The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Three

page The Knight’s Tale Part Three: Page 8

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With Arcita, in stories as men finde,
The grete Emetreus, the king of Inde,
Upon a stede bay, trapped in steel,
Covered in cloth of gold diapred weel,
Cam ryding lyk the god of armes, Mars.
280His cote-armure was of cloth of Tars,
Couched with perles whyte and rounde and grete.
His sadel was of brend gold newe y-bete;
A mantelet upon his shuldre hanginge
Bret-ful of rubies rede, as fyr sparklinge.
His crispe heer lyk ringes was y-ronne,
And that was yelow, and glitered as the sonne.
His nose was heigh, his eyen bright citryn,
His lippes rounde, his colour was sangwyn,
A fewe fraknes in his face y-spreynd,
290Betwixen yelow and somdel blak y-meynd,
And as a leoun he his loking caste.
Of fyve and twenty yeer his age I caste.
His berd was wel bigonne for to springe;
His voys was as a trompe thunderinge.
Upon his heed he wered of laurer grene
A gerland fresh and lusty for to sene.
Upon his hand he bar, for his deduyt,
An egle tame, as eny lilie whyt.
An hundred lordes hadde he with him there,
300Al armed, sauf hir heddes, in al hir gere,
Ful richely in alle maner thinges.
For trusteth wel, that dukes, erles, kinges,
Were gadered in this noble companye,
For love and for encrees of chivalrye.
Aboute this king ther ran on every part
Ful many a tame leoun and lepart.
And in this wyse thise lordes, alle and some,
Ben on the Sonday to the citee come
Aboute pryme, and in the toun alight.
Meanwhile, Emetreus, the king of India, had come with Arcite. He had a large nose, bright eyes, a rosy complexion, and a voice that thundered like a trumpet. His curly blonde hair glittered like the sun. He had a few freckles too, and the combination of the freckles and golden locks made him look like a lion. He had the beginnings of a good beard, which makes me think he was around twenty-five years old. He wore a crown of green laurel and carried a hawk that was as white as snow. He rode a light-colored horse decked out with a steel bridle and covered in golden, woven cloth. His coat of arms was decorated with the most perfect large pearls, and his saddle shone like gold. His cape was lined with rubies that sparkled like fire. He too brought a hundred of his kinsmen with him, all wearing armor. Everyone made sure to look his best because they knew that many of the most powerful people in the world were attending this tournament. Many kings even brought their tame lions and leopards. And it was in this way that these kings and dukes and princes and knights gathered together outside of Athens around nine on a Sunday morning.