The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Three

page The Knight’s Tale Part Three: Page 12

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‘O chaste goddesse of the wodes grene,
To whom bothe hevene and erthe and see is sene,
Quene of the regne of Pluto derk and lowe,
420Goddesse of maydens, that myn herte hast knowe
Ful many a yeer, and woost what I desire,
As keep me fro thy vengeaunce and thyn ire,
That Attheon aboughte cruelly.
Chaste goddesse, wel wostow that I
Desire to been a mayden al my lyf,
Ne never wol I be no love ne wyf.
I am, thou woost, yet of thy companye,
A mayde, and love hunting and venerye,
And for to walken in the wodes wilde,
430And noght to been a wyf, and be with childe.
Noght wol I knowe companye of man.
Now help me, lady, sith ye may and can,
For tho thre formes that thou hast in thee.
And Palamon, that hath swich love to me,
And eek Arcite, that loveth me so sore,
This grace I preye thee with-oute more,
As sende love and pees bitwixe hem two;
And fro me turne awey hir hertes so,
That al hir hote love, and hir desyr,
440And al hir bisy torment, and hir fyr
Be queynt, or turned in another place;
And if so be thou wolt not do me grace,
Or if my destinee be shapen so,
That I shal nedes have oon of hem two,
As sende me him that most desireth me.
Bihold, goddesse of clene chastitee,
The bittre teres that on my chekes falle.
Sin thou are mayde, and keper of us alle,
My maydenhede thou kepe and wel conserve,
450And whyl I live a mayde, I wol thee serve.’
“Oh virgin goddess of the forest, queen of the underworld, and keeper of my heart, bless me, and please don’t be angry with me as you been have with others in the past. You know that I want to remain a virgin all my life and be one of your faithful virgin followers who hunt in the forest just as you do. I never want to have sex with a man, get married, or have children. Diana—goddess of the moon, the underworld, and the hunt—please help me to keep this tournament from happening. Please make Palamon and Arcite stop fighting over me. Make them not love me any more so that they can move on with their lives instead of wasting them fighting over me. And if you can’t help me stay a virgin forever, then let me marry whoever wants me more. Look at the tears on my cheeks, Diana, goddess of virginity. I beg of you to help me, one of your devoted followers, and preserve my virginity for the rest of my life so that I may continue to worship and serve you.”