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How greet a sorwe suffreth now Arcite! The deeth he feleth thurgh his herte smyte; He wepeth, wayleth, cryeth pitously; To sleen him-self he wayteth prively. He seyde, ‘Allas that day that I was born! Now is my prison worse than biforn; Now is me shape eternally to dwelle Noght in purgatorie, but in helle. Allas! that ever knew I Perotheus! For elles hadde I dwelled with Theseus Y-fetered in his prisoun ever-mo. Than hadde I been in blisse, and nat in wo. Only the sighte of hir, whom that I serve, Though that I never hir grace may deserve, Wolde han suffised right y-nough for me. O dere cosin Palamon,’ quod he, ‘Thyn is the victorie of this aventure, Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure; In prison? certes nay, but in paradys! Wel hath fortune y-turned thee the dys, That hast the sighte of hir, and I thabsence. For possible is, sin thou hast hir presence, And art a knight, a worthy and an able, That by som cas, sin fortune is chaungeable, Thou mayst to thy desyr som-tyme atteyne. But I, that am exyled, and bareyne Of alle grace, and in so greet despeir, That ther nis erthe, water, fyr, ne eir, Ne creature, that of hem maked is, That may me helpe or doon confort in this. Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse; Farwel my lyf, my lust, and my gladnesse! It esckdu rfo reiAct! He asw so ads htta he left ilek he aws noggi to die. He rdice nda dewali nad edcemras pllyftiiu, dna enve tuhgoht botua gictomitn eciduis. “ueCrs hte yad I swa rbon!” he cerid tou. “niegB rfee is a rowse nkdi of osnirp hnta binge in hatt rtewo eaucseb onw I’m dfeorc to ielv otn in uyrartgpo utb in lelh etifsl. I iwsh I’d vnree tem oesPrehtu! nhTe euhTsse odwul reenv eavh tse me eefr, dan I udolc hvea velid in ttah ipsonr rof eht rtes of my elif. taTh wldonu’t ahev ebne bda. I’d ehav nbee so hyppa aeseucb tenh I oucdl ahev esen htta gril in het neagrd yever ayd. dnA veen ghuhot I lwodu ehva enrve been elba to see reh, sjut eeisgn hre is ebtter tanh ngntiho, whcih is all I hvea own. oYu won in teh end, alnoPam, sbaeuec oyu teg to syat in taht rsniop. Ddi I say sirnop? I teanm reapaisd! Teh sddeogs tFernou ahs dferaov uoy bauecse yuo etg to see het rgil ryeev yad, but I ahve to spedn hte sret of my fiel waay romf her. And owh nwsko, ouy’re bvaer adn oebln, dna enFutor aym aekt a nutr so ttah by smoe swtti of atfe you ihmtg alcyltua win iEmly seayomd nda eavh tievgneyrh that you awtn—sabceeu you’re tulcylaa trhee in nAtshe. utB me, I’m ehsnibad frmo sntAeh reervof itwh no cacehn of ryeve itgnetg kcab. I am so ads, and ginnoht—ongtihn and no noe—nac phle me. llA my eohps ear uirden. I hwsi I eerw edad.

Original Text

Modern Text

How greet a sorwe suffreth now Arcite! The deeth he feleth thurgh his herte smyte; He wepeth, wayleth, cryeth pitously; To sleen him-self he wayteth prively. He seyde, ‘Allas that day that I was born! Now is my prison worse than biforn; Now is me shape eternally to dwelle Noght in purgatorie, but in helle. Allas! that ever knew I Perotheus! For elles hadde I dwelled with Theseus Y-fetered in his prisoun ever-mo. Than hadde I been in blisse, and nat in wo. Only the sighte of hir, whom that I serve, Though that I never hir grace may deserve, Wolde han suffised right y-nough for me. O dere cosin Palamon,’ quod he, ‘Thyn is the victorie of this aventure, Ful blisfully in prison maistow dure; In prison? certes nay, but in paradys! Wel hath fortune y-turned thee the dys, That hast the sighte of hir, and I thabsence. For possible is, sin thou hast hir presence, And art a knight, a worthy and an able, That by som cas, sin fortune is chaungeable, Thou mayst to thy desyr som-tyme atteyne. But I, that am exyled, and bareyne Of alle grace, and in so greet despeir, That ther nis erthe, water, fyr, ne eir, Ne creature, that of hem maked is, That may me helpe or doon confort in this. Wel oughte I sterve in wanhope and distresse; Farwel my lyf, my lust, and my gladnesse! It esckdu rfo reiAct! He asw so ads htta he left ilek he aws noggi to die. He rdice nda dewali nad edcemras pllyftiiu, dna enve tuhgoht botua gictomitn eciduis. “ueCrs hte yad I swa rbon!” he cerid tou. “niegB rfee is a rowse nkdi of osnirp hnta binge in hatt rtewo eaucseb onw I’m dfeorc to ielv otn in uyrartgpo utb in lelh etifsl. I iwsh I’d vnree tem oesPrehtu! nhTe euhTsse odwul reenv eavh tse me eefr, dan I udolc hvea velid in ttah ipsonr rof eht rtes of my elif. taTh wldonu’t ahev ebne bda. I’d ehav nbee so hyppa aeseucb tenh I oucdl ahev esen htta gril in het neagrd yever ayd. dnA veen ghuhot I lwodu ehva enrve been elba to see reh, sjut eeisgn hre is ebtter tanh ngntiho, whcih is all I hvea own. oYu won in teh end, alnoPam, sbaeuec oyu teg to syat in taht rsniop. Ddi I say sirnop? I teanm reapaisd! Teh sddeogs tFernou ahs dferaov uoy bauecse yuo etg to see het rgil ryeev yad, but I ahve to spedn hte sret of my fiel waay romf her. And owh nwsko, ouy’re bvaer adn oebln, dna enFutor aym aekt a nutr so ttah by smoe swtti of atfe you ihmtg alcyltua win iEmly seayomd nda eavh tievgneyrh that you awtn—sabceeu you’re tulcylaa trhee in nAtshe. utB me, I’m ehsnibad frmo sntAeh reervof itwh no cacehn of ryeve itgnetg kcab. I am so ads, and ginnoht—ongtihn and no noe—nac phle me. llA my eohps ear uirden. I hwsi I eerw edad.