Page images
PDF
EPUB

Solomon (II., 503), the great king of Israel. Why he is introduced as a victim of Venus may be explained by 1 Kings xi.

Statius (III., 212), a Roman poet who lived between 45 and 96 A.D. He wrote the epic Thebais, from which is derived much of the legendary history of Thebes.

Theseus (I., 2), son of Ægeus, and legendary hero of Attica, afterwards king of Athens. He freed the land from robbers, rescued Athens from Minos, slew the Minotaur, subdued the Amazons and the Thebans, was a member of the Argonautic expedition, and did many valorous deeds.

He and Hippolyta are represented in The Midsummer Night's Dream.

Thrace (II., 527), virtually modern Turkey. The Greeks supposed it a savage, cold country of indefinite boundary, and thought it to be the favorite hunting ground of Mars.

Thunderer (III., 277). See Jupiter.

Titan (III., 669), the chief of the primordial deities. He had entrusted his power to his younger brother, Cronos, and on attempting to regain it, was thrust with his race of Titans to Tartarus, by Zeus (Jupiter), son of Cronos.

Triumvirs (II., 606), Octavius, Antonius, and Lepidus, the so-called second triumvirate. Soon after the battle of Philippi, they were rent with internal wars, which ended in the suicide of Antonius and the establishment of Octavius as emperor.

Troy (III., 863), the city of northwestern Asia Minor which, as described in the Iliad, underwent the famous ten years' siege by the Greeks.

Twins (II., 10), the constellation or sign Gemini. See APPEN

[ocr errors]

DIX, III.

Venus (I., 262), Goddess of love, and daughter of Jupiter.
Volscian queen (II., 639). See Camilla.

Vulcan (in the phrase Vulcanian food,” III., 902), husband of Venus, god of fire and the mechanical arts.

66

V. SELECTIONS FROM THE KNIGHTES TALE

The following passages are specimens of Chaucer's manner. They are introduced to enable a student roughly to make a comparison for himself between the two poets in characteristic passages, and to give him some elementary directions for the reading of Chaucer. It is to be regretted that space does not permit the reproduction of the entire Knightes Tale, beside Dryden's version, or at least such famous passages as the descriptions of the temples, of the fight between the two knights, and the tournament.

Chaucer's verse, like most of Dryden's, is pentameter, or verse of

824128

The accent of each foot is on the

five feet, usually of ten syllables. second syllable. Thus :

This dúk | of whóm | I má | kë mén | cioún.

a

Here the strongest accents are in the first and fourth feet. The verses are arranged in rimed couplets.

The matter of pronunciation is too elaborate to be fully treated bere. A student should learn to read by ear, and should practise under the special direction of his instructor. He may also read the introduction to Skeat’s Chaucer, The Tale of the Man of Lawe, etc. (Oxford, 1889), pp. ix.-xxii., for a full account of the pronunciation of Chaucer ; and, for a more general account, Skeat's The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, V., , p. xxiii.

For our purposes he should bear in mind, in general, that Chaucer's vowels usually receive the broadest and most open pronunciation given to them in modern English. In particular, the student should know that final e is pronounced like the a of China, except when elided if the next word begins with a vowel or is one of the common pronouns (as he) or auxiliaries (as have) beginning with h. This e is also often elided in the common auxiliaries, such as were, hadde. Ed, es, and en are also pronounced as distinct syllables, unless the metre demands their omission. Of the consonants the student should bear in mind that gh is pronounced like the German ch, and that s is almost always pronounced as in soft.

The following selection will serve as an example of the versification and pronunciation. In this passage, silent vowels are placed in italics, pronounced final e is printed with the diæresis, ë, and when i or y and a following vowel are run together in pronunciation, the fact is indicated thus : C. It will be observed that eight verses end with an extra syllable, which is pronounced.

2

Whylom, | as ol | di stor | ies tel | len us,
Ther was a duk | that high | të 1 The | seus;
Of Ath | enes he was lord | and go | vernour,
And in his ty | më swich ? | a conquerour,
That gretter was ther noon ’ | under the sonnë.
Ful many a richë con tree hadde | he wonnë;
That with his wisdom and his chi | valryë 4
He con quered al | the reg | ne of Fe | menyë,

4

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

1

2

That why | lom was | y-cle | ped 1 Sci | thia;
And wed | dede | the queen | Ipo | lita,
And broghte hir hoom | with him in his contree
With muchel glorie and greet solempnitee,
And eek 3 | hir yon | gë sus | ter E | melyë.
And thus / with victorie and with me | lodyë
Lete Ithis nob | lë duk | to Athenes rydë,
And als his hoost, in ar| mes him | bisydë.

3

With these facts in mind the student may go on to the reading of the following selections. The specially difficult meanings are explained in foot-notes ; the general meaning can be gathered from Dryden.

4

6

[Emily, while walking in the garden, is seen by Palamon. The Knightes Tale, 175–233 ; Palamon and Arcite, I., 168–250.]

This passeth yeer by yeer, and day by day,
Til it fil 4 ones, in a morwe 6 of May,
That Emelye, that fairer was to sene
Than is the lilie upon his stalke grene,
And fressher than the May with floures newe-
For with the rose colour strof hir hewe,
I noot 8 which was the fairer of hem two-
Er it were day, as was hir wone' to do,
She was arisen, and al redy dight; 10
For May wol have no slogardye anight.11
The sesoun priketh every gentil herte,
And maketh him out of his sleep to sterte,
And seith, “ Arys, and do thyn observaunce.”
This maked Emelye have remembraunce
To doon honour to May, and for to ryse.

Y-clothed was she fresh, for to devyse; 12 · Y-cleped, called. Y is the remains of the prefix of the AngloSaxon past-participle ge, etymologically the same as the German ge, as in gegangen. Solempnitee, pomp.

Eek, also. - Fell, came to pass.

• Once.

Morning * Strove her hue (complexion). & Know not.

o Wont. Prepared.

11 At night.

1

2

3

6

10

12 Tell.

2

7

Hir yelow heer was broyded 1 in a tresse,
Bihynde hir bak, a yerde long, I gesse.
And in the gardin, at the sonne up-riste,
She walketh up and doun, and as hir liste 3
She gadereth floures, party 4 whyte and rede,
To make a sotil gerland 5 for hir hede,
And as an aungel hevenly she song.
The grete tour, that was so thikke and strong,
Which of the castel was the chief dongeoun,
(Ther as the knightes weren in prisoun,
Of which I tolde yow, and tellen shal)
Was evene joynant to the gardin-wal,
Ther as this Emelye hadde hir pleyinge.
Bright was the sonne, and cleer that morweninge,
And Palamon, this woful prisoner,
As was his wone, by leve of his gayler,
Was risen, and romed 8 in a chambre on heigh,
In which he al the noble citee seigh,
And eek the gardin, ful of braunches grene,
Ther as this fresshe Emelye the shene
Was in hir walk, and romed up and doun.
This sorweful prisoner, this Palamoun,
Goth in the chambre, roming to and fro,
And to him-self compleyning of his wo;
That he was born, ful ofte he seyde, “alas!”
And so bifel, by aventure or cas, 10
That thurgh a window, thikke of many a barre
Of iren greet, and square as any sparre, 11
He caste his eye upon Emelya,
And ther-with-al he bleynte,12 and cryde "a!”
As though he stongen 13 were un-to the herte.

9

[ocr errors]

4

1 Braided. ? At the rising of the sun. * As pleased her, Partly.

5 A subtle (finely woven) garland. • Closely joining. ? Where Emily was amusing herself. Roamed, walked. 9 Beautiful (schön).

10 Chance. 11 Wooden bolt. Blenched, drew back.

Stung.

12

13

1

2

And with that cry Arcite anon up-sterte,
And seyde, “ Cosin myn, what eyleth 2 thee,
That art so pale and deedly on to see?
Why crydestow? 3 who hath thee doon offence?
For Goddes love, tak al in pacience
Our prisoun, for it may non other be;
Fortune hath yeven * us this adversitee.
Som wikke" aspect or disposicioun
Of Saturne, by sum constellacioun,
Hath yeven us this, al-though we hadde it & sworn;
So stood the heven whan that we were born;
We moste endure it: this is the short and pleyn.”

4

5

6

7

[Arcite rides out into the wood where Palamon lies hidden. The Knightes Tale, 630-662 ; Palamon and Arcite, II., 33–70.]

Now wol I torne un-to Arcite ageyn,
That litel wiste ? how

пу

that was his care, Til that fortune had broght him in the snare.

The bisy larke, messager of daye,
Saluëth in hir song the morwe graye;
And fyry Phebus ryseth up so brighte,
That al the orient laugheth of the lighte,
And with his stremes 8 dryeth in the greves o
The silver dropes, hanging on the leves.
And Arcite, that is in the court roial
With Theseus, his squyer principal,
Is risen, and loketh on the myrie 10 day.
And, for to doon his observaunce to May,
Remembring on the poynt of his desyr,
He on a courser, sterting as the fyr,
Is riden in-to the feeldes, him to pleye, 12
Out of the court, were it a myle or tweye;

8

[ocr errors]

11

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »