The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Four

page The Knight’s Tale Part Four: Page 5

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And som tyme dooth hem Theseus to reste,
140Hem to refresshe, and drinken if hem leste.
Ful ofte a-day han thise Thebanes two
Togidre y-met, and wroght his felawe wo;
Unhorsed hath ech other of hem tweye.
Ther nas no tygre in the vale of Galgopheye,
Whan that hir whelp is stole, whan it is lyte,
So cruel on the hunte, as is Arcite
For Ielous herte upon this Palamoun:
Ne in Belmarye ther nis so fel leoun,
That hunted is, or for his hunger wood,
150Ne of his praye desireth so the blood,
As Palamon to sleen his fo Arcite.
The Ielous strokes on hir helmes byte;
Out renneth blood on bothe hir sydes rede.
Every now and then Theseus calls for a break so that the knights still fighting can rest and get something to drink if they want. Arcite and Palamon have found each other in the melee a few times, and both of them have wounded the other and knocked each other off their horses twice. Arcite’s jealousy of Palamon makes him fight harder than a mother tiger looking after her threatened cubs, while Palamon’s desire to kill Arcite makes him more ferocious than the hungriest lion. Both are after blood, which streams down both their faces.
Som tyme an ende ther is of every dede;
For er the sonne unto the reste wente,
The stronge king Emetreus gan hente
This Palamon, as he faught with Arcite,
And made his swerd depe in his flesh to byte;
And by the force of twenty is he take
160Unyolden, and y-drawe unto the stake.
And in the rescous of this Palamoun
The stronge king Ligurge is born adoun;
And king Emetreus, for al his strengthe,
Is born out of his sadel a swerdes lengthe,
So hitte him Palamon er he were take;
But al for noght, he was broght to the stake.
His hardy herte mighte him helpe naught;
He moste abyde, whan that he was caught
By force, and eek by composicioun.
Well, you know what they say: Everything eventually comes to an end. Before sunset, King Emetreus of India slashed Palamon so badly that the referees came out and dragged him away to a penalty box. Palamon knew that he’d lose Emily if he left the battle, so he fought off the referees as hard as he could—in fact, it took twenty of them to pull him off the field. The referees knocked down King Lycurgas from Thrace in their struggle to grab Palamon, who also managed to knock Emetreus off his horse and slug him as he was being dragged in the dirt. None of it made any difference, though, not even the burning in his heart because the referees managed to drag him to the penalty box.