The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Four

page The Knight’s Tale Part Four: Page 6

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170Who sorweth now but woful Palamoun,
That moot namore goon agayn to fighte?
And whan that Theseus had seyn this sighte,
Unto the folk that foghten thus echoon
He cryde, ‘Ho! namore, for it is doon!
I wol be trewe Iuge, and no partye.
Arcite of Thebes shal have Emelye,
That by his fortune hath hir faire y-wonne.’
Anon ther is a noyse of peple bigonne
For Ioye of this, so loude and heigh with-alle,
180It semed that the listes sholde falle.
No one has ever been sadder than Palamon, who knew he’d lost the fight—and Emily—forever. When Theseus saw Palamon enter the penalty box, he looked at the knights still fighting below, and shouted, “Stop! Stop immediately! The tournament is over! I have been an unbiased judge in this contest, and Arcite has won. Therefore, Emily will mary Arcite, knight of Thebes, because he has won the tournament fairly.” The crowd shouted and cheered so loudly that it seemed the stadium itself would collapse.
What can now faire Venus doon above?
What seith she now? what dooth this quene of love?
But wepeth so, for wanting of hir wille,
Til that hir teres in the listes fille;
She seyde: ‘I am ashamed, doutelees.’
Saturnus seyde: ‘Doghter, hold thy pees.
Mars hath his wille, his knight hath al his bone,
And, by myn heed, thou shalt ben esed sone.’
The trompes, with the loude minstralcye,
190The heraudes, that ful loude yolle and crye,
Been in hir wele for Ioye of daun Arcite.
But herkneth me, and stinteth now a lyte,
Which a miracle ther bifel anon.
And what did Venus, the goddess of love, have to say about this as she watched the tournament from the heavens? She cried bitterly because Palamon had lost and she hadn’t gotten her way. She cried so hard, in fact, that her tears rained down on the crowd in the stadium below. She said, “I am so ashamed that Palamon and I have lost.” The god Saturn said, “Stop crying, Venus. Mars and his knight Arcite have won this battle, but I promise you that you’ll feel better soon enough. Everyone is cheering in celebration of Arcite’s victory, but take my advice and don’t be too sad just yet.”