The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Four

page The Knight’s Tale Part Four: Page 10

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‘Naught may the woful spirit in myn herte
Declare o poynt of alle my sorwes smerte
To yow, my lady, that I love most;
But I biquethe the service of my gost
To yow aboven every creature,
Sin that my lyf may no lenger dure.
Allas, the wo! allas, the peynes stronge,
290That I for yow have suffred, and so longe!
Allas, the deeth! allas, myn Emelye!
Allas, departing of our companye!
Allas, myn hertes quene! allas, my wyf!
Myn hertes lady, endere of my lyf!
What is this world? what asketh men to have?
Now with his love, now in his colde grave
Allone, with-outen any companye.
Far-wel, my swete fo! myn Emelye!
And softe tak me in your armes tweye,
300For love of God, and herkneth what I seye.
“I can’t tell you how sad I am, my Emily, my love. God, the hurt and the pain I felt because of you for so long… And now that I have you, I’m going to die and go away from you. Oh my beautiful Emily, my beautiful wife, love of my life! Why? Why does it have to be this way? What does a guy have to do to be happy? One moment he has everthing he’s ever wanted, and then the next moment he’s dead and alone. Goodbye, my Emily, who’s caused so much joy and ache. Now, for the love of God, hold me in your arms and listen to what I’m about to tell you.
I have heer with my cosin Palamon
Had stryf and rancour, many a day a-gon,
For love of yow, and for my Ielousye.
And Iupiter so wis my soule gye,
To speken of a servant proprely,
With alle circumstaunces trewely,
That is to seyn, trouthe, honour, and knighthede,
Wisdom, humblesse, estaat, and heigh kinrede,
Fredom, and al that longeth to that art,
310So Iupiter have of my soule part,
As in this world right now ne knowe I non
So worthy to ben loved as Palamon,
That serveth yow, and wol don al his lyf.
And if that ever ye shul been a wyf,
Foryet nat Palamon, the gentil man.’
“I’ve been fighting with my cousin Palamon over you for a long time, because of my love for you and because of my jealousy. Now, may Jupiter, who guides my soul so wisely, help me to articulate the fidelity, honor, knighthood, wisdom, humility, nobility, noble birth, generosity, and everything else that a worthy lover needs. Just as I hope Jupiter to bear my soul away to the next life, I know that Palamon deserves you more than anyone else alive, and will protect and look after her until the day he dies. If you’re ever thinking of marrying again, my Emily, please consider Palamon.