Front Page Titles (by Subject) VI.: THE LEGEND OF ARIADNE. - 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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VI.: THE LEGEND OF ARIADNE. - 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 ARIADNE.
Incipit Legenda Adriane de Athenes.
Explicit Legenda Adriane de Athenes.
[1886. ]F. B. Tn. Grece; rest Crete; see l. 1894.
[1888. ]F. B. oonly for thy sake; rest for thy sake only. F. Tn. Th. B. writen is; T. A. Add. wryte I.
[1890. ]F. vntrewe; rest vntrouthe (vntrouth).
[1891. ]T. A. Add. the; rest om. (after of).
[1895. ]T. A. Th. had; B. wanne; F. whan (!); Tn. om.
[1897. ]F. happeth; A. hapned; Add. appynyd; rest happed.
[1902. ]Th. Alcathoe (rightly); A. Alcitoe; Tn. Alcie; T. All the cyte; F. B. And the citee.
[1910. ]F. B. hyt happed; rest happed hit.
[1911. ]C. caughte.
[1912. ]C. T. A. Add. for; rest om. C. om. 1922, 1923.
[1923. ]Th. As Alcathoe; A. As Alcitoe; F. B. And Alcites; T. With all the cyte; see l. 1902.
[1924. ]C. But (for And).
[1925. ]F. B. Tn. B. om. that.
[1927. ]C. T. righ[t] as ye shal here; A. rycht thus as ye schall here.
[1930. ]C. T. A. Add. in; rest in-to.
[1932. ]C. om. yeer.
[1933. ]C. T. A. Add. and; rest om. C. fil (for com).
[1934. ]C. or; Th. Add. and; rest on.
[1936. ]T. Add. Vn-to; rest To. C. Theseus (for Minos).
[1938. ]C. T. A. Th. Add. right; rest om.
[1940. ]F. B. To; rest And.
[1941. ]C. T. A. that; rest om.
[1944. ]C. T. Add. that; rest om.
[1945. ]Tn. Mot; C. T. Th. Mote; rest Moste (Must).
[1948. ]C. gon (for lad).
[1949. ]C. T. A. Add. court; rest contree. C. T. A. Add. right; rest of might.
[1951. ]A. thilke; C. the ilke; rest the.
[1954. ]C. T. A. Add. were depe; F. B. depe were; Tn. depe; Th. arte depe.
[1955. ]C. hym; T. theym; rest whom.
[1960. ]C. A. as; T. Add. that: rest om.
[1962. ]C. T. A. Add. in; rest to. C. Tn. T. A. Add to; F. B. Th. of.
[1964. ]A. king; rest om. C. Of Thesius that, &c.
[1965. ]C. T. A. Add. toward; rest om.
[1966. ]T. In mochell myrthe; Add. In moche myrth; Th. Of the towne; rest Of Athenes (!); see note.
[1967. ]C. Tn. Th. Not; F. A. B. Wot. T. But I not how. A. happinit; rest happed. Add. ther; T. there; rest om.
[1969. ]F. Tn. B. Add. that Adriane (badly); Th. that Ariadne.
[1971. ]C. T. A. Add. compleynyge; rest compleynt.
[1972. ]C. T. lokedyn; rest loked.
[1973. ]F. B. (only) om. 1st to. C. A. sone; rest so sone.
[1980. ]F. Tn. B. om. he.
[1982. ]C. now certeyn; T. A. now certes; rest certes now.
[1987. ]F. A. B. insert that before I.
[1991. ]F. B. the; rest this.
[1995. ]So C.; F. B. that hys lyf he dar kepe or; Tn. Th. that he his lif dar kepe or; T. that he dar his lyfe kepe and.
[1997. ]F. Tn. B. Th. ther as; C. T. A. om. as.
[1998. ]F. Tn. B. omit this line. So C. Th. A. Wel wote Ȝe, &c. T. The best, ye wot well that he ys, &c.
[1999. ]Addit. (12524) rome eke and space; C. bothe roum and space; rest roume (roum) and eke space.
[2003. ]F. Tn. B. om. him.
[2007. ]C. what (error for whan) that; Th. T. whan that; F. Tn. A. B. whan.
[2008. ]T. A. C. achoked; Th. acheked (!); F. Tn. asleked; B. aslakyd.
[2009. ]F. (only) the (for they). F. to helpe (!); rest to hepe.
[2012. ]Tn. crenkled; Th. crencled; B. crnklyd.
[2015. ]T. (only) om. a.
[2016. ]F. B. clywe.
[2019. ]So C. A.; so Addit. (12625), with monstre forbeste; F. Tn. Th. B. And whan this best ys ouercome (!); T. And when that he thus hath ouercome (!).
[2020. ]C. T. A. drede; rest stede; (drede gives the better rime).
[2025. ]T. A. Th. sermoun; C. sarmoun; rest om.
[2027. ]C. And; rest om.
[2028. ]C. T. A. Adoun; rest Doun.
[2031. ]C. T. A. whil; rest whiles. F. Tn. Th. B. om. lyf or.
[2032. ]F. Tn. B. wolde; rest wil (wol).
[2035. ]C. A. -mo; rest -more.
[2039. ]C. A. so gret a; T. so gret; rest suche a.
[2046. ]F. B. so me; T. so; rest me so.
[2048. ]C. A. for; rest om.
[2051. ]C. now; rest om.
[2052. ]C. F. to; Tn. T. Th. B. so; A. om.
[2060. ]F. Tn. Th. B. insert that after if.
[2063. ]C. A. so (for 2nd to). C. A. a; rest om.
[2064. ]C. T. A. Th. deth; F. B. dede; Tn. deed; see l. 2072.
[2065. ]T. pouert; rest pouerte; cf. Cant. Ta. C. 441.
[2068. ]A a traytour; rest om. a.
[2069. ]A. go; C. T. goth; Th. mote go; F. Tn. B. mot go (for mot-e go); see l. 2066. [Go = may go.]
[2070. ]F. B. ever y; T. C. A., I ever.
[2071. ]C. T. A. if; rest om.
[2073. ]F. B. no more; Tn. nat; rest nat elles.
[2074. ]F. Tn. Th. B. this Theseus; C. T. A. om. this.
[2075. ]C. a; rest om.
[2075. ]C. a; rest om.
[2083. ]A. leue; Th. lene; C. F. B. leue or lene; Tn. leen; (leve is right); see l. 2086.
[2084. ]C. T. A. But; rest And.
[2085. ]So C. A. B.; F. Tn. T. Th. to sleen (badly).
[2086. ]F. leve (sic); A. lyve; C. B. leue (or lene); Th. lene; Tn. leen; T. graunt. C. T. A. that; rest om.
[2088. ]C. T. A., I; rest I ne.
[2089. ]C. T. A. that; rest om.
[2090. ]C. T. A. that; rest om.
[2091. ]T. reaume; Tn. reame; C. reume; rest realme.
[2092. ]C. T. giltles Ȝow; A. Ȝow giltles; F. Tn. Th. B. your gentilesse (!).
[2095. ]C. that; rest that that. C. men; T. a man; rest man. C. nyl don; A. nyl do; T. wyll do (!); F. Tn. Th. B. wol not do.
[2100. ]F. B. to be; rest om. to.
[2102. ]A. on; rest vpon.
[2107. ]B. lete; F. C. Tn. T. laten; A. latten; Th. letten.
[2109. ]C. T. A. the; rest om.
[2111. ]C. tacheue; T. A. to acheue; F. Tn. Th. B. to taken (!). C. myn; A. T. Th. my; F. Tn. B. by (!).
[2113. ]C. preue (rightly); F. T. prefe; Tn. A. prof; Th. profe; B. trouth.
[2115. ]C. I-louyd; A. yloued; rest loved.
[2116. ]F. Tn. Th. B. om. hit.
[2119. ]C. ensure.
[2124. ]C. Th. hertely; B. hertilye; rest hertly (hertely is more correct). F. Tn. Th. B. and at his chere.
[2126. ]C. T. A. Al; rest And.
[2134. ]C. her-of us; rest us her-of.
[2138. ]All was performed; the improvement is obvious.
[2139. ]F. B. the; rest this.
[2149. ]F. hath thys beste; rest this beste hath.
[2150-2153. ]F. Tn. B. omit from geten to gayler (owing to repetition of gayler).
[2150. ]So C.; T. has getyn he hath; A. Th. gotten hath.
[2151. ]So C. T. Th.; A. has he for hit.
[2152. ]So C. T. A. Th.
[2155. ]C. Ennepye; F. Tn. B. Eunopye or Ennopye; T. Ennopy; A. Ennopie; Th. Enupye.
[2160. ]C. T. A. newe; rest noble.
[2161. ]F. Tn. B. om. ful.
[2164. ]C. dwellede; B. Th. dwelte; Tn. A. dwelt; F. T. dwelleth.
[2168. ]F. Tn. B. om. that.
[2182. ]C. atake; rest y-take.
[2184. ]C. now; T. A. gret; rest om.
[2186. ]C. T. graspeth; A. grapid; rest gropeth.
[2188. ]C. & al hire her.
[2193. ]F. B. omit this line.
[2194. ]C. shynede; T. shynyd; A. schyneth; F. Tn. Th. B. shone.
[2199. ]C. Hadde; T. A. Had; rest Hath. F. Tn. Th. needlessly insert he after that.
[2201. ]F. thy (for his).
[2202, 2203. ]T. omits these lines.
[2203. ]C. Tn. Th. B. Ascaunce; A. Ascances; F. Aschaunce. C. A. that; rest om.
[2206. ]C. I-gon; A. ygone; T. agone; rest goon (gone).
[2207. ]C. T. A. upon; rest on.
[2208. ]C. kyssith; rest kyssed (but read kiste).
[2210. ]C. om. she.
[2213. ]C. thyn; T. A. thy; rest the. C. I-gon; A. y-gone; rest goon (gone).
[2214. ]C. wreche.
[2215. ]So T.; A. that any bote her come; C. that boot here ne come (wrongly); Tn. F. B. that bote none here come (wrongly); see note.
[2217. ]C. myn selue; F. my selfe (read my selven); rest my self.
[2221. ]C. T. A. I telle; rest telle I.
[2226. ]C. T. Th. this false louer; F. Tn. B. these false lovers.
[2226, 2227. ]A. omits these lines.
[2227. ]C. Tn. T. Th. His; F. Hyr; B. Her; but all have him. Perhaps him quyte would give a smoother line.
[9.]aprocheth] a-procheþ C; aprochiþ P; miswritten aprochid AB. more toward] neer C; ner P; neerer I; thoward AB.
[11.]conteyned I; conteynyd P; contened C; consideered (sic) A; contined B.
[13.]yf P; Ȝif C; if it I; AB omit. N.B. It is best to use the spelling yif, as the word is commonly so spelt in A.
[22.]same CPI; seconde AB. The reading same is right; for the ‘latitude of a climate’ means the breadth of a zone of the earth, and the latitude of the first climate (here chosen by way of example) is the breadth as measured along a great circle perpendicular to the equator, from the beginning of the said first climate to the end of the same. The words ‘evene-directe agayns the poole Artik’ mean in the direction of the North pole; i. e. the latitude of a climate is reckoned from its beginning, or southernmost boundary-line, towards the end of the same, viz. its northern boundary-line.
[22.]þe poole Artik P; þe pool artyke C; the pole artike I; from north to south AB. Observe that this singular error in A, ‘euene directe agayns from north to south,’ probably arose from a confusion of the text ‘euene directe agayns þe poole Artik’ with a gloss upon it, which was ‘from north to south.’ It is important as throwing light on the meaning of the phrase, and proving that the interpretation of it given above (note to l. 22) is correct.
[24.]intercept CP; intercepte I; except (over an erasure) AB.
[§ 40, l. 4.]this samples AB; þese ensamples C.
[5.]for sothe] miswritten for sonne AB; in general C; yn special P; the reading sonne points to sothe, and makes it very probable that for sothe is the true reading.
[6.]the longitude] þe longitude C; latitude AB (absurdly); see l. 11.
[1889.]Memóri-e has four syllables, and is accented on the second.
[1895.]Hadde, had, possessed; referring to Crete. This seems better than the reading wan (i.e. won), referring to Minos. Cf. Ovid, Her. x. 67:—‘Non ego te, Crete, centum digesta per urbes.’
[1896.]Cf. Ovid, Met. vii. 456-8:—
Androgeus is again mentioned in Ovid, Her. x. 99; and in Vergil, Æn. vi. 20.
[1900.]From this point to l. 1921 Chaucer follows Ovid, Met. viii. 6-176, but gives a mere outline of the story of Scylla. See note to l. 1908.
[1902.]Alcathoe, the citadel of Megara, and hence a name for Megara. It was named after Alcathous, founder of Megara; indeed, in Ovid, Met. viii. 8, it is called Alcathoi urbs; but Chaucer found the right form in Met. vii. 443.
[1904.]Nisus, Nisus, king of Megara; Met. viii. 8.
[1908.]Nisus’ daughter was named Scylla. In order to gain the love of Minos, she cut off her father’s purple hair, on which the safety of his kingdom depended; whereupon Nisus was changed into a sparrow-hawk, and Scylla into the bird ciris; Met. viii. 9-151. But Chaucer omits these details. Cf. Parl. of Foules, 292, and the note.
[1922.]Chaucer here leaves Ovid; this part of the story is partly given in Plutarch and Hyginus, but Chaucer seems to have filled in details from some source unknown to me.
[1925.]‘Whereupon the Athenians sent immediately unto him, and intreated him for peace: which he granted them, with condition that they should be bound to send him yearly, into Creta, seven young boys and as many young girls. Now thus far all the historiographers do very well agree, but in the rest not. And they which seem furthest off from the troth [including Chaucer] do declare, that when these young boys were delivered in Creta, they caused them to be devoured by the Minotaur within the labyrinth.’ — Shakespeare’s Plutarch, p. 280.
[1928.]The Minotaur was a monster, half bull and half man, dwelling in a labyrinth at Crete, constructed by Dædalus. He annually devoured the fourteen Athenian young people, as above said, till slain by Theseus. Cf. Ovid, Met. viii. 155.
[1932.]Every thridde yeer, every third year. This is due to Ovid’s expression—‘tertia sors annis domuit repetita nouenis’ (Met. viii. 171), which Golding translates by—‘The third time at the ninth yeares end the lot did chance to light On Theseus,’ &c. But Hyginus (Fab. xli) says:—‘Instituit autem ut anno unoquoque septenos liberos suos Minotauro ad epulandum mitterent.’
[1944.]Egeus, Ægeus, king of Athens; Met. vii. 402, 404.
[1954.]‘That thou wouldst be deeply indebted to any one who,’ &c.
[1960.]‘Furthermore, after he [Theseus] was arrived in Creta, he slew there the Minotaur . . . by the means and help of Ariadne: who being fallen in fancy with him, did give him a clue of thread, by the help whereof she taught him, how he might easily wind out of the turnings and crancks of the labyrinth.’—Shak. Plutarch, p. 283. Cf. Ovid; Met. viii. 172; Hyginus, Fab. xlii.
[1962.]Foreyne, outer chamber; belonging to the chambres grete, or set of larger rooms occupied by the daughters of the king. It seems to answer to the A.S. búr, mod. E. bower, explained in Murray’s Dict. as ‘an inner apartment, esp. as distinguished from the “hall,” or large public room; also, esp. applied to a lady’s private apartment; boudoir.’ It is merely a peculiar use of our word foreign; the O. Fr. forain (fem. foraine) often meant ‘outer,’ as in the phrases une foraine rue, an outer (more retired) street; es tenebres forennes, into outer darkness; see Godefroy’s F. Dict. I agree with Mätzner, that there is no sufficient reason for explaining the word in this passage by ‘privy,’ though it admittedly has that meaning also (as given in Levins).
[1965.]Maister-strete, principal street; as in Kn. Ta., A 2902.
[1966.]Most MSS. begin the line with Of Athenes, as in l. 2306. This would be a most extraordinary oversight, as the scene is laid in Crete, in the town of Gnossus. MS. T. substitutes ‘In mochell myrthe’; and the old printed editions have ‘Of the towne,’ which scans badly, though ‘Of thilke toune’ would do well enough. We seem justified in rejecting the reading Of Athenes, because Chaucer distinctly mentions Athenes in ll. 1940, 1944, as being the place whence Theseus was sent ‘unto the court of Minos’; l. 1949. Besides this, in l. 2122 Theseus calls Ariadne by the prospective title of ‘duchess of Athens’; on which Ariadne playfully remarks that she and her sister are now ‘assured to royal positions in Athens’; l. 2128. From all which it does not seem fair to charge the error upon Chaucer himself; and I therefore make the bold alteration suggested by MS. T., and supported by MS. Addit. 9832, which has ‘In moche myrth.’ In the title of the poem, Ariadne is called ‘Adriane de Athenes,’ but this is another matter, and has reference to l. 2122. She became ‘duchess of Athens’ in the right of her husband Theseus.
[1969.]Adrian or Adriane, the M. E. spellings of Ariadne: see Ho. Fame, 407; Prol. to Man of Law, B 67. Ariadne and Phædra were the daughters of Minos; Theseus took both of them away from Crete; and, on the voyage, deserted Ariadne for her sister.
[1990.]‘And make this sorrowful man come with him.’
[1992.]Quit, free, delivered. It seems to have been an understood thing, that if a captive Athenian should succeed in slaying the Minotaur, he should go free, and the tribute paid by the Athenians should be remitted. One account in Plutarch says that Minos himself ‘chose Theseus, upon condition agreed between them; . . . and that after the death of the Minotaur this tribute should cease.’—Sh. Plut. p. 282. One condition was, that the captives should be unarmed. This explains Phædra’s plan, in l. 1994, for arming Theseus surreptitiously; cf. l. 2011.
[1993.]Taste, test. The word test was formerly used only as a sb., of a vessel in which gold or silver was tested; the place of the mod. E. verb to test was supplied by the M. E. tasten, and there can be little doubt that the words taste and test have been partially confused; see these words in my Etym. Dict., whence I quote the following: ‘The M. E. tasten meant both to feel and to taste. “I rede thee, lat thyn hand upon it falle, And taste it wel, and stoon thou shalt it finde”; Ch. C. T. 15970 (G 502). “Every thyng Himseolf schewith in tastyng;” King Alisaunder, 4042.—F. taster, to taste or take an assay of; also to handle, feel, touch; Cotgrave. Cf. mod. F. tâter; Ital. tastare, “to taste, to assaie, to feele, to grope, to trye, to proofe, to touch”; Florio.’
[1996.]The former syllable of Fighten forms a foot by itself.
[1997.]‘Where he will have to descend.’
[2002.]Shal do, will be sure to do.
[2004.]Bell remarks that this resembles the stratagem by which Daniel destroyed the dragon at Babylon. ‘Tulit igitur Daniel picem, et adipem, et pilos, et coxit pariter: fecitque massas, et dedit in os draconis, et diruptus est draco’; Dan. xiv. 26 (Vulgate).
[2009.]To-hepe, together; i.e. ‘before they come to closer quarters.’ Bell alters this, the reading of all the MSS. and old editions, to to kepe, which gives no sense; and Morris and Corson follow suit. Yet to-hepe, lit. ‘to a heap,’ but used adverbially in the precise sense of ‘together,’ is not a recondite expression. Morris explains it rightly elsewhere, viz. in Chaucer’s tr. of Boethius, bk. iv. pr. 6, l. 182, where ‘y-medled to-hepe’ means ‘mixed together.’ It is also in Troil. iii. 1764:—‘that Love halt now to-hepe,’ which Love now holds together. And yet again, in Ch. Astrolabe, pt. i. § 14. 5. See also P. Plowm. Crede, 727.
[2012.]The hous, i. e. the famous labyrinth. Crinkled, full of turns or ‘cranks’; see note to l. 1960. Cf. Mid. Du. krunckel-winckel, or krinckel-winckel, ‘crooked here and there’; Hexham (ad 1658); Du. krinkel, a winding, krinkelen or kronkelen, to wind about; all allied to E. crank, a twist, hence a twisted handle. Cf. Ovid, Met. viii. 173; Æn. vi. 27. And see Trevisa, tr. of Higden, i. 9.
[2020.]Read drede, dread; not stede, place. The Rime-indexes shew that, in the ending -ede in Chaucer, the former e is usually long (-ēde, -eede). However, stěde, in the sense of ‘stead’ (A.S. stěde), rimes once with drēde, in Ho. Fame, 829.
[2028.]Sit on his knee, kneels down. We also find to setten him on knees, to fallen on knees, to knelen on knees, he lay on kne, &c. See Mätzner, s. v. cneo, p. 442. ‘On knes she sat adoun’; Lay le Freine, 159. Cf. Man of Lawes Tale, B 638.
[2029.]The righte; here used as a vocative case.
[2037.]Cf. Arcite’s service as a page; Kn. Ta., A 1427.
[2040.]Nat but, only, merely; the familiar Northern E. nob-but. See l. 2091.
[2041.]Swinke, toil, labour hard. It is curious that this word should be obsolete. Perhaps no word that is now obsolete was once more common. It occurs in Chaucer, Langland, Gower, Spenser, &c.; but not in Shakespeare.
[2044.]‘Nor any one else, shall be able to espy me.’
[2048.]‘In order to have my life, and to retain your presence.’ The sense is quite clear. The note in Corson—‘presence seems to mean here presentiment or suspicion’—is due to some mistake.
[2051.]Only MS. C. retains now; and it would be better before is than after it.
[2056.]Yif, if; answering to than, then, in l. 2059.
[2063.]‘I pray Mars to do me such a favour.’
[2064.]Shames deeth, a death of shame; see l. 2072.
[2065.]Póvert occurs as a dissyllable, in Cant. Ta., C 441.
[2066.]Pronounce spirit nearly as spir’t.
[2069.]For which, for which cause, on which account. Go, may walk; the subjunctive mood.
[2070.]Other degree, i. e. a higher degree than that of page. He professes not to aspire to this, unless she vouchsafes to give it him.
[2072.]‘May I die by a death of shame.’ The of depends on deye; cf. Man of Lawes Tale, B 819.
[2075.]A twenty, about twenty. A is here used as expressly an approximative result; as in ‘an eight days,’ Luke ix. 28; so ‘a ten,’ Squi. Tale, F 383. Only MS. C. retains a, but it is wanted for the metre.
[2082.]God shilde hit, God defend or forbid it.
[2083.]Leve, grant. We also find lene, to grant, give, but it is only used with a following case; whilst leve is only used with a following clause. Me is governed by befalle. ‘And grant that such a case may never befall me,’ i.e. for Theseus to be merely her page.
[2086.]And leve, and may He also grant.
[2089.]‘Yet it would be better’; followed by Then (=than) in l. 2092.
[2094.]The latter syllable of profit comes at the caesura, and is easily read quickly. We need not change unto into to, as in MS. A. only.
[2096.]To my, as for my.
[2099.]That, (I propose) that. Sone, Hippolytus. Yet, in l. 2075, Theseus was only 23 years old! Perhaps she proposes, in banter, a purely whimsical condition; cf. ll. 2102, 2120, 2127.
[2100.]Hoom-coming, arrival at home; cf. Kn. Tale, 26 (A 884).
[2101.]Fynal ende, definite settlement.
[2105.]To borwe, as a pledge; cf. Squi. Ta., F 596.
[2107.]To draw blood on oneself was a frequent mode of attestation. Cf. Wright’s note on K. Lear, ii. 1. 34; and note how Faustus stabs his arm in Marlowe’s play; Act ii. sc. 1.
[2120.]Servant, devoted lover; the usual phrase. This asseveration of Theseus shews that he thought Ariadne immeasurably credulous.
[2122.]Of Athenes duchesse, (whom I hail as) duchess of Athens. That is, he promises her marriage. In l. 2127 Ariadne grows pleasant on the subject.
[2128.]‘And assured to the royalties (or regal attributes) of Athens’; i.e. we are secure of our future royal rank.
[2130.]And saved, and we have saved. Chaucer has be just above; so that he has changed the idiom.
[2132.]Emforth hir might, even-forth with her might, to the extent of her power; cf. Kn. Ta., 1377 (A 2235).
[2134.]‘It seems to me, no one ought to blame us for this; nor give us an evil name on this account.’
[2145.]Geeth, goeth, goes; A. S. gǽð. For two more examples, see geð in Gloss. to Spec. of English, Part I.
[2150.]By, by help of, with the help of.
[2151.]Of, with. Gan hit charge, did load it. ‘And they say, that having killed this Minotaur, he returned back again the same way he went, bringing with him those other young children of Athens [whom Chaucer forgets to mention], whom with Ariadne also he carried afterwards away.’—Sh. Plutarch, p. 283.
[2155.]Ennopye, Œnopia, another name for Ægina; which was on their way from Crete to Athens. Chaucer got the name from Ovid, Met. vii. 472, 473, 490; and introduces it naturally enough, because Æacus, then dwelling there, was an old ally of the Athenians; id. 485; cf. l. 2156 in our poem. Gilman suggests that Enope (i. e. Gerenia in Messenia) is meant, which is merely a wild guess.
[2161.]Woon, number. Originally, a hope; also, a resource, a store, a quantity; and hence gret woon=a great number. For examples, see wān in Stratmann; and cf. note to Troil. iv. 1181.
[2163.]Yle, island; usually said to be Naxos, on the supposition that it is not much out of the way in sailing from Gnossus in Crete to Attica. Chaucer has inadvertently brought Theseus to Ægina already; but we need not trouble about the geographical conditions. The description of the island is from Ovid, Her. x. 59:—‘Uacat insula cultu’; &c.
[2167.]Lette, tarried; pt. t. of the weak verb letten; quite distinct from leet or lēt (pt. t. of leten), which would not rime with set-te. This latter part of the story is nearly all from Ovid, Her. x.
[2176.]To his contre-ward, i. e. toward his country. Cf. ‘To Thebesward’; Kn. Ta. 109 (A 967).
[2177.]A twenty devil way, in the way of twenty devils; i. e. in all sorts of evil ways or directions; cf. Can. Yem. Ta., G 782.
[2178.]His fader, king Ægeus (l. 1944). The story is that Theseus went to Crete in a ship with a black sail, in token of his unhappy fate. He had agreed to exchange this for a white sail, if his expedition was successful; but this he omitted to do. Hence Ægeus, ‘seeing the black sail afar off, being out of all hope ever more to see his son again, took such a grief at his heart, that he threw himself headlong from the top of a cliff, and killed himself.’—Shak. Plutarch, p. 284.
[2182.]Atake, overtaken with sleep; cf. C. T. 6966 (D 1384).
[2186.]‘Perque torum moueo brachia; nullus erat’; Her. x. 12.
[2192.]Suggested by Ovid; ll. 81-6.
[2193.]‘Reddebant nomen concaua saxa tuum’; id. 22. The Latin and English lines are alike beautiful.
[2194.]‘Luna fuit; specto, si quid, nisi littora, cernam’; id. 17.
[2195-7.]These three lines represent eight in Ovid; 25-32.
[2198.]This line answers to the first line in Ovid, Epist. x.
[2200, 1.]His meiny, its (complete) crew. Inne, within; A.S. innan.
[2208-17.]Paraphrased from Ovid; Her. x. 51-64.
[2212.]Answere of, answer for; ‘redde duos.’
[2214.]Wher shal I become? Where shall I go to? the old idiom. We now say, ‘what will become of me?’ On this expression, see Bicome in my Gloss. to P. Plowman (Clar. Press Series).
[2215.]‘For even if a ship or boat were to come this way, I dare not go home to my country, for fear (of my father).’
[2218.]What, for what, why? See Cant. Ta., B 56, &c.
[2220.]Naso, Ouidius Naso. Her epistle, the epistle above quoted, the title of which is—‘Ariadne Theseo.’
[2223, 4.]The story is that Bacchus took compassion on Ariadne, and finally placed her crown as a constellation in the heavens; see Ovid, Fasti, iii. 461-516; Met. viii. 178-182. This constellation is the Northern Crown, or Corona Borealis, which is just in the opposite side of the sky from Taurus. Ovid says—‘qui medius nixique genu est anguemque tenentis,’ Met. viii. 182. Here the holder of the snake is Ophiuchus; and Nixus genu or Engonasin (ἐν γόνασιν) was a name for Hercules; see Hyginus, Poet. Ast. lib. ii. c. 6; lib. iii. c. 5; Ausonius, Eclog. iii. 2. The Northern Crown comes to the meridian with the sign Scorpio, not Taurus. We can only bring the sense right by supposing that in the signe of Taurus means when the sun is in that sign, viz. in April. In the nights of April, in our latitude, the Northern Crown is very conspicuous.
[2227.]Quyte him his whyle, repay him for his time, i. e. for the way in which he had spent his time; cf. Man of Law’s Ta., B 584.