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From The Knight's Tale, lines 361-416:
Arcita is released from prison and regrets losing the sight on Emily
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 417-478: Palamon pities himself still being in prison


      Upon that oother syde, Palamon,
Whan that he wiste Arcite was agon,
Swich sorwe he maketh that the grete tour
420Resouneth of his youlyng and clamour.
The pure fettres on his shynes grete
Weren of his bittre salte teeres wete.
"Allas," quod he, "Arcite, cosyn myn!
Of al oure strif, God woot, the fruyt is thyn.
425Thow walkest now in Thebes at thy large,
And of my wo thow yevest litel charge.
Thou mayst, syn thou hast wysdom and manhede,
Assemblen alle the folk of oure kynrede,
And make a werre so sharp on this citee,
430That by som aventure, or som tretee,
Thow mayst have hir to lady and to wyf,
For whom that I moste nedes lese my lyf.
For as by wey of possibilitee,
Sith thou art at thy large, of prisoun free,
435And art a lord, greet is thyn avauntage
Moore than is myn, that sterve here in a cage.
For I moot wepe and wayle, whil I lyve,
With al the wo that prison may me yeve,
And eek with peyne that love me yeveth also,
440That doubleth al my torment and my wo."
Therwith the fyr of jalousie up-sterte
Withinne his brest, and hente him by the herte
So woodly, that he lyk was to biholde
The boxtree, or the asshen dede and colde.
      And on the other hand, this Palamon,
When that he found Arcita truly gone,
Such lamentation made he, that the tower
420Resounded of his crying, hour by hour.
The very fetters on his legs were yet
Again with all his bitter salt tears wet.
"Alas!" said he, "Arcita, cousin mine,
With all our strife, God knows, you've won the wine.
425You're walking, now, in Theban streets, at large,
And all my woe you may from mind discharge.
You may, too, since you've wisdom and manhood,
Assemble all the people of our blood
And wage a war so sharp on this city
430That by some fortune, or by some treaty,
You shall yet have that lady to your wife
For whom I now must needs lay down my life.
For surely 'tis in possibility,
Since you are now at large, from prison free,
435And are a lord, great is your advantage
Above my own, who die here in a cage.
For I must weep and wail, the while I live,
In all the grief that prison cell may give,
And now with pain that love gives me, also,
440Which doubles all my torment and my woe."
Therewith the fires of jealousy up-start
Within his breast and burn him to the heart
So wildly that he seems one, to behold,
Like seared box tree, or ashes, dead and cold.
445       Thanne seyde he, "O cruel Goddes, that governe
This world with byndyng of youre word eterne,
And writen in the table of atthamaunt
Youre parlement and youre eterne graunt,
What is mankynde moore unto you holde
450Than is the sheep that rouketh in the folde?
For slayn is man right as another beest,
And dwelleth eek in prison and arreest,
And hath siknesse, and greet adversitee,
And ofte tymes giltelees, pardee.
445       Then said he: "O you cruel Gods, that sway
This world in bondage of your laws, for aye,
And write upon the tablets adamant
Your counsels and the changeless words you grant,
What better view of mankind do you hold
450Than of the sheep that huddle in the fold?
For man must die like any other beast,
Or rot in prison, under foul arrest,
And suffer sickness and misfortune sad,
And still be ofttimes guiltless, too, by gad!
455       What governance is in this prescience
That giltelees tormenteth innocence?
And yet encresseth this al my penaunce,
That man is bounden to his observaunce,
For Goddes sake, to letten of his wille,
460Ther as a beest may al his lust fulfille.
And whan a beest is deed, he hath no peyne,
But man after his deeth moot wepe and pleyne,
Though in this world he have care and wo.
Withouten doute it may stonden so.
465The answere of this lete I to dyvynys,
But well I woot, that in this world greet pyne ys.
Allas, I se a serpent or a theef,
That many a trewe man hath doon mescheef,
Goon at his large, and where hym list may turne!
470But I moot been in prisoun thurgh Saturne,
And eek thurgh Juno, jalous and eek wood,
That hath destroyed wel ny al the blood
Of Thebes with hise waste walles wyde.
And Venus sleeth me on that oother syde
475For jalousie and fere of hym Arcite."
      Now wol I stynte of Palamon a lite,
And lete hym in his prisoun stille dwelle,
And of Arcita forth I wol yow telle.
455       What management is in this prescience
That, guiltless, yet torments our innocence?
And this increases all my pain, as well,
That man is bound by law, nor may rebel,
For fear of God, but must repress his will,
460Whereas a beast may all his lust fulfill.
And when a beast is dead, he feels no pain;
But, after death, man yet must weep amain,
Though in this world he had but care and woe:
There is no doubt that it is even so.
465The answer leave I to divines to tell,
But well I know this present world is hell.
Alas! I see a snake or a thief,
That has brought many a true man unto grief,
Going at large, and where he wills may turn,
470But I must lie in gaol, because Saturn,
And Juno too, both envious and mad,
Have spilled out well-nigh all the blood we had
At Thebes, and desolated her wide walls.
And Venus slays me with the bitter galls
475Of fear of Arcita, and jealousy."
Now will I leave this Palamon, for he
Is in his prison, where he still must dwell,
And of Arcita will I forthwith tell.




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From The Knight's Tale, lines 479-496:
The Knight asks which of the two knights is the luckiest
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