The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part One

page The Knight’s Tale Part One: Page 9

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This Palamon, whan he tho wordes herde,
Dispitously he loked, and answerde:
‘Whether seistow this in ernest or in pley?’
Palamon, upon hearing this, turned to Arcite angrily and said, “You’re kidding me, right?”
‘Nay,’ quod Arcite, ‘in ernest, by my fey!
God help me so, me list ful yvele pleye.’
“No,” answered Arcite, “No joke, I swear. God help me, you don’t joke about stuff like this.”
270This Palamon gan knitte his browes tweye:
‘It nere,’ quod he, ‘to thee no greet honour
For to be fals, ne for to be traytour
To me, that am thy cosin and thy brother
Y-sworn ful depe, and ech of us til other,
That never, for to dyen in the peyne,
Til that the deeth departe shal us tweyne,
Neither of us in love to hindren other,
Ne in non other cas, my leve brother;
But that thou sholdest trewely forthren me
280In every cas, and I shal forthren thee.
This was thyn ooth, and myn also, certeyn;
I wot right wel, thou darst it nat withseyn.
Thus artow of my counseil, out of doute.
And now thou woldest falsly been aboute
To love my lady, whom I love and serve,
And ever shal, til that myn herte sterve.
Now certes, fals Arcite, thou shalt nat so.
I loved hir first, and tolde thee my wo
As to my counseil, and my brother sworn
290To forthre me, as I have told biforn.
For which thou art y-bounden as a knight
To helpen me, if it lay in thy might,
Or elles artow fals, I dar wel seyn.’
Palamon furrowed his brow and said, “You really shouldn’t joke around like that or kick me while I’m down. I’m your cousin, your blood brother. We swore a serious oath that, even upon pain of death, we’d never let a woman or anything else come between us until the day we died. We both promised that we’d always be there to help each other out in anything the other chose to do. I know that you know this too, which means you’re supposed to support me in this matter. And now you’re going to stab me in the back and try to steal the woman I love and would do anything for until the day my heart stops beating? No, Arcite, I won’t let you! I fell in love with her first and confided in you, my brother who’d sworn to always help me. For that reason, you’re under the obligation as a fellow knight to help me out. Otherwise, you’re just full of crap!”