The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Four

page The Knight’s Tale Part Four: Page 9

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For which anon duk Theseus leet crye,
250To stinten alle rancour and envye,
The gree as wel of o syde as of other,
And either syde y-lyk, as otheres brother;
And yaf hem yiftes after hir degree,
And fully heeld a feste dayes three;
And conveyed the kinges worthily
Out of his toun a Iournee largely.
And hoom wente every man the righte way.
Ther was namore, but ‘far wel, have good day!’
Of this bataille I wol namore endyte,
260But speke of Palamon and of Arcite.
To make sure that everyone attending the festivities felt good about the results of the tournament, Theseus announced that both sides had fought honorably and had won the tournament. Then he gave gifts to all the participants on both sides and invited them to a feast that lasted for three days. And when it was time to leave, he helped pay for the journey home for all the visiting kings. And that’s how the tournament ended, with warm goodbyes and farewells.
Swelleth the brest of Arcite, and the sore
Encreesseth at his herte more and more.
The clothered blood, for any lechecraft,
Corrupteth, and is in his bouk y-laft,
That neither veyne-blood, ne ventusinge,
Ne drinke of herbes may ben his helpinge.
The vertu expulsif, or animal,
Fro thilke vertu cleped natural
Ne may the venim voyden, ne expelle.
270The pypes of his longes gonne to swelle,
And every lacerte in his brest adoun
Is shent with venim and corrupcioun.
Him gayneth neither, for to gete his lyf,
Vomyt upward, ne dounward laxatif;
Al is to-brosten thilke regioun,
Nature hath now no dominacioun.
And certeinly, ther nature wol nat wirche,
Far-wel, phisyk! go ber the man to chirche!
This al and som, that Arcita mot dye,
280For which he sendeth after Emelye,
And Palamon, that was his cosin dere;
Than seyde he thus, as ye shul after here.
Even though Theseus’s servants had told him that Arcite would live, poor Arcite was actually getting worse. His chest swelled up with blood from his wound, which caused more and more pain. Theseus’s doctors tried everything they could think of to save him, but they couldn’t stop the internal bleeding or prevent the blood poisoning. None of their medicines would work, not the ones that made him throw up or the ones that gave him diarrhea. His breathing soon became affected from all the blood in his chest—his whole upper body was a complete mess. To put it simply, Arcite was dying, and there was nothing anyone could do to save him. Arcite, still awake, asked to see Emily and his dear cousin Palamon so that he could talk to them both before he died. When they arrived, he said: