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- The Canterbury Tales - 160/183 -


"Now thenne thus," quoth she, "I would him pray To telle me the *fine of his intent;* *end of his desire* Yet wist* I never well what that he meant." *knew

"What that I meane, sweete hearte dear?" Quoth Troilus, "O goodly, fresh, and free! That, with the streames* of your eyne so clear, *beams, glances Ye woulde sometimes *on me rue and see,* *take pity and look on me* And then agreen* that I may be he, *take in good part Withoute branch of vice, in any wise, In truth alway to do you my service,

"As to my lady chief, and right resort, With all my wit and all my diligence; And for to have, right as you list, comfort; Under your yerd,* equal to mine offence, *rod, chastisement As death, if that *I breake your defence;* *do what you And that ye deigne me so much honour, forbid <42>* Me to commanden aught in any hour.

"And I to be your very humble, true, Secret, and in my paines patient, And evermore desire, freshly new, To serven, and be alike diligent, And, with good heart, all wholly your talent Receive in gree,* how sore that me smart; *gladness Lo, this mean I, mine owen sweete heart."

. . . . . . . . . .

With that she gan her eyen on him* cast, <43> *Pandarus Full easily and full debonairly,* *graciously *Advising her,* and hied* not too fast, *considering* **went With ne'er a word, but said him softely, "Mine honour safe, I will well truely, And in such form as ye can now devise, Receive him* fully to my service; *Troilus

"Beseeching him, for Godde's love, that he Would, in honour of truth and gentleness, As I well mean, eke meane well to me; And mine honour, with *wit and business,* *wisdom and zeal* Aye keep; and if I may do him gladness, From henceforth, y-wis I will not feign: Now be all whole, no longer do ye plain.

"But, natheless, this warn I you," quoth she, "A kinge's son although ye be, y-wis, Ye shall no more have sovereignety Of me in love, than right in this case is; Nor will I forbear, if ye do amiss, To wrathe* you, and, while that ye me serve, *be angry with, chide To cherish you, *right after ye deserve.* *as you deserve*

"And shortly, deare heart, and all my knight, Be glad, and drawe you to lustiness,* *pleasure And I shall truely, with all my might, Your bitter turnen all to sweeteness; If I be she that may do you gladness, For ev'ry woe ye shall recover a bliss:" And him in armes took, and gan him kiss.

Pandarus, almost beside himself for joy, falls on his knees to thank Venus and Cupid, declaring that for this miracle he hears all the bells ring; then, with a warning to be ready at his call to meet at his house, he parts the lovers, and attends Cressida while she takes leave of the household -- Troilus all the time groaning at the deceit practised on his brother and Helen. When he has got rid of them by feigning weariness, Pandarus returns to the chamber, and spends the night with him in converse. The zealous friend begins to speak "in a sober wise" to Troilus, reminding him of his love-pains now all at an end.

"So that through me thou standest now in way To fare well; I say it for no boast; And know'st thou why? For, shame it is to say, For thee have I begun a game to play, Which that I never shall do eft* for other,** *again **another Although he were a thousand fold my brother.

"That is to say, for thee I am become, Betwixte game and earnest, such a mean* *means, instrument As make women unto men to come; Thou know'st thyselfe what that woulde mean; For thee have I my niece, of vices clean,* *pure, devoid So fully made thy gentleness* to trust, *nobility of nature That all shall be right *as thyselfe lust.* *as you please*

"But God, that *all wot,* take I to witness, *knows everything* That never this for covetise* I wrought, *greed of gain But only to abridge* thy distress, *abate For which well nigh thou diedst, as me thought; But, goode brother, do now as thee ought, For Godde's love, and keep her out of blame; Since thou art wise, so save thou her name.

"For, well thou know'st, the name yet of her, Among the people, as who saith hallow'd is; For that man is unborn, I dare well swear, That ever yet wist* that she did amiss; *knew But woe is me, that I, that cause all this, May thinke that she is my niece dear, And I her eme,* and traitor eke y-fere.** *uncle <17> **as well

"And were it wist that I, through mine engine,* *arts, contrivance Had in my niece put this fantasy* *fancy To do thy lust,* and wholly to be thine, *pleasure Why, all the people would upon it cry, And say, that I the worste treachery Did in this case, that ever was begun, And she fordone,* and thou right naught y-won." *ruined

Therefore, ere going a step further, Pandarus prays Troilus to give him pledges of secrecy, and impresses on his mind the mischiefs that flow from vaunting in affairs of love. "Of kind,"[by his very nature] he says, no vaunter is to be believed:

"For a vaunter and a liar all is one; As thus: I pose* a woman granteth me *suppose, assume Her love, and saith that other will she none, And I am sworn to holden it secre, And, after, I go tell it two or three; Y-wis, I am a vaunter, at the least, And eke a liar, for I break my hest.*<44> *promise

"Now looke then, if they be not to blame, Such manner folk; what shall I call them, what? That them avaunt of women, and by name, That never yet behight* them this nor that, *promised (much Nor knowe them no more than mine old hat? less granted) No wonder is, so God me sende heal,* *prosperity Though women dreade with us men to deal!

"I say not this for no mistrust of you, Nor for no wise men, but for fooles nice;* *silly <45> And for the harm that in the world is now, As well for folly oft as for malice; For well wot I, that in wise folk that vice No woman dreads, if she be well advised; For wise men be by fooles' harm chastised."* *corrected, instructed

So Pandarus begs Troilus to keep silent, promises to be true all his days, and assures him that he shall have all that he will in the love of Cressida: "thou knowest what thy lady granted thee; and day is set the charters up to make."

Who mighte telle half the joy and feast Which that the soul of Troilus then felt, Hearing th'effect of Pandarus' behest? His olde woe, that made his hearte swelt,* *faint, die Gan then for joy to wasten and to melt, And all the reheating <46> of his sighes sore At ones fled, he felt of them no more.

But right so as these *holtes and these hayes,* *woods and hedges* That have in winter deade been and dry, Reveste them in greene, when that May is, When ev'ry *lusty listeth* best to play; *pleasant (one) wishes* Right in that selfe wise, sooth to say, Wax'd suddenly his hearte full of joy, That gladder was there never man in Troy.

Troilus solemnly swears that never, "for all the good that God made under sun," will he reveal what Pandarus asks him to keep secret; offering to die a thousand times, if need were, and to follow his friend as a slave all his life, in proof of his gratitude.

"But here, with all my heart, I thee beseech, That never in me thou deeme* such folly *judge As I shall say; me thoughte, by thy speech, That this which thou me dost for company,* *friendship I shoulde ween it were a bawdery;* *a bawd's action *I am not wood, all if I lewed be;* *I am not mad, though It is not one, that wot I well, pardie! I be unlearned*

"But he that goes for gold, or for richess, On such messages, call him *as thee lust;* *what you please* And this that thou dost, call it gentleness, Compassion, and fellowship, and trust; Depart it so, for widewhere is wist How that there is diversity requer'd Betwixte thinges like, as I have lear'd. <47>

"And that thou know I think it not nor ween,* *suppose That this service a shame be or a jape, *subject for jeering I have my faire sister Polyxene, Cassandr', Helene, or any of the frape;* *set <48> Be she never so fair, or well y-shape, Telle me which thou wilt of ev'ry one, To have for thine, and let me then alone."

Then, beseeching Pandarus soon to perform out the great enterprise of crowning his love for Cressida, Troilus bade his friend good night. On the morrow Troilus burned as the fire, for hope and pleasure; yet "he not forgot his wise governance [self- control];"

But in himself with manhood gan restrain Each rakel* deed, and each unbridled cheer,** *rash **demeanour That alle those that live, sooth to sayn,


The Canterbury Tales - 160/183

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