Troilus writes the letter, and next morning Pandarus bears it to Cressida. She refuses to receive "scrip or bill that toucheth such mattere;" but he thrusts it into her bosom, challenging her to throw it away. She retains it, takes the first opportunity of escaping to her chamber to read it, finds it wholly good, and, under her uncle's dictation, endites a reply telling her lover that she will not make herself bound in love; "but as his sister, him to please, she would aye fain [be glad] to do his heart an ease." Pandarus, under pretext of inquiring who is the owner of the house opposite, has gone to the window; Cressida takes her letter to him there, and tells him that she never did a thing with more pain than write the words to which he had constrained her. As they sit side by side, on a stone of jasper, on a cushion of beaten gold, Troilus rides by, in all his goodliness. Cressida waxes "as red as rose," as she sees him salute humbly, "with dreadful cheer, and oft his hues mue [change];" she likes "all y-fere, his person, his array, his look, his cheer, his goodly manner, and his gentleness;" so that, however she may have been before, "to goode hope now hath she caught a thorn, she shall not pull it out this nexte week." Pandarus, striking the iron when it is hot, asks his niece to grant Troilus an interview; but she strenuously declines, for fear of scandal, and because it is all too soon to allow him so great a liberty - her purpose being to love him unknown of all, "and guerdon [reward] him with nothing but with sight." Pandarus has other intentions; and, while Troilus writes daily letters with increasing love, he contrives the means of an interview. Seeking out Deiphobus, the brother of Troilus, he tells him that Cressida is in danger of violence from Polyphete, and asks protection for her. Deiphobus gladly complies, promises the protection of Hector and Helen, and goes to invite Cressida to dinner on the morrow. Meantime Pandarus instructs Troilus to go to the house of Deiphobus, plead an access of his fever for remaining all night, and keep his chamber next day. "Lo," says the crafty promoter of love, borrowing a phrase from the hunting-field; "Lo, hold thee at thy tristre [tryst <33>] close, and I shall well the deer unto thy bowe drive." Unsuspicious of stratagem, Cressida comes to dinner; and at table, Helen, Pandarus, and others, praise the absent Troilus, until "her heart laughs" for very pride that she has the love of such a knight. After dinner they speak of Cressida's business; all confirm Deiphobus' assurances of protection and aid; and Pandarus suggests that, since Troilus is there, Cressida shall herself tell him her case. Helen and Deiphobus alone accompany Pandarus to Troilus' chamber; there Troilus produces some documents relating to the public weal, which Hector has sent for his opinion; Helen and Deiphobus, engrossed in perusal and discussion, roam out of the chamber, by a stair, into the garden; while Pandarus goes down to the hall, and, pretending that his brother and Helen are still with Troilus, brings Cressida to her lover. The Second Book leaves Pandarus whispering in his niece's ear counsel to be merciful and kind to her lover, that hath for her such pain; while Troilus lies "in a kankerdort," <34> hearing the whispering without, and wondering what he shall say for this "was the first time that he should her pray of love; O! mighty God! what shall he say?"
THE THIRD BOOK.
To the Third Book is prefixed a beautiful invocation of Venus,
under the character of light:
O Blissful light, of which the beames clear
Adornen all the thirde heaven fair!
O Sunne's love, O Jove's daughter dear!
Pleasance of love, O goodly debonair,*
*lovely and gracious*
In gentle heart ay* ready to repair!**
*always **enter and abide
O very* cause of heal** and of gladness,
Y-heried* be thy might and thy goodness!
In heav'n and hell, in earth and salte sea.
Is felt thy might, if that I well discern;
As man, bird, beast, fish, herb, and greene tree,
They feel in times, with vapour etern, <35>
God loveth, and to love he will not wern
And in this world no living creature
Withoute love is worth, or may endure. <36>
Ye Jove first to those effectes glad,
Through which that thinges alle live and be,
Commended; and him amorous y-made
Of mortal thing; and as ye list,* ay ye
Gave him, in love, ease* or adversity,
And in a thousand formes down him sent
For love in earth; and *whom ye list he hent.*
*he seized whom you
Ye fierce Mars appeasen of his ire,
And as you list ye make heartes dign* <37>
Algates* them that ye will set afire,
*at all events
They dreade shame, and vices they resign
Ye do* him courteous to be, and benign;
And high or low, after* a wight intendeth,
The joyes that he hath your might him sendeth.
Ye holde realm and house in unity;
Ye soothfast* cause of friendship be also;
Ye know all thilke *cover'd quality*
Of thinges which that folk on wonder so,
When they may not construe how it may go
She loveth him, or why he loveth her,
As why this fish, not that, comes to the weir.*<38>
Knowing that Venus has set a law in the universe, that whoso
strives with her shall have the worse, the poet prays to be
taught to describe some of the joy that is felt in her service; and
the Third Book opens with an account of the scene between
Troilus and Cressida:
Lay all this meane while Troilus
Recording* his lesson in this mannere;
*"My fay!"* thought he, "thus will I say, and thus;
*by my faith!*
Thus will I plain* unto my lady dear;
*make my plaint
That word is good; and this shall be my cheer
This will I not forgetten in no wise;"
God let him worken as he can devise.
And, Lord! so as his heart began to quap,*
Hearing her coming, and *short for to sike;*
*make short sighs*
And Pandarus, that led her by the lap,*
Came near, and gan in at the curtain pick,*
And saide: "God do boot* alle sick!
*afford a remedy to
See who is here you coming to visite;
Lo! here is she that is *your death to wite!"* *to blame for your death*
Therewith it seemed as he wept almost.
"Ah! ah! God help!" quoth Troilus ruefully;
"Whe'er* me be woe, O mighty God, thou know'st!
Who is there? for I see not truely."
"Sir," quoth Cresside, "it is Pandare and I;
"Yea, sweete heart? alas, I may not rise
To kneel and do you honour in some wise."
And dressed him upward, and she right tho*
Gan both her handes soft upon him lay.
"O! for the love of God, do ye not so
To me," quoth she; "ey! what is this to say?
For come I am to you for causes tway;*
First you to thank, and of your lordship eke
Continuance* I woulde you beseek."**
This Troilus, that heard his lady pray
Him of lordship, wax'd neither quick nor dead;
Nor might one word for shame to it say, <39>
Although men shoulde smiten off his head.
But, Lord! how he wax'd suddenly all red!
And, Sir, his lesson, that he *ween'd have con,*
*thought he knew
To praye her, was through his wit y-run.
Cresside all this espied well enow, -
For she was wise, - and lov'd him ne'er the less,
All n'ere he malapert, nor made avow,
Nor was so bold to sing a foole's mass;<40>
But, when his shame began somewhat to pass,
His wordes, as I may my rhymes hold,
I will you tell, as teache bookes old.
In changed voice, right for his very dread,
Which voice eke quak'd, and also his mannere
Goodly* abash'd, and now his hue is red,
Now pale, unto Cresside, his lady dear,
With look downcast, and humble *yielden cheer,*
Lo! *altherfirste word that him astert,*
*the first word he said*
Was twice: "Mercy, mercy, my dear heart!"
And stent* a while; and when he might *out bring,*
The nexte was: "God wote, for I have,
*As farforthly as I have conning,*
*as far as I am able*
Been youres all, God so my soule save,
And shall, till that I, woeful wight, *be grave;*
And though I dare not, cannot, to you plain,
Y-wis, I suffer not the lesse pain.
"This much as now, O womanlike wife!
I may *out bring,* and if it you displease,
That shall I wreak* upon mine owne life,
Right soon, I trow, and do your heart an ease,
If with my death your heart I may appease:
But, since that ye have heard somewhat say,
Now reck I never how soon that I dey."
Therewith his manly sorrow to behold
It might have made a heart of stone to rue;
And Pandare wept as he to water wo'ld, <41>
And saide, "Woe-begone* be heartes true,"
*in woeful plight
And procur'd* his niece ever new and new,
"For love of Godde, make *of him an end,*
*put him out of pain*
Or slay us both at ones, ere we wend."*
"Ey! what?" quoth she; "by God and by my truth,
I know not what ye woulde that I say;"
"Ey! what?" quoth he; "that ye have on him ruth,*
For Godde's love, and do him not to dey."
"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."
"What that I meane, sweete hearte dear?"
Quoth Troilus, "O goodly, fresh, and free!
That, with the streames* of your eyne so clear,
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,
As death, if that *I breake your defence;*
*do what you
And that ye deigne me so much honour,
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;
Lo, this mean I, mine owen sweete heart."
. . . . . . . . . .
With that she gan her eyen on him* cast, <43>
Full easily and full debonairly,*
*Advising her,* and hied* not too fast,
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;
"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,*
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,**
Although he were a thousand fold my brother.
"That is to say, for thee I am become,
Betwixte game and earnest, such a mean*
As make women unto men to come;
Thou know'st thyselfe what that woulde mean;
For thee have I my niece, of vices clean,*
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,
That never this for covetise* I wrought,
*greed of gain
But only to abridge* thy distress,
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;
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,*
Had in my niece put this fantasy*
To do thy lust,* and wholly to be thine,
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."
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
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>
"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,
Nor knowe them no more than mine old hat?
No wonder is, so God me sende heal,*
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;*
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."*
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,*
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
As I shall say; me thoughte, by thy speech,
That this which thou me dost for company,*
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,*
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;*
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-
But in himself with manhood gan restrain
Each rakel* deed, and each unbridled cheer,**
That alle those that live, sooth to sayn,
Should not have wist,* by word or by mannere,
What that he meant, as touching this mattere;
From ev'ry wight as far as is the cloud
He was, so well dissimulate he could.
And all the while that I now devise*
This was his life: with all his fulle might,
By day he was in Marte's high service,
That is to say, in armes as a knight;
And, for the moste part, the longe night
He lay, and thought how that he mighte serve
His lady best, her thank* for to deserve.
I will not swear, although he laye soft,
That in his thought he n'as somewhat diseas'd;*
Nor that he turned on his pillows oft,
And would of that him missed have been seis'd;*
But in such case men be not alway pleas'd,
For aught I wot, no more than was he;
That can I deem* of possibility.
But certain is, to purpose for to go,
That in this while, as written is in gest,*
*the history of
He saw his lady sometimes, and also
She with him spake, when that she *durst and lest;* *dared and pleased*
And, by their both advice,* as was the best,
*Appointed full warily* in this need,
*made careful preparations*
So as they durst, how far they would proceed.
But it was spoken in *so short a wise, *so briefly, and always in such
In such await alway, and in such fear,
vigilance and fear of being
Lest any wight divinen or devise*
found out by anyone*
Would of their speech, or to it lay an ear,
*That all this world them not so lefe were,*
*they wanted more than
As that Cupido would them grace send
anything in the world*
To maken of their speeches right an end.
But thilke little that they spake or wrought,
His wise ghost* took ay of all such heed,
It seemed her he wiste what she thought
Withoute word, so that it was no need
To bid him aught to do, nor aught forbid;
For which she thought that love, all* came it late,
Of alle joy had open'd her the gate.
Troilus, by his discretion, his secrecy, and his devotion, made
ever a deeper lodgment in Cressida's heart; so that she thanked
God twenty thousand times that she had met with a man who,
as she felt, "was to her a wall of steel, and shield from ev'ry
displeasance;" while Pandarus ever actively fanned the fire. So
passed a "time sweet" of tranquil and harmonious love the only
drawback being, that the lovers might not often meet, "nor
leisure have, their speeches to fulfil." At last Pandarus found an
occasion for bringing them together at his house unknown to
anybody, and put his plan in execution.
For he, with great deliberation,
Had ev'ry thing that hereto might avail*
*be of service
Forecast, and put in execution,
And neither left for cost nor for travail;*
Come if them list, them shoulde nothing fail,
*Nor for to be in aught espied there,
That wiste he an impossible were.*
*he knew it was impossible*
that they could be discovered there*
And dreadeless* it clear was in the wind
Of ev'ry pie, and every let-game; <49>
Now all is well, for all this world is blind,
In this mattere, bothe fremd* and tame; <50>
This timber is all ready for to frame;
Us lacketh naught, but that we weete* wo'ld
A certain hour in which we come sho'ld. <51>
Troilus had informed his household, that if at any time he was
missing, he had gone to worship at a certain temple of Apollo,
"and first to see the holy laurel quake, or that the godde spake
out of the tree." So, at the changing of the moon, when "the
welkin shope him for to rain," [when the sky was preparing to
rain] Pandarus went to invite his niece to supper; solemnly
assuring her that Troilus was out of the town - though all the
time he was safely shut up, till midnight, in "a little stew,"
whence through a hole he joyously watched the arrival of his
mistress and her fair niece Antigone, with half a score of her
women. After supper Pandaras did everything to amuse his
niece; "he sung, he play'd, he told a tale of Wade;" <52> at last
she would take her leave; but
The bente Moone with her hornes pale,
Saturn, and Jove, in Cancer joined were, <53>
That made such a rain from heav'n avail,*
That ev'ry manner woman that was there
Had of this smoky rain <54> a very fear;
At which Pandarus laugh'd, and saide then
"Now were it time a lady to go hen!"*
He therefore presses Cressida to remain all night; she complies
with a good grace; and after the sleeping cup has gone round,
all retire to their chambers - Cressida, that she may not be
disturbed by the rain and thunder, being lodged in the "inner
closet" of Pandarus, who, to lull suspicion, occupies the outer
chamber, his niece's women sleeping in the intermediate
apartment. When all is quiet, Pandarus liberates Troilus, and by
a secret passage brings him to the chamber of Cressida; then,
going forward alone to his niece, after calming her fears of
discovery, he tells her that her lover has "through a gutter, by a
privy went," [a secret passage] come to his house in all this rain,
mad with grief because a friend has told him that she loves
Horastes. Suddenly cold about her heart, Cressida promises that
on the morrow she will reassure her lover; but Pandarus scouts
the notion of delay, laughs to scorn her proposal to send her
ring in pledge of her truth, and finally, by pitiable accounts of
Troilus' grief, induces her to receive him and reassure him at
once with her own lips.
This Troilus full soon on knees him set,
Full soberly, right by her bedde's head,
And in his beste wise his lady gret*
But Lord! how she wax'd suddenly all red,
And thought anon how that she would be dead;
She coulde not one word aright out bring,
So suddenly for his sudden coming.
Cressida, though thinking that her servant and her knight should
not have doubted her truth, yet sought to remove his jealousy,
and offered to submit to any ordeal or oath he might impose;
then, weeping, she covered her face, and lay silent. "But now,"
exclaims the poet -
But now help, God, to quenchen all this sorrow!
So hope I that he shall, for he best may;
For I have seen, of a full misty morrow,*
Followen oft a merry summer's day,
And after winter cometh greene May;
Folk see all day, and eke men read in stories,
That after sharpe stoures* be victories.
Believing his mistress to be angry, Troilus felt the cramp of
death seize on his heart, "and down he fell all suddenly in
swoon." Pandarus "into bed him cast," and called on his niece to
pull out the thorn that stuck in his heart, by promising that she
would "all forgive." She whispered in his ear the assurance that
she was not wroth; and at last, under her caresses, he recovered
consciousness, to find her arm laid over him, to hear the
assurance of her forgiveness, and receive her frequent kisses.
Fresh vows and explanations passed; and Cressida implored
forgiveness of "her own sweet heart," for the pain she had
caused him. Surprised with sudden bliss, Troilus put all in God's
hand, and strained his lady fast in his arms. "What might or may
the seely [innocent] larke say, when that the sperhawk
[sparrowhawk] hath him in his foot?"
Cressida, which that felt her thus y-take,
As write clerkes in their bookes old,
Right as an aspen leaf began to quake,
When she him felt her in his armes fold;
But Troilus, all *whole of cares cold,* *cured of painful sorrows*<55>
Gan thanke then the blissful goddes seven. <56>
Thus sundry paines bringe folk to heaven.
This Troilus her gan in armes strain,
And said, "O sweet, as ever may I go'n,*
Now be ye caught, now here is but we twain,
Now yielde you, for other boot* is none."
To that Cresside answered thus anon,
"N' had I ere now, my sweete hearte dear,
*Been yolden,* y-wis, I were now not here!"
O sooth is said, that healed for to be
Of a fever, or other great sickness,
Men muste drink, as we may often see,
Full bitter drink; and for to have gladness
Men drinken often pain and great distress!
I mean it here, as for this adventure,
That thorough pain hath founden all his cure.
And now sweetnesse seemeth far more sweet,
That bitterness assayed* was beforn;
For out of woe in blisse now they fleet,*
None such they felte since that they were born;
Now is it better than both two were lorn! <58>
For love of God, take ev'ry woman heed
To worke thus, if it come to the need!
Cresside, all quit from ev'ry dread and teen,*
As she that juste cause had him to trust,
Made him such feast,<59> it joy was for to see'n,
When she his truth and *intent cleane wist;*
*knew the purity
And as about a tree, with many a twist,
of his purpose*
*Bitrent and writhen* is the sweet woodbind,
*plaited and wreathed*
Gan each of them in armes other wind.*
And as the *new abashed* nightingale,
*newly-arrived and timid*
That stinteth,* first when she beginneth sing,
When that she heareth any *herde's tale,* *the talking of a shepherd*
Or in the hedges any wight stirring;
And, after, sicker* out her voice doth ring;
Right so Cressida, when *her dreade stent,*
*her doubt ceased*
Open'd her heart, and told him her intent.*
And might as he that sees his death y-shapen,*
And dien must, *in aught that he may guess,*
*for all he can tell*
And suddenly *rescouse doth him escapen,* *he is rescued and escapes*
And from his death is brought *in sickerness;*
For all the world, in such present gladness
Was Troilus, and had his lady sweet;
With worse hap God let us never meet!
Her armes small, her straighte back and soft,
Her sides longe, fleshly, smooth, and white,
He gan to stroke; and good thrift* bade full oft
On her snow-white throat, her breastes round and lite;*
Thus in this heaven he gan him delight,
And therewithal a thousand times her kist,
That what to do for joy *unneth he wist.*
*he hardly knew*
The lovers exchanged vows, and kisses, and embraces, and
speeches of exalted love, and rings; Cressida gave to Troilus a
brooch of gold and azure, "in which a ruby set was like a heart;"
and the too short night passed.
"When that the cock, commune astrologer, <60>
Gan on his breast to beat, and after crow,
And Lucifer, the daye's messenger,
Gan for to rise, and out his beames throw;
And eastward rose, to him that could it know,
Fortuna Major, <61> then anon Cresseide,
With hearte sore, to Troilus thus said:
"My hearte's life, my trust, and my pleasance!
That I was born, alas! that me is woe,
That day of us must make disseverance!
For time it is to rise, and hence to go,
Or else I am but lost for evermo'.
O Night! alas! why n'ilt thou o'er us hove,*
As long as when Alcmena lay by Jove? <62>
"O blacke Night! as folk in bookes read
That shapen* art by God, this world to hide,
At certain times, with thy darke weed,*
That under it men might in rest abide,
Well oughte beastes plain, and folke chide,
That where as Day with labour would us brest,*
There thou right flee'st, and deignest* not us rest.*
"Thou dost, alas! so shortly thine office,*
Thou rakel* Night! that God, maker of kind,
Thee for thy haste and thine unkinde vice,
So fast ay to our hemisphere bind,
That never more under the ground thou wind;*
For through thy rakel hieing* out of Troy
Have I forgone* thus hastily my joy!"
This Troilus, that with these wordes felt,
As thought him then, for piteous distress,
The bloody teares from his hearte melt,
As he that never yet such heaviness
Assayed had out of so great gladness,
Gan therewithal Cresside, his lady dear,
In armes strain, and said in this mannere:
"O cruel Day! accuser of the joy
That Night and Love have stol'n, and *fast y-wrien!*
Accursed be thy coming into Troy!
For ev'ry bow'r* hath one of thy bright eyen:
Envious Day! Why list thee to espyen?
What hast thou lost? Why seekest thou this place?
There God thy light so quenche, for his grace!
"Alas! what have these lovers thee aguilt?* *offended, sinned against
Dispiteous* Day, thine be the pains of hell!
For many a lover hast thou slain, and wilt;
Thy peering in will nowhere let them dwell:
What! proff'rest thou thy light here for to sell?
Go sell it them that smalle seales grave!*
*cut devices on
We will thee not, us needs no day to have."
And eke the Sunne, Titan, gan he chide,
And said, "O fool! well may men thee despise!
That hast the Dawning <63> all night thee beside,
And suff'rest her so soon up from thee rise,
For to disease* us lovers in this wise!
What! hold* thy bed, both thou, and eke thy Morrow!
I bidde* God so give you bothe sorrow!"
The lovers part with many sighs and protestations of
unswerving and undying love; Cressida responding to the vows
of Troilus with the assurance -
"That first shall Phoebus* falle from his sphere,
And heaven's eagle be the dove's fere,
And ev'ry rock out of his place start,
Ere Troilus out of Cressida's heart."
When Pandarus visits Troilus in his palace later in the day, he
warns him not to mar his bliss by any fault of his own:
"For, of Fortune's sharp adversity,
The worste kind of infortune is this,
A man to have been in prosperity,
And it remember when it passed is.<64>
Thou art wise enough; forthy,*" do not amiss;
Be not too rakel,* though thou sitte warm;
For if thou be, certain it will thee harm.
"Thou art at ease, and hold thee well therein;
For, all so sure as red is ev'ry fire,
As great a craft is to keep weal as win; <65>
Bridle alway thy speech and thy desire,
For worldly joy holds not but by a wire;
That proveth well, it breaks all day so oft,
Forthy need is to worke with it soft."
Troilus sedulously observes the counsel; and the lovers have
many renewals of their pleasure, and of their bitter chidings of
the Day. The effects of love on Troilus are altogether refining
and ennobling; as may be inferred from the song which he sung
often to Pandarus:
The Second Song of Troilus.
"Love, that of Earth and Sea hath governance!
Love, that his hestes* hath in Heaven high!
Love, that with a right wholesome alliance
Holds people joined, as him list them guy!*
Love, that knitteth law and company,
And couples doth in virtue for to dwell,
Bind this accord, that I have told, and tell!
"That the worlde, with faith which that is stable,
Diverseth so, his *stoundes according;*
*according to its seasons*
That elementes, that be discordable,*
Holden a bond perpetually during;
That Phoebus may his rosy day forth bring;
And that the Moon hath lordship o'er the night; -
All this doth Love, ay heried* be his might!
"That the sea, which that greedy is to flowen,
Constraineth to a certain ende* so
His floodes, that so fiercely they not growen
To drenchen* earth and all for evermo';
And if that Love aught let his bridle go,
All that now loves asunder shoulde leap,
And lost were all that Love holds now *to heap.*
"So woulde God, that author is of kind,
That with his bond Love of his virtue list
To cherish heartes, and all fast to bind,
That from his bond no wight the way out wist!
And heartes cold, them would I that he twist,*
To make them love; and that him list ay rue*
On heartes sore, and keep them that be true."
But Troilus' love had higher fruits than singing:
In alle needes for the towne's werre*
He was, and ay the first in armes dight,*
And certainly, but if that bookes err,
Save Hector, most y-dread* of any wight;
And this increase of hardiness* and might
Came him of love, his lady's grace to win,
That altered his spirit so within.
In time of truce, a-hawking would he ride,
Or elles hunt the boare, bear, lioun;
The smalle beastes let he go beside;<67>
And when he came riding into the town,
Full oft his lady, from her window down,
As fresh as falcon coming out of mew,*
Full ready was him goodly to salue.*
And most of love and virtue was his speech,
And *in despite he had all wretchedness*
*he held in scorn all
And doubtless no need was him to beseech
To honour them that hadde worthiness,
And ease them that weren in distress;
And glad was he, if any wight well far'd,
That lover was, when he it wist or heard.
For he held every man lost unless he were in Love's service;
and, so did the power of Love work within him, that he was ay
[always] humble and benign, and "pride, envy, ire, and avarice,
he gan to flee, and ev'ry other vice."