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The Canterbury Tales
Geoffery Chaucer

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Translation of "The Knight's Tale" courtesy Gerard NeCastro, University of Maine at Machias.
 

The Knight's Tale

Here begins the Knight's Tale.

"And now Theseus, drawing close to his native land in a laurelled chariot after fierce battle with the people, is heralded by glad applause and the shouts of the people flung to the heavens and the merry trump of warfare that has reached its end.1"

Long ago, as old histories tell us, there was a duke called Theseus, lord and ruler of Athens, and in his time such a conqueror that there was none greater under the sun. He had subdued many rich countries, and with his wisdom and his knighthood had conquered all the realm of the Amazons, the land of women, which formerly was called Scythia. He wedded the Queen Hippolyta and brought her home with him to his country in great glory and pomp, and her young sister Emily with her. And thus with victory and melody I leave this noble duke riding on to Athens, with his entire host in arms with him. [874]

And if it were not too long to hear, surely I would have told you fully how the realm of the Amazons was won by Theseus and his knightly valor; and, while I was about it, of the great battle between the Athenians and the Amazons; how Hippolyta was besieged, the fair, hardy queen of the Scythians; of her wedding-feast, and of the tempest at her homecoming. But all that I must withhold now; God knows, I have a large field to plough, and my oxen are weak. The remainder of my tale is long enough, and I would also not hinder any of this company; let every comrade in turn tell his tale, and let us see who shall win the supper. And where I left off I will begin again. [892]



1 The opening quote is from Statius' Thebiad, one of Chaucer's sources for the Knight's Tale.
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