Read by Susan Yager
as edited by Larry Benson
The Riverside Chaucer, Third Edition
Houghton Mifflin, 2000
(text reproduced below with permission)
Troilus and Criseyde, Book II, ll. 449-504 in MP3 format
Criseyde, which that wel neigh starf for feere,
So as she was the ferfulleste wight
That myghte be, and herde ek with hire ere
And saugh the sorwful ernest of the knyght,
And in his preier ek saugh noon unryght,
And for the harm that myghte ek fallen moore,
She gan to rewe and dredde hire wonder soore,
And thoughte thus: “Unhappes fallen thikke
Alday for love, and in swych manere cas
As men ben cruel in hemself and wikke;
And if this man sle here hym self–allas!–
In my presence, it wol be no solas.
What men wolde of hit deme I kan nat seye;
It nedeth me ful sleighly forto pleie.”
And with a sorowful sik she sayde thrie,
“A, Lord! What me is tid a sory chaunce!
For myn estat lith in a jupartie,
And ek myn emes lif is in balaunce;
But natheles, with Goddes governaunce,
I shal so doon, myn honour shal I kepe,
And ek his lif” — and stynte for to wepe.
“Of harmes two the lesse is for to chese;
Yet have I levere maken hym good chere
In honour, than myn emes lyf to lese.
Ye seyn, ye nothyng elles me requere?”
“No, wis,” quod he, “myn owen nece dere.”
“Now wel,” quod she, “and I wol doon my peyne;
I shal myn herte ayeins my lust constreyne.
“But that I nyl nat holden hym in honde,
Ne love a man ne kan I naught ne may
Ayeins my wyl, but elles wol I fonde,
Myn honour sauf, plese hym fro day to day.
Therto nolde I nat ones han seyd nay,
But that I drede, as in my fantasye;
But cesse cause, ay cesseth maladie.
“And here I make a protestacioun
That in this proces if ye depper go,
That certeynly, for no salvacioun
Of yow, though that ye sterven bothe two,
Though al the world on o day be my fo,
Ne shal I nevere of hym han other routhe.”
“I graunte wel,” quod Pandare, “by my trowthe.
“But may I truste wel to yow,” quod he,
“That of this thyng that ye han hight me here,
Ye wole it holden trewely unto me?”
“Ye, doutelees,” quod she, “myn uncle deere.”
“Ne that I shal han cause in this matere,”
Quod he, “to pleyne, or ofter yow to preche?”
“Why, no, perde; what nedeth moore speche?”
Tho fellen they in other tales glade,
Tyl at the laste, “O good em,” quod she tho,
“For his love, that us bothe made,
Tel me how first ye wisten of his wo.
Woot noon of it but ye?” He seyde, “No.”
“Kan he wel speke of love?” quod she; “I preye
“Tel me, for I the bet me shal purveye.”