Previous Previous:
From The Knight's Tale, lines 1842-1884:
Everybody recovers at Theseus' court
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Knight's Tale
lines 1885-1958: Arcita says goodbye to Palamon and Emily and dies

1885       Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the soore
Encreesseth at his herte moore and moore.
The clothered blood for any lechecraft
Corrupteth, and is in his bouk ylaft,
That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusynge,
1890Ne drynke of herbes may ben his helpynge.
The vertu expulsif, or animal,
Fro thilke vertu cleped natural
Ne may the venym voyden, ne expelle.
The pipes of his longes gonne to swelle,
1895And every lacerte in his brest adoun
Is shent with venym and corrupcioun.
Hym gayneth neither for to gete his lif
Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif;
Al is tobrosten thilke regioun,
1900Nature hath now no dominacioun.
And certeinly, ther Nature wol nat wirche,
Fare wel phisik! Go ber the man to chirche!
This al and som, that Arcita moot dye;
For which he sendeth after Emelye
1905And Palamon, that was his cosyn deere.
Thanne seyde he thus, as ye shal after heere:
"Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte
Declare o point of alle my sorwes smerte
To yow, my lady, that I love moost.
1910But I biquethe the servyce of my goost
To yow aboven every creature.
Syn that my lyf may no lenger dure,
Allas, the wo! Allas, the peynes stronge,
That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
1915Allas, the deeth! Allas, myn Emelye!
Allas, departynge of our compaignye!
Allas, myn hertes queene! allas, my wyf!
Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
What is this world? What asketh men to have?
1920Now with his love, now in his colde grave,
Allone, withouten any compaignye.
Fare-wel, my swete foo, myn Emelye!
And softe taak me in youre armes tweye,
For love of God, and herkneth what I seye.
1885       Swells now Arcita's breast until the sore
Increases near his heart yet more and more.
The clotted blood, in spite of all leech-craft,
Rots in his bulk, and there is must be left,
Since no device of skillful blood-letting,
1890Nor drink of herbs, can help him in this thing.
The power expulsive, or virtue animal
Called from its use the virtue natural,
Could not the poison void, nor yet expel.
The tubes of both his lungs began to swell,
1895And every tissue in his breast, and down,
Is foul with poison and all rotten grown.
He gains in neither, in his strife to live,
By vomiting or taking laxative;
All is so broken in that part of him,
1900Nature Tetains no vigour there, nor vim.
And certainly, where Nature will not work,
It's farewell physic, bear the man to church!
The sum of all is, Arcita must die,
And so he sends a word to Emily,
1905And Palamon, who was his cousin dear;
And then he said to them as you shall hear.
"Naught may the woeful spirit in my heart
Declare one point of how my sorrows smart
To you, my lady, whom I love the most;
1910But I bequeath the service of my ghost
To you above all others, this being sure
Now that my life may here no more endure.
Alas, the woe! Alas, the pain so strong
That I for you have suffered, and so long!
1915Alas for death! Alas, my Emily!
Alas, the parting of our company!
Alas, my heart's own queen! Alas, my wife!
My soul's dear lady, ender of my life!
What is this world? What asks a man to have?
1920Now with his love, now in the cold dark grave
Alone, with never any company.
Farewell, my sweet foe! O my Emily!
Oh, take me in your gentle arms, I pray,
For love of God, and hear what I will say.
1925       I have heer with my cosyn Palamon
Had strif and rancour many a day agon,
For love of yow, and for my jalousye.
And Juppiter so wys my soule gye,
To speken of a servaunt proprely,
1930With alle circumstances trewely,
That is to seyen, trouthe, honour, and knyghthede,
Wysdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kynrede,
Fredom, and al that longeth to that art -
So Juppiter have of my soule part
1935As in this world right now ne knowe I non
So worthy to ben loved, as Palamon
That serveth yow, and wol doon al his lyf;
And if that evere ye shul ben a wyf,
Foryet nat Palamon, the gentil man."
1940And with that word his speche faille gan,
And from his herte up to his brest was come
The coold of deeth, that hadde hym overcome.
And yet moreover in hise armes two
The vital strengthe is lost and al ago.
1945Oonly the intellect, withouten moore,
That dwelled in his herte syk and soore
Gan faillen, when the herte felte deeth.
Dusked hise eyen two, and failled breeth,
But on his lady yet caste he his eye.
1950His laste word was "Mercy, Emelye!"
His spirit chaunged hous, and wente ther
As I cam nevere, I kan nat tellen wher,
Therfore I stynte; I nam no divinistre;
Of soules fynde I nat in this registre,
1955Ne me ne list thilke opinions to telle
Of hem, though that they writen wher they dwelle.
Arcite is coold, ther Mars his soule gye!
Now wol I speken forthe of Emelye.
1925       I have here, with my cousin Palamon,
Had strife and rancour many a day that's gone,
For love of you and for my jealousy.
May Jove so surely guide my soul for me,
To speak about a lover properly,
1930With all the circumstances, faithfully,
That is to say, truth, honour, and knighthood,
Wisdom, humility and kinship good,
And generous soul and all the lover's art-
So now may Jove have in my soul his part
1935As in this world, right now, I know of none
So worthy to be loved as Palamon,
Who serves you and will do so all his life.
And if you ever should become a wife,
Forget not Palamon, the noble man."
1940And with that word his speech to fail began,
For from his feet up to his breast had come
The cold of death, making his body numb.
And furthermore, from his two arms the strength
Was gone out, now, and he was lost, at length.
1945Only the intellect, and nothing more.
Which dwelt within his heart so sick and sore,
Began to fail now, when the heart felt death,
And his eyes darkened, and he failed of breath.
But on his lady turned he still his eye,
1950And his last word was, "Mercy, Emily!"
His spirit changed its house and went away.
As I was never there, I cannot say
Where; so I stop, not being a truth sayer;
Of souls here naught shall I enregister;
1955Nor do I wish their notions, now, to tell
Who write of them, though they say where they dwell.
Arcita's cold; Mars guides his soul on high;
Now will I speak forthwith of Emily.

Next Next:
From The Knight's Tale, lines 1959-1978:
Athens mourns for the death of Arcita