Front Page Titles (by Subject) VIII.: THE LEGEND OF PHYLLIS. - 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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VIII.: THE LEGEND OF PHYLLIS. - 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 PHYLLIS.
Incipit Legenda Phillis.
Explicit Legenda Phillis.
[2400. ]F. Tn. Th. B. om. if.
[2402. ]F. Tn. Th. B. om. may.
[2408. ]C. his; rest om.
[2409. ]C. sek (read seek); rest seke.
[2410. ]A. Th. the sege; F. Tn. B. a sege; T. sege; C. thasege (good).
[2412. ]C. T. A. ne myghte; rest myght not.
[2418. ]C. A. ne; T. noon; rest om.
[2420. ]A. So wood. C. A. now vp now doun; T. now vp and doun; rest vp and doun.
[2422. ]Th. Chorus; T. Thora; rest Thorus (see note). F. Tn. B. om. Triton.
[2423. ]F. Th. B. vp; rest vp-on.
[2425. ]A. B. Ligurgus; C. Tn. T. Ligurges; Th. Lycurgus; F. Bygurgus (error for Lygurgus).
[2430. ]C. That (for And). C. almost was (better than was almost in the rest).
[2435. ]C. T. A. To; rest And.
[2437. ]C. T. A. his; rest om.
[2438. ]A. om. for.
[2440. ]C. T. A. court; rest contree.
[2443. ]F. Tn. Th. B. hath.
[2444. ]C. T. A. of gret; rest grete of.
[2445. ]C. of (for in). C. the; T. A. that; rest his.
[2449. ]C. owene (for olde).
[2452. ]A. phillis; C. Philes; Th. T. quene Phillis; rest quene.
[2453. ]F. B. And; rest Her (Hire, Hir).
[2454. ]A. Th. agroted; B. agrotyd; C. agrotyed; F. Tn. agroteyd; T. agroteyed.
[2455. ]C. T. ben in love; A. ar of loue; rest in loue ben.
[2459. ]C. T. A. deuyse; F. Tn. B. the nyse (sic); Th. the gyse.
[2470, 1. ]T. I couthe ryght well, yef that hyt lykyd me Tell all hys doyng; but hyt ys vanyte.
[2472. ]C. T. vnto; A. into; rest to. F. Th. B. him; rest he.
[2475. ]F. B. omit.
[2476. ]C. hath hire sworn; A. hath to hir suorn; Tn. to her sworne; F. T. Th. B. to hir swore.
[2477. ]So C. A.; F. Tn. Th. B. ageyn he wolde.
[2480. ]C. homly; F. T. B. homely; A. huimly; Tn. humble; Th. hombly. C. let; rest om.
[2482. ]C. ne; rest om.
[2483. ]A. C. Th. abought; F. Tn. B. yboght.
[2484. ]F. Tn. B. om. as. A. T. stories; rest story (but this would require recordeth; indeed, C. has recordith !).
[2485. ]C. T. A. ryght; rest om.
[2487. ]F. Tn. Th. B. But firste wrote she to hym.
[2488. ]C. T. A. hire delyuere; rest delyner hir. F. pyne (error for peyne).
[2489. ]F. B. oo; Tn. one; rest a; see l. 2495.
[2491. ]C. T. A. Ne spende; rest Dispenden.
[2493. ]C. a fere; T. afyre; A. in fyre; F. Tn. Th. B. on a fire (badly).
[2496. ]C. Ostesse thyn. T. A. o thow Demophon.
[2498. ]F. Tn. B. om. moot.
[2504. ]F. Tn. B. om. hid.
[2505. ]Th. thylke; C. F. Tn. B. that thilke (!); A. that ilke; T. that.
[2506. ]A. hath lycht this.
[2506, 7. ]C. omits.
[2507. ]T. yef; A. if; F. B. Th. yet (error for yef); Tn. yit (error for yif).
[2508. ]C. storm (error for streem); rest streme. Th. Scython; C. B. Sytoye; A. Cytoye; T. Sitoy; F. Tn. Sitoio (Ovid has Sithonis unda). T. y-brought; rest broght (brought).
[2509. ]C. comyth it; T. A. cometh; F. Tn. B. come hit; Th. came it.
[2517. ]C. A. wel hath; rest hath wel.
[2518. ]C. T. A. thyne (thy); rest the. C. come; T. comen; F. Tn. Th. B. cometh.
[2519. ]C. T. A. thyn (thy); rest the.
[2523. ]C. T. A. Yif (only); F. Tn. Th. B. That (only); but read Yif that.
[2525. ]C. T. A. pleyne; rest seyne (!).
[2527. ]C. I-wronge; A. yronne (error for ywronge); F. Tn. Th. B. wronge.
[2529. ]A. Quhethir ther may (but this is Scottish).
[2532. ]All mayde.
[2539. ]C. T. A. for by; rest forth by.
[2546. ]A. C. T. subtilitee.
[2549. ]C. T. A. him; rest om. A. has lost ll. 2551-2616.
[2555. ]F. Tn. B. om. sent.
[2561. ]So C. T.; so Tn. Th. (with now for as); F. B. And as in love truste no man but me.
[23.]the] þe C; AB omit.
[27.]prikke] prickes C; perhaps prikkes would be a better reading.
[29.]AB omit the figure 2; but see l. 8.
[31.]in alle] in al C; A has septentrionalle, an obvious mistake for septentrional in alle, by confusion of the syllable ‘al’ in the former with ‘al’ in the latter word; B has septentrional, omitting in alle.
[2395.]An allusion to Matt. vii. 16, and to Legend VI, above.
[2398.]Demophon, usually Demophoön, son of Theseus and Phædra, who, on his return from Troy, gained the love of Phyllis, daughter of Sithon, king of Thrace. Observe that Gower says that Demophoön was on his way towards Troy.
[2400.]‘Unless it were.’
[2401.]Observe that grac-e is dissyllabic, as in l. 2433.
[2403.]‘Now I turn to the effect (the pith) of what I have to say.’
[2413.]Him seems to stand alone in the first foot; for were, in this phrase, is usually monosyllabic; cf. Mancip. Prol., H 23. But it also occurs as a dissyllable, in which case the line is normal. Or else the -er in lever is dwelt on.
[2416.]‘And his rudder was broken by a wave.’
[2420.]For wood, as (if) mad, ‘like mad.’ For is not a prefix, but a separate word; as shewn by ‘for pure wood,’ Rom. Rose, 276; and see Ho. Fame, 1747. Posseth, pusheth, tosseth. Bech observes that ll. 2411-21 are from Vergil, Æn. i. 85-90, 102, 142.
[2422.]Chorus; so in Thynne’s edition; the MSS. have Thorus (except T., which has Thora). Both Chorus and Thorus are unknown as sea-divinities; but I think I can guess Chaucer’s authority, viz Verg. Æn. v. 823-5:—
Here we find Thetis, chorus, Triton; whilst ‘and they alle’ answers to exercitus omnis. (So also Bech.) Chorus is used for Caurus, the north-east wind, in Chaucer’s Boethius, bk. iv. met. 5. 17; but this is not the purpose.
[2423.]Lond, i.e. Thrace. Phyllis, as said above, was the daughter of Sithon, king of Thrace; but both Chaucer and Gower make her father’s name to be ‘Ligurgus,’ i.e. Lycurgus. This substitution may have been suggested by Ovid, Her. ii. 111—‘quae tibi subieci latissima regna Lycurgi.’ He is the same as the Lycurgus in Statius, Theb. iv. 386; in Ovid, Met. iv. 22, and in Homer, vi. 130; and was king of the Edoni, a people of Thrace. This accounts also for the introduction into the Knight’s Tale of ‘Ligurge himself, the grete king of Thrace’; l. 1271 (A 2129). Prof. Lounsbury (Studies in Chaucer, ii. 232) has usefully pointed out that the immediate authority for making Lycurgus the father of Phyllis was Boccaccio’s De Genealogia Deorum, lib. xi. c. 25, headed—‘De Phyllidi Lycurgi filia.’
[2425.]On to sene, to look upon; cf. the parallel line, Kn. Ta., 177 (A 1035).
[2427.]Is y-wonne, is arrived. Cf. Æn. i. 173.
[2434.]Chevisaunce, borrowing; properly an agreement for borrowing money. See C. T. 13259, 13277, 13321 (B 1519, 1537, 1581); P. Plowman, B. 5. 249, and the note; and the Gloss. to Spenser.
[2438.]Rodopeya, the country near Rhodope, which was a mountainrange of Thrace, now a part of the Hæmus range. See l. 2498.
[2448.]‘As Reynard the fox doth, so (doth) the fox’s son.’ The line is incomplete, but the sense is clear. ‘Reynard, which with us is a duplicate for fox, while in the French renard has quite excluded the older volpils, was originally not the name of a kind, but the proper name of the fox-hero, the vulpine Ulysses, in that famous beast-epic of the middle ages, Reineke Fuchs; the immense popularity of which we gather from many evidences, from none more clearly than this. Chanticleer is in like manner the name of the cock, and Bruin of the bear in the same poem.’—Trench, Eng. Past and Present. Reynard is from M. H. G. ragin-hart, strong in counsel; from ragin, counsel, and hart, strong.
[2454.]Agroted, surfeited, cloyed. A rare word; used also by Lydgate. See the New E. Dict.
[2456.]This is a hint that Chaucer was already getting tired of his task.
[2477.]In a month. So in Ovid; see l. 2503.
[2485.]With a corde, i. e. by hanging. Cf. Ovid, Her. ii. 141:—
[2493.]Hir soules, their souls; of Theseus and Demophoön.
[2495.]‘Although it be but a small part of the whole letter.’ In fact, Chaucer gives us ll. 1-8 of Ovid’s second Epistle (in the Heroides); and, from l. 2518 onward, sentences made up from ll. 26, 27, 43, 44, 49-52, 63-68, 73-78, and 134-137 of the same.
[2496.]Compare these lines with Ovid, Her. ii. 1-8:—
Hostess-e is trisyllabic; MS. C. has—‘Ostess-e thyn.’
[2502.]Highte, promised. But Chaucer seems to have mistaken the sense of Ovid’s fourth line (in the note to l. 2496).
[2508.]‘Sithonis unda’; see note to l. 2496. Here Sithonis is an adj. (gen. Sithonidis), and means ‘Sithonian,’ i. e. Thracian; because Sithon or Sitho, her father, was king of Thrace. I substitute Sitho for the MS. spellings.
[2518.]See note to l. 2495 for references.
[2521.]For, because: ‘quid feci, nisi non sapienter amaui?’
[2529.]May occupies the first foot of the line.
[2534.]She prays that the glory of having betrayed her will be the greatest glory he will ever attain to. ‘Di faciant, laudis summa sit ista tuae!’ (66).
[2551.]Mote ye, may ye. ‘Ad tua me fluctus proiectam littora portent’; (135).
[2556.]And knew, i. e. and she knew.
[2558.]Read—‘Such sórw’ hath shé,’ &c. Bell altered the second she in this line to he, without authority, and unnecessarily. The word besette does not mean ‘served’ or ‘treated,’ as those who keep this reading have to assert, but ‘bestowed’ or ‘gave up,’ and her means ‘herself.’ The sense is therefore—‘Such sorrow hath she, because she so disposed of herself.’ See Beset in the New E. Dict. § 7. Caxton has: ‘Orgarus thought his doughter shol wel be maryed, and wel beset upon hym’; Chron. Eng. cxii.
[2561.]Trusteth, imp. pl. As in love, in the matter of love. This playful-line is in the same spirit as l. 2393 above.