Front Page Titles (by Subject) IV.: THE LEGEND OF HYPSIPYLE AND MEDEA. - The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 3 (House of Fame, Legend of Good Women, Treatise on Astrolabe, Sources of Canterbury Tales)
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IV.: THE LEGEND OF HYPSIPYLE AND MEDEA. - Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 3 (House of Fame, Legend of Good Women, Treatise on Astrolabe, Sources of Canterbury Tales) 
The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). 7 vols.
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THE LEGEND OF HYPSIPYLE AND MEDEA.
Incipit Legenda Ysiphile et Medee, Martirum.
The Legend of Hypsipyle.
The Legend of Medea.
Explicit Legenda Ysiphile et Medee, Martirum.
[1370. ]A. T. Add. tender; rest repeat gentil. C. has tendere wemen gentil.
[1373. ]A. C. farced; F. Tn. Th. farsed; B. forsed; P. filled; T. versyd.
[1375. ]P. A. thy; rest om.
[1377. ]Here MS. P. ends.
[1386. ]C. T. A. Th. Add. love and; F. Tn. B. and gretter.
[1387. ]C. A. abought; rest bought. C. T. A. Add. his; rest om.
[1389. ]C. et (=eteth); rest eteth (etith).
[1391. ]C. hath; rest om. (badly).
[1392. ]C. T. Add. Al haue he; F. Alle thof he haue.
[1396. ]F. Tn. B. and; rest as. C. Guido; T. A. Guydo; Add. Gwydo; F. Tn. Th. B. Ouyde.
[1397. ]F. Tn. B. knyght; rest kyng (see l. 1401); see note.
[1405. ]So C.; rest Of fredom, of strength, and of lustynesse.
[1409. ]C. T. Add. hadde.
[1418. ]C. To syndyn; T. Add. To send; Tn. Th. B. That to senden; F. That to selden (!).
[1427. ]F. Tn. Th. B. ther; rest therin. C. may se.
[1433. ]T. Th. moche; F. muche; C. meche othir.
[1438. ]C. Octes; rest Otes (Otys).
[1443. ]C. T. A. Add. a; rest om.
[1444. ]T. A. C. mightest; rest myghte.
[1445. ]C. T. bryngyn; rest brynge (bring).
[1448. ]C. T. A. Add. cost; rest costes.
[1449. ]C. om. And. A. ches; F. Tn. T. B. chese; Th. chose; C. Schis (!). C. A. that; rest om.
[1452. ]C. T. Add. om. ilke.
[1457. ]T. A. Add. go; rest om. C. ryde; rest rede; better reden.
[1460. ]C. T. Add. that; rest om.
[1463. ]All insert of after yle (needlessly). Th. Lemnon; A. Lennoun; C. lenoun (for lēnoun=lemnoun); F. Tn. B. leonoun; T. Add. lenon (=lemnon).
[1471. ]F. brake (!); A. bonk; rest banke.
[1472. ]So C. T. A. Add.; F. Tn. Th. B. Wher lay the shippe, that Iasoun (no sense).
[1476. ]C. F. B. hem; rest him.
[1481. ]C. A. cog; T. Add. boote; rest cogge.
[1483. ]F. atempree.
[1486. ]C. T. A. Add. axinge; rest askynge.
[1487. ]F. B. om. oght.
[1489. ]C. T. A. Add. of; rest om.
[1490. ]F. Tn. B. omit this line.
[1498. ]C. endelong (as in Kn. Tale); F. endlonge.
[1499. ]C. F. Add. these other; rest this other.
[1506. ]F. hit; C. Tn. Th. B. it; T. A. Add. they.
[1512. ]F. Tn. Th. B. by the (for by).
[1519. ]F. (only) she spake moste; Add. om. most.
[1523. ]C. euyl; A. euill; rest any othir (caught from l. 1522).
[1524. ]C. T. A. Add. so; rest om.
[1525. ]C. T. A. Add. him; rest hyt (it). C. areysid; rest reysed.
[1526. ]C. om. half.
[1527. ]C. cape; rest cope.
[1536. ]F. A. B. Add. He; rest Him (badly).
[1538. ]A. almychti; rest om.
[1540. ]C. With nonys; read With th’ nones.
[1545. ]T. made; rest omit; but sense and metre require it.
[1547. ]C. T. Add. assent; B. intente (which will not rime); rest entent (but Chaucer uses entente).
[1548. ]F. Thise; B. As; rest And.
[1550. ]F. B. om. he.
[1552. ]F. B. god wolde; rest wolde god. C. T. Add. I; rest that I.
[1559. ]C. T. somme; A. text; rest sothe (soth).
[1564. ]F. Tn. Th. B. om. to.
[1569. ]F. B. (only) om. they.
[1573. ]C. Th. Muste; F. Tn. B. Most; T. A. Myght.
[1578. ]F. And; rest Ne.
[1582. ]F. nature; C. matier; Tn. Th. B. matire; T. A. matyr. C. apetitith; T. Add. appetyteth; rest appeteth (!).
[1583. ]F. Tn. Th. B. to (for in-to).
[1585. ]A. (only) this false; rest om. this. F. Th. B. om. fals. (Accent Right.)
[1590. ]C. T. Iaconitos; A. Iacomitos; F. Tn. Th. B. Iasonicos; (Latin Iaconites).
[1593. ]F. Vnto tho (!). C. Oetes; Add. Cetes; T. Cytees (!); rest Otes.
[1599. ]F. Tn. B. Add. and so feyre.
[1605. ]C. T. Th. B. Add. as a leoun (lyoun).
[1613. ]C. han; T. A. Add. haue; rest and (!).
[1626. ]T. A. Th. lowly; F. louly; B. loulye; C. louely; Tn. lowe.
[1631. ]C. T. A. Add. And; rest om. F. Tn. om. in.
[1634. ]C. T. A. Add. to the point right; rest ryght to the poynt.
[1642. ]C. T. sauyth; rest saued. F. B. there; rest here.
[1643. ]F. Tn. B. omit; C. has And here vp a nyght, &c.
[1649. ]C. T. gat; A. gatt; Add. Th. gate; rest gete. F. B. (only) om. him. T. gret; Add. grete; A. om.; rest a. C. ryth as; T. A. ryght as; Add. lyke as; rest as.
[1652. ]F. Tn. Th. B. tresoures; C. tresor; T. A. Add. tresour.
[1657. ]T. A. his; C. hire; rest om.
[1659. ]C. thef and (for cheef).
[1661. ]C. A. the; rest om.
[1667. ]F. (only) om. the.
[1668. ]C. T. A. Add. ther; rest neuer.
[1671. ]C. Fyrst of his falsenesse whan she hym vpbreyde.
[1368-95.]This is a Prologue to the Legend, and is original.
[1371.]Reclaiming, enticement, power to subdue; lit. a calling back. Halliwell has: ‘To reclaim a hawk, to make her gentle and familiar, to bring her to the wrist by a certain call. It is often used metaphorically, to tame.’ Cf. ‘since this same wayward girl is so reclaimed’; Romeo, iv. 2. 47.
[1373.]Of, by means of. Farced, stuffed; as in Prol. to C. T., 233.
[1377.]‘Where others betray one, thou betrayest two.’
[1381.]Shove, pushed forward, brought into notice; cf. l. 726.
[1383.]Have at thee! let me attack (or pursue) thee. Thyn horn is blowe, the horn is blown that summons all to pursue thee; a metaphor taken from the chase.
[1387.]Aboght, bought; pp. of abye, which was corrupted into abide; whence ‘thou shalt dearly abide it.’
[1388.]Box, blow, buffet; now only used of ‘a box on the ear.’
[1389.]Et, eateth; pres. tense. So in the Ayenbite of Inwyt, p. 135, l. 10, and in Ælfric’s Grammar, ed. Zupitza, p. 200.
[1391.]Prof. Lounsbury would read ‘the goodë man that ther-for payede,’ and remarks that this gives a false rime, because the preterite form payede will not rime with the pp. betrayed. He adds—‘in order to follow the reading of the one MS. that makes payed a participial form, the adj. goode, of the definite declension, has to be shorn of its final e in pronunciation.’—Studies in Chaucer, i. 405. I take good-man to be, practically, one word, as in the A. V., Matt. xx. 11, so that the def. form of the adj. is not really required. And I prefer the reading hath payed, though it rests on the authority of one (the best) MS. only. If, however, we adopt the proposed reading, it makes no difference at all to the rime. For the pt. t. of verbs of F. origin, as payen, serven, is usually payed, served, the full ending -ede (with both syllables sounded) being extremely rare in Chaucer; cf. note to l. 1119. We even have shined, not shinede, in l. 2194, in a word of E. origin. Hence there is really no fault to be found, whichever reading be taken; and the criticism, which is quite superfluous, comes to nothing.
[1394, 5.]On, in the case of. Y-sene, evident; as in l. 2655. By, with reference to.
[1396.]The reading Guido (in MSS. C., T., A.) where the other MSS. and the editions have Ouyde, is important; especially as it is correct, and gives us a new clue. The Historia Troiana of Guido delle Colonne begins with the story of Jason, and it is evident that Chaucer follows him, at least as far as l. 1461. This can easily be seen by comparing the present passage with the beginning of Book I. of the alliterative Troy-book, ed. Panton and Donaldson, otherwise called the Gest Historiale of the Destruction of Troy, which is closely translated from Guido; or else with Lydgate’s Troy-book, bk. i. capp. 1-3. Gower also tells the story of Jason (C. A. ii. 236), and says that the tale ‘is in the boke of Troie write.’
[1397.]Pelleus; so spelt in the allit. Troy-book, l. 104; Gower has Peleus. Medieval names are strangely confused. The right form is not Peleus, but Pelias. He was king of Thessaly, half-brother of Æson, and guardian of Jason. The reading king gives him his title in anticipation, but is right. So also, in the allit. Troy-book, l. 103: ‘There was a kyng in that coste,’ &c.; and Guido has ‘rex’ here.
[1398.]Eson (as in Gower); Æson, the aged father of Jason.
[1420.]Al made he, although he made.
[1425.]Colcos, properly Colchis, now Mingrelia; between the Caucasus and the Eastern shore of the Black Sea. In the allit. Troy-book, it is called Colchos, l. 152; and so in Gower. It is not really an island, but Chaucer follows the Latin text, which has ‘insula’; see note to l. 1590.
[1430.]Kept, guarded; with, by. Compare the Troy-book, l. 164:—
[1438.]Oëtes (as in Guido); properly Aeëtes, Ovid, Her. xii. 51. He was king of Colchis, and father of Medea.
[1447.]‘Then should I be bound to requite thy toil.’
[1453.]Argus, the builder of the ship Argo, in which Jason undertook the voyage. The name is given by Guido (see the E. Troy-book, l. 273), by Valerius Flaccus, in his Argonauticon, lib. i. 314, and in the Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius.
[1457.]As Bech points out, Chaucer here copies the remark in Dares:—‘Demonstrare eos qui cum Iasone profecti sunt non uidetur nostrum esse: sed qui uolunt eos cognoscere, Argonautas legant.’—De excidio Troiae historia, ed. Meister, 1873; cap. 1. The reference is to the Argonauticon of Valerius Flaccus, lib. i., where the list of the Argonauts may be found. It also occurs in bk. i. of the Argonautics of Apollonius Rhodius. It is a dreary catalogue; or, as Chaucer says, a sufficiently long tale. There is a shorter list in Statius, Thebaid, bk. v. All the lists make much of Hercules (see l. 1454).
[1459.]Philotetes (so spelt by Guido, see the Eng. version, p. 12, ll. 6 and 10, where the passage from Guido is quoted) was the name of the pilot to the expedition. Valerius Flaccus identifies him with Philoctetes, son of Pœas or Pæas; as he introduces him by the name of Pœantius; Argon. i. 391.
[1463.]Lemnoun, Lemnos; it is very common to quote proper names in forms resembling the accusative case. This, as Chaucer says, is not in Guido, but in Ovid; see Ovid’s Heroid. vi. 50, 117, 136. At the same time it would be interesting to know what version of Guido Chaucer followed; for it is a very singular fact, that whilst the story of Hypsipyle is neither in the alliterative Eng. version, nor in Lydgate, it does occur, at this point, in a Spanish version, printed at Medina in 1587. There the heading of bk. ii. c. x. is—‘Como lason aporto con tormenta a la Isla de Lemos, y caso con la infanta Hisifile.’
[1467.]Isiphilee, Hypsipyle, daughter of Thoas, and queen of Lemnos; she saved her father when the women of Lemnos killed all the other men in the island, and subsequently entertained Jason. As the letter in Ovid does not give all the circumstances, perhaps Chaucer consulted Valerius Flaccus, Argonauticon, lib. ii., and Statius, Thebais, lib. v., or, perhaps, the Fables of Hyginus, cap. xv.; but he makes more of Hercules than do these authorities, and seems to be inventing.
[1468.]Thoas doghter the king, the daughter of king Thoas. This is the usual idiom; see my note to Squi. Tale, F 209.
[1469.]Cf. Valerius Flaccus, Argon. ii. 311:—
In Statius, Theb. v., the Lemnian women receive the Argonauts with hostility at first, and attack them with missiles.
[1476.]Socour; cf. ‘succurrere disco’; Verg. Æn. i. 630.
[1479.]This is a curious error; him should be her. As the Lemnian women had just killed every man in the island, the messenger must needs have been a woman. In fact, her name was Iphinoë; Val. Flacc. Argon. ii. 327. The account in Apollonius Rhodius is somewhat fuller; but I find no mention of the cogge.
[1481.]Cogge, a cock-boat; from the O. Fr. coque, also spelt cogue, a kind of vessel, sometimes a ship of war, but also a merchant-vessel, and here a small boat. See coque or cogue in Godefroy’s O. Fr. Dict. Cogge occurs in the Morte Arthure, 476, 738; Allit. Poems, ed. Morris, iii. 152; &c. ‘Cogboote, cokbote, scafa’; Prompt. Parv.
[1487.]Broken, ship-wrecked. ‘The ships were broken,’ 1 Kings xxii. 48; cf. Jonah i. 4. Oght wo begoon, in any way distressed. Note resemblances to the tale of Dido.
[1488.]Lodesmen, pilots; see note to Ch. Prol. 403. ‘Lodesman of a shippe, pilotte’; Palsgrave.
[1509.]Cf. Valerius Flaccus, Arg. ii. 351:—
[1514.]Los; spelt loos in MS. Tn.; for the o is long. It means ‘praise’ or ‘renown,’ and occurs six times in Ho. Fame (1620, 1621, 1626, 1722, 1817, 1900). Los, with short o, means ‘loss.’
[1515.]Read th’áventúres, in four syllables.
[1528.]Prof. Corson cites some parallel passages, viz:—
[1529.]Three pointes. The reference is not to l. 1528, which mentions four points, but to ll. 1530-3 following. I. e. the three points are fredom, lustihede, and being a greet gentil-man; or otherwise, liberality, youthful vigour, and high birth. Cf. l. 1405.
[1533.]Accent Tessálie on the second syllable.
[1535.]Shamefast (from A. S. sceamu) is here trisyllabic. On the corrupt modern spelling shamefaced see Trench, Eng. Past and Present.
[1536.]He hadde lever, he would have it dearer, he would rather.
[1538-40.]In order to scan l. 1538, the word almighty is necessary, though found in MS. A. only. Or else we must insert him, and read—‘As wolde God that I hadde him i-yive.’ The sense is—‘As (I pray) that God would permit that I might have given [him] my blood and flesh, provided that I might still live (to see the result), on the condition that he had anywhere a wife (suitable) to his rank.’ So that means ‘provided that’; as in ‘so that ye be not wroth,’ C. T., D 2248 (Sompnoures Tale), in the Harleian MS.; and in the following:—
As to the expression with the nones, we may compare it with such expressions as with-than, with-thon-that, with-tho-the, with-that, all meaning ‘provided that,’ and all occurring in the Glossary to Spec. of Eng., Part I. And since for the nones means ‘for the occasion’ (see Prologue to C. T., 379), so with the nones is ‘with the occasion,’ and hence ‘provided that.’ I cannot at all agree with what seems to me the ludicrous emendation in some late editions, which change nones into bones, and delete the comma after live; ‘provided that I might live with the bones.’ At any rate, there is no authority for this. The old editions and MSS. all alike read nones; and we have the phrase again (pronounced with th’ non-es), in the Ho. Fame, 2099.
[1546.]To come to hous upon, to become at home with, to become familiar with.
[1551.]The former syllable in Yiftes forms a foot by itself.
[1552.]As wolde god, as (I wish) that God might will or permit; as in l. 1538.
[1558.]Thoriginal, the original. As this ‘tells all the case,’ i. e. all Jason’s subtlety, he is probably referring to Ovid, Her. Ep. vi. Flaccus says that Hercules induced Jason to quit Lemnos, and proceed on his voyage. Statius mentions Hypsipyle’s twin sons, and relates some of her later history.
[1564.]Chaucer here follows the sixth letter of Ovid’s Heroides. Lines 1569-1575 follow four lines of the Latin text, viz. 123-4, and 159-60, which refer to the twins and Medea:—
[1580.]From this line to l. 1655 Chaucer mainly follows the second book of Guido delle Colonne’s Historia Troiana, which he epitomises. See Gower, C. A. ii. 236-258.
[1581.]‘Who is a devourer of love, and a very dragon’; with reference to the supposed insatiability of dragons.
[1582.]‘As matter always seeks to have a definite form, and may pass from one form into another.’ Mr. Archer Hind refers me to Aristotle, Metaphysica, Λ. vii. 1072 b. 3:—κινει̑ δὲ ὡς ἐρώμενον, κινούμενον δὲ τἀ̑λλα κινει̑. Bech shews that this is all from Guido, who has: ‘Scimus enim mulieris animum semper uirum appetere, sicut appetit materia semper formam . . . Sed sicut ad formam de forma procedere materiam notum est, sic mulieris concupiscentia dissoluta procedere de uiro ad uirum . . . sine fine, cum sit quaedam profunditas sine fundo,’ &c. Hence Lydgate, in his Troy-book, bk. i. c. 5 (fol. C 6, back) has:—
[1590.]Iaconitos, Iaconites. This is a clear proof that Chaucer follows Guido. At p. 12* of the alliterative Troy-book, ed. Panton and Donaldson, the following passage is quoted from Guido, lib. ii.: ‘In insula igitur Colcos erat tunc temporis quaedam ciuitas nomine Iaconites, caput regni pro sua magnitudine constituta.’ Further extracts from this Latin text are given by Horstmann, in his edition entitled ‘Barbours Legendensammlung,’ vol. ii. (Heilbronn, 1882), p. 221; where will also be found a parallel passage in a fifteenth-century poem which has wrongly been ascribed to Barbour. Hence Lydgate, in his Troy-book, bk. i. c. 5 (fol. C 3, back), says of the chief city of Colchos:—‘And Iaconites tho it bare the name.’
[1594.]Read Preyíng; and drop the final e of moste.
[1597.]Compare the allit. Troy-book, ll. 388-391:—
[1605.]‘And in his mien as royal as a lion.’
[1606.]Famulere, familiar, affable. See Ch. Prol. 215.
[1609.]‘And, as Fortune owed her an evil mishap.’
[1617.]Cf. the Troy-book, l. 544:—
[1620.]Cf. the same, l. 554:—
[1631.]Disioint, perilous situation, peril. Cf. Kn. Ta., A 2962. ‘But sith I see I stonde in this disioint’; Shipman’s Tale, B 1601.
[1639.]Cf. the Troy-book, 942; and 711:—
[1653.]Unwist of, unknown to. Cf. Troy-book, 987:—
Here Chaucer ceases to follow Guido, except in ll. 1662-6.
[1661.]Her name was Creusa; cf. Ovid, Met. vii. 391-6; Horace, Epod. v. 64.
[1662.]Cf. the Troy-book, l. 718:—
[1667.]Vassalage, prowess; cf. Kn. Ta., A 3054. It is here used ironically. Trench refers us to Lydgate’s Minor Poems, ed. Halliwell, p. 176:—
[1670.]Lettre, letter; i. e. the 12th letter in Ovid’s Heroides; see l. 1678. Lines 1672-7 answer to lines 13, 14, and 19 in Ovid:—
[1672.]Why lyked me, why did it please me? But, in l. 1674, lyked is a personal verb.
[1639.]Cf. the Troy-book, 942; and 711:—
[1 ]The MS. has shete, an obvious error for swete, the alliteration being on sw. But the editors print shene.