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The best Love Poems on the internet.

Anelida and Arcite Part 1 by Geoffrey Chaucer

 

Thou ferse god of armes, Mars the rede,
That in the frosty contre called Trace,
Within thy grisly temple ful of drede
Honoured art as patroun of that place;
With thy Bellona, Pallas, ful of grace,
Be present and my song contynue and guye;
At my begynnyng thus to the I crye.

For hit ful depe is sonken in my mynde,
With pitous hert in Englyssh to endyte
This olde storie, in Latyn which I fynde,
Of quene Anelida and fals Arcite,
That elde, which that al can frete and bite,
As hit hath freten mony a noble storie,
Hath nygh devoured out of oure memorie.

Be favorable eke, thou Polymya,
On Parnaso that with thy sustres glade,
By Elycon, not fer from Cirrea,
Singest with vois memorial in the shade,
Under the laurer which that may not fade,
And do that I my ship to haven wynne.
First folowe I Stace, and after him Corynne.


The Story.

Iamque domos patrias Cithice post aspera gentis
Prelia laurigero subeunte Thesea curru
Letifici plausus missusque ad sidera vulgi

When Theseus with werres longe and grete
The aspre folk of Cithe had overcome,
With laurer corouned, in his char gold-bete,
Hom to his contre-houses is he come,
For which the peple, blisful al and somme,
So cry{:e}den that to the sterres hit wente,
And him to honouren dide al her entente.

Beforn this duk, in signe of victorie,
The trompes come, and in his baner large
The ymage of Mars, and in tokenyng of glorie
Men myghte sen of tresour many a charge,
Many a bright helm, and many a spere and targe,
Many a fresh knyght, and many a blysful route,
On hors, on fote, in al the feld aboute.

Ipolita his wif, the hardy quene
Of Cithia, that he conquered hadde,
With Emelye her yonge suster shene,
Faire in a char of gold he with him ladde,
That al the ground about her char she spradde
With brightnesse of the beaute in her face,
Fulfilled of largesse and of alle grace.

With his tryumphe and laurer-corouned thus,
In al the flour of Fortunes yevynge,
Let I this noble prince Theseus
Toward Athenes in his wey rydinge,
And founde I wol in shortly for to bringe
The slye wey of that I gan to write,
Of quene Anelida and fals Arcite.

Mars, which that through his furious cours of ire,
The olde wrathe of Juno to fulfille,
Hath set the peples hertes bothe on fire
Of Thebes and Grece, everich other to kille
With blody speres, ne rested never stille,
But throng now her, now ther, among hem bothe,
That everych other slough, so were they wrothe.

For when Amphiorax and Tydeus,
Ipomedon, Parthonope also
Were ded, and slayn proude Campaneus,
And when the wrecched Thebans, bretheren two,
Were slayn, and kyng Adrastus hom ago,
So desolat stod Thebes and so bare
That no wight coude remedie of his fare.

And when the olde Creon gan espye
How that the blood roial was broght a-doun,
He held the cite by his tyrannye
And dyde the gentils of that regioun
To ben his frendes and wonnen in the toun.
So, what for love of him and what for awe,
The noble folk were to the toun idrawe.

Among al these Anelida, the quene
Of Ermony, was in that toun dwellynge,
That fairer was then is the sonne shene.
Thurghout the world so gan her name springe
That her to seen had every wyght likynge,
For, as of trouthe, is ther noon her lyche
Of al the women in this worlde riche.

Yong was this quene, of twenty yer of elde,
Of mydel stature, and of such fairenesse
That Nature had a joye her to behelde;
And for to speken of her stidfastnesse,
She passed hath Penelope and Lucresse;
And shortly, yf she shal be comprehended,
In her ne myghte no thing been amended.

This Theban knyght [Arcite] eke, soth to seyn,
Was yong and therwithal a lusty knyght,
But he was double in love and no thing pleyn,
And subtil in that craft over any wyght,
And with his kunnyng wan this lady bryght;
For so ferforth he gan her trouthe assure
That she him trusted over any creature.

What shuld I seyn? She loved Arcite so
That when that he was absent any throwe,
Anon her thoghte her herte brast a-two;
For in her sight to her he bar hym lowe,
So that she wende have al his hert yknowe;
But he was fals; hit nas but feyned chere
As nedeth not to men such craft to lere.

But nevertheles ful mykel besynesse
Had he er that he myghte his lady wynne,
And swor he wolde dyen for distresse
Or from his wit he seyde he wolde twynne.
Alas, the while! For hit was routhe and synne
That she upon his sorowes wolde rewe;
But nothing thinketh the fals as doth the trewe.

Her fredom fond Arcite in such manere
That al was his that she hath, moche or lyte;

Ne to no creature made she chere
Ferther then that hit lyked to Arcite.
Ther nas no lak with which he myghte her wite;
She was so ferforth yeven hym to plese
That al that lyked hym hit dyde her ese.

Ther nas to her no maner lettre sent
That touched love, from any maner wyght,
That she ne shewed hit him er hit was brent;
So pleyn she was and dide her fulle myght
That she nyl hiden nothing from her knyght,
Lest he of any untrouthe her upbreyde.
Withoute bode his heste she obeyde.

And eke he made him jelous over here,
That what that any man had to her seyd
Anoon he wolde preyen her to swere
What was that word or make him evel apaid.
Then wende she out of her wyt have breyd;
But al this nas but sleght and flaterie;
Withoute love he feyned jelousye.

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