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From The Knight's Tale, lines 351-360:
The conditions of the ransom
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 361-416: Arcita is released from prison and regrets losing the sight on Emily


      How greet a sorwe suffreth now Arcite!
The deeth he feeleth thurgh his herte smyte,
He wepeth, wayleth, crieth pitously,
To sleen hymself he waiteth prively.
365He seyde, "Allas, that day that he was born!
Now is my prisoun worse than biforn;
Now is me shape eternally to dwelle
Nat in purgatorie, but in helle.
Allas, that evere knew I Perotheus!
370For elles hadde I dwelled with Theseus,
Yfetered in his prisoun evermo;
Thanne hadde I been in blisse, and nat in wo.
Oonly the sighte of hire whom that I serve,
Though that I nevere hir grace may deserve,
375Wolde han suffised right ynough for me.
O deere cosyn Palamon," quod he,
"Thyn is the victorie of this aventure.
Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure.-
In prisoun? certes, nay, but in paradys!
380Wel hath Fortune yturned thee the dys,
That hast the sighte of hir, and I th'absence;
For possible is, syn thou hast hir presence,
And art a knyght, a worthy and an able,
That by som cas, syn Fortune is chaungeable,
385Thow maist to thy desir som tyme atteyne.
But I, that am exiled and bareyne
Of alle grace, and in so greet dispeir
That ther nys erthe, water, fir, ne eir,
Ne creature, that of hem maked is,
390That may me helpe or doon confort in this,
Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse,
Farwel, my lif, my lust, and my gladnesse!
      How great a sorrow is Arcita's now!
How through his heart he feels death's heavy blow,
He weeps, he wails, he cries out piteously;
He thinks to slay himself all privily.
365He said: "Alas, the day that I was born!
I'm in worse prison, now, and more forlorn;
Now am I doomed eternally to dwell
No more in Purgatory, but in Hell.
Alas, that I have known Pirithous!
370For else had I remained with Theseus,
Fettered within that cell; but even so
Then had I been in bliss and not in woe.
Only the sight of her that I would serve,
Though I might never her dear grace deserve,
375Would have sufficed, oh well enough for me!
O my dear cousin Palamon," said he,
"Yours is the victory, and that is sure,
For there, full happily, you may endure.
In prison? Never, but in Paradise!
380Oh, well has Fortune turned for you the dice,
Who have the sight of her, I the absence.
For possible it is, in her presence,
You being a knight, a worthy and able,
That by some chance, since Fortune's changeable.
385You may to your desire sometime attain.
But I, that am in exile and in pain,
Stripped of all hope and in so deep despair
That there's no earth nor water, fire nor air,
Nor any creature made of them there is
390To help or give me comfort, now, in this -
Surely I'll die of sorrow and distress;
Farewell, my life, my love, my joyousness!
      Allas, why pleynen folk so in commune
On purveiaunce of God or of Fortune,
395That yeveth hem ful ofte in many a gyse
Wel bettre than they kan hemself devyse?
Som man desireth for to han richesse,
That cause is of his mordre of greet siknesse.
And som man wolde out of his prisoun fayn,
400That in his hous is of his meynee slayn.
Infinite harmes been in this mateere,
We witen nat what thing we preyen heere.
We faren as he that dronke is as a mous;
A dronke man woot wel he hath an hous,
405But he noot which the righte wey is thider,
And to a dronke man the wey is slider.
And certes, in this world so faren we;
We seken faste after felicitee,
But we goon wrong ful often trewely.
410Thus may we seyen alle, and namely I,
That wende and hadde a greet opinioun
That if I myghte escapen from prisoun,
Thanne hadde I been in joye and perfit heele,
Ther now I am exiled fro my wele.
415Syn that I may nat seen you, Emelye,
I nam but deed, ther nys no remedye."
      Alas! Why is it men so much complain
Of what great God, or Fortune, may ordain,
395When better is the gift, in any guise,
Than men may often for themselves devise?
One man desires only that great wealth
Which may but cause his death or long ill-health.
One who from prison gladly would be free,
400At home by his own servants slain might be.
Infinite evils lie therein, 'tis clear;
We know not what it is we pray for here.
We fare as he that's drunken as a mouse;
A drunk man knows right well he has a house,
405But he knows not the right way leading thither;
And a drunk man is sure to slip and slither.
And certainly, in this world so fare we;
We furiously pursue felicity,
Yet we go often wrong before we die.
410This may we all admit, and specially I,
Who deemed and held, as I were under spell,
That if I might escape from prison cell,
Then would I find again what might heal,
Who now am only exiled from my weal.
415For since I may not see you, Emily,
I am as good as dead; there is no remedy."




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From The Knight's Tale, lines 417-478:
Palamon pities himself still being in prison
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