Troilus and Criseyde: Book V

Original Text: 
Possibly adapted from Robert Kilburn Root, ed., The Book of Troilus and Criseyde (Princeton University Press, 1926). PR 1895 .R6 Robarts Library. Possibly also W. W. Skeat, ed., The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, 2nd edn. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899-1900): II.
From Book V
1031This Diomede is come un-to Criseyde;
1033So wel he for hym-selven spak and seyde,
1035And finaly, the sothe for to seyne,
1037And after this the storie telleth us
1039The which he ones wan of Troilus;
1041That Troilus was, she yaf this Diomede.
1045Whan thorugh the body hurt was Diomede
1047Whan that she saugh his wyde wowndes blede;
1049And for to hele hym of his sorwes smerte,
1051But trewely, the storie telleth us,
1052Ther made nevere woman moore wo
1053Than she, whan that she falsed Troilus.
1055My name of trouthe in love, for evere-mo!
1057That evere was, and oon the worthieste!
1058"Allas, of me, un-to the worldes ende,
1059Shal neyther been y-writen nor y-songe
1061O, rolled shal I ben on many a tonge!
1062Thorugh-out the world my belle shal be ronge;
1063And wommen moost wol haten me of alle.
1064Allas, that swich a cas me sholde falle!
1065"Thei wol seyn, in as muche as in me is,
1066I have hem don dishonour, weylawey!
1067Al be I nat the firste that dide amys,
1070And that to late is now for me to rewe,
1072"But, Troilus, syn I no bettre may,
1073And syn that thus departen ye and I,
1075As for the gentileste, trewely,
1079"And certes, yow ne haten shal I nevere;
1080And frendes love, that shal ye han of me,
1081And my good word, al sholde I lyven evere.
1082And, trewely, I wolde sory be
1083For to seen yow in adversitee.
1084And giltelees, I woot wel, I yow leve;
1085But al shal passe; and thus take I my leve."
1086But trewely, how longe it was bytwene,
1087That she forsok him for this Diomede,
1089Take every man now to his bokes heede;
1091For though that he bigan to wowe hire sone,
1092Er he hire wan, yet was ther more to doone.
1094Forther than the storye wol devyse.
1096That for hire gilt it oughte ynough suffise.
1097And if I myghte excuse hire any wyse,
1098For she so sory was for hire untrouthe,
1788So sende myght to make in som comédye!
1790But subgit be to alle poesye;
1791And kis the steppes, whereas thou seest pace
1794In Englissh and in writyng of oure tonge,
1795So prey I God that noon myswrite thee,
1797And red wher-so thou be, or elles songe,
1800The wrath, as I bigan yow for to seye,
1801Of Troilus, the Grekis boughten deere;
1803As he that was with-outen any peere,
1804Save Ector, in his tyme, as I kan heere.
1808His lighte goost ful blisfully is went
1815This litel spot of erthe, that with the se
1816Embraced is, and fully gan despise
1817This wrecched world, and held al vanité
1819That is in hevene above; and at the laste,
1822Of hem that wepten for his deth so faste;
1823And dampned al oure werk that foloweth so
1824The blynde lust, the which that may not laste,
1825And sholden al our herte on heven caste.
1826And forth he wente, shortly for to telle,
1829Swich fyn hath al his grete worthynesse;
1833And thus bigan his lovyng of Criseyde,
1834As I have told, and in this wise he deyde.
1835O yonge fresshe folkes, he or she,
1836In which that love up groweth with your age,
1837Repeyreth hoom fro worldly vanyté,
1838And of youre herte up-casteth the visage
1840Yow made, and thynketh al nys but a faire
1841This world, that passeth soone as floures faire.
1842And loveth hym, the which that right for love
1846That wol his herte al holly on him leye.
1848What nedeth feynede loves for to seke?
1850Lo here, what alle hir goddes may availle;
1851Lo here, thise wrecched worldes appetites;
1852Lo here, the fyn and guerdoun for travaille
1854Lo here, the forme of olde clerkis speche
1858To vouchen sauf, ther nede is, to correcte,
1859Of youre benignités and zeles goode.
1861With al myn herte of mercy evere I preye;
1862And to the Lord right thus I speke and seye:
1864That regnest ay in three, and two, and oon,
1866Us from visible and invisible foon
1867Defende; and to thy mercy, everichon,
1869For love of mayde and moder thyn benigne! Amen.


1030] After Troilus and Criseyde have become secret lovers she is forced to go to her father at the Greek camp, in exchange for the Trojan Antenor, who has been taken prisoner. She promises Troilus that she will return in ten days. But the Greek Diomede, who is her escort to the camp and who has fallen in love with her, convinces her that the city is doomed and return impossible.
morwen. Morrow.
gostly for to speke. To speak spiritually, that is religiously, truly. Back to Line
1032] breke. Interrupt. Back to Line
1034] sikes. Sighs. Back to Line
1036] Deprived her of the great(er part) of all her pain. Back to Line
1038] Diomede captured a bay horse from Troilus and gave it to Criseyde. Later, when Troilus had captured the horse of Diomede, Criseyde out of sympathy, returned his present. (From Benoit). Back to Line
1040] ek. Also. Back to Line
1042] the bet. The better. Back to Line
1043] pencel. Small pennon (Old French penoncel). A lady's sleeve was often worn as a favour in the chivalric romances. Back to Line
1044] In the stories elles-where. The incident that follows is also from Benoit. Back to Line
1046] Of. By.
tho. Then. Back to Line
1048] kepen. Care for, nurse. Back to Line
1050] Men say, (though) I do not know, that she gave him her heart. Note the poet's reluctance to admit Criseyde's infidelity. Back to Line
1054] ago. Gone. Back to Line
1056] oon the gentileste. One of the noblest. Back to Line
1060] shende. Disgrace. Back to Line
1068] don. Put. Back to Line
1069] syn. Since. Back to Line
1071] algate. Anyway, at any rate. Back to Line
1074] yeve. Give. Back to Line
1076] say. Saw. Back to Line
1077] lady. Lady's. Feminine noun without genitive ending. Back to Line
1078] brast. Burst. Back to Line
1088] auctor. Author. Back to Line
1090] out of drede. Out of doubt. Back to Line
1093] Nor does it please me (nor do I wish) to chide this poor unfortunate woman. Back to Line
1095] publisshed. In some MSS. punysshed. Back to Line
1099] I-wis. Certainly (O.E. gewis).
routhe. Pity. Back to Line
1786] These concluding lines of the poem follow the account of Troilus's gradual discovery that Criseyde had been unfaithful. Back to Line
1787] May God yet send to thy composer, before he die, the power to write in some comedy. Ther at the beginning of 1787 is a mere expletive. Back to Line
1789] no makyng thou nenvie. Envy no composition. Back to Line
1792] Stace. P. Papinius Statius (A.D. 61-96), author of the Thebaid. Back to Line
1793] for. Because. Back to Line
1796] Nor scan thee wrongly because of defective knowledge of thy language. Back to Line
1798] understonde. Understood. Back to Line
1799] rather. Earlier. Back to Line
1802] deye. Die. Back to Line
1805] But alas! (except only that it was God's will). Back to Line
1806] slough. Slew. Back to Line
1807] A late addition to the poem -- not found in some MSS. Taken from another poem of Boccaccio, the Teseide, where the hero's soul ascends into the heavens. influenced also by Cicero's Somnium Scipionis and Lucan's account of the death of Pompey in Pharsalia, IX, 1 ff. Back to Line
1809] Up to the concavity or inner surface of the eighth sphere, that of the fixed stars. Up to the extreme limits of the universe; see note on Milton's Nativity Ode, 125. Back to Line
1810] Leaving the four elements (earth, water, air, fire) on the other side. Boccaccio has "degli clementi i convessi lasciando", "leaving the convexities of the elements", which Chaucer has mistranslated. Back to Line
1811] avysement. Attention, understanding. Back to Line
1812] erratik sterres. Wandering stars, planets. Back to Line
1813] sownes. Sounds. On the music of the spheres see the Milton note cited above under 1. 1809. Back to Line
1814] gan avyse. Did perceive. Back to Line
1818] In comparison with the full, complete happiness. Back to Line
1820] Ther. Where. Back to Line
1821] Tough. Laughed. Back to Line
1827] Where Mercury alloted to him to dwell. (Mercury was the conductor of souls to the next world.) Back to Line
1828] fyn. End. Back to Line
1830] estat reál. Royal rank. Back to Line
1831] lust. Pleasure, joy. Back to Line
1832] brotelnesse. Brittleness, frailty. Back to Line
1839] thilke. That ilke, that same.
floures faire. Note the rhyming of words of the same sound but different meaning (cf. the French rime riche). Back to Line
1843] beye. Buy, redeem. Back to Line
1844] start. Died.
sit. Contraction of sitteth. Back to Line
1845] nyl falsen no wight. Will not deceive anyone. Back to Line
1847] sin. Since. Back to Line
1849] payens. Pagans'. Back to Line
1853] rascaille. Worthless mob (usually applied to animals not worth hunting). Back to Line
1855] seche. Seek. Back to Line
1856] moral Gower. Gower's poetry is marked by its serious ethical outlook. Gower had power of attorney for Chaucer during his absence from England in 1378 and addresses an admonition to him at the end of his Confessio Amantis. Back to Line
1857] to the, philosophical Strode. Skeat reads "to the philosophical Strode", The Globe Chaucer and Robinson, by inserting the comma, make the second personal pronoun, which seems more probable. The reference may be to Ralph Strode, a noted philosopher, or to a Ralph Strode who was a prominent London lawyer from 1373 to his death in 1387. Back to Line
1860] sothfast. True, faithful.
start on rode. Died on the cross. Back to Line
1863] eterne on lyve. Eternally living.
A close translation of Dante's Paradiso, XIV, 28-30. Back to Line
1865] uncircumscript, and al maist circumscrive. Infinite, and comprehending everything. Back to Line
1868] digne. Worthy. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
Caxton's edition.
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.9; RPO 1996-2000.