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shield of Achilles, there runs a stream of lady, is at the grated window; and if Pay ever-varying passion as intense and im- amon was struck with the beauty of Emspetuous as in any other part of the Iliad, lia, much more is Areite, who assares his and even more full, if possible, of dramat- companion that if he cannot obtain the ic vitality. This faculty appears to be love of that lady, or, at least, the privilege now nearly extinct among poets. In Ten- of seeing her, he must die: nyson, the present laureate of England, we find only a few faint traces of it. One of "I n'am bat ded; ther n' is no more to the clearest flashes of this radiance occurs in his Maud :
Palamon, at this, looks gloomily upon him, " For a breeze of morning moves,
and asks if he is. in jest or in earnest; or And the planet of Love is on high,
which Arcite gives him solemn assurance Beginning to faint in the light that she that he is in earnest, and has little dispoloves
sition to jest. Then commences a new On a bed of daffodil sky,
and highly wrought development of pasTo faint in the light of the sur she loves, sion, in the jealousy of these two deserted, To faint in his light, and to die.
hopeless prisoners, cousins, brothers in
arms and dear friends till that moment. But we shall have frequent occasion to Palamon knit his brows. " It were," quotke recur to this fundamental position, either he,“ to thee no great honor to prove false by brief hints or more extended reference. and a traitor. We are sworn one to anWe would have it distinctly understood, other, that neither shall in any way hinder however, that the dramatic delineation of the other in any design, and, least of all, passion is not to be supposed to be con- in love ; but that each shall put in peril fined to dramatic poetry; it is equaly to his life to forward the suit of his companbe seen in descriptive and didactic. The ion and brother, and now thou wouldss magnificent energy of Horace, the potent falsely obtain the love of the lady whom ! and untiring vigor of Pope, are at once would die rather than resign. But, false examples and evidences of this. And it Arcite, this sbal} not be. I loved her first, is this exuberant life, this ardent vitality, and told thee as my counsel, and my brotogether with faultless correctness, which ther, sworn to aid and advise me. And pre-eminently distinguishes Greek art, thou art bound as #knight to assist me, or whether in poetry or sculpture.
else thou art false." Palamon having, as we have seen, ut
To this Arcite answers : # Thou shalt tered a loud exclamation, like one struck sooner be false than l; and thou art false, to the heart, Arcite started up at the cry, for I say I loved her first. Thou didst nos and said: “Cousin mine, what aileth thee? know whether it was a woman or a god. who hath done tliee offence? Our prison dess.. This is affection of holiness. But must be borne: we must endure that I loved her as a woman, and told thee as which we cannot avoid. Therefore be my cousin and sworn brother." patient." Upon this, Palamon assures his Long was the contention between them, cousin that it is no want of fortitude, no but it was of little avail. As they must weariness of his prison, but a wound at remain for life prisoners in that dungeon, the heart, seceived through the eye, that it mattered little who had, seen Emilia was the occasion of his crying out. That first, or who could establish the best claim he has seen a woman so beautiful that he by the laws of knightly honor to the sercan hardly believe her to be mortal; in- vices of the other. Now there was a cerdeed, he thinks it must be the goddess tain Duke Perithous, a dear friend of The
upon this, he supplicates that seus from the time of their common child. deity on his knees to grant their deliver- bood. It so happened that he came to ance, or, at least, in some way to favor Athens to visit the Duke, and hearing that them, if she be indeed the object present. Arcite, who stood high in his favor, was a ed to his eyes in the garden below. Ar- prisoner, besought his release. This was eite, meantime, curious to see this fair obtained from Theseus, on condition that
Arcite should depårt out of the territories. At this he started up, and when he was of the Duke, and that if ever he were fully awake, he vowed to obey the orders found in any country under the dominion of the dream; and looking in a mirror, he of Theseus, his head should be struck off. found himself so changed by grief that he The ill-starred Arcite now found his con- could not be recognized. At all events, he dition far worse than before; for now he resolved to brave death for a chance of may never hope to see the lady again. He once more seeing his lady. He disguised would have preferred to remain fettered himself, therefore, and making his way to in prison; the sight of her alone would Athens, managed so well that he obtained have sufficed for him. Never to see her service at court under the name of Philomore was intolerable. He is envious of strate, the good fortune of Palamon, who may not only behold Emilia, but may even, by Page of the chambre of Emelie so bright. some turn of fate, be released from the
And he bore himself in a manner so dungeon, when he may hope everything from his knighthood and worth. But him worthy, that he rose to a high station, and self, Arcite, must ever be an exile. When
became very dear to Theseus. Palamon he was gone, Palamon, left to himself, felt remained for seven long years a captive, no less despair.
when at length, by the assistance of a
friend, he broke from his confinement and Swiche sorwe he maketh, that the grete concealed himself in a grave till he might
escape to Thebes, and put in practice the Resoạned of his yelling and clamour. scheme he had supposed Arcite would have He, on his part, found that fortune lav attempted. Now it so happened that it ished all her favor upon his cousin Arcita
was again in the month of May, and at in giving him his liberty; for he has no
early dawn, Arcite, the squire of Theseus, thing more to do than to follow the exam- rode out to do observance to the season. ple of so many other knights, and of The
The besy larke, the messenger of day, seus himself: that is, to raise an army, to
Saleweth in her song the morwe gray; make war upon Athens, and, by some ad
And fiery Phæbus riseth up so bright, venture, some heroic exploit, or treaty, win the lady for himself. There. And with his stremes drieth in the graves
That all the orient laugheth of the sight, upon he makes many pathetic lamenta
The silver dropes, hanging on the leaves. tions, as is the manner of the unfortunate when ill treated by destiny, mixing up Singing a roundelay, and bent on forming his complaints with several of those very
a garland of fresh flowers, by way of pastrue moral reflections which are of least
time, he enters the very grove where Palause when the consolation they are intend.
mon, in fear of death, if discovered, lies ed to convey is most needed :
secreted. He was not recognized by his You lovers 'axe I now this question, cousin, nor would he have been had he Who hath the werse, Arcite or Palamon! not spoken. But after finishing his song, That on may se his lady day by day, supposing himself to be alone, he sighed, But in prison moste he dwellen alway. and began to commune with himself aloud. That other where him lust may ride or go, Thus it came to pass that Palamon, who But sen his lady shall he never mo. heard every word he uttered, recognized
in the squire his rival Arcite, Such were the sufferings of Arcite from this cause in his exile, that his condition and when that he had herd Areite's tale,bordered upon madness; and so passed a He sterte him up out of the bushes thikke, year or two, till one night, in a dream, he and sayde: False Arcite, false traltour saw the winged god Mercury, who said to
To Athens 'shalt thou wende; I wol be ded, or elles thou shalt die. There is the shapen of thy woe an ende. Thou shalt not love my lady Emelie,
But I wol love here only and no mo,
him, each at the head of a company of a For I am Palamon, thy mortal fo.
hundred knights. The lists are Here we have the language of passion the victory may claim the hand of the
opened, and whichever party shall obtain -unreasoning, furious, regardless of all fair Emelie for its chief. We here pass but itself, straight to the point, and concentrated about a single idea. And the next to the catastrophe. The pieture of the
over the interval rapidly, and hasten on speech, Arcite's answer, is wrought up to a pitch yet more intense; for drawing his and though purely descriptive, is lit up
preparations for the battle is very fine, sword, he says:
throughout by the gleam of poetic passion. By God that sitteth above,
It is full of animated details, lords and N'ere it that thou art sike, and wood for coursers, rich and embroidered trappings love,
and harness, goldsmiths, knights, squires, And eke ihat thou no wepen hast in this gilded belms, hauberks, nodding plumes, place,
polished shields, busy armourers at work, Thou shuldest never out of this groye pace,
foaming steeds prancing, golden bridles That thou ne shuldest dien of mine aond, clashing, yeomen with short staves, drums, For I defie the suretee and the bond,
trumpets, pipes and clarions, the crowded Which that thou saist that I have made to palace, the people moving up and down,
the cries of the multitude, the waving of thee.
banners, all mingling together. But that
of the battle itself is yet more admirable. This collision between the two cousins, It has a Homeric impetuosity about it that after a violent debate, ends in an agree. reminds the reader of the colossal fights of ment that on the morrow they will settle the Iliad. Nothing can be conceived to the question in single combát, Arcite pro- exceed the rapidity and fury of that desmising to bring whatever is necessary in perate charge and tempestuous onset dearms and provision for Palamon, in his lineated in vivid and flashing colors that concealment, with such secresy that there bring the scene before the eye, and seem shall be no chance of discovery. Every to have the power of representing sound thing occurred according to agreement, and and motion to the imagination. Some the two cousins were engaged in a deadly readers may at first find the original a litstrife, when Theseus, who was riding that tle difficult, but they will be amply reway on a hunting party with Hippolyta warded for their pains. and Emelie, saw them from a distance, and hastening up, commanded them to de.
Tho' were the gates shette, and cried was
loude : sist and discover their names and estate.
Do Then Palamon in haste cried ont: “Sire,
now your devoir, yonge knightes in a few words you may know the whole
proude. We have both deserved death; and The heraudes left bir pricking up and
down. if you are just, we must both die."
Now ringen trompes loud and clarioun.' And sle me first, for seinte charitee;
There is no more to say, but est and west But sle my felaw eke as well as me. In gon the speres sadly in the rest;
In goth the sharpe spore into the side. He then related the whole story to The- Ther see men who can juste, and who can seus, in whom it kindled great wrath, and ride. he promised them that since they sought Ther shiveren shaftes upon sheldes thicke; death they should find it. Here Hippolyta He feleththurgh the 'herte-spone the and Emelie interposed with tears and pricke. weeping, till Theseus is moved to pity. Up springen speres twenty foot on highte; After reviewing the whole matter in a well Out gon the swerdes as the silver brighte. balanced discourse, he concludes with the The helmes they to-hewen, and to-sbrede; clecision, that at the end of a year the two Out brest the blod, with sterne stremes cousins shall present themselves before rede.
With mighty maces the bones they to-wounded. , All'envy and rancor were laid breste.
aside, and after three days feasting, TheseHe thurgh the thickest of the strong gan us dismissed his company of kings and threste.
knights, and escorted them some distance Ther stombien stedes strong, and doun goth on their way home. all.
As for Arcite, it was soon apparent that He rolleth under foot as doth a ball. his case was hopeless and beyond cure. He foineth on his foo with a tronchow; When he was himself convinced of this, And he him hurtleth with his hors adoun, he sent for Palamon and Emelie. His He thurgh the body is hurt, and sith ytake, dying speech, and the description of his Naugre his hed, and brought unto the departure, are wonderfully pathetic. He stake,
bids adieu to the lady of his love: As forward was, right ther he must abide. Another lad is on that other side.
Farewell my swete, farewel min Emelie. Those who were led to the stake were
And solemnly leaves it in charge to her regarded as out of the fight, and had lost
that if ever she wed not to forget Pala.
mon. the privilege of taking any further part in the action. They had the mortification of His laste word was: Mercy, Emelie! being compelled to remain inactive spec- His spirit changed hous, and wente ther, tators of the exploits of others. At last as I came never I cannot tellen wher. this happens to be the lot of Palamon, notwithstanding his desperate struggle, a The whole scene exhibits the mastery. circumstance, of course, which decides of our poet over that dramatic portraiture the contest and Theseus gives his de- of deep human passion which finds a recision.
sponse in every heart, to which allusion
has been previously made, as containing He cried, ho! no more; for it is don.
in itself the essential quality of true poesy. I wol be trewe juge, and not partie.
The death of Arcite was almost like a Arcite of Thebes sbal have Einilie,
public calamity. Great was the lamentaThat by his fortune hath hire fayretion throughout all Athens for the noble ywonne.
Theban. Chaucer, as is his wont, introThe trumpets and minstrelsy, and shouts
duces numerous short speeches and excla.
mations to give more distinctness to his of the people, hail the award, and the vic
description. The lament of the women tor who rides triumphantly, with head uncovered that his face may be seen the
is exceedingly touching, from its simple
and unaffected tone, as well as the quaintlength of the place, his eye fixed on the
ness of the expression. fair Emelie, who, hitherto indifferent, now regards him with favor. Just at this mo- Why woldest thou be ded? thisé women ment of exultant victory, the god Pluto
crie, sends a fury, which starts from the ground And haddest gold ynough and Emelie. before his horse, visible only to the aniinal. The terrified steed bounds aside Nor is this speech altogether wanting in and falls, and Arcite is dashed to the the sober sadness of a certain deep phiground. With two dangerous wounds, one losophic inspection of the wretched conin the head and one in the breast, he is dition of humanity. The pompous fune: borne to the palace. Every care was ral of-Arcite, and the subsequent marriage taken of him, and restored to hiinself he of Palamon and Emelie, are then narrated was “always crying after Emilie." It in the fine old English of Chaucer, wedded was given out that no serious conse- to the Italian imagery derived from Bacquences would result from the accident, caccio, and the tale concludes. and the brilliant assemblage began to dis- Next to his power of passion, (and incuss at leisure the events of the day. No deed a part of it, one of the chief excelone had been killed, though many were lencies of Chaucer is his admirable man. agement of dialogue, a faculty which, per. Pees, litel sone, 1 wol do thee no harm, &c. haps, he derived from the study of the works of Baccaccio, who, himself, is one
Another, in a similar case of the grand masters of this most difficult Farewel, my child, I sha) thee never see, art. We may with justice term it most But sin I have thoe marked with the crois, difficult ; for let us consider briefly the re. of thilke fader yblessed mote thou be, quisites needed for its perfection First, That for ys died upon a crois of tree. there must be acute natural powers of observation to notice and store up in the And one thing would I pray you of your memory the effect of events and accidents
grace, of every kind upon all the difficult charae. rers of men, and the manner in whia, Burieth this litel bady in som place, whatever takes place in the mind within, That bestes ne no briddes it torrace. most promptly and naturally manifests it. self in language. And this natural power Again, the cry of the starving child of of observation must also be exercised in Ugolinothe study of living characters in every station of life, with all the degrees of in- Is ther no morsel bred that ye do kepe ? tellectual power, and every variety of I am so hungry, that I may not slepe. moral eminence or degradation. To this Now wolde God that I might slepen ever. end it is necessary to have bad experience
And the picturesquo description of the of a very extended and complex deserip- philosophers or alchemists of that day, by tion, or an intuitive faculty of adaptation
one of the craft and combination, together with the nicest perception of analogies and relations. In When we be ther as we shuln exercise the next place, skill is requisite to use the Our elfish craft, we semen wonder wise, materials accumulated in the mind; for Our termes ben so clergial and quante. what has previously been collected by the means just described, would be of no avail And evermore, wher ever that they gen, if the poet has not the art to use it. And Men ,may hem kennon by smell of brimas one is chiefly acquired by intercourse with men-the other is best gained by the intent study of the best models. Books We faille alway of that which we wold and thought alone, however, go farther in have, this matter than acquaintance with the And in our madnesse evermore we rave. world and with life, if we may trust the And whan we be together everick on, most accurate biographical memoirs. And Every man semeth a Salomon. all that we intend to express by the term dialogue, is designed partly to carry on
Our next example shall be part of that and advance the action of the story, part- exquisite speech of the faleon to the PrinJy to bring out and exhibit in the most cess Canace in the Squire's sale. For natural and striking manner, the charac-even Chaucer's birds speak well. ters and passions of the actors; in both which parts Chaucer excels. The various That pitee renneth sone in gentil herte addresses and interruptions of mine host (Feling his similisude in peines smerte,) of the Tabard, possess an extraordinary Is proved alle day as men may see, degree of truth, spirit and vivacity. The As well by worke as by auctoritee, Wife of Bath's Prologue is an inimitable For gentil herte kitheth gentillesse. specimen of this talent. But it is in the
I see wel, that ye bave on my distresse tales themselves that the greatest diversi Compassion, my faire Canace, ty prevails. A few brief examples will of very womanly benignitee, more clearly show the power of Chaucer That nature in your principles hath set. in this line. A mother, yielding up her
The following on the power of fasting child to be slain :
and prayer is the last passage of the kind