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Medieval and Classical Library

Troilus and Criseyde: Book I
by Geoffrey Chaucer

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #5

The following electronic text is based on that edition of the poem published in THE COMPLETE WORKS OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER, ed. W.W. Skeat (Oxford, 1900). This text is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN.

This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings (DeTroyes@AOL.COM), March 1995, based upon a previous e-text of unknown origin. Additional assistance provided by Diane M. Brendan.

BOOK I

1        The double sorwe of Troilus to tellen,
       That was the king Priamus sone of Troye,
       In lovinge, how his aventures fellen
       Fro wo to wele, and after out of Ioye,
5      My purpos is, er that I parte fro ye.
       Thesiphone, thou help me for tendyte
       Thise woful vers, that wepen as I wryte!

       To thee clepe I, thou goddesse of torment,
       Thou cruel Furie, sorwing ever in peyne;
10     Help me, that am the sorwful instrument
       That helpeth lovers, as I can, to pleyne!
       For wel sit it, the sothe for to seyne,
       A woful wight to han a drery fere,
       And, to a sorwful tale, a sory chere.

15     For I, that god of Loves servaunts serve,
       Ne dar to Love, for myn unlyklinesse,
       Preyen for speed, al sholde I therfor sterve,
       So fer am I fro his help in derknesse;
       But nathelees, if this may doon gladnesse
20     To any lover, and his cause avayle,
       Have he my thank, and myn be this travayle!

       But ye loveres, that bathen in gladnesse,
       If any drope of pitee in yow be,
       Remembreth yow on passed hevinesse
25     That ye han felt, and on the adversitee
       Of othere folk, and thenketh how that ye
       Han felt that Love dorste yow displese;
       Or ye han wonne hym with to greet an ese.

       And preyeth for hem that ben in the cas
30     Of Troilus, as ye may after here,
       That love hem bringe in hevene to solas,
       And eek for me preyeth to god so dere,
       That I have might to shewe, in som manere,
       Swich peyne and wo as Loves folk endure,
35     In Troilus unsely aventure.

       And biddeth eek for hem that been despeyred
       In love, that never nil recovered be,
       And eek for hem that falsly been apeyred
       Thorugh wikked tonges, be it he or she;
40     Thus biddeth god, for his benignitee,
       So graunte hem sone out of this world to pace,
       That been despeyred out of Loves grace.

       And biddeth eek for hem that been at ese,
       That god hem graunte ay good perseveraunce,
45     And sende hem might hir ladies so to plese,
       That it to Love be worship and plesaunce.
       For so hope I my soule best avaunce,
       To preye for hem that Loves servaunts be,
       And wryte hir wo, and live in charitee.

50     And for to have of hem compassioun
       As though I were hir owene brother dere.
       Now herkeneth with a gode entencioun,
       For now wol I gon streight to my matere,
       In whiche ye may the double sorwes here
55     Of Troilus, in loving of Criseyde,
       And how that she forsook him er she deyde.

         It is wel wist, how that the Grekes stronge
       In armes with a thousand shippes wente
       To Troyewardes, and the citee longe
60     Assegeden neigh ten yeer er they stente,
       And, in diverse wyse and oon entente,
       The ravisshing to wreken of Eleyne,
       By Paris doon, they wroughten al hir peyne.

       Now fil it so, that in the toun ther was
65     Dwellinge a lord of greet auctoritee,
       A gret devyn that cleped was Calkas,
       That in science so expert was, that he
       Knew wel that Troye sholde destroyed be,
       By answere of his god, that highte thus,
70     Daun Phebus or Apollo Delphicus.

       So whan this Calkas knew by calculinge,
       And eek by answere of this Appollo,
       That Grekes sholden swich a peple bringe,
       Thorugh which that Troye moste been for-do,
75     He caste anoon out of the toun to go;
       For wel wiste he, by sort, that Troye sholde
       Destroyed ben, ye, wolde who-so nolde.

       For which, for to departen softely
       Took purpos ful this forknowinge wyse,
80     And to the Grekes ost ful prively
       He stal anoon; and they, in curteys wyse,
       Hym deden bothe worship and servyse,
       In trust that he hath conning hem to rede
       In every peril which that is to drede.

85     The noyse up roos, whan it was first aspyed,
       Thorugh al the toun, and generally was spoken,
       That Calkas traytor fled was, and allyed
       With hem of Grece; and casten to ben wroken
       On him that falsly hadde his feith so broken;
90     And seyden, he and al his kin at ones
       Ben worthy for to brennen, fel and bones.

       Now hadde Calkas left, in this meschaunce,
       Al unwist of this false and wikked dede,
       His doughter, which that was in gret penaunce,
95     For of hir lyf she was ful sore in drede,
       As she that niste what was best to rede;
       For bothe a widowe was she, and allone
       Of any freend to whom she dorste hir mone.

       Criseyde was this lady name a-right;
100    As to my dome, in al Troyes citee
       Nas noon so fair, for passing every wight
       So aungellyk was hir natyf beautee,
       That lyk a thing immortal semed she,
       As doth an hevenish parfit creature,
105    That doun were sent in scorning of nature.

       This lady, which that al-day herde at ere
       Hir fadres shame, his falsnesse and tresoun,
       Wel nigh out of hir wit for sorwe and fere,
       In widewes habit large of samit broun,
110    On knees she fil biforn Ector a-doun;
       With pitous voys, and tendrely wepinge,
       His mercy bad, hir-selven excusinge.

       Now was this Ector pitous of nature,
       And saw that she was sorwfully bigoon,
115    And that she was so fair a creature;
       Of his goodnesse he gladed hir anoon,
       And seyde, `Lat your fadres treson goon
       Forth with mischaunce, and ye your-self, in Ioye,
       Dwelleth with us, whyl you good list, in Troye.

120    `And al thonour that men may doon yow have,
       As ferforth as your fader dwelled here,
       Ye shul han, and your body shal men save,
       As fer as I may ought enquere or here.'
       And she him thonked with ful humble chere,
125    And ofter wolde, and it hadde ben his wille,
       And took hir leve, and hoom, and held hir stille.

       And in hir hous she abood with swich meynee
       As to hir honour nede was to holde;
       And whyl she was dwellinge in that citee,
130    Kepte hir estat, and bothe of yonge and olde
       Ful wel beloved, and wel men of hir tolde.
       But whether that she children hadde or noon,
       I rede it naught; therfore I late it goon.

       The thinges fellen, as they doon of werre,
135    Bitwixen hem of Troye and Grekes ofte;
       For som day boughten they of Troye it derre,
       And eft the Grekes founden no thing softe
       The folk of Troye; and thus fortune on-lofte,
       And under eft, gan hem to wheelen bothe
140    After hir cours, ay whyl they were wrothe.

       But how this toun com to destruccioun
       Ne falleth nought to purpos me to telle;
       For it were a long digressioun
       Fro my matere, and yow to longe dwelle.
145    But the Troyane gestes, as they felle,
       In Omer, or in Dares, or in Dyte,
       Who-so that can, may rede hem as they wryte.

       But though that Grekes hem of Troye shetten,
       And hir citee bisegede al a-boute,
150    Hir olde usage wolde they not letten,
       As for to honoure hir goddes ful devoute;
       But aldermost in honour, out of doute,
       They hadde a relik hight Palladion,
       That was hir trist a-boven everichon.

155    And so bifel, whan comen was the tyme
       Of Aperil, whan clothed is the mede
       With newe grene, of lusty Ver the pryme,
       And swote smellen floures whyte and rede,
       In sondry wyses shewed, as I rede,
160    The folk of Troye hir observaunces olde,
       Palladiones feste for to holde.

       And to the temple, in al hir beste wyse,
       In general, ther wente many a wight,
       To herknen of Palladion servyse;
165    And namely, so many a lusty knight,
       So many a lady fresh and mayden bright,
       Ful wel arayed, bothe moste and leste,
       Ye, bothe for the seson and the feste.

       Among thise othere folk was Criseyda,
170    In widewes habite blak; but nathelees,
       Right as our firste lettre is now an A,
       In beautee first so stood she, makelees;
       Hir godly looking gladede al the prees.
       Nas never seyn thing to ben preysed derre,
175    Nor under cloude blak so bright a sterre

       As was Criseyde, as folk seyde everichoon
       That hir behelden in hir blake wede;
       And yet she stood ful lowe and stille alloon,
       Bihinden othere folk, in litel brede,
180    And neigh the dore, ay under shames drede,
       Simple of a-tyr, and debonaire of chere,
       With ful assured loking and manere.

       This Troilus, as he was wont to gyde
       His yonge knightes, ladde hem up and doun
185    In thilke large temple on every syde,
       Biholding ay the ladyes of the toun,
       Now here, now there, for no devocioun
       Hadde he to noon, to reven him his reste,
       But gan to preyse and lakken whom him leste.

190    And in his walk ful fast he gan to wayten
       If knight or squyer of his companye
       Gan for to syke, or lete his eyen bayten
       On any woman that he coude aspye;
       He wolde smyle, and holden it folye,
195    And seye him thus, `god wot, she slepeth softe
       For love of thee, whan thou tornest ful ofte!

       `I have herd told, pardieux, of your livinge,
       Ye lovers, and your lewede observaunces,
       And which a labour folk han in winninge
200    Of love, and, in the keping, which doutaunces;
       And whan your preye is lost, wo and penaunces;
       O verrey foles! nyce and blinde be ye;
       Ther nis not oon can war by other be.'

       And with that word he gan cast up the browe,
205    Ascaunces, `Lo! is this nought wysly spoken?'
       At which the god of love gan loken rowe
       Right for despyt, and shoop for to ben wroken;
       He kidde anoon his bowe nas not broken;
       For sodeynly he hit him at the fulle;
210    And yet as proud a pekok can he pulle.

       O blinde world, O blinde entencioun!
       How ofte falleth al theffect contraire
       Of surquidrye and foul presumpcioun;
       For caught is proud, and caught is debonaire.
215    This Troilus is clomben on the staire,
       And litel weneth that he moot descenden.
       But al-day falleth thing that foles ne wenden.

       As proude Bayard ginneth for to skippe
       Out of the wey, so priketh him his corn,
220    Til he a lash have of the longe whippe,
       Than thenketh he, `Though I praunce al biforn
       First in the trays, ful fat and newe shorn,
       Yet am I but an hors, and horses lawe
       I moot endure, and with my feres drawe.'

225    So ferde it by this fers and proude knight;
       Though he a worthy kinges sone were,
       And wende nothing hadde had swiche might
       Ayens his wil that sholde his herte stere,
       Yet with a look his herte wex a-fere,
230    That he, that now was most in pryde above,
       Wex sodeynly most subget un-to love.

       For-thy ensample taketh of this man,
       Ye wyse, proude, and worthy folkes alle,
       To scornen Love, which that so sone can
235    The freedom of your hertes to him thralle;
       For ever it was, and ever it shal bifalle,
       That Love is he that alle thing may binde;
       For may no man for-do the lawe of kinde.

       That this be sooth, hath preved and doth yet;
240    For this trowe I ye knowen, alle or some,
       Men reden not that folk han gretter wit
       Than they that han be most with love y-nome;
       And strengest folk ben therwith overcome,
       The worthiest and grettest of degree:
245    This was, and is, and yet men shal it see.

       And trewelich it sit wel to be so;
       For alderwysest han ther-with ben plesed;
       And they that han ben aldermost in wo,
       With love han ben conforted most and esed;
250    And ofte it hath the cruel herte apesed,
       And worthy folk maad worthier of name,
       And causeth most to dreden vyce and shame.

       Now sith it may not goodly be withstonde,
       And is a thing so vertuous in kinde,
255    Refuseth not to Love for to be bonde,
       Sin, as him-selven list, he may yow binde.
       The yerde is bet that bowen wole and winde
       Than that that brest; and therfor I yow rede
       To folwen him that so wel can yow lede.

260    But for to tellen forth in special
       As of this kinges sone of which I tolde,
       And leten other thing collateral,
       Of him thenke I my tale for to holde,
       Both of his Ioye, and of his cares colde;
265    And al his werk, as touching this matere,
       For I it gan, I wol ther-to refere.

       With-inne the temple he wente him forth pleyinge,
       This Troilus, of every wight aboute,
       On this lady and now on that lokinge,
270    Wher-so she were of toune, or of with-oute:
       And up-on cas bifel, that thorugh a route
       His eye perced, and so depe it wente,
       Til on Criseyde it smoot, and ther it stente.

       And sodeynly he wax ther-with astoned,
275    And gan hire bet biholde in thrifty wyse:
       `O mercy, god!' thoughte he, `wher hastow woned,
       That art so fair and goodly to devyse?'
       Ther-with his herte gan to sprede and ryse,
       And softe sighed, lest men mighte him here,
280    And caughte a-yein his firste pleyinge chere.

       She nas nat with the leste of hir stature,
       But alle hir limes so wel answeringe
       Weren to womanhode, that creature
       Was neuer lasse mannish in seminge.
285    And eek the pure wyse of here meninge
       Shewede wel, that men might in hir gesse
       Honour, estat, and wommanly noblesse.

       To Troilus right wonder wel with-alle
       Gan for to lyke hir meninge and hir chere,
290    Which somdel deynous was, for she leet falle
       Hir look a lite a-side, in swich manere,
       Ascaunces, `What! May I not stonden here?'
       And after that hir loking gan she lighte,
       That never thoughte him seen so good a sighte.

295    And of hir look in him ther gan to quiken
       So greet desir, and swich affeccioun,
       That in his herte botme gan to stiken
       Of hir his fixe and depe impressioun:
       And though he erst hadde poured up and doun,
300    He was tho glad his hornes in to shrinke;
       Unnethes wiste he how to loke or winke.

       Lo, he that leet him-selven so konninge,
       And scorned hem that loves peynes dryen,
       Was ful unwar that love hadde his dwellinge
305    With-inne the subtile stremes of hir yen;
       That sodeynly him thoughte he felte dyen,
       Right with hir look, the spirit in his herte;
       Blissed be love, that thus can folk converte!

       She, this in blak, likinge to Troylus,
310    Over alle thyng, he stood for to biholde;
       Ne his desir, ne wherfor he stood thus,
       He neither chere made, ne worde tolde;
       But from a-fer, his maner for to holde,
       On other thing his look som-tyme he caste,
315    And eft on hir, whyl that servyse laste.

       And after this, not fulliche al awhaped,
       Out of the temple al esiliche he wente,
       Repentinge him that he hadde ever y-iaped
       Of loves folk, lest fully the descente
320    Of scorn fille on him-self; but, what he mente,
       Lest it were wist on any maner syde,
       His wo he gan dissimulen and hyde.

       Whan he was fro the temple thus departed,
       He streyght anoon un-to his paleys torneth,
325    Right with hir look thurgh-shoten and thurgh-darted,
       Al feyneth he in lust that he soiorneth;
       And al his chere and speche also he borneth;
       And ay, of loves servants every whyle,
       Him-self to wrye, at hem he gan to smyle.

330    And seyde, `Lord, so ye live al in lest,
       Ye loveres! For the conningest of yow,
       That serveth most ententiflich and best,
       Him tit as often harm ther-of as prow;
       Your hyre is quit ayein, ye, god wot how!
335    Nought wel for wel, but scorn for good servyse;
       In feith, your ordre is ruled in good wyse!

       `In noun-certeyn ben alle your observaunces,
       But it a sely fewe poyntes be;
       Ne no-thing asketh so grete attendaunces
340    As doth youre lay, and that knowe alle ye;
       But that is not the worste, as mote I thee;
       But, tolde I yow the worste poynt, I leve,
       Al seyde I sooth, ye wolden at me greve!

       `But tak this, that ye loveres ofte eschuwe,
345    Or elles doon of good entencioun,
       Ful ofte thy lady wole it misconstrue,
       And deme it harm in hir opinioun;
       And yet if she, for other enchesoun,
       Be wrooth, than shalt thou han a groyn anoon:
350    Lord! wel is him that may be of yow oon!'

       But for al this, whan that he say his tyme,
       He held his pees, non other bote him gayned;
       For love bigan his fetheres so to lyme,
       That wel unnethe un-to his folk he fayned
355    That othere besye nedes him destrayned;
       For wo was him, that what to doon he niste,
       But bad his folk to goon wher that hem liste.

       And whan that he in chaumbre was allone,
       He doun up-on his beddes feet him sette,
360    And first be gan to syke, and eft to grone,
       And thoughte ay on hir so, with-outen lette,
       That, as he sat and wook, his spirit mette
       That he hir saw a temple, and al the wyse
       Right of hir loke, and gan it newe avyse.

365    Thus gan he make a mirour of his minde,
       In which he saugh al hoolly hir figure;
       And that he wel coude in his herte finde,
       It was to him a right good aventure
       To love swich oon, and if he dide his cure
370    To serven hir, yet mighte he falle in grace,
       Or elles, for oon of hir servaunts pace.

       Imagininge that travaille nor grame
       Ne mighte, for so goodly oon, be lorn
       As she, ne him for his desir ne shame,
375    Al were it wist, but in prys and up-born
       Of alle lovers wel more than biforn;
       Thus argumented he in his ginninge,
       Ful unavysed of his wo cominge.

       Thus took he purpos loves craft to suwe,
380    And thoughte he wolde werken prively,
       First, to hyden his desir in muwe
       From every wight y-born, al-outrely,
       But he mighte ought recovered be therby;
       Remembring him, that love to wyde y-blowe
385    Yelt bittre fruyt, though swete seed be sowe.

       And over al this, yet muchel more he thoughte
       What for to speke, and what to holden inne,
       And what to arten hir to love he soughte,
       And on a song anoon-right to biginne,
390    And gan loude on his sorwe for to winne;
       For with good hope he gan fully assente
       Criseyde for to love, and nought repente.

       And of his song nought only the sentence,
       As writ myn autour called Lollius,
395    But pleynly, save our tonges difference,
       I dar wel sayn, in al that Troilus
       Seyde in his song, lo! every word right thus
       As I shal seyn; and who-so list it here,
       Lo! next this vers, he may it finden here.

          Cantus Troili.

400    `If no love is, O god, what fele I so?
       And if love is, what thing and whiche is he!
       If love be good, from whennes comth my wo?
       If it be wikke, a wonder thinketh me,
       Whenne every torment and adversitee
405    That cometh of him, may to me savory thinke;
       For ay thurst I, the more that I it drinke.

       `And if that at myn owene lust I brenne,
       Fro whennes cometh my wailing and my pleynte?
       If harme agree me, wher-to pleyne I thenne?
410    I noot, ne why unwery that I feynte.
       O quike deeth, O swete harm so queynte,
       How may of thee in me swich quantitee,
       But-if that I consente that it be?

       `And if that I consente, I wrongfully
415    Compleyne, y-wis; thus possed to and fro,
       Al sterelees with inne a boot am I
       A-mid the see, by-twixen windes two,
       That in contrarie stonden ever-mo.
       Allas! what is this wonder maladye?
420    For hete of cold, for cold of hete, I deye.'

       And to the god of love thus seyde he
       With pitous voys, `O lord, now youres is
       My spirit, which that oughte youres be.
       Yow thanke I, lord, that han me brought to this;
425    But whether goddesse or womman, y-wis,
       She be, I noot, which that ye do me serve;
       But as hir man I wole ay live and sterve.

       `Ye stonden in hire eyen mightily,
       As in a place un-to youre vertu digne;
430    Wherfore, lord, if my servyse or I
       May lyke yow, so beth to me benigne;
       For myn estat royal here I resigne
       In-to hir hond, and with ful humble chere
       Bicome hir man, as to my lady dere.'

435    In him ne deyned sparen blood royal
       The fyr of love, wher-fro god me blesse,
       Ne him forbar in no degree, for al
       His vertu or his excellent prowesse;
       But held him as his thral lowe in distresse,
440    And brende him so in sondry wyse ay newe,
       That sixty tyme a day he loste his hewe.

       So muche, day by day, his owene thought,
       For lust to hir, gan quiken and encrese,
       That every other charge he sette at nought;
445    For-thy ful ofte, his hote fyr to cese,
       To seen hir goodly look he gan to prese;
       For ther-by to ben esed wel he wende,
       And ay the ner he was, the more he brende.

       For ay the ner the fyr, the hotter is,
450    This, trowe I, knoweth al this companye.
       But were he fer or neer, I dar seye this,
       By night or day, for wisdom or folye,
       His herte, which that is his brestes ye,
       Was ay on hir, that fairer was to sene
455    Than ever were Eleyne or Polixene.

       Eek of the day ther passed nought an houre
       That to him-self a thousand tyme he seyde,
       `Good goodly, to whom serve I and laboure,
       As I best can, now wolde god, Criseyde,
460    Ye wolden on me rewe er that I deyde!
       My dere herte, allas! myn hele and hewe
       And lyf is lost, but ye wole on me rewe.'

       Alle othere dredes weren from him fledde,
       Both of the assege and his savacioun;
465    Ne in him desyr noon othere fownes bredde
       But argumentes to his conclusioun,
       That she on him wolde han compassioun,
       And he to be hir man, whyl he may dure;
       Lo, here his lyf, and from the deeth his cure!

470    The sharpe shoures felle of armes preve,
       That Ector or his othere bretheren diden,
       Ne made him only ther-fore ones meve;
       And yet was he, wher-so men wente or riden,
       Founde oon the beste, and lengest tyme abiden
475    Ther peril was, and dide eek such travayle
       In armes, that to thenke it was mervayle.

       But for non hate he to the Grekes hadde,
       Ne also for the rescous of the toun,
       Ne made him thus in armes for to madde,
480    But only, lo, for this conclusioun,
       To lyken hir the bet for his renoun;
       Fro day to day in armes so he spedde,
       That alle the Grekes as the deeth him dredde.

       And fro this forth tho refte him love his sleep,
485    And made his mete his foo; and eek his sorwe
       Gan multiplye, that, who-so toke keep,
       It shewed in his hewe, bothe eve and morwe;
       Therfor a title he gan him for to borwe
       Of other syknesse, lest of him men wende
490    That the hote fyr of love him brende,

       And seyde, he hadde a fever and ferde amis;
       But how it was, certayn, can I not seye,
       If that his lady understood not this,
       Or feyned hir she niste, oon of the tweye;
495    But wel I rede that, by no maner weye,
       Ne semed it as that she of him roughte,
       Nor of his peyne, or what-so-ever he thoughte.

       But than fel to this Troylus such wo,
       That he was wel neigh wood; for ay his drede
500    Was this, that she som wight had loved so,
       That never of him she wolde have taken hede;
       For whiche him thoughte he felte his herte blede.
       Ne of his wo ne dorste he not biginne
       To tellen it, for al this world to winne.

505    But whanne he hadde a space fro his care,
       Thus to him-self ful ofte he gan to pleyne;
       He sayde, `O fool, now art thou in the snare,
       That whilom Iapedest at loves peyne;
       Now artow hent, now gnaw thyn owene cheyne;
510    Thou were ay wont eche lovere reprehende
       Of thing fro which thou canst thee nat defende.

       `What wol now every lover seyn of thee,
       If this be wist, but ever in thyn absence
       Laughen in scorn, and seyn, `Lo, ther gooth he,
515    That is the man of so gret sapience,
       That held us lovers leest in reverence!
       Now, thonked be god, he may goon in the daunce
       Of hem that Love list febly for to avaunce!'

       `But, O thou woful Troilus, god wolde,
520    Sin thou most loven thurgh thi destinee,
       That thow beset were on swich oon that sholde
       Knowe al thy wo, al lakkede hir pitee:
       But al so cold in love, towardes thee,
       Thy lady is, as frost in winter mone,
525    And thou fordoon, as snow in fyr is sone.'

       `God wolde I were aryved in the port
       Of deth, to which my sorwe wil me lede!
       A, lord, to me it were a gret comfort;
       Than were I quit of languisshing in drede.
530    For by myn hidde sorwe y-blowe on brede
       I shal bi-Iaped been a thousand tyme
       More than that fool of whos folye men ryme.

       `But now help god, and ye, swete, for whom
       I pleyne, y-caught, ye, never wight so faste!
535    O mercy, dere herte, and help me from
       The deeth, for I, whyl that my lyf may laste,
       More than my-self wol love yow to my laste.
       And with som freendly look gladeth me, swete,
       Though never more thing ye me bi-hete!'

540    This wordes and ful manye an-other to
       He spak, and called ever in his compleynte
       Hir name, for to tellen hir his wo,
       Til neigh that he in salte teres dreynte.
       Al was for nought, she herde nought his pleynte;
545    And whan that he bithoughte on that folye,
       A thousand fold his wo gan multiplye.

       Bi-wayling in his chambre thus allone,
       A freend of his, that called was Pandare,
       Com ones in unwar, and herde him grone,
       And say his freend in swich distresse and care:
551    `Allas!' quod he, `who causeth al this fare?
       O mercy, god! What unhap may this mene?
       Han now thus sone Grekes maad yow lene?

       `Or hastow som remors of conscience,
555    And art now falle in som devocioun,
       And waylest for thy sinne and thyn offence,
       And hast for ferde caught attricioun?
       God save hem that bi-seged han our toun,
       And so can leye our Iolyte on presse,
560    And bring our lusty folk to holinesse!'

       These wordes seyde he for the nones alle,
       That with swich thing he mighte him angry maken,
       And with an angre don his sorwe falle,
       As for the tyme, and his corage awaken;
565    But wel he wist, as fer as tonges spaken,
       Ther nas a man of gretter hardinesse
       Than he, ne more desired worthinesse.

       `What cas,' quod Troilus, `or what aventure
       Hath gyded thee to see my languisshinge,
570    That am refus of euery creature?
       But for the love of god, at my preyinge,
       Go henne a-way, for certes, my deyinge
       Wol thee disese, and I mot nedes deye;
       Ther-for go wey, ther is no more to seye.

575    `But if thou wene I be thus sik for drede,
       It is not so, and ther-for scorne nought;
       Ther is a-nother thing I take of hede
       Wel more than ought the Grekes han y-wrought,
       Which cause is of my deeth, for sorwe and thought.
580    But though that I now telle thee it ne leste,
       Be thou nought wrooth; I hyde it for the beste.'

       This Pandare, that neigh malt for wo and routhe,
       Ful often seyde, `Allas! what may this be?
       Now freend,' quod he, `if ever love or trouthe
585    Hath been, or is, bi-twixen thee and me,
       Ne do thou never swiche a crueltee
       To hyde fro thy freend so greet a care;
       Wostow nought wel that it am I, Pandare?

       `I wole parten with thee al thy peyne,
590    If it be so I do thee no comfort,
       As it is freendes right, sooth for to seyne,
       To entreparten wo, as glad desport.
       I have, and shal, for trewe or fals report,
       In wrong and right y-loved thee al my lyve;
595    Hyd not thy wo fro me, but telle it blyve.'

       Than gan this sorwful Troilus to syke,
       And seyde him thus, "God leve it be my beste
       To telle it thee; for sith it may thee lyke,
       Yet wole I telle it, though myn herte breste;
600    And wel wot I thou mayst do me no reste.
       But lest thow deme I truste not to thee,
       Now herkne, freend, for thus it stant with me.

       `Love, a-yeins the which who-so defendeth
       Him-selven most, him alder-lest avayleth,
605    With disespeir so sorwfully me offendeth,
       That streyght un-to the deeth myn herte sayleth.
       Ther-to desyr so brenningly me assaylleth,
       That to ben slayn it were a gretter Ioye
       To me than king of Grece been and Troye!

610    `Suffiseth this, my fulle freend Pandare,
       That I have seyd, for now wostow my wo;
       And for the love of god, my colde care
       So hyd it wel, I telle it never to mo;
       For harmes mighte folwen, mo than two,
615    If it were wist; but be thou in gladnesse,
       And lat me sterve, unknowe, of my distresse.'

       `How hastow thus unkindely and longe
       Hid this fro me, thou fool?' quod Pandarus;
       `Paraunter thou might after swich oon longe,
620    That myn avys anoon may helpen us.'
       `This were a wonder thing,' quod Troylus,
       `Thou coudest never in love thy-selven wisse;
       How devel maystow bringen me to blisse?'

       `Ye, Troilus, now herke,' quod Pandare,
625    `Though I be nyce; it happeth ofte so,
       That oon that exces doth ful yvele fare,
       By good counseyl can kepe his freend ther-fro.
       I have my-self eek seyn a blind man go
       Ther-as he fel that coude loke wyde;
630    A fool may eek a wys man ofte gyde.

       `A whetston is no kerving instrument,
       And yet it maketh sharpe kerving-tolis.
       And ther thou woost that I have ought miswent,
       Eschewe thou that, for swich thing to thee scole is;
635    Thus ofte wyse men ben war by folis.
       If thou do so, thy wit is wel biwared;
       By his contrarie is every thing declared.

       `For how might ever sweetnesse have be knowe
       To him that never tasted bitternesse?
640    Ne no man may be inly glad, I trowe,
       That never was in sorwe or som distresse;
       Eek whyt by blak, by shame eek worthinesse,
       Ech set by other, more for other semeth;
       As men may see; and so the wyse it demeth.

645    `Sith thus of two contraries is a lore,
       I, that have in love so ofte assayed
       Grevaunces, oughte conne, and wel the more
       Counsayllen thee of that thou art amayed.
       Eek thee ne oughte nat ben yvel apayed,
650    Though I desyre with thee for to bere
       Thyn hevy charge; it shal the lasse dere.

       `I woot wel that it fareth thus by me
       As to thy brother Parys an herdesse,
       Which that y-cleped was Oenone,
655    Wrot in a compleynte of hir hevinesse:
       Ye say the lettre that she wroot, y gesse?'
       `Nay, never yet, y-wis,' quod Troilus.
       `Now,' quod Pandare, `herkneth, it was thus. --

       "Phebus, that first fond art of medicyne,'
660    Quod she, `and coude in every wightes care
       Remede and reed, by herbes he knew fyne,
       Yet to him-self his conning was ful bare;
       For love hadde him so bounden in a snare,
       Al for the doughter of the kinge Admete,
665    That al his craft ne coude his sorwe bete." --

       `Right so fare I, unhappily for me;
       I love oon best, and that me smerteth sore;
       And yet, paraunter, can I rede thee,
       And not my-self; repreve me no more.
670    I have no cause, I woot wel, for to sore
       As doth an hauk that listeth for to pleye,
       But to thyn help yet somwhat can I seye.

       `And of o thing right siker maystow be,
       That certayn, for to deyen in the peyne,
675    That I shal never-mo discoveren thee;
       Ne, by my trouthe, I kepe nat restreyne
       Thee fro thy love, thogh that it were Eleyne,
       That is thy brotheres wif, if ich it wiste;
       Be what she be, and love hir as thee liste.

680    `Therfore, as freend fullich in me assure,
       And tel me plat what is thyn enchesoun,
       And final cause of wo that ye endure;
       For douteth no-thing, myn entencioun
       Nis nought to yow of reprehencioun,
685    To speke as now, for no wight may bireve
       A man to love, til that him list to leve.

       `And witeth wel, that bothe two ben vyces,
       Mistrusten alle, or elles alle leve;
       But wel I woot, the mene of it no vyce is,
690    For to trusten sum wight is a preve
       Of trouthe, and for-thy wolde I fayn remeve
       Thy wrong conseyte, and do thee som wight triste,
       Thy wo to telle; and tel me, if thee liste.

       `The wyse seyth, "Wo him that is allone,
695    For, and he falle, he hath noon help to ryse;"
       And sith thou hast a felawe, tel thy mone;
       For this nis not, certeyn, the nexte wyse
       To winnen love, as techen us the wyse,
       To walwe and wepe as Niobe the quene,
700    Whos teres yet in marbel been y-sene.

       `Lat be thy weping and thi drerinesse,
       And lat us lissen wo with other speche;
       So may thy woful tyme seme lesse.
       Delyte not in wo thy wo to seche,
705    As doon thise foles that hir sorwes eche
       With sorwe, whan they han misaventure,
       And listen nought to seche hem other cure.

       `Men seyn, "To wrecche is consolacioun
       To have an-other felawe in his peyne;"
710    That oughte wel ben our opinioun,
       For, bothe thou and I, of love we pleyne;
       So ful of sorwe am I, soth for to seyne,
       That certeynly no more harde grace
       May sitte on me, for-why ther is no space.

715    `If god wole thou art not agast of me,
       Lest I wolde of thy lady thee bigyle,
       Thow wost thy-self whom that I love, pardee,
       As I best can, gon sithen longe whyle.
       And sith thou wost I do it for no wyle,
720    And sith I am he that thou tristest most,
       Tel me sumwhat, sin al my wo thou wost.'

       Yet Troilus, for al this, no word seyde,
       But longe he ley as stille as he ded were;
       And after this with sykinge he abreyde,
725    And to Pandarus voys he lente his ere,
       And up his eyen caste he, that in fere
       Was Pandarus, lest that in frenesye
       He sholde falle, or elles sone dye;

       And cryde `A-wake' ful wonderly and sharpe;
730    `What? Slombrestow as in a lytargye?
       Or artow lyk an asse to the harpe,
       That hereth soun, whan men the strenges plye,
       But in his minde of that no melodye
       May sinken, him to glade, for that he
735    So dul is of his bestialitee?'

       And with that, Pandare of his wordes stente;
       And Troilus yet him no word answerde,
       For-why to telle nas not his entente
       To never no man, for whom that he so ferde.
740    For it is seyd, `Man maketh ofte a yerde
       With which the maker is him-self y-beten
       In sondry maner,' as thise wyse treten,

       And namely, in his counseyl tellinge
       That toucheth love that oughte be secree;
745    For of him-self it wolde y-nough out-springe,
       But-if that it the bet governed be.
       Eek som-tyme it is craft to seme flee
       Fro thing which in effect men hunte faste;
       Al this gan Troilus in his herte caste.

750    But nathelees, whan he had herd him crye
       `Awake!' he gan to syke wonder sore,
       And seyde, `Freend, though that I stille lye,
       I am not deef; now pees, and cry no more;
       For I have herd thy wordes and thy lore;
755    But suffre me my mischef to biwayle,
       For thy proverbes may me nought avayle.

       `Nor other cure canstow noon for me.
       Eek I nil not be cured, I wol deye;
       What knowe I of the quene Niobe?
760    Lat be thyne olde ensaumples, I thee preye.'
       `No,' quod tho Pandarus, `therfore I seye,
       Swich is delyt of foles to biwepe
       Hir wo, but seken bote they ne kepe.

       `Now knowe I that ther reson in the fayleth.
765    But tel me, if I wiste what she were
       For whom that thee al this misaunter ayleth?
       Dorstestow that I tolde hir in hir ere
       Thy wo, sith thou darst not thy-self for fere,
       And hir bisoughte on thee to han som routhe?'
770    `Why, nay,' quod he, `by god and by my trouthe!'

       `What, Not as bisily,' quod Pandarus,
       `As though myn owene lyf lay on this nede?'
       `No, certes, brother,' quod this Troilus,
       `And why?' -- `For that thou sholdest never spede.'
775    `Wostow that wel?' -- `Ye, that is out of drede,'
       Quod Troilus, `for al that ever ye conne,
       She nil to noon swich wrecche as I be wonne.'

       Quod Pandarus, `Allas! What may this be,
       That thou dispeyred art thus causelees?
780    What? Liveth not thy lady? Benedicite!
       How wostow so that thou art gracelees?
       Swich yvel is nat alwey botelees.
       Why, put not impossible thus thy cure,
       Sin thing to come is ofte in aventure.

785    `I graunte wel that thou endurest wo
       As sharp as doth he, Ticius, in helle,
       Whos stomak foules tyren ever-mo
       That highte volturis, as bokes telle.
       But I may not endure that thou dwelle
790    In so unskilful an opinioun
       That of thy wo is no curacioun.

       `But ones niltow, for thy coward herte,
       And for thyn ire and folish wilfulnesse,
       For wantrust, tellen of thy sorwes smerte,
795    Ne to thyn owene help do bisinesse
       As muche as speke a resoun more or lesse,
       But lyest as he that list of no-thing recche.
       What womman coude love swich a wrecche?

       `What may she demen other of thy deeth,
800    If thou thus deye, and she not why it is,
       But that for fere is yolden up thy breeth,
       For Grekes han biseged us, y-wis?
       Lord, which a thank than shaltow han of this!
       Thus wol she seyn, and al the toun at ones,
805    "The wrecche is deed, the devel have his bones!"

       `Thou mayst allone here wepe and crye and knele;
       But, love a woman that she woot it nought,
       And she wol quyte that thou shalt not fele;
       Unknowe, unkist, and lost that is un-sought.
810    What! Many a man hath love ful dere y-bought
       Twenty winter that his lady wiste,
       That never yet his lady mouth he kiste.

       `What? Shulde be therfor fallen in despeyr,
       Or be recreaunt for his owene tene,
815    Or sleen him-self, al be his lady fayr?
       Nay, nay, but ever in oon be fresh and grene
       To serve and love his dere hertes quene,
       And thenke it is a guerdoun hir to serve
       A thousand-fold more than he can deserve.'

820    Of that word took hede Troilus,
       And thoughte anoon what folye he was inne,
       And how that sooth him seyde Pandarus,
       That for to sleen him-self mighte he not winne,
       But bothe doon unmanhod and a sinne,
825    And of his deeth his lady nought to wyte;
       For of his wo, god woot, she knew ful lyte.

       And with that thought he gan ful sore syke,
       And seyde, `Allas! What is me best to do?'
       To whom Pandare answered, `If thee lyke,
830    The best is that thou telle me thy wo;
       And have my trouthe, but thou it finde so,
       I be thy bote, or that it be ful longe,
       To peces do me drawe, and sithen honge!'

       `Ye, so thou seyst,' quod Troilus tho, `allas!
835    But, god wot, it is not the rather so;
       Ful hard were it to helpen in this cas,
       For wel finde I that Fortune is my fo,
       Ne alle the men that ryden conne or go
       May of hir cruel wheel the harm withstonde;
840    For, as hir list, she pleyeth with free and bonde.'

       Quod Pandarus, `Than blamestow Fortune
       For thou art wrooth, ye, now at erst I see;
       Wostow nat wel that Fortune is commune
       To every maner wight in som degree?
845    And yet thou hast this comfort, lo, pardee!
       That, as hir Ioyes moten over-goon,
       So mote hir sorwes passen everichoon.

       `For if hir wheel stinte any-thing to torne,
       Than cessed she Fortune anoon to be:
850    Now, sith hir wheel by no wey may soiorne,
       What wostow if hir mutabilitee
       Right as thy-selven list, wol doon by thee,
       Or that she be not fer fro thyn helpinge?
       Paraunter, thou hast cause for to singe!

855    `And therfor wostow what I thee beseche?
       Lat be thy wo and turning to the grounde;
       For who-so list have helping of his leche,
       To him bihoveth first unwrye his wounde.
       To Cerberus in helle ay be I bounde,
860    Were it for my suster, al thy sorwe,
       By my wil, she sholde al be thyn to-morwe.

       `Loke up, I seye, and tel me what she is
       Anoon, that I may goon aboute thy nede;
       Knowe ich hir ought? For my love, tel me this;
865    Than wolde I hopen rather for to spede.'
       Tho gan the veyne of Troilus to blede,
       For he was hit, and wex al reed for shame;
       `A ha!' quod Pandare, `Here biginneth game!'

       And with that word he gan him for to shake,
870    And seyde, `Theef, thou shalt hir name telle.'
       But tho gan sely Troilus for to quake
       As though men sholde han led him in-to helle,
       And seyde, `Allas! Of al my wo the welle,
       Than is my swete fo called Criseyde!'
875    And wel nigh with the word for fere he deyde.

       And whan that Pandare herde hir name nevene,
       Lord, he was glad, and seyde, `Freend so dere,
       Now fare a-right, for Ioves name in hevene,
       Love hath biset the wel, be of good chere;
880    For of good name and wysdom and manere
       She hath y-nough, and eek of gentilesse;
       If she be fayr, thou wost thy-self, I gesse,

       `Ne I never saw a more bountevous
       Of hir estat, ne a gladder, ne of speche
885    A freendlier, ne a more gracious
       For to do wel, ne lasse hadde nede to seche
       What for to doon; and al this bet to eche,
       In honour, to as fer as she may strecche,
       A kinges herte semeth by hirs a wrecche.

890    `And for-thy loke of good comfort thou be;
       For certeinly, the firste poynt is this
       Of noble corage and wel ordeyne,
       A man to have pees with him-self, y-wis;
       So oughtest thou, for nought but good it is
895    To loven wel, and in a worthy place;
       Thee oghte not to clepe it hap, but grace.

       `And also thenk, and ther-with glade thee,
       That sith thy lady vertuous is al,
       So folweth it that ther is som pitee
900    Amonges alle thise othere in general;
       And for-thy see that thou, in special,
       Requere nought that is ayein hir name;
       For vertue streccheth not him-self to shame.

       `But wel is me that ever that I was born,
905    That thou biset art in so good a place;
       For by my trouthe, in love I dorste have sworn,
       Thee sholde never han tid thus fayr a grace;
       And wostow why? For thou were wont to chace
       At Love in scorn, and for despyt him calle
910    "Seynt Idiot, lord of thise foles alle."

       `How often hastow maad thy nyce Iapes,
       And seyd, that loves servants everichone
       Of nycetee been verray goddes apes;
       And some wolde monche hir mete alone,
915    Ligging a-bedde, and make hem for to grone;
       And som, thou seydest, hadde a blaunche fevere,
       And preydest god he sholde never kevere.

       `And som of hem tok on hem, for the colde,
       More than y-nough, so seydestow ful ofte;
920    And som han feyned ofte tyme, and tolde
       How that they wake, whan they slepen softe;
       And thus they wolde han brought hem-self a-lofte,
       And nathelees were under at the laste;
       Thus seydestow, and Iapedest ful faste.

925    `Yet seydestow, that, for the more part,
       These loveres wolden speke in general,
       And thoughten that it was a siker art,
       For fayling, for to assayen over-al.
       Now may I iape of thee, if that I shal!
930    But nathelees, though that I sholde deye,
       That thou art noon of tho, that dorste I seye.

       `Now beet thy brest, and sey to god of love,
       "Thy grace, lord! For now I me repente
       If I mis spak, for now my-self I love:"
935    Thus sey with al thyn herte in good entente.'
       Quod Troilus, `A! Lord! I me consente,
       And prey to thee my Iapes thou foryive,
       And I shal never-more whyl I live.'

       `Thou seyst wel,' quod Pandare, `and now I hope
940    That thou the goddes wraththe hast al apesed;
       And sithen thou hast wepen many a drope,
       And seyd swich thing wher-with thy god is plesed,
       Now wolde never god but thou were esed;
       And think wel, she of whom rist al thy wo
945    Here-after may thy comfort been al-so.

       `For thilke ground, that bereth the wedes wikke,
       Bereth eek thise holsom herbes, as ful ofte
       Next the foule netle, rough and thikke,
       The rose waxeth swote and smothe and softe;
950    And next the valey is the hil a-lofte;
       And next the derke night the glade morwe;
       And also Ioye is next the fyn of sorwe.

       `Now loke that atempre be thy brydel,
       And, for the beste, ay suffre to the tyde,
955    Or elles al our labour is on ydel;
       He hasteth wel that wysly can abyde;
       Be diligent, and trewe, and ay wel hyde.
       Be lusty, free, persevere in thy servyse,
       And al is wel, if thou werke in this wyse.

960    `But he that parted is in every place
       Is no-wher hool, as writen clerkes wyse;
       What wonder is, though swich oon have no grace?
       Eek wostow how it fareth of som servyse?
       As plaunte a tre or herbe, in sondry wyse,
965    And on the morwe pulle it up as blyve,
       No wonder is, though it may never thryve.

       `And sith that god of love hath thee bistowed
       In place digne un-to thy worthinesse,
       Stond faste, for to good port hastow rowed;
970    And of thy-self, for any hevinesse,
       Hope alwey wel; for, but-if drerinesse
       Or over-haste our bothe labour shende,
       I hope of this to maken a good ende.

       `And wostow why I am the lasse a-fered
975    Of this matere with my nece trete?
       For this have I herd seyd of wyse y-lered,
       "Was never man ne woman yet bigete
       That was unapt to suffren loves hete,
       Celestial, or elles love of kinde;"
980    For-thy som grace I hope in hir to finde.

       `And for to speke of hir in special,
       Hir beautee to bithinken and hir youthe,
       It sit hir nought to be celestial
       As yet, though that hir liste bothe and couthe;
985    But trewely, it sete hir wel right nouthe
       A worthy knight to loven and cheryce,
       And but she do, I holde it for a vyce.

       `Wherfore I am, and wol be, ay redy
       To peyne me to do yow this servyse;
990    For bothe yow to plese thus hope I
       Her-afterward; for ye beth bothe wyse,
       And conne it counseyl kepe in swich a wyse
       That no man shal the wyser of it be;
       And so we may be gladed alle three.

995    `And, by my trouthe, I have right now of thee
       A good conceyt in my wit, as I gesse,
       And what it is, I wol now that thou see.
       I thenke, sith that love, of his goodnesse,
       Hath thee converted out of wikkednesse,
1000   That thou shalt be the beste post, I leve,
       Of al his lay, and most his foos to-greve.

       `Ensample why, see now these wyse clerkes,
       That erren aldermost a-yein a lawe,
       And ben converted from hir wikked werkes
1005   Thorugh grace of god, that list hem to him drawe,
       Than arn they folk that han most god in awe,
       And strengest-feythed been, I understonde,
       And conne an errour alder-best withstonde.'

       Whan Troilus had herd Pandare assented
1010   To been his help in loving of Criseyde,
       Wex of his wo, as who seyth, untormented,
       But hotter wex his love, and thus he seyde,
       With sobre chere, al-though his herte pleyde,
       `Now blisful Venus helpe, er that I sterve,
1015   Of thee, Pandare, I may som thank deserve.

       `But, dere frend, how shal myn wo ben lesse
       Til this be doon? And goode, eek tel me this,
       How wiltow seyn of me and my destresse?
       Lest she be wrooth, this drede I most, y-wys,
1020   Or nil not here or trowen how it is.
       Al this drede I, and eek for the manere
       Of thee, hir eem, she nil no swich thing here.'

       Quod Pandarus, `Thou hast a ful gret care
       Lest that the cherl may falle out of the mone!
1025   Why, lord! I hate of the thy nyce fare!
       Why, entremete of that thou hast to done!
       For goddes love, I bidde thee a bone,
       So lat me alone, and it shal be thy beste.' --
       `Why, freend,' quod he, `now do right as the leste.

1030   `But herke, Pandare, o word, for I nolde
       That thou in me wendest so greet folye,
       That to my lady I desiren sholde
       That toucheth harm or any vilenye;
       For dredelees, me were lever dye
1035   Than she of me ought elles understode
       But that, that mighte sounen in-to gode.'

       Tho lough this Pandare, and anoon answerde,
       `And I thy borw? Fy! No wight dooth but so;
       I roughte nought though that she stode and herde
1040   How that thou seyst; but fare-wel, I wol go.
       A-dieu! Be glad! God spede us bothe two!
       Yif me this labour and this besinesse,
       And of my speed be thyn al that swetnesse.'

       Tho Troilus gan doun on knees to falle,
1045   And Pandare in his armes hente faste,
       And seyde, `Now, fy on the Grekes alle!
       Yet, pardee, god shal helpe us at the laste;
       And dredelees, if that my lyf may laste,
       And god to-forn, lo, som of hem shal smerte;
1050   And yet me athinketh that this avaunt me asterte!

       `Now, Pandare, I can no more seye,
       But thou wys, thou wost, thou mayst, thou art al!
       My lyf, my deeth, hool in thyn bonde I leye;
       Help now,' Quod he, `Yis, by my trouthe, I shal.'
1055   `God yelde thee, freend, and this in special,'
       Quod Troilus, `that thou me recomaunde
       To hir that to the deeth me may comaunde.'

       This Pandarus tho, desirous to serve
1059   His fulle freend, than seyde in this manere,
       `Far-wel, and thenk I wol thy thank deserve;
       Have here my trouthe, and that thou shalt wel here.' --
       And wente his wey, thenking on this matere,
       And how he best mighte hir beseche of grace,
       And finde a tyme ther-to, and a place.

1065   For every wight that hath an hous to founde
       Ne renneth nought the werk for to biginne
       With rakel hond, but he wol byde a stounde,
       And sende his hertes lyne out fro with-inne
       Alderfirst his purpos for to winne.
1070   Al this Pandare in his herte thoughte,
       And caste his werk ful wysly, or he wroughte.

       But Troilus lay tho no lenger doun,
       But up anoon up-on his stede bay,
       And in the feld he pleyde tho leoun;
1075   Wo was that Greek that with him mette that day.
       And in the toun his maner tho forth ay
       So goodly was, and gat him so in grace,
       That ech him lovede that loked on his face.

       For he bicom the frendlyeste wight,
1080   The gentileste, and eek the moste free,
       The thriftieste and oon the beste knight,
       That in his tyme was, or mighte be.
       Dede were his Iapes and his crueltee,
       His heighe port and his manere estraunge,
1085   And ech of tho gan for a vertu chaunge.

       Now lat us stinte of Troilus a stounde,
       That fareth lyk a man that hurt is sore,
       And is somdel of akinge of his wounde
       Y-lissed wel, but heled no del more:
1090   And, as an esy pacient, the lore
       Abit of him that gooth aboute his cure;
       And thus he dryveth forth his aventure.

Explicit Liber Primus

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