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To pray for them that Lovis servaunts be,
And for to have of them compassion,
As though I were their owne brother dere.
Now listenyth every wight with goode ententior
For I will now go streight to my matere,
In whiche ye shall the double sorowe here
Of Troylus, in lovyng of Crisseide,
And how that she forsoke hym or she deide.
It is well wist, how the Greekis stronge
In armes with a thousand shippes3 went
To Troye wardes, and the cite longe
Assegide, wel ten yer or they stynt;
And in dyverse wise and in on intent,
The ravysshyng to vengyn of Heleyn,
By Paris done, they wroughten all hir peine.3
Now fil it so, that in the toun ther was
1 This is one of the many examples to be found in Chaucer of the use of theological terms applied to the heathen mythology.
2 In the second book of the Iliad, which contains the celebrated catalogue of the Grecian snips, the number is not exactly determined. Chaucer probably obtained this number from the JEneid, book ii. 198, * Non anui domuere decem, non mille carinae'
3 The Harl. MS. reads, 'Full besyly they diden their peyn.' Speglit's reading has been adopted as better with respect to both the sense and metre.
4 In the Iliad, Calchas is thus introduced:—
rourt 6* ave'tmj
KaAvaf ©cffroptfiijs, oltavairohav o\ apcaros,
* The Harl, MS., for Dan Phebus reads Deiphebus, evidently an error •f the scribe.
So whan this Calcas knew by calkelyng,
Wherfor he to departe al softely,
Grete rumour gan, whan it was erst aspyed,
Thurgh al the toun, and generally was spokyn,
That Calcas laraytour fled was and alyed
To her foos; and woldyn fayn be wrokyn
On hym that had his trouthe thus falsly brokyn,
And sworyn that he and all his kyn atoonya
Were worthy to be brent, bothe foll ai d bunys.!
Now had Calcas left, in this mischaunce,
Cryseyde was this lady name aright;
1 Speght reads by sort, meaning by destiny.
3 That is,' Deserved to be burnt, both skin and bonea.'
As soth a perfit hevenly creature,
That doun was sent in scorne of Nature.'
This lady, which that herd al day at ere
Her fadrys shame, his falsnes, and tresoun,
Wel ny out of her wyt for pure fere,
In widewys habyt large of samyte broun,"
Byfor Hector on knees she fel adoun,
With chere and voys ful pytous, and wepynrj,
His mercy bad,3 her self excusyng.
Now was this Hector pitous of nature,
And al the honour that men may do yow have.
As though your father dwellyd al here,
Ye shul have, and your body shul men save,
As ferforth as I may enquere and here:
And she him thonkyd oft in humble chere,
And ofter wold, if it had be his wille.
She toke her leve, went home, and held her stille.
And in her hows she abode with such meyne
1 That is, * She was so perfect that she seemed to be something supernatural, made to put to shame the works of nature *
2 Samyte broun is in the Filostrato merely bruna veste. Samyte was a rich silk, perhaps satin, and is derived, according to Du Cange, from ex ami tus.
* Bade, bid, or prayed him for his mercy.—See ante, p. 18, note 3. 4 This is a very close translation of the Filostrato:—
i 'lascia con la ria ventura
Tuo padre andar.'
6 Held her in high estimation.
But whethir she childryn had or none,
The thingis fellen, as they done of werre,
But how this toun come to destruccioun,
Ne fallith not now to purpos me to telle;
For why? it were a long digressioun
Of my matere, and for yow longe to dwelle;
But the Troianys gestes, as they felle,
In Homer, or in Daris,* or yn Dyte,4
Who so can may rede hem as they wryt.
1 This point is differently stated in the FUostrato.— 'Qnivi si stette con quella famiglia Ch'al suo onor convenia di tenere, Mentre fu in Troia, onesta a maraviglia In ahito ed in vita, ne calere Le bisognava di figlio o di tiglia. Come a oolei che mai nessuno avere N'avea potuto, e daciascnno amata Che la connobbe fu, ed onorata.' 5 For wMmyn the Harl. MS. reads whilyn. This may perhaps mean KheeUn, an allusion to Fortune's wheel; but Speght's reading is adopted as being better on the whole.
3 Prefixed to the edition of Dares Phrygius, printed at Antwerp in 1608, is the following account, from the Anthropologia of Raphael Volaterranus, which is, however, apocryphal: 'Dares Phrygius historicus scripsit bellnm Trojanum Greece, in quo ipse militavit, ut ait Isiodorus, primus fere historicorum; qui tandem eapto Ilio, cum Antenoris factione remansit, ut scribit Cornelius Nepos, qui opus ejus in sex libros e Graeco convertit, dicavitque Crispo Sallustio.' It is needless to say that Cornelius Nepos is entirely innocent of the Latin translation; the original Greek was extant in the time cf Julian.
4 Spcght says,' Ditis Historicus did write a book of the Troian war, fonnd in a certain sepulchre.* Dictys Cretensis is said to have written a history of the Trojan war, which he ordered to be placed in his tomb. Here it remained till an earthquake in the reign of Nero burst open the sepulchre, and discovered the history. This is, of course, a fable. But though the Greekes hem of Troy in shetten,1
And her citee bysegedyn al aboute,
The old usage nold they of Troy letten,
As for to honour her god and to loute;
But althermoost in honour, out of doute,
They had a relik hight Palladion,J
That was her trust abovyn everychon.
And so byfel, whan comyn was the tyme
And to the temple, in alle her best wyse,
Among the which was this Cryseyda,
Mid the history which now goes under the name of Dictya Cretensis is supposed by some to have been written so late as the fifteenth century, a supposition proved by this passage to be false; by others it is thought, with more appearance of probability, to belong to the age of the lower empire.
1 This line is wanting in the Harl. MS.
2 The Falladion was a a^atue of Pallas said to have fallen from heaven beside the tent of Ilns as he was building Ilium, where it was preserved with great care, as it was supposed that upon its preservation depended the safety of the city.—See Virgil, j&tieid, ii. i66*, ix. 151. Chaucer calls it a relic, another instance of the way in which lie realizes the spirit of the old mythology, by identifying its ideas and language with those of the theology of his own times.
3 Sotto candido velo, in bruna veste. Filostroto, parte i.