The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Four

page The Knight’s Tale Part Four: Page 14

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400Tho cam this woful Theban Palamoun,
With flotery berd, and ruggy asshy heres,
In clothes blake, y-dropped al with teres;
And, passing othere of weping, Emelye,
The rewfulleste of al the companye.
In as muche as the service sholde be
The more noble and riche in his degree,
Duk Theseus leet forth three stedes bringe,
That trapped were in steel al gliteringe,
And covered with the armes of daun Arcite.
410Upon thise stedes, that weren grete and whyte,
Ther seten folk, of which oon bar his sheeld,
Another his spere up in his hondes heeld;
The thridde bar with him his bowe Turkeys,
Of brend gold was the cas, and eek the harneys;
And riden forth a pas with sorweful chere
Toward the grove, as ye shul after here.
The nobleste of the Grekes that ther were
Upon hir shuldres carieden the bere,
With slakke pas, and eyen rede and wete,
420Thurgh-out the citee, by the maister-strete,
That sprad was al with blak, and wonder hye
Right of the same is al the strete y-wrye.
Upon the right hond wente old Egeus,
And on that other syde duk Theseus,
With vessels in hir hand of gold ful fyn,
Al ful of hony, milk, and blood, and wyn;
Eek Palamon, with ful greet companye;
And after that cam woful Emelye,
With fyr in honde, as was that tyme the gyse,
430To do thoffice of funeral servyse.
After Theseus came Palamon, dressed all in black, his hair and beard matted and tangled from crying. Emily followed him, and cried more than anyone else there. Three white horses arrived with shiny steel bridles and draped in cloth bearing Arcite’s coat of arms. Theseus had ordered these to pay special tribute to Arcite. On one horse sat a man who carried Arcite’s shield, while another man on the second horse carried his spear. The third rider carried Arcite’s golden bow and arrows, which had been made far away in Turkey. They led the funeral proession at a slow and steady pace toward the grove. The most noble of the Athenians carried Arcite’s body on their shoulders through Athens, which the people had draped in black cloth to express their sadness. Theseus’s father, Aegeus, walked to the right of Arcite’s body, while Theseus walked on the left and carried golden vessels filled with honey, milk, blood, and wine. Palamon followed close behind, as did Emily, who carried a burning torch in her hand, which was how they did things back then.