The Canterbury Tales

by: Geoffrey Chaucer

  The Knight’s Tale Part Three

page The Knight’s Tale Part Three: Page 9

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310This Theseus, this duk, this worthy knight,
Whan he had broght hem in-to his citee,
And inned hem, everich in his degree,
He festeth hem, and dooth so greet labour
To esen hem, and doon hem al honour,
That yet men weneth that no mannes wit
Of noon estat ne coude amenden it.
The minstralcye, the service at the feste,
The grete yiftes to the moste and leste,
The riche array of Theseus paleys,
320Ne who sat first ne last upon the deys,
What ladies fairest been or best daunsinge,
Or which of hem can dauncen best and singe,
Ne who most felingly speketh of love:
What haukes sitten on the perche above,
What houndes liggen on the floor adoun:
Of al this make I now no mencioun;
But al theffect, that thinketh me the beste;
Now comth the poynt, and herkneth if yow leste.
Theseus did all he could to make his many guests comfortable. He found rooms for everyone to stay in that matched each person’s social standing, and he hosted feasts. He spent so much energy looking after his guests that everyone agreed that he couldn’t have done any better had he tried. I could tell you all the details—the food, the wine, the songs, the beautiful women, the decorations, the parties, the dancing, the hunts, the shows—but that would take too long, and I should really just cut to the chase.
The Sonday night, er day bigan to springe,
330When Palamon the larke herde singe,
Although it nere nat day by houres two,
Yet song the larke, and Palamon also.
With holy herte, and with an heigh corage
He roos, to wenden on his pilgrimage
Unto the blisful Citherea benigne,
I mene Venus, honurable and digne.
And in hir houre he walketh forth a pas
Unto the listes, ther hir temple was,
And doun he kneleth, and with humble chere
340And herte soor, he seyde as ye shul here.
Well, on Sunday morning before dawn, Palamon woke up when he heard the birds singing (it was still two hours before the sun would rise, but for some reason, the birds were singing early that day) and prepared to go to the temple of Venus at the new stadium to pray to the goddess before the tournament began. He knelt before the statue of Venus and said: