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From The Knight's Tale, lines 1665-1702:
Duke Theseus stipulates some conditions to avoid a bloodbath
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 1703-1740: Everybody goes to the amphitheatre


      The voys of peple touchede the hevene,
So loude cride they with murie stevene,
1705"God save swich a lord, that is so good
He wilneth no destruccion of blood."
Up goon the trompes and the melodye,
And to the lystes rit the compaignye,
By ordinance, thurghout the citee large
1710Hanged with clooth of gold, and nat with sarge.
      The voices of the people rent the skies,
Such was the uproar of their merry cries:
1705"Now God save such a lord, who is so good
He will not have destruction of men's blood!"
Up start the trumpets and make melody.
And to the lists rode forth the company,
In marshalled ranks, throughout the city large,
1710All hung with cloth of gold, and not with serge.
      Ful lik a lord this noble duc gan ryde,
Thise two Thebanes upon either syde,
And after rood the queene and Emelye,
And after that another compaignye,
1715Of oon and oother, after hir degree.
And thus they passen thurghout the citee
And to the lystes come they by tyme.
It nas nat of the day yet fully pryme
Whan set was Theseus ful riche and hye,
1720Ypolita the queene, and Emelye,
And othere ladys in degrees aboute.
Unto the seettes preesseth al the route,
And westward thurgh the gates under Marte,
Arcite, and eek the hondred of his parte,
1725With baner reed is entred right anon.
And in that selve moment Palamon
Is under Venus estward in the place,
With baner whyt, and hardy chiere and face.
In al the world, to seken up and doun
1730So evene, withouten variacioun
Ther nere swiche compaignyes tweye;
For ther was noon so wys, that koude seye
That any hadde of oother avauntage,
Of worthynesse ne of estaat ne age,
1735So evene were they chosen, for to gesse.
And in two renges faire they hem dresse,
Whan that hir names rad were everichon,
That in hir nombre gyle were ther noon.
Tho were the gates shet and cried was loude,
1740"Do now youre devoir, yonge knyghtes proude!"
      Fully like a lord this noble duke did ride,
With the two Theban knights on either side;
And, following, rode the queen and Emily,
And, after, came another company
1715Of one and other, each in his degree.
And thus they went throughout the whole city,
And to the lists they came, all in good time.
The day was not yet fully come to prime
When throned was Theseus full rich and high,
1720And Queen Hippolyta and Emily,
While other ladies sat in tiers about.
Into the seats then pressed the lesser rout.
And westward, through the gate of Mars, right hearty,
Arcita and the hundred of his party
1725With banner red is entering anon;
And in that self-same moment, Palamon
Is under Venus, eastward in that place,
With banner white, and resolute of face.
In all the world, searching it up and down,
1730So equal were they all, from heel to crown,
There were no two such bands in any way.
For there was no man wise enough to say
How either had of other advantage
In high repute, or in estate, or age,
1735So even were they chosen, as I guess.
And in two goodly ranks, they did then dress.
And when the name was called of every one,
That cheating in their number might be none,
Then were the gates closed, and the cry rang loud:
1740"Now do your devoir, all you young knights proud!"




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From The Knight's Tale, lines 1741-1777:
The battle in the amphitheatre
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