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The Canterbury Tales

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580









590







‘My dere doghter Venus,’ quod Saturne,
‘My cours, that hath so wyde for to turne,
Hath more power than wot any man.
Myn is the drenching in the see so wan;
Myn is the prison in the derke cote;
Myn is the strangling and hanging by the throte;
The murmure, and the cherles rebelling,
The groyning, and the pryvee empoysoning:
I do vengeance and pleyn correccioun
Whyl I dwelle in the signe of the leoun.
Myn is the ruine of the hye halles,
The falling of the toures and of the walles
Upon the mynour or the carpenter.
I slow Sampsoun in shaking the piler;
And myne be the maladyes colde,
The derke tresons, and the castes olde;
My loking is the fader of pestilence.
Now weep namore, I shal doon diligence
That Palamon, that is thyn owne knight,
Shal have his lady, as thou hast him hight.
Though Mars shal helpe his knight, yet nathelees
Bitwixe yow ther moot be som tyme pees,
Al be ye noght of o complexioun,
That causeth al day swich divisioun.
I am thin ayel, redy at thy wille;
Weep thou namore, I wol thy lust fulfille.’
“My dear daughter Venus, my planetary orbit is wide and gives me more power over men and the course of human events than anyone really knows. I am the waves that drown you in the ocean, the darkness that imprisons you with fear, the noose around the condemned man’s neck, the rebellion of the common folk, dissatisfaction and poison and disease and treason. I am vengeful and punishing when in the constellation Leo. I’ve brought down kingdoms and castle walls. I killed Samson when I created the earthquake that brought the pillar down. My gaze can even infect people with the plague all by itself. Now please stop crying, Venus. I’ll make sure that Palamon wins the woman he loves, just as you promised him. Even if Mars is going to help Arcite and even if you don’t see eye to eye, you two still shouldn’t fight anymore. Listen to me, and I’ll make sure you get what you want.”

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