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From The Knight's Tale, lines 1056-1108:
The form and shape of Venus
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 1109-1192: The form and shape of Mars


      Why sholde I noght as wel eek telle yow al
1110The portreiture, that was upon the wal
Withinne the temple of myghty Mars the rede?
Al peynted was the wal in lengthe and brede
Lyk to the estres of the grisly place
That highte the grete temple of Mars in Trace,
1115In thilke colde frosty regioun
Ther as Mars hath his sovereyn mansioun.
      Why should I not as well, now, tell you all
1110The portraiture that was upon the wall
Within the fane of mighty Mars the red?
In length and breadth the whole wall was painted
Like the interior of that grisly place,
The mighty temple of great Mars in Thrace,
1115In that same cold and frosty region where
Mars to his supreme mansion may repair.
      First on the wal was peynted a forest
In which ther dwelleth neither man ne best,
With knotty, knarry, bareyne trees olde,
1120Of stubbes sharpe and hidouse to biholde,
In which ther ran a rumbel and a swough
As though a storm sholde bresten every bough.
And dounward from an hille, under a bente,
Ther stood the temple of Mars Armypotente,
1125Wroght al of burned steel, of which the entree
Was long and streit, and gastly for to see,
And therout came a rage and suche a veze,
That it made al the gate for to rese.
The northren lyght in at the dores shoon,
1130For wyndowe on the wal ne was ther noon,
Thurgh which men myghten any light discerne.
The dore was al of adamant eterne,
Yclenched overthwart and endelong
With iren tough, and for to make it strong
1135Every pyler, the temple to sustene,
Was tonne-greet of iren bright and shene.
      First, on the wall was limned a vast forest
Wherein there dwelt no man nor any beast,
With knotted, gnarled, and leafless trees, so old
1120The sharpened stumps were dreadful to behold;
Through which there ran a rumbling, even now,
As if a storm were breaking every bough;
And down a hill, beneath a sharp descent,
The temple stood of Mars armipotent,
1125Wrought all of burnished steel, whereof the gate
Was grim like death to see, and long, and strait.
And therefrom raged a wind that seemed to shake
The very ground, and made the great doors quake.
The northern light in at those same doors shone,
1130For window in that massive wall was none
Through which a man might any light discern.
The doors were all of adamant eterne,
Rivetted on both sides, and all along,
With toughest iron; and to make it strong,
1135Each pillar that sustained this temple grim
Was thick as tun, of iron bright and trim.
      Ther saugh I first the dirke ymaginyng
Of Felonye, and al the compassyng,
The crueel Ire, reed as any gleede,
1140The pykepurs, and eek the pale Drede,
The smylere with the knyf under the cloke,
The shepne brennynge with the blake smoke,
The tresoun of the mordrynge in the bedde,
The open werre, with woundes al bibledde;
1145Contek, with blody knyf and sharp manace,
Al ful of chirkyng was that sory place.
The sleere of hymself yet saugh I ther,
His herte-blood hath bathed al his heer;
The nayl ydryven in the shode anyght,
1150The colde deeth, with mouth gapyng upright.
Amyddes of the temple sat Meschaunce,
With Disconfort and Sory Contenaunce.
Yet saugh I Woodnesse laughynge in his rage,
Armed Compleint, Outhees, and fiers Outrage;
1155The careyne in the busk with throte ycorve,
A thousand slayn, and nat of qualm ystorve,
The tiraunt with the pray by force yraft,
The toun destroyed, ther was nothyng laft.
Yet saugh I brent the shippes hoppesteres,
1160The hunte strangled with the wilde beres,
The sowe freten the child right in the cradel,
The cook yscalded, for al his longe ladel.
Noght was foryeten by the infortune of Marte,
The cartere overryden with his carte,
1165Under the wheel ful lowe he lay adoun.
Ther were also, of Martes divisioun,
The barbour, and the bocher, and the smyth
That forgeth sharpe swerdes on his styth.
And al above, depeynted in a tour,
1170Saugh I Conquest sittynge in greet honour,
With the sharpe swerd over his heed
Hangynge by a soutil twyned threed.
Depeynted was the slaughtre of Julius,
Of grete Nero, and of Antonius;
1175Al be that thilke tyme they were unborn,
Yet was hir deth depeynted ther-biforn
By manasynge of Mars, right by figure;
So was it shewed in that portreiture,
As is depeynted in the sterres above
1180Who shal be slayn or elles deed for love.
Suffiseth oon ensample in stories olde,
I may nat rekene hem alle though I wolde.
      There saw I first the dark imagining
Of felony, and all the compassing;
And cruel anger, red as burning coal;
1140Pickpurses, and the dread that eats the soul;
The smiling villain, hiding knife in cloak;
The farm barns burning, and the thick black smoke;
The treachery of murder done in bed;
The open battle, with the wounds that bled;
1145Contest, with bloody knife and sharp menace;
And loud with creaking was that dismal place.
The slayer of himself, too, saw I there,
His very heart's blood matted in his hair;
The nail that's driven in the skull by night;
1150The cold plague-corpse, with gaping mouth upright
In middle of the temple sat Mischance,
With gloomy, grimly woeful countenance.
And saw I Madness laughing in his rage;
Armed risings, and outcries, and fierce outrage;
1155The carrion in the bush, with throat wide carved;
A thousand slain, nor one by plague, nor starved.
The tyrant, with the spoils of violent theft;
The town destroyed, in ruins, nothing left.
And saw I burnt the ships that dance by phares,
1160The hunter strangled by the fierce wild bears;
The sow chewing the child right in the cradle;
The cook well scalded, spite of his long ladle.
Nothing was lacking of Mars' evil part:
The carter over-driven by his cart,
1165Under a wheel he lay low in the dust.
There were likewise in Mars' house, as needs must,
The surgeon, and the butcher, and the smith
Who forges sharp swords and great ills therewith.
And over all, depicted in a tower,
1170Sat Conquest, high in honour and in power,
Yet with a sharp sword hanging o'er his head
But by the tenuous twisting of a thread.
Depicted was the death of Julius,
Of Nero great, and of Antonius;
1175And though at that same time they were unborn,
There were their deaths depicted to adorn
The menacing of Mars, in likeness sure;
Things were so shown, in all that portraiture,
As are fore-shown among the stars above,
1180Who shall be slain in war or dead for love.
Suffice one instance from old plenitude,
I could not tell them all, even if I would.
      The statue of Mars upon a carte stood
Armed, and looked grym as he were wood,
1185And over his heed ther shynen two figures
Of sterres, that been cleped in scriptures
That oon Puella, that oother Rubeus.
This god of armes was arrayed thus:
A wolf ther stood biforn hym at his feet,
1190With eyen rede, and of a man he eet.
With soutil pencel was depeynt this storie,
In redoutynge of Mars and of his glorie.
      Mars' image stood upon a chariot,
Armed, and so grim that he seemed mad;
1185And o'er his head two constellations shone
Of stars that have been named in writings known.
One being Puella, and one Rubeus.
This god of armies was companioned thus:
A wolf there was before him, at his feet,
1190Red-eyed, and of a dead man he did eat.
A cunning pencil there had limned this story
In reverence of Mars and of his glory.




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From The Knight's Tale, lines 1193-1230:
The form and shape of Diana
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