Previous Previous:
From The Knight's Tale, lines 1109-1192:
The form and shape of Mars
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

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

      Now to the temple of Dyane the chaste
As shortly as I kan I wol me haste,
1195To telle yow al the descripsioun.
Depeynted been the walles up and doun
Of huntyng and of shamefast chastitee.
Ther saugh I, how woful Calistopee
Whan that Diane agreved was with here,
1200Was turned from a womman til a bere,
And after was she maad the loode-sterre.
Thus was it peynted, I kan sey yow no ferre -
Hir sone is eek a sterre, as men may see.
Ther saugh I Dane, yturned til a tree,
1205I mene nat the goddesse Diane,
But Penneus doughter, which that highte Dane.
Ther saugh I Attheon an hert ymaked,
For vengeaunce that he saugh Diane al naked.
I saugh how that hise houndes have hym caught
1210And freeten hym, for that they knewe hym naught.
Yet peynted was a litel forther moor
How Atthalante hunted the wilde boor,
And Meleagree, and many another mo,
For which Dyane wroghte hym care and wo.
1215Ther saugh I many another wonder storie,
The which me list nat drawen to memorie.
      Now to the temple of Diana chaste,
As briefly as I can, I'll pass in haste,
1195To lay before you its description well.
In pictures, up and down, the wall could tell
Of hunting and of modest chastity.
There saw I how Callisto fared when she
Diana being much aggrieved with her
1200Was changed from woman into a female bear,
And after, made into the lone Pole Star;
There was it; I can't tell how such things are.
Her son, too, is a star, as men may see.
There saw I Daphne turned into a tree
1205I do not mean Diana, no, but she,
Peneus' daughter, who was called Daphne
I saw Actaeon made a hart all rude
For punishment of seeing Diana nude;
I saw, too, how his fifty hounds had caught
1210And him were eating, since they knew him not.
And painted farther on, I saw before
How Atalanta hunted the wild boar;
And Meleager, and many another there,
For which Diana wrought him woe and care.
1215There saw I many another wondrous tale
From which I will not now draw memory's veil.
      This goddesse on an hert ful hye seet,
With smale houndes al aboute hir feet;
And undernethe hir feet she hadde a moone,
1220Wexynge it was, and sholde wanye soone.
In gaude grene hir statue clothed was,
With bowe in honde, and arwes in a cas.
Hir eyen caste she ful lowe adoun,
Ther Pluto hath his derke regioun.
1225A womman travaillynge was hir biforn;
But for hir child so longe was unborn
Ful pitously Lucyna gan she calle,
And seyde, "Help, for thou mayst best of alle!"
Wel koude he peynten lyfly, that it wroghte,
1230With many a floryn he the hewes boghte.
      This goddess on an antlered hart was set,
With little hounds about her feet, and yet
Beneath her perfect feet there was a moon,
1220Waxing it was, but it should wane full soon.
In robes of yellowish green her statue was,
She'd bow in hand and arrows in a case.
Her eyes were downcast, looking at the ground.
Where Pluto in his dark realm may be found.
1225Before her was a woman travailing,
Who was so long in giving birth, poor thing,
That pitifully Lucina did she call,
Praying, "Oh help, for thou may'st best of all!"
Well could he paint, who had this picture wrought,
1230With many a florin he'd his colours bought,

Next Next:
From The Knight's Tale, lines 1231-1258:
Arcita and Palamon and their company come to Athens