queen of love,
But weeps so, for wanting of her will,
Til that her tears in the lists fell?
She said, 'I am ashamed, doubtless.'
Saturn said, 'Daughter, hold thy peace!
Mars has his will, his knight has all his boon,
And, by my head, thou shalt be eased soon.'
The trumpeters, with the loud minstrelsy,
The heralds, that full loudly yell and cry,
Be in their weal for joy of Don Arcite.
But hearken me, and stint noise a lite,
Which a miracle there befell anon.
This fierce Arcite had of his helm undone,
And on a war horse, for to show his face,
He pricks along the large place
Looking upward upon this Emily;
And she against him cast a friendly eye
(For women, as to speak in common,
They follow all the favor of Fortune)
And was all his cheer, as in his heart.
Out of the ground a fury infernal sterte,
From Pluto sent at request of Saturn,
For which his horse for fear began to turn,
And leaped aside, and foundered as he leaped;
And ere that Arcite may take keep,
He hit him on the pommel of his head,
That in the place he lay as he were dead,
His breast broken with his saddlebow.
As black he lay as any coal or crow,
So was the blood running in his face.
Anon he was born out of the place,
With heart sore, to Theseus' palace.
Then was he carved out of his harness
And in a bed brought full fair and blive,
For he was yet in memory and alive,
And always crying after Emily.
Duke Theseus, with all his company,
Is come home to Athens, his city,
With all bliss and great solemnity.
Albeit that this adventure was fall,
He would not discomfort them all.
Men said too that Arcite shall not die;
He shall be healed of his malady.
And of another thing they were as fain,
That of them all there was no one slain,
Although they sore hurt, and namely one,
That with a spear was thirled his breast bone.
To other wounds and to broken arms
Some had salves, and some had charms;
Pharmacies of herbs and also salve
They drank, for they would their limbs have.
For which this noble duke, as he well can
Comforts and honors every man,
And made revel all the long night
Unto the strange lords, as was right.
Nor there was holden no discomfort
But as a joust or a tournament;
For truly there was no discomfiture.
For falling is not but an adventure,
Nor to be led by force unto the stake
Unyielden, and with twenty knights take,
One person alone, without more,
And harried forth by arm, foot, and toe,
And too his steed driven forth with staves
By footmen, both yeomen and also knaves -
It has arretted him no villainy;
There may no man call it cowardly.
For which anon duke Theseus let cry,
To stop all rancor and envy,
The great as well of one side as of other,
And either side alike as the other's brother;
And gave them gifts after their degree,
And fully held a feast days three,
And conveyed the kings worthily
Out of his town a journey largely.
And home went every man the right way.
There was no more but 'Fare well, have good day! '
Of this battle I will no more endite,
But speak of Palamon and of Arcite.
Swelled the breast of Arcite, and the sore
Increases at his heart more and more.
The clotted blood, for any leechcraft,
Corrupts, and is in his body left,
That neither vein-blood nor letting,
Nor drink of herbs may be his helping.
The virtue expulsive, or animal,
From that virtue called natural
Nor may the venom void or expel.
The pipes of his lungs began to swell,
And every muscle in his breast down
Is shent with venom and corruption.
He gains neither, for to get his life,
Vomit upward, nor downward laxative.
All is broken in that region;
Nature has now no dominion.
And certainly, where Nature will not work,
Fare well physic! Go bear the man to church!
This all and sum, that Arcite must die;
For which he sends after Emily,
And Palamon, that was his cousin dear.
Then said he thus, as you shall after hear:
'Naught may the woeful spirit in my heart
Declare one point of all my sorrows smart
To you, my lady, that I love most,
But I bequeath the service of my ghost
To you above every creature,
Since that my life may no longer endure.
Alas, the woe! Alas, the pains strong,
That I for you have suffered, and so long!
Alas, the death! Alas, my Emily!
Alas, departing of our company!
Alas, my heart's queen! Alas, my wife,
My heart's lady, ender of my life!
What is this world? What ask men to have?
Now with his love, now in his cold grave
Alone, without any company.
Farewell, my sweet foe, my Emily!
And softly take me in your arms tway,
For love of God, and hearken what I say.
'I have here with my cousin Palamon
Had strife and rancor many a day gone
For love of you, and for my jealousy.
And Jupiter so wise my soul guide,
To speak of a servant properly,
With all circumstances truly -
That is to say, truth, honor, knighthood,
Wisdom, humbleness, estate, and high kindred,
Freedom, and all that longeth to that art -
So Jupiter have of my soul part,
As in this world right now know I none
So worthy to be loved as Palamon,
That serves you, and will do so all his life.
And if that ever you shall be a wife,
Forget not Palamon, the gentle man.'
And with that word his speech fail began,
For from his feet up to his breast was come
The cold of death, that had him overcome,
And yet moreover, for in his arms two
The vital strength is lost and all ago.
Only the intellect, without more,
That dwelled in his heart sick and sore,
Began to fail when the heart felt death.
Dusked his eyes two, and failed breath,
But on his lady yet cast he his eye;
His last word was, 'Mercy, Emily! '
His spirit changed house and went there,
As I came never, I cannot tell where.
Therefore I stop; I am no divinister;
Of souls find I naught in this register,
Nor me list such opinions to tell
Of them, though that they write where they dwell.
Arcite is cold, there Mars his soul guide!
Now will I speak forth of Emily.
Shrieked Emily, and howled Palamon,
And Theseus his sister took anon
Swooning, and bore her from the corpse away.
What helps it to tarry forth the day
To tell how she wept both eve and morrow?
For in such case women have such sorrow,
When that their husbands be from them go,
That for the most part they sorrow so,
Or else fall in such malady
That at the last certainly they die.
Infinite be the sorrows and the tears
Of old folk and folk of tender years
In all the town for death of this Theban.
For him there wept both child and man;
So great weeping was there none, certain,
When Hector was brought, all freshly slain,
To Troy. Alas, the pity that was there,
Scratching of cheeks, renting too of hair.
'Why wouldst thou be dead, ' these women cry,
'And haddest gold enough, and Emily? '
No man might gladden Theseus,
Saving his old father Egeus,
That knew this world's transmutation,
As he had seen it change both up and down,
Joy after woe, and woe after gladness,
And showed them examples and likeness.
'Right as there died never a man, ' said he,
'That he not lived in earth in some degree,
Right so there lived never man, " he said,
'In all this world, that some time he not died.
This world's not but a thoroughfare full of woe,
And we be pilgrims, passing to and fro.
Death is an end of every worldly sore.'
And over all this yet said he much more
To this effect, full wisely to exhort
The people that they should themselves comfort.
Duke Theseus, with all his busy cure,
Cast now where that the sepulcher
Of good Arcite may best made be,
And too most honorable in his degree.
And at the last he took conclusion
That there as first Arcite and Palamon
Had for love the battle them between,
That in that same grove, sweet and green,
There as he had his amorous desires,
His complaint, and for love his hot fires,
He would make a fire in which the office
Funeral he might all accomplice.
And let command anon to hack and hew
The oaks old, and lay them on a row
In colpons well arrayed for to burn.
His officers with swift feet they run
And ride anon at his commandment.
And after this, Theseus has sent
After a bier, and it all overspread
With cloth of gold, the richest that he had.
And of the same suit he clad Arcite;
Upon his hands had he gloves white,
And on his head a crown of laurel green,
And in his hand a sword full bright and keen.
He laid him, bare the visage, on the bier;
Therewith he wept that pity was to hear.
And for the people should see him all,
When it was day, he brought him to the hall,
That roared of the crying and the sound.
Though came this woeful Theban Palamon,
With floatery beard and raggy, asshy hair,
In clothes black, dropped all with tears;
And, passing others of weeping, Emily,
The ruefullest of all the company.
Inasmuch as the service should be
The more noble and rich in his degree,
Duke Theseus let forth three steeds bring,
That trapped were in steel all glittering,
And covered with the arms of Don Arcite.
Upon these steeds, that were great and white,
There sat folk, of which one bore his shield,
Another his spear up on his hands held,
The third bore with him his bow Turkish
(Of pure gold was the case and also the harness):
And rode forth a pace with sorrowful cheer
Toward the grove, as you shall after hear.
The noblest of the Greeks that there were
Upon their shoulders carried the bier,
With slack pace and eyes red and wet,
Throughout the city by the master street,
That spread was all with black, and wonder high
Right of the same is the street covered by.
Upon the right hand went old Egeus,
And on that other side duke Theseus,
With vessels in their hand of gold full fine,
All full of honey, milk, and blood, and wine;
Also Palamon, with full great company;
And after that came woeful Emily,
With fire in hand, as was that time the guise,
To do the ritual of funeral service.
High labor and full great appareling
Was at the service and the fire-making,
That with his green top the heaven reached;
And twenty fathom of breadth the arms stretched -
This is to say, the boughs were so broad.
Of straw first there was laid full many a load.
But how the fire was made upon high,
Nor also the names that the trees hight,
As oak, fir, birch, aspen, alder, holm, poplar,
Willow, elm, plane, ash, box, chestnut, linden, laurel,
Maple, thorn, beech, hazel, yew, whippeltree -
How they were felled shall not be told for me;
Nor how the gods ran up and down,
Disinherited of their habitation,
In which they dwelt in rest and peace,
Nymphs, fawns and amadrides;
Nor how the beasts and the birds all
Fled for fear, when the wood was cut fall;
Nor how the ground aghast was of the light,
Which was not wont to see the sun bright;
Nor how the fire was couched first with straw,
And then with dry sticks cloven by three,
And then with green wood and spicery,
And then with cloth of gold and with perrie,
And garlands, hanging with full many a flower;
The myrrh, the incense, with all so great odor;
Nor how Arcite lay among all this,
Nor what richness about his body is;
Nor how that Emily, as was the guise,
Put in the fire of funeral service;
Nor how she swooned when men made the fire,
Nor what she spoke, nor what was her desire;
Nor what jewels men in the fire cast,
When that the fire was great and burned fast;
Nor how some case their shields, and some their spears,
And of their vestments, which that they wore,
And cups full of wine, and milk, and blood,
Into the fire, that burned as it were wood;
Nor how the Greeks, with a huge rout,
Thrice rode all the fire about
Upon the left hand, with a loud shouting,
And thrice with their spears clattering;
And thrice how the ladies gone cry;
And how that led was homeward Emily;
Nor how Arcite is burned to ashes cold;
Nor how that liche-wake was held
All the same night; nor how the Greeks play
The wake-plays; no, care I not to say
Who wrestles best, naked with oil anoint,
Nor who that bore him best, in no disjoint.
I will not tell also how that they go on
Home to Athens, when the play is done;
But shortly to the point then will I wend
And make of my long tale an end.
By process and by length of certain years,
All stopped is the mourning and the tears
Of Greeks, by one general assent.
Then seemed me there was a parliament
At Athens, upon certain points and cases;
Among the which points spoken was,
To have with certain countries alliance,
And have fully of Thebans obeisance.
For which this noble Theseus anon
Let sent after gentle Palamon,
Unknown of him what was the cause and why,
But in his black clothes sorrowfully
He came at his command in hie.
Then sent Theseus for Emily.
When they were set, and hushed was all the place,
And Theseus abiden had a space
Ere any word came from his wise breast,
He eyes set he there as was his lest.
And with a sad visage he sighed still,
And after that right thus he said his will:
'The First Mover of the cause above,
When he first made the fair chain of love,
Great was the effect, and high was his intent.
Well knew he why, and what thereof he meant,
For with that fair chain of love he bound
The fire, the air, the water, and the land
In certain bounds, that they may not flee.
That same Prince and that Mover, ' said he,
'Has established in this wretched world adown
Certain days and duration
To all that is engendered in this place,
Over the which day they cannot pace,
Although they yet those days well abridge.
There needeth not no authority to allege,
For it is proved by experience,
But that me list declare my sentence.
Then may men by this order well discern
That that same Mover stable is and eterne.
Well may men know, but it be a fool,
That every part derives from his whole,
For nature has not taken his beginning
Of no part or portion of a thing,
But of a thing that perfect is complete and stable,
Descending so til it be corruptible.
And therefore, of his wise providence,
He has so well beset his ordinance
That species of things and progressions
Shall endure by successions,
And not eternal, without any lie.
This may you understand and see at yea.
'Lo the oak, that has so long a nourishing
From the time that it first begins to spring,
And has so long a life, as we may see,
Yet at the last wasted is the tree.
'Consider too how that the hard stone
Under our feet, on which we tread and go on,
Yes wastes it as it lies by the way.
The broad river sometimes waxes dry;
The great towns see we wane and wend.
Then may you see that all these things have end.
'Of man and woman see we well also
That needs, in one of these terms two -
This is to say, in youth or else age -
He must be dead, the king as shall a page;
Some in his bed, some in the deep sea,
Some in the large field, as men may see;
There helps naught; all goes that same way.
Then may I say that all these thing must die.
'What makes this but Jupiter, the king,
That is prince and cause of all things,
Converting all unto his proper well
From which it is derived, truth to tell?
And here against no creature alive,
Of no degree, availleth for to strive.
'Then is it wisdom, as it thinketh me,
To make virtue of necessity,
And take it well that we may not eschew,
And namely that to us all is due.
And whoso grouches ought, he does folly,
And rebel is to him that all may gye.
And certainly a man has most honor
To die in his excellence and flower,
When he is secure of his good name;
Then has he done his friend, nor him, no shame.
And gladder ought his friend be of his death,
When with honor up yielded is his breath,
Than when his name paled is for age,
For all forgotten is his vassalage.
Then is it best, as for a worthy fame,
To die when that he is best of name.
'The contrary of all this is willfulness.
Why grouch we, why have we heaviness,
That good Arcite, of chivalry flower,
Departed is with duty and honor
Out of this foul prison of this life?
Why grouch here his cousin and his wife
Of his welfare, that loved them so well?
Can he them thank? Nay, God knows, never a dell;
They both his soul and too themselves offend,
And yet they must their lusts not amend.
'What may I conclude of this long series,
But after woe I read us to be merry
And thank Jupiter of all his grace?
And ere that we depart from this place
I read that we make of sorrows two
One perfect joy, lasting evermore.
And look now, where most sorrow is herein,
There will we first amend and begin.
'Sister, ' said he, 'this is my full assent,
With all the advice here of my parliament,
That gentle Palamon, your own knight,
Who serves you with will, heart, and might,
And ever has done since you first knew him,
That you shall of your grace have upon him rue,
And take him for husband and for lord.
Lend me your hand, for this is our accord.
Let see now of your womanly pity.
He is a king's brother's son, indeed;
And though he were a poor bachelor,
Since he has served you so many a year,
And had for you so great adversity,
It must be considered, believe me,
For gentle mercy ought to pass right.'
Then said he thus to Palamon the knight:
'I trust there needs little sermoning
To make you assent to this thing.
Come near, and take your lady by the hand.'
Between them was made anon the band
That's called matrimony or marriage,
By all the council and the baronage.
And thus with all bliss and melody
Has Palamon wedded Emily.
And God, that all this wide world has wrought,
Send him his love that has it dear bought;
For now is Palamon in all wealth,
Living in bliss, in riches, and in health,
And Emily him loves so tenderly,
And he her serves so gently,
That never was there no word them between
Of jealousy or any other tene.
Thus ends Palamon and Emily;
And God save all this fair company! Amen.
Here is ended the Knights Tale
Comments about Geoffrey Chaucer, The Knight's Tale, Part Iv - (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation) by Forrest Hainline
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- 35. Shelley’s Pyre , Robert Laurence Binyon
- 36. You Started This Fire , Lawrence S. Pertillar
- 37. In The Path Of Fire , Piyush Dey
- 38. American Inferno , Justin Reamer
- 39. Ringing The Bell: The Olypics , Atef Ayadi
- 40. That Warm Island Submerged -那 .. , starseven0 starseven0
- 41. All The Good Reasons That Get In The Way.. , Patrick White
- 42. False Mood , gajanan mishra
- 43. Reflections On My Time In The South Afri.. , Gert Strydom
- 44. Fire And Screams , Maya Hanson (mye3)
- 45. Fire Fighting Days , Francis Duggan
- 46. The Pit , Randy McClave
- 47. -tame Love Only Exists , Rm.Shanmugam Chettiar.
- 48. O Fire , gajanan mishra
- 49. Fire Is Different , gajanan mishra
- 50. Power Of Fire.. , Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
New Fire Poems
- Sage Fire, Zubyre Parvez
- Ignite Your Fire, Ali Rahimi
- Fire, Fire, Fire!, krishna Manohar
- Fire Fighting, Kumarmani Mahakul
- Smoke Is Temporary, gajanan mishra
- Fire, Mthoko Mpofana
- Life In Fire, gajanan mishra
- The Burning Fire., Gangadharan nair Pulingat..
- Fire, Fire, Fight With The Fire, gajanan mishra
- Fire! Fire! Fire!, Umasree Raghunath
- carpe diem