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The best Love Poems on the internet.

Anelida and Arcite Part 2 by Geoffrey Chaucer


And al this tok she so debonerly
That al his wil her thoghte hit skilful thing,
And ever the lenger she loved him tendirly
And dide him honour as he were a kyng.
Her herte was to him wedded with a ring;
So ferforth upon trouthe is her entente
That wher he gooth her herte with him wente.

When she shal ete, on him is so her thoght
That wel unnethe of mete tok she kep;
And when that she was to her reste broght,
On him she thoghte alwey til that she slep;
When he was absent, prevely she wep:
Thus lyveth feire Anelida the quene
For fals Arcite, that dide her al this tene.

This fals Arcite, of his newfanglenesse,
For she to him so lowly was and trewe,
Tok lesse deynte of her stidfastnesse
And saw another lady, proud and newe,
And ryght anon he cladde him in her hewe--
Wot I not whethir in white, rede, or grene--
And falsed fair Anelida the quene.

But neverthelesse, gret wonder was hit noon
Thogh he were fals, for hit is kynde of man
Sith Lamek was, that is so longe agoon,
To ben in love as fals as evere he can;
He was the firste fader that began
To loven two, and was in bigamye,
And he found tentes first, but yf men lye.

This fals Arcite, sumwhat moste he feyne,
When he wex fals, to covere his traitorie,
Ryght as an hors that can both bite and pleyne,
For he bar her on honde of trecherie,
And swor he coude her doublenesse espie,
And al was falsnes that she to him mente.
Thus swor this thef, and forth his way he wente.

Alas, what herte myght enduren hit,
For routhe and wo, her sorwe for to telle?
Or what man hath the cunnyng or the wit?
Or what man mighte within the chambre dwelle,
Yf I to him rehersen sholde the helle
That suffreth fair Anelida the quene
For fals Arcite, that dide her al this tene.

She wepith, waileth, swowneth pitously;
To grounde ded she falleth as a ston;
Craumpyssheth her lymes crokedly;
She speketh as her wit were al agon;
Other colour then asshen hath she noon;
Non other word speketh she, moche or lyte,
But 'Merci, cruel herte myn, Arcite!'

And thus endureth til that she was so mat
That she ne hath foot on which she may sustene,
But forth languisshing evere in this estat,
Of which Arcite hath nouther routhe ne tene.
His herte was elleswhere, newe and grene,
That on her wo ne deyneth him not to thinke;
Him rekketh never wher she flete or synke.

His newe lady holdeth him so narowe
Up by the bridil, at the staves ende,
That every word he dredeth as an arowe;
Her daunger made him bothe bowe and bende,
And as her liste, made him turne or wende,
For she ne graunted him in her lyvynge
No grace whi that he hath lust to singe,

But drof hym forth. Unnethe liste her knowe
That he was servaunt unto her ladishippe;
But lest that he were proud, she held him lowe.
Thus serveth he withoute fee or shipe;
She sent him now to londe, now to shippe;
And for she yaf him daunger al his fille,
Therfor she hadde him at her owne wille.

Ensample of this, ye thrifty wymmen alle,
Take her of Anelida and Arcite,
That for her liste him 'dere herte' calle
And was so meke, therfor he loved her lyte.
The kynde of mannes herte is to delyte
In thing that straunge is, also God me save!
For what he may not gete, that wolde he have.

Now turne we to Anelida ageyn,
That pyneth day be day in langwisshinge,
But when she saw that her ne gat no geyn,
Upon a day, ful sorowfully wepinge,
She caste her for to make a compleynynge,
And of her owne hond she gan hit write,
And sente hit to her Theban knyght, Arcite.

The compleynt of Anelida the quene upon fals Arcite.


So thirleth with the poynt of remembraunce
The swerd of sorowe, ywhet with fals plesaunce,
Myn herte, bare of blis and blak of hewe,
That turned is in quakyng al my daunce,
My surete in awhaped countenaunce,
Sith hit availeth not for to ben trewe;
For whoso trewest is, hit shal hir rewe
That serveth love and doth her observaunce
Alwey til oon, and chaungeth for no newe.


I wot myself as wel as any wight,
For I loved oon with al myn herte and myght,
More then myself an hundred thousand sithe,
And called him myn hertes lif, my knyght,
And was al his, as fer as hit was ryght;
And when that he was glad, then was I blithe,
And his disese was my deth as swithe;
And he ayein his trouthe hath me plyght
For evermore, his lady me to kythe.

Now is he fals, alas, and causeles,
And of my wo he is so routheles
That with a word him list not ones deyne
To bringe ayen my sorowful herte in pes,
For he is caught up in another les.
Ryght as him list, he laugheth at my peyne,
And I ne can myn herte not restreyne
For to love him alwey neveretheles;
And of al this I not to whom me pleyne.

And shal I pleyne--alas, the harde stounde!--
Unto my foo that yaf myn herte a wounde
And yet desireth that myn harm be more?
Nay, certis, ferther wol I never founde
Non other helpe, my sores for to sounde.
My destinee hath shapen hit so ful yore;
I wil non other medecyne ne lore;
I wil ben ay ther I was ones bounde.
That I have seid, be seid for evermore!

Alas! Wher is become your gentilesse,
Youre wordes ful of plesaunce and humblesse,
Youre observaunces in so low manere,
And your awayting and your besynesse
Upon me, that ye calden your maistresse,
Your sovereyne lady in this world here?
Alas! Is ther now nother word ne chere
Ye vouchen sauf upon myn hevynesse?
Alas! Youre love, I bye hit al to dere.

Now, certis, swete, thogh that ye
Thus causeles the cause be
Of my dedly adversyte,
Your manly resoun oghte hit to respite
To slen your frend, and namely me,
That never yet in no degre
Offended yow, as wisly He
That al wot, out of wo my soule quyte!
But for I shewed yow, Arcite,
Al that men wolde to me write,
And was so besy yow to delyte--
Myn honor save--meke,kynde,and fre,
Therfor ye put on me this wite,
And of me rekke not a myte,
Thogh that the swerd of sorwe byte
My woful herte through your cruelte.

My swete foo, why do ye so, for shame?
And thenke ye that furthered be your name
To love a newe, and ben untrewe? Nay!
And putte yow in sclaunder now and blame,
And do to me adversite and grame,
That love yow most--God, wel thou wost--alway?
Yet come ayein, and yet be pleyn som day,
And than shal this, that now is mys, be game,
And al foryive, while that I lyve may.


Lo, herte myn, al this is for to seyne
As whether shal I preve or elles pleyne?
Which is the wey to doon yow to be trewe?
For either mot I have yow in my cheyne
Or with the deth ye mote departe us tweyne;
Ther ben non other mene weyes newe.
For God so wisly upon my soule rewe,
As verrayly ye sleen me with the peyne;
That may ye se unfeyned of myn hewe.

For thus ferforth have I my detb [y-]soght?
Myself I mordre with my privy thoght;
For sorowe and routhe of your unkyndenesse
I wepe, I wake, I faste; al helpeth noght;
I weyve joye that is to speke of oght,
I voyde companye, I fle gladnesse.
Who may avaunte her beter of hevynesse
Then I? And to this plyte have ye me broght,
Withoute gilt--me nedeth no witnesse.

And shal I preye, and weyve womanhede?--
Nay! Rather deth then do so foul a dede!--
And axe merci, gilteles--what nede?
And yf I pleyne what lyf that I lede,
Yow rekketh not; that knowe I, out of drede;
And if that I to yow myne othes bede
For myn excuse, a skorn shal be my mede.
Your chere floureth, but it wol not sede;
Ful longe agoon I oghte have taken hede.

For thogh I hadde yow to-morowe ageyn,
I myghte as wel holde Aperill fro reyn
As holde yow, to make yow be stidfast.
Almyghty God, of trouthe sovereyn,
Wher is the trouthe of man? Who hath hit slayn?
Who that hem loveth, she shal hem fynde as fast
As in a tempest is a roten mast.
Is that a tame best that is ay feyn
To fleen away when he is lest agast?

Now merci, swete, yf I mysseye!
Have I seyd oght amys, I preye?
I noot; my wit is al aweye.
I fare as doth the song of Chaunte-pleure
For now I pleyne, and now I pleye;
I am so mased that I deye;
Arcite hath born awey the keye
Of al my world, and my good aventure.
For in this world nis creature
Wakynge in more discomfiture
Then I, ne more sorowe endure.
And yf I slepe a furlong wey or tweye,
Then thynketh me that your figure
Before me stont, clad in asure,
To profren eft and newe assure
For to be trewe, and merci me to preye.

The longe nyght this wonder sight I drye,
And on the day for thilke afray I dye,
And of al this ryght noght, iwis, ye reche.
Ne nevere mo myn yen two be drie,
And to your routhe, and to your trouthe, I crie.
But welawey! To fer be they to feche;
Thus holdeth me my destinee a wreche.
But me to rede out of this drede, or guye,
Ne may my wit, so weyk is hit, not streche.


Then ende I thus, sith I may do no more.
I yeve hit up for now and evermore,
For I shal never eft putten in balaunce
My sekernes, ne lerne of love the lore.
But as the swan, I have herd seyd ful yore,
Ayeins his deth shal singen his penaunce,
So singe I here my destinee or chaunce,
How that Arcite Anelida so sore
Hath thirled with the poynt of remembraunce.

The Story continued

When that Anelida, this woful quene,
Hath of her hand ywriten in this wise,
With face ded, betwixe pale and grene,
She fel a-swowe; and sith she gan to rise,
And unto Mars avoweth sacrifise
Withinne the temple, with a sorowful chere,
That shapen was as ye shal after here.

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