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The Canterbury Tales

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This Palamoun, that thoughte that thurgh his herte
He felte a cold swerd sodeynliche glyde,
For ire he quook, no lenger wolde he byde.
And whan that he had herd Arcites tale,
As he were wood, with face deed and pale,
He sterte him up out of the buskes thikke,
And seyde: ‘Arcite, false traitour wikke,
Now artow hent, that lovest my lady so,
For whom that I have al this peyne and wo,
And art my blood, and to my counseil sworn,
As I ful ofte have told thee heer-biforn,
And hast by-iaped here duk Theseus,
And falsly chaunged hast thy name thus;
I wol be deed, or elles thou shalt dye.
Thou shalt nat love my lady Emelye,
But I wol love hir only, and namo;
For I am Palamoun, thy mortal fo.
And though that I no wepne have in this place,
But out of prison am astert by grace,
I drede noght that outher thou shalt dye,
Or thou ne shalt nat loven Emelye.
Chees which thou wilt, for thou shalt nat asterte.’
Palamon, who was still hiding in the bushes, shook with rage when he heard Arcite’s little speech. He felt as if a cold sword were gliding through his heart. He jumped out from behind the bushes and screamed with deadly fury, “Arcite, you backstabbing son a bitch! I’ve caught you in your lies and deception! It’s me, Palamon! I just escaped from that prison tower, and I’m going to kill you with my bare hands or die trying! You can either forget about Emily or die right here, right now, because she is mine and mine alone.”








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This Arcitë, with ful despitous herte,
Whan he him knew, and hadde his tale herd,
As fiers as leoun, pulled out a swerd,
And seyde thus: ‘by God that sit above,
Nere it that thou art sik, and wood for love,
And eek that thou no wepne hast in this place,
Thou sholdest never out of this grove pace,
That thou ne sholdest dyen of myn hond.
For I defye the seurtee and the bond
Which that thou seyst that I have maad to thee.
What, verray fool, think wel that love is free,
And I wol love hir, maugre al thy might!
But, for as muche thou art a worthy knight,
And wilnest to darreyne hir by batayle,
Have heer my trouthe, to-morwe I wol nat fayle,
With-outen witing of any other wight,
That here I wol be founden as a knight,
And bringen harneys right y-nough for thee;
And chees the beste, and leve the worste for me.
And mete and drinke this night wol I bringe
Y-nough for thee, and clothes for thy beddinge.
And, if so be that thou my lady winne,
And slee me in this wode ther I am inne,
Thou mayst wel have thy lady, as for me.’
This Palamon answerde: ‘I graunte it thee.’
And thus they been departed til a-morwe,
When ech of hem had leyd his feith to borwe.
When he recognized Palamon and heard what he had to say, Arcite became equally furious. He rose and drew his sword and looked as fierce as a lion ready to fight. He said, “God knows that if it weren’t for the fact that love has driven you mad, and you don’t have a weapon on you, I’d never let you walk out of this grove alive. I’d kill you where you stand. Screw our friendship and the oath we made as blood brothers. Don’t you know, dumbass, that I’m free to love anyone I want no matter how you feel? But we are knights, and we must behave like knights. Therefore, if you want to win Emily in battle, then meet me here tomorrow and we’ll settle this once and for all. Come alone. I give you my word as a knight that I’ll come too—and with extra armor for you to wear. In fact, you can even take the better set of armor. Tonight I’ll bring you food and wine and blankets to sleep on so that you’re well rested for tomorrow. And if you should kill me tomorrow, then Emily is all yours.” Palamon agreed, and they parted ways until they would meet the next day at the appointed time.