from "TROILUS AND CRISEYDE" from "TROILUS AND CRESSIDA" - Book III
Geoffrey Chaucertr. A.S.Kline (from Old English)
O blisful light of whiche the bemes clere
Adorneth al the thridde hevene faire!
O sonnes lief, O Ioves doughter dere,
Plesaunce of love, O goodly debonaire,
In gentil hertes ay redy to repaire!
O verray cause of hele and of gladnesse,
Y-heried be thy might and thy goodnesse!

In hevene and helle, in erthe and salte see
Is felt thy might, if that I wel descerne;
As man, brid, best, fish, herbe and grene tree
Thee fele in tymes with vapour eterne.
God loveth, and to love wol nought werne;
And in this world no lyves creature,
With-outen love, is worth, or may endure.

Ye Ioves first to thilke effectes glade,
Thorugh which that thinges liven alle and be,
Comeveden, and amorous him made
On mortal thing, and as yow list, ay ye
Yeve him in love ese or adversitee;
And in a thousand formes doun him sente
For love in erthe, and whom yow liste, he hente.

Ye fierse Mars apeysen of his ire,
And, as yow list, ye maken hertes digne;
Algates, hem that ye wol sette a-fyre,
They dreden shame, and vices they resigne;
Ye do hem corteys be, fresshe and benigne,
And hye or lowe, after a wight entendeth;
The Ioyes that he hath, your might him sendeth.

Ye holden regne and hous in unitee;
Ye soothfast cause of frendship been also;
Ye knowe al thilke covered qualitee
Of thinges which that folk on wondren so,
Whan they can not construe how it may io,
She loveth him, or why he loveth here;
As why this fish, and nought that, comth to were.

Ye folk a lawe han set in universe,
And this knowe I by hem that loveres be,
That who-so stryveth with yow hath the werse:
Now, lady bright, for thy benignitee,
At reverence of hem that serven thee,
Whos clerk I am, so techeth me devyse
Som Ioye of that is felt in thy servyse.

Ye in my naked herte sentement
Inhelde, and do me shewe of thy swetnesse. -
Caliope, thy vois be now present,
For now is nede; sestow not my destresse,
How I mot telle anon-right the gladnesse
Of Troilus, to Venus heryinge?
To which gladnes, who nede hath, god him bringe!

Lay al this mene whyle Troilus,
Recordinge his lessoun in this manere,
`Ma fey!' thought he, `Thus wole I seye and thus;
Thus wole I pleyne unto my lady dere;
That word is good, and this shal be my chere;
This nil I not foryeten in no wyse.'
God leve him werken as he can devyse!

And, lord, so that his herte gan to quappe,
Heringe hir come, and shorte for to syke!
And Pandarus, that ledde hir by the lappe,
Com ner, and gan in at the curtin pyke,
And seyde, `God do bote on alle syke!
See, who is here yow comen to visyte;
Lo, here is she that is your deeth to wyte.'

Ther-with it semed as he wepte almost;
`A ha,' quod Troilus so rewfully,
`Wher me be wo, O mighty god, thow wost!
Who is al there? I se nought trewely.'
`Sire,' quod Criseyde, `it is Pandare and I.'
`Ye, swete herte? Allas, I may nought ryse
To knele, and do yow honour in som wyse.'

And dressede him upward, and she right tho
Gan bothe here hondes softe upon him leye,
`O, for the love of god, do ye not so
To me,' quod she, `Ey! What is this to seye?
Sire, come am I to yow for causes tweye;
First, yow to thonke, and of your lordshipe eke
Continuance I wolde yow biseke.'

This Troilus, that herde his lady preye
Of lordship him, wex neither quik ne deed,
Ne mighte a word for shame to it seye,
Al-though men sholde smyten of his heed.
But lord, so he wex sodeinliche reed,
And sire, his lesson, that he wende conne,
To preyen hir, is thurgh his wit y-ronne.

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O Blissful light, of which the beams clear
adorn all the third heaven fair!
O sun’s beloved, O Jove’s daughter dear,
pleasure of love, O grace of air,
in gentle hearts and ready to live there!
O true cause of health and gladness,
blessed be your power and your goodness!

In heaven and hell, in earth and salt sea
your power is felt, if I truly discern all,
since man, bird, beast, fish, herb and green tree
feel at times your influence eternal.
God loves, and from love will never fall:
And in this world no living creature
without love, has worth, or may endure.

You Jove first to those effects so glad
(through which all things live and be)
brought him, and amorous him made
towards mortal things: and as you wish, ye
gave him in love ease or adversity:
and in a thousand forms down him sent
to love on earth, and where you wished he went.

For you fierce Mars quenched his ire:
and as you wish you make hearts fine:
at least, those that you wish to set on fire,
they fear shame, and vices they resign.
You make them courteous, fresh and benign,
and high or low, whatever a man intends,
the joy he has, your power to him sends.

You hold kingdom and house in unity:
you the true cause of friendship are also:
you know all the secret quality
of things, that folk wonder about so,
when they cannot see why time should show
that she loves him, or why he loves her,
or why this fish, not that one, comes to the weir.

You have set a law for folk in the universe,
and this I know from those that lovers be,
that they who work against you have the worse
of it: now, lady bright, of your benignity,
in reverence to those who serve thee,
whose clerk I am, now teach me to write true
some of the joy folk feel in serving you.

Do you into my naked heart sentiment
infuse, and show me of your sweetness. -
Calliope, your voice now be present,
for now it is needed: see you not my distress,
how I must tell right now of the gladness
of Troilus, all for Venus’s honouring?
To which gladness him who has need God bring.

All this time meanwhile lay Troilus
rehearsing his lesson in this manner:
‘My faith!’ thought he, ‘this I will say, and thus:
thus will I entreat my lady dear:
that word is good, and this shall be my cheer:
this I must not forget, any wise.’
God grant it all works out as he shall devise.

And lord, how fast his heart began to beat,
hearing her coming, and he heaved a sigh!
And Pandarus, that led her, by and by,
came near and began in at the curtain to spy,
and said: ‘God give health to those who die!
See, who is here coming to visit you:
Lo, here is she that is your death too.

At that it seemed as if he wept almost.
‘Ah,’ said Troilus, so ruefully,
‘whether I am woeful, O mighty God you know’st.
Who is there? I can see nothing, truly.’
‘Sir,’ said Cressid, ‘it is Pandar and I.’
‘You, sweet heart? Alas I may not rise
to kneel and do you honour, in any guise.’

And he raised him upward, and she right so
began her soft hands both on him to lay:
‘Oh, for the love of God, do you not so
for me,’ she said, ‘ah! what do you say?
Sire, I come to you for two causes today:
first to thank you, and from your lordship seek
the continuing protection I beseech.’

At this, Troilus, who heard his lady pray
for his support, was neither quick nor dead,
nor, for shame, might to her one word say,
even if men should strike off his head.
But lord! he blushed so suddenly red,
and sire, his lessons, that he thought he knew
in how to speak to her, his wits ran through.

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Transl. copyright © A. S. Kline 2003


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