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Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, vol. 3 (House of Fame, Legend of Good Women, Treatise on Astrolabe, Sources of Canterbury Tales) [1899]

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Geoffrey Chaucer, The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, edited from numerous manuscripts by the Rev. Walter W. Skeat (2nd ed.) (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1899). 7 vols. http://oll.libertyfund.org/titles/1991

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The late 19th century Skeat edition with copious scholarly notes and a good introduction to the texts.

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Table of Contents:

Edition: current; Page: [i]
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER SKEAT
THE HOUSE OF FAME: THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN THE TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE SOURCES OF THE CANTERBURY TALES
Edition: current; Page: [ii] Edition: current; Page: [iii]
THE COMPLETE WORKS OF GEOFFREY CHAUCER
EDITED, FROM NUMEROUS MANUSCRIPTS BY THE REV. WALTER W. SKEAT, Litt.D., LL.D., M.A.

elrington and bosworth professor of anglo-saxon

and fellow of christ’s college, cambridge

THE HOUSE OF FAME: THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN THE TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE WITH AN ACCOUNT OF THE SOURCES OF THE CANTERBURY TALES

‘He made the book that hight the Hous of Fame.’

Legend of Good Women; 417.

‘Who-so that wol his large volume seke

Cleped the Seintes Legende of Cupyde.’

Canterbury Tales; b 60.

‘His Astrelabie, longinge for his art’

Canterbury Tales; a 3209.

OXFORD
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS
Edition: current; Page: [iv]

Oxford University Press, Amen House, London E.C.4

GLASGOW NEW YORK TORONTO MELBOURNE WELLINGTON BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS KARACHI LAHORE DACCA CAPE TOWN SALISBURY NAIROBI IBADAN ACCRA KUALA LUMPUR HONG KONG

FIRST EDITION 1894

SECOND EDITION 1900

REPRINTED 1926, 1951, 1954, 1963

PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN

AT THE UNIVERSITY PRESS, OXFORD

BY VIVIAN RIDLER

PRINTER TO THE UNIVERSITY

Edition: current; Page: [v]

CONTENTS

  • Introduction to the House of Fame.—§ 1. Authorship. § 2. Influence of Dante. § 3. Testimony of Lydgate. § 4. Influence of Ovid. § 5. Date of the Poem. § 6. Metre. § 7. Imitations. § 8. Authorities. § 9. Some Emendations . . . . page vii
  • Introduction to the Legend of Good Women.—§ 1. Date of the Poem. § 2. The Two Forms of the Prologue. § 3. Comparison of these. § 4. The Subject of the Legend. § 5. The Daisy. § 6. Agaton. § 7. Chief Sources of the Legend. § 8. The Prologue; Legends of (1) Cleopatra; (2) Thisbe; (3) Dido; (4) Hypsipyle and Medea; (5) Lucretia; (6) Ariadne; (7) Philomela; (8) Phyllis; (9) Hypermnestra. § 9. Gower’s Confessio Amantis. § 10. Metre. § 11. ‘Clipped’ Lines. § 12. Description of the MSS. § 13. Description of the Printed Editions. § 14. Some Improvements in my Edition of 1889. § 15. Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . xvi
  • Introduction to a Treatise on the Astrolabe.—§ 1. Description of the MSS. §§ 2-16. MSS. A., B., C., D., E., F., G., H., I., K., L., M., N., O., P. § 17. MSS. Q., R., S., T., U., W., X. § 18. Thynne’s Edition. § 19. The two Classes of MSS. § 20. The last five Sections (spurious). § 21. Gap between Sections 40 and 41. § 22. Gap between Sections 43 and 44. § 23. Conclusion 40. § 24. Extant portion of the Treatise. § 25. Sources. § 26. Various Editions. § 27. Works on the Subject. § 28. Description of the Astrolabe Planisphere. § 29. Uses of the Astrolabe Planisphere. § 30. Stars marked on the Rete. § 31. Astrological Notes. § 32. Description of the Plates . . . . . . lvii
  • I’lates illustrating the description of the Astrolabe . lxxxi
  • The Hous of Fame: Book I. . . . . . . . 1
  • The Hous of Fame: Book II. . . . . . . . 16
  • The Hous of Fame: Book III. . . . . . . . 33 Edition: current; Page: [vi]
  • The Legend of Good Women: The Prologue . . . 65
    • I. The Legend of Cleopatra . . . . . 106
    • II. The Legend of Thisbe . . . . . . 110
    • III. The Legend of Dido . . . . . . 117
    • IV. The Legend of Hypsipyle and Medea . . . 131
    • V. The Legend of Lucretia . . . . . . 140
    • VI. The Legend of Ariadne . . . . . . 147
    • VII. The Legend of Philomela . . . . . 158
    • VIII. The Legend of Phyllis . . . . . . 164
    • IX. The Legend of Hypermnestra . . . . . 169
  • A Treatise on the Astrolabe . . . . . . . 175
  • Critical Notes to a Treatise on the Astrolabe . . . 233
  • Notes to the House of Fame . . . . . . . 243
  • Notes to the Legend of Good Women . . . . . 288
  • Notes to a Treatise on the Astrolabe . . . . . 352
  • An Account of the Sources of the Canterbury Tales . . 370
Edition: current; Page: [vii]

INTRODUCTION TO THE HOUSE OF FAME

§ 1. It is needless to say that this Poem is genuine, as Chaucer himself claims it twice over; once in his Prologue to the Legend of Good Women, l. 417, and again by the insertion in the poem itself of the name Geffrey (l. 729)1.

§ 2. Influence of Dante. The influence of Dante is here very marked, and has been thoroughly discussed by Rambeau in Englische Studien, iii. 209, in an article far too important to be neglected. I can only say here that the author points out both general and particular likenesses between the two poems. In general, both are visions; both are in three books; in both, the authors seek abstraction from surrounding troubles by venturing into the realm of imagination. As Dante is led by Vergil, so Chaucer is upborne by an eagle. Dante begins his third book, Il Paradiso, with an invocation to Apollo, and Chaucer likewise begins his third book with the same; moreover, Chaucer’s invocation is little more than a translation of Dante’s.

Among the particular resemblances, we may notice the method of commencing each division of the Poem with an invocation2. Again, both poets mark the exact date of commencing their poems; Dante descended into the Inferno on Good Friday, 1300 Edition: current; Page: [viii] (Inf. xxi. 112); Chaucer began his work on the 10th of December, the year being, probably, 1383 (see note to l. 111).

Chaucer sees the desert of Lybia (l. 488), corresponding to similar waste spaces mentioned by Dante; see note to l. 482. Chaucer’s eagle is also Dante’s eagle; see note to l. 500. Chaucer gives an account of Phaethon (l. 942) and of Icarus (l. 920), much like those given by Dante (Inf. xvii. 107, 109); both accounts, however, may have been taken from Ovid1. Chaucer’s account of the eagle’s lecture to him (l. 729) resembles Dante’s Paradiso, i. 109-117. Chaucer’s steep rock of ice (l. 1130) corresponds to Dante’s steep rock (Purg. iii. 47). If Chaucer cannot describe all the beauty of the House of Fame (l. 1168), Dante is equally unable to describe Paradise (Par. i. 6). Chaucer copies from Dante his description of Statius, and follows his mistake in saying that he was born at Toulouse; see note to l. 1460. The description of the house of Rumour is also imitated from Dante; see note to l. 2034. Chaucer’s error of making Marsyas a female arose from his misunderstanding the Italian form Marsia in Dante; see note to l. 1229.

These are but some of the points discussed in Rambeau’s article; it is difficult to give, in a summary, a just idea of the careful way in which the resemblances between these two great poets are pointed out. I am quite aware that many of the alleged parallel passages are too trivial to be relied upon, and that the author’s case would have been strengthened, rather than weakened, by several judicious omissions; but we may fairly accept the conclusion, that Chaucer is more indebted to Dante in this poem than in any other; perhaps more than in all his other works put together.

It is no longer possible to question Chaucer’s knowledge of Italian; and it is useless to search for the original of The House of Fame in Provençal literature, as Warton vaguely suggests that we should do (see note to l. 1928). At the same time, I can see no help to be obtained from a perusal of Petrarch’s Trionfo della Fama, to which some refer us.

§ 3. Testimony of Lydgate. It is remarkable that Lydgate Edition: current; Page: [ix] does not expressly mention The House of Fame by name, in his list of Chaucer’s works. I have already discussed this point in the Introduction to vol. i. pp. 23, 24, where I shew that Lydgate, nevertheless, refers to this work at least thrice in the course of the poem in which his list occurs; and, at the same time, he speaks of a poem by Chaucer which he calls ‘Dant in English,’ to which there is nothing to correspond, unless it can be identified with The House of Fame1. We know, however, that Lydgate’s testimony as to this point is wholly immaterial; so that the discussion as to the true interpretation of his words is a mere matter of curiosity.

§ 4. Influence of Ovid. It must, on the other hand, be obvious to all readers, that the general notion of a House of Fame was adopted from a passage in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, xii. 39-63. The proof of this appears from the great care with which Chaucer works in all the details occurring in that passage. He also keeps an eye on the celebrated description of Fame in Vergil’s Æneid, iv. 173-183; even to the unlucky rendering of ‘pernicibus alis’ by ‘partriches winges,’ in l. 13922.

I here quote the passage from Ovid at length, as it is very useful for frequent reference (cf. Ho. Fame, 711-24, 672-99, 1025-41, 1951-76, 2034-77):—

  • ‘Orbe locus medio est inter terrasque, fretumque,
  • Caelestesque plagas, triplicis confinia mundi;
  • Edition: current; Page: [x]
  • Unde quod est usquam, quamuis regionibus absit,
  • Inspicitur penetratque cauas uox omnis ad aures.
  • Fame tenet, summaque domum sibi legit in arce;
  • Innumerosque aditus, ac mille foramina tectis
  • Addidit, et nullis inclusit limina portis.
  • Nocte dieque patent. Tota est ex aere sonanti;
  • Tota fremit, uocesque refert, iteratque quod audit.
  • Nulla quies intus, nullaque silentia parte.
  • Nec tamen est clamor, sed paruae murmura uocis;
  • Qualia de pelagi, si quis procul audiat, undis
  • Esse solent; qualemue sonum, cum Iupiter atras
  • Increpuit nubes, extrema tonitrua reddunt.
  • Atria turba tenet; ueniunt leue uulgus, euntque;
  • Mixtaque cum ueris passim commenta uagantur
  • Millia rumorum, confusaque uerba uolutant.
  • E quibus hi uacuas implent sermonibus aures;
  • Hi narrata ferunt alio; mensuraque ficti
  • Crescit, et auditis aliquid nouus adicit auctor.
  • Illic Credulitas, illic temerarius Error,
  • Vanaque Laetitia est, consternatique Timores,
  • Seditioque repens, dubioque auctore Susurri.
  • Ipsa quid in caelo rerum, pelagoque geratur,
  • Et tellure uidet, totumque inquirit in orbem.’

A few other references to Ovid are pointed out in the Notes.

By way of further illustration, I here quote the whole of Golding’s translation of the above passage from Ovid:—

  • ‘Amid the world tweene heauen and earth, and sea, there is a place,
  • Set from the bounds of each of them indifferently in space,
  • From whence is seene what-euer thing is practizde any-where,
  • Although the Realme be neere so farre: and roundly to the eare
  • Commes whatsoeuer spoken is; Fame hath his dwelling there,
  • Who in the top of all the house is lodged in a towre.
  • A thousand entries, glades, and holes are framed in this bowre.
  • There are no doores to shut. The doores stand open night and day.
  • The house is all of sounding brasse, and roreth euery way,
  • Reporting double euery word it heareth people say.
  • There is no rest within, there is no silence any-where.
  • Yet is there not a yelling out: but humming, as it were
  • The sound of surges being heard farre off, or like the sound
  • That at the end of thunderclaps long after doth redound
  • When Ioue doth make the clouds to crack. Within the courts is preace
  • Of common people, which to come and go do neuer ceace.
  • And millions both of troths and lies run gadding euery-where,
  • And wordes confuselie flie in heapes, of which some fill the eare
  • That heard not of them erst, and some cole-cariers part do play,
  • To spread abroade the things they heard, and euer by the way
  • The thing that was inuented growes much greater than before,
  • And euery one that gets it by the end addes somewhat more.
  • Edition: current; Page: [xi]
  • Light credit dwelleth there, there dwells rash error, there doth dwell
  • Vaine ioy: there dwelleth hartlesse feare, and brute that loues to tell
  • Uncertaine newes vpon report, whereof he doth not knowe
  • The author, and sedition who fresh rumors loues to sowe.
  • This Fame beholdeth what is done in heauen, on sea, and land,
  • And what is wrought in all the world he layes to vnderstand.’

§ 5. Date of the Poem. Ten Brink, in his Chaucer Studien, pp. 120, 121, concludes that Ten House of Fame was, in all probability, composed shortly after Troilus, as the opening lines reproduce, in effect, a passage concerning dreams which appears in the last Book of Troilus, ll. 358-385. We may also observe the following lines in Troilus, from Book I, 517-8:—

  • ‘Now, thonked be god, he may goon in the daunce
  • Of hem that Love list febly for to avaunce.’

These lines, jestingly applied to Troilus by Pandarus, are in the House of Fame, 639, 640, applied by Chaucer to himself:—

  • ‘Although thou mayst go in the daunce
  • Of hem that him list not avaunce.’

Again, the House of Fame preceded the Legend of Good Women, because he here complains of the hardship of his official duties (652-660); whereas, in the Prologue to the Legend, he rejoices at obtaining some release from them. We may also note the quotation from Boethius (note to l. 972). As Boethius and Troilus seem to have been written together, somewhere about 1380, and took up a considerable time, and the apparent date of the Legend is 1385, the probable date of the House of Fame is about 1383 or 1384. Ten Brink further remarks that the references to Jupiter suggest to the reader that the 10th of December was a Thursday (see note to 111). This would give 1383 for beginning the poem; and perhaps no fitter date than the end of 1383 and the spring of 1384 can be found.

§ 6. Metre. Many of Chaucer’s metres were introduced by him from the French; but the four-accent metre, with rime as here employed, was commonly known before Chaucer’s time. It was used by Robert of Brunne in 1303, in the Cursor Mundi, and in Havelok. It is, however, of French origin, and occurs in the very lengthy poem of Le Roman de la Rose. Chaucer only employed it thrice: (1) in translating the Roman de la Rose; (2) in the Book of the Duchesse; and (3) in the present poem.

For normal lines, with masculine rimes, see 7, 8, 13, 14, 29, Edition: current; Page: [xii] 33, &c. For normal lines, with feminine rimes, see 1, 2, 9, 15, 18, &c. Elision is common, as of e in turne (1), in somme (6), in Devyne (14); &c. Sometimes there is a middle pause, where a final syllable need not always be elided. Thus we may read:—

  • ‘By abstinencë—or by seknesse’ (25):
  • ‘In studie—or melancolious’ (30):
  • ‘And fro unhappë—and ech disese’ (89):
  • ‘In his substáuncë—is but air’ (768).

Two short syllables, rapidly pronounced, may take the place of one:—

  • ‘I noot; but who-so of these mirácles’ (12):
  • By avisiouns, or bý figúres’ (47).

The first foot frequently consists of a single syllable; see 26, 35, 40, 44; so also in l. 3, where, in modern English, we should prefer Unto.

The final e, followed by a consonant, is usually sounded, and has its usual grammatical values. Thus we have think-e, infin. (15); bot-e, old accus. of a fem. sb. (32); swich-e, plural (35); oft-e, adverbial (35); soft-e, with essential final e (A.S. sōfte); find-e, pres. pl. indic. (43); com-e, gerund (45): gret-e, pl. (53); mak-e, infin. (56); rod-e, dat. form used as a new nom., of which there are many examples in Chaucer (57); blind-e, def. adj. (138). The endings -ed, -en, -es, usually form a distinct syllable; so also -eth, which, however, occasionally becomes ’th; cf. comth (71). A few common words, written with final e, are monosyllabic; as thise (these); also shulde (should), and the like, occasionally. Remember that the old accent is frequently different from the modern; as in orácles, mirácles (11, 12): distaúnc-e (18), aventúres, figúres (47, 48): povért (88): málicióus (93): &c. The endings -i-al, -i-oun, i-ous, usually form two distinct syllables.

For further remarks on Metre and Grammar, see vol. v.

§ 7. Imitations. The chief imitations of the House of Fame are The Temple of Glas, by Lydgate1; The Palice of Honour, by Gawain Douglas; The Garland of Laurell, by John Skelton; and Edition: current; Page: [xiii] The Temple of Fame, by Pope. Pope’s poem should not be compared with Chaucer’s; it is very different in character, and is best appreciated by forgetting its origin.

§ 8. Authorities. The authorities for the text are few and poor; hence it is hardly possible to produce a thoroughly satisfactory text. There are three MSS. of the fifteenth century, viz. F. (Fairfax MS. 16, in the Bodleian Library); B. (MS. Bodley, 638, in the same); P. (MS. Pepys 2006, in Magdalene College, Cambridge). The last of these is imperfect, ending at l. 1843. There are two early printed editions of some value, viz. Cx. (Caxton’s edition, undated); and Th. (Thynne’s edition, 1532). None of the later editions are of much value, except the critical edition by Hans Willert (Berlin, 1883). Of these, F. and B., which are much alike, form a first group; P. and Cx. form a second group; whilst Th. partly agrees with Cx., and partly with F. The text is chiefly from F., with collations of the other sources, as given in the footnotes, which record only the more important variations.

§ 9. Some emendations. In constructing the text, a good deal of emendation has been necessary; and I have adopted many hints from Willert’s edition above mentioned; though perhaps I may be allowed to add that, in many cases, I had arrived at the same emendations independently, especially where they were obvious. Among the emendations in spelling, I may particularise misdemen (92), where all the authorities have mysdeme or misdeme; Dispyt, in place of Dispyte (96); barfoot, for barefoot or barefote (98); proces (as in P.) for processe, as in the rest (251); delyt, profyt, for delyte, profyte (309, 310); sleighte for sleight (462); brighte1, sighte, for bright, sight (503, 504); wighte, highte, for wight, hight (739, 740); fyn, Delphyn (as in Cx.), for fyne, Delphyne (1005, 1006); magyk, syk, for magyke, syke (1269, 1270); losenges, for losynges (1317), and frenges (as in F.) for frynges, as in the rest (1318); dispyt for dispite (1716); laughe for laugh (Cx. lawhe, 1809); delyt for delyte (P. delit, 1831); thengyn (as in Th.) for thengyne (1934); othere for other (2151, footnote). Edition: current; Page: [xiv] These are only a few of the instances where nearly all the authorities are at fault.

The above instances merely relate to questions of spelling. Still more serious are the defects in the MSS. and printed texts as regards the sense; but all instances of emendation are duly specified in the footnotes, and are frequently further discussed in the Notes at the end. Thus, in l. 329, it is necessary to supply I. In 370, allas should be Eneas. In 513, Willert rightly puts selly, i. e. wonderful, for sely, blessed. In 557, the metre is easily restored, by reading so agast for agast so. In 621, we must read lyte is, not lytel is, if we want a rime to dytees. In 827, I restore the word mansioun; the usual readings are tautological. In 911, I restore toun for token, and adopt the only reading of l. 912 that gives any sense. In 1007, the only possible reading is Atlantes. In 1044, Morris’s edition has biten, correctly; though MS. F. has beten, and there is no indication that a correction has been made. In 1114, the right word is site; cf. the Treatise on the Astrolabe (see Note). In 1135, read bilt (i. e. buildeth); bilte gives neither sense nor rhythm. In 1173, supply be. Ll. 1177, 1178 have been set right by Willert. In 1189, the right word is Babewinnes1. In 1208, read Bret (as in B.). In 1233, read famous. In 1236, read Reyes2. In 1303, read hatte, i. e. are named. In 1351, read Fulle, not Fyne. In 1372, adopt the reading of Cx. Th. P., or there is no nominative to streighte; and in 1373, read wonderliche. In 1411, read tharmes (=the armes). In 1425, I supply and hy, to fill out the line. In 1483, I supply dan; if, however, poete is made trisyllabic, then l. 1499 should not contain daun. In 1494, for high the, read highte (as in l. 744). In 1527, for into read in. In 1570, read Up peyne. In 1666, 1701, and 1720, for werkes read werk. In 1702, read clew (see note)3. In 1717, lyen is an error for lyuen, i. e. live. In 1750, read To, not The. In 1775, supply ye; or there is no sense. In 1793, supply they for a like reason. In 1804, 5, supply the, and al; for the scansion. In 1897, read Edition: current; Page: [xv] wiste, not wot. In 1940, hattes should be hottes; this emendation has been accepted by several scholars. In 1936, the right word is falwe, not salwe (as in Morris). In 1960, there should be no comma at the end of the line, as in most editions; and in 1961, 2 read werre, reste (not werres, restes). In 1975, mis and governement are distinct words. In 2017, frot1 is an error for froyt; it is better to read fruit at once; this correction is due to Koch. In 2021, suppress in after yaf. In 2049, for he read the other (Willert). In 2059, wondermost is all one word. In 2076, I read word; Morris reads mothe, but does not explain it, and it gives no sense. In 2156, I supply nevene.

I mention these as examples of necessary emendations of which the usual editions take no notice.

I also take occasion to draw attention to the careful articles on this poem by Dr. J. Koch, in Anglia, vol. vii. App. 24-30, and Englische Studien, xv. 409-415; and the remarks by Willert in Anglia, vii. App. 203-7. The best general account of the poem is that in Ten Brink’s History of English Literature.

In conclusion, I add a few ‘last words.’

L. 399. We learn, from Troil. i. 654, that Chaucer actually supposed ‘Oënone’ to have four syllables. This restores the metre. Read:—And Paris to Oënone.

503. Read ‘brighte,’ with final e; ‘bright’ is a misprint.

859. Compare Cant. Tales, F 726.

1119. ‘To climbe hit,’ i. e. to climb the rock; still a common idiom.

2115. Compare Cant. Tales, A 2078. Perhaps read ‘wanie.’

Edition: current; Page: [xvi]

INTRODUCTION TO THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN.

§ 1. Date of the Poem: ad 1385. The Legend of Good Women presents several points of peculiar, I might almost say of unique interest. It is the immediate precursor of the Canterbury Tales, and enables us to see how the poet was led on towards the composition of that immortal poem. This is easily seen, upon consideration of the date at which it was composed.

The question of the date has been well investigated by Ten Brink; but it may be observed beforehand that the allusion to the ‘queen’ in l. 496 has long ago been noticed, and it has been thence inferred, by Tyrwhitt, that the Prologue must have been written after 1382, the year when Richard II. married his first wife, the ‘good queen Anne.’ But Ten Brink’s remarks enable us to look at the question much more closely.

He shows that Chaucer’s work can be clearly divided into three chief periods, the chronology of which he presents in the following form1.

FIRST PERIOD.
1366 (at latest). The Romaunt of the Rose.
1369. The Book of the Duchesse.
1372. (end of the period).
Edition: current; Page: [xvii]
SECOND PERIOD.
1373. The Lyf of Seint Cecile.
The Assembly of Foules.
Palamon and Arcite.
Translation of Boethius.
Troilus and Creseide.
1384. The House of Fame.
THIRD PERIOD.
1385. Legend of Good Women.
Canterbury Tales.
1391. Treatise on the Astrolabe.

It is unnecessary for our present purpose to insert the conjectured dates of the Minor Poems not here mentioned.

According to Ten Brink, the poems of the First Period were composed before Chaucer set out on his Italian travels, i. e. before December, 1372, and contain no allusions to writings by Italian authors. In them, the influence of French authors is very strongly marked.

The poems of the Second Period (he tells us) were composed after that date. The Life of Seint Cecile already marks the author’s acquaintance with Dante’s Divina Commedia; lines 36-51 are, in fact, a free translation from the Paradiso, canto xxxiii. ll. 1-21. See my note to this passage, and the remarks on the ‘Second Nun’s Tale’ in vol. v. The Parlement of Foules contains references to Dante and a long passage translated from Boccaccio’s Teseide; see my notes to that poem in vol. i. The original Falamon and Arcite was also taken from the Teseide; for even the revised version of it (now known as the Knightes Tale, and containing, doubtless, much more of Chaucer’s own work) is founded upon that poem, and occasionally presents verbal imitations of it. Troilus is similarly dependent upon Boccaccio’s Filostrato. The close connexion between Troilus and the translation of Boethius is seen from several considerations, of which it may suffice here to mention two. The former is the association of these two works in Chaucer’s lines to Adam—

  • ‘Adam scriveyn, if ever it thee befalle
  • Boece or Troilus to wryten newe.’
  • Minor Poems; see vol. i. p. 379.

And the latter is, the fact that Chaucer inserts in Troilus (book iv. Edition: current; Page: [xviii] stanzas 140-154) a long passage on predestination and free-will, taken from Boethius, book v. proses 2, 3; which he would appear to have still fresh in his mind. It is probable that his Boethius preceded Troilus almost immediately; indeed, it is conceivable that, for a short season, both may have been in hand at the same time.

There is also a close connexion between Troilus and the House of Fame, the latter of which shows the influence of Dante in a high degree; see p. vii. This connexion will appear from comparing Troil. v. stt. 52-55 with Ho. Fame, 2-54; and Troil. i. st. 74 (ll. 517-8) with Ho. Fame, 639, 640. See Ten Brink, Studien, p. 121. It would seem that the House of Fame followed Troilus almost immediately. At the same time, we cannot put the date of the House of Fame later than 1384, because of Chaucer’s complaint in it of the hardship of his official duties, from much of which he was released (as we shall see) early in 1385. Further, the 10th of December is especially mentioned as being the date on which the House of Fame was commenced (l. 111), the year being probably 1383 (see Note to that line).

It would appear, further, that the Legend was begun soon after the House of Fame was suddenly abandoned, in the very middle of a sentence. That it was written later than Troilus and the House of Fame is obvious, from the mention of these poems in the Prologue; ll. 332, 417, 441. That it was written at no great interval after Troilus appears from the fact that, even while writing Troilus, Chaucer had already been meditating upon the goodness of Alcestis, of which the Prologue to the Legend says so much. Observe the following passages (cited by Ten Brink, Studien, p. 120) from Troilus, bk. v. stt. 219, 254:—

    • ‘As wel thou mightest lyen on Alceste
    • That was of creatures—but men lye—
    • That ever weren, kindest and the beste.
    • For whan hir housbonde was in Iupartye
    • To dye himself, but-if she wolde dye,
    • She chees for him to dye and go to helle,
    • And starf anoon, as us the bokes telle.
    • Besechinge every lady bright of hewe,
    • And every gentil womman, what she be,
    • That, al be that Criseyde was untrewe,
    • That for that gilt she be not wrooth with me.
    • Edition: current; Page: [xix]
    • Ye may hir gilt in othere bokes see;
    • And gladlier I wol wryten, if yow leste,
    • Penelopeës trouthe, and good Alceste.

There is also a striking similarity between the argument in Troilus, bk. iv. st. 3, and ll. 369-372 (B-text) of the Prologue to the Legend. The stanza runs thus:—

  • ‘For how Criseyde Troilus forsook,
  • Or at the leste, how that she was unkinde,
  • Mot hennes-forth ben matere of my book,
  • As wryten folk thorugh whiche it is in minde.
  • Allas! that they shulde ever cause finde
  • To speke hir harm; and, if they on hir lye,
  • Y-wis, hem-self sholde han the vilanye.’

I will here also note the fact that the first line of the above stanza is quoted, almost unaltered, in the earlier version of the Prologue, viz. at l. 265 of the A-text, on p. 88.

From the above considerations we may already infer that the House of Fame was begun, probably, in December, 1383, and continued in 1384; and that the Legend of Good Women, which almost immediately succeeded it, may be dated about 1384 or 1385; certainly after 1382, when King Richard was first married. But now that we have come so near to the date, it is possible to come still nearer; for it can hardly be doubted that the extremely grateful way in which Chaucer speaks of the queen may fairly be connected with the stroke of good fortune which happened to him just at this very period. In the House of Fame we find him groaning about the troublesomeness of his official duties; and the one object of his life, just then, was to obtain greater leisure, especially if it could be had without serious loss of income. Now we know that, on the 17th of February, 1385, he obtained the indulgence of being allowed to nominate a permanent deputy for his Controllership of the Customs and Subsidies; see Furnivall’s Trial Forewords to the Minor Poems, p. 25. If with our knowledge of this fact we combine these considerations, viz. that Chaucer expresses himself gratefully to the queen, that he says nothing more of his troublesome duties, and that Richard II. is known to have been a patron of letters (as we learn from Gower), we may well conclude that the poet’s release from his burden was brought about by the queen’s intercession with the king on his behalf. We may here Edition: current; Page: [xx] notice Lydgate’s remarks in the following stanza, which occurs in the Prologue to the Fall of Princes1:—

  • ‘This poete wrote, at the request of the quene,
  • A Legende, of perfite holynesse,
  • Of Good Women, to fynd out nynetene
  • That did excell in bounte and fayrenes;
  • But for his labour and besinesse
  • Was importable, his wittes to encombre,
  • In all this world to fynd so gret a nombre2.’

Lydgate can hardly be correct in his statement that Chaucer wrote ‘at the request’ of the queen: for, had our author done so, he would have let us know it. Still, he has seized the right idea, viz. that the queen was, so to speak, the moving cause which effected the production of the poem.

It is, moreover, much to the point to observe that Chaucer’s state of delightful freedom did not last long. Owing to a sudden change in the government we find that, on Dec. 4, 1386, he lost his Controllership of the Customs and Subsidies; and, only ten days later, also lost his Controllership of the Petty Customs. Something certainly went wrong, but we have no proof that Chaucer abused his privilege.

On the whole we may interpret ll. 496, 7 (p. 101), viz.

  • ‘And whan this book is maad, yive hit the quene,
  • On my behalfe, at Eltham3 or at Shene,’

as giving us a date but little later than Feb. 17, 1385, and certainly before Dec. 4, 1386. The mention of the month of May in ll. 36, 45, 108, 176, is probably conventional; still, the other frequent references to spring-time, as in ll. 40-66, 130-147, 171-174, 206, &c., may mean something; and in particular we may note the reference to St. Valentine’s day as being past, in ll. 145, 146; seeing that chees (chose) occurs in the past tense. We can hardly resist the conviction that the right date Edition: current; Page: [xxi] of the Prologue is the spring of 1385, which satisfies every condition.

§ 2. The two forms of the Prologue. So far, I have kept out of view the important fact, that the Prologue exists in two distinct forms, viz. an earlier and a revised form. The lines in which ‘the queen’ is expressly mentioned occur in the later version only, so that some of the above arguments really relate to that alone. But it makes no great difference, as there is no reason to suppose that there was any appreciable lapse of time between the two versions.

In order to save words, I shall call the earlier version the A-text, and the later one the B-text. The manner of printing these texts is explained at p. 65. I print the B-text in full, in the lower half of the page. The A-text appears in the upper half of the same, and is taken from MS. C. (Camb. Univ. Library, Gg. 4. 27), which is the only MS. that contains it, with corrections of the spelling, as recorded in the footnotes. Lines which appear in one text only are marked with an asterisk (*); those which stand almost exactly the same in both texts are marked with a dagger (†) prefixed to them; whilst the unmarked lines are such as occur in both texts, but with some slight alteration. By way of example, observe that lines B. 496, 497, mentioning the queen, are duly marked with an asterisk, as not being in A. Line 2, standing the same in both texts, is marked with a dagger. And thirdly, line 1 is unmarked, because it is slightly altered. A. has here the older expression ‘A thousand sythes,’ whilst B. has the more familiar ‘A thousand tymes.

The fact that A. is older than B. cannot perhaps be absolutely proved without a long investigation. But all the conditions point in that direction. In the first place, it occurs in only one MS., viz. MS. C., whilst all the others give the B-text; and it is more likely that a revised text should be multiplied than that a first draft should be. Next, this MS. C. is of high value and great importance, being quite the best MS., as regards age, of the whole set; and it is a fortunate thing that the A-text has been preserved at all. And lastly, the internal evidence tends, in my opinion, to shew that B. can be more easily evolved from A. than conversely. I am not aware that any one has ever doubted this result.

We may easily see that the A-text is, on the whole, more general and vague, whilst the B-text is more particular in its references. Edition: current; Page: [xxii] The impression left on my mind by the perusal of the two forms of the Prologue is that Chaucer made immediate use of the comparative liberty accorded to him on the 17th of February, 1385, to plan a new poem, in an entirely new metre, and in the new form of a succession of tales. He decided, further, that the tales should relate to women famous in love-stories, and began by writing the tale of Cleopatra, which is specially mentioned in B. 566 (and A. 542)1. The idea then occurred to him of writing a preface or Prologue, which would afford him the double opportunity of justifying and explaining his design, and of expressing his gratitude for his attainment of greater leisure. Having done this, he was not wholly satisfied with it; he thought the expression of gratitude did not come out with sufficient clearness, at least with regard to the person to whom he owed the greatest debt. So he at once set about to amend and alter it; the first draught, of which he had no reason to be ashamed, being at the same time preserved. And we may be sure that the revision was made almost immediately; he was not the man to take up a piece of work again after the first excitement of it had passed away2. On the contrary, he used to form larger plans than he could well execute, and leave them unfinished when he grew tired of them. I therefore propose to assign the conjectural date of the spring of 1385 to both forms of the Prologue; and I suppose that Chaucer went on with one tale of the series after another during the summer and latter part of the same year till he grew tired of the task, and at last gave it up in the middle of a sentence. An expression of doubt as to the completion of the task already appears in l. 2457.

§ 3. Comparison of the two forms of the Prologue. A detailed comparison of the two forms of the Prologue would extend to a great length. I merely point out some of the more remarkable variations.

The first distinct note of difference that calls for notice is at line A. 89 (B. 108), p. 72, where the line—

  • ‘When passed was almost the month of May’
Edition: current; Page: [xxiii]

is altered to—

  • ‘And this was now the firste morwe of May.’

This is clearly done for the sake of greater definiteness, and because of the association of the 1st of May with certain national customs expressive of rejoicing. It is emphasized by the statements in B. 114 as to the exact position of the sun (see note to the line). In like manner the vague expression about ‘the Ioly tyme of May’ in A. 36 is exchanged for the more exact—‘whan that the month of May Is comen’; B. 36. In the B-text, the date is definitely fixed; in ll. 36-63 we learn what he usually did on the recurrence of the May-season; in ll. 103-124, we have his (supposed) actual rising at the dawn of May-day; then the manner in which he spent that day (ll. 179-185); and lastly, the arrival of night, his return home, his falling asleep, and his dream (ll. 197-210). He awakes on the morning of May 2, and sets to work at once (ll. 578, 579).

Another notable variation is on p. 71. On arriving at line A. 70, he puts aside A. 71-80 for the present, to be introduced later on (p. 77); and writes the new and important passage contained in B. 83-96 (p. 71). The lady whom he here addresses as being his ‘very light,’ one whom his heart dreads, whom he obeys as a harp obeys the hand of the player, who is his guide, his ‘lady sovereign,’ and his ‘earthly god,’ cannot be mistaken. The reference is obviously to his sovereign lady the queen; and the expression ‘earthly god’ is made clear by the declaration (in B. 387) that kings are as demi-gods in this present world.

In A., the Proem or true Introduction ends at l. 88, and is more marked than in B., wherein it ends at l. 102.

The passage in A. contained in ll. 127-138 (pp. 75, 76) is corrupt and imperfect in the MS. The sole existing copy of it was evidently made from a MS. that had been more or less defaced; I have had to restore it as I best could. The B-text has here been altered and revised, though the variations are neither extensive nor important; but the passage is immediately followed by about 30 new lines, in which Mercy is said to be a greater power than Right, or strict Justice, especially when Right is overcome ‘through innocence and ruled curtesye’; the application of which expression is obvious.

In B. 183-187 we have the etymology of daisy, the declaration Edition: current; Page: [xxiv] that ‘she is the empress of flowers,’ and a prayer for her prosperity, i. e. for the prosperity of the queen.

In A. 103 (p. 73), the poet falls asleep and dreams. In his dream, he sees a lark (A. 141, p. 79) who introduces the God of Love. In the B-text, the dream is postponed till B. 210 (p. 79), and the lark is left out, as being unnecessary. This is a clear improvement.

An important change is made in the ‘Balade’ at pp. 83, 84. The refrain is altered from ‘Alceste is here’ to ‘My lady cometh.’ The reason is twofold. The poet wishes to suppress the name of Alcestis for the present, in order to introduce it as a surprise towards the end (B. 518)1; and secondly, the words ‘My lady cometh’ are used as being directly applicable to the queen, instead of being only applicable through the medium of allegory. Indeed, Chaucer takes good care to say so; for he inserts a passage to that effect (B. 271-5); where we may remember, by the way, that free means ‘bounteous’ in Middle English. We have a few additional lines of the same sort in B. 296-299.

On the other hand, Chaucer suppressed the long and interesting passage in A. 258-264, 267-287, 289-312, for no very obvious reason. But for the existence of MS. C., it would have been wholly lost to us, and the recovery of it is a clear gain. Most interesting of all is the allusion to Chaucer’s sixty books of his own, all full of love-stories and personages known to history, in which, for every bad woman, mention was duly made of a hundred good ones (A. 273-277, p. 88)2. Important also is his mention of some of his authors, such as Valerius, Livy, Claudian, Jerome, Ovid, and Vincent of Beauvais.

If, as we have seen, Alcestis in this Prologue really meant the queen, it should follow that the God of Love really meant the king. This is made clear in B. 373-408, especially in the comparison between a just king (such as Richard, of course) and the tyrants of Lombardy. In fact, in A. 360-364, Chaucer said Edition: current; Page: [xxv] a little too much about the duty of a king to hear the complaints and petitions of the people, and he very wisely omitted it in revision. In A. 355, he used the unlucky word ‘wilfulhed’ as an attribute of a Lombard tyrant; but as it was not wholly inapplicable to the king of England, he quietly suppressed it. But the comparison of the king to a lion, and of himself to a fly, was in excellent taste; so no alteration was needed here (p. 94).

In his enumeration of his former works (B. 417-430), he left out one work which he had previously mentioned (A. 414, 415, p. 96). This work is now lost1, and was probably omitted as being a mere translation, and of no great account. Perhaps the poet’s good sense told him that the original was a miserable production, as it must certainly be allowed to be, if we employ the word miserable with its literal meaning (see p. 307).

At pp. 103, 104, some lines are altered in A. (527-532) in order to get rid of the name of Alcestis here, and to bring in a more immediate reference to the Balade. Line B. 540 is especiall curious, because he had ot, in the first instance, forgotten to put her in his Balade (see A. 209); but he now wished to seem to have done so.

In B. 552-565, we have an interesting addition, in which Love charges him to put all the nineteen ladies, besides Alcestis, into his Legend; and tells him that he may choose his own metre (B. 562). Again, in B. 568-577, he practically stipulates that he is only to tell the more interesting part of each story, and to leave out whatever he should deem to be tedious. This proviso was eminently practical and judicious.

§ 4. The subject of the Legend. We learn, from B. 241, 283, that Chaucer saw in his vision Alcestis and nineteen other ladies, and from B. 557, that he was to commemorate them all in his Legend, beginning with Cleopatra (566) and ending with Alcestis (549, 550). As to the names of the nineteen, they are to be found in his Balade (555).

Upon turning to the Balade (p. 83), the names actually mentioned include some which are hardly admissible. For example, Absalom and Jonathan are names of men; Esther is hardly Edition: current; Page: [xxvi] a suitable subject, whilst Ysoult belongs to a romance of medieval times. (Cf. A. 275, p. 88.) The resulting practicable list is thus reduced to the following, viz. Penelope, Marcia, Helen, Lavinia, Lucretia, Polyxena, Cleopatra, Thisbe, Hero, Dido, Laodamia, Phyllis, Canace, Hypsipyle, Hypermnestra, and Ariadne. At the same time, we find legends of Medea and Philomela, though neither of these are mentioned in the Balade. It is of course intended that the Balade should give a representative list only, without being exactly accurate.

But we are next confronted by a most extraordinary piece of evidence, viz. that of Chaucer himself, when, at a later period, he wrote the Introduction to the Man of Lawes Prologue (see vol. iv. p. 131). He there expressly refers to his Legend of Good Women, which he is pleased to call ‘the Seintes Legende of Cupide,’ i. e. the Legend of Cupid’s Saints. And, in describing this former work of his, he introduces the following lines:—

  • ‘Ther may be seen the large woundes wyde
  • Of Lucresse, and of Babilan Tisbee;
  • The swerd of Dido for the false Enee;
  • The tree of Phillis for hir Demophon;
  • The pleinte of Dianire and Hermion,
  • Of Adriane and of Isiphilee;
  • The bareyne yle stonding in the see;
  • The dreynte Leander for his Erro;
  • The teres of Eleyne, and eek the wo
  • Of Brixseyde, and of thee, Ladomea;
  • The cruelte of thee, queen Medea,
  • Thy litel children hanging by the hals
  • For thy Iason, that was of love so fals!
  • O Ypermistra, Penelopee, Alceste,
  • Your wyfhod he comendeth with the beste!
  • But certeinly no word ne wryteth he
  • Of thilke wikke example of Canacee’; &c.

We can only suppose that he is referring to the contents of his work in quite general terms, with a passing reference to his vision of Alcestis and the nineteen ladies, and to those mentioned in his Balade. There is no reason for supposing that he ever wrote complete tales about Deianira, Hermione, Hero, Helen, Briseis, Laodamia, or Penelope, any more than he did about Alcestis. But it is highly probable that, just at the period of writing his Introduction to the Man of Lawes Prologue, he was seriously intending to take up again his ‘Legend,’ and was planning how to continue it. But he never did it.

Edition: current; Page: [xxvii]

On comparing these two lists, we find that the following names are common to both, viz. Penelope, Helen, Lucretia, Thisbe, Hero, Dido, Laodamia, Phyllis, Canace, Hypsipyle, Hypermnestra, Ariadne, and (in effect) Alcestis. The following occur in the Balade only, viz. Marcia, Lavinia, Polyxena, Cleopatra. And the following are mentioned in the above-quoted passage only, viz. Deianira, Hermione, Briseis, Medea. We further know that he actually wrote the Legend of Philomela, though it is in neither of the above lists; whilst the story of Canace was expressly rejected. Combining our information, and rearranging it, we see that his intention was to write nineteen Legends, descriptive of twenty women, viz. Alcestis and nineteen others; the number of Legends being reduced by one owing to the treatment of the stories of Medea and Hypsipyle under one narrative. Putting aside Alcestis, whose Legend was to come last, the nineteen women can be made up as follows:—

1. Cleopatra. 2. Thisbe. 3. Dido. 4 and 5. Hypsipyle and Medea. 6. Lucretia. 7. Ariadne. 8. Philomela. 9. Phyllis. 10. Hypermnestra (all of which are extant). Next come—11. Penelope: 12. Helen: 13. Hero: 14. Laodamia (all mentioned in both lists). 15. Lavinia: 16. Polyxena1 (mentioned in the Balade). 17. Deianira: 18. Hermione: 19. Briseis (in the Introduction to the Man of Lawe).

This conjectural list is sufficient to elucidate Chaucer’s plan fully, and agrees with that given in the note to l. 61 of the Introduction to the Man of Lawes Tale, in vol. v.

If we next enquire how such lists of ‘martyred’ women came to be suggested to Chaucer, we may feel sure that he was thinking of Boccaccio’s book entitled De Claris Mulieribus, and of Ovid’s Heroides. Boccaccio’s book contains 105 tales of Illustrious Women, briefly told in Latin prose. Chaucer seems to have partially imitated from it the title of his poem—‘The Legend of Good Women’; and he doubtless consulted it for his purpose. But he took care to consult other sources also, in order to be able to give the tales at greater length, so that the traces of his debt to the above work by Boccaccio are very slight.

We must not, however, omit to take notice that, whilst Chaucer Edition: current; Page: [xxviii] owes but little to Boccaccio as regards his subject-matter, it was from him, in particular, that he took his general plan. This is well shewn in the excellent and careful essay by M. Bech, printed in ‘Anglia,’ vol. v. pp. 313-382, with the title—‘Quellen und Plan der Legende of Goode Women und ihr Verhältniss zur Confessio Amantis.’ At p. 381, Bech compares Chaucer’s work with Boccaccio’s, and finds the following points of resemblance.

1. Both works treat exclusively of women; one of them speaks particularly of ‘Gode Women,’ whilst the other is written ‘De Claris Mulieribus.’

2. Both works relate chiefly to tales of olden time.

3. In both, the tales follow each other without any intermediate matter.

4. Both are compacted into a whole by means of an introductory Prologue.

5. Both writers wish to dedicate their works to a queen, but effect this modestly and indirectly. Boccaccio addresses his Prologue to a countess, telling her that he wishes to dedicate his book to Joanna, queen of Jerusalem and Sicily; whilst Chaucer veils his address to queen Anne under the guise of allegory.

6. Both record the fact of their writing in a time of comparative leisure. Boccaccio uses the words: ‘paululum ab inerti uulgo semotus et a ceteris fere solutus curis.’

7. Had Chaucer finished his work, his last Legend would have related to Alcestis, i. e. to the queen herself. Boccaccio actually concludes his work with a chapter ‘De Iohanna Hierusalem et Sicilie regina.’

See further in Bech, who quotes Boccaccio’s ‘Prologue’ in full.

To this comparison should be added (as Bech remarks) an accidental coincidence which is even more striking, viz. that the work ‘De Claris Mulieribus’ bears much the same relation to the more famous one entitled ‘Il Decamerone,’ that the Legend of Good Women does to the Canterbury Tales.

Boccaccio has all of Chaucer’s finished tales, except those of Ariadne, Philomela, and Phyllis1; he also gives the stories of some whom Chaucer only mentions, such as the stories of Deianira Edition: current; Page: [xxix] (cap. 22), Polyxena (cap. 31), Helena (cap. 35), Penelope (cap. 38); and others. To Ovid our author is much more indebted, and frequently translates passages from his Heroides (or Epistles) and from the Metamorphoses. The former of these works contains the Epistles of Phyllis, Hypsipyle, Medea, Dido, Ariadne, and Hypermnestra, whose stories Chaucer relates, as well as the letters of most of those whom Chaucer merely mentions, viz. of Penelope, Briseis, Hermione, Deianira, Laodamia, Helena, and Hero. It is evident that our poet was chiefly guided by Ovid in selecting stories from the much larger collection in Boccaccio. At the same time it is remarkable that neither Boccaccio (in the above work) nor Ovid gives the story of Alcestis, and it is not quite certain whence Chaucer obtained it. It is briefly told in the 51st of the Fabulae of Hyginus, but it is much more likely that Chaucer borrowed it from another work by Boccaccio, entitled De Genealogia Deorum1, where it appears amongst the fifty-one labours of Hercules, in the following words:—

‘Alcestem Admeti regis Thessaliae coniugem retraxit [Hercules] ad uirum. Dicunt enim, quod cum infirmaretur Admetus, implorassetque Apollinis auxilium, sibi ab Apolline dictum mortem euadere non posse, nisi illam aliquis ex affinibus atque necessariis subiret. Quod cum audisset Alcestis coniunx, non dubitauit suam pro salute uiri concedere, et sic ea mortua Admetus liberatus est, qui plurimum uxori compatiens Herculem orauit, vt ad inferos uadens illius animam reuocaret ad superos, quod et factum est.’—Lib. xiii. c. 1 (ed. 1532).

§ 5. The Daisy. To this story Chaucer has added a pretty addition of his own invention, that this heroine was finally transformed into a daisy. The idea of choosing this flower as the emblem of perfect wifehood was certainly a happy one, and has often been admired. It is first alluded to by Lydgate, in a Poem against Self-Love (see Lydgate’s Minor Poems, ed. Halliwell, p. 161):—

  • ‘Alcestis flower, with white, with red and greene,
  • Displaieth hir crown geyn Phebus bemys brihte.’

And again, in the same author’s Temple of Glas, ll. 71-74:—

  • ‘I mene Alceste, the noble trewe wyf . . .
  • Hou she was turned to a dayesye.’
Edition: current; Page: [xxx]

The anonymous author of the Court of Love seized upon the same fancy to adorn his description of the Castle of Love, which, as he tells us, was—

  • ‘With-in and oute depeinted wonderly
  • With many a thousand daisy[es] rede as rose
  • And white also, this sawe I verely.
  • But what tho deis[y]es might do signifye
  • Can I not tel, saufe that the quenes floure,
  • Alceste, it was, that kept ther her soioure,
  • Which vnder Uenus lady was and quene,
  • And Admete kyng and souerain of that place,
  • To whom obeied the ladies good ninetene,
  • With many a thousand other bright of face1.’

The mention of ‘the ladies good ninetene’ at once shews us whence this mention of Alcestis was borrowed.

In a modern book entitled Flora Historica, by Henry Phillips, 2nd ed. i. 42, we are gravely told that ‘fabulous history informs us that this plant [the daisy] is called Bellis because it owes its origin to Belides, a granddaughter of Danaus, and one of the nymphs called Dryads, that presided over the meadows and pastures in ancient times. Belides is said to have encouraged the suit of Ephigenus, but whilst dancing on the green with this rural deity she attracted the admiration of Vertumnus, who, just as he was about to seize her in his embrace, saw her transformed into the humble plant that now bears her name.’ It is clear that the concocter of this stupid story was not aware that Belides is a plural substantive, being the collective name of the fifty daughters of Danaus, who are here rolled into one in order to be transformed into a single daisy; and all because the words bellis and Belides happen to begin with the same three letters! It may also be noticed that ‘in ancient times’ the business of the Dryads was to preside over trees rather than ‘over meadows and pastures.’ Who the ‘rural deity’ was who is here named ‘Ephigeus’ I neither know nor care. But it is curious to observe the degeneracy of the story for which Chaucer was (in my belief) originally responsible2. See Notes and Queries, 7th S. vi. 186, 309.

Edition: current; Page: [xxxi]

Of course it is easy to see that this invention on the part of Chaucer is imitated from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, where Clytie becomes a sun-flower, Daphne a laurel, and Narcissus, Crocus, and Hyacinthus become, respectively, a narcissus, a crocus, and a hyacinth. At the same time, Chaucer’s attention may have been directed to the daisy in particular, as Tyrwhitt long ago pointed out, by a perusal of such poems as Le Dit de la fleur de lis et de la Marguerite, by Guillaume de Machault (printed in Tarbe’s edition, 1849, p. 123), and Le Dittié de la flour de la Margherite, by Froissart (printed in Bartsch’s Chrestomathie de l’ancien Français, 1875, p. 422); see Introduction to Chaucer’s Minor Poems, in vol. i. p. 36. In particular, we may well compare lines 42, 48, 49, 60-63 of our B-text with Machault’s Dit de la Marguerite (ed. Tarbé, p. 123):—

  • ‘J’aim une fleur, qui s’uevre et qui s’encline
  • Vers le soleil, de jour quant il chemine;
  • Et quant il est couchiez soubz sa courtine
  • Par nuit obscure,
  • Elle se clost, ainsois que li jours fine.’

And again, we may compare ll. 53-55 with the lines in Machault that immediately follow, viz.

  • ‘Toutes passe, ce mest vis, en coulour,
  • Et toutes ha surmonté de douçour;
  • Ne comparer
  • Ne se porroit nulle à li de coulour’: &c.1

The resemblance is, I think, too close to be accidental.

We may also compare (though the resemblance is less striking) ll. 40-57 of the B-text of the Prologue (pp. 68, 69) with ll. 22-30 of Froissart’s poem on the Daisy:—

  • ‘Son doulç vëoir grandement me proufite,
  • et pour ce est dedens mon coer escripte
  • si plainnement
  • que nuit et jour en pensant ie recite
  • Edition: current; Page: [xxxii]
  • les grans vertus de quoi elle est confite,
  • et di ensi: “la heure soit benite
  • quant pour moi ai tele flourette eslite,
  • qui de bonté et de beauté est dite
  • la souveraine,” ’ &c.

At l. 68 of the same poem, as pointed out by M. Sandras (Étude sur G. Chaucer, 1859, p. 58), and more clearly by Bech (Anglia, v. 363),) we have a story of a woman named Herés—‘une pucelle [qui] ama tant son mari’—whose tears, shed for the loss of her husband Cephëy, were turned by Jupiter into daisies as they fell upon the green turf. There they were discovered, one January, by Mercury, who formed a garland of them, which he sent by a messenger named Lirés to Serés (Ceres). Ceres was so pleased by the gift that she caused Lirés to be beloved, which he had never been before.

This mention of Ceres doubtless suggested Chaucer’s mention of Cibella (Cybele) in B. 531. In fact, Chaucer first transforms Alcestis herself into a daisy (B. 512); but afterwards tells us that Jupiter changed her into a constellation (B. 525), whilst Cybele made the daisies spring up ‘in remembrance and honour’ of her. The clue seems to be in the name Cephëy, representing Cephei, gen. case of Cepheus. He was a king of Ethiopia, husband of Cassiope, father of Andromeda, and father-in-law of Perseus. They were all four ‘stellified,’ and four constellations bear their names even to the present day. According to the old mythology, it was not Alcestis, but Cassiope, who was said to be ‘stellified1.’ The whole matter is thus sufficiently illustrated.

§ 6. Agaton. This is, perhaps, the most convenient place for explaining who is meant by Agaton (B. 526). The solution of this difficult problem was first given by Cary, in his translation of Dante’s Purgatorio, canto xxii. l. 106, where the original has Agatone. Cary first quotes Chaucer, and then the opinion of Tyrwhitt, that there seems to be no reference to ‘any of the Agathoes of antiquity,’ and adds: ‘I am inclined to believe that Chaucer must have meant Agatho, the dramatic writer, whose name, at least, appears to have been familiar in the Middle Ages; for, besides the mention of him in the text, he is quoted by Dante in the Treatise de Monarchia, lib. iii. “Deus per nuncium facere Edition: current; Page: [xxxiii] non potest, genita non esse genita, iuxta sententiam Agathonis.” ’ The original is to be found in Aristotle, Ethic. Nicom. lib. vi. c. 2:—

  • Μόνου γὰρ αὐτου̑ καὶ θεὸς στερίσκεται
  • Ἀγένητα ποιει̑ν ἅσσ’ ἂν ᾐ̑ πεπραγμένα.

Agatho is mentioned by Xenophon in his Symposium, by Plato in the Protagoras, and in the Banquet, a favourite book with our author [Dante], and by Aristotle in his Art of Poetry, where the following remarkable passage occurs concerning him, from which I will leave it to the reader to decide whether it is possible that the allusion in Chaucer might have arisen: ἐν ἐνίαις μὲν ἓν ἢ δύο τω̑ν γνωρίμων ἐστὶν ὀνομάτων, τὰ δὲ ἄλλα πεποιημένα· ἐν ἐνίαις δὲ οὐθέν· οἱ̑ον ἐν τῳ̑ Ἀγάθωνος Ἄνθει. ὁμοίως γὰρ ἐν τούτῳ τά τε πράγματα καὶ τὰ ὀνόματα πεποίηται, καὶ οὐδὲν ἡ̑ττον εὐϕραίνει. Edit. 1794, p. 33. “There are, however, some tragedies, in which one or two of the names are historical, and the rest feigned; there are even some, in which none of the names are historical; such is Agatho’s tragedy called ‘The Flower’; for in that all is invention, both incidents and names; and yet it pleases.” Aristotle’s Treatise on Poetry, by Thos. Twining, 8vo. edit. 1812, vol. i. p. 128.’

The peculiar spelling Agaton renders it highly probable that Chaucer took the name from Dante (Purg. xxii. 106), but this does not wholly suffice1. Accordingly, Bech suggests that he may also have noticed the name in the Saturnalia of Macrobius, an author whose Somnium Scipionis Chaucer certainly consulted (Book Duch. 284; Parl. Foules, 111). In this work Macrobius mentions, incidentally, both Alcestis (lib. v. c. 19) and Agatho (lib. ii. c. 1), and Chaucer may have observed the names there, though he obtained no particular information about them. Froissart (as Bech bids us remark), in his poem on the Daisy, has the lines:—

  • ‘Mercurius, ce dist li escripture,
  • trouva premier
  • la belle flour que j’ainc oultre mesure,’ &c.

The remark—‘ce dist li escripture,’ ‘as the book says’—may Edition: current; Page: [xxxiv] well have suggested to Chaucer that he ought to give some authority for his story, and the name of Agatho (of whom he probably knew nothing more than the name) served his turn as well as another. His easy way of citing authors is probably, at times, humorously assumed; and such may be the explanation of his famous ‘Lollius.’ It is quite useless to make any further search.

I may add that this Agatho, or Agathon (Ἀγάθων), was an Athenian tragic poet, and a friend of Euripides and Plato. He was born about bc 447, and died about bc 400.

Lounsbury (Studies in Chaucer, ii. 402) rejects this explanation; but it is not likely that we shall ever meet with a better one.

§ 7. Chief Sources of the Legend. The more obvious sources of the various tales have frequently been pointed out. Thus Prof. Morley, in his English Writers, v. 241 (1890), says that Thisbe is from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, iv. 55-166; Dido, from Vergil and Ovid’s Heroides, Ep. vii; Hypsipyle and Medea from Ovid (Met. vii., Her. Ep. vi, xii); Lucretia from Ovid (Fasti, ii. 721) and Livy (Hist. i. 57); Ariadne and Philomela from Ovid (Met. viii. 152, vi. 412-676), and Phyllis and Hypermnestra also from Ovid (Her. Ep. ii. and Ep. xiv). He also notes the allusion to St. Augustine (De Civitate Dei, cap. xix.) in l. 1690, and observes that all the tales, except those of Ariadne and Phyllis1, are in Boccaccio’s De Claris Mulieribus. But it is possible to examine them a little more closely, and to obtain further light upon at least a few other points. It will be most convenient to take each piece in its order. For some of my information, I am indebted to the essay by Bech, above mentioned (p. xxviii).

§ 8. Prologue. Original. Besides mere passing allusions, we find references to the story of Alcestis, queen of Thrace (4322, 518). As she is not mentioned in Boccaccio’s book De Claris Mulieribus, and Ovid nowhere mentions her name, and only alludes in passing to the ‘wife of Admetus’ in two passages (Ex Ponto, iii. 1. 106; Trist. v. 14. 37), it is tolerably certain that Chaucer must have read her story either in Boccaccio’s book De Genealogia Deorum, lib. xiii. c. 1 (see p. xxix), or in the Fables of Hyginus (Fab. 51). A large number of the names Edition: current; Page: [xxxv] mentioned in the Balade (249) were suggested either by Boccaccio’s De Claris Mulieribus, or by Ovid’s Heroides; probably, by both of these works. We may here also note that the Fables of Hyginus very briefly give the stories of Jason and Medea (capp. 24, 25); Theseus and Ariadne (capp. 41-43); Philomela (cap. 45); Alcestis (cap. 51); Phyllis (cap. 59); Laodamia (cap. 104); Polyxena (cap. 110); Hypermnestra (cap. 168); Nisus and Scylla (cap. 198; cf. ll. 1904-1920); Penelope (cap. 126); and Helena (capp. 78, 92). The probability that Chaucer consulted Machault’s and Froissart’s poems has already been discussed; see p. xxxi.

It is interesting to note that Chaucer had already praised many of his Good Women in previous poems. Compare such passages as the following:—

  • ‘Of Medea and of Iason,
  • Of Paris, Eleyne, and Lavyne.’
  • Book of the Duch. 330.
  • ‘By as good right as Medea was,
  • That slow her children for Iason;
  • And Phyllis als for Demophon
  • Heng hir-self, so weylaway!
  • For he had broke his terme-day
  • To come to her. Another rage
  • Had Dydo, quene eek of Cartage,
  • That slow hir-self, for Eneas
  • Was fals; a! whiche a fool she was!’
  • Id. 726.
  • —‘as moche debonairtee
  • As ever had Hester in the bible.’
  • Id. 986.
  • ‘For love of hir, Polixena— . .
  • She was as good, so have I reste,
  • As ever Penelope of Greece,
  • Or as the noble wyf Lucrece,
  • That was the beste—he telleth thus,
  • The Romain, Tytus Livius.’
  • Id. 1071, 1080.
  • ‘She passed hath Penelope and Lucresse.’
  • Anelida; 82.
  • ‘Biblis, Dido, Tisbe and Piramus,
  • Tristram, Isoude, Paris, and Achilles,
  • Eleyne, Cleopatre, and Troilus.’
  • Parlement of Foules; 289
  • ‘But al the maner how she [Dido] deyde,
  • And al the wordes that she seyde,
  • Who-so to knowe hit hath purpos,
  • Reed Virgile in Eneidos
  • Edition: current; Page: [xxxvi]
  • Or the Epistle of Ovyde,
  • What that she wroot or that she dyde;
  • And, nere hit to long to endyte,
  • By god, I wolde hit here wryte.’
  • House of Fame; 375.

The last quotation proves clearly, that Chaucer was already meditating a new version of the Legend of Dido, to be made up from the Æneid and the Heroides, whilst still engaged upon the House of Fame (which actually gives this story at considerable length, viz. in ll. 140-382); and consequently, that the Legend of Good Women succeeded the House of Fame by a very short interval. But this is not all; for only a few lines further on we find the following passage:—

  • ‘Lo, Demophon, duk of Athenis,
  • How he forswor him ful falsly,
  • And trayed Phillis wikkedly,
  • That kinges doghter was of Trace,
  • And falsly gan his terme pace;
  • And when she wiste that he was fals,
  • She heng hir-self right by the hals,
  • For he had do hir swich untrouthe;
  • Lo! was not this a wo and routhe?
  • Eek lo! how fals and reccheles
  • Was to Briseida Achilles,
  • And Paris to Oënone;
  • And Iason to Isiphile;
  • And eft Iason to Medea;
  • And Ercules to Dyanira;
  • For he lefte hir for Iöle,
  • That made him cacche his deeth, parde!
  • How fals eek was he, Theseus;
  • That, as the story telleth us,
  • How he betrayed Adriane;
  • The devel be his soules bane1!
  • For had he laughed, had he loured,
  • He mostë have be al devoured,
  • If Adriane ne had y-be2!’
  • &c. Id. 387.

Here we already have an outline of the Legend of Phyllis; a reference to Briseis; to Jason, Hypsipyle, Medea, and to Deianira; a sufficient sketch of the Legend of Ariadne; and another version of the Legend of Dido.

We trace a lingering influence upon Chaucer of the Roman de la Rose; see notes to ll. 125, 128, 171. Dante is both quoted Edition: current; Page: [xxxvii] and mentioned by name; ll. 357-360. Various other allusions are pointed out in the Notes.

In ll. 280, 281, 284, 305-308 of the A-text of the Prologue (pp. 89, 90), Chaucer refers us to several authors, but not necessarily in connexion with the present work. Yet he actually makes use (at second-hand) of Titus (i. e. Livy, l. 1683), and also further of the ‘epistles of Ovyde.’ He takes occasion to refer to his own translation of the Roman de la Rose (B. ll. 329, 441, 470), and to his Troilus (ll. 332, 441, 469); besides enumerating many of his poems (417-428).

I. The Legend of Cleopatra. The source of this legend is by no means clear. As Bech points out, some expressions shew that one of the sources was the Epitome Rerum Romanarum of L. Annæus Florus, lib. iv. c. 11; see notes to ll. 655, 662, 679. No doubt Chaucer also consulted Boccaccio’s De Claris Mulieribus, cap. 86, though he makes no special use of the account there given. The story is also in the history of Orosius, bk. iv. c. 19; see Sweet’s edition of King Alfred’s Orosius, p. 247. Besides which, I think he may have had access to a Latin translation of Plutarch, or of excerpts from the same; see the notes.

It is worth while to note here that Gower (ed. Pauli, iii. 361) has the following lines:—

  • ‘I sigh [saw] also the woful quene
  • Cleopatras, which in a cave
  • With serpents hath her-self begrave
  • Al quik, and so was she to-tore,
  • For sorwe of that she hadde lore
  • Antonie, which her love hath be.
  • And forth with her I sigh Thisbe’; &c.

It is clear that he here refers to Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women, because he actually repeats Chaucer’s very peculiar account of the manner of Cleopatra’s death. See § 9, p. xl. Compare L. G. W. ll. 695-697; and note that, both in Chaucer and Gower, the Legend of Thisbe follows that of Cleopatra; whilst the Legend of Philomela immediately follows that of Ariadne. This is more than mere coincidence. See Bech’s essay; Anglia, v. 365.

II. The Legend of Thisbe. This is from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, iv. 55-166, and from no other source. Some of the lines are closely translated, but in other places the phraseology is entirely recast. The free manner in which Chaucer treats Edition: current; Page: [xxxviii] his original is worthy of study; see, as to this, the excellent criticism of Ten Brink, in his Geschichte der Englischen Litteratur; ii. 117. Most noteworthy of all is his suppression of the mythological element. The story gains in pathos in a high degree by the omission of the mulberry-tree, the colour of the fruit of which was changed from white to black by the blood of Pyramus; see note to l. 851. This is the more remarkable, because it was just for the sake of this very metamorphosis that Ovid admitted the tale into his series. See also notes to ll. 745, 784, 797, 798, 814, 835, 869, &c.; and cf. Gower’s Confessio Amantis, ed. Pauli, i. 324.

III. The Legend of Dido. Chiefly from Vergil’s Aeneid, books i-iv. (see note to l. 928, and compare the notes throughout); but ll. 1355-1365 are from Ovid’s Heroides, vii. 1-8, quoted at length in the note to l. 1355. And see, particularly, the House of Fame, ll. 140-382. Cf. Gower, C. A. ii. 4-61.

IV. The Legends of Hypsipyle and Medea. The sources mentioned by Morley are Ovid’s Metamorphoses, bk. vii., and Heroides, epist. vi.; to which we must add Heroides, epist. xii. But this omits a much more important source, to which Chaucer expressly refers. In l. 1396, all previous editions have the following reading—‘In Tessalye, as Ovyde telleth us’; but four important MSS. read Guido for Ovyde, and they are quite right2. The false reading Ovyde is the more remarkable, because all the MSS. have the reading Guido in l. 1464, where a change would have destroyed the rime. As a matter of fact, ll. 1396-1461 are from Guido delle Colonne’s Historia Troiana, book i. (see notes to ll. 1396, 1463); and ll. 1580-3, 1589-1655 are also from the same, book ii. (see notes to ll. 1580, 1590). Another source which Chaucer may have consulted, though he made but little use of it, was the first and second books of the Argonautica of Valerius Flaccus, expressly mentioned in l. 1457 (see notes to ll. 1457, 1469, 1479, 1509, 1558)3. The use made of Ovid, Met. vii., Edition: current; Page: [xxxix] is extremely slight (see note to l. 1661). As to Ovid, Her. vii., xii., see notes to ll. 1564, 1670. The net result is that Guido is a far more important source of this Legend than all the passages from Ovid put together. Chaucer also doubtless consulted the fifth book of the Thebaid of his favourite author Statius; see notes to ll. 1457, 1467. Perhaps he also consulted Hyginus, whose 14th Fable gives the long list of the Argonauts, and the 15th, a sketch of the story of Hypsipyle. Compare also Boccaccio, De Claris Mulieribus, capp. 15, 16; and the same, De Genealogia Deorum, lib. xiii. c. 26. Observe also that Gower gives the story of Medea, and expressly states that the tale ‘is in the boke of Troie write,’ i. e. in Guido. See Pauli’s edition, ii. 236.

V. The Legend of Lucretia. Chaucer refers to Livy’s History (bk. i. capp. 57-59); and to Ovid (Fasti, ii. 721-852). With a few exceptions, the Legend follows the latter source. He also refers to St. Augustine; see note to l. 16901. Cf. Boccaccio, De Claris Mulieribus, cap. 46, who follows Livy. Several touches are Chaucer’s own; see notes to ll. 1812, 1838, 1861, 1871, 1881.

Gower has the same story (iii. 251), and likewise follows Ovid and Livy.

VI. The Legend of Ariadne. From Ovid, Met. vii. 456-8, viii. 6-182; Her. Epist. x. (chiefly 1-74); cf. Fasti, iii. 461-516. But Chaucer consulted other sources also, probably a Latin translation of Plutarch’s Life of Theseus; Boccaccio, De Genealogia Deorum, lib. xi. capp. 27, 29, 30; also Vergil, Aen. vi. 20-30; and perhaps Hyginus, Fabulae, capp. 41-43. Cf. House of Fame, 405-426; and Gower, ii. 3022.

VII. The Legend of Philomela. Chiefly from Ovid, Met. vi. 424-605; and perhaps from no other source, though the use of the word radevore in l. 2352 is yet to be accounted for. Cf. Boccaccio, De Genealogia Deorum, lib. ix. c. 8; and Gower, Conf. Amantis, ii. 313, who refers us to Ovid.

VIII. The Legend of Phyllis. Chiefly from Ovid, Her. Edition: current; Page: [xl] Epist. ii.; cf. Remedia Amoris, 591-608. But a comparison with the story as told by Gower (C. A. ii. 26) shews that both poets consulted some further source, which I cannot trace. The tale is told by Hyginus (Fab. capp. 59, 243) and Boccaccio in a few lines. Cf. House of Fame, 388-396. A few lines are from Vergil, Æn. i. 85-102, 142; iv. 373. And see notes to Lydgate’s Temple of Glas, ed. Schick, p. 75.

IX. The Legend of Hypermnestra. Chiefly from Ovid, Her. Epist. xiv. But Ovid calls her husband Lynceus, whereas Chaucer calls him Lino. Again, Ovid does not give the name of Lynceus’ father. Chaucer not only transposes the names of the two fathers1, but calls Ægyptus by the name of Egiste or Egistes. Hence we see that he also consulted Boccaccio, De Genealogia Deorum, lib. ii. c. 22, where we find the following account: ‘Danaus Beli Prisci fuit filius, ut asserit Paulus2, et illud idem affirmat Lactantius, qui etiam et ante Paulum Orosium, dicit Danaum Beli filium ex pluribus coniugibus .l. filias habuisse, quas cum Ægistus frater eius, cui totidem erant melioris sexus filii, postulasset in nurus, Danaus oraculi responso comperto se manibus generi moriturum, uolens euitare periculum, conscensis nauibus in Argos uenit . . . . Ægistus autem, quod spretus esset indignans, ut illum sequerentur filiis imperauit, lege data ut nunquam domum repeterent, ni prius Danaum occidissent. Qui cum apud Argos oppugnarent patruum, ab eo diffidente fraude capti sunt. Spopondit enim se illis iuxta Ægisti uotum filias daturum in coniuges, nec defuit promisso fides. Subornatae enim a patre uirorum intrauere thalamos singulis cultris clam armatae omnes, et cum uino laetitiaque calentes iuuenes facile in soporem iuissent, obedientes patri uirgines, captato tempore iugulauerunt uiros, unaquaeque suum, Hypermestra excepta, quae Lino seu Linceo uiro suo miserta pepercit.’ We may note, by the way, that Chaucer’s spelling Hypermistre is nearer to Boccaccio’s Hypermestra than to the form in Ovid.

§ 9. Gower’s Confessio Amantis. The relationship of Edition: current; Page: [xli] Gower’s Confessio Amantis to Chaucer’s Legend has been investigated by Bech; in Anglia, v. 365-371. His conclusion is, that the passages in Gower which resemble Chaucer are only three at most; and I am here concerned to shew that, in two of these, the supposed resemblance is delusive.

1. In Gower’s introduction, at the very beginning, ed. Pauli, i. 4, we are told that, but for books, the renown of many excellent people would be lost. This seems to be copied from Chaucer’s Prologue to the Legend, ll. 17-28. I have no doubt that such is the case; but we must be careful to remember that these lines by Gower form part of the prologue to his second edition, and were not written till 1393; by which time Chaucer’s lines were common property, and could be imitated by any one who chose to do it; so we really learn nothing at all from this comparison.

2. In Gower, i. 45-48, there is a passage which bears some resemblance to Chaucer’s Prologue to the Legend. But if it be considered impartially, I believe it will be found that the resemblance is too vague to be of any value, and cannot be relied upon. We really must not set much store by such generalities as the mention of the month of May; the address of the poet to Cupid and Venus; the wrathful aspect of Cupid; and the graciousness of Venus, who bids him disclose his malady and shrive himself. If Gower could not ‘invent’ such common poetical talk, he had small business to write at all. I would rather conclude, that Gower had no opportunity of seeing Chaucer’s poem till somewhat later; for it is a striking fact, that, whereas Gower seized the opportunity of copying some of Chaucer’s phrases in the Tale of Constance (see this discussed at p. 415), he tells several of Chaucer’s Legends, such as those of Thisbe, Dido, Medea, Lucrece, Ariadne, Philomela, and Phyllis in a wholly independent manner; and, when telling the tale of Alcestis (iii. 149), he had no idea that she was ever transformed into a daisy. Moreover, if he had been able to refer to the Legend, l. 1355-6, he would hardly have translated ‘Maeandri’ by ‘king Menander’ (ii. 5).

Without hesitation, I dismiss these alleged resemblances as trifling, and the deduction from them as misleading.

3. But when we come to the very end of Gower’s work (iii. 357-367), the case is entirely altered, and the resemblances are striking and irrefragable. This is best seen by comparing the whole passage. Gower is in the midst of lamenting his old age, Edition: current; Page: [xlii] a subject to which he afterwards returns, when he suddenly introduces a digression, in which he sees

    • ‘Cupide with his bowe bent;
    • And, like unto a parlement
    • Which were ordeined for the nones,
    • With him cam al the world atones
    • Of gentil folk, that whilom were
    • Lovers; I sigh hem alle there’ . . .
    • ‘Garlondes, nought of o colour,
    • Some of the lefe, som of the flour,
    • And some of grete perles were.’

After which we are introduced to Tristram and Isolde, Jason and Hercules, Theseus and Phedra, Troilus and Criseide and Diomede, Pyramus, Dido, Phyllis, Adriane, Cleopatra, Tisbe, Progne and Philomene and Tereus, Lucrece, Alcestis; and even Ceyx and Alcyone (cf. Chaucer’s youthful poem). The matter is put beyond doubt by Gower’s adoption of Chaucer’s peculiar account of Cleopatra’s death, as already noted above; see p. xxxvii.

The conclusion to be drawn from these facts is obvious. We see that, in the year 1385, Gower had almost completed his long poem, and communicated the fact to his friend Chaucer; and Chaucer, in return, told him of the new poem (the Legend) upon which he was then himself engaged, so planned as to contain nineteen tales or sections, and likely to extend to some 6,000 lines. Moreover, it was written in a new metre, such as no Englishman had ever employed before. Gower was allowed to see the MS. and to read a considerable portion of it. He was so struck with it as to make room for some remarks about it; and even went out of his way to introduce a personal reference to his friend. He makes Venus say to himself (iii. 374):—

  • ‘And grete wel Chaucer, whan ye mete,
  • As my disciple and my poete . . .
  • Forthy now, in his dayes olde1,
  • Thou shalt telle him this message,
  • That he, upon his later age1,
  • Edition: current; Page: [xliii]
  • To sette an ende of alle his werke,
  • As he, which is myn owne clerke,
  • Do make his testament of love,
  • (As thou hast do thy shrift above),
  • So that my court it may recorde.’

That is to say, Chaucer, being the poet of Venus, is to make his testament of love, or final declaration concerning love, in a form suitable for being recorded in the court of the goddess. This ‘testament’ is, of course, the Legend of Good Women, in which the martyrs of love are duly recorded; and their stories, written at the command of Cupid and by way of penance for what he had missaid against women, were to be placed to the good side of the author’s account with Venus and her son. Moreover, they were finally to be sent in to the visible representative of the court of Love, viz. to the queen of England and her court.

It is interesting to observe that Gower, like Chaucer himself at the moment, regarded this poem as the crowning effort of Chaucer’s poetical career. Neither of them had, at the time, any suspicion that Chaucer would, after all, ‘sette an ende of alle his werke’ in a very different manner. We may thus confidently date the first edition of Gower’s Confessio Amantis in the year 1385, before the Legend of Hypermnestra was abandoned in the middle of a sentence. The date of the second edition of the same is 1393; and it is a great help to have these dates thus settled.

§ 10. Metre. The most interesting point about this poem is that it is the first of the ‘third period’ of Chaucer’s literary work. Here, for the first time, he writes a series of tales, to which he prefixes a prologue; he adopts a new style, in which he seeks to delineate characters; and, at the same time, he introduces a new metre, previously unknown to English writers, but now famous as ‘the heroic couplet.’ In all these respects, the Legend is evidently the forerunner of the Canterbury Tales, and we see how he was gradually, yet unconsciously, preparing himself for that supreme work. In two notable respects, as Ten Brink remarks, the Legend is inferior to the Tales. The various legends composing it are merely grouped together, not joined by connecting links which afford an agreeable relief. And again, the Prologue to the Legend is mere allegory, whilst the famous Prologue to the Tales is full of real life and dramatic sketches of character.

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Chaucer had already introduced the seven-line stanza, unknown to his predecessors—the earliest example being the Compleint unto Pite—as well as the eight-line stanza, employed in his earliest extant poem, the A. B. C. For the hint as to this form of verse, he was doubtless indebted in the first instance to French poets, such as Guillaume de Machault, though he afterwards conformed his lines, as regarded their cadence and general laws, to those of Boccaccio and Dante1.

The idea of the heroic couplet was also, I suppose, taken from French; we find it in a Complainte written by Machault about 1356-8 (see below, p. 383); but here, again, Chaucer’s melody has rather the Italian than the French character. The lines in Froissart’s poem on the Daisy (p. xxxi) are of the same length, but rime together in groups of seven lines at a time, separated by short lines having two accents only. Boccaccio’s favourite stanza in the Teseide, known as the ottava rima, ends with two lines that form an heroic couplet2.

§ 11. ‘Clipped’ Lines. It ought to be clearly understood that the introduction of the new metre was quite an experiment, for which Chaucer himself offers some apology when he makes the God of Love say expressly: ‘Make the metres of hem as thee leste’ (l. 562). Hence it was that he introduced into the line a variety which is now held to be inadmissible; though we must not forget that even so great a master of melody as Tennyson, after beginning his ‘Vision of Sin’ with lines of normal length, begins the second portion of it with the lines:—

  • ‘Then methought I heard a hollow sound
  • Gathering up from all the lower ground;
  • Narrowing in to where they sat assembled,
  • Low voluptuous music winding trembled,’ &c.
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It is precisely this variation that Chaucer sometimes allowed himself, and it is easy to see how it came to pass.

In lines of a shorter type we constantly find a similar variation. There are a large number of ‘clipped’ lines in the House of Fame. Practically, their first foot consists of a single syllable, and they may be scanned accordingly, by marking off that syllable at the beginning. Thus, ll. 2117-2120 run thus:—

  • ‘And leet | hem gon. Ther might’ I seen
  • Weng | ed wondres faste fleen,
  • Twent | ty thousand in a route,
  • As E | olus hem blew aboute.’

This variation is still admissible, and is, of course, common enough in such poems as Milton’s L’Allegro and Il Penseroso. It is considered a beauty.

The introduction of two more syllables in lines of the above type gives us a similar variation in the longer line. If, for example, after the word thousand in the third of the above lines, we introduce the word freres (dissyllabic), we obtain the line:—

  • ‘Twen | ty thousand freres in a route.’

It is a remarkable fact, that this very line actually occurs in the Canterbury Tales (Group D, 1695); as I have pointed out in the note to l. 2119 of the House of Fame, at p. 286 below. Persistent efforts have often been made to deny this fact, to declare it ‘impossible,’ and to deride me for having pointed it out (as I did in 1866, in Morris’s edition of Chaucer, i. 174); but I believe that the fact is now pretty generally admitted. It is none the less necessary to say here, that there is rather a large number of such lines in the Legend of Good Women; precisely as we might expect to find in a metre which was, in fact, a new experiment. As it is advisable to present the evidence rather fully, I here cite several of these lines, marking off the first syllable in the right way:—

  • ‘That | of all’ the flour-es in the med-e’; 41.
  • ‘Suf | fisaunt this flour to preys’ aright’; 67.
  • ‘Of | this flour, when that it shuld unclos-e’; 111.
  • ‘Mad’ | her lyk a daisie for to sen-e’; 224.
  • ‘Half | hir beautee shulde men nat fynd-e’; 245.
  • ‘With | the whyt-e coroun, clad in gren-e’; 303.
  • ‘Mai | dens been y-kept, for Ielosy-e’; 722.
  • ‘For | to met’ in o plac’ at o tyd-e’; 783.
  • ‘With | her fac’ y-wimpled subtilly’; 797.
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  • ‘Both | e with her hert’ and with her y-ën’; 859.
  • ‘Bet | ing with his hel-es on the ground-e’; 863.
  • ‘We | that wer-en whylom children your-e’; 901.
  • ‘Been | as trew’ and loving as a man’; 911.
  • ‘Had | den in this temple been ov’r-al’; 1024.
  • ‘We | that wer-en in prosperitee’; 1030.
  • ‘Lyk | ed him the bet, as, god do bot-e’; 1076.
  • ‘Lov’ | wol lov’, for no wight wol hit wond-e’; 1187.
  • ‘Send’ | her lettres, tokens, broches, ring-es’; 1275.
  • ‘Mer | cy, lord! hav’ pitè in your thoght’; 1324.
  • ‘Twen | ty tym’ y-swowned hath she than-ne’; 1342.
  • ‘With | her meynee, end-e-long the strond-e’; 1498.
  • ‘Yift | es gret’, and to her officeres’; 1551.
  • ‘Fad | er, moder, husbond, al y-fer-e’; 1828.
  • ‘Fight | en with this fend, and him defend-e’; 1996.
  • ‘Tell | en al his doing to and fro’; 2471.
  • ‘Y | permistra, yongest of hem all-e’; 2575.

It is worth notice that they become scarcer towards the end of the poem. For all that, Chaucer regarded this form of the line as an admissible variety, and Hoccleve and Lydgate followed him in this peculiarity. The practice of Hoccleve and Lydgate is entirely ignored by those to whom it is convenient to ignore it. Perhaps they do not understand it. The usual argument of those who wish to regulate Chaucer’s verse according to their own preconceived ideas, is to exclaim against the badness of the MSS. and the stupidity of the scribes. This was tolerably safe before Dr. Furnivall printed his valuable and exact copies of the MSS., but is less safe now. We now have twelve MSS. (some imperfect) in type, besides a copy of Thynne’s first edition of the poem in 1532, making thirteen authorities in all. Now, as far as this particular matter is concerned, the chief MSS. shew a wonderful unanimity. In ll. 41, 111, 224, 722, 797, 901, 911, 1076, 1187, 1996, there is no variation that affects the scansion. And this means a great deal more than it seems to do at first sight. For the scribes of MSS. A. and T. evidently did not like these lines, and sometimes attempted emendations with all the hardihood of modern editors. The fact that the scribes are unwilling witnesses, with a tendency to corrupt the evidence, makes their testimony upon this point all the stronger. Added to which, I here admit that, wherever there seemed to be sufficient evidence, I have so far yielded to popular prejudice as to receive the suggested emendation. I now leave this matter to the consideration of the unprejudiced reader; merely observing, that I believe a considerable Edition: current; Page: [xlvii] number of lines in the Canterbury Tales have been ‘emended’ in order to get rid of lines of this character, solely on the strength of the Harleian MS., the scribe of which kept a keen look-out, with a view to the suppression of this eccentricity on the part of his author. To give him much encouragement seems inconsistent with strict morality.

The introduction (ll. 249-269) of a Balade of twenty-one lines makes every succeeding couplet end with a line denoted by an odd number. The whole number of lines is 2,723. Dr. Furnivall was the first person who succeeded in counting their number correctly.

§ 12. Description of the Manuscripts. The MSS. easily fall into two distinct classes, and may be separated by merely observing the reading of l. 1396: see note to that line. MSS. C., T., A. here read Guido or Guydo; whilst MSS. F., Tn., B. read Ouyde. MS. P. is here deficient, but commonly agrees with the former class. Those of the same class will be described together. Besides this, MS. C. is, as regards the Prologue only, unique of its kind; and is throughout of the highest authority, notwithstanding some unpleasant peculiarities of spelling. It is necessary to pay special attention to it.

The list of the MSS. (including Thynne’s edition) is as follows:—

  • A.—Arch. Selden B. 24; Bodleian Library (First class).
  • Add.—Additional 9832; British Museum (First class).
  • Additional 12524; British Museum (First class).
  • B.—Bodley 638; Bodleian Library (Second class).
  • C.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Gg. 4. 27 (First class).
  • F.—Fairfax 16; Bodleian Library (Second class).
  • P.—Pepys 2006; Magd. Coll., Cambridge (First class).
  • T.—Trinity College, Cambridge, R. 3. 19 (First class).
  • Th.—Thynne’s edition, pr. in 1532 (Second class?).
  • Tn.—Tanner 346; Bodleian Library (Second class).
  • α.—Additional 28617; British Museum (First class); but only a fragment, viz. ll. 513-610, 808-1105, 1306-1801, 1852-2110, 2125-2135, 2151-2723).
  • β.—Cambridge Univ. Library, Ff. 1. 6 (Thisbe only).
  • γ.—Rawlinson C. 86; Bodleian Library (Dido only).

They may be thus described.

C. (Camb. Univ. Lib. Gg. 4. 27) is the famous Cambridge MS., Edition: current; Page: [xlviii] containing the Canterbury Tales, denoted by the symbol ‘Cm.’ in the footnotes to vol. iv (i. e. throughout the Canterbury Tales); also by the symbol ‘Gg.’ in vol. i., i. e. in the Minor Poems; see p. 49 of the Introduction to vol. i. It also contains some other pieces by Chaucer, viz. the A. B. C., Envoy to Scogan, Truth, Troilus, and the Parlement of Foules. It is of early date, and altogether the oldest, best, and most important of the existing copies of the Legend. I shall call all those that resemble it MSS. of the first class.

Its great peculiarity is that it possesses the unique copy of the early draught of the Prologue; see p. xxi. Upon comparison of it with the Fairfax MS. (the best MS. of the second class), it is found to offer slight differences in many places throughout the various Legends, besides presenting large differences throughout the Prologue. The variations are frequently for the better, and it becomes clear that the first class of MSS. is of an older type. The second class is of a later type, and differs in two ways, in one way for the worse, and in another way for the better. In the former respect, it presents corrupted or inferior readings in several passages; whilst, on the other hand, it presents corrections that are real improvements, and may have been due to revision. No doubt there was once in existence a correct edition of the revised text, but no existing MS. represents it. We can, however, practically reconstruct it by a careful collation of MS. C. with MS. F.; and this I have attempted to do. Throughout the Prologue, I take MS. C. as the basis of the ‘A-text,’ correcting its eccentricities of spelling, but recording them in footnotes wherever the variation is at all important; such a variation as hym for him, or yt for hit, I regard as being of no value. At the same time, I take MS. F. as the basis of the B-text, and correct it, where necessary, by collation with the rest. Throughout the Legends themselves, I take MS. F. as the basis of the text, collating it with C. throughout, so that the text really depends on a comparison of these MSS.; if MS. C. had been made the basis, the result would have been much the same. It was convenient to take F. as the basis, because it agrees, very nearly, with all previous editions of the poem. Unfortunately, leaf 469 of MS. C. has been cut out of it; and, in consequence, ll. 1836-1907 are missing. The scribe has missed ll. 1922, 1923, 2506, 2507, in the process of copying.

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Addit. 9832. This is an imperfect MS., ending at l. 1985, no more leaves of the MS. being left after that line. Besides this, the scribe has omitted several lines, viz. ll. 166, 233, 234, 332, 333, 351, 865-872, 960, 961, 1255, 1517, 1744-1746, 1783, 1895, 1945. It belongs to the first class of the MSS., but is an unsatisfactory copy, and I have not fully collated it. It confirms, however, several of the readings of this edition, as distinguished from former editions.

Addit. 12524. This also is only a fragment. The first leaf begins at l. 1640 of the poem, from which point it is complete to the end, though ll. 2454-2461 are partially effaced. It belongs to the first class of MSS., but is a late copy, and I have not fully collated it. It confirms several of my readings.

T.—MS. Trin. Coll. Cam. R. 3. 19. Denoted by the symbol ‘Trin.’ in my edition of the Minor Poems, and described in vol. i., Introd. p. 56. It is of rather late date, about 1500, but belongs to the first class of MSS. The scribe has omitted the following lines, viz. 233, 234, 332, 333, 489, 960, 961, 1627, 2202, 2203, 2287-2292, and 2509.

A.—MS. Arch. Selden B. 24 (Bodley). Denoted by the symbol ‘Ar.’ in my edition of the Minor Poems, and described in vol. i., Introd. p. 54. A Scottish copy, written about 1472. It belongs to the first class of MSS., but the Scottish scribe sometimes takes liberties, and gives us a reading of his own. For example, l. 714 becomes:—‘As in grete townis the maner is and wone.’ But its readings, on the whole, are good. It alone preserves the word ‘almychti’ in l. 1538, which in all the rest is too short; this may not have been the original reading, but it gives a fair line, and furnishes as good an emendation as we are likely to get. The scribe has omitted ll. 860, 861, 960, 961, 1568-1571, 2226, and 2227; besides which, one leaf of the MS. is missing, causing the loss of ll. 2551-2616.

P.—Pepys 2006, Magd. Coll., Cambridge. Denoted by ‘P.’ in my edition of the Minor Poems, of which it contains ten. It belongs, on the whole, to the first class of MSS. The scribe has omitted ll. 232, 437, 623, and 1275. Besides this, it has lost at least one leaf, causing the complete loss of ll. 706-776, whilst ll. 777-845 are in a different handwriting. At l. 1377 it breaks off altogether, so that it is only a fragment. It gives l. 1377 in the following extraordinary form:—‘And thow wer not fals to oon, Edition: current; Page: [l] but thow wer fals to twoo’; giving six feet at least to the line, and a syllable over.

α.—Addit. 28617. A fair MS., but only a fragment, as already noted (p. xlvii). It confirms many of my readings; as, e.g., in ll. 1995, 2019, 2020, 2199, &c. It varies in l. 1999, but gives there an excellent reading:—That is nat derk, and ther is roum and space.

β.—Camb. Univ. Library, Ff. 1. 6. Contains the Legend of Thisbe only. A late and poor MS., of small account.

γ.—Rawl. C. 86 (Bodleian Library). Contains the Legend of Dido only. A poor text, with many errors. Yet it seems to be of the first class, and preserves ll. 960-1. It confirms my readings of ll. 1048, 1074, 1079, 1139, 1144, 1159, 1174, 1195, 1196, 1215, 1366.

F.—Fairfax 16 (Bodleian Library). This is the valuable MS. which contains so many of the Minor Poems. It is described in my Introd. to the Minor Poems; vol. i. p. 51. I have taken it as the basis of the edition, though it was necessary to correct it in all the places where the MSS. of the first class have better readings. It is the best MS. of the second class, and Bell’s edition does little more than follow it, almost too faithfully, though the editor professes to have collated with it the MS. A. described above. The same text, in the main, reappears in the editions by Thynne, Morris, Corson, Gilman. The scribe is careless, and frequently leaves out essential words; he also omits ll. 249, 487, 846, 960, 961, 14901, 1643, 1693, 1998, part of 2150, 2151, 2152, part of 21532, 2193, 2338 (in place of which a spurious line is inserted in a wrong place), and 2475. Besides this, the scribe often ruins the scansion of a line by omitting an essential word in it, as has already been mentioned. Thus in l. 614, he drops the word for, which occurs in all the other MSS. The scribe often wrongly adds or omits a final e, and is too fond of substituting y for i in such words as him, king. When these variations are allowed for, the spelling of the MS. is, for the most part, clear and satisfactory, and a fair guide to the right pronunciation. Rejected spellings are given in footnotes as far as l. 924; after which I have made such alterations as are purely trivial without giving notice. Even in ll. 1-924 I have changed hym into him, and kyng into king; Edition: current; Page: [li] and, conversely, strif into stryf, (where the y denotes that the vowel is long), without hesitation and without recording the change. My text is, in fact, spelt phonetically; and, after all, the test of a text of Chaucer is to read it with the Middle-English pronunciation as given by Dr. Sweet in his Second Middle-English Primer, and to observe whether the result is perfectly in accord with the flowing melody so manifest in the Canterbury Tales.

B.—Bodley 638. Closely related to MS. F., and almost a duplicate of it, both being derived from a common source. B. is sometimes right where F. is wrong; thus in l. 1196 it has houyn, where F. has heuen. See Introd. to the Minor Poems, vol. i. p. 53. Of course this MS. belongs, like F., to the second class. It preserves l. 1693 (missing in F.); otherwise it omits all the lines that are omitted in F., as well as ll. 157, 262, 623, 1345, 1866; all of which F. retains. Like F., it has a spurious line in place of l. 2338.

Tn.—Tanner 346 (Bodley). This is a MS. of the second class, strongly resembling F.; see Introd. to the Minor Poems, vol. i. p. 54. It preserves ll. 1693, 2193, 2475; otherwise it omits all the lines omitted in F., as well as the latter half of l. 1378 and the former half of l. 1379. It has a spurious line in place of l. 2338. It is clear that F., B., and Tn. are all from a common source, which was an older MS. not now known.

§ 13. Description of the Printed Editions. Th.—Thynne’s edition; ad 1532. This follows, mainly, the MSS. of the second class; its alliance with F., B., and Tn. is shewn by its containing the spurious form of l. 2338. But it gives the genuine form also, so that in this place three lines rime together. It is more complete than any of those MSS., preserving the lines which they omit (excepting ll. 960, 961), save that it omits ll. 1326, 1327 (doubtless by oversight), which are found in these three MSS., and indeed in all the copies. Probably Thynne used more than one MS., as he sometimes agrees with the MSS. of the first class. Thus, in l. 1163, he reads vpreysed had, as in C., T., A., P., instead of vp-reyseth hath, as in F., Tn., B. He might, however, have corrected this by the light of nature. In ll. 1902, 1923, Thynne alone gives the right reading Alcathoe; unfortunately, both these lines are missing in MS. C. The chief faults of Thynne’s edition are its omission of ll. 960, 961, 1326, 1327, and its spurious l. 2338. Thynne was also unfortunate in following, in general, the authority of a MS. of the second class.

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Some later editions.—Later editions appeared in the collected editions of Chaucer’s Works, viz. in 1542, (about) 1550, 1561, 1598, 1602, 1687; after which came Urry’s useless edition of 1721. Excepting the last, I suppose the editions are all mere reprints; each being worse than its predecessor, as is almost always the case. At any rate, the edition of 1561 is a close reprint of Thynne, with a few later spellings, such as guide in place of Thynne’s gyde in l. 969. This edition of course omits ll. 960, 961, 1326, 1327; and gives the spurious l. 2338.

According to Lowndes, other later editions of Chaucer’s Works are the following:—Edinburgh, 1777; 18mo. 12 vols.—Edinburgh, 1782; 12mo. 14 vols.—In Anderson’s British Poets, Edinburgh, 1793-1807; royal 8vo. 13 vols.—In Cooke’s British Poets, London, 1798, &c., 18mo. 80 parts.—In Chalmers’ English Poets, London, 1810; royal 8vo. 21 vols. I suppose that all of these are mere reprints; such is certainly the case with the edition by Chalmers, which merely reproduces Tyrwhitt’s edition of the Canterbury Tales, and follows ‘the black-letter editions’ throughout the other poems. The same remark applies to the edition printed by Moxon in 1855, and attributed to Tyrwhitt as editor.

Other editions are those by S. W. Singer, London, 1822, fcp. 8vo. 5 vols.; by Sir H. Nicolas (in the Aldine edition of English Poets), London, 1845, post 8vo. 6 vols.; and by Robert Bell, London, 1855, 12mo. 8 vols. The last was really edited by Mr. Jephson.

Bell’s (so-called) edition was conveniently reprinted in four volumes, in Bohn’s Standard Library; a revised edition of this was published in 1878, with a Preliminary Essay by myself. Of the Legend of Good Women, the editor (Mr. Jephson) remarks that ‘the text of the present edition is founded upon a careful collation of the MS. Fairfax 16, in the Bodleian Library, and MS. Arch. Seld. B. 24’; i.e. upon a collation of F. with A. It gives us the text of MS. F., with the missing lines supplied from Thynne or from MS. A. It omits ll. 960, 961, and inserts ll. 1326, 1327 in the wrong place, viz. after l. 1329. At l. 2338, it gives both the correct and the spurious forms of the line; so that here (as in Thynne) three lines rime together. In l. 2150-3, the same confusion occurs as is noticed below, in the account of Morris’s edition. The chief gain in this edition is that it has a few explanatory notes. Of these I have freely availed myself, marking them with the word ‘Bell’ whenever I quote them exactly; though Edition: current; Page: [liii] they were really written, as I am told, by Mr. Jephson, whose name nowhere appears, except at p. 12 of my Essay, as prefixed to the revised edition.

The Aldine edition was reprinted in 1866, on which occasion it was edited by Dr. Morris. With respect to the Legend of Good Women, Dr. Morris says that it is copied from MS. F., collated with MSS. A., C. (privately printed at Cambridge by Mr. H. Bradshaw, 1864), and MSS. Addit. 9832 and 12524. In this edition, variations from the MS. (F.) are denoted by italic letters, but such variations are very few. Practically, we here find a correct print of MS. F., with most of the missing lines supplied by collation, and with very few corrections. Lines 960, 961 are, however, still omitted, though found in MS. C.; but ll. 1326, 1327 (also omitted by Thynne) are duly given, being found, in fact, in MS. F. At l. 2338, the correct line is given, but the spurious line is also retained; so that (as in Thynne) three lines here rime together. In the former part of l. 2153, a part of l. 2150 is repeated, giving us by instead of eek; the fact is that the scribe slipped from gayler in l. 2150 to gayler in l. 2153, omitting all that came between these words. Nothing is said about the interesting form of the Prologue as existing in MS. C. There are no explanatory notes.

Besides the English editions, two editions of the Legend of Good Women have appeared in America, which demand some notice.

Of these, the former is a very handy edition of the Legend of Good Women, published separately for the first time, and edited by Professor Hiram Corson. The text is that of Bell’s edition; but the explanatory notes are fuller and better, and I have carefully consulted them. At the end is an Index of all the words explained, which really serves the purpose of a glossary. This is certainly the best edition I have met with.

The other edition is that of Chaucer’s Works, edited by Arthur Gilman, and published at Boston in 1879, in three volumes. The Legend of Good Women occurs in vol. iii. pp. 79-183. The harder words are explained in footnotes, and there are just a few notes on the subject-matter. The chief point in this edition is that the editor quotes some of the more remarkable variations in the Prologue from MS. C., which he says is ‘evidently an earlier one than the one followed in the text, Fairfax 16, in Edition: current; Page: [liv] the Bodleian Library, Oxford.’ Yet his text is a mere reprint from that of Morris; it omits ll. 960, 961, and gives l. 2338 both in its correct and in its spurious form. Consequently, it contains 2722 lines instead of 2723. The true number of lines is odd, because of the Balade of 21 lines at l. 249.

The net result is this; that none of the editions are complete, and they are all much the same. After twenty editions, we are left almost where we started at first. Thynne’s edition was founded on a MS. very closely resembling F., but more complete; still it omits four lines, and gives l. 2338 twice over, in different forms. The same is true of all the numerous reprints from it. Bell’s edition restores ll. 1326, 1327, but in the wrong place; whilst Morris’s edition restores them in the right place. These lines actually occur in MS. F. (in the right place), and could hardly have been unnoticed in collating the proofs with the MS. These editions are both supposed to be collated with MS. A. at least, but the results of such collation are practically nil, as that MS. was merely consulted to supply missing lines. The editors practically ignore the readings of that MS., except where F. is imperfect. Hence they did not discover that MS. A. belongs to a different class of MSS., and that it frequently gives earlier and better readings. But even A. omits ll. 960, 961, though it also rightly suppresses the spurious form of l. 2338.

§ 14. Some Improvements in my Edition of 1889. No real advance towards a better text was made till Dr. Furnivall brought out, for the Chaucer Society, his valuable and exact prints of the manuscripts themselves. This splendid and important work gives the texts in extenso of all the MSS. above mentioned, viz. MSS. C., F., Tn., T., A., and Th. (Thynne’s ed.) in the ‘Parallel-Text edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems,’ Part III; MSS. B., Addit. 9832, P., and Addit. 12524, in the ‘Supplementary Parallel-Texts,’ Part II; and MSS. α, β, γ, in ‘Odd Texts,’ 1880. But for the invaluable help thus rendered, the edition of 1889 would never have been undertaken, and I should never have attained to so clear an understanding of the text. I have already said that Dr. Furnivall was the first person who succeeded in numbering the lines of the poem correctly; indeed, most editions have no numbering at all.

I have not thought it necessary to encumber the pages with wholly inferior readings that are of no value, but I have carefully Edition: current; Page: [lv] collated the best MSS., viz. C., F., Tn., T., A., B., and sometimes P., besides keeping an eye upon Th., i.e. Thynne’s edition. I thus was enabled to see the true state of the case, viz. that the MSS. of the first class (C., T., A., P., Addit. 9832, 12524, and 28617) have been practically neglected altogether; whilst, of the MSS. &c. of the second class (F., Tn., B., Th.), only F. and Th. have received sufficient attention. It is now abundantly clear that the best authorities are C. and F., as being of different classes, and that the right plan is to consult these first, and then to see how the other MSS. support them. A long list of important emendations, and an exposure of the extreme inaccuracy of most of the previous editions, will be found in the Introduction to my edition of 1889, and need not be repeated here.

§ 15. Conclusion. In conclusion, I may mention the Poem in MS. Ashmole 59, entitled ‘The Cronycle made by Chaucier. ¶ Here nowe folowe the names of the nyene worshipfullest Ladyes . . . by Chaucier.’ It is a poor production, perhaps written by Shirley, and merely gives a short epitome of the contents of the Legend of Good Women. The words ‘by Chaucier’ refer to Chaucer’s authorship of the Legend only, and not to the authorship of the epitome, which, though of some interest, is practically worthless. The author makes the odd mistake of confusing the story of Alcestis with that of Ceyx and Alcyone in the Book of the Duchesse (62-230). This ‘Cronycle’ was printed by Dr. Furnivall in his Odd-texts of Chaucer’s Minor Poems, Part i.

I have now only to record my indebtedness to others, especially to Dr. Furnivall for his invaluable prints in the Parallel-Texts; to the excellent essay by M. Bech, in vol. v. of Anglia1; to Mr. Jephson for his notes in ‘Bell’s’ edition; and to the notes in the edition by Professor Corson. Also to Professor Ten Brink, the second part of whose second volume of the Geschichte der englischen Litteratur has just appeared (1893).

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Note.—If the reader finds the two forms of the Prologue troublesome, he has only to confine his attention to the ‘B-text,’ in the lower part of pp. 65-105. The text agrees with that usually given, and contains 579 lines. The first line of ‘Cleopatra’ is l. 580, the numbering being continuous. Besides this, the lines of each Legend are given separately, within marks of parenthesis. Thus l. 589 is the 10th line of ‘Cleopatra’; and so in other cases.

I here subjoin an Additional Note to lines 1896-8.

At p. xxxix. above (footnote no. 2), I give Bech’s reference to Godfrey of Viterbo. The passage runs thus:—

  • De Ioue primo rege Atheniensi.

  • A Ioue nostrorum uenit generatio regum,
  • A Ioue principium recipit descriptio regum,
  • A Ioue philosophi dogmata prima legunt.
  • Rex erat ex rege quondam patre natus Athenis,
  • Indeque quadriuii triuiique scientia nenit;
  • Legis et artis ibi rex ydioma dedit.’
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INTRODUCTION TO A TREATISE ON THE ASTROLABE.

§ 1. Description of the MSS. The existing MSS. of the ‘Astrolabe’ are still numerous. I have been successful in finding no less than twenty-two, which I here describe. It is remarkable that, although many printed editions of the treatise have appeared, no first-class MS. has ever hitherto come under the notice of any one of the various editors. This point will appear more clearly hereafter.

§ 2. A.—MS. Dd. 3. 53 (part 2) in the Cambridge University Library. The ‘Treatise on the Astrolabie’ begins at fol. 212 of the MS. considered as a whole, but the folios are now properly renumbered throughout the treatise. The MS. is of vellum, and the writing clear and good, with a great number of neatly drawn diagrams, which appear wherever the words ‘lo here thi figure’ occur in the text. This MS. I have made the basis of the text, and it is followed with sufficient exactness, except when notice to the contrary is given in the Critical Notes.

This MS. is of considerable importance. The handwriting exactly resembles that in MS. B., and a comparison of these MSS. leads to the following results. It appears that MSS. A. and B. were written out by the same scribe, nearly at the same time. The peculiarities of spelling, particularly those which are faulty, are the same in both in a great many instances. It is also clear that the said scribe had but a very dim notion of what he was writing, and committed just such blunders as are described in Edition: current; Page: [lviii] Chaucer’s Lines to Adam Scriveyn, and are there attributed to ‘negligence and rape1.’ It is still more interesting to observe that Chaucer tells us that he had to amend his MSS. by ‘rubbing and scraping’ with his own hand; for MS. A. and B. differ precisely in this point, viz. that while the latter is left uncorrected, the former has been diligently ‘rubbed and scraped’ by the hand of a corrector who well knew what he was doing, and the right letters have been inserted in the right places over the erasures. These inserted letters are in the hand of a second scribe who was a better writer than the first, and who was entrusted with the task of drawing the diagrams. The two hands are contemporaneous, as appears from the additions to the diagrams made by the writer of the text. Unfortunately, there are still a good many errors left. This is because the blunders were so numerous as to beguile the corrector into passing over some of them. When, for example, the scribe, having to write ‘lo here thy figure’ at the end of nearly every section, took the trouble to write the last word ‘vigure’ or ‘vigour’ in nearly every instance, we are not surprised to find that, in a few places, the word has escaped correction. It further appears that some of the later sections, particularly sections 39 and 40, have not been properly revised; the corrector may very well have become a little tired of his task by the time he arrived at them. It must also be remembered, that such blunders as are made by a scribe who is not clear as to the meaning of his subject-matter are by no means the blunders which are most puzzling or most misleading; they are obvious at once as evident blotches, and the general impression left upon the mind by the perusal of this MS. is—that a careless scribe copied it from some almost perfect original, and that his errors were partially corrected by an intelligent corrector (possibly the author), who grew tired of his task just towards the end.

The order of the Conclusions in Part ii. differs from that in all the editions hitherto printed, and the MS. terminates abruptly in the middle of a sentence, at the words ‘howre after howre’ in Conclusion 40 (p. 223). A portion of the page of the MS. below these words is left blank, though the colophon ‘Explicit tractatus,’ &c. was added at the bottom of the page at a later period.

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Certain allusions in the former part of the MS. render it probable that it was written in London, about the year 1400.

§ 3. B.—MS. E Museo 54, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. This is an uncorrected duplicate of the preceding, as has been explained, and ends in the same way, at the words ‘howre after howre,’ followed by a blank space. The chief addition is the rubricated title—‘Bred and mylk For childeren,’ boldly written at the beginning; in the margin are the following notes in a late hand—‘Sir Jiffray Chaucer’—‘Dominus Gaufredus Chaucerus’—‘Galfredi Chauceri Tractatus de Ratione et vsu Astrolabij ad Ludouicum filium.

§ 4. C.—MS. Rawlinson, Misc. 1262, otherwise 1370 (leaves 22-42), in the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

This is a beautifully written MS., on vellum, with 38 pages of text, and 4 blank pages. It has the Conclusions in the same order as the preceding, six well-executed diagrams, and corrections on nearly every page. It is of early date, perhaps about ad 1420, and of considerable importance. It agrees closely with the text, and, like it, ends with ‘howre after howre.’ Some variations of spelling are to be found in the Critical Notes. In this MS. the Conclusions are numbered in the margin, and the numbers agree with those adopted in this edition.

§ 5. D.—MS. Ashmole 391, in the Bodleian Library. I have made but little use of this MS., on account of its being very imperfect.

§ 6. E.—MS. Bodley 619. This MS., like B., has the title—‘Brede and Milke for children.’ Like other good MSS., it ends sect. 40 with ‘houre after houre.’ But after this, there occurs an additional section, probably not genuine, but printed here (for the sake of completeness) as section 46; see p. 229. Cf. § 17.

At fol. 21 is an additional section, not found elsewhere, which is printed in the Notes; see p. 360. This Conclusion has some claims to our notice, because, whether genuine or not, it is translated from Messahala.

§ 7. F.—MS. 424, in the Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Very imperfect, especially at the beginning, where a large portion has been lost.

The Conclusions follow the right order, as in the best MSS.

§ 8. G.—MS. R. 15, 18, in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge. This is a curious and interesting volume, as it Edition: current; Page: [lx] contains several tracts in English on astrology and astronomy, with tables of stars, &c.

The copy of the ‘Astrolabe’ in this MS. is not a good one. It ends in Part ii. sect. 34, l. 14. The Conclusions are in the right order, and there are a few diagrams.

§ 9. H.—MS. Sloane 314, British Museum. A late MS. on paper, absurdly said in a note to be in Chaucer’s handwriting, whereas it is clearly to be referred to the end of the fifteenth century.

§ 10. I.—MS. Sloane 261. This is an ‘edited’ MS., having been apparently prepared with a view to publication. Mr. Brae has made considerable use of it, and gives, in his preface, a careful and interesting account of it. He concludes that this MS. was written by Walter Stevins in 1555, and dedicated by him to Edward Earl of Devonshire; and that MS. H. was one of those which Stevins especially consulted, because it contains marginal notes in Stevins’ handwriting. The contents of this MS. can be so well ascertained from Mr. Brae’s edition that it is unnecessary to say more about it here. The Conclusions are arranged in the same order as in other MSS. that are not of the first class.

§ 11. K.—MS. Rawlinson Misc. 3, in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. On vellum, 49 folios, with rich gold capitals, beautifully ornamented; in a large clear handwriting, with red rubrics. Title—‘Astralabium.’ Begins—‘Lityl lowys my sone,’ &c.—and ends—“For þe mone meuyth the contrarie from other planetys. as yn here epicircle. but in none other maner’; see end of Part ii. sect. 35; p. 217. Order of Conclusions in Part ii. as follows; 1-12, 19-21, 13-18, 22-35; as in other late MSS. There are no diagrams, and the MS., though well written, may perhaps be referred to the latter half of the fifteenth century.

§ 12. L.—MS. Additional 23002, British Museum. A fair MS., on vellum, without diagrams; imperfect. See description of MS. R. in § 17. And see the Note on Part ii. sect. 3 (p. 360).

§ 13. M.—MS. E. 2 in the Library of St. John’s College, Cambridge. Small MS. on vellum, without diagrams. The leaves have been misplaced, and bound up in a wrong order, but nothing is lost. I have printed from this MS. the last five words of sect. 40; also 41-43, and 41a-42b; besides collating it for the improvement of the text in sect. 44; sect. 45 is missing. I have also been indebted to it for the Latin rubrics to the Conclusions, which Edition: current; Page: [lxi] I have not found elsewhere. Several various readings from this MS. appear in the Critical Notes (pp. 233-241).

§ 14. N.—MS. Digby 72, in the Bodleian Library. From this MS. I have printed the text of sections 44 and 45 (pp. 226-9), but have made little further use of it.

§ 15. O.—MS. Ashmole 360, in the Bodleian Library. Late MS., on paper; former owner’s name, Johan Pekeryng; without diagrams. There are evidently some omissions in it. But it includes sections 44 and 45, and I have given various readings from it in those sections (p. 240). It ends at the end of sect. 43a, with the words—‘one to twelfe. & sic finis’; see p. 232.

§ 16. P.—MS. Dd. 12. 51 in the Cambridge University Library. Small MS. on vellum; written in the fifteenth century. The text is by no means a bad one, though the spelling is peculiar. Some of the pages are very much rubbed and defaced. I have taken from it some various readings, recorded in the Critical Notes.

One point deserves particular attention. It not only contains the Conclusions of Part ii. in the right order, but continues it without a break to the end of Conclusion 43 (p. 225); at the end of which is the colophon—Explicit tractatus astrolabii.

§ 17. Q.—MS. Ashmole 393, in the Bodleian Library; on paper. Of little importance.

R.—MS. Egerton 2622, in the British Museum. A neat MS., but without diagrams. Contains: Part I. (except 15-23); Part II. §§ 1-12, 19-21, 13-18, 22-35, 41-43, 44, 45; 41a, 41b, 42a, 43a, 42b, 36, 37. Thus it has all the additional sections except 46; but 38-40 are missing. MS. L. contains the same sections in the same order; see § 12.

S.—MS. Addit. 29250. A poor MS., but remarkable for containing the scarce section no. 46; of which there is but one other copy, viz. that in MS. E (§ 6); cf. pp. 240, 241.

T.—MS. Phillipps 11955; at Cheltenham. On vellum; 31 leaves; said to be of the fourteenth century, which is improbable.

U.—MS. Bodley 68. Imperfect; ends at Part ii. § 36.

W.—MS. E Museo 116, in the Bodleian Library. A mere fragment.

X.—A MS. at Brussels, no. 1591. See F. J. Mone, Quellen und Forschungen, (Aachen, 1830); pp. 549-551.

§ 18. Of the above MSS., Mr. Brae describes H., I., and L. only, and does not seem to have made use of any others. Mr. Todd, in Edition: current; Page: [lxii] his Animadversions on Gower and Chaucer, p. 125, enumerates only four MSS., which are plainly A., P., F., and G. The rest seem to have escaped attention.

In addition to the MS. authorities, we have one more source of text, viz. the Editio Princeps, which may be thus described.

Th.—The edition of Chaucer’s Works by Wm. Thynne, printed at London by Thomas Godfray in 1532. This is the first edition in which the Treatise on the Astrolabe appeared; it begins at fol. ccxcviii, back. The Conclusions in Part ii. are in the order following, viz. 1-12, 19-21, 13-18, 22-40; after which come 41-43, and 41a-42b. This order does not agree precisely with that in any MS. now extant, with the exception of I., which imitates it. It has some corrupt additions and exhibits many grave errors. All later editions, down to Urry’s in 1721, contribute no new information. The few slight alterations which appear in them are such as could have been made without reference to MSS. at all.

§ 19. Remarks on the Classes of the MSS. On comparing the MSS., it at once appears that they do not agree as to the order of the Conclusions in Part ii. The MSS. A., B., C. (which are unquestionably the oldest), as well as E., F., G., and P., adopt the order which appears in this edition, but which has never appeared in any previous edition. In all other editions we find the three sections 19-21 made to precede sections 13-18. Now we might here appeal to authority only, and say that the order in the oldest MSS. ought to be preferred. But it so happens that we can appeal to internal evidence as well, and there are two considerations which shew that the oldest MSS. are certainly correct. These are as follows. In the first place, sect. 18 amounts to finding the degree of the zodiac which souths with any star, and begins with the words ‘Set the centre of the sterre upon the lyne meridional’; whilst sect. 19 amounts to finding the degree of the zodiac that rises with any star, and begins with the words ‘Set the sentre of the sterre upon the est orisonte.’ Clearly, these Conclusions are closely linked together, and one ought to follow the other. But, in all the editions, this continuity is broken. In the second place, the rubric of sect. 21 is—‘To knowe for what latitude in any regioun,’ &c.; whilst that of sect. 22 is—‘To knowe in special the latitude of oure countray,’ &c. Clearly, these Conclusions are closely linked, and in their right order. But, in all the editions, this continuity is again broken; and we have Edition: current; Page: [lxiii] this absurd result, viz. that a proposition headed—‘To knowe the degrees of the longitudes of fixe sterres’ is followed by one headed—‘To knowe in special the latitude of oure countray.’ Hence we are enabled to draw a line, and to divide the MSS. into two classes; those in which the order of sections is correct, and those in which it has suffered misplacement, the number in each class being much the same. This gives us the following result.

First Class. A., B., C., (probably D.,) E., F., G., P.

Second Class. H., I., K., L., M., N., O., R.; to which add Th.

But this division immediately leads to another very curious result, and that is, a certain lack of authority for sections after the fortieth, which ends on p. 223.

A. ends with an incomplete sentence, in sect. 40, with the words—‘howre after howre.’ B., C. end exactly at the same place.

E. ends sect. 40 with the same words; and, after this, has only one additional section (46), which is, in my opinion, spurious; especially as it does not appear in Messahala, of which more anon.

D., F., and G. all fail at an earlier point.

In none of the first-class MSS. (excepting P., which terminates with section 43) is there a word about umbra recta or umbra versa.

Even in the second class of MSS., we find H. breaking off at sect. 36, and K. at sect. 35; so that the sections on the umbrae rest only on MSS. I. (obviously an edition, not a transcript), L., M., N., O., P., and R. Putting aside the first of these, as being ‘edited,’ we have but six left; and in the first four and the last of these we find that the additional Conclusions appear in a certain order, viz. they insert 44 and 45 (on the ‘mene mote’) between three sections 41-43 on the ‘umbrae’ and five other sections 41a-42b on the same.

§ 20. The last five sections spurious. This at once suggests two results. The first is, that, as this gives two sets of sections on the ‘umbrae,’ we can hardly expect both to be genuine; and accordingly, we at once find that the last five of these are mere clumsy repetitions of the first three; for which reason, I unhesitatingly reject the said last five as spurious. This view is strikingly confirmed by MS. P.; for this, the only first-class MS. that is carried on beyond section 40, contains the first three sections on the ‘umbrae’ only. The second result is, that if the first three sections on the ‘umbrae’ are to be received, there is Edition: current; Page: [lxiv] good reason why we should consider the possible genuineness of sections 44 and 45 on the ‘mene mote,’ which rest very nearly on the same authority.

Now the sections on the ‘mene mote’ have in their favour one strong piece of internal evidence; for the date 1397 is mentioned in them more than once as being the ‘root’ or epoch from which to reckon. In most cases, the mention of a date 1397 would lead us to attribute the writing in which it occurs to that year or to a later year, but a date fixed on for a ‘root’ may very well be a prospective one, so that these sections may have been written before 1397; an idea which is supported by the line ‘behold whether thy date be more or lasse than the yere 1397’; sect. 44, l. 5. But I suspect the date to be an error for 1387, since that [see Somer in Tyrwhitt’s Glossary] was really the ‘rote’ used by Nicholas Lenne. In either case, I think we may connect these sections with the previous sections written in 13911. Besides which, Chaucer so expressly intimates his acquaintance with the subjects of these sections in the Canterbury Tales2, that we may the more readily admit them to be really his. There is still less difficulty about admitting the first three sections (41-43) on the ‘umbrae,’ because we find similar matter in the treatise of Messahala, from which, as will appear, he derived so much. And hence we may readily conclude that, in the second part, the first forty sections, found in the oldest MSS., are certainly genuine, whilst sections 41-43, as well as 44 and 45, have every claim to be considered genuine also. This need not, however, force us to accept the remaining sections, since they may easily have been added by another hand; a circumstance which is rendered the Edition: current; Page: [lxv] more probable by the fact that sections 41a-42b merely repeat 41-43 in a more clumsy form, and by the consideration that, if genuine, they should have occupied their proper place immediately after sect. 43, instead of being separated from the former set. As to sect. 46, I pronounce no decided opinion; there is but little to be said either for or against it, and it is of little consequence.

§ 21. Gap between §§ 40 and 41. But admitting the genuineness of sections 40-45, it at once becomes evident that there are two distinct gaps or breaks in the continuity of the treatise; the first between 40 and 41; and the second between 43 and 44. A little consideration will account for these. Looking at the Canterbury Tales, we observe the very same peculiarity; at certain points there are distinct breaks, and no mending can link the various groups together in a satisfactory manner. This can be accounted for in part by our knowledge of the fact that the poet died before he had completed the proper linking-together of the tales which he had more or less finished; but I think it also shews him to have been a fragmentary worker. To suppose that, upon reaching Conclusion 40, he suddenly turned to the sections upon the ‘umbrae,’ which are at once more easy to explain, more suitable for a child, and illustrative of a different and more practical use of the Astrolabe, seems to me natural enough; and more probable than to suppose that anything is here lost. For, in fact, it is to the very MSS. that contain sections 41-43 that we are indebted for the last five words of sect. 40, so curiously omitted in the oldest and best MSS.; and this is a direct argument against the supposition of any matter having been here lost.

§ 22. Gap between §§ 43 and 44. The break between sections 43 and 44 may be explained in a totally different manner. In this case, the break indicates a real, not an accidental, gap. I suppose section 43 to have been really the last section of Part ii, and I refer sections 44 and 45 to the Fourth Part of the Treatise, and not to the Second at all1. For if we run through the contents of Parts Three and Four (p. 177), we observe that they chiefly involve tables, with reference to one of which we find the words ‘upon which table ther folwith a canon,’ &c. Now sections 44 and Edition: current; Page: [lxvi] 45 exactly answer the description; they are alternative canons, shewing how certain tables may be used. It happens that Conclusion 40 is particularly dependent upon tables. To supply these was partly the object of Part iv—‘the whiche ferthe partie in special shal shewen a table of the verray moeving of the mone from houre to houre, every day and in every signe, after thyn almenak; upon which table ther folwith a canon, suffisant to teche as wel the maner of the wyrking of that same conclusioun, as to knowe in oure orizonte with which degree of the zodiac that the mone ariseth in any latitude; and the arising of any planete after his latitude fro the ecliptik lyne.’ The opening words of the same Conclusion are—‘Knowe by thyn almenak the degree of the ecliptik of any signe in which that the planete is rekned for to be:’ (p. 221). This is easily said; but I suppose that it was not so easy in olden times to know off-hand the exact position of a planet. It must have been shewn by tables, and these tables chiefly considered the ‘mene mote,’ or average motion of the planets, and that only for periods of years. If you wanted the position of a planet at a given hour on a given day, you had to work it out by figures; the rule for which working was called a ‘canon.’ This very ‘canon’ is precisely given at length in sect. 44; and sect. 45 is only another way of doing the same thing, or, in other words, is an alternative canon. When all this is fairly and sufficiently considered, we shall find good grounds for supposing that these sections on the ‘mene mote’ are perfectly genuine, and that they really belong to Part iv. of the Treatise.

I will only add, that the fact of sections 41a-42b being thus placed after a portion of Part iv. is one more indication that they are spurious.

§ 23. Conclusion 40. But it may be objected, as Mr. Brae has fairly objected, that Conclusion 40 itself ought to belong to Part iv. So it ought perhaps, if Chaucer had followed out his own plan. But it is clear from its contents that the Prologue to the ‘Astrolabie’ was written before the commencement of the treatise itself, and not, as prefaces generally are, afterwards. He was pleased with his son’s progress. Little Lewis had asked him if he might learn something about an astrolabe. The father at once sent him a small astrolabe1 by way of reward, constructed Edition: current; Page: [lxvii] for the latitude of Oxford, and having 45 circles of latitude on the flat disc (see Fig. 5) instead of having 90 such circles, as the best instruments had1. This, however, was a ‘sufficient’ astrolabe for the purpose. But he believes the Latin treatises to be too hard for his son’s use, and the Conclusions in them to be too numerous. He therefore proposes to select some of the more important Conclusions, and to turn them into English with such modifications as would render them easier for a child to understand. He then lays down a table of contents of his proposed five parts, throughout which he employs the future tense, as ‘the first partie shal reherse,’—‘the second partie shal teche,’ &c. This use of the future would not alone prove much, but taken in connexion with the context, it becomes very suggestive. However, the most significant phrase is in the last line of the Prologue, which speaks of ‘other noteful thinges, yif god wol vouche-sauf & his modur the mayde, mo than I behete,’ i. e. other useful things, more than I now promise, if God and the Virgin vouchsafe it. In accordance with his habits of seldom finishing and of deviating from his own plans at pleasure, we have but an imperfect result, not altogether answerable to the table of contents. I therefore agree with Mr. Brae that the 40th Conclusion would have done better for Part iv., though I do not agree with him in rejecting it as spurious. This he was led to do by the badness of the text of the MSS. which he consulted, but we can hardly reject this Conclusion without rejecting the whole Treatise, as it is found in all the oldest copies. By way of illustration, I would point out that this is not the only difficulty, for the Conclusions about astrology ought certainly to have been reserved for Part v. These are Conclusions 36 and 37, which concern the ‘equaciouns of houses’; and this is probably why, in three of the MSS. (viz. L., N., and R.), these two conclusions are made to come at the end of the Treatise. There is nothing for it but to accept what we have, and be thankful.

§ 24. Extant portion of the Treatise. If, then, the questions be asked, how much of the Treatise has come down to us, and what was to have been the contents of the missing portion, the account stands thus.

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Of Part i. we have the whole.

Of Part ii. we have nearly all, and probably all that ever was written, including Conclusions 1-40 on astronomical matters, and Conclusions 41-43 on the taking of altitudes of terrestrial objects. Possibly Conclusion 46 is to be added to these; but Conclusions 41a-42b are certainly spurious.

Part iii. probably consisted entirely of tables, and some at least of these may very well have been transmitted to little Lewis. Indeed, they may have been prepared by or copied from Nicholas of Lynn and John Somer, before Chaucer took the rest in hand. The tables were to have been (and perhaps were) as follows:—

1. Tables of latitude and longitudes of the stars which were represented on the ‘Rete’ of the Astrolabe. Specimens of such tables are found in MSS.

2. Tables of declinations of the sun, according to the day of the year.

3. Tables of longitudes of cities and towns.

4. Tables for setting clocks and finding the meridian altitudes (of the sun, probably).

Such tables as these are by no means lost. There are MSS. which contain little else, as e. g. MS. Hh. 6. 8 in the Cambridge University Library. The longitudes of towns are given in MS. Camb. Ii. 3. 3, at fol. 214b. Again, in MS. F. 25, in St. John’s College Library, Cambridge, we find tables of fixed stars, tables of latitudes and longitudes of towns, tables of altitudes of the sun at different hours, and many others.

Part iv. was to explain the motions of the heavenly bodies, with their causes. This was probably never written, though there is an allusion to it in Part ii. § 11, l. 12. It was also to contain a table to shew the position of the moon, according to an almanac; and such a table is given in the St. John’s MS. above mentioned, and in MS. Camb. Ii. 3. 3, at fol. 143. This was to have been followed by a canon, and an explanation of the working of the Conclusion—‘to knowe with which degree of the zodiac that the mone ariseth,’ and ‘the arising of any planete,’ &c. The canon is partly accounted for, as regards the planets at least, by sections 44 and 45, and the ‘Conclusion’ by section 40.

Part v. was to contain the general rules of astrology, with tables of equations of houses, dignities of planets, and other useful things which God and the Virgin might vouchsafe that the author Edition: current; Page: [lxix] should accomplish. Sections 36 and 37 tell us something about the equations of houses; but, in all probability, none (or, at least, no more) of this fifth Part was ever written. Tables of equations of houses, for the latitude of Toledo, are given in MS. Camb. Ii. 3. 3, at fol. 177, and elsewhere. Of the general rules of astrology we find in old MSS. somewhat too much, but they are generally in Latin; however, the Trinity MS. R. 15. 18 has some of them in English.

On the whole, we have quite as much of Chaucer’s Treatise as we need care for; and he may easily have changed his mind about the necessity of writing Part v; for we actually find him declaring (and it is pleasant to hear him) that ‘natheles, thise ben observauncez of iudicial matiere & rytes of payens, in which my spirit ne hath no feith’; ii. 4. 36; (p. 192).

§ 25. Sources of the Treatise. I next have to point out the sources whence Chaucer’s treatise was derived. Mr. Halliwell, in a note at the end of his edition of Mandeville’s Travels, speaks of the original treatise on the Astrolabe, written in Sanskrit, on which he supposes Chaucer’s treatise to have been founded. Whether the Latin version used by Chaucer was ultimately derived from a Sanskrit copy or not, need not be considered here. The use of the Astrolabe was no doubt well known at an early period in India and among the Persians and Arabs; see the ‘Description of a Planispheric Astrolabe constructed for Sháh Sultán Husain Safawí, King of Persia,’ by W. H. Morley, in which elaborate and beautifully illustrated volume the reader may find sufficient information. Marco Polo says (bk. ii. c. 33) that there were 5000 astrologers and soothsayers in the city of Cambaluc, adding—‘they have a kind of Astrolabe, on which are inscribed the planetary signs, the hours, and critical points of the whole year’; Marco Polo, ed. Yule, i. 399. Compare also the mention of the instrument in the 161st night of the Arabian Nights’ Entertainments, where a translation which I have now before me has the words—‘instead of putting water into the basin, he [the barber] took a very handsome astrolabe out of his case, and went very gravely out of my room to the middle of the yard, to take the height of the sun’; on which passage Mr. Lane has a note (chap. v. note 57) which Mr. Brae quotes at length in his edition. There is also at least one version of a treatise in Greek, entitled περὶ τη̑ς του̑ ἀυτρολάβ[Editor: illegible character]υ χρήσεως, by Johannes Philoponus, of which Edition: current; Page: [lxx] the Cambridge University Library possesses two copies, viz. MSS. Dd. 15. 27 and Gg. 2. 33. But it is clear, from his own words, that Chaucer followed the Latin, and I can point out1 one of the Latin treatises to which he was very considerably indebted. This is the ‘Compositio et Operatio Astrolabie,’ by Messahala2, of which copies are, I have no doubt, sufficiently numerous. The Cambridge Library has four, viz. Hh. 6. 8, Ii. 1. 13, Ii. 3. 33, and Kk. 1. 1, and there is another copy in St. John’s College Library, Cambridge, marked F. 25. The title should be particularly observed; for the treatise is distinctly divisible into two separate parts, viz. the ‘Compositio Astrolabii’ and the ‘Operatio Astrolabii.’ The former begins with the words—‘Scito quod astrolabium sit nomen Graecum,’ and explains how to make an astrolabe, and how to inscribe on it the various necessary lines and circles with sufficient exactness. It is much the longer portion of the treatise, and (in MS. Ii. 3. 3) is illustrated by numerous diagrams, whilst the second part has no such illustrations. But it does not appear that Chaucer made any use of this former part, as his astrolabe had been procured ready-made. The second part of the treatise, or ‘Operatio Astrolabii,’ begins with the words ‘Nomina instrumentorum sunt hec.’ This is evidently one of the sources from which Chaucer drew largely4. Chaucer’s Part i. is almost wholly taken from this, but he has expanded it in several places, with the evident intention of making it more easy to understand. In Part ii. he has taken from it, with more or less exactness, sections 1-3, 5-8, 10, 11, 13-18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27-31, 33-37, 41 and 42; whilst sections 4, 9, 12, 19, 22, 23, 26, 32, 38-40 and 43 do not appear in it. In other words, Messahala’s treatise accounts for Edition: current; Page: [lxxi] thirty-one conclusions out of forty-three, or about two-thirds of the whole. In some places, Chaucer has translated almost word for word, so as to leave no doubt as to his authority. Besides which, I have already remarked that Chaucer’s version is directly connected with Messahala by the quotations from the latter which appear in MS. E.; see description of this MS. at p. lix. If it be inquired, whence did Chaucer derive the remaining third of his Second Part, I think it very likely that some of it may be found amongst the varied and voluminous contents of such a MS. as Ii. 3. 3, which is a sort of general compendium of astronomical and astrological knowledge. The complete solution of this question I leave to some one with more leisure than myself, being satisfied that to have found the original of Part i. and two-thirds of Part ii. is to have made a good start. It must not be omitted, that the MSS. of Messahala are not all alike; that some copies have propositions which are not in others; and that the order of the Conclusions is not invariable. The chief noteworthy difference between Chaucer’s version and the Latin original is in the order of the Conclusions; it is clear that Chaucer not only took what he liked, but rearranged his materials after his own fashion.

§ 26. Various Editions. About the early printed editions of the Astrolabe, I have not much to say. The Editio Princeps of 1532 was clearly derived from some MS. of the second class, and, what between the errors of the scribes and printers, absurdities abound. After a careful examination of the old editions, I came to the conclusion that the less I consulted them the better, and have therefore rather avoided them than sought their assistance. All the editions not only give the conclusions in a wrong order, but (like the MSS. of the second class) absurdly repeat Conclusion I. of Part ii., and reckon the repetition of it as Conclusion III. MSS. of the first class are free from this defect, and may thus be easily known. The only edition worth consulting is that by Mr. A. E. Brae, published quite recently, in 1870. Mr. Brae made much use of MS. I., besides which he consulted the Printed Editions, and MSS. H. and L. See the descriptions of these MSS. above. From this edition I have taken many hints, and I wish to express, very thankfully, my obligations to it. Mr. Brae has brought to bear upon his work much skill and knowledge, and has investigated many points with much patience, minuteness, and critical ability. But I cannot but perceive that he has often Edition: current; Page: [lxxii] expended his labour upon very inferior materials, and has been sometimes misled by the badness of those MSS. to which alone he had access1.

Besides his print of Chaucer’s Astrolabe, Mr. Brae has reprinted some curious and interesting critical notes of his own, and has added some essays on Chaucer’s ‘prime,’ on ‘the Carrenare,’ and ‘shippes opposteres.’ To all that he has done I am much indebted.

§ 27. Works on the Subject. The works upon, and descriptions of, the astrolabe, are numerous. I have had neither time nor inclination to make researches into the subject; for which reason I here note the names of a few books which may be examined by the curious reader.

In his Universal Lexicon, Zedler explains that astrolabes are of two kinds, ‘universal’ and ‘particular.’ He speaks of the astrolabes (1) of Gemma Frisius; see Petri Apiani Cosmographia, per Gemmam Phrysium restituta; (2) of Johan de Rojas, a Spaniard, ad 1550; (3) of De la Hire the elder, professor of mathematics at Paris, ad 1702; (4) of Johannes Stoflerinus (or Stöffler), ad 1510. The last of these varied from the others in adopting a different and more convenient system of projection, viz. that upon the plane of the equator, or one parallel to it, the eye being in the antarctic pole, and the arctic pole being made the centre of the instrument. This projection is the same as that which was used by Ptolemy, and it is adopted in the diagrams which accompany Chaucer’s treatise in some of the MSS. It should be observed here that the term ‘astrolabe’ alone is vague; it was originally a general name for any circular instrument used for observation of the stars; but in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was restricted to the particular kind called the ‘Astrolabe Planisphere,’ or astrolabe on a flat surface, in which sense alone the word is used throughout this volume. See the English Cyclopaedia, Arts and Sciences, s. v. Astrolabe.

The simplest work is that by Stöffler or Stoflerinus, as he calls himself; see also Gemma Frisius, Metius, Clavius Bambergensis the Cursus Mathematicus of Dechales, vol. iv. p. 161, Delambre’s History of Astronomy, and other works. The plates in Metius Edition: current; Page: [lxxiii] are most exquisitely engraved, and on a large scale, and give a better representation of the instrument than any others that I have seen.

One of the MSS., viz. MS. E., refers to an astrolabe belonging to Merton College, Oxford1. There is a very nice one, made of brass, and by a Dutch engraver, in the library of King’s College, Cambridge. It has several discs or plates, or, as Chaucer calls them, ‘tables2.’ Of this instrument the same library contains a written description, with some account of the problems it will solve, and an investigation of its probable date, by H. Godfray, Esq., of St. John’s College.

There is a book entitled ‘A verie briefe and most plaine description of Mr. Blagrave his Astrolabe,’ &c., by Mr. Blundevill; London, printed by William Stansby. But it turns out to be of little practical assistance, because Blagrave’s astrolabe was on a different principle.

§ 28. Description of the Astrolabe Planisphere. There is not, however, much need of reference to books to understand what the astrolabe used by Chaucer was like. The instrument may be readily understood from a brief description, and from the Plates in this volume.

The most important part of the ‘astrolabe planisphere’ consisted of a somewhat heavy circular plate of metal from four to seven inches in diameter, which could be suspended from the thumb by a ring (i. 1), working with such freedom as would allow the instrument to assume a perfectly perpendicular position (i. 2). One side of the plate was perfectly flat, and was called the back. This is represented in Fig. 1. On it was described a number of concentric rings, marked with various divisions, which may be readily understood from the figure. Beginning at the outermost ring, the first two represent the ninety degrees into which each quadrant of a circle can be divided (i. 7). The next two represent Edition: current; Page: [lxxiv] the signs of the zodiac, each subdivided into thirty degrees (i. 8). The next two represent the days of the year, and are rather difficult to mark, as the circle has, for this purpose, to be divided into 3651/4 equal parts (i. 9). The next three circles shew the names of the months, the number of days in each, and the small divisions which represent each day, which coincide exactly with those representing the days of the year (i. 10). The two innermost rings shew the saints’ days, with their Sunday-letters. Thus, above the 21st of December is written ‘Thome,’ i.e. St. Thomas’s day, its Sunday-letter being E; the rest can easily be traced by the tables in a Prayer-book (i. 11). These may be thus briefly recapitulated:—

  • 1 and 2. Circles of degrees of the quadrant and circle.
  • 3 and 4. Circles of the zodiacal signs, with their degrees.
  • 5 and 6. Circles of the days of the year, with their numbers.
  • 7, 8 and 9. Circles of the months, with their days and numbers of the days.
  • 10 and 11. Circles of saints’ days, with their Sunday-letters.

Within all these, are the Scales of Umbra Recta and Umbra Versa, in each of which the scale is divided into twelve equal parts, for the convenience of taking and computing altitudes (i. 12). This primitive and loose method of computation has long been superseded by the methods of trigonometry. Besides these circles, there is a perpendicular line, marking the South and North points, and a horizontal line from East to West.

The other side of the plate, called the front, and shewn in Fig. 2, had a thick rim with a wide depression in the middle (i. 3). The rim was marked with three rings or circles, of which the outermost was the Circle of Letters (A to Z) representing the twenty-four hours of the day, and the two innermost the degrees of the quadrants (i. 16). The depressed central portion of the plate was marked only with three circles, the ‘Tropicus Cancri,’ the ‘Æquinoctialis,’ and the ‘Tropicus Capricorni’ (i. 17); and with the cross-lines from North to South, and from East to West (i. 15). But several thin plates or discs of metal were provided, which were of such a size as exactly to drop into the depression spoken of. The principal one of these, called the ‘Rete,’ is shewn in Fig. 2. It consisted of a circular ring marked with the zodiacal signs, subdivided into degrees, with narrow branching limbs both within and without this ring, having smaller Edition: current; Page: [lxxv] branches or tongues terminating in points, each of which denoted the exact position of some well-known star. The names of these stars, as ‘Alhabor,’ ‘Rigel,’ &c., are (some of them) written on the branches (i. 21). The ‘Rete’ being thus, as it were, a skeleton plate, allows the ‘Tropicus Cancri,’ &c., marked upon the body of the instrument, to be partially seen below it. Another form of the ‘Rete’ is shewn in Fig. 9, and other positions of the Rete in Fig. 11 and Fig. 12. But it was more usual to interpose between the ‘Rete’ and the body of the instrument (called the ‘Mother’) another thin plate or disc, such as that in Fig. 5, so that portions of this latter plate could be seen beneath the skeleton-form of the ‘Rete’ (i. 17). These plates are called by Chaucer ‘tables,’ and sometimes an instrument was provided with several of them, differently marked, for use in places having different latitudes. The one in Fig. 5 is suitable for the latitude of Oxford (nearly). The upper part, above the Horizon Obliquus, is marked with circles of altitude (i. 18), crossed by incomplete arcs of azimuth tending to a common centre, the zenith (i. 19). The lower part of the same plate is marked with arcs denoting the twelve planetary hours (i. 20).

At the back of the astrolabe revolved the ‘rule,’ made of metal, and fitted with sights, represented in Fig. 3 (i. 13). At the front of it revolved the ‘label,’ represented in Fig. 6 (i. 22).

All the parts were held together by the central pin (Fig. 4) which passed through the holes in the ‘moder,’ plates, ‘Rete,’ rule, and label1, and was secured by a little wedge (i. 14), which was sometimes fancifully carved to resemble a horse (Fig. 7).

Another ‘table’ or disc is shewn in Fig. 14, and was used for ascertaining the twelve astrological houses.

§ 29. Uses of the Astrolabe Planisphere. I here briefly enumerate such principal uses of the instrument as are mentioned by Chaucer.

The back (Fig. 1) shews at once the degree of the zodiac answering to every day in the year (ii. 1). The altitude of the sun can be taken by the ‘Rule,’ elevated at the proper angle (ii. 2). If the Rete be properly adjusted to this altitude, we can thus tell the hour of the day (ii. 3). The duration of twilight can Edition: current; Page: [lxxvi] be calculated by observing when the sun is 18° below the horizon (ii. 6). Observe the times of sunrise and sundown, and the interval is the ‘artificial day’ (ii. 7). This day, with the duration of morning and evening twilights added to it, is called the ‘vulgar day’ (ii. 9). The plate in Fig. 5 shews the planetary hours (ii. 12). The placing of the sun’s degree on the South-line gives the sun’s meridian altitude (ii. 13), and conversely (ii. 14). The back of the instrument can shew what days in the year are of equal length (ii. 15). The degree of the zodiac which souths with any star can be ascertained by observing two altitudes of the star; but the observations must be made when the star is very near the meridian (ii. 17). If the star be marked on the Rete, the said degree is easily found by use of the Rete (ii. 18). We can also find with what degree of the zodiac the same star rises (ii. 19). The use of the Rete also shews the declination of every degree in the zodiac (ii. 20). We can always tell for what latitude a disc such as that in Fig. 5 is constructed, by properly examining it (ii. 21). The latitude of any place can be found by two observations of the altitude of the Pole-star (ii. 23); or of any circumpolar star (ii. 24); or by observing the sun’s meridional altitude (ii. 25). The Rete also tells us the ‘ascensions of signs,’ or how many degrees of the equinoctial circle pass the meridian with a given sign (ii. 27); as also the ‘oblique ascensions’ of the same (ii. 28). The astrolabe can also be used to discover (but only in an imperfect and approximate manner) the four cardinal points of the compass (ii. 29). We can also compare the altitude of a planet with that of the sun (ii. 30). We can find in what part of the horizon the sun rises (ii. 31); and in what direction to look for a conjunction of the sun and moon (ii. 32); also near what point of the compass the sun is at any given hour (ii. 33). The moon’s observed altitude will shew her longitude (ii. 34). We can tell, from two observations of a planet properly made, whether the planet’s movement is direct or retrograde (ii. 35). The disc shewn in Fig. 14 helps to shew the ‘equations of houses’ (ii. 36). The four cardinal points can be found without an astrolabe, by an experiment properly conducted (ii. 38). The astrolabe can be used to find the degree of the zodiac with which any planet ascends, even when the planet is not situated in the ecliptic (ii. 40).

By the use of the Umbra Recta on the back of the instrument, we can take the altitude of an accessible object by a single Edition: current; Page: [lxxvii] observation (ii. 41); or of an inaccessible object by two observations (ii. 43). Or, the height of an inaccessible object may likewise be taken by two observations, by the scale marked Umbra Versa (ii. 42).

The few Conclusions not here referred to are chiefly explanatory, or of minor interest.

§ 30. Stars marked on the Rete. Several of the Latin MSS. upon the Astrolabe give a list of the stars marked upon the Rete. There is a double list, for example, in MS. Ii. 3. 3, in the Cambridge University Library, fol. 70, back. It is given in the form of two tables; the first mentions forty-nine stars, with the degrees of the zodiac which south along with them, and their declinations from the equinoctial line. The second table mentions some only of the same stars, with their longitudes and latitudes, as referred to the ecliptic.

A list of the principal stars usually marked upon the Rete, as shewn in Fig. 2, is given in the Note to Part i. § 21. 4 (p. 357). Fig. 9 shews another Rete, with many of the same stars, with the addition of Markep (Argous). Alchimech is the same as Azimech, i.e. α Virginis; Cor Leonis is α Leonis; and Alfart is α Hydræ.

§ 31. Astrological Notes. For a general sketch of Astrology, see the English Cyclopaedia, s. v. Worthless as the science is, it is useful to have a few ‘facts’ for handy reference. I therefore attempt a synopsis of the chief points of it, drawn from Johannis Hispalensis Isagoge in Astrologiam.

To save space, I give the information in a tabular form, wherein I denote the twelve Signs by A., T., G., C., L., V., Li., S., Sa., Cp., Aq., P.; and the seven Planets, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon, by St., J., Ms., Sn., V., My., Mo. What the table exactly means shall be explained presently.

Signs. Man. Ex. Day. Nt. Com. Face 1. Face 2. Face 3.
A. Ms. Sn. (19) Sn. J. St. Ms. Sn. V.
T. V. Mn. (3) V. Mn. Ms. My. Mn. St.
G. My. D. H. St. My. J. J. Ms. Sn.
C. Mn. J. (15) V. Ms. Mn. V. My. Mn.
L. Sn. Sn. J. St. St. J. Ms.
V. My. My. (15) V. Mn. Ms. Sn. V. My.
Li. V. St. (19) St. My. J. Mn. St. J.
S. Ms. V. Ms. Mn. Ms. Sn. V.
Sa. J. D. T. Sn. J. St. My. Mn. St.
Cp. St. Ms. (28) V. Mn. Ms. J. Ms. Sn.
Aq. St. St. My. J. V. My. Mn.
P. J. V. (21) V. Ms. Mn. St. J. Ms.
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The first line is to be read thus.

Aries is the mansion (or house) of Mars; the exaltation (or honour) of the Sun, in the 19th degree of the sign; the lord of the Triplicity of Aries with its attendant signs is the Sun by day, Jupiter by night, and Saturn in Common, both by day and night; the first Face of Aries (degrees 1 to 10) is that of Mars; the second Face (degrees 11 to 20) is that of the Sun; the third Face (degrees 21 to 30) is that of Venus. And so on for the rest; noting that Gemini is the Exaltation of the Dragon’s Head (D. H.), and Sagittarius that of the Dragon’s Tail (D. T.).

The meanings of the words are as follows:—

A Mansion or House appears to be that sign in which the planet is peculiarly at home for some reason or other.

The Exaltation or Honour is that degree of a sign in which the planet named has its greatest power; but the degree was often neglected, and Aries was called the Exaltation of the Sun, simply.

The Fall (Lat. occasus vel detrimentum) of a planet is the sign opposite its mansion. Libra is opposite Aries; therefore Libra is the Fall of Mars.

The Dejection or Depression (Lat. dedecus) of a planet is the sign opposite to that of its exaltation. Libra is opposite Aries; therefore Libra is the Dejection of the Sun. And so on.

A Triplicity is a combination of three signs in the form of a triangle, each 120° apart. Thus Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius form the first triplicity; Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn, the second; Gemini, Libra, Aquarius, the third; Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces, the fourth. Equal divisions of a sign (third-parts, namely) are called Faces. There were also unequal divisions called Terms.

The ‘mobill’ or movable signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn. The ‘fixe’ or fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius. The ‘common’ signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces.

The signs Aries, Gemini, Leo, &c. (taking every other sign) are diurnal or masculine. The rest, Taurus, Cancer, &c., are nocturnal or feminine.

The first six signs, Aries to Virgo, are northern or sinister signs. So called because astrologers looked towards the east or ascendent.

The last six, Libra to Pisces, are southern or dexter signs.

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The signs Cancer to Sagittarius are western, sovereign, right, or direct signs. Cf. Astrol. ii. 28, and see Fig. 2.

The rest, Capricorn to Gemini, are eastern, obedient, tortuous, or oblique signs.

This is all that a reader is likely to want. For other points, see the authorities.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PLATES.

§ 32. Plate I. Fig. 1. The flat back of the Astrolabe; see § 28.

Plate II. Fig. 2. The front of the Astrolabe, with raised border. In the wide depression in the middle, the plate called the ‘Rete’ is dropped in, and is shewn in its primary position. Other positions of it are sketched in Fig. 11 and Fig. 12.

Plate III. Fig. 3. The ‘Rewle’ carrying two sights, which revolved at the back of the Astrolabe. Astrol. i. 13.

Fig. 4. The central ‘Pin,’ shewn with the ‘Wedge’ inserted through it. Astrol. i. 14; cf. Fig. 7.

Fig. 5. One of the Tables or discs, used by being dropped within the depression on the front of the Astrolabe; i. 17. They were marked differently, according to the latitude of the place. The one here drawn is suitable for the latitude of Oxford, nearly.

Fig. 6. The ‘Label,’ which revolved at the front of the Astrolabe; i. 22.

Plate IV. Fig. 7. Another form of the ‘Pin,’ shewing the Wedge cut into the shape of a Horse (i. 14); from MS. Camb. Ii. 3. 3.

Fig. 8. Diagram, shewing how to draw the three ‘principal circles’; see footnote on p. 183.

Fig. 9. Another form of the ‘Rete,’ from MS. Ii. 3. 3; cf. Fig. 2. This figure shews the ‘Almury’ very clearly; Astrol. i. 23.

Plate V. Fig. 10. Diagram of the nine spheres; from MS Camb. Ii. 3. 3. Astrol. i. 17.

Fig. 11. Rough sketch of the position of the ‘Rete’ in Astrol. ii. 3 (first part). Denticle opposite C, and first point of Aries opposite X; 9 a.m.

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Fig. 12. Rough sketch of the position of the ‘Rete’ in Astrol. ii. 3 (second part). Denticle near O; first point of Aries near H; 8h. 8m. p.m.

Fig. 13. Diagram of the Elevation of the Pole; Astrol. ii. 23. The arc AN is 56°; A′N is 48°; A′P is 4°; and PN is 52°. A, A′ are two positions of the Pole-star.

Plate VI. Fig. 14. A ‘Table’ or disc shewing the twelve astrological ‘Houses’; Astrol. ii. 36 and 37.

Fig. 15. Diagram shewing how to ascertain the meridional line from two shadows of an upright gnomon; Astrol. ii. 38.

Fig. 16. Diagram illustrating the use of the Umbra Recta; Astrol. ii. 41, 41a, and 41b.

Fig. 17. Diagram of the use of the Umbra Versa, at two observations; Astrol. ii. 42, 42a, and 42b.

Fig. 18. Use of the Umbra Recta, at two observations; Astrol. ii. 43 and 43a.

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lf0465-03_figure_001.jpg

fig. 1. back of the ‘astrolabe’

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lf0465-03_figure_002.jpg

fig. 2. front of the ‘astrolabe’

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lf0465-03_figure_003.jpg

fig. 3. rule

fig. 4. pin

fig. 5. plate for a climate

fig. 6. label

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lf0465-03_figure_004.jpg

fig. 7. wedge and horse (from a MS.)

fig. 8. diagram for a proposition

fig. 9. star-points

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lf0465-03_figure_005.jpg

fig. 10. nine spheres

figs. 11, 12, 13. problems

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lf0465-03_figure_006.jpg

fig. 14. houses

figs. 15-18. umbra recta and umbra versa

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THE HOUS OF FAME.

BOOK I.

The authorities are F. (Fairfax 16); B. (Bodley 638); P. (Pepys 2006); Cx. (Caxton’s ed.); Th. (Thynne’s ed. 1532). I follow F. mainly, correcting the spelling.

  • GOD turne us every dreem to gode[ ]!
  • For hit is wonder, by the rode[ ],
  • To my wit, what causeth swevenes
  • Either on morwes, or on evenes;
  • And why the effect folweth of somme,Skeat1900: 5
  • And of somme hit shal never come;
  • Why that is an avisioun[ ],
  • And this a revelacioun;
  • Why this a dreem, why that a sweven,
  • And nat to every man liche even;Skeat1900: 10
  • Why this a fantom, these oracles,
  • I noot; but who-so of these miracles
  • The causes knoweth bet than I,
  • Devyne he; for I certeinly
  • Ne can hem noght, ne never thinkeSkeat1900: 15
  • To besily my wit to swinke,
  • To knowe of hir signifiaunce
  • The gendres, neither the distaunce
  • Of tymes of hem, ne the causes
  • For-why this more than that cause is[ ];Skeat1900: 20
  • Edition: current; Page: [2]
  • As if folkes complexiouns[ ]
  • Make hem dreme of reflexiouns;
  • Or elles thus, as other sayn,
  • For to greet feblenesse of brayn,
  • By abstinence, or by seeknesse,Skeat1900: 25
  • Prison, stewe, or greet distresse;
  • Or elles by disordinaunce
  • Of naturel acustomaunce,
  • That som man is to curious
  • In studie, or melancolious,Skeat1900: 30
  • Or thus, so inly ful of drede,
  • That no man may him bote bede;
  • Or elles, that devocioun
  • Of somme, and contemplacioun
  • Causeth swiche dremes ofte;Skeat1900: 35
  • Or that the cruel lyf unsofte
  • Which these ilke lovers leden
  • That hopen over muche or dreden,
  • That purely hir impressiouns
  • Causeth hem avisiouns;Skeat1900: 40
  • Or if that spirits have the might
  • To make folk to dreme a-night
  • Or if the soule, of propre kinde,
  • Be so parfit, as men finde,
  • That hit forwot that is to come,Skeat1900: 45
  • And that hit warneth alle and somme
  • Of everiche of hir aventures
  • By avisiouns, or by figures,
  • But that our flesh ne hath no might
  • To understonden hit aright,Skeat1900: 50
  • For hit is warned to derkly;—
  • But why the cause is, noght wot I.
  • Wel worthe, of this thing, grete clerkes[ ],
  • That trete of this and other werkes;
  • For I of noon opiniounSkeat1900: 55
  • Edition: current; Page: [3]
  • Nil as now make mencioun,
  • But only that the holy rode
  • Turne us every dreem to gode[ ]!
  • For never, sith that I was born,
  • Ne no man elles, me biforn,Skeat1900: 60
  • Mette, I trowe stedfastly,
  • So wonderful a dreem as I
  • The tenthe day [dide] of Decembre[ ],[ ]
  • The which, as I can now remembre[ ],
  • I wol yow tellen every del.Skeat1900: 65
  • The Invocation.

  • But at my ginning, trusteth wel,
  • I wol make invocacioun,
  • With special devocioun[ ],
  • Unto the god of slepe anoon[ ],
  • That dwelleth in a cave of stoonSkeat1900: 70
  • Upon a streem that comth fro Lete,
  • That is a flood of helle unswete;
  • Besyde a folk men clepe Cimerie,
  • Ther slepeth ay this god unmerie
  • With his slepy thousand sones[ ]Skeat1900: 75
  • That alway for to slepe hir wone is—
  • And to this god, that I of rede,
  • Preye I, that he wol me spede
  • My sweven for to telle aright,
  • If every dreem stonde in his might.Skeat1900: 80
  • And he, that mover is of al
  • That is and was, and ever shal,
  • So yive hem Ioye that hit here
  • Of alle that they dreme to-yere,
  • And for to stonden alle in graceSkeat1900: 85
  • Of hir loves, or in what place
  • That hem wer levest for to stonde,
  • Edition: current; Page: [4]
  • And shelde hem fro povert and shonde[ ],
  • And fro unhappe and ech disese,
  • And sende hem al that may hem plese,Skeat1900: 90
  • That take hit wel, and scorne hit noght,
  • Ne hit misdemen in her thoght
  • Through malicious entencioun.
  • And who-so, through presumpcioun,
  • Or hate or scorne, or through envye,Skeat1900: 95
  • Dispyt, or Iape, or vilanye,
  • Misdeme hit, preye I Iesus god
  • That (dreme he barfoot, dreme he shod),
  • That every harm that any man
  • Hath had, sith [that] the world began,Skeat1900: 100
  • Befalle him therof, or he sterve,
  • And graunte he mote hit ful deserve,
  • Lo! with swich a conclusioun
  • As had of his avisioun
  • Cresus, that was king of Lyde,Skeat1900: 105
  • That high upon a gebet dyde!
  • This prayer shal he have of me;
  • I am no bet in charite!
  • Now herkneth, as I have you seyd[ ],
  • What that I mette, or I abreyd.Skeat1900: 110
  • The Dream.

    • Of Decembre the tenthe day[ ],
    • Whan hit was night, to slepe I lay
    • Right ther as I was wont to done,
    • And fil on slepe wonder sone,
    • As he that wery was for-goSkeat1900: 115
    • On pilgrimage myles two
    • To the corseynt Leonard,
    • To make lythe of that was hard.
    • But as I sleep, me mette I was[ ]
    • Within a temple y-mad of glas[ ];Skeat1900: 120
    • Edition: current; Page: [5]
    • In whiche ther were mo images
    • Of gold, stondinge in sondry stages,
    • And mo riche tabernacles,
    • And with perre mo pinacles,
    • And mo curious portreytures,Skeat1900: 125
    • And queynte maner of figures
    • Of olde werke, then I saw ever.
    • For certeynly, I niste never
    • Wher that I was, but wel wiste I,
    • Hit was of Venus redely,Skeat1900: 130
    • The temple; for, in portreyture,
    • I saw anoon-right hir figure
    • Naked fletinge in a see.
    • And also on hir heed, parde,
    • Hir rose-garlond whyt and reed,Skeat1900: 135
    • And hir comb to kembe hir heed,
    • Hir dowves, and daun Cupido,
    • Hir blinde sone, and Vulcano,
    • That in his face was ful broun.
    • But as I romed up and doun,Skeat1900: 140
    • I fond that on a wal ther was[ ]
    • Thus writen, on a table of bras:
    • ‘I wol now singe, if that I can[ ],
    • The armes, and al-so the man,
    • That first cam, through his destinee,Skeat1900: 145
    • Fugitif of Troye contree,
    • In Itaile, with ful moche pyne,
    • Unto the strondes of Lavyne.’
    • And tho began the story anoon,
    • As I shal telle yow echoon.Skeat1900: 150
    • First saw I the destruccioun
    • Of Troye, through the Greek Sinoun,
    • Edition: current; Page: [6]
    • [That] with his false forsweringe,[ ]
    • And his chere and his lesinge
    • Made the hors broght into Troye,Skeat1900: 155
    • Thorgh which Troyens loste al hir Ioye.
    • And after this was grave, allas!
    • How Ilioun assailed was
    • And wonne, and king Priam y-slayn,
    • And Polites his sone, certayn,Skeat1900: 160[ ]
    • Dispitously, of dan Pirrus.
    • And next that saw I how Venus,
    • Whan that she saw the castel brende,
    • Doun fro the hevene gan descende,[ ]
    • And bad hir sone Eneas flee;Skeat1900: 165
    • And how he fledde, and how that he
    • Escaped was from al the pres,
    • And took his fader, Anchises,
    • And bar him on his bakke away,
    • Cryinge, ‘Allas, and welaway!’Skeat1900: 170
    • The whiche Anchises in his honde
    • Bar the goddes of the londe,
    • Thilke that unbrende were.
    • And I saw next, in alle this fere,[ ]
    • How Creusa, daun Eneas wyf,Skeat1900: 175
    • Which that he lovede as his lyf,
    • And hir yonge sone Iulo,
    • And eek Ascanius also,
    • Fledden eek with drery chere,
    • That hit was pitee for to here;Skeat1900: 180
    • And in a forest, as they wente,
    • At a turninge of a wente,
    • How Creusa was y-lost, allas!
    • That deed, [but] noot I how, she was;[ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [7]
    • How he hir soughte, and how hir gostSkeat1900: 185
    • Bad him to flee the Grekes ost,
    • And seyde, he moste unto Itaile,
    • As was his destinee, sauns faille;
    • That hit was pitee for to here,[ ]
    • Whan hir spirit gan appere,Skeat1900: 190
    • The wordes that she to him seyde,
    • And for to kepe hir sone him preyde.
    • Ther saw I graven eek how he,
    • His fader eek, and his meynee,
    • With his shippes gan to sayleSkeat1900: 195
    • Toward the contree of Itaile,
    • As streight as that they mighte go.
    • Ther saw I thee, cruel Iuno,[ ]
    • That art daun Iupiteres wyf,
    • That hast y-hated, al thy lyf,Skeat1900: 200
    • Al the Troyanisshe blood,
    • Renne and crye, as thou were wood,
    • On Eolus, the god of windes,
    • To blowen out, of alle kindes,
    • So loude, that he shulde drencheSkeat1900: 205
    • Lord and lady, grome and wenche
    • Of al the Troyan nacioun,
    • Withoute any savacioun.
    • Ther saw I swich tempeste aryse,
    • That every herte mighte agryse,Skeat1900: 210
    • To see hit peynted on the walle.
    • Ther saw I graven eek withalle,
    • Venus, how ye, my lady dere,
    • Wepinge with ful woful chere,
    • Prayen Iupiter an hyeSkeat1900: 215
    • To save and kepe that navye
    • Of the Troyan Eneas,
    • Sith that he hir sone was.
    • Ther saw I Ioves Venus kisse,[ ]
    • And graunted of the tempest lisse.Skeat1900: 220
    • Edition: current; Page: [8]
    • Ther saw I how the tempest stente,
    • And how with alle pyne he wente,
    • And prevely took arrivage
    • In the contree of Cartage;
    • And on the morwe, how that heSkeat1900: 225
    • And a knight, hight Achatee,
    • Metten with Venus that day,
    • Goinge in a queynt array,
    • As she had ben an hunteresse,
    • With wind blowinge upon hir tresse;Skeat1900: 230
    • How Eneas gan him to pleyne,
    • Whan that he knew hir, of his peyne;
    • And how his shippes dreynte were,
    • Or elles lost, he niste where;
    • How she gan him comforte tho,Skeat1900: 235
    • And bad him to Cartage go,
    • And ther he shuldë his folk finde,
    • That in the see were left behinde.
    • And, shortly of this thing to pace,[ ]
    • She made Eneas so in graceSkeat1900: 240
    • Of Dido, quene of that contree,
    • That, shortly for to tellen, she
    • Becam his love, and leet him do
    • That that wedding longeth to.
    • What shulde I speke more queynte,Skeat1900: 245
    • Or peyne me my wordes peynte,
    • To speke of love? hit wol not be;
    • I can not of that facultee.
    • And eek to telle the manere
    • How they aqueynteden in-fere,Skeat1900: 250
    • Hit were a long proces to telle,
    • And over long for yow to dwelle.
    • Ther saw I grave, how Eneas
    • Tolde Dido every cas,
    • That him was tid upon the see.Skeat1900: 255
    • And after grave was, how she
    • Edition: current; Page: [9]
    • Made of him, shortly, at oo word,
    • Hir lyf, hir love, hir lust, hir lord;
    • And dide him al the reverence,
    • And leyde on him al the dispence,Skeat1900: 260
    • That any woman mighte do,
    • Weninge hit had al be so,
    • As he hir swoor; and her-by demed
    • That he was good, for he swich semed.
    • Allas! what harm doth apparence,Skeat1900: 265[ ]
    • Whan hit is fals in existence!
    • For he to hir a traitour was;
    • Wherfor she slow hir-self, allas!
    • Lo, how a woman doth amis,
    • To love him that unknowen is!Skeat1900: 270
    • For, by Crist, lo! thus hit fareth;
    • Hit is not al gold, that glareth.’
    • For, al-so brouke I wel myn heed,
    • Ther may be under goodliheed
    • Kevered many a shrewed vyce;Skeat1900: 275
    • Therfor be no wight so nyce,
    • To take a love only for chere,
    • For speche, or for frendly manere;
    • For this shal every woman finde
    • That som man, of his pure kinde,Skeat1900: 280[ ]
    • Wol shewen outward the faireste,
    • Til he have caught that what him leste;
    • And thanne wol he causes finde,
    • And swere how that she is unkinde,
    • Or fals, or prevy, or double was.Skeat1900: 285
    • Al this seye I by Eneas[ ]
    • And Dido, and hir nyce lest,
    • That lovede al to sone a gest;
    • Therfor I wol seye a proverbe,
    • That ‘he that fully knoweth therbe[ ]Skeat1900: 290
    • Edition: current; Page: [10]
    • May saufly leye hit to his yë’;
    • Withoute dreed, this is no lye.
    • But let us speke of Eneas,
    • How he betrayed hir, allas!
    • And lefte hir ful unkindely.Skeat1900: 295
    • So whan she saw al-utterly,
    • That he wolde hir of trouthe faile,
    • And wende fro hir to Itaile,
    • She gan to wringe hir hondes two.
    • ‘Allas!’ quod she, ‘what me is wo!Skeat1900: 300
    • Allas! is every man thus trewe,
    • That every yere wolde have a newe,
    • If hit so longe tyme dure,
    • Or elles three, peraventure?
    • As thus: of oon he wolde have fameSkeat1900: 305[ ]
    • In magnifying of his name;
    • Another for frendship, seith he;
    • And yet ther shal the thridde be,
    • That shal be taken for delyt,
    • Lo, or for singular profyt.’Skeat1900: 310
    • In swiche wordes gan to pleyne
    • Dido of hir grete peyne,
    • As me mette redely;
    • Non other auctour alegge I.
    • ‘Allas!’ quod she, ‘my swete herte,Skeat1900: 315[ ]
    • Have pitee on my sorwes smerte,
    • And slee me not! go noght away!
    • O woful Dido, wel away!’
    • Quod she to hir-selve tho.
    • ‘O Eneas! what wil ye do?Skeat1900: 320
    • O, that your love, ne your bonde,
    • That ye han sworn with your right honde,
    • Ne my cruel deeth,’ quod she,
    • ‘May holde yow still heer with me!
    • O, haveth of my deeth pitee!Skeat1900: 325
    • Y-wis, my dere herte, ye
    • Edition: current; Page: [11]
    • Knowen ful wel that never yit,
    • As fer-forth as I hadde wit,
    • Agilte [I] yow in thoght ne deed.
    • O, have ye men swich goodliheedSkeat1900: 330
    • In speche, and never a deel of trouthe?
    • Allas, that ever hadde routhe
    • Any woman on any man!
    • Now see I wel, and telle can,
    • We wrecched wimmen conne non art;Skeat1900: 335
    • For certeyn, for the more part,
    • Thus we be served everichone.
    • How sore that ye men conne grone,
    • Anoon as we have yow receyved!
    • Certeinly we ben deceyved;[ ]Skeat1900: 340
    • For, though your love laste a sesoun,
    • Wayte upon the conclusioun,
    • And eek how that ye determynen,[ ]
    • And for the more part diffynen.
    • ‘O, welawey that I was born!Skeat1900: 345
    • For through yow is my name lorn,[ ]
    • And alle myn actes red and songe
    • Over al this lond, on every tonge.
    • O wikke Fame! for ther nis
    • Nothing so swift, lo, as she is!Skeat1900: 350[ ]
    • O, sooth is, every thing is wist,[ ]
    • Though hit be kevered with the mist.
    • Eek, thogh I mighte duren ever,
    • That I have doon, rekever I never,
    • That I ne shal be seyd, allas,Skeat1900: 355
    • Y-shamed be through Eneas,
    • And that I shal thus Iuged be—
    • “Lo, right as she hath doon, now she
    • Wol do eftsones, hardily;”
    • Thus seyth the peple prevely.’—Skeat1900: 360
    • Edition: current; Page: [12]
    • But that is doon, nis not to done;
    • Al hir compleynt ne al hir mone,
    • Certeyn, availeth hir not a stre.
    • And whan she wiste sothly he
    • Was forth unto his shippes goon,[ ]Skeat1900: 365
    • She in hir chambre wente anoon,[ ]
    • And called on hir suster Anne,[ ]
    • And gan hir to compleyne thanne;
    • And seyde, that she cause was
    • That she first lovede [Eneas],Skeat1900: 370
    • And thus counseilled hir therto.
    • But what! when this was seyd and do,
    • She roof hir-selve to the herte,
    • And deyde through the wounde smerte.
    • But al the maner how she deyde,Skeat1900: 375
    • And al the wordes that she seyde,
    • Who-so to knowe hit hath purpos,
    • Reed Virgile in Eneidos
    • Or the Epistle of Ovyde,
    • What that she wroot or that she dyde;Skeat1900: 380
    • And nere hit to long to endyte,[ ]
    • By god, I woldë hit here wryte.
    • But, welaway! the harm, the routhe,
    • That hath betid for swich untrouthe,
    • As men may ofte in bokes rede,Skeat1900: 385
    • And al day seen hit yet in dede,
    • That for to thenken hit, a tene is.
    • Lo, Demophon, duk of Athenis,[ ]
    • How he forswor him ful falsly,
    • And trayed Phillis wikkedly,Skeat1900: 390
    • That kinges doghter was of Trace,
    • And falsly gan his terme pace;
    • And when she wiste that he was fals,
    • She heng hir-self right by the hals,
    • Edition: current; Page: [13]
    • For he had do hir swich untrouthe;Skeat1900: 395
    • Lo! was not this a wo and routhe?
    • Eek lo! how fals and reccheles[ ]
    • Was to Briseida Achilles,
    • And Paris to Enone;
    • And Iason to Isiphile;Skeat1900: 400
    • And eft Iason to Medea;[ ]
    • And Ercules to Dyanira;[ ]
    • For he lefte hir for Iöle,
    • That made him cacche his deeth, parde.
    • How fals eek was he, Theseus;Skeat1900: 405[ ]
    • That, as the story telleth us,
    • How he betrayed Adriane;[ ]
    • The devel be his soules bane!
    • For had he laughed, had he loured,
    • He mostë have be al devoured,Skeat1900: 410
    • If Adriane ne had y-be!
    • And, for she had of him pitee,
    • She made him fro the dethe escape,
    • And he made hir a ful fals Iape;
    • For after this, within a whyleSkeat1900: 415
    • He lefte hir slepinge in an yle,
    • Deserte alone, right in the see,
    • And stal away, and leet hir be;
    • And took hir suster Phedra tho
    • With him, and gan to shippe go.Skeat1900: 420
    • And yet he had y-sworn to here,
    • On al that ever he mighte swere,
    • That, so she saved him his lyf,
    • He wolde have take hir to his wyf;
    • For she desired nothing elles,Skeat1900: 425
    • In certein, as the book us telles.
    • But to excusen Eneas
    • Fulliche of al his greet trespas,
    • The book seyth, Mercurie, sauns faile,
    • Bad him go into Itaile,Skeat1900: 430
    • Edition: current; Page: [14]
    • And leve Auffrykes regioun,
    • And Dido and hir faire toun.
    • Tho saw I grave, how to Itaile
    • Daun Eneas is go to saile;
    • And how the tempest al began,Skeat1900: 435
    • And how he loste his steresman,
    • Which that the stere, or he took keep,
    • Smot over-bord, lo! as he sleep.
    • And also saw I how Sibyle[ ]
    • And Eneas, besyde an yle,Skeat1900: 440
    • To helle wente, for to see
    • His fader, Anchises the free.
    • How he ther fond Palinurus,
    • And Dido, and eek Deiphebus;
    • And every tourment eek in helleSkeat1900: 445
    • Saw he, which is long to telle.
    • Which who-so willeth for to knowe,
    • He moste rede many a rowe
    • On Virgile or on Claudian,
    • Or Daunte, that hit telle can.Skeat1900: 450
    • Tho saw I grave al tharivaile[ ]
    • That Eneas had in Itaile;
    • And with king Latine his tretee,
    • And alle the batailles that he
    • Was at him-self, and eek his knightes,Skeat1900: 455
    • Or he had al y-wonne his rightes;
    • And how he Turnus refte his lyf,
    • And wan Lavyna to his wyf;[ ]
    • And al the mervelous signals
    • Of the goddes celestials;Skeat1900: 460
    • How, maugre Iuno, Eneas,
    • For al hir sleighte and hir compas,
    • Acheved al his aventure;
    • For Iupiter took of him cure
    • At the prayere of Venus;Skeat1900: 465
    • Edition: current; Page: [15]
    • The whiche I preye alway save us,
    • And us ay of our sorwes lighte!
    • Whan I had seyen al this sighte[ ]
    • In this noble temple thus,
    • ‘A, Lord!’ thoughte I, ‘that madest us,Skeat1900: 470
    • Yet saw I never swich noblesse
    • Of images, ne swich richesse,
    • As I saw graven in this chirche;
    • But not woot I who dide hem wirche,
    • Ne wher I am, ne in what contree.Skeat1900: 475
    • But now wol I go out and see,
    • Right at the wiket, if I can
    • See o-wher stering any man,
    • That may me telle wher I am.’
    • When I out at the dores cam,Skeat1900: 480
    • I faste aboute me beheld.
    • Then saw I but a large feld,[ ]
    • As fer as that I mighte see,
    • Withouten toun, or hous, or tree,
    • Or bush, or gras, or ered lond;Skeat1900: 485
    • For al the feld nas but of sond
    • As smal as man may see yet lye
    • In the desert of Libye;
    • Ne I no maner creature,
    • That is y-formed by nature,Skeat1900: 490
    • Ne saw, me [for] to rede or wisse.
    • ‘O Crist,’ thoughte I, ‘that art in blisse,
    • Fro fantom and illusioun
    • Me save!’ and with devocioun
    • Myn yën to the heven I caste.Skeat1900: 495
    • Tho was I war, lo! at the laste,
    • That faste by the sonne, as hyë
    • As kenne mighte I with myn yë,
    • Me thoughte I saw an egle sore,
    • But that hit semed moche moreSkeat1900: 500
    • Edition: current; Page: [16]
    • Then I had any egle seyn.
    • But this as sooth as deeth, certeyn,
    • Hit was of golde, and shoon so bright,
    • That never saw men such a sighte,[ ][ ]
    • But-if the heven hadde y-wonneSkeat1900: 505
    • Al newe of golde another sonne;
    • So shoon the egles fethres brighte,
    • And somwhat dounward gan hit lighte.

Explicit liber primus.

BOOK II.

Incipit liber secundus.

Colophon and Title. So in Cx.; the rest omit them.

  • Proem.

    • Now herkneth, every maner man
    • That English understonde can,Skeat1900: 510
    • And listeth of my dreem to lere;[ ]
    • For now at erste shul ye here
    • So selly an avisioun,
    • That Isaye, ne Scipioun,
    • Ne king Nabugodonosor,Skeat1900: 515
    • Pharo, Turnus, ne Elcanor,
    • Ne mette swich a dreem as this!
    • Now faire blisful, O Cipris,Skeat1900: (10)
    • So be my favour at this tyme!
    • And ye, me to endyte and rymeSkeat1900: 520
    • Helpeth, that on Parnaso dwelle
    • By Elicon the clere welle.
    • O Thought, that wroot al that I mette,
    • And in the tresorie hit shette
    • Of my brayn! now shal men seeSkeat1900: 525
    • If any vertu in thee be,
    • To tellen al my dreem aright;
    • Now kythe thyn engyn and might!Skeat1900: (20)
Edition: current; Page: [17]
  • The Dream.

    • This egle, of which I have yow told,
    • That shoon with fethres as of gold,Skeat1900: 530
    • Which that so hyë gan to sore,
    • I gan beholde more and more,
    • To see hir beautee and the wonder;
    • But never was ther dint of thonder,[ ]
    • Ne that thing that men calle foudre,Skeat1900: 535
    • That smoot somtyme a tour to poudre,
    • And in his swifte coming brende,[ ]
    • That so swythe gan descende,Skeat1900: (30)
    • As this foul, whan hit behelde
    • That I a-roume was in the felde;Skeat1900: 540
    • And with his grimme pawes stronge,
    • Within his sharpe nayles longe,
    • Me, fleinge, at a swappe he hente,
    • And with his sours agayn up wente,
    • Me caryinge in his clawes starkeSkeat1900: 545
    • As lightly as I were a larke,
    • How high, I can not telle yow,
    • For I cam up, I niste how.Skeat1900: (40)
    • For so astonied and a-sweved
    • Was every vertu in my heved,Skeat1900: 550
    • What with his sours and with my drede,
    • That al my feling gan to dede;
    • For-why hit was to greet affray.
    • Thus I longe in his clawes lay,
    • Til at the laste he to me spakSkeat1900: 555
    • In mannes vois, and seyde, ‘Awak!
    • And be not so a-gast, for shame!’[ ]
    • And called me tho by my name.Skeat1900: (50)
    • And, for I sholde the bet abreyde—
    • Me mette—‘Awak,’ to me he seyde,Skeat1900: 560
    • Edition: current; Page: [18]
    • Right in the same vois and stevene
    • That useth oon I coude nevene;
    • And with that vois, soth for to sayn,
    • My minde cam to me agayn;
    • For hit was goodly seyd to me,Skeat1900: 565
    • So nas hit never wont to be.
    • And herwithal I gan to stere,
    • And he me in his feet to bere,Skeat1900: (60)
    • Til that he felte that I had hete,
    • And felte eek tho myn herte bete.Skeat1900: 570
    • And tho gan he me to disporte,
    • And with wordes to comforte,
    • And sayde twyës, ‘Seynte Marie![ ]
    • Thou art noyous for to carie,
    • And nothing nedeth hit, parde!Skeat1900: 575
    • For al-so wis god helpe me
    • As thou non harm shalt have of this;
    • And this cas, that betid thee is,Skeat1900: (70)
    • Is for thy lore and for thy prow;—
    • Let see! darst thou yet loke now?Skeat1900: 580
    • Be ful assured, boldely,
    • I am thy frend.’ And therwith I
    • Gan for to wondren in my minde.
    • ‘O god,’ thoughte I, ‘that madest kinde,
    • Shal I non other weyes dye?Skeat1900: 585
    • Wher Ioves wol me stellifye,
    • Or what thing may this signifye?
    • I neither am Enok, ne Elye,Skeat1900: (80)[ ]
    • Ne Romulus, ne Ganymede
    • That was y-bore up, as men rede,Skeat1900: 590
    • To hevene with dan Iupiter,
    • And maad the goddes boteler.’
    • Lo! this was tho my fantasye!
    • But he that bar me gan espye
    • That I so thoghte, and seyde this:—Skeat1900: 595
    • ‘Thou demest of thy-self amis;
    • For Ioves is not ther-aboute
    • I dar wel putte thee out of doute—Skeat1900: (90)
    • Edition: current; Page: [19]
    • To make of thee as yet a sterre.
    • But er I bere thee moche ferre,Skeat1900: 600[ ]
    • I wol thee telle what I am,
    • And whider thou shalt, and why I cam
    • To done this, so that thou take
    • Good herte, and not for fere quake.’
    • ‘Gladly,’ quod I. ‘Now wel,’ quod he:—Skeat1900: 605
    • ‘First I, that in my feet have thee,
    • Of which thou hast a feer and wonder,
    • Am dwelling with the god of thonder,Skeat1900: (100)[ ]
    • Which that men callen Iupiter,
    • That dooth me flee ful ofte ferSkeat1900: 610
    • To do al his comaundement.
    • And for this cause he hath me sent
    • To thee: now herke, by thy trouthe!
    • Certeyn, he hath of thee routhe,[ ]
    • That thou so longe trewelySkeat1900: 615
    • Hast served so ententifly
    • His blinde nevew Cupido,
    • And fair Venus [goddesse] also,Skeat1900: (110)[ ]
    • Withoute guerdoun ever yit,
    • And nevertheles hast set thy wit—Skeat1900: 620
    • Although that in thy hede ful lyte is—[ ]
    • To make bokes, songes, dytees,
    • In ryme, or elles in cadence,
    • As thou best canst, in reverence
    • Of Love, and of his servants eke,Skeat1900: 625
    • That have his servise soght, and seke;
    • And peynest thee to preyse his art,
    • Althogh thou haddest never part;Skeat1900: (120)
    • Wherfor, al-so god me blesse,
    • Ioves halt hit greet humblesseSkeat1900: 630
    • And vertu eek, that thou wolt make
    • A-night ful ofte thyn heed to ake,
    • Edition: current; Page: [20]
    • In thy studie so thou wrytest,
    • And ever-mo of love endytest,
    • In honour of him and preysinges,Skeat1900: 635
    • And in his folkes furtheringes,
    • And in hir matere al devysest,
    • And noght him nor his folk despysest,Skeat1900: (130)
    • Although thou mayst go in the daunce
    • Of hem that him list not avaunce.Skeat1900: 640
    • ‘Wherfor, as I seyde, y-wis,
    • Iupiter considereth this,
    • And also, beau sir, other thinges;
    • That is, that thou hast no tydinges
    • Of Loves folk, if they be glade,Skeat1900: 645
    • Ne of noght elles that god made;
    • And noght only fro fer contree
    • That ther no tyding comth to thee,Skeat1900: (140)
    • But of thy verray neyghebores,
    • That dwellen almost at thy dores,Skeat1900: 650
    • Thou herest neither that ne this;
    • For whan thy labour doon al is,[ ]
    • And hast y-maad thy rekeninges,
    • In stede of reste and newe thinges,
    • Thou gost hoom to thy hous anoon;Skeat1900: 655
    • And, also domb as any stoon,
    • Thou sittest at another boke,
    • Til fully daswed is thy loke,Skeat1900: (150)
    • And livest thus as an hermyte,
    • Although thyn abstinence is lyte.Skeat1900: 660
    • ‘And therfor Ioves, through his grace,
    • Wol that I bere thee to a place,[ ]
    • Which that hight the Hous of Fame,
    • To do thee som disport and game,
    • In som recompensaciounSkeat1900: 665
    • Of labour and devocioun
    • That thou hast had, lo! causeles,
    • To Cupido, the reccheles!Skeat1900: (160)
    • Edition: current; Page: [21]
    • And thus this god, thorgh his meryte,
    • Wol with som maner thing thee quyte,Skeat1900: 670
    • So that thou wolt be of good chere.
    • For truste wel, that thou shalt here,
    • When we be comen ther I seye,
    • Mo wonder thinges, dar I leye,
    • Of Loves folke mo tydinges,Skeat1900: 675
    • Bothe soth-sawes and lesinges;
    • And mo loves newe begonne,
    • And longe y-served loves wonne,Skeat1900: (170)
    • And mo loves casuelly
    • That been betid, no man wot why,Skeat1900: 680
    • But as a blind man stert an hare;[ ]
    • And more Iolytee and fare,
    • Whyl that they finde love of stele,
    • As thinketh hem, and over-al wele;
    • Mo discords, and mo Ielousyes,Skeat1900: 685
    • Mo murmurs, and mo novelryes,
    • And mo dissimulaciouns,
    • And feyned reparaciouns;Skeat1900: (180)
    • And mo berdes in two houres
    • Withoute rasour or sisouresSkeat1900: 690
    • Y-maad, then greynes be of sondes;
    • And eke mo holdinge in hondes,
    • And also mo renovelaunces
    • Of olde forleten aqueyntaunces;
    • Mo love-dayes and acordesSkeat1900: 695
    • Then on instruments ben cordes;[ ]
    • And eke of loves mo eschaunges
    • Than ever cornes were in graunges;Skeat1900: (190)
    • Unethe maistow trowen this?’—
    • Quod he. ‘No, helpe me god so wis!’—Skeat1900: 700
    • Quod I. ‘No? why?’ quod he. ‘For hit
    • Were impossible, to my wit,
    • Though that Fame hadde al the pyes
    • In al a realme, and al the spyes,
    • Edition: current; Page: [22]
    • How that yet she shulde here al this,Skeat1900: 705
    • Or they espye hit.’ ‘O yis, yis!’
    • Quod he to me, ‘that can I preve
    • By resoun, worthy for to love,Skeat1900: (200)
    • So that thou yeve thyn advertence
    • To understonde my sentence.Skeat1900: 710
    • ‘First shalt thou heren wher she dwelleth,
    • And so thyn owne book hit telleth;
    • Hir paleys stant, as I shal seye,
    • Right even in middes of the weye
    • Betwixen hevene, erthe, and see;Skeat1900: 715
    • That, what-so-ever in al these three
    • Is spoken, in privee or aperte,
    • The wey therto is so overte,Skeat1900: (210)
    • And stant eek in so Iuste a place,
    • That every soun mot to hit pace,Skeat1900: 720
    • Or what so comth fro any tonge,
    • Be hit rouned, red, or songe,
    • Or spoke in seurtee or drede,
    • Certein, hit moste thider nede.
    • ‘Now herkne wel; for-why I willeSkeat1900: 725
    • Tellen thee a propre skile,
    • And worthy demonstracioun
    • In myn imagynacioun.Skeat1900: (220)
    • ‘Geffrey, thou wost right wel this,
    • That every kindly thing that is,Skeat1900: 730[ ]
    • Hath a kindly stede ther he
    • May best in hit conserved be;
    • Unto which place every thing,
    • Through his kindly enclyning,
    • Moveth for to come to,Skeat1900: 735
    • Whan that hit is awey therfro;
    • As thus; lo, thou mayst al day see
    • That any thing that hevy be,Skeat1900: (230)
    • As stoon or leed, or thing of wighte,
    • And ber hit never so hye on highte,Skeat1900: 740
    • Edition: current; Page: [23]
    • Lat go thyn hand, hit falleth doun.
    • ‘Right so seye I by fyre or soun,
    • Or smoke, or other thinges lighte,
    • Alwey they seke upward on highte;
    • Whyl ech of hem is at his large,Skeat1900: 745
    • Light thing up, and dounward charge.[ ]
    • ‘And for this cause mayst thou see,
    • That every river to the seeSkeat1900: (240)
    • Enclyned is to go, by kinde.
    • And by these skilles, as I finde,Skeat1900: 750
    • Hath fish dwellinge in floode and see,
    • And treës eek in erthe be.[ ]
    • Thus every thing, by this resoun,
    • Hath his propre mansioun,
    • To which hit seketh to repaire,[ ]Skeat1900: 755
    • As ther hit shulde not apaire.
    • Lo, this sentence is knowen couthe
    • Of every philosophres mouthe,Skeat1900: (250)
    • As Aristotle and dan Platon,[ ]
    • And other clerkes many oon;Skeat1900: 760
    • And to confirme my resoun,
    • Thou wost wel this, that speche is soun,
    • Or elles no man mighte hit here;
    • Now herkne what I wol thee lere.
    • ‘Soun is noght but air y-broken,Skeat1900: 765[ ]
    • And every speche that is spoken,
    • Loud or privee, foul or fair,
    • In his substaunce is but air;Skeat1900: (260)
    • For as flaumbe is but lighted smoke,
    • Right so soun is air y-broke.Skeat1900: 770
    • But this may be in many wyse,
    • Of which I will thee two devyse,
    • As soun that comth of pype or harpe.
    • For whan a pype is blowen sharpe,
    • The air is twist with violence,Skeat1900: 775
    • And rent; lo, this is my sentence;
    • Edition: current; Page: [24]
    • Eek, whan men harpe-stringes smyte,
    • Whether hit be moche or lyte,Skeat1900: (270)
    • Lo, with the strook the air to-breketh;
    • Right so hit breketh whan men speketh.Skeat1900: 780
    • Thus wost thou wel what thing is speche.
    • ‘Now hennesforth I wol thee teche,
    • How every speche, or noise, or soun,
    • Through his multiplicacioun,
    • Thogh hit were pyped of a mouse,Skeat1900: 785
    • Moot nede come to Fames House.
    • I preve hit thus—tak hede now—
    • By experience; for if that thouSkeat1900: (280)
    • Throwe on water now a stoon,
    • Wel wost thou, hit wol make anoonSkeat1900: 790
    • A litel roundel as a cercle,
    • Paraventure brood as a covercle;
    • And right anoon thou shalt see weel,
    • That wheel wol cause another wheel,
    • And that the thridde, and so forth, brother,Skeat1900: 795
    • Every cercle causing other,
    • Wyder than himselve was;
    • And thus, fro roundel to compas,Skeat1900: (290)
    • Ech aboute other goinge,
    • Caused of othres steringe,Skeat1900: 800
    • And multiplying ever-mo,
    • Til that hit be so fer y-go
    • That hit at bothe brinkes be.
    • Al-thogh thou mowe hit not y-see
    • Above, hit goth yet alway under,Skeat1900: 805[ ]
    • Although thou thenke hit a gret wonder.
    • And who-so seith of trouthe I varie,
    • Bid him proven the contrarie.Skeat1900: (300)[ ]
    • And right thus every word, y-wis,
    • That loude or privee spoken is,Skeat1900: 810
    • Edition: current; Page: [25]
    • Moveth first an air aboute,
    • And of this moving, out of doute,
    • Another air anoon is meved,
    • As I have of the water preved,
    • That every cercle causeth other.Skeat1900: 815
    • Right so of air, my leve brother;
    • Everich air in other stereth
    • More and more, and speche up bereth,Skeat1900: (310)
    • Or vois, or noise, or word, or soun,
    • Ay through multiplicacioun,Skeat1900: 820
    • Til hit be atte House of Fame;—
    • Tak hit in ernest or in game.[ ]
    • ‘Now have I told, if thou have minde,
    • How speche or soun, of pure kinde,
    • Enclyned is upward to meve;Skeat1900: 825
    • This, mayst thou fele, wel I preve.
    • And that [the mansioun], y-wis,[ ]
    • That every thing enclyned to is,Skeat1900: (320)
    • Hath his kindeliche stede:
    • That sheweth hit, withouten drede,Skeat1900: 830
    • That kindely the mansioun
    • Of every speche, of every soun,
    • Be hit either foul or fair,
    • Hath his kinde place in air.
    • And sin that every thing, that isSkeat1900: 835
    • Out of his kinde place, y-wis,
    • Moveth thider for to go
    • If hit a-weye be therfro,Skeat1900: (330)
    • As I before have preved thee,
    • Hit seweth, every soun, pardee,Skeat1900: 840
    • Moveth kindely to pace
    • Al up into his kindely place.
    • And this place of which I telle,
    • Ther as Fame list to dwelle,
    • Edition: current; Page: [26]
    • Is set amiddes of these three,Skeat1900: 845
    • Heven, erthe, and eek the see,[ ]
    • As most conservatif the soun.
    • Than is this the conclusioun,Skeat1900: (340)
    • That every speche of every man,
    • As I thee telle first began,Skeat1900: 850
    • Moveth up on high to pace
    • Kindely to Fames place.
    • ‘Telle me this feithfully,
    • Have I not preved thus simply,
    • Withouten any subtilteeSkeat1900: 855
    • Of speche, or gret prolixitee
    • Of termes of philosophye,
    • Of figures of poetrye,Skeat1900: (350)
    • Or colours of rethoryke?
    • Pardee, hit oghte thee to lyke;Skeat1900: 860
    • For hard langage and hard matere[ ]
    • Is encombrous for to here
    • At ones; wost thou not wel this?’
    • And I answerde, and seyde, ‘Yis.’
    • ‘A ha!’ quod he, ‘lo, so I can,Skeat1900: 865
    • Lewedly to a lewed man
    • Speke, and shewe him swiche skiles,
    • That he may shake hem by the biles,Skeat1900: (360)[ ]
    • So palpable they shulden be.
    • But tel me this, now pray I thee,Skeat1900: 870
    • How thinkth thee my conclusioun?’
    • [Quod he]. ‘A good persuasioun,’
    • Quod I, ‘hit is; and lyk to be[ ]
    • Right so as thou hast preved me.’
    • ‘By god,’ quod he, ‘and as I leve,Skeat1900: 875
    • Thou shalt have yit, or hit be eve,
    • Of every word of this sentence
    • A preve, by experience;Skeat1900: (370)
    • And with thyn eres heren wel
    • Top and tail, and everydel,Skeat1900: 880
    • Edition: current; Page: [27]
    • That every word that spoken is
    • Comth into Fames Hous, y-wis,
    • As I have seyd; what wilt thou more?’
    • And with this word upper to sore
    • He gan, and seyde, ‘By Seynt Iame!Skeat1900: 885
    • Now wil we speken al of game.’—
    • ‘How farest thou?’ quod he to me.
    • ‘Wel,’ quod I. ‘Now see,’ quod he,Skeat1900: (380)[ ]
    • ‘By thy trouthe, yond adoun,
    • Wher that thou knowest any toun,Skeat1900: 890
    • Or hous, or any other thing.
    • And whan thou hast of ought knowing,
    • Loke that thou warne me,
    • And I anoon shal telle thee
    • How fer that thou art now therfro.’Skeat1900: 895
    • And I adoun gan loken tho,
    • And beheld feldes and plaines,
    • And now hilles, and now mountaines,Skeat1900: (390)
    • Now valeys, and now forestes,
    • And now, unethes, grete bestes;Skeat1900: 900
    • Now riveres, now citees,
    • Now tounes, and now grete trees,
    • Now shippes sailinge in the see.
    • But thus sone in a whyle he
    • Was flowen fro the grounde so hyë,Skeat1900: 905
    • That al the world, as to myn yë,
    • No more semed than a prikke;
    • Or elles was the air so thikkeSkeat1900: (400)
    • That I ne mighte not discerne.
    • With that he spak to me as yerne,Skeat1900: 910
    • And seyde: ‘Seestow any [toun]
    • Or ought thou knowest yonder doun?’
    • I seyde, ‘Nay.’ ‘No wonder nis,’
    • Quod he, ‘for half so high as this
    • Edition: current; Page: [28]
    • Nas Alexander Macedo;Skeat1900: 915[ ]
    • Ne the king, dan Scipio,
    • That saw in dreme, at point devys,
    • Helle and erthe, and paradys;Skeat1900: (410)
    • Ne eek the wrecche Dedalus,
    • Ne his child, nyce Icarus,Skeat1900: 920
    • That fleigh so highe that the hete
    • His winges malt, and he fel wete
    • In-mid the see, and ther he dreynte,
    • For whom was maked moch compleynte.
    • ‘Now turn upward,’ quod he, ‘thy face,Skeat1900: 925[ ]
    • And behold this large place,
    • This air; but loke thou ne be
    • Adrad of hem that thou shalt see;Skeat1900: (420)
    • For in this regioun, certein,
    • Dwelleth many a citezein,Skeat1900: 930[ ]
    • Of which that speketh dan Plato.[ ]
    • These ben the eyrish bestes, lo!’
    • And so saw I al that meynee
    • Bothe goon and also flee.
    • ‘Now,’ quod he tho, ‘cast up thyn yë;Skeat1900: 935
    • See yonder, lo, the Galaxyë,
    • Which men clepeth the Milky Wey,
    • For hit is whyt: and somme, parfey,Skeat1900: (430)
    • Callen hit Watlinge Strete:
    • That ones was y-brent with hete,Skeat1900: 940
    • Whan the sonnes sone, the rede,
    • That highte Pheton, wolde lede[ ]
    • Algate his fader cart, and gye.
    • The cart-hors gonne wel espye
    • That he ne coude no governaunce,Skeat1900: 945
    • And gonne for to lepe and launce,
    • And beren him now up, now doun,
    • Til that he saw the Scorpioun,Skeat1900: (440)
    • Which that in heven a signe is yit.
    • And he, for ferde, loste his wit,Skeat1900: 950
    • Of that, and leet the reynes goon
    • Of his hors; and they anoon
    • Edition: current; Page: [29]
    • Gonne up to mounte, and doun descende
    • Til bothe the eyr and erthe brende;
    • Til Iupiter, lo, atte laste,Skeat1900: 955
    • Him slow, and fro the carte caste.
    • Lo, is it not a greet mischaunce,
    • To lete a fole han governaunceSkeat1900: (450)
    • Of thing that he can not demeine?’
    • And with this word, soth for to seyne,Skeat1900: 960
    • He gan alway upper to sore,
    • And gladded me ay more and more,
    • So feithfully to me spak he.
    • Tho gan I loken under me,
    • And beheld the eyrish bestes,Skeat1900: 965
    • Cloudes, mistes, and tempestes,
    • Snowes, hailes, reines, windes,
    • And thengendring in hir kindes,Skeat1900: (460)
    • And al the wey through whiche I cam;
    • ‘O god,’ quod I, ‘that made Adam,Skeat1900: 970
    • Moche is thy might and thy noblesse!’
    • And tho thoughte I upon Boëce,
    • That writ, ‘a thought may flee so hyë,
    • With fetheres of Philosophye,
    • To passen everich element;Skeat1900: 975
    • And whan he hath so fer y-went,
    • Than may be seen, behind his bak,
    • Cloud, and al that I of spak.’Skeat1900: (470)
    • Tho gan I wexen in a were,
    • And seyde, ‘I woot wel I am here;Skeat1900: 980
    • But wher in body or in gost[ ]
    • I noot, y-wis; but god, thou wost!’
    • For more cleer entendement
    • Nadde he me never yit y-sent.
    • And than thoughte I on Marcian,Skeat1900: 985
    • And eek on Anteclaudian,
    • Edition: current; Page: [30]
    • That sooth was hir descripcioun
    • Of al the hevenes regioun,Skeat1900: (480)
    • As fer as that I saw the preve;
    • Therfor I can hem now beleve.Skeat1900: 990
    • With that this egle gan to crye:
    • ‘Lat be,’ quod he, ‘thy fantasye;
    • Wilt thou lere of sterres aught?’
    • ‘Nay, certeinly,’ quod I, ‘right naught;
    • And why? for I am now to old.’Skeat1900: 995
    • ‘Elles I wolde thee have told,’
    • Quod he, ‘the sterres names, lo,
    • And al the hevenes signes to,Skeat1900: (490)
    • And which they been.’ ‘No fors,’ quod I.
    • ‘Yis, pardee,’ quod he; ‘wostow why?Skeat1900: 1000
    • For whan thou redest poetrye,
    • How goddes gonne stellifye
    • Brid, fish, beste, or him or here,
    • As the Raven, or either Bere,
    • Or Ariones harpe fyn,Skeat1900: 1005
    • Castor, Pollux, or Delphyn,
    • Or Atlantes doughtres sevene,[ ]
    • How alle these arn set in hevene;Skeat1900: (500)
    • For though thou have hem ofte on honde,
    • Yet nostow not wher that they stonde.’Skeat1900: 1010
    • ‘No fors,’ quod I, ‘hit is no nede;
    • I leve as wel, so god me spede,
    • Hem that wryte of this matere,
    • As though I knew hir places here;
    • And eek they shynen here so brighte,Skeat1900: 1015
    • Hit shulde shenden al my sighte,
    • To loke on hem.’ ‘That may wel be,’
    • Quod he. And so forth bar he meSkeat1900: (510)
    • A whyl, and than he gan to crye,
    • That never herde I thing so hye,Skeat1900: 1020
    • ‘Now up the heed; for al is wel;
    • Seynt Iulyan, lo, bon hostel![ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [31]
    • See here the House of Fame, lo!
    • Maistow not heren that I do?’[ ]
    • ‘What?’ quod I. ‘The grete soun,’Skeat1900: 1025
    • Quod he, ‘that rumbleth up and doun
    • In Fames Hous, ful of tydinges,
    • Bothe of fair speche and chydinges,Skeat1900: (520)
    • And of fals and soth compouned.
    • Herkne wel; hit is not rouned.Skeat1900: 1030
    • Herestow not the grete swogh?’
    • ‘Yis, pardee,’ quod I, ‘wel y-nogh.’
    • ‘And what soun is it lyk?’ quod he.
    • Peter! lyk beting of the see,’
    • Quod I, ‘again the roches holowe,Skeat1900: 1035
    • Whan tempest doth the shippes swalowe;
    • And lat a man stonde, out of doute,
    • A myle thens, and here hit route;Skeat1900: (530)
    • Or elles lyk the last humblinge
    • After the clappe of a thundringe,Skeat1900: 1040
    • When Ioves hath the air y-bete;
    • But hit doth me for fere swete.’
    • ‘Nay, dred thee not therof,’ quod he,
    • ‘Hit is nothing wil byten thee;[ ]
    • Thou shalt non harm have, trewely.’Skeat1900: 1045
    • And with this word bothe he and I
    • As nigh the place arryved were
    • As men may casten with a spere.Skeat1900: (540)[ ]
    • I nistë how, but in a strete
    • He sette me faire on my fete,Skeat1900: 1050
    • And seyde, ‘Walke forth a pas,
    • And tak thyn aventure or cas,
    • That thou shalt finde in Fames place.’
    • ‘Now,’ quod I, ‘whyl we han space
    • To speke, or that I go fro thee,Skeat1900: 1055
    • For the love of god, tel me,
    • In sooth, that wil I of thee lere,
    • If this noise that I hereSkeat1900: (550)
    • Edition: current; Page: [32]
    • Be, as I have herd thee tellen,
    • Of folk that doun in erthe dwellen,Skeat1900: 1060
    • And comth here in the same wyse
    • As I thee herde or this devyse;
    • And that ther lyves body nis
    • In al that hous that yonder is,
    • That maketh al this loude fare?’Skeat1900: 1065
    • ‘No,’ quod he, ‘by Seynte Clare,
    • And also wis god rede me!
    • But o thinge I wil warne theeSkeat1900: (560)
    • Of the which thou wolt have wonder.
    • Lo, to the House of Fame yonderSkeat1900: 1070
    • Thou wost how cometh every speche,
    • Hit nedeth noght thee eft to teche.
    • But understond now right wel this;
    • Whan any speche y-comen is
    • Up to the paleys, anon-rightSkeat1900: 1075
    • Hit wexeth lyk the same wight,
    • Which that the word in erthe spak,
    • Be hit clothed reed or blak;Skeat1900: (570)
    • And hath so verray his lyknesse
    • That spak the word, that thou wilt gesseSkeat1900: 1080
    • That hit the same body be,
    • Man or woman, he or she.
    • And is not this a wonder thing?’
    • ‘Yis,’ quod I tho, ‘by hevene king!’
    • And with this worde, ‘Farwel,’ quod he,Skeat1900: 1085
    • ‘And here I wol abyden thee;
    • And god of hevene sende thee grace,
    • Som good to lernen in this place.’Skeat1900: (580)
    • And I of him took leve anoon,
    • And gan forth to the paleys goon.Skeat1900: 1090

Explicit liber secundus.

Colophon.From Cx. Th.

Edition: current; Page: [33]

BOOK III.

Incipit liber tercius.

  • Invocation.

  • O god of science and of light,[ ]
  • Apollo, through thy grete might,
  • This litel laste book thou gye!
  • Nat that I wilne, for maistrye,
  • Here art poetical be shewed;Skeat1900: 1095
  • But, for the rym is light and lewed,
  • Yit make hit sumwhat agreable,
  • Though som vers faile in a sillable;[ ]
  • And that I do no diligence
  • To shewe craft, but o sentence.Skeat1900: (10) 1100
  • And if, divyne vertu, thou
  • Wilt helpe me to shewe now
  • That in myn hede y-marked is—
  • Lo, that is for to menen this,
  • The Hous of Fame to descryve—Skeat1900: 1105
  • Thou shalt see me go, as blyve,
  • Unto the nexte laure I see,
  • And kisse hit, for hit is thy tree;
  • Now entreth in my breste anoon!—
  • The Dream.

    • Whan I was fro this egle goon,Skeat1900: (20) 1110
    • I gan beholde upon this place.
    • And certein, or I ferther pace,
    • I wol yow al the shap devyse
    • Of hous and site; and al the wyse[ ]
    • How I gan to this place aprocheSkeat1900: 1115
    • That stood upon so high a roche,[ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [34]
    • Hyer stant ther noon in Spaine.
    • But up I clomb with alle paine,
    • And though to climbe hit greved me,[ ]
    • Yit I ententif was to see,Skeat1900: (30) 1120
    • And for to pouren wonder lowe,
    • If I coude any weyes knowe
    • What maner stoon this roche was;
    • For hit was lyk a thing of glas,
    • But that hit shoon ful more clere;Skeat1900: 1125
    • But of what congeled matere
    • Hit was, I niste redely.
    • But at the laste espyed I,
    • And found that hit was, every deel,
    • A roche of yse, and not of steel.Skeat1900: (40) 1130
    • Thoughte I, ‘By Seynt Thomas of Kent![ ]
    • This were a feble foundement
    • To bilden on a place hye;
    • He oughte him litel glorifye
    • That her-on bilt, god so me save!’Skeat1900: 1135
    • Tho saw I al the half y-grave
    • With famous folkes names fele,
    • That had y-been in mochel wele,
    • And hir fames wyde y-blowe.
    • But wel unethes coude I knoweSkeat1900: (50) 1140
    • Any lettres for to rede
    • Hir names by; for, out of drede,
    • They were almost of-thowed so,
    • That of the lettres oon or two
    • Was molte away of every name,Skeat1900: 1145
    • So unfamous was wexe hir fame;
    • But men seyn, ‘What may ever laste?’
    • Tho gan I in myn herte caste,
    • That they were molte awey with hete,
    • And not awey with stormes bete.Skeat1900: (60) 1150
    • For on that other syde I sey
    • Of this hille, that northward lay,[ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [35]
    • How hit was writen ful of names
    • Of folk that hadden grete fames
    • Of olde tyme, and yit they wereSkeat1900: 1155
    • As fresshe as men had writen hem there
    • The selve day right, or that houre
    • That I upon hem gan to poure.
    • But wel I wiste what hit made;
    • Hit was conserved with the shade—Skeat1900: (70) 1160
    • Al this wrytinge that I sy—
    • Of a castel, that stood on hy,
    • And stood eek on so cold a place,
    • That hete mighte hit not deface.
    • Tho gan I up the hille to goon,Skeat1900: 1165
    • And fond upon the coppe a woon,
    • That alle the men that ben on lyve[ ]
    • Ne han the cunning to descryve
    • The beautee of that ilke place,
    • Ne coude casten no compaceSkeat1900: (80) 1170
    • Swich another for to make,
    • That mighte of beautee be his make
    • Ne [be] so wonderliche y-wrought;[ ]
    • That hit astonieth yit my thought,
    • And maketh al my wit to swinkeSkeat1900: 1175
    • On this castel to bethinke.
    • So that the grete craft, beautee,[ ]
    • The cast, the curiositee
    • Ne can I not to yow devyse,
    • My wit ne may me not suifyse.Skeat1900: (90) 1180
    • But natheles al the substance
    • I have yit in my remembrance;
    • For-why me thoughte, by Seynt Gyle!
    • Al was of stone of beryle,
    • Bothe castel and the tour,Skeat1900: 1185
    • And eek the halle, and every bour,
    • Edition: current; Page: [36]
    • Withouten peces or Ioininges.
    • But many subtil compassinges,
    • Babewinnes and pinacles,[ ]
    • Imageries and tabernacles,Skeat1900: (100) 1190
    • I saw; and ful eek of windowes,
    • As flakes falle in grete snowes.
    • And eek in ech of the pinacles
    • Weren sondry habitacles,
    • In whiche stoden, al withoute—Skeat1900: 1195
    • Ful the castel, al aboute—
    • Of alle maner of minstrales,[ ]
    • And gestiours, that tellen tales
    • Bothe of weping and of game,
    • Of al that longeth unto Fame.Skeat1900: (110) 1200
    • Ther herde I pleyen on an harpe
    • That souned bothe wel and sharpe,
    • Orpheus ful craftely,
    • And on his syde, faste by,
    • Sat the harper Orion,Skeat1900: 1205
    • And Eacides Chiron,
    • And other harpers many oon,
    • And the Bret Glascurion;[ ]
    • And smale harpers with her gleës
    • Seten under hem in seës,Skeat1900: (120) 1210
    • And gonne on hem upward to gape,
    • And countrefete hem as an ape,
    • Or as craft countrefeteth kinde.
    • Tho saugh I stonden hem behinde,
    • A-fer fro hem, al by hemselve,Skeat1900: 1215
    • Many thousand tymes twelve,
    • That maden loude menstralcyes
    • In cornemuse and shalmyes,[ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [37]
    • And many other maner pype,
    • That craftely begunne pypeSkeat1900: (130) 1220
    • Bothe in doucet and in rede,
    • That ben at festes with the brede;[ ]
    • And many floute and lilting-horne,
    • And pypes made of grene corne,[ ]
    • As han thise litel herde-gromes,Skeat1900: 1225
    • That kepen bestes in the bromes.
    • Ther saugh I than Atiteris,[ ]
    • And of Athenes dan Pseustis,
    • And Marcia that lost her skin,
    • Bothe in face, body, and chin,Skeat1900: (140) 1230
    • For that she wolde envyen, lo!
    • To pypen bet then Apollo.
    • Ther saugh I famous, olde and yonge,
    • Pypers of the Duche tonge,
    • To lerne love-daunces, springes,Skeat1900: 1235
    • Reyes, and these straunge thinges.[ ]
    • Tho saugh I in another place
    • Stonden in a large space,
    • Of hem that maken blody soun
    • In trumpe, beme, and clarioun;Skeat1900: (150) 1240
    • For in fight and blood-shedinge
    • Is used gladly clarioninge.
    • Ther herde I trumpen Messenus,
    • Of whom that speketh Virgilius.
    • Ther herde I Ioab trumpe also,Skeat1900: 1245
    • Theodomas, and other mo;
    • And alle that used clarion
    • In Cataloigne and Aragon,
    • That in hir tyme famous were
    • To lerne, saugh I trumpe there.Skeat1900: (160) 1250
  • Edition: current; Page: [38]
    • Ther saugh I sitte in other seës,
    • Pleyinge upon sondry gleës,
    • Whiche that I cannot nevene,
    • Mo then sterres been in hevene,
    • Of whiche I nil as now not ryme,Skeat1900: 1255
    • For ese of yow, and losse of tyme:
    • For tyme y-lost, this knowen ye,[ ]
    • By no way may recovered be.
    • Ther saugh I pleyen Iogelours,
    • Magiciens and tregetours,Skeat1900: (170) 1260
    • And phitonesses, charmeresses,
    • Olde wicches, sorceresses,
    • That use exorsisaciouns,
    • And eek thise fumigaciouns;
    • And clerkes eek, which conne welSkeat1900: 1265
    • Al this magyke naturel,[ ]
    • That craftely don hir ententes,
    • To make, in certeyn ascendentes,
    • Images, lo, through which magyk
    • To make a man ben hool or syk.Skeat1900: (180) 1270
    • Ther saugh I thee, queen Medea,
    • And Circes eke, and Calipsa;[ ]
    • Ther saugh I Hermes Ballenus,[ ]
    • Lymote, and eek Simon Magus.[ ]
    • Ther saugh I, and knew hem by name,Skeat1900: 1275
    • That by such art don men han fame.
    • Ther saugh I Colle tregetour
    • Upon a table of sicamour[ ]
    • Pleye an uncouthe thing to telle;
    • I saugh him carien a wind-melleSkeat1900: (190) 1280
    • Under a walsh-note shale.
    • What shuld I make lenger tale
    • Edition: current; Page: [39]
    • Of al the peple that I say,
    • Fro hennes in-to domesday?
    • Whan I had al this folk beholde,Skeat1900: 1285
    • And fond me lous, and noght y-holde,
    • And eft y-mused longe whyle
    • Upon these walles of beryle,
    • That shoon ful lighter than a glas,
    • And made wel more than hit wasSkeat1900: (200) 1290
    • To semen, every thing, y-wis,
    • As kinde thing of fames is;
    • I gan forth romen til I fond
    • The castel-yate on my right hond,
    • Which that so wel corven wasSkeat1900: 1295
    • That never swich another nas;
    • And yit hit was by aventure
    • Y-wrought, as often as by cure.
    • Hit nedeth noght yow for to tellen,[ ]
    • To make yow to longe dwellen,Skeat1900: (210) 1300
    • Of this yates florisshinges,
    • Ne of compasses, ne of kervinges,
    • Ne how they hatte in masoneries,
    • As, corbets fulle of imageries.[ ]
    • But, lord! so fair hit was to shewe,Skeat1900: 1305
    • For hit was al with gold behewe.
    • But in I wente, and that anoon;
    • Ther mette I crying many oon,—
    • ‘A larges, larges, hold up wel![ ]
    • God save the lady of this pel,Skeat1900: (220) 1310
    • Our owne gentil lady Fame,[ ]
    • And hem that wilnen to have name
    • Of us!’ Thus herde I cryen alle,
    • And faste comen out of halle,
    • Edition: current; Page: [40]
    • And shoken nobles and sterlinges.Skeat1900: 1315
    • And somme crouned were as kinges,
    • With crounes wroght ful of losenges;
    • And many riban, and many frenges
    • Were on hir clothes trewely.
    • Tho atte laste aspyed ISkeat1900: (230) 1320
    • That pursevauntes and heraudes,
    • That cryen riche folkes laudes,
    • Hit weren alle; and every man
    • Of hem, as I yow tellen can,
    • Had on him throwen a vesture,Skeat1900: 1325
    • Which that men clepe a cote-armure,
    • Enbrowded wonderliche riche,
    • Al-though they nere nought y-liche.
    • But noght nil I, so mote I thryve,[ ]
    • Been aboute to discryve.Skeat1900: (240) 1330
    • Al these armes that ther weren,
    • That they thus on hir cotes beren,
    • For hit to me were impossible;
    • Men mighte make of hem a bible
    • Twenty foot thikke, as I trowe.Skeat1900: 1335
    • For certeyn, who-so coude y-knowe
    • Mighte ther alle the armes seen
    • Of famous folk that han y-been
    • In Auffrike, Europe, and Asye,
    • Sith first began the chevalrye.Skeat1900: (250) 1340
    • Lo! how shulde I now telle al this?
    • Ne of the halle eek what nede is[ ]
    • To tellen yow, that every wal
    • Of hit, and floor, and roof and al
    • Was plated half a fote thikkeSkeat1900: 1345
    • Of gold, and that nas no-thing wikke,
    • But, for to prove in alle wyse,
    • As fyn as ducat in Venyse,
    • Edition: current; Page: [41]
    • Of whiche to lyte al in my pouche is?
    • And they wer set as thikke of nouchisSkeat1900: (260) 1350
    • Fulle of the fynest stones faire,
    • That men rede in the Lapidaire,
    • As greses growen in a mede;
    • But hit were al to longe to rede
    • The names; and therfore I pace.Skeat1900: 1355
    • But in this riche lusty place,
    • That Fames halle called was,
    • Ful moche prees of folk ther nas,
    • Ne crouding, for to mochil prees.
    • But al on hye, above a dees,Skeat1900: (270) 1360
    • Sitte in a see imperial,[ ]
    • That maad was of a rubee al,
    • Which that a carbuncle is y-called,
    • I saugh, perpetually y-stalled,
    • A feminyne creature;Skeat1900: 1365
    • That never formed by nature
    • Nas swich another thing y-seye.
    • For altherfirst, soth for to seye,[ ]
    • Me thoughte that she was so lyte,
    • That the lengthe of a cubyteSkeat1900: (280) 1370
    • Was lenger than she semed be;
    • But thus sone, in a whyle, she
    • Hir tho so wonderliche streighte,
    • That with hir feet she therthe reighte,
    • And with hir heed she touched hevene,Skeat1900: 1375
    • Ther as shynen sterres sevene.
    • And ther-to eek, as to my wit,
    • I saugh a gretter wonder yit,
    • Upon hir eyen to beholde;
    • But certeyn I hem never tolde;Skeat1900: (290) 1380
    • For as fele eyen hadde she
    • As fetheres upon foules be,
    • Edition: current; Page: [42]
    • Or weren on the bestes foure,
    • That goddes trone gunne honoure,
    • As Iohn writ in thapocalips.Skeat1900: 1385
    • Hir heer, that oundy was and crips,
    • As burned gold hit shoon to see.
    • And sooth to tellen, also she
    • Had also fele up-stonding eres
    • And tonges, as on bestes heres;Skeat1900: (300) 1390
    • And on hir feet wexen saugh I
    • Partriches winges redely.
    • But, lord! the perrie and the richesse
    • I saugh sitting on this goddesse!
    • And, lord! the hevenish melodyeSkeat1900: 1395
    • Of songes, ful of armonye,
    • I herde aboute her trone y-songe,
    • That al the paleys-walles ronge!
    • So song the mighty Muse, she
    • That cleped is Caliopee,Skeat1900: (310) 1400
    • And hir eighte sustren eke,
    • That in hir face semen meke;
    • And evermo, eternally,
    • They songe of Fame, as tho herde I:—
    • ‘Heried be thou and thy name,Skeat1900: 1405
    • Goddesse of renoun and of fame!’
    • Tho was I war, lo, atte laste,
    • As I myn eyen gan up caste,
    • That this ilke noble quene
    • On hir shuldres gan susteneSkeat1900: (320) 1410
    • Bothe tharmes and the name[ ]
    • Of tho that hadde large fame;
    • Alexander, and Hercules
    • That with a sherte his lyf lees!
    • Thus fond I sitting this goddesse,Skeat1900: 1415
    • In nobley, honour, and richesse;
    • Of which I stinte a whyle now,
    • Other thing to tellen yow.
  • Edition: current; Page: [43]
    • Tho saugh I stonde on either syde,
    • Streight doun to the dores wyde,Skeat1900: (330) 1420
    • Fro the dees, many a pileer
    • Of metal, that shoon not ful cleer;
    • But though they nere of no richesse,
    • Yet they were maad for greet noblesse,
    • And in hem greet [and hy] sentence;Skeat1900: 1425
    • And folk of digne reverence,
    • Of whiche I wol yow telle fonde,
    • Upon the piler saugh I stonde.
    • Alderfirst, lo, ther I sigh,
    • Upon a piler stonde on high,Skeat1900: (340) 1430
    • That was of lede and yren fyn,
    • Him of secte Saturnyn,
    • The Ebrayk Iosephus, the olde,[ ]
    • That of Iewes gestes tolde;
    • And bar upon his shuldres hyeSkeat1900: 1435
    • The fame up of the Iewerye.
    • And by him stoden other sevene,[ ]
    • Wyse and worthy for to nevene,
    • To helpen him bere up the charge,
    • Hit was so hevy and so large.Skeat1900: (350) 1440
    • And for they writen of batailes,
    • As wel as other olde mervailes,
    • Therfor was, lo, this pileer,
    • Of which that I yow telle heer,
    • Of lede and yren bothe, y-wis.Skeat1900: 1445
    • For yren Martes metal is,
    • Which that god is of bataile;
    • And the leed, withouten faile,
    • Is, lo, the metal of Saturne,
    • That hath ful large wheel to turne.Skeat1900: (360) 1450
    • Tho stoden forth, on every rowe,
    • Of hem which that I coude knowe,
    • Edition: current; Page: [44]
    • Thogh I hem noght by ordre telle,
    • To make yow to long to dwelle.
    • These, of whiche I ginne rede,Skeat1900: 1455
    • Ther saugh I stonden, out of drede:
    • Upon an yren piler strong,
    • That peynted was, al endelong,
    • With tygres blode in every place,[ ]
    • The Tholosan that highte Stace,Skeat1900: (370) 1460
    • That bar of Thebes up the fame
    • Upon his shuldres, and the name
    • Also of cruel Achilles.
    • And by him stood, withouten lees,
    • Ful wonder hye on a pileerSkeat1900: 1465
    • Of yren, he, the gret Omeer;
    • And with him Dares and Tytus[ ]
    • Before, and eek he, Lollius,
    • And Guido eek de Columpnis,
    • And English Gaufride eek, y-wis;Skeat1900: (380) 1470
    • And ech of these, as have I Ioye,
    • Was besy for to bere up Troye.
    • So hevy ther-of was the fame,
    • That for to bere hit was no game.
    • But yit I gan ful wel espye,Skeat1900: 1475
    • Betwix hem was a litel envye.
    • Oon seyde, Omere made lyes,
    • Feyninge in his poetryes,
    • And was to Grekes favorable;
    • Therfor held he hit but fable.Skeat1900: (390) 1480
    • Tho saugh I stonde on a pileer,
    • That was of tinned yren cleer,[ ]
    • That Latin poete, [dan] Virgyle,[ ]
    • That bore hath up a longe whyle
    • The fame of Pius Eneas.Skeat1900: 1485
    • And next him on a piler was,
    • Of coper, Venus clerk, Ovyde,
    • That hath y-sowen wonder wyde
    • Edition: current; Page: [45]
    • The grete god of Loves name.
    • And ther he bar up wel his fame,Skeat1900: (400) 1490
    • Upon this piler, also hye
    • As I might see hit with myn yë:
    • For-why this halle, of whiche I rede
    • Was woxe on highte, lengthe and brede,[ ]
    • Wel more, by a thousand del,Skeat1900: 1495
    • Than hit was erst, that saugh I wel.
    • Tho saugh I, on a piler by,
    • Of yren wroght ful sternely,
    • The grete poete, daun Lucan,
    • And on his shuldres bar up than,Skeat1900: (410) 1500
    • As highe as that I mighte see,
    • The fame of Iulius and Pompee.
    • And by him stoden alle these clerkes,
    • That writen of Romes mighty werkes,
    • That, if I wolde hir names telle,Skeat1900: 1505
    • Al to longe moste I dwelle.
    • And next him on a piler stood
    • Of soulfre, lyk as he were wood,
    • Dan Claudian, the soth to telle,
    • That bar up al the fame of helle,Skeat1900: (420) 1510
    • Of Pluto, and of Proserpyne,
    • That quene is of the derke pyne.[ ]
    • What shulde I more telle of this?
    • The halle was al ful, y-wis,
    • Of hem that writen olde gestes,Skeat1900: 1515
    • As ben on treës rokes nestes;
    • But hit a ful confus matere
    • Were al the gestes for to here,
    • That they of write, and how they highte.
    • But whyl that I beheld this sighte,Skeat1900: (430) 1520
    • I herde a noise aprochen blyve,[ ]
    • That ferde as been don in an hyve,
    • Agen her tyme of out-fleyinge;
    • Right swiche a maner murmuringe,
    • Edition: current; Page: [46]
    • For al the world, hit semed me.Skeat1900: 1525
    • Tho gan I loke aboute and see,
    • That ther com entring in the halle[ ]
    • A right gret company with-alle,
    • And that of sondry regiouns,
    • Of alleskinnes condiciouns,[ ]Skeat1900: (440) 1530
    • That dwelle in erthe under the mone,
    • Pore and ryche. And also sone
    • As they were come into the halle,
    • They gonne doun on kneës falle
    • Before this ilke noble quene,Skeat1900: 1535
    • And seyde, ‘Graunte us, lady shene,
    • Ech of us, of thy grace, a bone!’
    • And somme of hem she graunted sone,
    • And somme she werned wel and faire;
    • And somme she graunted the contraireSkeat1900: (450) 1540
    • Of hir axing utterly.
    • But thus I seye yow trewely,
    • What hir cause was, I niste.
    • For this folk, ful wel I wiste,
    • They hadde good fame ech deserved,Skeat1900: 1545
    • Althogh they were diversly served;[ ]
    • Right as hir suster, dame Fortune,
    • Is wont to serven in comune.
    • Now herkne how she gan to paye
    • That gonne hir of hir grace praye;[ ]Skeat1900: (460) 1550
    • And yit, lo, al this companye
    • Seyden sooth, and noght a lye.
    • ‘Madame,’ seyden they, ‘we be
    • Folk that heer besechen thee,
    • That thou graunte us now good fame,Skeat1900: 1555
    • And lete our werkes han that name;
    • In ful recompensacioun
    • Of good werk, give us good renoun.’
    • ‘I werne yow hit,’ quod she anoon,
    • ‘Ye gete of me good fame noon,Skeat1900: (470) 1560
    • Edition: current; Page: [47]
    • By god! and therfor go your wey.’
    • ‘Alas,’ quod they, ‘and welaway!
    • Telle us, what may your cause be?’
    • ‘For me list hit noght,’ quod she;[ ]
    • ‘No wight shal speke of yow, y-wis,Skeat1900: 1565
    • Good ne harm, ne that ne this.’
    • And with that word she gan to calle
    • Hir messanger, that was in halle,
    • And bad that he shulde faste goon,
    • Up peyne to be blind anoon,[ ]Skeat1900: (480) 1570
    • For Eolus, the god of winde;—[ ]
    • In Trace ther ye shul him finde,
    • And bid him bringe his clarioun,
    • That is ful dyvers of his soun,
    • And hit is cleped Clere Laude,Skeat1900: 1575
    • With which he wont is to heraude
    • Hem that me list y-preised be:
    • And also bid him how that he
    • Bringe his other clarioun,
    • That highte Sclaundre in every toun,Skeat1900: (490) 1580
    • With which he wont is to diffame
    • Hem that me list, and do hem shame.’
    • This messanger gan faste goon,
    • And found wher, in a cave of stoon,
    • In a contree that highte Trace,Skeat1900: 1585
    • This Eolus, with harde grace,
    • Held the windes in distresse,
    • And gan hem under him to presse,
    • That they gonne as beres rore,
    • He bond and pressed hem so sore.Skeat1900: (500) 1590
    • This messanger gan faste crye,
    • ‘Rys up,’ quod he, ‘and faste hye,
    • Til that thou at my lady be;
    • And tak thy clarions eek with thee,
    • And speed thee forth.’ And he anonSkeat1900: 1595
    • Took to a man, that hight Triton,
    • Edition: current; Page: [48]
    • His clariouns to bere tho,
    • And leet a certeyn wind to go,[ ]
    • That blew so hidously and hye,
    • That hit ne lefte not a skyeSkeat1900: (510) 1600
    • In al the welken longe and brood.
    • This Eolus no-wher abood
    • Til he was come at Fames feet,
    • And eek the man that Triton heet;
    • And ther he stood, as still as stoon.Skeat1900: 1605
    • And her-withal ther com anoon
    • Another huge companye
    • Of gode folk, and gunne crye,
    • ‘Lady, graunte us now good fame,
    • And lat our werkes han that nameSkeat1900: (520) 1610
    • Now, in honour of gentilesse,
    • And also god your soule blesse!
    • For we han wel deserved hit,
    • Therfor is right that we ben quit.’[ ]
    • ‘As thryve I,’ quod she, ‘ye shal faile,Skeat1900: 1615
    • Good werkes shal yow noght availe
    • To have of me good fame as now.
    • But wite ye what? I graunte yow,[ ]
    • That ye shal have a shrewed fame
    • And wikked loos, and worse name,Skeat1900: (530) 1620
    • Though ye good loos have wel deserved.
    • Now go your wey, for ye be served;
    • And thou, dan Eolus, let see!
    • Tak forth thy trumpe anon,’ quod she,
    • ‘That is y-cleped Sclaunder light,Skeat1900: 1625
    • And blow hir loos, that every wight
    • Speke of hem harm and shrewednesse,
    • In stede of good and worthinesse.
    • For thou shalt trumpe al the contraire
    • Of that they han don wel or faire.’Skeat1900: (540) 1630
    • ‘Alas,’ thoughte I, ‘what aventures
    • Han these sory creatures!
    • Edition: current; Page: [49]
    • For they, amonges al the pres,
    • Shul thus be shamed gilteles!
    • But what! hit moste nedes be.’Skeat1900: 1635
    • What did this Eolus, but he
    • Tok out his blakke trumpe of bras,
    • That fouler than the devil was,
    • And gan this trumpe for to blowe,
    • As al the world shulde overthrowe;Skeat1900: (550) 1640
    • That through-out every regioun
    • Wente this foule trumpes soun,
    • As swift as pelet out of gonne,
    • Whan fyr is in the poudre ronne.
    • And swiche a smoke gan out-wendeSkeat1900: 1645
    • Out of his foule trumpes ende,
    • Blak, blo, grenish, swartish reed,
    • As doth wher that men melte leed,
    • Lo, al on high fro the tuel!
    • And therto oo thing saugh I wel,Skeat1900: (560) 1650
    • That, the ferther that hit ran,
    • The gretter wexen hit began,
    • As doth the river from a welle,
    • And hit stank as the pit of helle.
    • Alas, thus was hir shame y-ronge,Skeat1900: 1655
    • And giltelees, on every tonge.
    • Tho com the thridde companye,
    • And gunne up to the dees to hye,
    • And doun on knees they fille anon,
    • And seyde, ‘We ben everichonSkeat1900: (570) 1660
    • Folk that han ful trewely
    • Deserved fame rightfully,
    • And praye yow, hit mot be knowe,
    • Right as hit is, and forth y-blowe.’
    • ‘I graunte,’ quod she, ‘for me listSkeat1900: 1665
    • That now your gode werk be wist;
    • And yit ye shul han better loos,
    • Right in dispyt of alle your foos,
    • Edition: current; Page: [50]
    • Than worthy is; and that anoon:
    • Lat now,’ quod she, ‘thy trumpe goon,Skeat1900: (580) 1670
    • Thou Eolus, that is so blak;
    • And out thyn other trumpe tak
    • That highte Laude, and blow hit so
    • That through the world hir fame go
    • Al esely, and not to faste,Skeat1900: 1675
    • That hit be knowen atte laste.’
    • ‘Ful gladly, lady myn,’ he seyde;
    • And out his trumpe of golde he brayde
    • Anon, and sette hit to his mouthe,
    • And blew hit est, and west, and southe,Skeat1900: (590) 1680
    • And north, as loude as any thunder,
    • That every wight hadde of hit wonder,
    • So brode hit ran, or than hit stente.
    • And, certes, al the breeth that wente
    • Out of his trumpes mouthe smeldeSkeat1900: 1685
    • As men a pot-ful bawme helde
    • Among a basket ful of roses;
    • This favour dide he til hir loses.
    • And right with this I gan aspye,
    • Ther com the ferthe companye—Skeat1900: (600) 1690
    • But certeyn they were wonder fewe—
    • And gonne stonden in a rewe,
    • And seyden, ‘Certes, lady brighte,
    • We han don wel with al our mighte;
    • But we ne kepen have no fame.Skeat1900: 1695
    • Hyd our werkes and our name,
    • For goddes love! for certes we
    • Han certeyn doon hit for bountee,
    • And for no maner other thing.’
    • ‘I graunte yow al your asking,’Skeat1900: (610) 1700
    • Quod she; ‘let your werk be deed.’
    • With that aboute I clew myn heed,[ ]
    • And saugh anoon the fifte route
    • That to this lady gonne loute,
    • Edition: current; Page: [51]
    • And doun on knees anoon to falle;Skeat1900: 1705
    • And to hir tho besoughten alle
    • To hyde hir gode werkes eek,
    • And seyde, they yeven noght a leek[ ]
    • For fame, ne for swich renoun;
    • For they, for contemplaciounSkeat1900: (620) 1710
    • And goddes love, hadde y-wrought;
    • Ne of fame wolde they nought.
    • ‘What?’ quod she, ‘and be ye wood?
    • And wene ye for to do good,
    • And for to have of that no fame?Skeat1900: 1715
    • Have ye dispyt to have my name?
    • Nay, ye shul liven everichoon!
    • Blow thy trumpe and that anoon,’
    • Quod she, ‘thou Eolus, I hote,
    • And ring this folkes werk by note,Skeat1900: (630) 1720
    • That al the world may of hit here.’
    • And he gan blowe hir loos so clere
    • In his golden clarioun,
    • That through the world wente the soun,
    • So kenely, and eek so softe;Skeat1900: 1725
    • But atte laste hit was on-lofte.
    • Thoo com the sexte companye,
    • And gonne faste on Fame crye.
    • Right verraily, in this manere
    • They seyden: ‘Mercy, lady dere!Skeat1900: (640) 1730
    • To telle certein, as hit is,
    • We han don neither that ne this,
    • But ydel al our lyf y-be.
    • But, natheles, yit preye we,
    • That we mowe han so good a fame,Skeat1900: 1735
    • And greet renoun and knowen name,
    • As they that han don noble gestes,
    • And acheved alle hir lestes,
    • Edition: current; Page: [52]
    • As wel of love as other thing;
    • Al was us never broche ne ring,Skeat1900: (650) 1740
    • Ne elles nought, from wimmen sent,
    • Ne ones in hir herte y-ment[ ]
    • To make us only frendly chere,
    • But mighte temen us on bere;
    • Yit lat us to the peple semeSkeat1900: 1745
    • Swiche as the world may of us deme,
    • That wimmen loven us for wood.
    • Hit shal don us as moche good,
    • And to our herte as moche availe
    • To countrepeise ese and travaile,Skeat1900: (660) 1750
    • As we had wonne hit with labour;
    • For that is dere boght honour
    • At regard of our grete ese.
    • And yit thou most us more plese;
    • Let us be holden eek, therto,Skeat1900: 1755
    • Worthy, wyse, and gode also,
    • And riche, and happy unto love.
    • For goddes love, that sit above,
    • Though we may not the body have[ ]
    • Of wimmen, yet, so god yow save!Skeat1900: (670) 1760
    • Let men glewe on us the name;
    • Suffyceth that we han the fame.’
    • ‘I graunte,’ quod she, ‘by my trouthe!
    • Now, Eolus, with-outen slouthe,
    • Tak out thy trumpe of gold, let see,Skeat1900: 1765
    • And blow as they han axed me,
    • That every man wene hem at ese,
    • Though they gon in ful badde lese.’
    • This Eolus gan hit so blowe,
    • That through the world hit was y-knowe.Skeat1900: (680) 1770
    • Tho com the seventh route anoon,
    • And fel on kneës everichoon,
    • And seyde, ‘Lady, graunte us sone,
    • The same thing, the same bone,
    • Edition: current; Page: [53]
    • That [ye] this nexte folk han doon.’Skeat1900: 1775
    • ‘Fy on yow,’ quod she, ‘everichoon!
    • Ye masty swyn, ye ydel wrecches,
    • Ful of roten slowe tecches!
    • What? false theves! wher ye wolde[ ]
    • Be famous good, and no-thing noldeSkeat1900: (690) 1780
    • Deserve why, ne never roughte?
    • Men rather yow to-hangen oughte!
    • For ye be lyk the sweynte cat,[ ]
    • That wolde have fish; but wostow what?
    • He wolde no-thing wete his clowes.Skeat1900: 1785
    • Yvel thrift come on your Iowes,
    • And eek on myn, if I hit graunte,
    • Or do yow favour, yow to avaunte!
    • Thou Eolus, thou king of Trace!
    • Go, blow this folk a sory grace,’Skeat1900: (700) 1790
    • Quod she, ‘anoon; and wostow how?
    • As I shal telle thee right now;
    • Sey: “These ben they that wolde honour
    • Have, and do noskinnes labour,
    • Ne do no good, and yit han laude;Skeat1900: 1795
    • And that men wende that bele Isaude
    • Ne coude hem noght of love werne;
    • And yit she that grint at a querne
    • Is al to good to ese hir herte.” ’
    • This Eolus anon up sterte,Skeat1900: (710) 1800
    • And with his blakke clarioun
    • He gan to blasen out a soun,
    • As loude as belweth wind in helle.
    • And eek therwith, [the] sooth to telle,
    • This soun was [al] so ful of Iapes,Skeat1900: 1805
    • As ever mowes were in apes.
    • And that wente al the world aboute,
    • Edition: current; Page: [54]
    • That every wight gan on hem shoute,
    • And for to laughe as they were wode;
    • Such game fonde they in hir hode.Skeat1900: (720) 1810
    • Tho com another companye,
    • That had y-doon the traiterye,
    • The harm, the gretest wikkednesse
    • That any herte couthe gesse;
    • And preyed hir to han good fame,Skeat1900: 1815
    • And that she nolde hem doon no shame,
    • But yeve hem loos and good renoun,
    • And do hit blowe in clarioun.
    • ‘Nay, wis!’ quod she, ‘hit were a vyce;
    • Al be ther in me no Iustyce,Skeat1900: (730) 1820
    • Me listeth not to do hit now,
    • Ne this nil I not graunte you.’
    • Tho come ther lepinge in a route,[ ]
    • And gonne choppen al aboute[ ]
    • Every man upon the croune,Skeat1900: 1825
    • That al the halle gan to soune,
    • And seyden: ‘Lady, lefe and dere
    • We ben swich folk as ye mowe here.
    • To tellen al the tale aright,
    • We ben shrewes, every wight,Skeat1900: (740) 1830
    • And han delyt in wikkednes,
    • As gode folk han in goodnes;
    • And Ioye to be knowen shrewes,
    • And fulle of vyce and wikked thewes;
    • Wherfor we preyen yow, a-rowe,Skeat1900: 1835
    • That our fame swich be knowe
    • In alle thing right as hit is.’
    • ‘I graunte hit yow,’ quod she, ‘y-wis.
    • But what art thou that seyst this tale,
    • That werest on thy hose a pale,Skeat1900: (750) 1840
    • Edition: current; Page: [55]
    • And on thy tipet swiche a belle!’
    • ‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘sooth to telle,
    • I am that ilke shrewe, y-wis,[ ]
    • That brende the temple of Isidis
    • In Athenes, lo, that citee.’Skeat1900: 1845
    • ‘And wherfor didest thou so?’ quod she.
    • ‘By my thrift,’ quod he, ‘madame,
    • I wolde fayn han had a fame,
    • As other folk hadde in the toun,
    • Al-though they were of greet renounSkeat1900: (760) 1850
    • For hir vertu and for hir thewes;
    • Thoughte I, as greet a fame han shrewes,
    • Thogh hit be [but] for shrewednesse,[ ]
    • As gode folk han for goodnesse;
    • And sith I may not have that oon,Skeat1900: 1855
    • That other nil I noght for-goon.
    • And for to gette of Fames hyre,
    • The temple sette I al a-fyre.
    • Now do our loos be blowen swythe,
    • As wisly be thou ever blythe.’Skeat1900: (770) 1860
    • ‘Gladly,’ quod she; ‘thou Eolus,
    • Herestow not what they preyen us?’
    • ‘Madame, yis, ful wel,’ quod he,
    • ‘And I wil trumpen hit, parde!’
    • And tok his blakke trumpe faste,Skeat1900: 1865
    • And gan to puffen and to blaste,
    • Til hit was at the worldes ende.
    • With that I gan aboute wende;
    • For oon that stood right at my bak,
    • Me thoughte, goodly to me spak,Skeat1900: (780) 1870
    • And seyde: ‘Frend, what is thy name?
    • Artow come hider to han fame?’
    • ‘Nay, for-sothe, frend!’ quod I;
    • ‘I cam noght hider, graunt mercy!
    • For no swich cause, by my heed!Skeat1900: 1875
    • Suffyceth me, as I were deed,
    • Edition: current; Page: [56]
    • That no wight have my name in honde.
    • I woot my-self best how I stonde;
    • For what I drye or what I thinke,
    • I wol my-selven al hit drinke,[ ]Skeat1900: (790) 1880
    • Certeyn, for the more part,
    • As ferforth as I can myn art.’
    • ‘But what dost thou here than?’ quod he.
    • Quod I, ‘that wol I tellen thee,
    • The cause why I stondë here:—Skeat1900: 1885
    • Som newe tydings for to lere:—
    • Som newe thinges, I not what,
    • Tydinges, other this or that,
    • Of love, or swiche thinges glade.
    • For certeynly, he that me madeSkeat1900: (800) 1890
    • To comen hider, seyde me,
    • I shulde bothe here and see,
    • In this place, wonder thinges;
    • But these be no swiche tydinges
    • As I mene of.’ ‘No?’ quod he.Skeat1900: 1895
    • And I answerde, ‘No, pardee!
    • For wel I wiste, ever yit,
    • Sith that first I hadde wit,
    • That som folk han desyred fame
    • Dyversly, and loos, and name;Skeat1900: (810) 1900
    • But certeynly, I niste how
    • Ne wher that Fame dwelte, er now;
    • Ne eek of hir descripcioun,
    • Ne also hir condicioun,
    • Ne the ordre of hir dome,Skeat1900: 1905
    • Unto the tyme I hider come.’
    • ‘[Whiche] be, lo, these tydinges,
    • That thou now [thus] hider bringes,
    • Edition: current; Page: [57]
    • That thou hast herd?’ quod he to me;
    • ‘But now, no fors; for wel I seeSkeat1900: (820) 1910
    • What thou desyrest for to here.
    • Com forth, and stond no longer here,
    • And I wol thee, with-outen drede,
    • In swich another place lede,
    • Ther thou shalt here many oon.’Skeat1900: 1915
    • Tho gan I forth with him to goon
    • Out of the castel, soth to seye.
    • Tho saugh I stonde in a valeye,
    • Under the castel, faste by,
    • An hous, that domus Dedali,Skeat1900: (830) 1920
    • That Laborintus cleped is,
    • Nas maad so wonderliche, y-wis,
    • Ne half so queynteliche y-wrought.
    • And evermo, so swift as thought,
    • This queynte hous aboute wente,Skeat1900: 1925
    • That never-mo hit stille stente.[ ]
    • And ther-out com so greet a noise,
    • That, had hit stonden upon Oise,
    • Men mighte hit han herd esely
    • To Rome, I trowe sikerly.Skeat1900: (840) 1930
    • And the noyse which that I herde,
    • For al the world right so hit ferde,
    • As doth the routing of the stoon[ ]
    • That from thengyn is leten goon.
    • And al this hous, of whiche I rede,Skeat1900: 1935
    • Was made of twigges, falwe, rede,
    • And grene eek, and som weren whyte,
    • Swiche as men to these cages thwyte,
    • Or maken of these paniers,
    • Or elles hottes or dossers;Skeat1900: (850) 1940
    • That, for the swough and for the twigges,
    • This hous was also ful of gigges,
    • And also ful eek of chirkinges,
    • And of many other werkinges;[ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [58]
    • And eek this hous hath of entreesSkeat1900: 1945
    • As fele as leves been on trees[ ]
    • In somer, whan they grene been;
    • And on the roof men may yit seen
    • A thousand holes, and wel mo,
    • To leten wel the soun out go.Skeat1900: (860) 1950
    • And by day, in every tyde,
    • Ben al the dores open wyde,
    • And by night, echoon, unshette;
    • Ne porter ther is non to lette
    • No maner tydings in to pace;Skeat1900: 1955
    • Ne never reste is in that place,
    • That hit nis fild ful of tydinges,
    • Other loude, or of whispringes;
    • And, over alle the houses angles,
    • Is ful of rouninges and of IanglesSkeat1900: (870) 1960
    • Of werre, of pees, of mariages,
    • Of reste, of labour of viages,
    • Of abood, of deeth, of lyfe,
    • Of love, of hate, acorde, of stryfe,
    • Of loos, of lore, and of winninges,Skeat1900: 1965
    • Of hele, of sekenesse, of bildinges,
    • Of faire windes, of tempestes,
    • Of qualme of folk, and eek of bestes;
    • Of dyvers transmutaciouns
    • Of estats, and eek of regiouns;[ ]Skeat1900: (880) 1970
    • Of trust, of drede, of Ielousye,
    • Of wit, of winninge, of folye;
    • Of plentee, and of greet famyne,
    • Of chepe, of derth, and of ruyne;
    • Of good or mis governement,[ ]Skeat1900: 1975
    • Of fyr, of dyvers accident.
    • And lo, this hous, of whiche I wryte,
    • Siker be ye, hit nas not lyte;
    • Edition: current; Page: [59]
    • For hit was sixty myle of lengthe;
    • Al was the timber of no strengthe,Skeat1900: (890) 1980
    • Yet hit is founded to endure
    • Whyl that hit list to Aventure,[ ]
    • That is the moder of tydinges,
    • As the see of welles and springes,—
    • And hit was shapen lyk a cage.Skeat1900: 1985
    • ‘Certes,’ quod I, ‘in al myn age,
    • Ne saugh I swich a hous as this.’
    • And as I wondred me, y-wis,
    • Upon this hous, tho war was I
    • How that myn egle, faste by,Skeat1900: (900) 1990
    • Was perched hye upon a stoon;
    • And I gan streighte to him goon
    • And seyde thus: ‘I preye thee
    • That thou a whyl abyde me
    • For goddes love, and let me seenSkeat1900: 1995
    • What wondres in this place been;
    • For yit, paraventure, I may lere[ ]
    • Som good ther-on, or sumwhat here
    • That leef me were, or that I wente.’
    • Peter! that is myn entente,’Skeat1900: (910) 2000
    • Quod he to me; ‘therfor I dwelle;
    • But certein, oon thing I thee telle,
    • That, but I bringe thee ther-inne,
    • Ne shalt thou never cunne ginne
    • To come in-to hit, out of doute,Skeat1900: 2005
    • So faste hit whirleth, lo, aboute.
    • But sith that Ioves, of his grace,
    • As I have seyd, wol thee solace
    • Fynally with [swiche] thinges,[ ]
    • Uncouthe sightes and tydinges,Skeat1900: (920) 2010
    • To passe with thyn hevinesse;
    • Suche routhe hath he of thy distresse,
    • That thou suffrest debonairly—
    • And wost thy-selven utterly
    • Disesperat of alle blis,Skeat1900: 2015
    • Sith that Fortune hath maad a-mis
    • Edition: current; Page: [60]
    • The [fruit] of al thyn hertes reste[ ]
    • Languisshe and eek in point to breste—
    • That he, through his mighty meryte,
    • Wol do thee ese, al be hit lyte,Skeat1900: (930) 2020
    • And yaf expres commaundement,[ ]
    • To whiche I am obedient,
    • To furthre thee with al my might,
    • And wisse and teche thee aright
    • Wher thou maist most tydinges here;Skeat1900: 2025
    • Shaltow anoon heer many oon lere.’
    • With this worde he, right anoon,
    • Hente me up bitwene his toon,[ ]
    • And at a windowe in me broghte,
    • That in this hous was, as me thoghte—Skeat1900: (940) 2030
    • And ther-withal, me thoghte hit stente,
    • And no-thing hit aboute wente—
    • And me sette in the flore adoun.
    • But which a congregacioun[ ]
    • Of folk, as I saugh rome abouteSkeat1900: 2035
    • Some within and some withoute,
    • Nas never seen, ne shal ben eft;
    • That, certes, in the world nis left
    • So many formed by Nature,
    • Ne deed so many a creature;Skeat1900: (950) 2040
    • That wel unethe, in that place,
    • Hadde I oon foot-brede of space;
    • And every wight that I saugh there
    • Rouned ech in otheres ere[ ]
    • A newe tyding prevely,Skeat1900: 2045
    • Or elles tolde al openly
    • Right thus, and seyde: ‘Nost not thou
    • That is betid, lo, late or now?’[ ]
  • Edition: current; Page: [61]
    • ‘No,’ quod [the other], ‘tel me what;’—
    • And than he tolde him this and that,Skeat1900: (960) 2050
    • And swoor ther-to that hit was sooth—
    • ‘Thus hath he seyd’—and ‘Thus he dooth’—
    • ‘Thus shal hit be’—‘Thus herde I seye’—
    • ‘That shal be found’—‘That dar I leye:’—
    • That al the folk that is a-lyveSkeat1900: 2055
    • Ne han the cunning to discryve
    • The thinges that I herde there,
    • What aloude, and what in ere.
    • But al the wonder-most was this:—[ ]
    • Whan oon had herd a thing, y-wis,Skeat1900: (970) 2060
    • He com forth to another wight,
    • And gan him tellen, anoon-right,
    • The same that to him was told,
    • Or hit a furlong-way was old,
    • But gan somwhat for to echeSkeat1900: 2065
    • To this tyding in this speche
    • More than hit ever was.
    • And nat so sone departed nas
    • That he fro him, that he ne mette
    • With the thridde; and, or he letteSkeat1900: (980) 2070
    • Any stounde, he tolde him als;
    • Were the tyding sooth or fals,
    • Yit wolde he telle hit nathelees,
    • And evermo with more encrees
    • Than hit was erst. Thus north and southeSkeat1900: 2075
    • Went every [word] fro mouth to mouthe,[ ]
    • And that encresing ever-mo,
    • As fyr is wont to quikke and go
    • From a sparke spronge amis,
    • Til al a citee brent up is.Skeat1900: (990) 2080
    • And, whan that was ful y-spronge,
    • And woxen more on every tonge
    • Edition: current; Page: [62]
    • Than ever hit was, [hit] wente anoon
    • Up to a windowe, out to goon;
    • Or, but hit mighte out ther pace,Skeat1900: 2085
    • Hit gan out crepe at som crevace,
    • And fleigh forth faste for the nones.
    • And somtyme saugh I tho, at ones,
    • A lesing and a sad soth-sawe,[ ]
    • That gonne of aventure draweSkeat1900: (1000) 2090
    • Out at a windowe for to pace;
    • And, when they metten in that place,
    • They were a-chekked bothe two,
    • And neither of hem moste out go;
    • For other so they gonne croude,[ ]Skeat1900: 2095
    • Til eche of hem gan cryen loude,
    • ‘Lat me go first!’ ‘Nay, but lat me!
    • And here I wol ensuren thee[ ]
    • With the nones that thou wolt do so,
    • That I shal never fro thee go,Skeat1900: (1010) 2100
    • But be thyn owne sworen brother![ ]
    • We wil medle us ech with other,
    • That no man, be he never so wrothe,
    • Shal han that oon [of] two, but bothe
    • At ones, al beside his leve,Skeat1900: 2105
    • Come we a-morwe or on eve,
    • Be we cryed or stille y-rouned.’
    • Thus saugh I fals and sooth compouned
    • Togeder flee for oo tydinge.
    • Thus out at holes gonne wringeSkeat1900: (1020) 2110
    • Every tyding streight to Fame;
    • And she gan yeven eche his name.
    • After hir disposicioun,
    • And yaf hem eek duracioun,
    • Edition: current; Page: [63]
    • Some to wexe and wane sone,Skeat1900: 2115
    • As dooth the faire whyte mone,
    • And leet hem gon. Ther mighte I seen
    • Wenged wondres faste fleen,
    • Twenty thousand in a route,
    • As Eolus hem blew aboute.Skeat1900: (1030) 2120
    • And, lord! this hous, in alle tymes,
    • Was ful of shipmen and pilgrymes,
    • With scrippes bret-ful of lesinges,[ ]
    • Entremedled with tydinges,
    • And eek alone by hem-selve.Skeat1900: 2125
    • O, many a thousand tymes twelve
    • Saugh I eek of these pardoneres,
    • Currours, and eek messangeres,
    • With boistes crammed ful of lyes
    • As ever vessel was with lyes.Skeat1900: (1040) 2130
    • And as I alther-fastest wente
    • Aboute, and dide al myn entente
    • Me for to pleye and for to lere,
    • And eek a tyding for to here,
    • That I had herd of som contreeSkeat1900: 2135
    • That shal not now be told for me;—
    • For hit no nede is, redely;
    • Folk can singe hit bet than I;
    • For al mot out, other late or rathe,
    • Alle the sheves in the lathe;—[ ]Skeat1900: (1050) 2140
    • I herde a gret noise withalle
    • In a corner of the halle,
    • Ther men of love tydings tolde,
    • And I gan thiderward beholde;
    • For I saugh renninge every wight,Skeat1900: 2145
    • As faste as that they hadden might;
    • And everich cryed, ‘What thing is that?’
    • And som seyde, ‘I not never what.’
    • And whan they were alle on an hepe,
    • Tho behinde gonne up lepe,Skeat1900: (1060) 2150
    • Edition: current; Page: [64]
    • And clamben up on othere faste,
    • And up the nose on hye caste,
    • And troden faste on othere heles
    • And stampe, as men don after eles.
    • Atte laste I saugh a man,Skeat1900: 2155
    • Which that I [nevene] naught ne can;
    • But he semed for to be
    • A man of greet auctoritee . . . .[ ][ ]Skeat1900: (1068) 2158

(Unfinished.)

Edition: current; Page: [65]

THE LEGEND OF GOOD WOMEN.

The Prologue to this Poem exists in two different versions, which differ widely from each other in many passages. The arrangement of the material is also different.

For the sake of clearness, the earlier version is here called ‘Text A,’ and the later version ‘Text B.’

‘Text A’ exists in one MS. only, but this MS. is of early date and much importance. It is the MS. marked Gg. 4. 27 in the Cambridge University Library, and is here denoted by the letter ‘C.’ It is the same MS. as that denoted by the abbreviation ‘Cm.’ in the footnotes to the Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde. This text is printed in the upper part of the following pages. The footnotes give the MS. spellings, where these are amended in the text.

‘Text B’ occupies the lower part of the following pages. It follows the Fairfax MS. mainly, which is denoted by ‘F.’ In many places, the inferior spellings of this MS. are relegated to the footnotes, amended spellings being given in the text. Various readings are given from Tn. (Tanner MS. 346); T. (Trinity MS., R. 3. 19); A. (Arch. Seld. B. 24 in the Bodleian Library); Th. (Thynne’s Edition, 1532); B. (Bodley MS. 638); P. (Pepys MS. 2006); and sometimes from C. (already mentioned) or Add. (Addit. 9832).

Lines which occur in one text only are marked (in either text) by a prefixed asterisk. Lines marked with a dagger (†) stand just the same in both texts. The blank space after A 60 (p. 70) shews that there is nothing in Text A corresponding to B 69-72. Where the corresponding matter is transposed to another place, one or other text has a portion printed in smaller type.

The prologe of .ix. goode Wimmen.

    • A thousand sythes have I herd men telle,
    • †That ther is Ioye in heven, and peyne in helle;[ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [66]
    • And I acorde wel that hit be so;
    • But natheles, this wot I wel also,
    • That ther nis noon that dwelleth in this contree,Skeat1900: 5
    • That either hath in helle or heven y-be,
    • †Ne may of hit non other weyes witen,
    • †But as he hath herd seyd, or founde hit writen;
    • †For by assay ther may no man hit preve.
    • But goddes forbode, but men shulde leveSkeat1900: 10
    • †Wel more thing then men han seen with yë!
    • †Men shal nat wenen every-thing a lyë
    • For that he seigh it nat of yore ago.
    • God wot, a thing is never the lesse so
    • †Thogh every wight ne may hit nat y-see.Skeat1900: 15
    • †Bernard the monk ne saugh nat al, parde!
    • †Than mote we to bokes that we finde,
    • †Through which that olde thinges been in minde,
    • Edition: current; Page: [67]
    • †And to the doctrine of these olde wyse,
    • †Yeven credence, in every skilful wyse,Skeat1900: 20
    • And trowen on these olde aproved stories
    • †Of holinesse, of regnes, of victories,
    • †Of love, of hate, of other sundry thinges,
    • †Of whiche I may not maken rehersinges.
    • †And if that olde bokes were a-weye,Skeat1900: 25
    • †Y-loren were of remembraunce the keye.
    • Wel oughte us than on olde bokes leve,
    • Ther-as ther is non other assay by preve.
    • And, as for me, though that my wit be lyte,
    • †On bokes for to rede I me delyte,Skeat1900: 30
    • †And in myn herte have hem in reverence;
    • And to hem yeve swich lust and swich credence,
    • That ther is wel unethe game noon
    • That from my bokes make me to goon,
    • Edition: current; Page: [68]
    • But hit be other up-on the haly-day,Skeat1900: 35
    • Or elles in the Ioly tyme of May;
    • Whan that I here the smale foules singe,
    • †And that the floures ginne for to springe,
    • Farwel my studie, as lasting that sesoun!
    • Now have I therto this condiciounSkeat1900: 40
    • †That, of alle the floures in the mede,
    • †Than love I most these floures whyte and rede,
    • †Swiche as men callen daysies in our toun.
    • †To hem have I so greet affeccioun,
    • †As I seyde erst, whan comen is the May,Skeat1900: 45
    • †That in my bed ther daweth me no day
    • †That I nam up, and walking in the mede
    • To seen these floures agein the sonne sprede,
    • Whan hit up-riseth by the morwe shene,
    • *The longe day, thus walking in the grene.Skeat1900: 50
  • Edition: current; Page: [69]
    • From A. 55-58.This dayesye, of alle floures flour, (B. 53)
    • Fulfild of vertu and of alle honour,
    • †And ever y-lyke fair and fresh of hewe,
    • As wel in winter as in somer newe—
    • And whan the sonne ginneth for to weste, (B. 61)
    • Than closeth hit, and draweth hit to reste.
    • So sore hit is afered of the night,
    • *Til on the morwe, that hit is dayes light.
    • This dayesye, of alle floures flour,Skeat1900: 55
    • Fulfild of vertu and of alle honour,
    • †And ever y-lyke fair and fresh of hewe,
    • As wel in winter as in somer newe,
    • Edition: current; Page: [70]
    • Fain wolde I preisen, if I coude aright; (B. 67)
    • *But wo is me, hit lyth nat in my might!Skeat1900: 60
    • Whan passed was almost the month of May, (B. 108)Skeat1900: 89
    • Edition: current; Page: [73]
    • And I had romed, al the someres day,Skeat1900: 90
    • *The grene medew, of which that I yow tolde,
    • Upon the fresshe daysy to beholde,
    • And that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
    • And closed was the flour and goon to reste
    • For derknesse of the night, of which she dredde,Skeat1900: 95
    • †Hoom to myn hous ful swiftly I me spedde;
    • †And, in a litel erber that I have,
    • Y-benched newe with turves fresshe y-grave,
    • †I bad men shulde me my couche make;
    • †For deyntee of the newe someres sake,Skeat1900: 100
    • †I bad hem strowe floures on my bed.
    • †Whan I was layd, and had myn eyen hed,
    • I fel a-slepe with-in an houre or two.
    • Me mette how I was in the medew tho,
    • Edition: current; Page: [74]
    • *And that I romed in that same gyse,Skeat1900: 105
    • To seen that flour, as ye han herd devyse.
    • *Fair was this medew, as thoughte me overal;
    • With floures swote enbrowded was it al;
    • As for to speke of gomme, or erbe, or tree,
    • †Comparisoun may noon y-maked be.Skeat1900: 110
    • For hit surmounted pleynly alle odoures,
    • †And eek of riche beaute alle floures.
    • Forgeten had the erthe his pore estat
    • †Of winter, that him naked made and mat,
    • And with his swerd of cold so sore had greved.Skeat1900: 115
    • Now had the atempre sonne al that releved,
    • And clothed him in grene al newe agayn.
    • †The smale foules, of the seson fayn,
    • †That from the panter and the net ben scaped,
    • Edition: current; Page: [75]
    • †Upon the fouler, that hem made a-whapedSkeat1900: 120
    • †In winter, and distroyed had hir brood,
    • †In his despyt, hem thoughte hit did hem good
    • †To singe of him, and in hir song despyse
    • †The foule cherl that, for his covetyse,
    • †Had hem betrayed with his sophistrye.Skeat1900: 125
    • †This was hir song—‘the fouler we defye!’
    • Somme songen [layes] on the braunches clere (B. 139)
    • Of love and [May], that Ioye hit was to here,
    • In worship and in preysing of hir make,
    • And of the newe blisful someres sake,Skeat1900: 130
  • Edition: current; Page: [77]
    • From A. 90.And I had romed, al the someres day, (B. 180)
    • From A. 92.Up-on the fresshe daysy to beholde. (B. 182)
    • From A. 71-74.For trusteth wel, I ne have nat undertake (B. 188)
    • As of the leef, ageyn the flour, to make;
    • Ne of the flour to make, ageyn the leef,
    • †No more than of the corn ageyn the sheef.
  • Edition: current; Page: [78]
    • From A. 75-80.For, as to me, is leefer noon ne lother;Skeat1900: 75
    • I am with-holde yit with never nother.
    • I not who serveth leef, ne who the flour;
    • That nis nothing the entent of my labour.
    • For this werk is al of another tunne,
    • Of olde story, er swich stryf was begunne.Skeat1900: 80
    • From A. 93-96.And that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
    • And closed was the flour and goon to reste
    • For derknesse of the night, of which she dredde,
    • †Hoom to myn hous ful swiftly I me spedde
    • From A. 106.To seen that flour, as ye han herd devyse.
    • From A. 97-104.†And, in a litel erber that I have,
    • Y-benched newe with turves fresshe y-grave,
    • †I bad men shulde me my couche make;
    • †For deyntee of the newe someres sake,Skeat1900: 100
    • †I bad hem strowe floures on my bed.
    • †Whan I was layd, and had myn eyen hed,
    • I fel a-slepe within an houre or two.
    • Me mette how I was in the medew tho,
    • Edition: current; Page: [79]
    • *Til at the laste a larke song above:Skeat1900: 141
    • *‘I see,’ quod she, ‘the mighty god of love!
    • *Lo! yond he cometh, I see his winges sprede!’
    • From A. 106.To seen that flour, as ye han herd devyse,
    • Tho gan I loken endelong the mede, (B. 212)
    • And saw him come, and in his hond a quene,Skeat1900: 145
    • Clothed in ryal abite al of grene.
    • †A fret of gold she hadde next hir heer,
    • †And up-on that a whyt coroun she beer
    • With many floures, and I shal nat lye;
    • For al the world, right as the dayesyeSkeat1900: 150
    • I-coroned is with whyte leves lyte,
    • Swich were the floures of hir coroun whyte.
    • Edition: current; Page: [80]
    • For of o perle fyn and oriental
    • †Hir whyte coroun was y-maked al;
    • †For which the whyte coroun, above the grene.Skeat1900: 155
    • †Made hir lyk a daysie for to sene,
    • Considered eek the fret of gold above.
    • †Y-clothed was this mighty god of love
    • Of silk, y-brouded ful of grene greves;
    • A garlond on his heed of rose-levesSkeat1900: 160
    • *Steked al with lilie floures newe;
    • *But of his face I can nat seyn the hewe.
    • For sekirly his face shoon so brighte,
    • *That with the gleem a-stoned was the sighte;
    • A furlong-wey I mighte him nat beholde.Skeat1900: 165
    • But at the laste in hande I saw him holde
    • Two fyry dartes, as the gledes rede;
    • And aungellich his wenges gan he sprede.
    • Edition: current; Page: [81]
    • †And al be that men seyn that blind is he,
    • Al-gate me thoughte he mighte wel y-see;Skeat1900: 170
    • †For sternely on me he gan biholde,
    • †So that his loking doth myn herte colde.
    • †And by the hande he held the noble quene,
    • †Corouned with whyte, and clothed al in grene,
    • †So womanly, so benigne, and so meke,Skeat1900: 175
    • †That in this world, thogh that men wolde seke,
    • †Half hir beautee shulde men nat finde
    • †In creature that formed is by kinde,
    • Hir name was Alceste the debonayre;
    • I prey to god that ever falle she fayre!Skeat1900: 180
    • †For ne hadde confort been of hir presence,
    • †I had be deed, withouten any defence,
    • †For drede of Loves wordes and his chere,
    • †As, whan tyme is, her-after ye shal here.
    • Edition: current; Page: [82]
    • Byhind this god of love, up-on this grene,Skeat1900: 185
    • †I saw cominge of ladyës nyntene
    • †In ryal abite, a ful esy pas,
    • †And after hem com of wemen swich a tras
    • That, sin that god Adam made of erthe,
    • The thredde part of wemen, ne the ferthe,Skeat1900: 190
    • †Ne wende I nat by possibilitee
    • Hadden ever in this world y-be; (B. 289)
    • †And trewe of love thise wemen were echoon.
    • †Now whether was that a wonder thing or noon,
    • †That, right anoon as that they gonne espyeSkeat1900: 195
    • †This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
    • †Ful sodeinly they stinten alle at-ones,
    • And kneled adoun, as it were for the nones.
    • *And after that they wenten in compas,
    • *Daunsinge aboute this flour an esy pas,Skeat1900: 200
    • Edition: current; Page: [83]
    • *And songen, as it were in carole-wyse,
    • *This balade, which that I shal yow devyse.
  • Balade.

    • †Hyd, Absolon, thy gilte tresses clere;
    • †Ester, ley thou thy meknesse al a-doun;
    • †Hyd, Ionathas, al thy frendly manere;Skeat1900: 205
    • Penalopee, and Marcia Catoun,
    • †Mak of your wyfhod no comparisoun;
    • †Hyde ye your beautes, Isoude and Eleyne,
    • Alceste is here, that al that may desteyne.
    • †Thy faire body, lat hit nat appere,Skeat1900: 210
    • †Lavyne; and thou, Lucresse of Rome toun,
    • †And Polixene, that boghte love so dere,
    • Eek Cleopatre, with al thy passioun,
    • Hyde ye your trouthe in love and your renoun;
    • Edition: current; Page: [84]
    • And thou, Tisbe, that hast for love swich peyne:Skeat1900: 215
    • Alceste is here, that al that may desteyne.
    • Herro, Dido, Laudomia, alle in-fere,
    • Eek Phyllis, hanging for thy Demophoun,
    • †And Canace, espyed by thy chere,
    • Ysiphile, betrayed with Jasoun,Skeat1900: 220
    • Mak of your trouthe in love no bost ne soun;
    • Nor Ypermistre or Adriane, ne pleyne;
    • Alceste is here, that al that may desteyne.
    • Whan that this balade al y-songen was, (B. 270)
  • Edition: current; Page: [85]
    • From A. 179-198.Hir name was Alceste the debonayre;
    • I prey to god that ever falle she fayre!Skeat1900: 180
    • †For ne hadde confort been of hir presence,
    • †I had be deed, withouten any defence,
    • †For drede of Loves wordes and his chere,
    • †As, whan tyme is, her-after ye shal here.
    • Byhind this god of love, up-on this grene,Skeat1900: 185
    • †I saw cominge of ladyës nyntene
    • †In ryal abite, a ful esy pas,
    • †And after hem com of wemen swich a tras,
    • That, sin that god Adam made of erthe,
    • The thredde part of wemen, ne the ferthe,Skeat1900: 190
    • †Ne wende I nat by possibilitee
    • Hadden ever in this world y-be.
    • †And trewe of love these wemen were echoon.
    • †Now whether was that a wonder thing or noon,
    • †That, right anon as that they gonne espyeSkeat1900: 195
    • †This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
    • †Ful sodeinly they stinten alle atones,
    • And kneled adoun, as it were for the nones.
    • Edition: current; Page: [86]
    • *Upon the softe and swote grene grasSkeat1900: 225
    • †They setten hem ful softely adoun, (B. 301)
    • By ordre alle in compas, alle enveroun.
    • First sat the god of love, and than this quene
    • †With the whyte coroun, clad in grene;
    • †And sithen al the remenant by and by,Skeat1900: 230
    • As they were of degree, ful curteisly;
    • †Ne nat a word was spoken in the place
    • †The mountance of a furlong-wey of space.
    • I, lening faste by under a bente,
    • †Abood, to knowen what this peple mente,Skeat1900: 235
    • †As stille as any stoon; til at the laste,
    • The god of love on me his eye caste,
    • Edition: current; Page: [87]
    • And seyde, ‘who resteth ther?’ and I answerde
    • Un-to his axing, whan that I him herde,
    • †And seyde, ‘sir, hit am I’; and cam him neer,Skeat1900: 240
    • †And salued him. Quod he, ‘what dostow heer
    • In my presence, and that so boldely?
    • †For it were better worthy, trewely,
    • A werm to comen in my sight than thou.’
    • †‘And why, sir,’ quod I, ‘and hit lyke yow?’Skeat1900: 245
    • †‘For thou,’ quod he, ‘art ther-to nothing able.
    • *My servaunts been alle wyse and honourable.
    • Thou art my mortal fo, and me warreyest, (B. 322)
    • †And of myne olde servaunts thou misseyest,
    • †And hinderest hem with thy translacioun,Skeat1900: 250
    • And lettest folk to han devocioun
    • †To serven me, and haldest hit folye
    • To troste on me. Thou mayst hit nat denye;
    • Edition: current; Page: [88]
    • For in pleyn text, hit nedeth nat to glose,
    • †Thou hast translated the Romauns of the Rose,Skeat1900: 255
    • †That is an heresye ageyns my lawe,
    • †And makest wyse folk fro me withdrawe.
    • *And thinkest in thy wit, that is ful cool
    • *That he nis but a verray propre fool
    • *That loveth paramours, to harde and hote.Skeat1900: 260
    • *Wel wot I ther-by thou beginnest dote
    • *As olde foles, whan hir spirit fayleth;
    • *Than blame they folk, and wite nat what hem ayleth.
    • *Hast thou nat mad in English eek the book
    • How that Crisseyde Troilus forsook, (B. 332)Skeat1900: 265
    • In shewinge how that wemen han don mis?
    • *But natheles, answere me now to this,
    • *Why noldest thou as wel han seyd goodnesse
    • *Of wemen, as thou hast seyd wikkednesse?
    • *Was ther no good matere in thy minde,Skeat1900: 270
    • *Ne in alle thy bokes coudest thou nat finde
    • *Sum story of wemen that were goode and trewe?
    • *Yis! god wot, sixty bokes olde and newe
    • *Hast thou thy-self, alle fulle of stories grete,
    • *That bothe Romains and eek Grekes treteSkeat1900: 275
    • Edition: current; Page: [89]
    • *Of sundry wemen, which lyf that they ladde,
    • *And ever an hundred gode ageyn oon badde.
    • *This knoweth god, and alle clerkes eke,
    • *That usen swiche materes for to seke.
    • *What seith Valerie, Titus, or Claudian?Skeat1900: 280
    • *What seith Ierome ageyns Iovinian?
    • *How clene maydens, and how trewe wyves,
    • *How stedfast widwes during al hir lyves,
    • *Telleth Jerome; and that nat of a fewe,
    • *But, I dar seyn, an hundred on a rewe;Skeat1900: 285
    • *That hit is pitee for to rede, and routhe,
    • *The wo that they enduren for hir trouthe.
    • For to hir love were they so trewe, (B. 334)
    • *That, rather than they wolde take a newe,
    • *They chosen to be dede in sundry wyse,Skeat1900: 290
    • *And deyden, as the story wol devyse;
    • *And some were brend, and some were cut the hals,
    • *And some dreynt, for they wolden nat be fals.
    • *For alle keped they hir maydenhed,
    • *Or elles wedlok, or hir widwehed.Skeat1900: 295
    • *And this thing was nat kept for holinesse,
    • *But al for verray vertu and clennesse,
    • *And for men shulde sette on hem no lak;
    • *And yit they weren hethen, al the pak,
    • *That were so sore adrad of alle shame.Skeat1900: 300
    • *These olde wemen kepte so hir name,
    • *That in this world I trow men shal nat finde
    • *A man that coude be so trewe and kinde,
    • Edition: current; Page: [90]
    • *As was the leste woman in that tyde.
    • *What seith also the epistels of OvydeSkeat1900: 305
    • *Of trewe wyves, and of hir labour?
    • *What Vincent, in his Storial Mirour?
    • *Eek al the world of autours maystow here,
    • *Cristen and hethen, trete of swich matere;
    • *It nedeth nat alday thus for tendyte.Skeat1900: 310
    • *But yit I sey, what eyleth thee to wryte
    • *The draf of stories, and forgo the corn?
    • By seint Venus, of whom that I was born, (B. 338)
    • Although [that] thou reneyed hast my lay, (B. 336)
    • As othere olde foles many a day, (B. 337)Skeat1900: 315
    • Thou shalt repente hit, that hit shal be sene!’
    • Than spak Alceste, the worthieste quene,
    • †And seyde, ‘god, right of your curtesye,
    • †Ye moten herknen if he can replye
    • Ageyns these points that ye han to him meved;Skeat1900: 320
    • †A god ne sholde nat be thus agreved,
    • Edition: current; Page: [91]
    • †But of his deitee he shal be stable,
    • And therto rightful and eek merciable.
    • *He shal nat rightfully his yre wreke
    • *Or he have herd the tother party speke.Skeat1900: 325
    • *Al ne is nat gospel that is to yow pleyned;
    • *The god of love herth many a tale y-feyned.
    • From A. 338, 339.This man to yow may wrongly been accused,
    • †Ther as by right him oghte been excused;
    • †For in your court is many a losengeour,
    • †And many a queynte totelere accusour,
    • That tabouren in your eres many a thingSkeat1900: 330
    • For hate, or for Ielous imagining,
    • And for to han with yow som daliaunce.
    • Envye (I prey to god yeve hir mischaunce!)
    • Is lavender in the grete court alway.
    • For she ne parteth, neither night ne day,Skeat1900: 335
    • Edition: current; Page: [92]
    • †Out of the hous of Cesar; thus seith Dante;
    • Who-so that goth, alwey she moot [nat] wante.
    • This man to yow may wrongly been accused,
    • Ther as by right him oghte been excused.
    • Or elles, sir, for that this man is nyce,Skeat1900: 340
    • He may translate a thing in no malyce,
    • But for he useth bokes for to make,
    • And takth non heed of what matere he take;
    • *Therfor he wroot the Rose and eek Crisseyde
    • *Of innocence, and niste what he seyde;Skeat1900: 345
    • †Or him was boden make thilke tweye
    • †Of som persone, and durste hit nat with-seye;
    • *For he hath writen many a book er this.
    • †He ne hath nat doon so grevously amis
    • †To translaten that olde clerkes wryten,Skeat1900: 350
    • †As thogh that he of malice wolde endyten
    • Edition: current; Page: [93]
    • Despyt of love, and hadde him-self y-wroght.
    • †This shulde a rightwys lord han in his thoght,
    • †And nat be lyk tiraunts of Lumbardye,
    • That usen wilfulhed and tirannye,Skeat1900: 355
    • †For he that king or lord is naturel,
    • †Him oghte nat be tiraunt ne cruel,
    • †As is a fermour, to doon the harm he can.
    • †He moste thinke hit is his lige man,
    • *And that him oweth, of verray duetee,Skeat1900: 360
    • *Shewen his peple pleyn benignitee,
    • *And wel to here hir excusaciouns,
    • *And hir compleyntes and peticiouns,
    • *In duewe tyme, whan they shal hit profre.
    • †This is the sentence of the philosophre: (B. 381)Skeat1900: 365
    • †A king to kepe his liges in Iustyce;
    • With-outen doute, that is his offyce.
    • *And therto is a king ful depe y-sworn,
    • *Ful many an hundred winter heer-biforn;
    • Edition: current; Page: [94]
    • And for to kepe his lordes hir degree,Skeat1900: 370
    • †As hit is right and skilful that they be
    • Enhaunced and honoured, and most dere—
    • †For they ben half-goddes in this world here—
    • This shal he doon, bothe to pore [and] riche,
    • Al be that here stat be nat a-liche,Skeat1900: 375
    • †And han of pore folk compassioun.
    • †For lo, the gentil kind of the lioun!
    • †For whan a flye offendeth him or byteth,
    • †He with his tayl awey the flye smyteth
    • †Al esily; for, of his genterye,Skeat1900: 380
    • †Him deyneth nat to wreke him on a flye,
    • †As doth a curre or elles another beste.
    • †In noble corage oghte been areste,
    • †And weyen every thing by equitee,
    • †And ever han reward to his owen degree.Skeat1900: 385
    • Edition: current; Page: [95]
    • †For, sir, hit is no maystrie for a lord
    • To dampne a man with-oute answere or word;
    • †And, for a lord, that is ful foul to use.
    • †And if so be he may him nat excuse,
    • [But] axeth mercy with a sorweful herte,Skeat1900: 390
    • †And profreth him, right in his bare sherte,
    • †To been right at your owne Iugement,
    • †Than oghte a god, by short avysement,
    • †Considre his owne honour and his trespas.
    • †For sith no cause of deeth lyth in this cas,Skeat1900: 395
    • †Yow oghte been the lighter merciable;
    • †Leteth your yre, and beth somwhat tretable!
    • †The man hath served yow of his conning,
    • And forthered your lawe with his making.
    • *Whyl he was yong, he kepte your estat;Skeat1900: 400
    • *I not wher he be now a renegat.
    • Edition: current; Page: [96]
    • But wel I wot, with that he can endyte,
    • He hath maked lewed folk delyte
    • †To serve you, in preysing of your name.
    • †He made the book that hight the Hous of Fame,Skeat1900: 405
    • †And eek the Deeth of Blaunche the Duchesse,
    • †And the Parlement of Foules, as I gesse,
    • †And al the love of Palamon and Arcyte
    • †Of Thebes, thogh the story is knowen lyte;
    • †And many an ympne for your halydayes,Skeat1900: 410
    • †That highten Balades, Roundels, Virelayes;
    • And for to speke of other besinesse,
    • †He hath in prose translated Boëce;
    • *And of the Wreched Engendring of Mankinde,
    • *As man may in pope Innocent y-finde;Skeat1900: 415
    • †And mad the Lyf also of seynt Cecyle; (B. 426)
    • †He made also, goon sithen a greet whyl,
    • †Origenes upon the Maudeleyne;
    • †Him oghte now to have the lesse peyne;
    • Edition: current; Page: [97]
    • †He hath mad many a lay and many a thing.Skeat1900: 420
    • †‘Now as ye been a god, and eek a king,
    • †I, your Alceste, whylom quene of Trace,
    • †I axe yow this man, right of your grace,
    • †That ye him never hurte in al his lyve;
    • †And he shal sweren yow, and that as blyve,Skeat1900: 425
    • †He shal no more agilten in this wyse;
    • †But he shal maken, as ye wil devyse,
    • †Of wemen trewe in lovinge al hir lyve,
    • †Wher-so ye wil, of maiden or of wyve,
    • †And forthren yow, as muche as he misseydeSkeat1900: 430
    • †Or in the Rose or elles in Crisseyde.’
    • †The god of love answerde hir thus anoon,
    • †‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘hit is so long agoon
    • †That I yow knew so charitable and trewe,
    • †That never yit, sith that the world was newe,Skeat1900: 435
    • Edition: current; Page: [98]
    • †To me ne fond I better noon than ye.
    • That, if that I wol save my degree,
    • †I may ne wol nat warne your requeste;
    • Al lyth in yow, doth with him what yow leste
    • †And al foryeve, with-outen lenger space;Skeat1900: 440
    • †For who-so yeveth a yift, or doth a grace,
    • †Do hit by tyme, his thank is wel the more;
    • †And demeth ye what he shal do therfore.
    • †Go thanke now my lady heer,’ quod he.
    • †I roos, and doun I sette me on my knee,Skeat1900: 445
    • †And seyde thus: ‘Madame, the god above
    • †Foryelde yow, that ye the god of love
    • †Han maked me his wrathe to foryive;
    • †And yeve me grace so long for to live,
    • †That I may knowe soothly what ye beSkeat1900: 450
    • That han me holpen, and put in swich degree.
    • Edition: current; Page: [99]
    • †But trewely I wende, as in this cas,
    • †Naught have agilt, ne doon to love trespas.
    • †Forwhy a trewe man, with-outen drede,
    • †Hath nat to parten with a theves dede;Skeat1900: 455
    • †Ne a trewe lover oghte me nat blame,
    • †Thogh that I speke a fals lover som shame.
    • †They oghte rather with me for to holde,
    • †For that I of Creseyde wroot or tolde,
    • †Or of the Rose; what-so myn auctour mente,Skeat1900: 460
    • †Algate, god wot, hit was myn entente
    • †To forthren trouthe in love and hit cheryce;
    • †And to be war fro falsnesse and fro vyce
    • †By swich ensample; this was my meninge.’
    • †And she answerde, ‘lat be thyn arguinge;Skeat1900: 465
    • †For Love ne wol nat countrepleted be
    • In right ne wrong; and lerne this at me!
    • Edition: current; Page: [100]
    • †Thou hast thy grace, and hold thee right ther-to.
    • †Now wol I seyn what penance thou shalt do
    • †For thy trespas, and understond hit here:Skeat1900: 470
    • †Thou shalt, whyl that thou livest, yeer by yere,
    • The moste party of thy lyve spende
    • †In making of a glorious Legende
    • †Of Gode Wemen, maidenes and wyves,
    • †That were trewe in lovinge al hir lyves;Skeat1900: 475
    • †And telle of false men that hem bitrayen,
    • †That al hir lyf ne doon nat but assayen
    • †How many wemen they may doon a shame;
    • For in your world that is now holden game.
    • And thogh thee lesteth nat a lover be,Skeat1900: 480
    • †Spek wel of love; this penance yeve I thee.
    • †And to the god of love I shal so preye,
    • †That he shal charge his servants, by any weye,
    • Edition: current; Page: [101]
    • †To forthren thee, and wel thy labour quyte;
    • Go now thy wey, thy penance is but lyte.’ (B. 495)Skeat1900: 485
    • †The god of love gan smyle, and than he seyde,
    • †‘Wostow,’ quod he, ‘wher this be wyf or mayde,
    • †Or quene, or countesse, or of what degree,
    • †That hath so litel penance yeven thee,
    • †That hast deserved sorer for to smerte?Skeat1900: 490
    • †But pitee renneth sone in gentil herte;
    • †That mayst thou seen, she kytheth what she is.’
    • †And I answerde, ‘nay, sir, so have I blis,
    • †No more but that I see wel she is good.’
    • †‘That is a trewe tale, by myn hood,’Skeat1900: 495
    • †Quod Love, ‘and that thou knowest wel, pardee,
    • †If hit be so that thou avyse thee.
    • Edition: current; Page: [102]
    • †Hastow nat in a book, lyth in thy cheste,
    • †The grete goodnesse of the quene Alceste,
    • †That turned was into a dayesye:Skeat1900: 500
    • †She that for hir husbonde chees to dye,
    • †And eek to goon to helle, rather than he,
    • †And Ercules rescued hir, pardee,
    • †And broghte hir out of helle agayn to blis?’
    • †And I answerde ageyn, and seyde, ‘yis,Skeat1900: 505
    • †Now knowe I hir! And is this good Alceste,
    • †The dayesye, and myn owne hertes reste?
    • †Now fele I wel the goodnesse of this wyf,
    • †That bothe after hir deeth, and in hir lyf,
    • †Hir grete bountee doubleth hir renoun!Skeat1900: 510
    • †Wel hath she quit me myn affeccioun
    • †That I have to hir flour, the dayesye!
    • †No wonder is thogh Iove hir stellifye,
    • Edition: current; Page: [103]
    • †As telleth Agaton, for hir goodnesse!
    • †Hir whyte coroun berth of hit witnesse;Skeat1900: 515
    • †For also many vertues hadde she,
    • †As smale floures in hir coroun be.
    • In remembraunce of hir and in honour,
    • †Cibella made the dayesy and the flour
    • †Y-coroned al with whyt, as men may see;Skeat1900: 520
    • †And Mars yaf to hir coroun reed, pardee,
    • †In stede of rubies, set among the whyte.’
    • †Therwith this quene wex reed for shame a lyte,
    • †Whan she was preysed so in hir presence.
    • †Than seyde Love, ‘a ful gret negligenceSkeat1900: 525
    • Was hit to thee, to write unstedfastnesse
    • *Of women, sith thou knowest hir goodnesse
    • *By preef, and eek by stories heer-biforn;
    • *Let be the chaf, and wryt wel of the corn.
    • Edition: current; Page: [104]
    • *Why noldest thou han writen of Alceste,Skeat1900: 530
    • *And leten Criseide been a-slepe and reste?
    • *For of Alceste shulde thy wryting be,
    • Sin that thou wost that kalender is she (B. 542).
    • Of goodnesse, for she taughte of fyn lovinge,
    • †And namely of wyfhood the livinge,Skeat1900: 535
    • †And alle the boundes that she oghte kepe;
    • †Thy litel wit was thilke tyme a-slepe.
    • †But now I charge thee, upon thy lyf,
    • †That in thy Legend thou make of this wyf,
    • Whan thou hast othere smale mad before;Skeat1900: 540
    • †And fare now wel, I charge thee no more. (B. 551).
  • Edition: current; Page: [105]
    • †At Cleopatre I wol that thou beginne; (B. 566).
    • †And so forth; and my love so shalt thou winne.’
    • And with that word of sleep I gan a-awake, (B. 578).
    • †And right thus on my Legend gan I make.Skeat1900: 545

Explicit prohemium.

The prologe of .ix. goode Wimmen.

    • A thousand tymes have I herd men telle,
    • That ther is Ioye in heven, and peyne in helle;
    • Edition: current; Page: [66]
    • And I acorde wel that hit is so;
    • But natheles, yit wot I wel also,
    • That ther nis noon dwelling in this contree,Skeat1900: 5
    • That either hath in heven or helle y-be,
    • †Ne may of hit non other weyes witen,
    • †But as he hath herd seyd, or founde hit writen;
    • †For by assay ther may no man hit preve.[ ]
    • But god forbede but men shulde leveSkeat1900: 10
    • Wel more thing then men han seen with yë!
    • Men shal nat wenen every-thing a lyë
    • But-if him-self hit seeth, or elles dooth;[ ]
    • For, god wot, thing is never the lasse sooth,
    • †Thogh every wight ne may hit nat y-see.Skeat1900: 15
    • †Bernard the monk ne saugh nat al, parde![ ]
    • †Than mote we to bokes that we finde,
    • †Through which that olde thinges been in minde,
    • Edition: current; Page: [67]
    • †And to the doctrine of these olde wyse,
    • Yeve credence, in every skilful wyse,Skeat1900: 20
    • That tellen of these olde appreved stories,
    • †Of holinesse, of regnes, of victories,
    • †Of love, of hate, of other sundry thinges,
    • †Of whiche I may not maken rehersinges.
    • †And if that olde bokes were a-weye,Skeat1900: 25[ ]
    • Y-loren were of remembraunce the keye.[ ]
    • Wel oghte us than honouren and beleve
    • These bokes, ther we han non other preve.[ ]
    • And as for me, thogh that I can but lyte,[ ]
    • †On bokes for to rede I me delyte,Skeat1900: 30
    • And to hem yeve I feyth and ful credence,
    • †And in myn herte have hem in reverence
    • So hertely, that ther is game noon
    • That fro my bokes maketh me to goon,
    • Edition: current; Page: [68]
    • But hit be seldom, on the holyday;Skeat1900: 35
    • Save, certeynly, whan that the month of May[ ]
    • Is comen, and that I here the foules singe,
    • †And that the floures ginnen for to springe,
    • Farwel my book and my devocioun!
    • Now have I than swich a condicioun,Skeat1900: 40
    • †That, of alle the floures in the mede,[ ]
    • Than love I most these floures whyte and rede,
    • Swiche as men callen daysies in our toun.
    • †To hem have I so greet affeccioun,
    • †As I seyde erst, whan comen is the May,Skeat1900: 45
    • That in my bed ther daweth me no day
    • †That I nam up, and walking in the mede
    • To seen this flour agein the sonne sprede,
    • Whan hit upryseth erly by the morwe;
    • *That blisful sighte softneth al my sorwe,[ ]Skeat1900: 50
    • Edition: current; Page: [69]
    • *So glad am I whan that I have presence
    • *Of hit, to doon al maner reverence,
    • As she, that is of alle floures flour,[ ]
    • Fulfilled of al vertu and honour,
    • †And ever y-lyke fair, and fresh of hewe;Skeat1900: 55
    • And I love hit, and ever y-lyke newe,
    • *And ever shal, til that myn herte dye;[ ]
    • *Al swere I nat, of this I wol nat lye,
    • *Ther loved no wight hotter in his lyve.
    • *And whan that hit is eve, I renne blyve,Skeat1900: 60
    • As sone as ever the sonne ginneth weste,
    • To seen this flour, how it wol go to reste,
    • For fere of night, so hateth she derknesse!
    • From B. 53-56.As she, that is of alle floures flour,
    • Fulfilled of al vertu and honour,
    • †And ever y-lyke fair, and fresh of hewe;
    • And I love hit, and ever y-lyke newe.
  • Edition: current; Page: [70]
    • *Hir chere is pleynly sprad in the brightnesse
    • *Of the sonne, for ther hit wol unclose.[ ]Skeat1900: 65
    • *Allas! that I ne had English, ryme or prose,
    • Suffisant this flour to preyse aright![ ]
    • *But helpeth, ye that han conning and might,[ ]
    • *Ye lovers, that can make of sentement;
    • *In this cas oghte ye be diligentSkeat1900: 70
    • *To forthren me somwhat in my labour,
    • *Whether ye ben with the leef or with the flour.[ ]
    • For wel I wot, that ye han her-biforn
    • †Of making ropen, and lad awey the corn;
    • †And I come after, glening here and there,Skeat1900: 75
    • †And am ful glad if I may finde an ere
    • Of any goodly word that ye han left.
    • And thogh it happen me rehercen eft
    • That ye han in your fresshe songes sayd,
    • For-bereth me, and beth nat evel apayd,[ ]Skeat1900: 80
    • Sin that ye see I do hit in the honour
    • Of love, and eek in service of the flour,
  • Edition: current; Page: [71]
    • From B. 188-196.But natheles, ne wene nat that I make
    • In preysing of the flour agayn the leef,
    • †No more than of the corn agayn the sheef.
    • For as to me, nis lever noon ne lother;
    • I nam with-holden yit with never nother.
    • Ne I not who serveth leef, ne who the flour;
    • Wel brouken they hir service or labour.
    • For this thing is al of another tonne,
    • Of olde story, er swich thing was begonne.
    • *Whom that I serve as I have wit or might.
    • *She is the clernesse and the verray light,
    • *That in this derke worlde me wynt and ledeth,Skeat1900: 85
    • *The herte in-with my sorowful brest yow dredeth,
    • *And loveth so sore, that ye ben verrayly
    • *The maistresse of my wit, and nothing I.[ ]
    • *My word, my werk, is knit so in your bonde,
    • *That, as an harpe obeyeth to the hondeSkeat1900: 90
    • *And maketh hit soune after his fingeringe,
    • *Right so mowe ye out of myn herte bringe
    • *Swich vois, right as yow list, to laughe or pleyne.
    • *Be ye my gyde and lady sovereyne;
    • *As to myn erthly god, to yow I calle,Skeat1900: 95
    • *Bothe in this werke and in my sorwes alle.
    • Edition: current; Page: [72]
    • †But wherfor that I spak, to give credence[ ]
    • To olde stories, and doon hem reverence,
    • And that men mosten more thing beleve
    • Then men may seen at eye or elles preve?Skeat1900: 100
    • *That shal I seyn, whan that I see my tyme;
    • *I may not al at ones speke in ryme.
    • *My besy gost, that thrusteth alwey newe
    • *To seen this flour so yong, so fresh of hewe,
    • *Constreyned me with so gledy desyr,[ ]Skeat1900: 105
    • *That in my herte I fele yit the fyr,
    • *That made me to ryse er hit wer day—
    • And this was now the firste morwe of May—[ ]
    • *With dredful herte and glad devocioun,
    • *For to ben at the resurecciounSkeat1900: 110
    • *Of this flour, whan that it shuld unclose
    • *Agayn the sonne, that roos as rede as rose,[ ]
    • *That in the brest was of the beste that day,
    • *That Agenores doghter ladde away.
    • Edition: current; Page: [73]
    • *And doun on knees anon-right I me sette,Skeat1900: 115
    • *And, as I coude, this fresshe flour I grette;
    • *Kneling alwey, til hit unclosed was,
    • *Upon the smale softe swote gras,[ ]
    • From B. 180, 182.The longe day I shoop me for to abyde . . .
    • But for to loke upon the dayesye.
    • From B. 197-200.Whan that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
    • And that this flour gan close and goon to reste
    • For derknesse of the night, the which she dredde,
    • †Hoom to myn hous ful swiftly I me spedde;
    • From B. 203-210.†And, in a litel herber that I have,
    • That benched was on turves fresshe y-grave,
    • †I bad men sholde me my couche make;
    • †For deyntee of the newe someres sake,
    • †I bad hem strawen floures on my bed.
    • †Whan I was leyd, and had my eyen hed,
    • I fel on slepe in-with an houre or two;
    • Me mette how I lay in the medew tho,
  • Edition: current; Page: [74]
    • From B. 211.To seen this flour, that I so love and drede,
    • That was with floures swote enbrouded al,
    • *Of swich swetnesse and swich odour over-al,Skeat1900: 120
    • That, for to speke of gomme, or herbe, or tree,
    • †Comparisoun may noon y-maked be;
    • For hit surmounteth pleynly alle odoures,
    • †And eek of riche beautee alle floures.
    • †Forgeten had the erthe his pore estat[ ]Skeat1900: 125
    • †Of winter, that him naked made and mat,[ ]
    • And with his swerd of cold so sore greved;
    • Now hath the atempre sonne al that releved[ ]
    • That naked was, and clad hit new agayn.
    • †The smale foules, of the seson fayn,[ ]Skeat1900: 130
    • †That from the panter and the net ben scaped,
    • Edition: current; Page: [75]
    • Upon the fouler, that hem made a-whaped
    • †In winter, and distroyed had hir brood,
    • †In his despyt, hem thoughte hit did hem good
    • †To singe of him, and in hir song despyseSkeat1900: 135
    • †The foule cherl that, for his covetyse,
    • †Had hem betrayed with his sophistrye.
    • †This was hir song—‘the fouler we defye,
    • And al his craft!’ And somme songen clere
    • Layes of love, that Ioye hit was to here,Skeat1900: 140
    • In worshipinge and preisinge of hir make.
    • And, for the newe blisful somers sake,
    • *Upon the braunches ful of blosmes softe,
    • *In hir delyt, they turned hem ful ofte,
    • And songen, ‘blessed be seynt Valentyn![ ]Skeat1900: 145
    • For on his day I chees yow to be myn,[ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [76]
    • †Withouten repenting, myn herte swete!’
    • †And therwith al hir bekes gonnen mete,
    • Yelding honour and humble obeisaunces
    • To love, and diden hir other observauncesSkeat1900: 150
    • That longeth unto love and to nature;
    • *Construeth that as yow list, I do no cure.
    • *And tho that hadde doon unkindenesse
    • *As dooth the tydif, for new-fangelnesse—
    • *Besoghte mercy of hir trespassinge,Skeat1900: 155
    • *And humblely songen hir repentinge,
    • *And sworen on the blosmes to be trewe,
    • *So that hir makes wolde upon hem rewe,[ ]
    • *And at the laste maden hir acord.
    • *Al founde they Daunger for a tyme a lord,Skeat1900: 160
    • *Yet Pitee, through his stronge gentil might,
    • *Forgaf, and made Mercy passen Right,
    • *Through innocence and ruled curtesye.[ ]
    • *But I ne clepe nat innocence folye,
    • *Ne fals pitee, for ‘vertu is the mene,’Skeat1900: 165
    • *As Etik saith, in swich maner I mene.[ ]
    • *And thus thise foules, voide of al malyce,
    • *Acordeden to love, and laften vyce
    • *Of hate, and songen alle of oon acord,
    • *‘Welcome, somer, our governour and lord!’[ ]Skeat1900: 170
  • Edition: current; Page: [77]
    • *And Zephirus and Flora gentilly[ ]
    • *Yaf to the floures, softe and tenderly,
    • *Hir swote breth, and made hem for to sprede,
    • *As god and goddesse of the floury mede;
    • *In which me thoghte I mighte, day by day,Skeat1900: 175
    • *Dwellen alwey, the Ioly month of May,
    • *Withouten sleep, withouten mete or drinke.
    • *A-doun ful softely I gan to sinke;
    • *And, leninge on myn elbowe and my syde,
    • The longe day I shoop me for to abydeSkeat1900: 180
    • *For nothing elles, and I shal nat lye,
    • But for to loke upon the dayesye,
    • *That wel by reson men hit calle may
    • *The ‘dayesye’ or elles the ‘ye of day,’[ ]
    • *The emperice and flour of floures alle.Skeat1900: 185
    • *I pray to god that faire mot she falle,
    • *And alle that loven floures, for hir sake!
    • But natheles, ne wene nat that I make
    • In preysing of the flour agayn the leef,
    • †No more than of the corn agayn the sheef:Skeat1900: 190
    • Edition: current; Page: [78]
    • For, as to me, nis lever noon ne lother;
    • I nam with-holden yit with never nother.
    • Ne I not who serveth leef, ne who the flour;
    • Wel brouken they hir service or labour;
    • For this thing is al of another tonne,Skeat1900: 195
    • Of olde story, er swich thing was be-gonne.[ ]
    • Whan that the sonne out of the south gan weste,
    • And that this flour gan close and goon to reste
    • For derknesse of the night, the which she dredde,
    • †Hoom to myn hous ful swiftly I me speddeSkeat1900: 200
    • *To goon to reste, and erly for to ryse,
    • To seen this flour to sprede, as I devyse.
    • †And, in a litel herber that I have,
    • That benched was on turves fresshe y-grave,
    • †I bad men sholde me my couche make;Skeat1900: 205
    • †For deyntee of the newe someres sake,
    • †I bad hem strawen floures on my bed.
    • †Whan I was leyd, and had myn eyen hed,
    • I fel on slepe in-with an houre or two;
    • Edition: current; Page: [79]
    • Me mette how I lay in the medew tho,Skeat1900: 210
    • To seen this flour that I so love and drede.
    • And from a-fer com walking in the mede
    • The god of love, and in his hande a quene;
    • And she was clad in real habit grene.
    • †A fret of gold she hadde next hir heer,Skeat1900: 215
    • †And upon that a whyt coroun she beer
    • With florouns smale, and I shal nat lye;
    • For al the world, ryght as a dayesye
    • †Y-corouned is with whyte leves lyte,
    • So were the florouns of hir coroun whyte;Skeat1900: 220
    • Edition: current; Page: [80]
    • For of o perle fyne, oriental,
    • Hir whyte coroun was y-maked al;
    • For which the whyte coroun, above the grene,
    • †Made hir lyk a daysie for to sene,
    • Considered eek hir fret of gold above.Skeat1900: 225
    • †Y-clothed was this mighty god of love
    • In silke, enbrouded ful of grene greves,[ ]
    • In-with a fret of rede rose-leves,
    • *The fresshest sin the world was first bigonne.
    • *His gilte heer was corouned with a sonne,Skeat1900: 230
    • *In-stede of gold, for hevinesse and wighte;
    • Therwith me thoughte his face shoon so brighte
    • That wel unnethes mighte I him beholde;
    • And in his hande me thoughte I saugh him holde
    • Two fyry dartes, as the gledes rede;Skeat1900: 235
    • And aungellyke his winges saugh I sprede.
    • Edition: current; Page: [81]
    • †And al be that men seyn that blind is he,
    • Al-gate me thoughte that he mighte see;
    • †For sternely on me he gan biholde,
    • †So that his loking doth myn herte colde.Skeat1900: 240
    • †And by the hande he held this noble quene,
    • Corouned with whyte, and clothed al in grene,[ ]
    • †So womanly, so benigne, and so meke,
    • †That in this world, thogh that men wolde seke,
    • Half hir beautee shulde men nat findeSkeat1900: 245
    • †In creature that formed is by kinde.
    • From B. 276-281.That is so good, so fair, so debonaire;
    • I prey to god that ever falle hir faire!
    • †For, nadde comfort been of hir presence,
    • †I had ben deed, withouten any defence,
    • †For drede of Loves wordes and his chere;Skeat1900: 280
    • †As, when tyme is, her-after ye shal here.
    • Edition: current; Page: [82]
    • From B 282-295Behind this god of love, upon the grene,
    • †I saugh cominge of ladyës nyntene
    • †In real habit, a ful esy paas;
    • †And after hem com of women swich a traas,Skeat1900: 285
    • That, sin that god Adam had mad of erthe
    • The thridde part of mankynd, or the ferthe,
    • †Ne wende I nat by possibilitee,
    • Had ever in this wyde worlde y-be;
    • †And trewe of love, thise women were echoon.Skeat1900: 290
    • †Now whether was that a wonder thing or noon,
    • †That, right anoon as that they gonne espye
    • †This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
    • †Ful sodeinly they stinten alle at ones,
    • And kneled doun, as it were for the nones,Skeat1900: 295
    • Edition: current; Page: [83]
    • *And therfor may I seyn, as thinketh me,Skeat1900: 247
    • *This song, in preysing of this lady fre.
  • Balade.

    • †Thy faire body, lat hit nat appere,
    • Lavyne; and thou, Lucresse of Rome toun,
    • †And Polixene, that boghten love so dere,
    • And Cleopatre, with al thy passioun,
    • Hyde ye your trouthe of love and your renoun;Skeat1900: 260
    • Edition: current; Page: [84]
    • And thou, Tisbe, that hast of love swich peyne;[ ]
    • My lady cometh, that al this may disteyne.
    • This balade may ful wel y-songen be,Skeat1900: 270[ ]
    • *As I have seyd erst, by my lady free;
    • *For certeynly, alle these mow nat suffyse
    • *To apperen with my lady in no wyse.
    • *For as the sonne wol the fyr disteyne,
    • *So passeth al my lady sovereyne,Skeat1900: 275
    • Edition: current; Page: [85]
    • That is so good, so fair, so debonaire;
    • I prey to god that ever falle hir faire![ ]
    • †For, nadde comfort been of hir presence,
    • †I had ben deed, withouten any defence,
    • †For drede of Loves wordes and his chere;Skeat1900: 280
    • †As, when tyme is, her-after ye shal here.
    • Behind this god of love, upon the grene,
    • †I saugh cominge of ladyës nyntene
    • †In real habit, a ful esy paas;
    • †And after hem com of women swich a traas,Skeat1900: 285
    • That, sin that god Adam had mad of erthe,
    • The thridde part of mankynd, or the ferthe,
    • †Ne wende I nat by possibilitee,
    • Had ever in this wyde worlde y-be;
    • †And trewe of love thise women were echoon.Skeat1900: 290
    • †Now whether was that a wonder thing or noon,
    • †That, right anoon as that they gonne espye
    • †This flour, which that I clepe the dayesye,
    • †Ful sodeinly they stinten alle at ones,
    • And kneled doun, as it were for the nones,Skeat1900: 295
    • Edition: current; Page: [86]
    • *And songen with o vois, ‘Hele and honour
    • *To trouthe of womanhede, and to this flour
    • *That berth our alder prys in figuringe![ ]
    • *Hir whyte coroun berth the witnessinge!’
    • And with that word, a-compas enviroun,Skeat1900: 300
    • †They setten hem ful softely adoun.
    • First sat the god of love, and sith his quene
    • †With the whyte coroun, clad in grene;
    • †And sithen al the remenant by and by,
    • As they were of estaat, ful curteisly;Skeat1900: 305
    • †Ne nat a word was spoken in the place
    • †The mountance of a furlong-wey of space.
    • I kneling by this flour, in good entente
    • Abood, to knowen what this peple mente,
    • †As stille as any stoon; til at the laste,Skeat1900: 310
    • This god of love on me his eyen caste,
    • Edition: current; Page: [87]
    • And seyde, ‘who kneleth ther’? and I answerde
    • Unto his asking, whan that I hit herde,
    • †And seyde, ‘sir, hit am I’; and com him neer,
    • †And salued him. Quod he, ‘what dostow heerSkeat1900: 315
    • So nigh myn owne flour, so boldely?
    • For it were better worthy, trewely,
    • A worm to neghen neer my flour than thou.’[ ]
    • †‘And why, sir,’ quod I, ‘and hit lyke yow?’
    • †‘For thou,’ quod he, ‘art ther-to nothing able.Skeat1900: 320
    • *Hit is my relik, digne and delytable,
    • And thou my fo, and al my folk werreyest,
    • †And of myn olde servaunts thou misseyest,[ ]
    • †And hindrest hem, with thy translacioun,
    • And lettest folk from hir devociounSkeat1900: 325
    • †To serve me, and holdest hit folye
    • To serve Love. Thou mayst hit nat denye;
    • Edition: current; Page: [88]
    • For in pleyn text, with-outen nede of glose,
    • †Thou hast translated the Romaunce of the Rose,[ ]
    • †That is an heresye ageyns my lawe,Skeat1900: 330
    • †And makest wyse folk fro me withdrawe.
    • And of Criseyde thou hast seyd as thee liste,[ ]
    • That maketh men to wommen lasse triste,
    • Edition: current; Page: [89]
    • That ben as trewe as ever was any steel.Skeat1900: 334
    • Edition: current; Page: [90]
    • *Of thyn answere avyse thee right weel;Skeat1900: 335
    • For, thogh that thou reneyed hast my lay,
    • As other wrecches han doon many a day,
    • By seynt Venus, that my moder is,[ ]
    • If that thou live, thou shalt repenten this
    • So cruelly, that hit shal wel be sene!’Skeat1900: 340
    • Tho spak this lady, clothed al in grene,
    • †And seyde, ‘god, right of your curtesye,
    • †Ye moten herknen if he can replye[ ]
    • Agayns al this that ye han to him meved;
    • †A god ne sholde nat be thus agreved,Skeat1900: 345
    • Edition: current; Page: [91]
    • †But of his deitee he shal be stable,
    • And therto gracious and merciable.
    • *And if ye nere a god, that knowen al,[ ]
    • *Than mighte hit be, as I yow tellen shal;
    • This man to you may falsly been accused,Skeat1900: 350
    • Ther as by right him oghte been excused.
    • †For in your court is many a losengeour,[ ]
    • †And many a queynte totelere accusour,[ ]
    • That tabouren in your eres many a soun,
    • Right after hir imaginacioun,Skeat1900: 355
    • To have your daliance, and for envye;
    • *These been the causes, and I shall nat lye.[ ]
    • Envye is lavender of the court alway;[ ]
    • †For she ne parteth, neither night ne day,
    • Edition: current; Page: [92]
    • †Out of the hous of Cesar; thus seith Dante;Skeat1900: 360
    • Who-so that goth, algate she wol nat wante.[ ]
    • From B. 350, 351.This man to yow may falsly been accused,
    • †Ther as by right him oghte been excused.
    • And eek, paraunter, for this man is nyce,
    • He mighte doon hit, gessing no malyce,
    • But for he useth thinges for to make;[ ]
    • Him rekketh noght of what matere he take;Skeat1900: 365
    • Or him was boden maken thilke tweye
    • †Of som persone, and durste hit nat with-seye;
    • *Or him repenteth utterly of this.
    • †He ne hath nat doon so grevously amis
    • †To translaten that olde clerkes wryten,Skeat1900: 370
    • As thogh that he of malice wolde endyten
    • Edition: current; Page: [93]
    • Despyt of love, and had him-self hit wroght.
    • †This shulde a rightwys lord have in his thoght,
    • †And nat be lyk tiraunts of Lumbardye,[ ]
    • Than han no reward but at tirannye.Skeat1900: 375
    • †For he that king or lord is naturel,
    • †Him oghte nat be tiraunt ne cruel,
    • †As is a fermour, to doon the harm he can.
    • †He moste thinke hit is his lige man,
    • *And is his tresour, and his gold in cofre.Skeat1900: 380
    • †This is the sentence of the philosophre:[ ]
    • †A king to kepe his liges in Iustyce;
    • †With-outen doute, that is his offyce.
    • Edition: current; Page: [94]
    • Al wol he kepe his lordes hir degree,
    • †As hit is right and skilful that they beSkeat1900: 385
    • †Enhaunced and honoured, and most dere—
    • †For they ben half-goddes in this world here—
    • Yit mot he doon bothe right, to pore and riche,
    • Al be that hir estat be nat y-liche,
    • †And han of pore folk compassioun.Skeat1900: 390
    • †For lo, the gentil kynd of the leoun![ ]
    • †For whan a flye offendeth him or byteth,
    • †He with his tayl awey the flye smyteth
    • †Al esily; for, of his genterye,
    • †Him deyneth nat to wreke him on a flye,Skeat1900: 395
    • †As doth a curre or elles another beste.
    • †In noble corage oghte been areste,[ ]
    • †And weyen every thing by equitee,
    • †And ever han reward to his owen degree.
    • Edition: current; Page: [95]
    • †For, sir, hit is no maystrie for a lordSkeat1900: 400
    • To dampne a man with-oute answere of word;
    • †And, for a lord, that is ful foul to use.
    • †And if so be he may him nat excuse,
    • But asketh mercy with a dredful herte,
    • †And profreth him, right in his bare sherte,Skeat1900: 405[ ]
    • †To been right at your owne Iugement,
    • †Than oghte a god, by short avysement,
    • †Considre his owne honour and his trespas.
    • †For sith no cause of deeth lyth in this cas,
    • †Yow oghte been the lighter merciable;Skeat1900: 410
    • †Leteth your yre, and beth somwhat tretable!
    • †The man hath served yow of his conning,
    • And forthred wel your lawe in his making.
  • Edition: current; Page: [96]
    • ‘Al be hit that he can nat wel endyte,
    • Yet hath he maked lewed folk delyteSkeat1900: 415[ ]
    • †To serve you, in preysing of your name.
    • †He made the book that hight the Hous of Fame,[ ]
    • †And eek the Deeth of Blaunche the Duchesse,
    • †And the Parlement of Foules, as I gesse,
    • †And al the love of Palamon and ArcyteSkeat1900: 420
    • †Of Thebes, thogh the story is knowen lyte;[ ]
    • †And many an ympne for your halydayes,
    • †That highten Balades, Roundels, Virelayes;
    • And, for to speke of other holynesse,
    • †He hath in prose translated Boëce,Skeat1900: 425[ ]
    • †And mad the Lyf also of seynt Cecyle;
    • †He made also, goon sithen a greet whyl,
    • †Origenes upon the Maudeleyne;[ ]
    • †Him oghte now to have the lesse peyne;
    • Edition: current; Page: [97]
    • †He hath mad many a lay and many a thing.Skeat1900: 430
    • †‘Now as ye been a god, and eek a king,
    • †I, your Alceste, whylom quene of Trace,
    • †I aske yow this man, right of your grace,
    • †That ye him never hurte in al his lyve;
    • †And he shal sweren yow, and that as blyve,Skeat1900: 435
    • †He shal no more agilten in this wyse;
    • †But he shal maken, as ye wil devyse,
    • †Of wommen trewe in lovinge al hir lyve,
    • †Wher-so ye wil, of maiden or of wyve,
    • †And forthren yow, as muche as he misseydeSkeat1900: 440
    • †Or in the Rose or elles in Creseyde.’
    • †The god of love answerde hir thus anoon,
    • †‘Madame,’ quod he, ‘hit is so long agoon
    • †That I you knew so charitable and trewe,
    • †That never yit, sith that the world was newe,Skeat1900: 445
    • Edition: current; Page: [98]
    • †To me ne fond I better noon than ye.
    • If that I wolde save my degree,
    • †I may ne wol nat werne your requeste;
    • Al lyth in yow, doth with him as yow leste.
    • †I al foryeve, with-outen lenger space;Skeat1900: 450
    • †For who-so yeveth a yift, or doth a grace,
    • †Do hit by tyme, his thank is wel the more;[ ]
    • †And demeth ye what he shal do therfore.
    • †Go thanke now my lady heer,’ quod he.
    • †I roos, and doun I sette me on my knee,Skeat1900: 455
    • †And seyde thus: ‘Madame, the god above
    • †Foryelde yow, that ye the god of love
    • †Han maked me his wrathe to foryive;
    • †And yeve me grace so long for to live,
    • †That I may knowe soothly what ye beSkeat1900: 460
    • That han me holpe and put in this degree.
    • Edition: current; Page: [99]
    • †But trewely I wende, as in this cas,
    • †Naught have agilt, ne doon to love trespas.
    • †Forwhy a trewe man, with-outen drede,
    • †Hath nat to parten with a theves dede;Skeat1900: 465[ ]
    • Ne a trewe lover oghte me nat blame,
    • †Thogh that I speke a fals lover som shame.
    • †They oghte rather with me for to holde,
    • †For that I of Creseyde wroot or tolde,
    • †Or of the Rose; what-so myn auctour mente,Skeat1900: 470
    • †Algate, god wot, hit was myn entente
    • †To forthren trouthe in love and hit cheryce;
    • †And to be war fro falsnesse and fro vyce
    • †By swich ensample; this was my meninge.’
    • †And she answerde, ‘lat be thyn arguinge;Skeat1900: 475[ ]
    • †For Love ne wol nat countrepleted be
    • In right ne wrong; and lerne that of me!
    • Edition: current; Page: [100]
    • †Thou hast thy grace, and hold thee right ther-to.
    • †Now wol I seyn what penance thou shalt do
    • †For thy trespas, and understond hit here:Skeat1900: 480
    • †Thou shalt, whyl that thou livest, yeer by yere,
    • †The moste party of thy tyme spende
    • †In making of a glorious Legende
    • †Of Gode Wommen, maidenes and wyves,
    • †That weren trewe in lovinge al hir lyves;Skeat1900: 485
    • †And telle of false men that hem bitrayen,
    • †That al hir lyf ne doon nat but assayen[ ]
    • †How many wommen they may doon a shame;
    • For in your world that is now holde a game.
    • †And thogh thee lyke nat a lover be,Skeat1900: 490
    • Spek wel of love; this penance yive I thee.
    • †And to the god of love I shal so preye,
    • †That he shal charge his servants, by any weye,
    • Edition: current; Page: [101]
    • †To forthren thee, and wel thy labour quyte;
    • Go now thy wey, this penance is but lyte.Skeat1900: 495
    • *And whan this book is maad, yive hit the quene[ ]
    • *On my behalfe, at Eltham, or at Shene.’
    • †The god of love gan smyle, and than he seyde,
    • †‘Wostow,’ quod he, ‘wher this be wyf or mayde,[ ]
    • †Or quene, or countesse, or of what degree,Skeat1900: 500
    • †That hath so litel penance yiven thee,
    • †That hast deserved sorer for to smerte?
    • †But pitee renneth sone in gentil herte;[ ]
    • †That maystow seen, she kytheth what she is.’
    • †And I answerde, ‘nay, sir, so have I blis,Skeat1900: 505
    • No more but that I see wel she is good.’
    • †‘That is a trewe tale, by myn hood,’
    • †Quod Love, ‘and that thou knowest wel, pardee,
    • †If hit be so that thou avyse thee.
    • Edition: current; Page: [102]
    • †Hastow nat in a book, lyth in thy cheste,Skeat1900: 510[ ]
    • †The grete goodnesse of the quene Alceste,
    • †That turned was into a dayesye:
    • †She that for hir husbonde chees to dye,
    • †And eek to goon to helle, rather than he,
    • †And Ercules rescowed hir, pardee,Skeat1900: 515[ ]
    • †And broghte hir out of helle agayn to blis?’
    • †And I answerde ageyn, and seyde, ‘yis,
    • †Now knowe I hir! And is this good Alceste,
    • †The dayesye, and myn owne hertes reste?
    • †Now fele I wel the goodnesse of this wyf,Skeat1900: 520
    • †That bothe after hir deeth, and in hir lyf,
    • †Hir grete bountee doubleth hir renoun!
    • †Wel hath she quit me myn affeccioun
    • †That I have to hir flour, the dayesye!
    • †No wonder is thogh Iove hir stellifye,Skeat1900: 525
    • Edition: current; Page: [103]
    • †As telleth Agaton, for hir goodnesse!
    • †Hir whyte coroun berth of hit witnesse;
    • †For also many vertues hadde she,
    • †As smale floures in hir coroun be.
    • †In remembraunce of hir and in honour,Skeat1900: 530
    • Cibella made the dayesy and the flour[ ]
    • Y-coroned al with whyt, as men may see;
    • †And Mars yaf to hir coroun reed, pardee,[ ]
    • †In stede of rubies, set among the whyte.’
    • †Therwith this quene wex reed for shame a lyte,Skeat1900: 535
    • †Whan she was preysed so in hir presence.
    • Than seyde Love, ‘a ful gret negligence
    • Was hit to thee, that ilke tyme thou made
    • *“Hyd, Absolon, thy tresses,” in balade,
    • *That thou forgete hir in thy song to sette,Skeat1900: 540
    • *Sin that thou art so gretly in hir dette,
    • Edition: current; Page: [104]
    • And wost so wel, that kalender is she
    • *To any woman that wol lover be.
    • For she taughte al the craft of fyn lovinge,
    • †And namely of wyfhood the livinge,Skeat1900: 545
    • †And alle the boundes that she oghte kepe;
    • †Thy litel wit was thilke tyme a-slepe.
    • †But now I charge thee, upon thy lyf,
    • †That in thy Legend thou make of this wyf,[ ]
    • Whan thou hast other smale y-maad before;Skeat1900: 550
    • †And fare now wel, I charge thee no more.
    • *‘But er I go, thus muche I wol thee telle,
    • *Ne shal no trewe lover come in helle.
    • *Thise other ladies sittinge here arowe
    • *Ben in thy balade, if thou canst hem knowe,Skeat1900: 555
    • *And in thy bokes alle thou shalt hem finde;
    • *Have hem now in thy Legend alle in minde,
    • *I mene of hem that been in thy knowinge.
    • *For heer ben twenty thousand mo sittinge
    • Edition: current; Page: [105]
    • *Than thou knowest, that been good wommen alleSkeat1900: 560
    • *And trewe of love, for aught that may befalle;
    • *Make the metres of hem as thee leste.
    • *I mot gon hoom, the sonne draweth weste,
    • *To Paradys, with al this companye;
    • *And serve alwey the fresshe dayesye.Skeat1900: 565
    • †‘At Cleopatre I wol that thou beginne;
    • †And so forth; and my love so shalt thou winne.
    • *For lat see now what man that lover be,
    • *Wol doon so strong a peyne for love as she.
    • *I wot wel that thou mayst nat al hit ryme,Skeat1900: 570
    • *That swiche lovers diden in hir tyme;
    • *It were to long to reden and to here;
    • *Suffyceth me, thou make in this manere,
    • *That thou reherce of al hir lyf the grete,
    • *After thise olde auctours listen to trete.Skeat1900: 575[ ]
    • *For who-so shal so many a storie telle,
    • *Sey shortly, or he shal to longe dwelle.’
    • And with that word my bokes gan I take,
    • †And right thus on my Legend gan I make.
Edition: current; Page: [106]

I.: THE LEGEND OF CLEOPATRA.

Incipit Legenda Cleopatrie, Martiris, Egipti regine.

N.B.—Readings not marked with any letter are from F. (Fairfax MS.)

    • After the deeth of Tholomee the king,Skeat1900: 580
    • That al Egipte hadde in his governing,[ ]
    • Regned his quene Cleopataras;
    • Til on a tyme befel ther swiche a cas,
    • That out of Rome was sent a senatour,
    • For to conqueren regnes and honourSkeat1900: 585
    • Unto the toun of Rome, as was usaunce,
    • To have the world unto her obeisaunce;
    • And, sooth to seye, Antonius was his name.
    • So fil hit, as Fortune him oghte a shameSkeat1900: (10)
    • Whan he was fallen in prosperitee,Skeat1900: 590
    • Rebel unto the toun of Rome is he.[ ]
    • And over al this, the suster of Cesar,[ ]
    • He lafte hir falsly, er that she was war,
    • And wolde algates han another wyf;
    • For whiche he took with Rome and Cesar stryf.Skeat1900: 595
    • Natheles, for-sooth, this ilke senatour
    • Was a ful worthy gentil werreyour,[ ]
    • And of his deeth hit was ful greet damage.
    • But love had broght this man in swiche a rage,Skeat1900: (20)
    • And him so narwe bounden in his las,Skeat1900: 600
    • Al for the love of Cleopataras,
    • Edition: current; Page: [107]
    • That al the world he sette at no value.
    • Him thoughte, nas to him no thing so due
    • As Cleopatras for to love and serve;
    • Him roghte nat in armes for to sterveSkeat1900: 605
    • In the defence of hir, and of hir right.
    • This noble quene eek lovede so this knight,
    • Through his desert, and for his chivalrye;
    • As certeinly, but-if that bokes lye,Skeat1900: (30)
    • He was, of persone and of gentilesse,Skeat1900: 610
    • And of discrecioun and hardinesse,
    • Worthy to any wight that liven may.
    • And she was fair as is the rose in May.
    • And, for to maken shortly is the beste,
    • She wex his wyf, and hadde him as hir leste.Skeat1900: 615
    • The wedding and the feste to devyse,
    • To me, that have y-take swiche empryse
    • Of so many a storie for to make,
    • Hit were to long, lest that I sholde slakeSkeat1900: (40)
    • Of thing that bereth more effect and charge;Skeat1900: 620
    • For men may overlade a ship or barge;
    • And forthy to theffect than wol I skippe,
    • And al the remenant, I wol lete hit slippe.
    • Octovian, that wood was of this dede,
    • Shoop him an ost on Antony to ledeSkeat1900: 625
    • Al-outerly for his destruccioun,
    • With stoute Romains, cruel as leoun;
    • To ship they wente, and thus I let hem saile.
    • Antonius was war, and wol nat faileSkeat1900: (50)
    • To meten with thise Romains, if he may;Skeat1900: 630
    • Took eek his reed, and bothe, upon a day,
    • Edition: current; Page: [108]
    • His wyf and he, and al his ost, forth wente
    • To shippe anoon, no lenger they ne stente;
    • And in the see hit happed hem to mete—[ ]
    • Up goth the trompe—and for to shoute and shete,Skeat1900: 635
    • And peynen hem to sette on with the sonne.
    • With grisly soun out goth the grete gonne,[ ]
    • And heterly they hurtlen al at ones,[ ]
    • And fro the top doun cometh the grete stones.Skeat1900: (60)
    • In goth the grapenel so ful of crokesSkeat1900: 640
    • Among the ropes, and the shering-hokes.
    • In with the polax presseth he and he;[ ]
    • Behind the mast beginneth he to flee,
    • And out agayn, and dryveth him over-borde;
    • He stingeth him upon his speres orde;Skeat1900: 645
    • He rent the sail with hokes lyke a sythe;
    • He bringeth the cuppe, and biddeth hem be blythe;
    • He poureth pesen upon the hacches slider;
    • With pottes ful of lym they goon to-gider;[ ]Skeat1900: (70)
    • And thus the longe day in fight they spendeSkeat1900: 650
    • Til, at the laste, as every thing hath ende,
    • Antony is shent, and put him to the flighte,
    • And al his folk to-go, that best go mighte.[ ]
    • Fleeth eek the queen, with al her purpre sail,
    • For strokes, which that wente as thikke as hail;Skeat1900: 655[ ]
    • No wonder was, she mighte hit nat endure.
    • And whan that Antony saw that aventure,
    • ‘Allas!’ quod he, ‘the day that I was born!
    • My worshipe in this day thus have I lorn!’Skeat1900: (80)
    • And for dispeyr out of his witte he sterte,Skeat1900: 660
    • And roof him-self anoon through-out the herte
    • Er that he ferther wente out of the place.[ ]
    • His wyf, that coude of Cesar have no grace,
    • Edition: current; Page: [109]
    • To Egipte is fled, for drede and for distresse;
    • But herkneth, ye that speke of kindenesse.Skeat1900: 665
    • Ye men, that falsly sweren many an ooth
    • That ye wol dye, if that your love be wrooth,
    • Heer may ye seen of women whiche a trouthe!
    • This woful Cleopatre hath mad swich routheSkeat1900: (90)
    • That ther nis tonge noon that may hit telle.Skeat1900: 670
    • But on the morwe she wol no lenger dwelle,
    • But made hir subtil werkmen make a shryne
    • Of alle the rubies and the stones fyne
    • In al Egipte that she coude espye;
    • And putte ful the shryne of spycerye,Skeat1900: 675
    • And leet the cors embaume; and forth she fette
    • This dede cors, and in the shryne hit shette.
    • And next the shryne a pit than doth she grave;[ ]
    • And alle the serpents that she mighte have,[ ]Skeat1900: (100)
    • She putte hem in that grave, and thus she seyde:Skeat1900: 680
    • ‘Now love, to whom my sorweful herte obeyde[ ]
    • So ferforthly that, fro that blisful houre
    • That I yow swor to been al frely youre,
    • I mene yow, Antonius my knight!
    • That never waking, in the day or night,Skeat1900: 685
    • Ye nere out of myn hertes remembraunce
    • For wele or wo, for carole or for daunce;
    • And in my-self this covenant made I tho,
    • That, right swich as ye felten, wele or wo,Skeat1900: (110)
    • As ferforth as hit in my power lay,Skeat1900: 690
    • Unreprovable unto my wyfhood ay,
    • The same wolde I felen, lyf or deeth.[ ]
    • And thilke covenant, whyl me lasteth breeth,
    • I wol fulfille, and that shal wel be sene;[ ]
    • Was never unto hir love a trewer quene.’Skeat1900: 695
    • Edition: current; Page: [110]
    • And with that word, naked, with ful good herte,
    • Among the serpents in the pit she sterte,
    • And ther she chees to han hir buryinge.
    • Anoon the neddres gonne hir for to stinge,Skeat1900: (120)
    • And she hir deeth receyveth, with good chere,Skeat1900: 700
    • For love of Antony, that was hir so dere:—
    • And this is storial sooth, hit is no fable.
    • Now, er I finde a man thus trewe and stable,
    • And wol for love his deeth so freely take,
    • I pray god lat our hedes never ake!Skeat1900: 705

Explicit Legenda Cleopatrie, martiris.

II.: THE LEGEND OF THISBE OF BABYLON.

Incipit Legenda Tesbe Babilonie, Martiris.

    • At Babiloine whylom fil it thus,
    • The whiche toun the queen Semiramus
    • Leet dichen al about, and walles make
    • Ful hye, of harde tyles wel y-bake.
    • Ther weren dwellinge in this noble tounSkeat1900: 710
    • Two lordes, which that were of greet renoun,
    • And woneden so nigh, upon a grene,
    • That ther nas but a stoon-wal hem bitwene,
    • As ofte in grete tounes is the wone.
    • And sooth to seyn, that o man hadde a sone,Skeat1900: 715
    • Of al that londe oon of the lustieste.Skeat1900: (11)
    • That other hadde a doghter, the faireste,
    • That estward in the world was tho dwellinge.[ ]
    • The name of everich gan to other springe
    • By wommen, that were neighebores aboute.Skeat1900: 720
    • For in that contree yit, withouten doute,
    • Edition: current; Page: [111]
    • Maidens been y-kept, for Ielosye,[ ]
    • Ful streite, lest they diden som folye.
    • This yonge man was cleped Piramus,
    • And Tisbe hight the maid, Naso seith thus;Skeat1900: 725
    • And thus by report was hir name y-shove[ ]Skeat1900: (21)
    • That, as they wexe in age, wex hir love;[ ]
    • And certein, as by reson of hir age,
    • Ther mighte have been bitwix hem mariage,
    • But that hir fadres nolde hit nat assente;Skeat1900: 730[ ]
    • And bothe in love y-lyke sore they brente,
    • That noon of alle hir frendes mighte hit lette
    • But prively somtyme yit they mette
    • By sleighte, and speken som of hir desyr;
    • As, wry the gleed, and hotter is the fyr;Skeat1900: 735[ ]
    • Forbede a love, and it is ten so wood.Skeat1900: (31)
    • This wal, which that bitwix hem bothe stood,
    • Was cloven a-two, right fro the toppe adoun.
    • Of olde tyme of his fundacioun;
    • But yit this clifte was so narwe and lyte,Skeat1900: 740
    • It as nat sene, dere y-nogh a myte.[ ]
    • But what is that, that love can nat espye?[ ]
    • Ye lovers two, if that I shal nat lye,
    • Ye founden first this litel narwe clifte;
    • And, with a soun as softe as any shrifte,[ ]Skeat1900: 745
    • They lete hir wordes through the clifte pace,Skeat1900: (41)
    • And tolden, whyl that they stode in the place,
    • Al hir compleynt of love, and al hir wo,
    • At every tyme whan they dorste so.
  • Edition: current; Page: [112]
    • Upon that o syde of the wal stood he,Skeat1900: 750
    • And on that other syde stood Tisbe,
    • The swote soun of other to receyve,
    • And thus hir wardeins wolde they deceyve.
    • And every day this wal they wolde threte,
    • And wisshe to god, that it were doun y-bete.Skeat1900: 755
    • Thus wolde they seyn—‘allas! thou wikked wal,[ ]Skeat1900: (51)
    • Through thyn envye thou us lettest al!
    • Why nilt thou cleve, or fallen al a-two?
    • Or, at the leste, but thou woldest so,
    • Yit woldestow but ones lete us mete,Skeat1900: 760
    • Or ones that we mighte kissen swete,
    • Than were we covered of our cares colde.
    • But natheles, yit be we to thee holde
    • In as muche as thou suffrest for to goon
    • Our wordes through thy lyme and eek thy stoon.Skeat1900: 765
    • Yit oghte we with thee ben wel apayd.’Skeat1900: (61)
    • And whan thise ydel wordes weren sayd,
    • The colde wal they wolden kisse of stoon,
    • And take hir leve, and forth they wolden goon.
    • And this was gladly in the even-tydeSkeat1900: 770
    • Or wonder erly, lest men hit espyde;
    • And longe tyme they wroghte in this manere
    • Til on a day, whan Phebus gan to clere,[ ]
    • Aurora with the stremes of hir hete
    • Had dryed up the dew of herbes wete;Skeat1900: 775
    • Unto this clifte, as it was wont to be,Skeat1900: (71)
    • Com Pyramus, and after com Tisbe,
    • And plighten trouthe fully in hir fey
    • That ilke same night to stele awey,
    • Edition: current; Page: [113]
    • And to begyle hir wardeins everichoon,Skeat1900: 780
    • And forth out of the citee for to goon;
    • And, for the feldes been so brode and wyde,
    • For to mete in o place at o tyde,
    • They sette mark hir meting sholde be[ ]
    • Ther king Ninus was graven, under a tree;Skeat1900: 785
    • For olde payens that ydoles heried[ ]Skeat1900: (81)
    • Useden tho in feldes to ben beried
    • And faste by this grave was a welle.
    • And, shortly of this tale for to telle,
    • This covenant was affermed wonder faste;Skeat1900: 790
    • And longe hem thoughte that the sonne laste,
    • That hit nere goon under the see adoun.
    • This Tisbe hath so greet affeccioun
    • And so greet lyking Piramus to see,
    • That, whan she seigh her tyme mighte be,Skeat1900: 795
    • At night she stal awey ful privelySkeat1900: (91)
    • With her face y-wimpled subtiny;
    • For alle her frendes—for to save her trouthe—[ ]
    • She hath for-sake; allas! and that is routhe
    • That ever woman wolde be so treweSkeat1900: 800
    • To trusten man, but she the bet him knewe!
    • And to the tree she goth a ful good pas,
    • For love made her so hardy in this cas;[ ]
    • And by the welle adoun she gan her dresse.
    • Allas! than comth a wilde leonesseSkeat1900: 805
    • Out of the wode, withouten more areste,Skeat1900: (101)
    • With blody mouthe, of strangling of a beste,
    • To drinken of the welle, ther as she sat;
    • And, whan that Tisbe had espyed that,
    • She rist her up, with a ful drery herte,Skeat1900: 810
    • And in a cave with dredful foot she sterte,
    • Edition: current; Page: [114]
    • For by the mone she seigh hit wel with-alle.
    • And, as she ran, her wimpel leet she falle,[ ]
    • And took noon heed, so sore she was a-whaped.[ ]
    • And eek so glad of that she was escaped;Skeat1900: 815
    • And thus she sit, and darketh wonder stille.Skeat1900: (111)
    • Whan that this leonesse hath dronke her fille,
    • Aboute the welle gan she for to winde,
    • And right anoon the wimpel gan she finde,
    • And with her blody mouth hit al to-rente.Skeat1900: 820
    • Whan this was doon, no lenger she ne stente,
    • But to the wode her wey than hath she nome.
    • And, at the laste, this Piramus is come,[ ]
    • But al to longe, allas! at hoom was he.
    • The mone shoon, men mighte wel y-see,Skeat1900: 825
    • And in his weye, as that he com ful faste,Skeat1900: (121)
    • His eyen to the grounde adoun he caste,
    • And in the sonde, as he beheld adoun,
    • He seigh the steppes brode of a leoun,
    • And in his herte he sodeinly agroos,Skeat1900: 830
    • And pale he wex, therwith his heer aroos,
    • And neer he com, and fond the wimpel torn.
    • ‘Allas!’ quod he, ‘the day that I was born!
    • This o night wol us lovers bothe slee![ ]
    • How sholde I axen mercy of Tisbe[ ]Skeat1900: 835
    • Whan I am he that have yow slain, allas!Skeat1900: (131)
    • My bidding hath yow slain, as in this cas.
    • Allas! to bidde a woman goon by nighte
    • In place ther as peril fallen mighte,
    • And I so slow! allas, I ne hadde beSkeat1900: 840
    • Here in this place a furlong-wey or ye!
    • Now what leoun that be in this foreste,
    • My body mote he renden, or what beste
    • Edition: current; Page: [115]
    • That wilde is, gnawen mote he now myn herte!’
    • And with that worde he to the wimpel sterte,Skeat1900: 845
    • And kiste hit ofte, and weep on hit ful sore,Skeat1900: (141)
    • And seide, ‘wimpel, allas! ther nis no more[ ]
    • But thou shalt fele as wel the blood of me
    • As thou hast felt the bleding of Tisbe!’
    • And with that worde he smoot him to the herte.Skeat1900: 850
    • The blood out of the wounde as brode sterte[ ]
    • As water, whan the conduit broken is.
    • Now Tisbe, which that wiste nat of this,[ ]
    • But sitting in her drede, she thoghte thus,
    • ‘If hit so falle that my PiramusSkeat1900: 855
    • Be comen hider, and may me nat y-finde,Skeat1900: (151)
    • He may me holden fals and eek unkinde.’
    • And out she comth, and after him gan espyen
    • Bothe with her herte and with her yën,[ ]
    • And thoghte, ‘I wol him tellen of my dredeSkeat1900: 860
    • Bothe of the leonesse and al my dede.’
    • And at the laste her love than hath she founde[ ]
    • Beting with his heles on the grounde,
    • Al blody, and therwith-al a-bak she sterte,
    • And lyke the wawes quappe gan her herte,Skeat1900: 865
    • And pale as box she wex, and in a throweSkeat1900: (161)
    • Avysed her, and gan him wel to knowe,
    • That hit was Piramus, her herte dere.
    • Who coude wryte whiche a deedly chere[ ]
    • Hath Tisbe now, and how her heer she rente,Skeat1900: 870
    • And how she gan her-selve to turmente,
    • And how she lyth and swowneth on the grounde,
    • And how she weep of teres ful his wounde,
    • Edition: current; Page: [116]
    • How medeleth she his blood with her compleynte,
    • And with his blood her-selven gan she peynte;Skeat1900: 875
    • How clippeth she the dede cors, allas?Skeat1900: (171)
    • How doth this woful Tisbe in this cas!
    • How kisseth she his frosty mouth so cold!
    • ‘Who hath doon this, and who hath been so bold
    • To sleen my leef? O spek, my Piramus!Skeat1900: 880
    • I am thy Tisbe, that thee calleth thus!’
    • And therwith-al she lifteth up his heed.
    • This woful man, that was nat fully deed,
    • Whan that he herde the name of Tisbe cryen,
    • On her he caste his hevy deedly yënSkeat1900: 885
    • And doun again, and yeldeth up the gost.Skeat1900: (181)
    • Tisbe rist up, withouten noise or bost,[ ]
    • And seigh her wimpel and his empty shethe,
    • And eek his swerd, that him hath doon to dethe;
    • Than spak she thus: ‘My woful hand,’ quod she,Skeat1900: 890
    • ‘Is strong y-nogh in swiche a werk to me;
    • For love shal yive me strengthe and hardinesse
    • To make my wounde large y-nogh, I gesse.
    • I wol thee folwen deed, and I wol be[ ]
    • Felawe and cause eek of thy deeth,’ quod she.Skeat1900: 895
    • ‘And thogh that nothing save the deeth onlySkeat1900: (191)
    • Mighte thee fro me departe trewely,
    • Thou shalt no more departe now fro me
    • Than fro the deeth, for I wol go with thee!
    • ‘And now, ye wrecched Ielous fadres oure,Skeat1900: 900
    • We, that weren whylom children youre,
    • We prayen yow, withouten more envye,
    • That in o grave y-fere we moten lye,
    • Edition: current; Page: [117]
    • Sin love hath brought us to this pitous ende!
    • And rightwis god to every lover sende,[ ]Skeat1900: 905
    • That loveth trewely, more prosperiteeSkeat1900: (201)
    • Than ever hadde Piramus and Tisbe!
    • And lat no gentil woman her assure
    • To putten her in swiche an aventure.
    • But god forbede but a woman canSkeat1900: 910
    • Been as trewe and loving as a man!
    • And, for my part, I shal anoon it kythe!’
    • And, with that worde; his swerd she took as swythe,[ ]
    • That warm was of her loves blood and hoot,
    • And to the herte she her-selven smoot.Skeat1900: 915
    • And thus ar Tisbe and Piramus ago.[ ]Skeat1900: (211)
    • Of trewe men I finde but fewe mo
    • In alle my bokes, save this Piramus,
    • And therfor have I spoken of him thus.
    • For hit is deyntee to us men to findeSkeat1900: 920
    • A man that can in love be trewe and kinde.
    • Heer may ye seen, what lover so he be,
    • A woman dar and can as wel as he.

Explicit legenda Tesbe.

III.: THE LEGEND OF DIDO, QUEEN OF CARTHAGE.

N.B. From this point onward obvious corrections in the spelling of MS. F. are unnoticed.

Incipit Legenda Didonis martiris, Cartaginis regine.

    • Glory and honour, Virgil Mantuan,
    • Be to thy name! and I shal, as I can,Skeat1900: 925
    • Folow thy lantern, as thou gost biforn,[ ]
    • How Eneas to Dido was forsworn.
    • Edition: current; Page: [118]
    • In thyn Eneïd and Naso wol I take[ ]
    • The tenour, and the grete effectes make.
    • Whan Troye broght was to destrucciounSkeat1900: 930
    • By Grekes sleighte, and namely by Sinoun,[ ]
    • Feyning the hors y-offred to Minerve,
    • Through which that many a Troyan moste sterve;Skeat1900: (10)
    • And Ector had, after his deeth, appered,[ ]
    • And fyr so wood, it mighte nat be stered,[ ]Skeat1900: 935
    • In al the noble tour of Ilioun,
    • That of the citee was the cheef dungeoun;
    • And al the contree was so lowe y-broght,
    • And Priamus the king fordoon and noght;[ ]
    • And Eneas was charged by Venus[ ]Skeat1900: 940
    • To fleen awey, he took Ascanius,
    • That was his sone, in his right hand, and fledde;[ ]
    • And on his bakke he bar and with him leddeSkeat1900: (20)
    • His olde fader, cleped Anchises,
    • And by the weye his wyf Creusa he lees.Skeat1900: 945
    • And mochel sorwe hadde he in his minde
    • Er that he coude his felawshippe finde.
    • But, at the laste, whan he had hem founde,
    • He made him redy in a certein stounde,
    • And to the see ful faste he gan him hye,Skeat1900: 950
    • And saileth forth with al his companye
    • Toward Itaile, as wolde destinee.
    • But of his aventures in the seeSkeat1900: (30)[ ]
    • Nis nat to purpos for to speke of here,
    • For hit acordeth nat to my matere.Skeat1900: 955
    • But, as I seide, of him and of Dido
    • Shal be my tale, til that I have do.
    • So longe he sailed in the salte see
    • Til in Libye unnethe aryved he,
    • With shippes seven and with no more navye;Skeat1900: 960[ ]
    • And glad was he to londe for to hye,
    • So was he with the tempest al to-shake.
    • And whan that he the haven had y-take,Skeat1900: (40)
    • Edition: current; Page: [119]
    • He had a knight, was called Achates;[ ]
    • And him of al his felawshippe he cheesSkeat1900: 965
    • To goon with him, the contre for tespye;
    • He took with him no more companye.
    • But forth they goon, and lafte his shippes ryde,
    • His fere and he, with-outen any gyde.
    • So longe he walketh in this wildernesseSkeat1900: 970
    • Til, at the laste, he mette an hunteresse.
    • A bowe in honde and arwes hadde she,
    • Her clothes cutted were unto the knee;[ ]Skeat1900: (50)
    • But she was yit the fairest creature
    • That ever was y-formed by nature;Skeat1900: 975
    • And Eneas and Achates she grette,
    • And thus she to hem spak, whan she hem mette.
    • ‘Sawe ye,’ quod she, ‘as ye han walked wyde,[ ]
    • Any of my sustren walke yow besyde,
    • With any wilde boor or other besteSkeat1900: 980
    • That they han hunted to, in this foreste,
    • Y-tukked up, with arwes in her cas?’
    • ‘Nay, soothly, lady,’ quod this Eneas;[ ]Skeat1900: (60)
    • ‘But, by thy beaute, as hit thinketh me,
    • Thou mightest never erthely womman be,Skeat1900: 985
    • But Phebus suster artow, as I gesse.[ ]
    • And, if so be that thou be a goddesse,
    • Have mercy on our labour and our wo.’
    • ‘I nam no goddes, soothly,’ quod she tho;
    • ‘For maidens walken in this contree here,Skeat1900: 990
    • With arwes and with bowe, in this manere.
    • This is the regne of Libie, ther ye been,
    • Of which that Dido lady is and queen’—Skeat1900: (70)
    • And shortly tolde him al the occasioun[ ]
    • Why Dido com into that regioun,Skeat1900: 995
    • Of which as now me lusteth nat to ryme;
    • Hit nedeth nat; hit nere but los of tyme.
    • Edition: current; Page: [120]
    • For this is al and som, it was Venus,
    • His owne moder, that spak with him thus;
    • And to Cartage she bad he sholde him dighte,Skeat1900: 1000
    • And vanished anoon out of his sighte.
    • I coude folwe, word for word, Virgyle,
    • But it wolde lasten al to longe a whyle.Skeat1900: (80)
    • This noble queen, that cleped was Dido,
    • That whylom was the wyf of Sitheo,Skeat1900: 1005
    • That fairer was then is the brighte sonne,
    • This noble toun of Cartage hath begonne;
    • In which she regneth in so greet honour,
    • That she was holde of alle quenes flour,
    • Of gentilesse, of freedom, of beautee;Skeat1900: 1010
    • That wel was him that mighte her ones see;
    • Of kinges and of lordes so desyred,
    • That al the world her beaute hadde y-fyred;Skeat1900: (90)
    • She stood so wel in every wightes grace.
    • Whan Eneas was come un-to that place,Skeat1900: 1015
    • Unto the maister-temple of al the toun
    • Ther Dido was in her devocioun,
    • Ful prively his wey than hath he nome.
    • Whan he was in the large temple come,
    • I can nat seyn if that hit be possible,Skeat1900: 1020
    • But Venus hadde him maked invisible—
    • Thus seith the book, with-outen any lees.[ ]
    • And whan this Eneas and AchatesSkeat1900: (100)
    • Hadden in this temple been over-al,[ ]
    • Than founde they, depeynted on a wal,[ ]Skeat1900: 1025
    • How Troye and al the lond destroyed was.
    • ‘Allas! that I was born,’ quod Eneas,
    • ‘Through-out the world our shame is kid so wyde,[ ]
    • Now it is peynted upon every syde!
    • We, that weren in prosperitee,Skeat1900: 1030
    • Be now disslaundred, and in swich degre,
    • No lenger for to liven I ne kepe!’
    • And, with that worde, he brast out for to wepeSkeat1900: (110)
    • Edition: current; Page: [121]
    • So tendrely, that routhe hit was to sene.
    • This fresshe lady, of the citee quene,[ ]Skeat1900: 1035
    • Stood in the temple, in her estat royal,
    • So richely, and eek so fair with-al,
    • So yong, so lusty, with her eyen glade,
    • That, if that god, that heven and erthe made,
    • Wolde han a love, for beaute and goodnesse,Skeat1900: 1040
    • And womanhod, and trouthe, and seemlinesse,
    • Whom sholde he loven but this lady swete?
    • There nis no womman to him half so mete.Skeat1900: (120)
    • Fortune, that hath the world in governaunce,[ ]
    • Hath sodeinly broght in so newe a chaunce,Skeat1900: 1045
    • That never was ther yit so fremd a cas.
    • For al the companye of Eneas,[ ]
    • Which that he wende han loren in the see,
    • Aryved is, nat fer fro that citee;
    • For which, the grettest of his lordes someSkeat1900: 1050
    • By aventure ben to the citee come,
    • Unto that same temple, for to seke
    • The quene, and of her socour her beseke;Skeat1900: (130)
    • Swich renoun was ther spronge of her goodnesse.
    • And, whan they hadden told al hir distresse,Skeat1900: 1055
    • And al hir tempest and hir harde cas,
    • Unto the quene appered Eneas,
    • And openly beknew that hit was he.
    • Who hadde Ioye than but his meynee,
    • That hadden founde hir lord, hir governour?Skeat1900: 1060
    • The quene saw they dide him swich honour,[ ]
    • And had herd ofte of Eneas, er tho,
    • And in her herte she hadde routhe and woSkeat1900: (140)
    • That ever swich a noble man as he
    • Shal been disherited in swich degree;Skeat1900: 1065
    • And saw the man, that he was lyk a knight,
    • And suffisaunt of persone and of might,
    • And lyk to been a veray gentil man;
    • And wel his wordes he besette can,
    • Edition: current; Page: [122]
    • And had a noble visage for the nones,Skeat1900: 1070
    • And formed wel of braunes and of bones.
    • For, after Venus, hadde he swich fairnesse,
    • That no man might be half so fair, I gesse.Skeat1900: (150)
    • And wel a lord he semed for to be.
    • And, for he was a straunger, somwhat she[ ]Skeat1900: 1075
    • Lyked him the bet, as, god do bote,[ ]
    • To som folk ofte newe thing is swote.[ ]
    • Anoon her herte hath pitee of his wo,
    • And, with that pitee, love com in also;
    • And thus, for pitee and for gentilesse,Skeat1900: 1080
    • Refresshed moste he been of his distresse.
    • She seide, certes, that she sory was
    • That he hath had swich peril and swich cas;Skeat1900: (160)
    • And, in her frendly speche, in this manere
    • She to him spak, and seide as ye may here.Skeat1900: 1085
    • ‘Be ye nat Venus sone and Anchises?[ ]
    • In good feith, al the worship and encrees
    • That I may goodly doon yow, ye shul have.
    • Your shippes and your meynee shal I save;’
    • And many a gentil word she spak him to;Skeat1900: 1090
    • And comaunded her messageres go[ ]
    • The same day, with-outen any faile,
    • His shippes for to seke, and hem vitaile.Skeat1900: (170)
    • She many a beste to the shippes sente,
    • And with the wyn she gan hem to presente;Skeat1900: 1095
    • And to her royal paleys she her spedde,
    • And Eneas alwey with her she ledde.
    • What nedeth yow the feste to descryve?
    • He never beter at ese was his lyve.
    • Ful was the feste of deyntees and richesse,Skeat1900: 1100
    • Of instruments, of song, and of gladnesse,
    • Edition: current; Page: [123]
    • And many an amorous loking and devys.
    • This Eneas is come to Paradys[ ]Skeat1900: (180)
    • Out of the swolow of helle, and thus in Ioye[ ]
    • Remembreth him of his estat in Troye.Skeat1900: 1105
    • To dauncing-chambres ful of parements,
    • Of riche beddes, and of ornaments,[ ]
    • This Eneas is lad, after the mete.
    • And with the quene whan that he had sete,[ ]
    • And spyces parted, and the wyn agoon,[ ]Skeat1900: 1110
    • Unto his chambres was he lad anoon
    • To take his ese and for to have his reste,
    • With al his folk, to doon what so hem leste.Skeat1900: (190)
    • Ther nas coursere wel y-brydled noon,
    • Ne stede, for the Iusting wel to goon,Skeat1900: 1115
    • Ne large palfrey, esy for the nones,
    • Ne Iuwel, fretted ful of riche stones,[ ]
    • Ne sakkes ful of gold, of large wighte,
    • Ne ruby noon, that shynede by nighte,[ ]
    • Ne gentil hautein faucon heronere,[ ]Skeat1900: 1120
    • Ne hound, for hert or wilde boor or dere,
    • Ne coupe of gold, with florins newe y-bete,
    • That in the lond of Libie may be gete,Skeat1900: (200)
    • That Dido ne hath hit Eneas y-sent;
    • And al is payed, what that he hath spent.Skeat1900: 1125
    • Thus can this [noble] quene her gestes calle,
    • As she that can in freedom passen alle.
    • Eneas sothly eek, with-outen lees,[ ]
    • Hath sent un-to his shippe, by Achates,
    • After his sone, and after riche thinges,Skeat1900: 1130
    • Both ceptre, clothes, broches, and eek ringes,
    • Som for to were, and som for to presente
    • To her, that all thise noble thinges him sente;Skeat1900: (210)
    • And bad his sone, how that he sholde make
    • The presenting, and to the quene hit take.Skeat1900: 1135
  • Edition: current; Page: [124]
    • Repaired is this Achates again,[ ]
    • And Eneas ful blisful is and fain
    • To seen his yonge sone Ascanius.
    • But natheles, our autour telleth us,
    • That Cupido, that is the god of love,Skeat1900: 1140
    • At preyere of his moder, hye above,
    • Hadde the lyknes of the child y-take,
    • This noble quene enamoured to makeSkeat1900: (220)
    • On Eneas; but, as of that scripture,
    • Be as be may, I make of hit no cure.[ ]Skeat1900: 1145
    • But sooth is this, the quene hath mad swich chere
    • Un-to this child, that wonder is to here;
    • And of the present that his fader sente
    • She thanked him ful ofte, in good entente.
    • Thus is this quene in plesaunce and in Ioye,Skeat1900: 1150[ ]
    • With al this newe lusty folk of Troye.
    • And of the dedes hath she more enquered
    • Of Eneas, and al the story leredSkeat1900: (230)
    • Of Troye; and al the longe day they tweye
    • Entendeden to speken and to pleye;[ ]Skeat1900: 1155
    • Of which ther gan to breden swich a fyr,[ ]
    • That sely Dido hath now swich desyr
    • With Eneas, her newe gest, to dele,
    • That she hath lost her hewe, and eek her hele.
    • Now to theffect, now to the fruit of al,Skeat1900: 1160
    • Why I have told this story, and tellen shal.[ ]
    • Thus I beginne; hit fil, upon a night,
    • When that the mone up-reysed had her light,[ ]Skeat1900: (240)
    • This noble quene un-to her reste wente;
    • She syketh sore, and gan her-self turmente.Skeat1900: 1165
    • She waketh, walweth, maketh many a brayd,
    • As doon thise loveres, as I have herd sayd.
    • And at the laste, unto her suster Anne
    • She made her moon, and right thus spak she thanne.
  • Edition: current; Page: [125]
    • ‘Now, dere suster myn, what may hit be[ ]Skeat1900: 1170
    • That me agasteth in my dreme?’ quod she.
    • ‘This ilke Troyan is so in my thoght,
    • For that me thinketh he is so wel y-wroght,Skeat1900: (250)
    • And eek so lykly for to be a man,[ ]
    • And therwithal so mikel good he can,Skeat1900: 1175
    • That al my love and lyf lyth in his cure.
    • Have ye not herd him telle his aventure?
    • Now certes, Anne, if that ye rede hit me,
    • I wolde fain to him y-wedded be;
    • This is theffect; what sholde I more seye?Skeat1900: 1180
    • In him lyth al, to do me live or deye.’
    • Her suster Anne, as she that coude her good,
    • Seide as her thoughte, and somdel hit with-stood.Skeat1900: (260)
    • But her-of was so long a sermoning,
    • Hit were to long to make rehersing;Skeat1900: 1185
    • But fynally, hit may not been with-stonde;
    • Love wol love—for no wight wol hit wonde.[ ]
    • The dawening up-rist out of the see;[ ]
    • This amorous quene chargeth her meynee
    • The nettes dresse, and speres brode and kene;Skeat1900: 1190
    • An hunting wol this lusty fresshe quene;
    • So priketh her this newe Ioly wo.[ ]
    • To hors is al her lusty folk y-go;Skeat1900: (270)
    • Un-to the court the houndes been y-broght,
    • And up-on coursers, swift as any thoght,Skeat1900: 1195
    • Her yonge knightes hoven al aboute,[ ]
    • And of her wommen eek an huge route.
    • Up-on a thikke palfrey, paper-whyt,[ ]
    • With sadel rede, enbrouded with delyt,
    • Of gold the barres up-enbossed hye,[ ]Skeat1900: 1200
    • Sit Dido, al in gold and perre wrye;
    • And she is fair, as is the brighte morwe,
    • That heleth seke folk of nightes sorwe.Skeat1900: (280)
  • Edition: current; Page: [126]
    • Up-on a courser, startling as the fyr,
    • Men mighte turne him with a litel wyr,Skeat1900: 1205
    • Sit Eneas, lyk Phebus to devyse;
    • So was he fresshe arayed in his wyse.
    • The fomy brydel with the bit of gold
    • Governeth he, right as him-self hath wold.
    • And forth this noble quene thus lat I rydeSkeat1900: 1210
    • An hunting, with this Troyan by her syde.
    • The herd of hertes founden is anoon,[ ]
    • With ‘hey! go bet! prik thou! lat goon, lat goon![ ]Skeat1900: (290)
    • Why nil the leoun comen or the bere,
    • That I mighte ones mete him with this spere?’Skeat1900: 1215
    • Thus seyn thise yonge folk, and up they kille
    • These hertes wilde, and han hem at hir wille.
    • Among al this to-romblen gan the heven,
    • The thunder rored with a grisly steven;
    • Doun com the rain, with hail and sleet so faste,Skeat1900: 1220
    • With hevenes fyr, that hit so sore agaste
    • This noble quene, and also her meynee,
    • That ech of hem was glad a-wey to flee.Skeat1900: (300)
    • And shortly, fro the tempest her to save,
    • She fledde her-self into a litel cave,Skeat1900: 1225
    • And with her wente this Eneas al-so;
    • I noot, with hem if ther wente any mo;
    • The autour maketh of hit no mencioun.
    • And heer began the depe affeccioun
    • Betwix hem two; this was the firste morwe[ ]Skeat1900: 1230
    • Of her gladnesse, and ginning of her sorwe.
    • For ther hath Eneas y-kneled so,[ ]
    • And told her al his herte, and al his wo,Skeat1900: (310)
    • And sworn so depe, to her to be trewe,
    • For wele or wo, and chaunge for no newe,Skeat1900: 1235
    • And as a fals lover so wel can pleyne,
    • That sely Dido rewed on his peyne,
    • Edition: current; Page: [127]
    • And took him for husband, [to been] his wyf
    • For ever-mo, whyl that hem laste lyf.
    • And after this, whan that the tempest stente,Skeat1900: 1240
    • With mirth out as they comen, hoom they wente.
    • The wikked fame up roos, and that anon,[ ]
    • How Eneas hath with the quene y-gonSkeat1900: (320)
    • In-to the cave; and demed as hem liste;
    • And whan the king, that Yarbas hight, hit wiste,Skeat1900: 1245
    • As he that had her loved ever his lyf,
    • And wowed her, to have her to his wyf,
    • Swich sorwe as he hath maked, and swich chere,
    • Hit is a routhe and pitee for to here.
    • But, as in love, al-day hit happeth so,Skeat1900: 1250
    • That oon shal laughen at anothers wo;
    • Now laugheth Eneas, and is in Ioye
    • And more richesse than ever he was in Troye.Skeat1900: (330)
    • O sely womman, ful of innocence,[ ]
    • Ful of pitee, of trouthe, and conscience,Skeat1900: 1255
    • What maked yow to men to trusten so?
    • Have ye swich routhe upon hir feined wo,
    • And han swich olde ensamples yow beforn?
    • See ye nat alle, how they been for-sworn?
    • Wher see ye oon, that he ne hath laft his leef,Skeat1900: 1260
    • Or been unkinde, or doon her som mischeef,
    • Or pilled her, or bosted of his dede?
    • Ye may as wel hit seen, as ye may rede;Skeat1900: (340)
    • Tak heed now of this grete gentil-man,
    • This Troyan, that so wel her plesen can,Skeat1900: 1265
    • That feineth him so trewe and obeising,
    • So gentil and so privy of his doing,
    • And can so wel doon alle his obeisaunces,
    • And waiten her at festes and at daunces,
    • Edition: current; Page: [128]
    • And when she goth to temple and hoom ageyn,Skeat1900: 1270
    • And fasten til he hath his lady seyn,
    • And bere in his devyses, for her sake,
    • Noot I nat what; and songes wolde he make,Skeat1900: (350)
    • Iusten, and doon of armes many thinges,
    • Sende her lettres, tokens, broches, ringesSkeat1900: 1275
    • Now herkneth, how he shal his lady serve!
    • Ther-as he was in peril for to sterve
    • For hunger, and for mischeef in the see,
    • And desolat, and fled from his contree,
    • And al his folk with tempest al to-driven,Skeat1900: 1280
    • She hath her body and eek her reame yiven
    • In-to his hond, ther-as she mighte have been
    • Of other lond than of Cartage a queen,Skeat1900: (360)
    • And lived in Ioye y-nogh; what wolde ye more?
    • This Eneas, that hath so depe y-swore,Skeat1900: 1285
    • Is wery of his craft with-in a throwe;
    • The hote ernest is al over-blowe.[ ]
    • And prively he doth his shippes dighte,[ ]
    • And shapeth him to stele a-wey by nighte.
    • This Dido hath suspecioun of this,Skeat1900: 1290
    • And thoughte wel, that hit was al a-mis;
    • For in his bedde he lyth a-night and syketh;
    • She asketh him anoon, what him mislyketh—Skeat1900: (370)
    • ‘My dere herte, which that I love most?’
    • ‘Certes,’ quod he, ‘this night my fadres gost[ ]Skeat1900: 1295
    • Hath in my sleep so sore me tormented,
    • And eek Mercurie his message hath presented,
    • That nedes to the conquest of Itaile
    • My destinee is sone for to saile;
    • For which, me thinketh, brosten is myn herte!’Skeat1900: 1300
    • Ther-with his false teres out they sterte;
    • And taketh her with-in his armes two.
    • ‘Is that in ernest,’ quod she; ‘wil ye so?Skeat1900: (380)
    • Have ye nat sworn to wyve me to take,
    • Alas! what womman wil ye of me make?Skeat1900: 1305
    • Edition: current; Page: [129]
    • I am a gentil-woman and a queen,
    • Ye wil nat fro your wyf thus foule fleen?
    • That I was born! allas! what shal I do?’
    • To telle in short, this noble queen Dido,
    • She seketh halwes, and doth sacrifyse;Skeat1900: 1310
    • She kneleth, cryeth, that routhe is to devyse;
    • Coniureth him, and profreth him to be[ ]
    • His thral, his servant in the leste gree;Skeat1900: (390)
    • She falleth him to fote, and swowneth there
    • Dischevele, with her brighte gilte here,Skeat1900: 1315
    • And seith, ‘have mercy! let me with yow ryde![ ]
    • Thise lordes, which that wonen me besyde
    • Wil me destroyen only for your sake.
    • And, so ye wil me now to wyve take,
    • As ye han sworn, than wol I yive yow leveSkeat1900: 1320
    • To sleen me with your swerd now sone at eve!
    • For than yit shal I dyen as your wyf.
    • I am with childe, and yive my child his lyf.Skeat1900: (400)
    • Mercy, lord! have pite in your thought!’[ ]
    • But al this thing availeth her right noght;Skeat1900: 1325
    • For on a night, slepinge, he let her lye,[ ]
    • And stal a-wey un-to his companye,
    • And, as a traitour, forth he gan to saile
    • Toward the large contree of Itaile.
    • Thus hath he laft Dido in wo and pyne;Skeat1900: 1330
    • And wedded ther a lady hight Lavyne.
    • A cloth he lafte, and eek his swerd stonding,
    • Whan he fro Dido stal in her sleping,Skeat1900: (410)
    • Right at her beddes heed, so gan he hye
    • Whan that he stal a-wey to his navye;Skeat1900: 1335
    • Which cloth, whan sely Dido gan awake,
    • She hath hit kist ful ofte for his sake;
    • Edition: current; Page: [130]
    • And seide, ‘O cloth, whyl Iupiter hit leste,[ ]
    • Tak now my soule, unbind me of this unreste!
    • I have fulfild of fortune al the cours.’Skeat1900: 1340
    • And thus, allas! with-outen his socours,
    • Twenty tyme y-swowned hath she thanne.
    • And, whan that she un-to her suster AnneSkeat1900: (420)
    • Compleyned had, of which I may nat wryte—
    • So greet a routhe I have hit for tendyteSkeat1900: 1345
    • And bad her norice and her suster goon
    • To fecchen fyr and other thing anoon,
    • And seide, that she wolde, sacrifye.
    • And, whan she mighte her tyme wel espye,
    • Up-on the fyr of sacrifys she sterte,Skeat1900: 1350
    • And with his swerd she roof her to the herte.[ ]
    • But, as myn autour seith, right thus she seyde;[ ]
    • Or she was hurt, before that she deyde,Skeat1900: (430)
    • She wroot a lettre anoon, that thus began:—[ ]
    • ‘Right so,’ quod she, ‘as that the whyte swanSkeat1900: 1355[ ]
    • Ayeins his deeth beginneth for to singe,
    • Right so to yow make I my compleyninge.
    • Nat that I trowe to geten yow again,
    • For wel I woot that it is al in vain,
    • Sin that the goddes been contraire to me.Skeat1900: 1360
    • But sin my name is lost through yow,’ quod she,
    • ‘I may wel lese a word on yow, or letter,
    • Al-be-it that I shal be never the better;Skeat1900: (440)
    • For thilke wind that blew your ship a-wey,
    • The same wind hath blowe a-wey your fey.’—Skeat1900: 1365
  • Edition: current; Page: [131]
    • But who wol al this letter have in minde,
    • Rede Ovide, and in him he shal hit finde.

Explicit Legenda Didonis martiris, Cartaginis regine.

IV.: THE LEGEND OF HYPSIPYLE AND MEDEA.

Incipit Legenda Ysiphile et Medee, Martirum.

Part I.: The Legend of Hypsipyle.

    • Thou rote of false lovers, duk Iasoun![ ]
    • Thou sly devourer and confusioun
    • Of gentil-wommen, tender creatures,Skeat1900: 1370
    • Thou madest thy reclaiming and thy lures
    • To ladies of thy statly apparaunce,
    • And of thy wordes, farced with plesaunce,
    • And of thy feyned trouthe and thy manere,
    • With thyn obeisaunce and thy humble chere,Skeat1900: 1375
    • And with thy counterfeted peyne and wo.
    • Ther other falsen oon, thou falsest two![ ][ ]Skeat1900: (10)
    • O! ofte swore thou that thou woldest dye
    • For love, whan thou ne feltest maladye
    • Save foul delyt, which that thou callest love!Skeat1900: 1380
    • If that I live, thy name shal be shove
    • In English, that thy sleighte shal be knowe!
    • Have at thee, Iasoun! now thyn horn is blowe!
    • But certes, hit is bothe routhe and wo
    • That love with false loveres werketh so;Skeat1900: 1385
    • For they shul have wel better love and chere
    • Than he that hath aboght his love ful dere,[ ]Skeat1900: (20)
    • Or had in armes many a blody box.
    • For ever as tendre a capoun et the fox,[ ]
    • Edition: current; Page: [132]
    • Thogh he be fals and hath the foul betrayed,Skeat1900: 1390
    • As shal the good-man that ther-for hath payed.[ ]
    • Al have he to the capoun skille and right,
    • The false fox wol have his part at night.
    • On Iasoun this ensample is wel y-sene[ ]
    • By Isiphile and Medea the quene.Skeat1900: 1395
    • In Tessalye, as Guido telleth us,[ ]
    • Ther was a king that highte Pelleus,[ ]Skeat1900: (30)
    • That had a brother, which that highte Eson;
    • And, whan for age he mighte unnethes gon,
    • He yaf to Pelleus the governingSkeat1900: 1400
    • Of al his regne, and made him lord and king.
    • Of which Eson this Iasoun geten was,
    • That, in his tyme, in al that lond, ther nas
    • Nat swich a famous knight of gentilesse,
    • Of freedom, and of strengthe and lustinesse.Skeat1900: 1405
    • After his fader deeth, he bar him so
    • That ther nas noon that liste been his fo,Skeat1900: (40)
    • But dide him al honour and companye;
    • Of which this Pelleus hath greet envye,[ ]
    • Imagining that Iasoun mighte beSkeat1900: 1410
    • Enhaunsed so, and put in swich degree
    • With love of lordes of his regioun,
    • That from his regne he may be put adoun.
    • And in his wit, a-night, compassed he
    • How Iasoun mighte best destroyed beSkeat1900: 1415
    • Withoute slaunder of his compasment.
    • And at the laste he took avisementSkeat1900: (50)
    • To senden him in-to som fer contree
    • Ther as this Iasoun may destroyed be.
    • This was his wit; al made he to Iasoun[ ]Skeat1900: 1420
    • Gret chere of love and of affeccioun,
    • For drede lest his lordes hit espyde.
    • So fil hit so, as fame renneth wyde,
    • Edition: current; Page: [133]
    • Ther was swich tyding over-al and swich los,
    • That in an yle that called was Colcos,Skeat1900: 1425
    • Beyonde Troye, estward in the see,
    • That ther-in was a ram, that men mighte see,Skeat1900: (60)
    • That had a flees of gold, that shoon so brighte,
    • That no-wher was ther swich an-other sighte;
    • But hit was kept alway with a dragoun,Skeat1900: 1430
    • And many othere merveils, up and doun,
    • And with two boles, maked al of bras,
    • That spitten fyr, and moche thing ther was.
    • But this was eek the tale, nathelees,
    • That who-so wolde winne thilke flees,Skeat1900: 1435
    • He moste bothe, or he hit winne mighte,
    • With the boles and the dragoun fighte;Skeat1900: (70)
    • And king Oëtes lord was of that yle.[ ]
    • This Pelleus bethoghte upon this wyle;
    • That he his nevew Iasoun wolde enhorteSkeat1900: 1440
    • To sailen to that lond, him to disporte,
    • And seide, ‘Nevew, if hit mighte be
    • That swich a worship mighte fallen thee,
    • That thou this famous tresor mightest winne,
    • And bringen hit my regioun with-inne,Skeat1900: 1445
    • Hit were to me gret plesaunce and honour;
    • Than were I holde to quyte thy labour.[ ]Skeat1900: (80)
    • And al the cost I wol my-selven make;
    • And chees what folk that thou wilt with thee take;
    • Lat see now, darstow taken this viage?’Skeat1900: 1450
    • Iasoun was yong, and lusty of corage,
    • And under-took to doon this ilke empryse.
    • Anoon Argus his shippes gan devyse;
    • With Iasoun wente the stronge Ercules,
    • And many an-other that he with him chees.Skeat1900: 1455
    • But who-so axeth who is with him gon,
    • Lat him go reden Argonauticon,[ ]Skeat1900: (90)
    • Edition: current; Page: [134]
    • For he wol telle a tale long y-now.
    • Philotetes anoon the sail up-drow,
    • Whan that the wind was good, and gan him hyeSkeat1900: 1460
    • Out of his contree called Tessalye.
    • So long he sailed in the salte see
    • Til in the yle Lemnoun aryved he—[ ]
    • Al be this nat rehersed of Guido,
    • Yet seith Ovyde in his Epistles so—Skeat1900: 1465
    • And of this yle lady was and quene
    • The faire yonge Isiphilee, the shene,Skeat1900: (100)
    • That whylom Thoas doghter was, the king.
    • Isiphilee was goon in her playing;[ ]
    • And, roming on the clyves by the see,Skeat1900: 1470
    • Under a banke anoon espyed she
    • Wher that the ship of Iasoun gan aryve.
    • Of her goodnesse adoun she sendeth blyve
    • To witen yif that any straunge wight
    • With tempest thider were y-blowe a-night,Skeat1900: 1475
    • To doon him socour; as was her usaunce
    • To forthren every wight, and doon plesaunceSkeat1900: (110)
    • Of veray bountee and of curtesye.
    • This messagere adoun him gan to hye,[ ]
    • And fond Iasoun, and Ercules also,Skeat1900: 1480
    • That in a cogge to londe were y-go[ ]
    • Hem to refresshen and to take the eyr.
    • The morwening atempre was and fair;
    • And in his wey the messagere hem mette.
    • Ful cunningly thise lordes two he grette,Skeat1900: 1485
    • And dide his message, axing hem anoon
    • Yif they were broken, or oght wo begoon,Skeat1900: (120)
    • Or hadde nede of lodesmen or vitaile;
    • For of socour they shulde no-thing faile,
    • Edition: current; Page: [135]
    • For hit was utterly the quenes wille.[ ]Skeat1900: 1490
    • Iasoun answerde, mekely and stille,
    • ‘My lady,’ quod he, ‘thanke I hertely
    • Of hir goodnesse; us nedeth, trewely,
    • No-thing as now, but that we wery be,
    • And come for to pleye, out of the see,Skeat1900: 1495
    • Til that the wind be better in our weye.’
    • This lady rometh by the clif to pleye,Skeat1900: (130)
    • With her meynee, endelong the stronde,
    • And fynt this Iasoun and this other stonde,
    • In spekinge of this thing, as I yow tolde.Skeat1900: 1500
    • This Ercules and Iasoun gan beholde
    • How that the quene hit was, and faire her grette
    • Anon-right as they with this lady mette;
    • And she took heed, and knew, by hir manere,
    • By hir aray, by wordes and by chere,Skeat1900: 1505
    • That hit were gentil-men, of greet degree.
    • And to the castel with her ledeth sheSkeat1900: (140)
    • Thise straunge folk, and doth hem greet honour,
    • And axeth hem of travail and labour[ ]
    • That they han suffred in the salte see;Skeat1900: 1510
    • So that, within a day, or two, or three,
    • She knew, by folk that in his shippes be,
    • That hit was Iasoun, ful of renomee,
    • And Ercules, that had the grete los,
    • That soghten the aventures of Colcos;[ ]Skeat1900: 1515
    • And dide hem honour more then before,
    • And with hem deled ever lenger the more,Skeat1900: (150)
    • For they ben worthy folk, with-outen lees.
    • And namely, most she spak with Ercules;
    • To him her herte bar, he sholde beSkeat1900: 1520
    • Sad, wys, and trewe, of wordes avisee,
    • With-outen any other affeccioun
    • Of love, or evil imaginacioun.
  • Edition: current; Page: [136]
    • This Ercules hath so this Iasoun preysed,
    • That to the sonne he hath him up areysed,Skeat1900: 1525
    • That half so trewe a man ther nas of love
    • Under the cope of heven that is above;Skeat1900: (160)
    • And he was wys, hardy, secree, and riche.—[ ]
    • Of thise three pointes ther nas noon him liche;[ ]
    • Of freedom passed he, and lustihede,Skeat1900: 1530
    • Alle tho that liven or ben dede;
    • Ther-to so greet a gentil-man was he,
    • And of Tessalie lykly king to be.[ ]
    • Ther nas no lak, but that he was agast
    • To love, and for to speke shamefast.Skeat1900: 1535
    • He hadde lever him-self to mordre, and dye[ ]
    • Than that men shulde a lover him espye:—Skeat1900: (170)
    • ‘As wolde almighty god that I had yive[ ]
    • My blood and flesh, so that I mighte live,
    • With the nones that he hadde o-wher a wyfSkeat1900: 1540
    • For his estat; for swich a lusty lyf
    • She sholde lede with this lusty knight!’
    • And al this was compassed on the night
    • Betwixe him Iasoun and this Ercules.
    • Of thise two heer was mad a shrewed leesSkeat1900: 1545
    • To come to hous upon an innocent;
    • For to be-dote this queen was hir assent.Skeat1900: (180)
    • And Iasoun is as coy as is a maide,[ ]
    • He loketh pitously, but noght he saide,
    • But frely yaf he to her conseileresSkeat1900: 1550
    • Yiftes grete, and to her officeres.[ ]
    • As wolde god I leiser hadde, and tyme,[ ]
    • By proces al his wowing for to ryme.
    • But in this hous if any fals lover be,
    • Right as him-self now doth, right so dide he,Skeat1900: 1555
    • Edition: current; Page: [137]
    • With feyning and with every sotil dede.
    • Ye gete no more of me, but ye wil redeSkeat1900: (190)
    • Thoriginal, that telleth al the cas.
    • The somme is this, that Iasoun wedded was
    • Unto this quene, and took of her substaunceSkeat1900: 1560
    • What-so him liste, unto his purveyaunce;
    • And upon her begat he children two,
    • And drow his sail, and saw her never-mo.
    • A lettre sente she to him certein,[ ]
    • Which were to long to wryten and to sein,Skeat1900: 1565
    • And him repreveth of his grete untrouthe,
    • And preyeth him on her to have som routhe.Skeat1900: (200)
    • And of his children two, she seide him this,
    • That they be lyke, of alle thing, y-wis,
    • To Iasoun, save they coude nat begyle;Skeat1900: 1570
    • And preyed god, or hit were longe whyle,
    • That she, that had his herte y-raft her fro,
    • Moste finden him to her untrewe al-so,
    • And that she moste bothe her children spille,
    • And alle tho that suffreth him his wille.Skeat1900: 1575
    • And trew to Iasoun was she al her lyf,
    • And ever kepte her chast, as for his wyf;Skeat1900: (210)
    • Ne never had she Ioye at her herte,
    • But dyed, for his love, of sorwes smerte.

Part II.: The Legend of Medea.

    • To Colcos comen is this duk Iasoun,[ ]Skeat1900: 1580
    • That is of love devourer and dragoun.[ ]
    • As matere appetyteth forme al-wey,[ ]
    • And from forme in-to forme hit passen may,
    • Or as a welle that were botomlees,
    • Right so can fals Iasoun have no pees.Skeat1900: 1585
    • For, to desyren, through his appetyt,
    • To doon with gentil wommen his delyt,Skeat1900: (220)
    • Edition: current; Page: [138]
    • This is his lust and his felicitee.
    • Iasoun is romed forth to the citee,
    • That whylom cleped was Iaconitos,[ ]Skeat1900: 1590
    • That was the maister-toun of al Colcos,
    • And hath y-told the cause of his coming
    • Un-to Oëtes, of that contre king,
    • Preying him that he moste doon his assay[ ]
    • To gete the flees of gold, if that he may;Skeat1900: 1595
    • Of which the king assenteth to his bone,
    • And doth him honour, as hit is to done,[ ]Skeat1900: (230)
    • So ferforth, that his doghter and his eyr,
    • Medea, which that was so wys and fair
    • That fairer saw ther never man with yë,Skeat1900: 1600
    • He made her doon to Iasoun companye
    • At mete, and sitte by him in the halle.
    • Now was Iasoun a semely man with-alle,
    • And lyk a lord, and had a greet renoun,
    • And of his loke as real as leoun,[ ]Skeat1900: 1605
    • And goodly of his speche, and famulere,[ ]
    • And coude of love al craft and art plenereSkeat1900: (240)
    • With-oute boke, with everich observaunce.
    • And, as fortune her oghte a foul meschaunce,[ ]
    • She wex enamoured upon this man.Skeat1900: 1610
    • ‘Iasoun,’ quod she, ‘for ought I see or can,
    • As of this thing the which ye been aboute,
    • Ye han your-self y-put in moche doute.
    • For, who-so wol this aventure acheve,
    • He may nat wel asterten, as I leve,Skeat1900: 1615
    • With-outen deeth, but I his helpe be.
    • But natheles, hit is my wille,’ quod she,[ ]Skeat1900: (250)
    • ‘To forthren yow, so that ye shal nat dye,
    • But turnen, sound, hoom to your Tessalye.’
    • ‘My righte lady,’ quod this Iasoun tho,[ ]Skeat1900: 1620
    • ‘That ye han of my dethe or of my wo
    • Any reward, and doon me this honour,
    • I wot wel that my might ne my labour
    • Edition: current; Page: [139]
    • May nat deserve hit in my lyves day;
    • God thanke yow, ther I ne can ne may.Skeat1900: 1625
    • Your man am I, and lowly you beseche,
    • To been my help, with-oute more speche;Skeat1900: (260)
    • But certes, for my deeth shal I nat spare.’
    • Tho gan this Medea to him declare
    • The peril of this cas, fro point to point,Skeat1900: 1630
    • And of his batail, and in what disioint
    • He mote stande, of which no creature,
    • Save only she, ne mighte his lyf assure.
    • And shortly, to the point right for to go,
    • They been accorded ful, betwix hem two,Skeat1900: 1635
    • That Iasoun shal her wedde, as trewe knight;
    • And term y-set, to come sone at nightSkeat1900: (270)
    • Unto her chambre, and make ther his ooth,
    • Upon the goddes, that he, for leef ne looth,[ ]
    • Ne sholde her never falsen, night ne day,Skeat1900: 1640
    • To been her husbond, whyl he liven may,
    • As she that from his deeth him saved here.
    • And her-upon, at night they mette y-fere,
    • And doth his ooth, and goth with her to bedde.
    • And on the morwe, upward he him spedde;Skeat1900: 1645
    • For she hath taught him how he shal nat faile
    • The flees to winne, and stinten his bataile;Skeat1900: (280)
    • And saved him his lyf and his honour;
    • And gat him greet name as a conquerour
    • Right through the sleight of her enchantement.Skeat1900: 1650
    • Now hath Iasoun the flees, and hoom is went
    • With Medea, and tresor ful gret woon.
    • But unwist of her fader is she goon
    • To Tessaly, with duk Iasoun her leef,
    • That afterward hath broght her to mescheef.Skeat1900: 1655
    • Edition: current; Page: [140]
    • For as a traitour he is from her go,
    • And with her lafte his yonge children two,Skeat1900: (290)
    • And falsly hath betrayed her, allas!
    • And ever in love a cheef traitour he was;
    • And wedded yit the thridde wyf anon,Skeat1900: 1660
    • That was the doghter of the king Creon.[ ]
    • This is the meed of loving and guerdon[ ]
    • That Medea received of Iasoun
    • Right for her trouthe and for her kindenesse,
    • That loved him better than her-self, I gesse,Skeat1900: 1665
    • And lafte her fader and her heritage.
    • And of Iasoun this is the vassalage,Skeat1900: (300)
    • That, in his dayes, nas ther noon y-founde
    • So fals a lover going on the grounde.
    • And therfor in her lettre thus she seydeSkeat1900: 1670
    • First, whan she of his falsnesse him umbreyde,
    • Why lyked me thy yelow heer to see
    • More then the boundes of myn honestee,
    • Why lyked me thy youthe and thy fairnesse,
    • And of thy tonge the infinit graciousnesse?Skeat1900: 1675
    • O, haddest thou in thy conquest deed y-be,
    • Ful mikel untrouthe had ther dyed with thee!’Skeat1900: (310)
    • Wel can Ovyde her lettre in vers endyte,
    • Which were as now to long for me to wryte.

Explicit Legenda Ysiphile et Medee, Martirum.

V.: THE LEGEND OF LUCRETIA.

Incipit Legenda Lucrecie Rome, martiris.

    • Now moot I seyn the exiling of kinges[ ]Skeat1900: 1680
    • Of Rome, for hir horrible doinges,[ ]
    • And of the laste king Tarquinius,
    • As saith Ovyde and Titus Livius.
    • Edition: current; Page: [141]
    • But for that cause telle I nat this storie,[ ]
    • But for to preise and drawen to memorieSkeat1900: 1685
    • The verray wyf, the verray trewe Lucresse,
    • That, for her wyfhood and her stedfastnesse,
    • Nat only that thise payens her comende,
    • But he, that cleped is in our legendeSkeat1900: (10)
    • The grete Austin, hath greet compassioun[ ]Skeat1900: 1690
    • Of this Lucresse, that starf at Rome toun;
    • And in what wyse, I wol but shortly trete,
    • And of this thing I touche but the grete.
    • Whan Ardea beseged was aboute[ ]
    • With Romains, that ful sterne were and stoute,Skeat1900: 1695
    • Ful longe lay the sege, and litel wroghte,[ ]
    • So that they were half ydel, as hem thoghte;
    • And in his pley Tarquinius the yonge[ ]
    • Gan for to iape, for he was light of tonge,Skeat1900: (20)
    • And seyde, that ‘it was an ydel lyf;Skeat1900: 1700
    • No man did ther no more than his wyf;
    • And lat us speke of wyves, that is best;
    • Praise every man his owne, as him lest,
    • And with our speche lat us ese our herte.’
    • A knight, that highte Colatyne, up sterte,[ ]Skeat1900: 1705
    • And seyde thus, ‘nay, for hit is no nede
    • To trowen on the word, but on the dede.[ ]
    • I have a wyf,’ quod he, ‘that, as I trowe,[ ]
    • Is holden good of alle that ever her knowe;Skeat1900: (30)
    • Go we to-night to Rome, and we shul see.’Skeat1900: 1710
    • Tarquinius answerde, ‘that lyketh me.’[ ]
    • To Rome be they come, and faste hem dighte
    • To Colatynes hous, and doun they lighte,
    • Tarquinius, and eek this Colatyne.
    • The husbond knew the estres wel and fyne,[ ]Skeat1900: 1715
    • Edition: current; Page: [142]
    • And prively into the hous they goon;[ ]
    • Nor at the gate porter was ther noon;
    • And at the chambre-dore they abyde.
    • This noble wyf sat by her beddes sydeSkeat1900: (40)
    • Dischevele, for no malice she ne thoghte;[ ]Skeat1900: 1720
    • And softe wolle our book seith that she wroghte[ ]
    • To kepen her fro slouthe and ydelnesse;
    • And bad her servants doon hir businesse,
    • And axeth hem, ‘what tydings heren ye?
    • How seith men of the sege, how shal hit be?Skeat1900: 1725
    • God wolde the walles weren falle adoun;
    • Myn husbond is so longe out of this toun,
    • For which the dreed doth me so sore smerte,
    • Right as a swerd hit stingeth to myn herte[ ]Skeat1900: (50)
    • Whan I think on the sege or of that place;Skeat1900: 1730
    • God save my lord, I preye him for his grace:’—
    • And ther-with-al ful tenderly she weep,[ ]
    • And of her werk she took no more keep,
    • But mekely she leet her eyen falle;
    • And thilke semblant sat her wel with-alle.Skeat1900: 1735
    • And eek her teres, ful of honestee,
    • Embelisshed her wyfly chastitee;
    • Her countenaunce is to her herte digne,[ ]
    • For they acordeden in dede and signe.Skeat1900: (60)
    • And with that word her husbond Colatyn,[ ]Skeat1900: 1740
    • Or she of him was war, com sterting in,
    • And seide, ‘dreed thee noght, for I am here!’
    • And she anoon up roos, with blisful chere,
    • And kiste him, as of wyves is the wone.
    • Tarquinius, this proude kinges sone,[ ]Skeat1900: 1745
    • Edition: current; Page: [143]
    • Conceived hath her beautee and her chere,
    • Her yelow heer, her shap, and her manere,
    • Her hew, her wordes that she hath compleyned,
    • And by no crafte her beautee nas nat feyned;Skeat1900: (70)
    • And caughte to this lady swich desyr,Skeat1900: 1750
    • That in his herte brende as any fyr
    • So woodly, that his wit was al forgeten.
    • For wel, thoghte he, she sholde nat be geten
    • And ay the more that he was in dispair,
    • The more he coveteth and thoghte her fair.Skeat1900: 1755
    • His blinde lust was al his covetinge.
    • A-morwe, whan the brid began to singe,[ ]
    • Unto the sege he comth ful privily,
    • And by himself he walketh sobrely,Skeat1900: (80)
    • Thimage of her recording alwey newe;Skeat1900: 1760
    • ‘Thus lay her heer, and thus fresh was her hewe;
    • Thus sat, thus spak, thus span; this was her chere,
    • Thus fair she was, and this was her manere.’
    • Al this conceit his herte hath now y-take.
    • And, as the see, with tempest al to-shake,Skeat1900: 1765
    • That, after whan the storm is al ago,
    • Yet wol the water quappe a day or two,
    • Right so, thogh that her forme wer absent,
    • The plesaunce of her forme was present;Skeat1900: (90)
    • But natheles, nat plesaunce, but delyt,Skeat1900: 1770
    • Or an unrightful talent with despyt;[ ]
    • ‘For, maugre her, she shal my lemman be;
    • Hap helpeth hardy man alday,’ quod he;[ ]
    • ‘What ende that I make, hit shal be so;’[ ]
    • And girt him with his swerde, and gan to go;[ ]Skeat1900: 1775
    • And forth he rit til he to Rome is come,
    • And al aloon his wey than hath he nome
    • Edition: current; Page: [144]
    • Unto the house of Colatyn ful right.
    • Doun was the sonne, and day hath lost his light;Skeat1900: (100)
    • And in he com un-to a privy halke,Skeat1900: 1780
    • And in the night ful theefly gan he stalke,
    • Whan every night was to his reste broght,
    • Ne no wight had of tresoun swich a thoght.
    • Were hit by window or by other gin,
    • With swerde y-drawe, shortly he comth inSkeat1900: 1785
    • Ther as she lay, this noble wyf Lucresse.
    • And, as she wook, her bed she felte presse.
    • ‘What beste is that,’ quod she, ‘that weyeth thus?’
    • ‘I am the kinges sone, Tarquinius,’Skeat1900: (110)
    • Quod he, ‘but and thou crye, or noise make,Skeat1900: 1790
    • Or if thou any creature awake,
    • By thilke god that formed man on lyve,
    • This swerd through-out thyn herte shal I ryve.’
    • And ther-withal unto her throte he sterte,
    • And sette the point al sharp upon her herte.Skeat1900: 1795
    • No word she spak, she hath no might therto.
    • What shal she sayn? her wit is al ago.
    • Right as a wolf that fynt a lomb aloon,[ ]
    • To whom shal she compleyne, or make moon?Skeat1900: (120)
    • What! shal she fighte with an hardy knight?[ ]Skeat1900: 1800
    • Wel wot men that a woman hath no might.
    • What! shal she crye, or how shal she asterte
    • That hath her by the throte, with swerde at herte?
    • She axeth grace, and seith al that she can.
    • ‘Ne wolt thou nat,’ quod he, this cruel man,Skeat1900: 1805
    • ‘As wisly Iupiter my soule save,
    • As I shal in the stable slee thy knave,
    • And leye him in thy bed, and loude crye,
    • That I thee finde in suche avouterye;Skeat1900: (130)
    • Edition: current; Page: [145]
    • And thus thou shalt be deed, and also leseSkeat1900: 1810
    • Thy name, for thou shalt non other chese.’
    • Thise Romain wyves loveden so hir name[ ]
    • At thilke tyme, and dredden so the shame,
    • That, what for fere of slaundre and drede of deeth,
    • She loste bothe at-ones wit and breeth,Skeat1900: 1815
    • And in a swough she lay and wex so deed,
    • Men mighte smyten of her arm or heed;
    • She feleth no-thing, neither foul ne fair.
    • Tarquinius, that art a kinges eyr,Skeat1900: (140)
    • And sholdest, as by linage and by right,Skeat1900: 1820
    • Doon as a lord and as a verray knight,
    • Why hastow doon dispyt to chivalrye?
    • Why hastow doon this lady vilanye?
    • Allas! of thee this was a vileins dede!
    • But now to purpos; in the story I rede,Skeat1900: 1825
    • Whan he was goon, al this mischaunce is falle.
    • This lady sente after her frendes alle,[ ]
    • Fader, moder, husbond, al y-fere;
    • And al dischevele, with her heres clere,Skeat1900: (150)
    • In habit swich as women used thoSkeat1900: 1830
    • Unto the burying of her frendes go,
    • She sit in halle with a sorweful sighte.
    • Her frendes axen what her aylen mighte,
    • And who was deed? And she sit ay wepinge,
    • A word for shame ne may she forth out-bringe,Skeat1900: 1835
    • Ne upon hem she dorste nat beholde.
    • But atte laste of Tarquiny she hem tolde,[ ]
    • This rewful cas, and al this thing horrible.
    • The wo to tellen hit were impossible,Skeat1900: (160)
    • That she and alle her frendes made atones.Skeat1900: 1840
    • Al hadde folkes hertes been of stones,
    • Edition: current; Page: [146]
    • Hit mighte have maked hem upon her rewe,
    • Her herte was so wyfly and so trewe.
    • She seide, that, for her gilt ne for her blame,
    • Her husbond sholde nat have the foule name,Skeat1900: 1845
    • That wolde she nat suffre, by no wey.
    • And they answerden alle, upon hir fey,[ ]
    • That they foryeve hit her, for hit was right;
    • Hit was no gilt, hit lay nat in her might;Skeat1900: (170)
    • And seiden her ensamples many oon.Skeat1900: 1850
    • But al for noght; for thus she seide anoon,
    • ‘Be as be may,’ quod she, ‘of forgiving,
    • I wol nat have no forgift for no-thing.’
    • But prively she caughte forth a knyf,
    • And therwith-al she rafte her-self her lyf;Skeat1900: 1855
    • And as she fel adoun, she caste her look,[ ]
    • And of her clothes yit she hede took;[ ]
    • For in her falling yit she hadde care
    • Lest that her feet or swiche thing lay bare;[ ]Skeat1900: (180)
    • So wel she loved clennesse and eek trouthe.[ ]Skeat1900: 1860
    • Of her had al the toun of Rome routhe,
    • And Brutus by her chaste blode hath swore
    • That Tarquin sholde y-banisht be ther-fore,
    • And al his kin; and let the peple calle,
    • And openly the tale he tolde hem alle,Skeat1900: 1865
    • And openly let carie her on a bere
    • Through al the toun, that men may see and here
    • The horrible deed of her oppressioun.
    • Ne never was ther king in Rome tounSkeat1900: (190)
    • Sin thilke day; and she was holden thereSkeat1900: 1870
    • A seint, and ever her day y-halwed dere[ ]
    • As in hir lawe: and thus endeth Lucresse,
    • The noble wyf, as Titus bereth witnesse.
    • I tell hit, for she was of love so trewe,
    • Ne in her wille she chaunged for no newe.Skeat1900: 1875
    • And for the stable herte, sad and kinde,
    • That in these women men may alday finde;
    • Edition: current; Page: [147]
    • Ther as they caste hir herte, ther hit dwelleth.
    • For wel I wot, that Crist him-selve telleth,Skeat1900: (200)
    • That in Israel, as wyd as is the lond,[ ]Skeat1900: 1880
    • That so gret feith in al the lond he ne fond[ ]
    • As in a woman; and this is no lye.
    • And as of men, loketh which tirannye[ ]
    • They doon alday; assay hem who so liste,
    • The trewest is ful brotel for to triste.Skeat1900: 1885

Explicit Legenda Lucrecie Rome, Martiris.[ ]

VI.: THE LEGEND OF ARIADNE.

Incipit Legenda Adriane de Athenes.

    • Iuge infernal, Minos, of Crete king,
    • Now cometh thy lot, now comestow on the ring;
    • Nat for thy sake only wryte I this storie,
    • But for to clepe agein unto memorie
    • Of Theseus the grete untrouthe of love;Skeat1900: 1890
    • For which the goddes of the heven above
    • Ben wrothe, and wreche han take for thy sinne.
    • Be reed for shame! now I thy lyf beginne.
    • Minos, that was the mighty king of Crete,
    • That hadde an hundred citees stronge and grete,[ ]Skeat1900: 1895
    • To scole hath sent his sone Androgeus,[ ]Skeat1900: (11)
    • To Athenes; of the whiche hit happed thus,
    • That he was slayn, lerning philosophye,
    • Right in that citee, nat but for envye.
    • The grete Minos, of the whiche I speke,[ ]Skeat1900: 1900
    • His sones deeth is comen for to wreke;
    • Edition: current; Page: [148]
    • Alcathoe he bisegeth harde and longe.[ ]
    • But natheles the walles be so stronge,
    • And Nisus, that was king of that citee,
    • So chivalrous, that litel dredeth he;Skeat1900: 1905
    • Of Minos or his ost took he no cure,Skeat1900: (21)
    • Til on a day befel an aventure,
    • That Nisus doghter stood upon the wal,[ ]
    • And of the sege saw the maner al.
    • So happed hit, that, at a scarmishing,Skeat1900: 1910
    • She caste her herte upon Minos the king,[ ]
    • For his beautee and for his chivalrye,
    • So sore, that she wende for to dye.
    • And, shortly of this proces for to pace,
    • She made Minos winnen thilke place,Skeat1900: 1915
    • So that the citee was al at his wille,Skeat1900: (31)
    • To saven whom him list, or elles spille;
    • But wikkedly he quitte her kindenesse,
    • And let her drenche in sorowe and distresse,
    • Nere that the goddes hadde of her pite;Skeat1900: 1920
    • But that tale were to long as now for me.
    • Athenes wan this king Minos also,[ ]
    • And Alcathoe and other tounes mo;
    • And this theffect, that Minos hath so driven
    • Hem of Athenes, that they mote him yiven[ ]Skeat1900: 1925
    • Fro yere to yere her owne children dereSkeat1900: (41)
    • For to be slayn, as ye shul after here.
    • This Minos hath a monstre, a wikked beste,[ ]
    • That was so cruel that, without areste,
    • Whan that a man was broght in his presence,Skeat1900: 1930
    • He wolde him ete, ther helpeth no defence.
    • And every thridde yeer, with-outen doute,[ ]
    • They casten lot, and, as hit com aboute
    • Edition: current; Page: [149]
    • On riche, on pore, he moste his sone take,
    • And of his child he moste present makeSkeat1900: 1935
    • Unto Minos, to save him or to spille,Skeat1900: (51)
    • Or lete his beste devoure him at his wille.
    • And this hath Minos don, right in despyt;
    • To wreke his sone was set al his delyt,
    • And maken hem of Athenes his thralSkeat1900: 1940
    • Fro yere to yere, whyl that he liven shal;
    • And hoom he saileth whan this toun is wonne.
    • This wikked custom is so longe y-ronne
    • Til that of Athenes king Egeus
    • Mot sende his owne sone, Theseus,Skeat1900: 1945
    • Sith that the lot is fallen him upon,Skeat1900: (61)
    • To be devoured, for grace is ther non.
    • And forth is lad this woful yonge knight
    • Unto the court of king Minos ful right,
    • And in a prison, fetered, cast is heSkeat1900: 1950
    • Til thilke tyme he sholde y-freten be.
    • Wel maystow wepe, O woful Theseus,
    • That art a kinges sone, and dampned thus.
    • Me thinketh this, that thou were depe y-holde[ ]
    • To whom that saved thee fro cares colde!Skeat1900: 1955
    • And now, if any woman helpe thee,Skeat1900: (71)
    • Wel oughtestow her servant for to be,
    • And been her trewe lover yeer by yere!
    • But now to come ageyn to my matere.
    • The tour, ther as this Theseus is throwe[ ]Skeat1900: 1960
    • Doun in the botom derke and wonder lowe,
    • Was ioyning in the walle to a foreyne;
    • And hit was longing to the doghtren tweyne
    • Edition: current; Page: [150]
    • Of king Minos, that in hir chambres grete
    • Dwelten above, toward the maister-strete,Skeat1900: 1965
    • In mochel mirthe, in Ioye and in solas.[ ]Skeat1900: (81)
    • Not I nat how, hit happed ther, per cas,
    • As Theseus compleyned him by nighte,
    • The kinges doghter, Adrian that highte,[ ]
    • And eek her suster Phedra, herden alSkeat1900: 1970
    • His compleyning, as they stode on the wal
    • And lokeden upon the brighte mone;
    • Hem leste nat to go to bedde sone.
    • And of his wo they had compassioun;
    • A kinges sone to ben in swich prisounSkeat1900: 1975
    • And be devoured, thoughte hem gret pitee.Skeat1900: (91)
    • Than Adrian spak to her suster free,
    • And seyde, ‘Phedra, leve suster dere,
    • This woful lordes sone may ye nat here,
    • How pitously compleyneth he his kin,Skeat1900: 1980
    • And eek his pore estat that he is in,
    • And gilteless? now certes, hit is routhe!
    • And if ye wol assenten, by my trouthe,
    • He shal be holpen, how so that we do!’
    • Phedra answerde, ‘y-wis, me is as woSkeat1900: 1985
    • For him as ever I was for any man;Skeat1900: (101)
    • And, to his help, the beste reed I can
    • Is that we doon the gayler prively
    • To come, and speke with us hastily,
    • And doon this woful man with him to come.[ ]Skeat1900: 1990
    • For if he may this monstre overcome,
    • Than were he quit; ther is noon other bote.
    • Lat us wel taste him at his herte-rote,
    • Edition: current; Page: [151]
    • That, if so be that he a wepen have,
    • Wher that he dar, his lyf to kepe and save,Skeat1900: 1995
    • Fighten with this fend, and him defende.[ ]Skeat1900: (111)
    • For, in the prison, ther he shal descende,[ ]
    • Ye wite wel, that the beste is in a place
    • That nis nat derk, and hath roum eek and space
    • To welde an ax or swerd or staf or knyf,Skeat1900: 2000
    • So that, me thinketh, he sholde save his lyf;
    • If that he be a man, he shal do so.
    • And we shul make him balles eek also
    • Of wexe and towe, that, whan he gapeth faste,[ ]
    • Into the bestes throte he shal hem casteSkeat1900: 2005
    • To slake his hunger and encombre his teeth;Skeat1900: (121)
    • And right anon, whan that Theseus seeth
    • The beste achoked, he shal on him lepe
    • To sleen him, or they comen more to-hepe.[ ]
    • This wepen shal the gayler, or that tyde,Skeat1900: 2010
    • Ful privily within the prison hyde;
    • And, for the hous is crinkled to and fro,[ ]
    • And hath so queinte weyes for to go—
    • For hit is shapen as the mase is wroght—
    • Therto have I a remedie in my thoght,Skeat1900: 2015
    • That, by a clewe of twyne, as he hath goon,Skeat1900: (131)
    • The same wey he may returne anoon,