Previous Previous:
From Troilus and Criseyde, Book IV, lines 127-147:
The Greeks want to exchange Antenor for Criseyde
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

Geoffrey Chaucer (1342 - 1400):
Troilus and Criseyde
Book IV, lines 148-217: After deliberation, the Trojans decide to exchange Criseyde for Antenor

This Troilus was present in the place,
Whan axed was for Antenor Criseyde,
150For which ful sone chaungen gan his face,
As he that with tho wordes wel neigh deyde.
But nathelees, he no word to it seyde,
Lest men sholde his affeccioun espye;
With mannes herte he gan his sorwes drye.

155And ful of anguissh and of grisly drede
Abood what lordes wolde unto it seye;
And if they wolde graunte, as God forbede,
Th'eschaunge of hir, than thoughte he thinges tweye,
First, how to save hir honour, and what weye
160He mighte best th'eschaunge of hir withstonde;
Ful faste he caste how al this mighte stonde.

Love him made al prest to doon hir byde,
And rather dye than she sholde go;
But resoun seyde him, on that other syde,
165`Withoute assent of hir ne do not so,
Lest for thy werk she wolde be thy fo,
And seyn, that thurgh thy medling is yblowe
Your bother love, there it was erst unknowe.'

For which he gan deliberen, for the beste,
170That though the lordes wolde that she wente,
He wolde lat hem graunte what hem leste,
And telle his lady first what that they mente.
And whan that she had seyd him hir entente,
Therafter wolde he werken also blyve,
175Though al the world ayein it wolde stryve.

Ector, which that wel the Grekes herde,
For Antenor how they wolde han Criseyde,
Gan it withstonde, and sobrely answerde: --
`Sires, she nis no prisoner,' he seyde;
180`I noot on yow who that this charge leyde,
But, on my part, ye may eftsoone hem telle,
We usen here no wommen for to selle.'

The noyse of peple up stirte thanne atones,
As breme as blase of straw yset on fyre;
185For infortune it wolde, for the nones,
They sholden hir confusioun desyre.
`Ector,' quod they, `what goost may yow enspyre
This womman thus to shilde and doon us lese
Daun Antenor? -- a wrong wey now ye chese --

190`That is so wys, and eek so bold baroun,
And we han nede to folk, as men may see;
He is eek oon, the grettest of this toun;
O Ector, lat tho fantasyes be!
O king Priam,' quod they, `thus seggen we,
195That al our voys is to forgon Criseyde;'
And to deliveren Antenor they preyde.

O Juvenal, lord! Trewe is thy sentence,
That litel witen folk what is to yerne
That they ne finde in hir desyr offence;
200For cloud of errour let hem not descerne
What best is; and lo, here ensample as yerne.
This folk desiren now deliveraunce
Of Antenor, that broughte hem to meschaunce!

For he was after traytour to the toun
205Of Troye; allas! They quitte him out to rathe;
O nyce world, lo, thy discrecioun!
Criseyde, which that never dide hem scathe,
Shal now no lenger in hir blisse bathe;
But Antenor, he shal com hoom to toun,
210And she shal out; thus seyden here and howne.

For which delibered was by parlement
For Antenor to yelden out Criseyde,
And it pronounced by the president,
Altheigh that Ector `nay' ful ofte preyde.
215And fynaly, what wight that it withseyde,
It was for nought, it moste been, and sholde;
For substaunce of the parlement it wolde.

Next Next:
From Troilus and Criseyde, Book IV, lines 218-336:
Troilus pities himself for the decision of the Trojans