The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Four

page The Knight’s Tale Part Four: Page 8

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Duk Theseus, with al his companye,
Is comen hoom to Athenes his citee,
220With alle blisse and greet solempnitee.
Al be it that this aventure was falle,
He nolde noght disconforten hem alle.
Men seyde eek, that Arcite shal nat dye;
He shal ben heled of his maladye.
And of another thing they were as fayn,
That of hem alle was ther noon y-slayn,
Al were they sore y-hurt, and namely oon,
That with a spere was thirled his brest-boon.
To othere woundes, and to broken armes,
230Some hadden salves, and some hadden charmes;
Fermacies of herbes, and eek save
They dronken, for they wolde hir limes have.
For which this noble duk, as he wel can,
Conforteth and honoureth every man,
And made revel al the longe night,
Unto the straunge lordes, as was right.
Ne ther was holden no disconfitinge,
But as a Iustes or a tourneyinge;
For soothly ther was no disconfiture,
240For falling nis nat but an aventure;
Ne to be lad with fors unto the stake
Unyolden, and with twenty knightes take,
O persone allone, with-outen mo,
And haried forth by arme, foot, and to,
And eek his stede driven forth with staves,
With footmen, bothe yemen and eek knaves,
It nas aretted him no vileinye,
Ther may no man clepen it cowardye.
Duke Theseus returned home to Athens amidst the cheering and celebrating throngs of happy Athenians. He didn’t say anything about Arcite’s accident because he didn’t want to darken the cheerful mood. Besides, his servants had told him that Arcite’s wounds weren’t serious and that he would live. The people were especially happy that none of the knights in the tournament had died, even though a few had been badly injured, one guy in particular whose chest had been punctured by a spear. Others had suffered from bruises and broken bones, but they were being treated with ointments and herbal medicines, prayers, and all sorts of other treatments. Theseus personally visted and congratulated every wounded knight, and hosted a magnificent banquet for all the foreign dignitaries as was the custom. Everyone could celebrate because there were no real losers in this tournament since everyone had lived. Even those who’d been wounded were still winners because they’d all fought tooth and nail to remain in the battle and not be dragged to the penalty box. Not even Palamon’s defeat was considered cowardly or dishonorable since he’d fought harder than anyone to remain in the fight.