Geoffrey Chaucertr. A.S.Kline (from Old English)
Aprochen gan the fatal destinee
That Ioves hath in disposicioun,
And to yow, angry Parcas, sustren three,
Committeth, to don execucioun;
For which Criseyde moste out of the toun,
And Troilus shal dwelle forth in pyne
Til Lachesis his threed no lenger twyne. -

The golden-tressed Phebus heighe on-lofte
Thryes hadde alle with his bemes shene
The snowes molte, and Zephirus as ofte
Y-brought ayein the tendre leves grene,
Sin that the sone of Ecuba the quene
Bigan to love hir first, for whom his sorwe
Was al, that she departe sholde a-morwe.

Ful redy was at pryme Dyomede,
Criseyde un-to the Grekes ost to lede,
For sorwe of which she felt hir herte blede,
As she that niste what was best to rede.
And trewely, as men in bokes rede,
Men wiste never womman han the care,
Ne was so looth out of a toun to fare.

This Troilus, with-outen reed or lore,
As man that hath his Ioyes eek forlore,
Was waytinge on his lady ever-more
As she that was the soothfast crop and more
Of al his lust, or Ioyes here-tofore.
But Troilus, now farewel al thy Ioye,
For shaltow never seen hir eft in Troye!

Soth is, that whyl he bood in this manere,
He gan his wo ful manly for to hyde.
That wel unnethe it seen was in his chere;
But at the yate ther she sholde oute ryde
With certeyn folk, he hoved hir tabyde,
So wo bigoon, al wolde he nought him pleyne,
That on his hors unnethe he sat for peyne.

For ire he quook, so gan his herte gnawe,
Whan Diomede on horse gan him dresse,
And seyde un-to him-self this ilke sawe,
`Allas,' quod he, `thus foul a wrecchednesse
Why suffre ich it, why nil ich it redresse?
Were it not bet at ones for to dye
Than ever-more in langour thus to drye?

`Why nil I make at ones riche and pore
To have y-nough to done, er that she go?
Why nil I bringe al Troye upon a rore?
Why nil I sleen this Diomede also?
Why nil I rather with a man or two
Stele hir a-way? Why wol I this endure?
Why nil I helpen to myn owene cure?'

But why he nolde doon so fel a dede,
That shal I seyn, and why him liste it spare;
He hadde in herte alweyes a maner drede,
Lest that Criseyde, in rumour of this fare,
Sholde han ben slayn; lo, this was al his care.
And ellis, certeyn, as I seyde yore,
He hadde it doon, with-outen wordes more.

Criseyde, whan she redy was to ryde,
Ful sorwfully she sighte, and seyde `Allas!'
But forth she moot, for ought that may bityde,
And forth she rit ful sorwfully a pas.
Ther nis non other remedie in this cas.
What wonder is though that hir sore smerte,
Whan she forgoth hir owene swete herte?

This Troilus, in wyse of curteisye,
With hauke on hond, and with an huge route
Of knightes, rood and dide hir companye,
Passinge al the valey fer with-oute,
And ferther wolde han riden, out of doute,
Ful fayn, and wo was him to goon so sone;
But torne he moste, and it was eek to done.

And right with that was Antenor y-come
Out of the Grekes ost, and every wight
Was of it glad, and seyde he was wel-come.
And Troilus, al nere his herte light,
He peyned him with al his fulle might
Him to with-holde of wepinge at the leste,
And Antenor he kiste, and made feste.

And ther-with-al he moste his leve take,
And caste his eye upon hir pitously,
And neer he rood, his cause for to make,
To take hir by the honde al sobrely.
And lord! So she gan wepen tendrely!
And he ful softe and sleighly gan hir seye,
`Now hold your day, and dooth me not to deye.'


Began to near the fatal destiny
that Jove has in his disposition
and to you, angry Parcae, sisters three
is committed for its execution:
by which Cressida must leave the town,
and Troilus shall live on in pain
till Lachesis cease to spin again.

The golden-haired Phoebus high aloft
had three times, with all his sunny beams,
melted the snow, and Zephyrus as oft
had brought again the tender leaves green,
since the son of Hecuba the queen,
began to first love her for whom his sorrow
was all because she would depart the morrow.

At prime of day full ready was Diomede
Cressid to the Greek host to lead,
for sorrow of which she felt her heart bleed
as she who knew not what was best, indeed.
And truly, as men in books read,
no man ever knew a woman with her cares,
or who was so loth out of the town to fare.

This Troilus, without plan or lore,
like a man joyless and forlorn,
was waiting on his lady evermore
she that was every part and more,
of all his pleasure and joy before.
But Troilus, farewell now all your joy,
for you will never see her again in Troy.

Truth is that while he waited in this manner
he was able manfully his woe to hide,
that it was scarcely seen in his cheer:
but at the gate where she was due to ride
out with certain folk, he hovered beside,
so woebegone, though he did not complain,
that he could scarcely sit his horse for pain.

He shook with anger, his heart began to gnaw,
when Diomed his horse prepared to dress,
and said to himself this very saw:
‘Alas,’ he said, ‘this state of wretchedness,
why do I suffer it, why no redress?
Would it not be better at once to die
than evermore in languor lie?

Why don’t I give at once rich and poor
something to do before I see her go?
Why do I not set all Troy in uproar?
Why do I not slay Diomed also?
Why do I not with a man or two
steal her away? Why should I thus endure?
Why do I not aid my own cure?’

But why he would not do so fell a deed
that will I say, and why he left it there.
He had in his heart always a kind of dread
lest Cressid in the tumult of the affair
might be slain: lo, this was all his care.
Otherwise, for certain, as I said before,
he would have done it without a word more.

Cressid, when she was ready to ride,
sighed full sorrowfully and said: ‘Alas!’
but forth she must, whatever might betide,
and forth she rode full sorrowfully apace.
There was no other remedy in this case.
What wonder is it though, she felt the smart
when she must forgo her own sweetheart?

This Troilus, in the way of courtesy,
with hawk on hand and with a large crowd
of knights, rode and kept her company,
passing all the valley far without.
And would have ridden further, without doubt,
most gladly, and woe it was so soon to go:
but turn he must, as he was forced to do.

And, at that moment, Antenor had come
out of the Greek host, and every knight
was glad of it, and said that he was welcome.
And Troilus, though his heart was not light,
took pains indeed as best he might
to keep from weeping, at the least,
and kissed Antenor, and was pleased.

And after that he must his leave take,
and cast his eye on her piteously:
and he rode near, his cause to make,
to take her by the hand all soberly.
And lord! she began to weep so tenderly!
And he full soft and quietly began to say:
‘Now do not kill me, hold to your day.’


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Transl. copyright © A. S. Kline 2003

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