Previous Previous:
From The Knight's Tale, lines 541-592:
Arcita disguises himself as a poor labourer and finds employement at Theseus' court
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 593-629: After seven years, Palamon escapes from prison

      In derknesse and horrible and strong prisoun
Thise seven yeer hath seten Palamoun,
595Forpyned, what for wo and for distresse.
Who feeleth double soor and hevynesse
But Palamon, that love destreyneth so,
That wood out of his wit he goth for wo?
And eek therto he is a prisoner,
600Perpetuelly, noght oonly for a yer.
      In darkness, in horrible and strong prison
These seven years has now sat Palamon,
595Wasted by woe and by his long distress.
Who has a two-fold evil heaviness
But Palamon? whom love yet tortures so
That half out of his wits he is for woe;
And joined thereto he is a prisoner,
600Perpetually, not only for a year.
      Who koude ryme in Englyssh proprely
His martirdom? For sothe it am nat I,
Therfore I passe as lightly as I may.
      It fel that in the seventhe yer, in May,
605The thridde nyght, (as olde bookes seyn,
That al this storie tellen moore pleyn)
Were it by aventure or destynee -
As, whan a thyng is shapen, it shal be -
That soone after the mydnyght Palamoun
610By helpyng of a freend, brak his prisoun
And fleeth the citee faste as he may go;
For he hade yeve his gayler drynke so
Of a clarree maad of a certeyn wyn,
With nercotikes and opie of Thebes fyn,
615That al that nyght, thogh that men wolde him shake,
The gayler sleep, he myghte nat awake.
And thus he fleeth as faste as evere he may;
The nyght was short and faste by the day,
That nedes-cost he moot hymselven hyde;
620And til a grove, faste ther bisyde,
With dredeful foot thanne stalketh Palamoun.
For shortly, this was his opinioun,
That in that grove he wolde hym hyde al day,
And in the nyght thanne wolde he take his way
625To Thebes-ward, his freendes for to preye
On Theseus to helpe hym to werreye;
And shortly, outher he wolde lese his lif,
Or wynnen Emelye unto his wyf;
This is th'effect and his entente pleyn.
      And who could rhyme in English, properly,
His martyrdom? In truth, it is not I;
And therefore I pass lightly on my way.
It fell out in the seventh year, in May,
605On the third night (as say the books of old
Which have this story much more fully told),
Were it by chance or were it destiny
Since, when a thing is destined, it must be,
That, shortly after midnight, Palamon,
610By helping of a friend, broke from prison,
And fled the city, fast as he might go;
For he had given his guard a drink that so
Was mixed of spice and honey and certain wine
And Theban opiate and anodyne,
615That all that night, although a man might shake
This jailor, he slept on, nor could awake.
And thus he flees as fast as ever he may.
The night was short and it was nearly day,
Wherefore he needs must find a place to hide;
620And to a grove that grew hard by, with stride
Of furtive foot, went fearful Palamon.
In brief, he'd formed his plan, as he went on,
That in the grove he would lie fast all day,
And when night came, then would he take his way
625Toward Thebes, and there find friends, and of them pray
Their help on Theseus in war's array;
And briefly either he would lose his life,
Or else win Emily to be his wife;
This is the gist of his intention plain.

Next Next:
From The Knight's Tale, lines 630-669:
Arcita walks through the fields and does not know that Palamon is hiding in the vicinity