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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
The Greeks Us / Greece in West  

Chaucer, To the end of the world

From "Monk's Tale" 


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Page 2

What praise were it to him, though 'gain were told
Darius' tale or of others brought low-
Of kings and dukes and earls and princes bold,
The which he conquered and brought down to woe?
I say, as far as man may ride or go
The world was his, to tell it in a trice.
For though I wrote or told you always, so,
Of his knighthood, the time would not suffice.

Twelve years he reigned, as tells us Maccabee;
And Philip's son of Macedon he was,
Who first was king of Greece, the whole country.
O noble Alexander, O alas!
That ever you should come to such a pass!
For poisoned by your very own you were;
Your six did Fortune turn into an ace,
And yet for you she never wept a tear!

Who shall give me the tears now to complain
For death of gentle blood and high franchise?
He all the world did wield as one domain,
And yet he thought it could not long suffice,
So full his heart was of high enterprise.
Alas! And who shall help me to indict
False Fortune, and all poison to despise?
For these I blame for all the woe I write.

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