For you to lese al that I have in Troye,
Slepinge at hoom, whanne out of Troye I sterte.
O sterne, O cruel fader that I was!
How mighte I have in that so hard an herte?
Allas! I ne hadde y-brought hir in hir sherte!
For sorwe of which I wol not live to morwe,
But-if ye lordes rewe up-on my sorwe.
Hir to delivere, I holden have my pees;
But now or never, if that it lyke yow, 101
I may hir have right sone, doutelees.
O help and grace! amonges al this prees,
Rewe on this olde caitif in destresse,
Sin I through yow have al this hevinesse!
Trojans y-nowe; and if your willes be,
My child with oon may have redempcioun.
Now for the love of god and of bountee,
Oon of so fele, allas! so yeve him me. 110
What nede were it this preyere for to werne,
Sin ye shul bothe han folk and toun as yerne?
Appollo hath me told it feithfully;
I have eek founde it by astronomye, 115
By sort, and by augurie eek trewely,
And dar wel seye, the tyme is faste by,
That fyr and flaumbe on al the toun shal sprede;
And thus shal Troye turne in asshen dede.
That makeden the walles of the toun,
Ben with the folk of Troye alwey so wrothe,
That thei wol bringe it to confusioun,
Right in despyt of king Lameadoun. 124
By-cause he nolde payen hem hir hyre,
The toun of Troye shal ben set on-fyre.
Humble in speche, and in his lokinge eke,
The salte teres from his eyën tweye 129
Ful faste ronnen doun by eyther cheke.
So longe he gan of socour hem by-seke
That, for to hele him of his sorwes sore,
They yave him Antenor, with-oute more.
And of this thing ful sone his nedes leyde 135
On hem that sholden for the tretis go,
And hem for Antenor ful ofte preyde
To bringen hoom king Toas and Criseyde;
And whan Pryam his save-garde sente,
Thembassadours to Troye streyght they wente. 140
Pryam the king ful sone in general
Let here-upon his parlement to holde,
Of which the effect rehersen yow I shal.
Thembassadours ben answered for fynal,
Theschaunge of prisoners and al this nede 146
Hem lyketh wel, and forth in they procede.
Whan axed was for Antenor Criseyde,
For which ful sone chaungen gan his face,
As he that with tho wordes wel neigh deyde. 151
But nathelees, he no word to it seyde,
Lest men sholde his affeccioun espye;
With mannes herte he gan his sorwes drye.
Abood what lordes wolde un-to it seye;
And if they wolde graunte, as god forbede,
Theschaunge of hir, than thoughte he thinges tweye,
First how to save hir honour, and what weye
He mighte best theschaunge of hir withstonde; 160
Ful faste he caste how al this mighte stonde.
And rather dye than she sholde go;
But resoun seyde him, on that other syde,
With-oute assent of hir ne do not so, 165
Lest for thy werk she wolde be thy of,
And seyn, that thorugh thy medling is y-blowe
Your bother love, there it was erst unknowe.
That though the lordes wolde that she wente, 170
He wolde late hem graunte what hem leste,
And telle his lady first what that they mente.
And whan that she had seyd him hir entente,
Ther-after wolde he werken also blyve,
Though al the world ayein it wolde stryve. 175
For Antenor how they wolde han Criseyde,
Gan it withstonde, and sobrely answerde:
Sires, she nis no prisoner, he seyde;
I noot on yow who that this charge leyde,
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