Previous Previous:
From The Knight's Tale, lines 1625-1664:
The feast and the night at Theseus' court
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 1665-1702: Duke Theseus stipulates some conditions to avoid a bloodbath


1665       The grete Theseus, that of his sleep awaked
With mynstralcie and noyse that was maked,
Heeld yet the chambre of his paleys riche,
Til that the Thebane knyghtes, bothe yliche
Honured, were into the paleys fet.
1670Duc Theseus was at a wyndow set,
Arrayed, right as he were a god in trone.
The peple preesseth thiderward ful soone,
Hym for to seen and doon heigh reverence.
And eek to herkne his heste and his sentence.
1675An heraud on a scaffold made an "Oo!"
Til al the noyse of peple was ydo,
And whan he saugh the peple of noyse al stille,
Tho shewed he the myghty dukes wille.
1665       The mighty Theseus, from sleep awakened
By songs and all the noise that never slackened,
Kept yet the chamber of this rich palace,
Till the two Theban knights, with equal grace
And honour, were ushered in with flourish fitting.
1670Duke Theseus was at a window sitting,
Dressed as he were god upon a throne.
Then pressed the people thitherward full soon,
To see him and to do him reverence,
Aye, and to hear commands of sapience.
1675A herald on a scaffold cried out "Ho!"
Till all the people's noise was stilled; and so,
When he observed that all were fallen still,
He then proclaimed the mighty ruler's will.
      "The lord hath of his heigh discrecioun
1680Considered that it were destruccioun
To gentil blood, to fighten in the gyse
Of mortal bataille, now in this emprise;
Wherfore, to shapen that they shal nat dye,
He wolde his firste purpos modifye.
1685No man therfore, up peyne of los of lyf,
No maner shot, ne polax, ne short knyf
Into the lystes sende, ne thider brynge.
Ne short swerd for to stoke, with poynt bitynge,
No man ne drawe, ne bere by his syde;
1690Ne no man shal unto his felawe ryde
But o cours, with a sharpe ygrounde spere.
Foyne, if hym list on foote, hymself to were.
And he that is at meschief shal be take,
And noght slayn, but be broght unto the stake
1695That shal ben ordeyned on either syde,
But thider he shal by force, and there abyde.
And if so be the chevetayn be take
On outher syde, or elles sleen his make,
No lenger shal the turneiynge laste.
1700God spede you! Gooth forth, and ley on faste!
With long swerd and with maces fight youre fille.
Gooth now youre wey, this is the lordes wille."
      "The duke our lord, full wise and full discreet,
1680Holds that it were but wanton waste to meet
And fight, these gentle folk, all in the guise
Of mortal battle in this enterprise.
Wherefore, in order that no man may die,
He does his earlier purpose modify.
1685No man, therefore, on pain of loss of life,
Shall any arrow, pole-axe, or short knife
Send into lists in any wise, or bring;
Nor any shortened sword, for point-thrusting,
Shall a man draw, or bear it by his side.
1690Nor shall knight against opponent ride,
Except one full course, with any sharp-ground spear;
Unhorsed, a man may thrust with any gear.
And he that's overcome, should this occur,
Shall not be slain, but brought to barrier,
1695Whereof there shall be one on either side;
Let him be forced to go there and abide.
And if by chance the leader there must go,
Of either side, or slay his equal foe,
No longer, then, shall tourneying endure.
1700God speed you; go forth now, and lay on sure.
With long sword and with maces fight your fill.
Go now your ways; this is the lord duke's will."




Next Next:
From The Knight's Tale, lines 1703-1740:
Everybody goes to the amphitheatre
Next