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From The Knight's Tale, lines 147-174:
Two knights, Arcita and Palamon, are captured and imprisoned
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 175-233: Emily walks in the garden and is seen by the two prisoners


175       This passeth yeer by yeer, and day by day,
Till it fil ones, in a morwe of May,
That Emelye, that fairer was to sene
Than is the lylie upon his stalke grene,
And fressher than the May with floures newe-
180For with the rose colour stroof hir hewe,
I noot which was the fairer of hem two-
Er it were day, as was hir wone to do,
She was arisen, and al redy dight-
For May wole have no slogardie a-nyght;
185The sesoun priketh every gentil herte,
And maketh hym out of his slepe to sterte,
And seith, "Arys and do thyn observaunce."
This maked Emelye have remembraunce
To doon honour to May, and for to ryse.
190Yclothed was she fressh, for to devyse,
Hir yelow heer was broyded in a tresse,
Bihynde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse,
And in the gardyn, at the sonne upriste,
She walketh up and doun, and as hir liste
195She gadereth floures, party white and rede,
To make a subtil gerland for hir hede,
And as an aungel hevenysshly she soong.
The grete tour, that was so thikke and stroong,
Which of the castel was the chief dongeoun,
200(Ther as the knyghtes weren in prisoun,
Of whiche I tolde yow, and tellen shal)
Was evene joynant to the gardyn wal
Ther as this Emelye hadde hir pleyynge.
Bright was the sonne, and cleer that morwenynge,
205And Palamoun, this woful prisoner,
As was his wone, by leve of his gayler,
Was risen, and romed in a chambre on heigh,
In which he al the noble citee seigh,
And eek the gardyn, ful of braunches grene,
210Ther as this fresshe Emelye the shene
Was in hire walk, and romed up and doun.
This sorweful prisoner, this Palamoun,
Goth in the chambre romynge to and fro,
And to hym-self compleynynge of his wo.
215That he was born, ful ofte he seyde, "allas!"
And so bifel, by aventure or cas,
That thurgh a wyndow, thikke of many a barre
Of iren greet, and square as any sparre,
He cast his eye upon Emelya,
220And therwithal he bleynte, and cryede "A!"
As though he stongen were unto the herte.
And with that cry Arcite anon up sterte
And seyde, "Cosyn myn, what eyleth thee,
That art so pale and deedly on to see?
225Why cridestow? who hath thee doon offence?
For Goddess love, taak al in pacience
Oure prisoun, for it may noon oother be;
Fortune hath yeven us this adversitee.
Som wikke aspect or disposicioun
230Of Saturne, by sum constellacioun
Hath yeven us this, al though we hadde it sworn;
So stood the hevene, whan that we were born.
We moste endure it, this the short and playn."
175       Thus passed by year by year and day by day,
Till it fell out, upon a morn in May,
That Emily, far fairer to be seen
Than is the lily on its stalk of green,
And fresher than is May with flowers new
180For with the rose's colour strove her hue,
I know not which was fairer of the two,
Before the dawn, as was her custom to do,
She rose and dressed her body for delight;
For May will have no sluggards of the night.
185That season rouses every gentle heart
And forces it from winter's sleep to start,
Saying: "Arise and show thy reverence."
So Emily remembered to go thence
In honour of the May, and so she rose.
190Clothed, she was sweeter than any flower that blows;
Her yellow hair was braided in one tress
Behind her back, a full yard long, I guess.
And in the garden, as the sun up-rose,
She sauntered back and forth and through each close,
195Gathering many a flower, white and red,
To weave a delicate garland for her head;
And like a heavenly angel's was her song.
The tower tall, which was so thick and strong,
And of the castle was the great donjon,
200(Wherein the two knights languished in prison,
Of whom I told and shall yet tell, withal),
Was joined, at base, unto the garden wall
Whereunder Emily went dallying.
Bright was the sun and clear that morn in spring,
205And Palamon, the woeful prisoner,
As was his wont, by leave of his jailor,
Was up and pacing round that chamber high,
From which the noble city filled his eye,
And, too, the garden full of branches green,
210Wherein bright Emily, fair and serene,
Went walking and went roving up and down.
This sorrowing prisoner, this Palamon,
Being in the chamber, pacing to and fro,
And to himself complaining of his woe,
215Cursing his birth, he often cried "Alas!"
And so it was, by chance or other pass,
That through a window, closed by many a bar
Of iron, strong and square as any spar,
He cast his eyes upon Emilia,
220And thereupon he blenched and cried out "Ah!"
As if he had been beaten to the heart.
And at that cry Arcita did up-start,
Asking: "My cousin, why what ails you now
That you've so deathly pallor on your brow?
225Why did you cry out? Who's offended you?
For God's love, show some patience, as I do,
With prison, for it may not different be;
Fortune has given this adversity.
Some evil disposition or aspect
230Of Saturn did our horoscopes affect
To bring us here, though differently 'twere sworn;
But so the stars stood when we two were born;
We must endure it; that, in brief, is plain."




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From The Knight's Tale, lines 234-264:
Arcita compares Emily with Venus
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