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De Rege Anthiocho illustri
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Monk's Tale
lines 743-782: De Alexandro


De Alexandro

       The storie of Alisaundre is so commune
That every wight that hath discrecioun
745Hath herd somwhat or al of his fortune.
This wyde world, as in conclusioun,
He wan by strengthe, or for his hye renoun
They weren glad for pees unto hym sende.
The pride of man and beest he leyde adoun
750Wherso he cam, unto the worldes ende.
       Alexander's tale is so well known a tune
That everyone who is not simple grown
745Has heard somewhat, or all, of his fortune
This whole wide world, to state conclusion known,
He won by strength, or else for his renown
Right gladly men to sue for peace did send.
The pride of man and beast he tumbled down
750Where'er he went, and that was the world's end.

Comparison myghte nevere yet been maked
Bitwixe hym and another conquerour,
For al this world for drede of hym hath quaked.
He was of knyghthod and of fredom flour,
755Fortune hym made the heir of hir honour.
Save wyn and wommen nothyng myghte aswage
His hye entente in armes and labour,
So was he ful of leonyn corage.
Comparison might never yet be staked
Upon a single similar conquering power;
For all this world in dread of him has quaked.
He was of knighthood and of freedom flower;
755Fortune made him her heir to honour's bower;
Except wine and women, nothing might assuage
His high intent in arms; all men must cower,
So filled he was of leonine courage.

What pris were it to hym, though I yow tolde
760Of Darius, and an hundred thousand mo,
Of kynges, princes, erles, dukes bolde,
Whiche he conquered and broghte hem into wo?
I seye, as fer as man may ryde or go,
The world was his, what sholde I moore devyse?
765For though I write or tolde yow everemo,
Of his knyghthod it myghte nat suffise.
What praise were it to him, though 'gain were told
760Darius' tale or of others brought low -
Of kings and dukes and earls and princes bold,
The which he conquered and brought down to woe?
I say, as far as man may ride or go
The world was his, to tell it in a trice.
765For though I wrote or told you always, so,
Of his knighthood, the time would not suffice.

Twelf yeer he regned, as seith Machabee,
Philippes sone of Macidoyne he was,
That first was kyng in Grece the contree.
770O worthy gentil Alisandre, allas,
That evere sholde fallen swich a cas!
Empoysoned of thyn owene folk thou weere;
Thy sys Fortune hath turned into aas
And yet for thee ne weep she never a teere.
Of his knighthood, the time would not suffice.
And Philip's son of Macedon he was,
Who first was king of Greece, the whole country.
770O noble Alexander, O alas!
That ever you should come to such a pass!
For poisoned by your very own you were;
Your six did Fortune turn into an ace,
And yet for you she never wept a tear!

775Who shal me yeven teeris to compleyne
The deeth of gentillesse and of franchise,
That al the world weelded in his demeyne?
And yet hym thoughte it myghte nat suffise,
So ful was his corage of heigh emprise.
780Allas, who shal me helpe to endite
False Fortune, and poyson to despise,
The whiche two of al this wo I wyte?
775Who shall give me the tears now to complain
For death of gentle blood and high franchise?
He all the world did wield as one domain,
And yet he thought it could not long suffice,
So full his heart was of high enterprise.
780Alas! And who shall help me to indict
False Fortune, and all poison to despise?
For these I blame for all the woe I write.




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From The Monk's Tale, lines 783-838:
De Julio Cesare
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