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From The Knight's Tale, lines 1351-1412:
Palamon prays at Venus' temple
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 1413-1508: Emily prays at Diana's temple


      Whan the orison was doon of Palamon,
His sacrifice he dide, and that anon,
1405Ful pitously with alle circumstaunces,
Al telle I noght as now his observaunces.
But atte laste, the statue of Venus shook,
And made a signe wherby that he took
That his preyere accepted was that day.
1410For thogh the signe shewed a delay,
Yet wiste he wel that graunted was his boone,
And with glad herte he wente hym hoom ful soone.
      Now when he'd finished all the orison,
His sacrifice he made, this Palamon,
1405Right piously, with all the circumstance,
Albeit I tell not now his observance.
But at the last the form of Venus shook
And gave a sign, and thereupon he took
This as acceptance of his prayer that day.
1410For though the augury showed some delay,
Yet he knew well that granted was his boon;
And with glad heart he got him home right soon.
      The thridde houre inequal, that Palamon
Bigan to Venus temple for to gon,
1415Up roos the sonne, and up roos Emelye,
And to the temple of Dyane gan hye.
Hir maydens that she thider with hir ladde,
Ful redily with hem the fyr they ladde,
Th'encens, the clothes, and the remenant al
1420That to the sacrifice longen shal.
The hornes fulle of meeth, as was the gyse,
Ther lakked noght to doon hir sacrifise,
Smokynge the temple, ful of clothes faire.
This Emelye, with herte debonaire,
1425Hir body wessh with water of a welle-
But how she dide hir ryte I dar nat telle,
But it be any thing in general;
And yet it were a game to heeren al,
To hym that meneth wel it were no charge,
1430But it is good a man been at his large.-
Hir brighte heer was kembd, untressed al,
A coroune of a grene ook cerial
Upon hir heed was set, ful fair and meete.
Two fyres on the auter gan she beete,
1435And dide hir thynges as men may biholde
In Stace of Thebes, and thise bookes olde.
Whan kyndled was the fyr, with pitous cheere
Unto Dyane she spak as ye may heere.
      Three hours unequal after Palamon
To Venus' temple at the lists had gone,
1415Up rose the sun and up rose Emily,
And to Diana's temple did she hie.
Her virgins led she thither, and with them
They carefully took fire and each emblem,
And incense, robes, and the remainder all
1420Of things for sacrifice ceremonial.
There was not one thing lacking; I'll but add
The horns of mead, as was a way they had.
In smoking temple, full of draperies fair,
This Emily with young heart debonnaire,
1425Her body washed in water from a well;
But how she did the rite I dare not tell,
Except it be at large, in general;
And yet it was a thing worth hearing all;
When one's well meaning, there is no transgression;
1430But it is best to speak at one's discretion.
Her bright hair was unbound, but combed withal;
She wore of green oak leaves a coronal
Upon her lovely head. Then she began
Two fires upon the altar stone to fan,
1435And did her ceremonies as we're told
In Statius' Thebaid and books as old.
When kindled was the fire, with sober face
Unto Diana spoke she in that place.
      "O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
1440To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,
Queene of the regne of Pluto derk and lowe,
Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe
Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
As keep me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
1445That Attheon aboughte cruelly.
Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
Desire to ben a mayden al my lyf,
Ne nevere wol I be no love ne wyf.
I am, thow woost, yet of thy compaignye,
1450A mayde, and love huntynge and venerye,
And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
And noght to ben a wyf, and be with childe.
Noght wol I knowe the compaignye of man;
Now helpe me, lady, sith ye may and kan,
1455For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
And Palamon, that hath swich love to me,
And eek Arcite, that loveth me so soore,
This grace I preye thee, withoute moore,
As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two,
1460And fro me turne awey hir hertes so,
That al hir hoote love and hir desir,
And al hir bisy torment and hir fir,
Be queynt, or turned in another place.
And if so be thou wolt do me no grace,
1465And if my destynee be shapen so
That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
As sende me hym that moost desireth me.
Bihoold, goddesse, of clene chastitee,
The bittre teeris that on my chekes falle.
1470Syn thou art mayde and kepere of us alle,
My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve,
And whil I lyve a mayde, I wol thee serve."
      "O thou chaste goddess of the wildwood green,
1440By whom all heaven and earth and sea are seen,
Queen of the realm of Pluto, dark and low,
Goddess of maidens, that my heart dost know
For all my years, and knowest what I desire,
Oh, save me from thy vengeance and thine ire
1445That on Actaeon fell so cruelly.
Chaste goddess, well indeed thou knowest that I
Desire to be a virgin all my life,
Nor ever wish to be man's love or wife.
I am, thou know'st, yet of thy company,
1450A virgin, who loves the hunt and venery,
And to go rambling in the greenwood wild,
And not to be a wife and be with child.
I do not crave the company of man.
Now help me, lady, since thou may'st and can,
1455By the three beings who are one in thee.
For Palamon, who bears such love to me,
And for Arcita, loving me so sore,
This grace I pray thee, without one thing more,
To send down love and peace between those two,
1460And turn their hearts away from me: so do
That all their furious love and their desire,
And all their ceaseless torment and their fire
Be quenched or turned into another place;
And if it be thou wilt not show this grace,
1465Or if my destiny be moulded so
That I must needs have one of these same two,
Then send me him that most desires me.
Behold, O goddess of utter chastity,
The bitter tears that down my two cheeks fall.
1470Since thou art virgin and keeper of us all,
My virginity keep you, and still preserve,
And while I live as a virgin, you will I serve."
      The fires brenne upon the auter cleere,
Whil Emelye was thus in hir preyere;
1475But sodeynly she saugh a sighte queynte,
For right anon oon of the fyres queynte,
And quyked agayn, and after that anon
That oother fyr was queynt and al agon;
And as it queynte, it made a whistelynge
1480As doon thise wete brondes in hir brennynge;
And at the brondes ende out ran anon
As it were blody dropes many oon;
For which so soore agast was Emelye
That she was wel ny mad, and gan to crye;
1485For she ne wiste what it signyfied.
But oonly for the feere thus hath she cried,
And weep that it was pitee for to heere.
And therwithal Dyane gan appeere,
With bowe in honde, right as an hunteresse,
1490And seyde, "Doghter, stynt thyn hevynesse.
Among the goddes hye it is affermed,
And by eterne word writen and confermed,
Thou shalt ben wedded unto oon of tho
That han for thee so muchel care and wo.
1495But unto which of hem I may nat telle,
Farwel, for I ne may no lenger dwelle.
The fires whiche that on myn auter brenne
Shule thee declaren, er that thou go henne,
Thyn aventure of love, as in this cas."
1500And with that word, the arwes in the caas
Of the goddesse clateren faste and rynge,
And forth she wente, and made a vanysshynge,
For which this Emelye astoned was,
And seyde, "What amounteth this, allas!
1505I putte me in thy proteccioun,
Dyane, and in thy disposicioun!"
And hoom she goth anon the nexte weye.
This is th'effect, ther is namoore to seye.
      The fires blazed high upon the altar there,
While Emily was saying thus her prayer,
1475But suddenly she saw a sight most quaint,
For there, before her eyes, one fire went faint,
Then blazed again; and after that, anon,
The other fire was quenched, and so was gone.
And as it died it made a whistling sound,
1480As do wet branches burning on the ground,
And from the brands' ends there ran out, anon,
What looked like drops of blood, and many a one;
At which so much aghast was Emily
That she was near dazed, and began to cry,
1485For she knew naught of what it signified;
But only out of terror thus she cried
And wept, till it was pitiful to hear.
But thereupon Diana did appear,
With bow in hand, like any right huntress,
1490And said: "My daughter, leave this heaviness.
Among the high gods it has been affirmed,
And by eternal written word confirmed,
That you shall be the wife of one of those
Who bear for you so many cares and woes;
1495But unto which of them may not tell.
I can no longer tarry, so farewell.
The fires that on my altar burn incense
Should tell you everything, before you go hence,
Of what must come of love in this your case."
1500And with that word the arrows of the chase
The goddess carried clattered and did ring,
And forth she went in mystic vanishing;
At which this Emily astonished was,
And said she then: "Ah, what means this, alas!
1505I put myself in thy protection here,
Diana, and at thy disposal dear."
And home she wended, then, the nearest way.
This is the purport; there's no more to say.




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From The Knight's Tale, lines 1509-1579:
Arcita prays at Mars' temple
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