Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins
Incipit Liber Secundus: Part 1
Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4
Inuidie culpa magis est attrita dolore, Nam sua mens nullo tempore leta manet: Quo gaudent alii, dolet ille, nec vnus amicus Est, cui de puro comoda velle facit. Proximitatis honor sua corda veretur, et omnis Est sibi leticia sic aliena dolor. Hoc etenim vicium quam sepe repugnat amanti, Non sibi, set reliquis, dum fauet ipsa Venus. Est amor ex proprio motu fantasticus, et que Gaudia fert alius, credit obesse sibi. 1 Now after Pride the secounde 2 Ther is, which many a woful stounde 3 Towardes othre berth aboute 4 Withinne himself and noght withoute; 5 For in his thoght he brenneth evere, 6 Whan that he wot an other levere 7 Or more vertuous than he, 8 Which passeth him in his degre; 9 Therof he takth his maladie: 10 That vice is cleped hot Envie. 11 Forthi, my Sone, if it be so 12 Thou art or hast ben on of tho, 13 As forto speke in loves cas, 14 If evere yit thin herte was 15 Sek of an other mannes hele? 16 So god avance my querele, 17 Mi fader, ye, a thousend sithe: 18 Whanne I have sen an other blithe 19 Of love, and hadde a goodly chiere, 20 Ethna, which brenneth yer be yere, 21 Was thanne noght so hot as I 22 Of thilke Sor which prively 23 Min hertes thoght withinne brenneth. 24 The Schip which on the wawes renneth, 25 And is forstormed and forblowe, 26 Is noght more peined for a throwe 27 Than I am thanne, whanne I se 28 An other which that passeth me 29 In that fortune of loves yifte. 30 Bot, fader, this I telle in schrifte, 31 That is nowher bot in o place; 32 For who that lese or finde grace 33 In other stede, it mai noght grieve: 34 Bot this ye mai riht wel believe, 35 Toward mi ladi that I serve, 36 Thogh that I wiste forto sterve, 37 Min herte is full of such sotie, 38 That I myself mai noght chastie. 39 Whan I the Court se of Cupide 40 Aproche unto my ladi side 41 Of hem that lusti ben and freisshe,- 42 Thogh it availe hem noght a reisshe, 43 Bot only that thei ben in speche,- 44 My sorwe is thanne noght to seche: 45 Bot whan thei rounen in hire Ere, 46 Than groweth al my moste fere, 47 And namly whan thei talen longe; 48 My sorwes thanne be so stronge 49 Of that I se hem wel at ese, 50 I can noght telle my desese. 51 Bot, Sire, as of my ladi selve, 52 Thogh sche have wowers ten or twelve, 53 For no mistrust I have of hire 54 Me grieveth noght, for certes, Sire, 55 I trowe, in al this world to seche, 56 Nis womman that in dede and speche 57 Woll betre avise hire what sche doth, 58 Ne betre, forto seie a soth, 59 Kepe hire honour ate alle tide, 60 And yit get hire a thank beside. 61 Bot natheles I am beknowe, 62 That whanne I se at eny throwe, 63 Or elles if I mai it hiere, 64 That sche make eny man good chiere, 65 Thogh I therof have noght to done, 66 Mi thought wol entermette him sone. 67 For thogh I be miselve strange, 68 Envie makth myn herte change, 69 That I am sorghfully bestad 70 Of that I se an other glad 71 With hire; bot of other alle, 72 Of love what so mai befalle, 73 Or that he faile or that he spede, 74 Therof take I bot litel heede. 75 Now have I seid, my fader, al 76 As of this point in special, 77 Als ferforthli as I have wist. 78 Now axeth further what you list. 79 Mi Sone, er I axe eny more, 80 I thenke somdiel for thi lore 81 Telle an ensample of this matiere 82 Touchende Envie, as thou schalt hiere. 83 Write in Civile this I finde: 84 Thogh it be noght the houndes kinde 85 To ete chaf, yit wol he werne 86 An Oxe which comth to the berne, 87 Therof to taken eny fode. 88 And thus, who that it understode, 89 It stant of love in many place: 90 Who that is out of loves grace 91 And mai himselven noght availe, 92 He wolde an other scholde faile; 93 And if he may put eny lette, 94 He doth al that he mai to lette. 95 Wherof I finde, as thou schalt wite, 96 To this pourpos a tale write. 97 Ther ben of suche mo than twelve, 98 That ben noght able as of hemselve 99 To gete love, and for Envie 100 Upon alle othre thei aspie; 101 And for hem lacketh that thei wolde, 102 Thei kepte that non other scholde 103 Touchende of love his cause spede: 104 Wherof a gret ensample I rede, 105 Which unto this matiere acordeth, 106 As Ovide in his bok recordeth, 107 How Poliphemus whilom wroghte, 108 Whan that he Galathee besoghte 109 Of love, which he mai noght lacche. 110 That made him forto waite and wacche 111 Be alle weies how it ferde, 112 Til ate laste he knew and herde 113 How that an other hadde leve 114 To love there as he mot leve, 115 As forto speke of eny sped: 116 So that he knew non other red, 117 Bot forto wayten upon alle, 118 Til he may se the chance falle 119 That he hire love myhte grieve, 120 Which he himself mai noght achieve. 121 This Galathee, seith the Poete, 122 Above alle othre was unmete 123 Of beaute, that men thanne knewe, 124 And hadde a lusti love and trewe, 125 A Bacheler in his degree, 126 Riht such an other as was sche, 127 On whom sche hath hire herte set, 128 So that it myhte noght be let 129 For yifte ne for no beheste, 130 That sche ne was al at his heste. 131 This yonge knyht Acis was hote, 132 Which hire ayeinward als so hote 133 Al only loveth and nomo. 134 Hierof was Poliphemus wo 135 Thurgh pure Envie, and evere aspide, 136 And waiteth upon every side, 137 Whan he togedre myhte se 138 This yonge Acis with Galathe. 139 So longe he waiteth to and fro, 140 Til ate laste he fond hem tuo, 141 In prive place wher thei stode 142 To speke and have here wordes goode. 143 The place wher as he hem syh, 144 It was under a banke nyh 145 The grete See, and he above 146 Stod and behield the lusti love 147 Which ech of hem to other made 148 With goodly chiere and wordes glade, 149 That al his herte hath set afyre 150 Of pure Envie: and as a fyre 151 Which fleth out of a myhti bowe, 152 Aweie he fledde for a throwe, 153 As he that was for love wod, 154 Whan that he sih how that it stod. 155 This Polipheme a Geant was; 156 And whan he sih the sothe cas, 157 How Galathee him hath forsake 158 And Acis to hire love take, 159 His herte mai it noght forbere 160 That he ne roreth lich a Bere; 161 And as it were a wilde beste, 162 The whom no reson mihte areste, 163 He ran Ethna the hell aboute, 164 Wher nevere yit the fyr was oute, 165 Fulfild of sorghe and gret desese, 166 That he syh Acis wel at ese. 167 Til ate laste he him bethoghte, 168 As he which al Envie soghte, 169 And torneth to the banke ayein, 170 Wher he with Galathee hath seyn 171 Acis, whom that he thoghte grieve, 172 Thogh he himself mai noght relieve. 173 This Geant with his ruide myht 174 Part of the banke he schof doun riht, 175 The which evene upon Acis fell, 176 So that with fallinge of this hell 177 This Poliphemus Acis slowh, 178 Wherof sche made sorwe ynowh. 179 And as sche fledde fro the londe, 180 Neptunus tok hire into honde 181 And kept hire in so sauf a place 182 Fro Polipheme and his manace, 183 That he with al his false Envie 184 Ne mihte atteigne hir compaignie. 185 This Galathee of whom I speke, 186 That of hirself mai noght be wreke, 187 Withouten eny semblant feigned 188 Sche hath hire loves deth compleigned, 189 And with hire sorwe and with hire wo 190 Sche hath the goddes moeved so, 191 That thei of pite and of grace 192 Have Acis in the same place, 193 Ther he lai ded, into a welle 194 Transformed, as the bokes telle, 195 With freisshe stremes and with cliere, 196 As he whilom with lusti chiere 197 Was freissh his love forto qweme. 198 And with this ruide Polipheme 199 For his Envie and for his hate 200 Thei were wrothe. And thus algate, 201 Mi Sone, thou myht understonde, 202 That if thou wolt in grace stonde 203 With love, thou most leve Envie: 204 And as thou wolt for thi partie 205 Toward thi love stonde fre, 206 So most thou soffre an other be, 207 What so befalle upon the chaunce: 208 For it is an unwys vengance, 209 Which to non other man is lief, 210 And is unto himselve grief. 211 Mi fader, this ensample is good; 212 Bot how so evere that it stod 213 With Poliphemes love as tho, 214 It schal noght stonde with me so, 215 To worchen eny felonie 216 In love for no such Envie. 217 Forthi if ther oght elles be, 218 Now axeth forth, in what degre 219 It is, and I me schal confesse 220 With schrifte unto youre holinesse. 221 Mi goode Sone, yit ther is 222 A vice revers unto this, 223 Which envious takth his gladnesse 224 Of that he seth the hevinesse 225 Of othre men: for his welfare 226 Is whanne he wot an other care: 227 Of that an other hath a fall, 228 He thenkth himself arist withal. 229 Such is the gladschipe of Envie 230 In worldes thing, and in partie 231 Fulofte times ek also 232 In loves cause it stant riht so. 233 If thou, my Sone, hast joie had, 234 Whan thou an other sihe unglad, 235 Schrif the therof. Mi fader, yis: 236 I am beknowe unto you this. 237 Of these lovers that loven streyte, 238 And for that point which thei coveite 239 Ben poursuiantz fro yeer to yere 240 In loves Court, whan I may hiere 241 How that thei clymbe upon the whel, 242 And whan thei wene al schal be wel, 243 Thei ben doun throwen ate laste, 244 Thanne am I fedd of that thei faste, 245 And lawhe of that I se hem loure; 246 And thus of that thei brewe soure 247 I drinke swete, and am wel esed 248 Of that I wot thei ben desesed. 249 Bot this which I you telle hiere 250 Is only for my lady diere; 251 That for non other that I knowe 252 Me reccheth noght who overthrowe, 253 Ne who that stonde in love upriht: 254 Bot be he squier, be he knyht, 255 Which to my ladiward poursuieth, 256 The more he lest of that he suieth, 257 The mor me thenketh that I winne, 258 And am the more glad withinne 259 Of that I wot him sorwe endure. 260 For evere upon such aventure 261 It is a confort, as men sein, 262 To him the which is wo besein 263 To sen an other in his peine, 264 So that thei bothe mai compleigne. 265 Wher I miself mai noght availe 266 To sen an other man travaile, 267 I am riht glad if he be let; 268 And thogh I fare noght the bet, 269 His sorwe is to myn herte a game: 270 Whan that I knowe it is the same 271 Which to mi ladi stant enclined, 272 And hath his love noght termined, 273 I am riht joifull in my thoght. 274 If such Envie grieveth oght, 275 As I beknowe me coupable, 276 Ye that be wys and resonable, 277 Mi fader, telleth youre avis. 278 Mi Sone, Envie into no pris 279 Of such a forme, I understonde, 280 Ne mihte be no resoun stonde 281 For this Envie hath such a kinde, 282 That he wole sette himself behinde 283 To hindre with an othre wyht, 284 And gladly lese his oghne riht 285 To make an other lesen his. 286 And forto knowe how it so is, 287 A tale lich to this matiere 288 I thenke telle, if thou wolt hiere, 289 To schewe proprely the vice 290 Of this Envie and the malice. 291 Of Jupiter this finde I write, 292 How whilom that he wolde wite 293 Upon the pleigntes whiche he herde, 294 Among the men how that it ferde, 295 As of here wrong condicion 296 To do justificacion: 297 And for that cause doun he sente 298 An Angel, which about wente, 299 That he the sothe knowe mai. 300 So it befell upon a dai 301 This Angel, which him scholde enforme, 302 Was clothed in a mannes forme, 303 And overtok, I understonde, 304 Tuo men that wenten over londe, 305 Thurgh whiche he thoghte to aspie 306 His cause, and goth in compaignie. 307 This Angel with hise wordes wise 308 Opposeth hem in sondri wise, 309 Now lowde wordes and now softe, 310 That mad hem to desputen ofte, 311 And ech of hem his reson hadde. 312 And thus with tales he hem ladde 313 With good examinacioun, 314 Til he knew the condicioun, 315 What men thei were bothe tuo; 316 And sih wel ate laste tho, 317 That on of hem was coveitous, 318 And his fela was envious. 319 And thus, whan he hath knowlechinge, 320 Anon he feigneth departinge, 321 And seide he mot algate wende. 322 Bot herkne now what fell at ende: 323 For thanne he made hem understonde 324 That he was there of goddes sonde, 325 And seide hem, for the kindeschipe 326 That thei have don him felaschipe, 327 He wole hem do som grace ayein, 328 And bad that on of hem schal sein 329 What thing him is lievest to crave, 330 And he it schal of yifte have; 331 And over that ek forth withal 332 He seith that other have schal 333 The double of that his felaw axeth; 334 And thus to hem his grace he taxeth. 335 The coveitous was wonder glad, 336 And to that other man he bad 337 And seith that he ferst axe scholde: 338 For he supposeth that he wolde 339 Make his axinge of worldes good; 340 For thanne he knew wel how it stod, 341 That he himself be double weyhte 342 Schal after take, and thus be sleyhte, 343 Be cause that he wolde winne, 344 He bad his fela ferst beginne. 345 This Envious, thogh it be late, 346 Whan that he syh he mot algate 347 Make his axinge ferst, he thoghte, 348 If he worschipe or profit soghte, 349 It schal be doubled to his fiere: 350 That wolde he chese in no manere. 351 Bot thanne he scheweth what he was 352 Toward Envie, and in this cas 353 Unto this Angel thus he seide 354 And for his yifte this he preide, 355 To make him blind of his on yhe, 356 So that his fela nothing syhe. 357 This word was noght so sone spoke, 358 That his on yhe anon was loke, 359 And his felawh forthwith also 360 Was blind of bothe his yhen tuo. 361 Tho was that other glad ynowh, 362 That on wepte, and that other lowh, 363 He sette his on yhe at no cost, 364 Wherof that other two hath lost. 365 Of thilke ensample which fell tho, 366 Men tellen now fulofte so, 367 The world empeireth comunly: 368 And yit wot non the cause why; 369 For it acordeth noght to kinde 370 Min oghne harm to seche and finde 371 Of that I schal my brother grieve; 372 It myhte nevere wel achieve. 373 What seist thou, Sone, of this folie? 374 Mi fader, bot I scholde lie, 375 Upon the point which ye have seid 376 Yit was myn herte nevere leid, 377 Bot in the wise as I you tolde. 378 Bot overmore, if that ye wolde 379 Oght elles to my schrifte seie 380 Touchende Envie, I wolde preie. 381 Mi Sone, that schal wel be do: 382 Now herkne and ley thin Ere to. 383 Touchende as of Envious brod 384 I wot noght on of alle good; 385 Bot natheles, suche as thei be, 386 Yit is ther on, and that is he 387 Which cleped in Detraccioun. 388 And to conferme his accioun, 389 He hath withholde Malebouche, 390 Whos tunge neither pyl ne crouche 391 Mai hyre, so that he pronounce 392 A plein good word withoute frounce 393 Awher behinde a mannes bak. 394 For thogh he preise, he fint som lak, 395 Which of his tale is ay the laste, 396 That al the pris schal overcaste: 397 And thogh ther be no cause why, 398 Yit wole he jangle noght forthi, 399 As he which hath the heraldie 400 Of hem that usen forto lye. 401 For as the Netle which up renneth 402 The freisshe rede Roses brenneth 403 And makth hem fade and pale of hewe, 404 Riht so this fals Envious hewe, 405 In every place wher he duelleth, 406 With false wordes whiche he telleth 407 He torneth preisinge into blame 408 And worschipe into worldes schame. 409 Of such lesinge as he compasseth, 410 Is non so good that he ne passeth 411 Betwen his teeth and is bacbited, 412 And thurgh his false tunge endited: 413 Lich to the Scharnebudes kinde, 414 Of whos nature this I finde, 415 That in the hoteste of the dai, 416 Whan comen is the merie Maii, 417 He sprat his wynge and up he fleth: 418 And under al aboute he seth 419 The faire lusti floures springe, 420 Bot therof hath he no likinge; 421 Bot where he seth of eny beste 422 The felthe, ther he makth his feste, 423 And therupon he wole alyhte, 424 Ther liketh him non other sihte. 425 Riht so this janglere Envious, 426 Thogh he a man se vertuous 427 And full of good condicioun, 428 Therof makth he no mencioun: 429 Bot elles, be it noght so lyte, 430 Wherof that he mai sette a wyte, 431 Ther renneth he with open mouth, 432 Behinde a man and makth it couth. 433 Bot al the vertu which he can, 434 That wole he hide of every man, 435 And openly the vice telle, 436 As he which of the Scole of helle 437 Is tawht, and fostred with Envie 438 Of houshold and of compaignie, 439 Wher that he hath his propre office 440 To sette on every man a vice. 441 How so his mouth be comely, 442 His word sit evermore awry 443 And seith the worste that he may. 444 And in this wise now a day 445 In loves Court a man mai hiere 446 Fulofte pleigne of this matiere, 447 That many envious tale is stered, 448 Wher that it mai noght ben ansuered; 449 Bot yit fulofte it is believed, 450 And many a worthi love is grieved 451 Thurgh bacbitinge of fals Envie. 452 If thou have mad such janglerie 453 In loves Court, mi Sone, er this, 454 Schrif thee therof. Mi fader, yis: 455 Bot wite ye how? noght openly, 456 Bot otherwhile prively, 457 Whan I my diere ladi mete, 458 And thenke how that I am noght mete 459 Unto hire hihe worthinesse, 460 And ek I se the besinesse 461 Of al this yonge lusty route, 462 Whiche alday pressen hire aboute, 463 And ech of hem his time awaiteth, 464 And ech of hem his tale affaiteth, 465 Al to deceive an innocent, 466 Which woll noght ben of here assent; 467 And for men sein unknowe unkest, 468 Hire thombe sche holt in hire fest 469 So clos withinne hire oghne hond, 470 That there winneth noman lond; 471 Sche lieveth noght al that sche hiereth, 472 And thus fulofte hirself sche skiereth 473 And is al war of "hadde I wist":- 474 Bot for al that myn herte arist, 475 Whanne I thes comun lovers se, 476 That woll noght holden hem to thre, 477 Bot welnyh loven overal, 478 Min herte is Envious withal, 479 And evere I am adrad of guile, 480 In aunter if with eny wyle 481 Thei mihte hire innocence enchaunte. 482 Forthi my wordes ofte I haunte 483 Behynden hem, so as I dar, 484 Wherof my ladi may be war: 485 I sai what evere comth to mowthe, 486 And worse I wolde, if that I cowthe; 487 For whanne I come unto hir speche, 488 Al that I may enquere and seche 489 Of such deceipte, I telle it al, 490 And ay the werste in special. 491 So fayn I wolde that sche wiste 492 How litel thei ben forto triste, 493 And what thei wolde and what thei mente, 494 So as thei be of double entente: 495 Thus toward hem that wicke mene 496 My wicked word was evere grene. 497 And natheles, the soth to telle, 498 In certain if it so befelle 499 That althertrewest man ybore, 500 To chese among a thousend score, 501 Which were alfulli forto triste, 502 Mi ladi lovede, and I it wiste, 503 Yit rathere thanne he scholde spede, 504 I wolde swiche tales sprede 505 To my ladi, if that I myhte, 506 That I scholde al his love unrihte, 507 And therto wolde I do mi peine. 508 For certes thogh I scholde feigne, 509 And telle that was nevere thoght, 510 For al this world I myhte noght 511 To soffre an othre fully winne, 512 Ther as I am yit to beginne. 513 For be thei goode, or be thei badde, 514 I wolde non my ladi hadde; 515 And that me makth fulofte aspie 516 And usen wordes of Envie, 517 Al forto make hem bere a blame. 518 And that is bot of thilke same, 519 The whiche unto my ladi drawe, 520 For evere on hem I rounge and gknawe 521 And hindre hem al that evere I mai; 522 And that is, sothly forto say, 523 Bot only to my lady selve: 524 I telle it noght to ten ne tuelve, 525 Therof I wol me wel avise, 526 To speke or jangle in eny wise 527 That toucheth to my ladi name, 528 The which in ernest and in game 529 I wolde save into my deth; 530 For me were levere lacke breth 531 Than speken of hire name amis. 532 Now have ye herd touchende of this, 533 Mi fader, in confessioun: 534 And therfor of Detraccioun 535 In love, of that I have mispoke, 536 Tel how ye wole it schal be wroke. 537 I am al redy forto bere 538 Mi peine, and also to forbere 539 What thing that ye wol noght allowe; 540 For who is bounden, he mot bowe. 541 So wol I bowe unto youre heste, 542 For I dar make this beheste, 543 That I to yow have nothing hid, 544 Bot told riht as it is betid; 545 And otherwise of no mispeche, 546 Mi conscience forto seche, 547 I can noght of Envie finde, 548 That I mispoke have oght behinde 549 Wherof love owhte be mispaid. 550 Now have ye herd and I have said; 551 What wol ye, fader, that I do? 552 Mi Sone, do nomore so, 553 Bot evere kep thi tunge stille, 554 Thou miht the more have of thi wille. 555 For as thou saist thiselven here, 556 Thi ladi is of such manere, 557 So wys, so war in alle thinge, 558 It nedeth of no bakbitinge 559 That thou thi ladi mis enforme: 560 For whan sche knoweth al the forme, 561 How that thiself art envious, 562 Thou schalt noght be so gracious 563 As thou peraunter scholdest elles. 564 Ther wol noman drinke of tho welles 565 Whiche as he wot is puyson inne; 566 And ofte swich as men beginne 567 Towardes othre, swich thei finde, 568 That set hem ofte fer behinde, 569 Whan that thei wene be before. 570 Mi goode Sone, and thou therfore 571 Bewar and lef thi wicke speche, 572 Wherof hath fallen ofte wreche 573 To many a man befor this time. 574 For who so wole his handes lime, 575 Thei mosten be the more unclene; 576 For many a mote schal be sene, 577 That wolde noght cleve elles there; 578 And that schold every wys man fere: 579 For who so wol an other blame, 580 He secheth ofte his oghne schame, 581 Which elles myhte be riht stille. 582 Forthi if that it be thi wille 583 To stonde upon amendement, 584 A tale of gret entendement 585 I thenke telle for thi sake, 586 Wherof thou miht ensample take. 587 A worthi kniht in Cristes lawe 588 Of grete Rome, as is the sawe, 589 The Sceptre hadde forto rihte; 590 Tiberie Constantin he hihte, 591 Whos wif was cleped Ytalie: 592 Bot thei togedre of progenie 593 No children hadde bot a Maide; 594 And sche the god so wel apaide, 595 That al the wide worldes fame 596 Spak worschipe of hire goode name. 597 Constance, as the Cronique seith, 598 Sche hihte, and was so ful of feith, 599 That the greteste of Barbarie, 600 Of hem whiche usen marchandie, 601 Sche hath converted, as thei come 602 To hire upon a time in Rome, 603 To schewen such thing as thei broghte; 604 Whiche worthili of hem sche boghte, 605 And over that in such a wise 606 Sche hath hem with hire wordes wise 607 Of Cristes feith so full enformed, 608 That thei therto ben all conformed, 609 So that baptesme thei receiven 610 And alle here false goddes weyven. 611 Whan thei ben of the feith certein, 612 Thei gon to Barbarie ayein, 613 And ther the Souldan for hem sente 614 And axeth hem to what entente 615 Thei have here ferste feith forsake. 616 And thei, whiche hadden undertake 617 The rihte feith to kepe and holde, 618 The matiere of here tale tolde 619 With al the hole circumstance. 620 And whan the Souldan of Constance 621 Upon the point that thei ansuerde 622 The beaute and the grace herde, 623 As he which thanne was to wedde, 624 In alle haste his cause spedde 625 To sende for the mariage. 626 And furthermor with good corage 627 He seith, be so he mai hire have, 628 That Crist, which cam this world to save, 629 He woll believe: and this recorded, 630 Thei ben on either side acorded, 631 And therupon to make an ende 632 The Souldan hise hostages sende 633 To Rome, of Princes Sones tuelve: 634 Wherof the fader in himselve 635 Was glad, and with the Pope avised 636 Tuo Cardinals he hath assissed 637 With othre lordes many mo, 638 That with his doghter scholden go, 639 To se the Souldan be converted. 640 Bot that which nevere was wel herted, 641 Envie, tho began travaile 642 In destourbance of this spousaile 643 So prively that non was war. 644 The Moder which this Souldan bar 645 Was thanne alyve, and thoghte this 646 Unto hirself: "If it so is 647 Mi Sone him wedde in this manere, 648 Than have I lost my joies hiere, 649 For myn astat schal so be lassed." 650 Thenkende thus sche hath compassed 651 Be sleihte how that sche may beguile 652 Hire Sone; and fell withinne a while, 653 Betwen hem two whan that thei were, 654 Sche feigneth wordes in his Ere, 655 And in this wise gan to seie: 656 "Mi Sone, I am be double weie 657 With al myn herte glad and blithe, 658 For that miself have ofte sithe 659 Desired thou wolt, as men seith, 660 Receive and take a newe feith, 661 Which schal be forthringe of thi lif: 662 And ek so worschipful a wif, 663 The doughter of an Emperour, 664 To wedde it schal be gret honour. 665 Forthi, mi Sone, I you beseche 666 That I such grace mihte areche, 667 Whan that my doughter come schal, 668 That I mai thanne in special, 669 So as me thenkth it is honeste, 670 Be thilke which the ferste feste 671 Schal make unto hire welcominge." 672 The Souldan granteth hire axinge, 673 And sche therof was glad ynowh: 674 For under that anon sche drowh 675 With false wordes that sche spak 676 Covine of deth behinde his bak. 677 And therupon hire ordinance 678 She made so, that whan Constance 679 Was come forth with the Romeins, 680 Of clerkes and of Citezeins, 681 A riche feste sche hem made: 682 And most whan that thei weren glade, 683 With fals covine which sche hadde 684 Hire clos Envie tho sche spradde, 685 And alle tho that hadden be 686 Or in apert or in prive 687 Of conseil to the mariage, 688 Sche slowh hem in a sodein rage 689 Endlong the bord as thei be set, 690 So that it myhte noght be let; 691 Hire oghne Sone was noght quit, 692 Bot deide upon the same plit. 693 Bot what the hihe god wol spare 694 It mai for no peril misfare: 695 This worthi Maiden which was there 696 Stod thanne, as who seith, ded for feere, 697 To se the feste how that it stod, 698 Which al was torned into blod: 699 The Dissh forthwith the Coppe and al 700 Bebled thei weren overal; 701 Sche sih hem deie on every side; 702 No wonder thogh sche wepte and cride 703 Makende many a wofull mone. 704 Whan al was slain bot sche al one, 705 This olde fend, this Sarazine, 706 Let take anon this Constantine 707 With al the good sche thider broghte, 708 And hath ordeined, as sche thoghte, 709 A nakid Schip withoute stiere, 710 In which the good and hire in fiere, 711 Vitailed full for yeres fyve, 712 Wher that the wynd it wolde dryve, 713 Sche putte upon the wawes wilde. 714 Bot he which alle thing mai schilde, 715 Thre yer, til that sche cam to londe, 716 Hire Schip to stiere hath take in honde, 717 And in Northumberlond aryveth; 718 And happeth thanne that sche dryveth 719 Under a Castel with the flod, 720 Which upon Humber banke stod 721 And was the kynges oghne also, 722 The which Allee was cleped tho, 723 A Saxon and a worthi knyht, 724 Bot he believed noght ariht. 725 Of this Castell was Chastellein 726 Elda the kinges Chamberlein, 727 A knyhtly man after his lawe; 728 And whan he sih upon the wawe 729 The Schip drivende al one so, 730 He bad anon men scholden go 731 To se what it betokne mai. 732 This was upon a Somer dai, 733 The Schip was loked and sche founde; 734 Elda withinne a litel stounde 735 It wiste, and with his wif anon 736 Toward this yonge ladi gon, 737 Wher that thei founden gret richesse; 738 Bot sche hire wolde noght confesse, 739 Whan thei hire axen what sche was. 740 And natheles upon the cas 741 Out of the Schip with gret worschipe 742 Thei toke hire into felaschipe, 743 As thei that weren of hir glade: 744 Bot sche no maner joie made, 745 Bot sorweth sore of that sche fond 746 No cristendom in thilke lond; 747 Bot elles sche hath al hire wille, 748 And thus with hem sche duelleth stille. 749 Dame Hermyngheld, which was the wif 750 Of Elda, lich hire oghne lif 751 Constance loveth; and fell so, 752 Spekende alday betwen hem two, 753 Thurgh grace of goddes pourveance 754 This maiden tawhte the creance 755 Unto this wif so parfitly, 756 Upon a dai that faste by 757 In presence of hire housebonde, 758 Wher thei go walkende on the Stronde, 759 A blind man, which cam there lad, 760 Unto this wif criende he bad, 761 With bothe hise hondes up and preide 762 To hire, and in this wise he seide: 763 "O Hermyngeld, which Cristes feith, 764 Enformed as Constance seith, 765 Received hast, yif me my sihte." 766 Upon his word hire herte afflihte 767 Thenkende what was best to done, 768 Bot natheles sche herde his bone 769 And seide, "In trust of Cristes lawe, 770 Which don was on the crois and slawe, 771 Thou bysne man, behold and se." 772 With that to god upon his kne 773 Thonkende he tok his sihte anon, 774 Wherof thei merveile everychon, 775 Bot Elda wondreth most of alle: 776 This open thing which is befalle 777 Concludeth him be such a weie, 778 That he the feith mot nede obeie. 779 Now lest what fell upon this thing. 780 This Elda forth unto the king 781 A morwe tok his weie and rod, 782 And Hermyngeld at home abod 783 Forth with Constance wel at ese. 784 Elda, which thoghte his king to plese, 785 As he that thanne unwedded was, 786 Of Constance al the pleine cas 787 Als goodliche as he cowthe tolde. 788 The king was glad and seide he wolde 789 Come thider upon such a wise 790 That he him mihte of hire avise, 791 The time apointed forth withal. 792 This Elda triste in special 793 Upon a knyht, whom fro childhode 794 He hadde updrawe into manhode: 795 To him he tolde al that he thoghte, 796 Wherof that after him forthoghte; 797 And natheles at thilke tide 798 Unto his wif he bad him ride 799 To make redi alle thing 800 Ayein the cominge of the king, 801 And seith that he himself tofore 802 Thenkth forto come, and bad therfore 803 That he him kepe, and told him whanne. 804 This knyht rod forth his weie thanne; 805 And soth was that of time passed 806 He hadde in al his wit compassed 807 How he Constance myhte winne; 808 Bot he sih tho no sped therinne, 809 Wherof his lust began tabate, 810 And that was love is thanne hate; 811 Of hire honour he hadde Envie, 812 So that upon his tricherie 813 A lesinge in his herte he caste. 814 Til he cam home he hieth faste, 815 And doth his ladi tunderstonde 816 The Message of hire housebonde: 817 And therupon the longe dai 818 Thei setten thinges in arrai, 819 That al was as it scholde be 820 Of every thing in his degree; 821 And whan it cam into the nyht, 822 This wif hire hath to bedde dyht, 823 Wher that this Maiden with hire lay. 824 This false knyht upon delay 825 Hath taried til thei were aslepe, 826 As he that wolde his time kepe 827 His dedly werkes to fulfille; 828 And to the bed he stalketh stille, 829 Wher that he wiste was the wif, 830 And in his hond a rasour knif 831 He bar, with which hire throte he cutte, 832 And prively the knif he putte 833 Under that other beddes side, 834 Wher that Constance lai beside. 835 Elda cam hom the same nyht, 836 And stille with a prive lyht, 837 As he that wolde noght awake 838 His wif, he hath his weie take 839 Into the chambre, and ther liggende 840 He fond his dede wif bledende, 841 Wher that Constance faste by 842 Was falle aslepe; and sodeinly 843 He cride alowd, and sche awok, 844 And forth withal sche caste a lok 845 And sih this ladi blede there, 846 Wherof swoundende ded for fere 847 Sche was, and stille as eny Ston 848 She lay, and Elda therupon 849 Into the Castell clepeth oute, 850 And up sterte every man aboute, 851 Into the chambre and forth thei wente. 852 Bot he, which alle untrouthe mente, 853 This false knyht, among hem alle 854 Upon this thing which is befalle 855 Seith that Constance hath don this dede; 856 And to the bed with that he yede 857 After the falshed of his speche, 858 And made him there forto seche, 859 And fond the knif, wher he it leide, 860 And thanne he cride and thanne he seide, 861 "Lo, seth the knif al blody hiere! 862 What nedeth more in this matiere 863 To axe?" And thus hire innocence 864 He sclaundreth there in audience 865 With false wordes whiche he feigneth. 866 Bot yit for al that evere he pleigneth, 867 Elda no full credence tok: 868 And happeth that ther lay a bok, 869 Upon the which, whan he it sih, 870 This knyht hath swore and seid on hih, 871 That alle men it mihte wite, 872 "Now be this bok, which hier is write, 873 Constance is gultif, wel I wot." 874 With that the hond of hevene him smot 875 In tokne of that he was forswore, 876 That he hath bothe hise yhen lore, 877 Out of his hed the same stounde 878 Thei sterte, and so thei weren founde. 879 A vois was herd, whan that they felle, 880 Which seide, "O dampned man to helle, 881 Lo, thus hath god the sclaundre wroke 882 That thou ayein Constance hast spoke: 883 Beknow the sothe er that thou dye." 884 And he told out his felonie, 885 And starf forth with his tale anon. 886 Into the ground, wher alle gon, 887 This dede lady was begrave: 888 Elda, which thoghte his honour save, 889 Al that he mai restreigneth sorwe. 890 For the seconde day a morwe 891 The king cam, as thei were acorded; 892 And whan it was to him recorded 893 What god hath wroght upon this chaunce, 894 He tok it into remembrance 895 And thoghte more than he seide. 896 For al his hole herte he leide 897 Upon Constance, and seide he scholde 898 For love of hire, if that sche wolde, 899 Baptesme take and Cristes feith 900 Believe, and over that he seith 901 He wol hire wedde, and upon this 902 Asseured ech til other is. 903 And forto make schorte tales, 904 Ther cam a Bisschop out of Wales 905 Fro Bangor, and Lucie he hihte, 906 Which thurgh the grace of god almihte 907 The king with many an other mo 908 Hath cristned, and betwen hem tuo 909 He hath fulfild the mariage. 910 Bot for no lust ne for no rage 911 Sche tolde hem nevere what sche was; 912 And natheles upon the cas 913 The king was glad, how so it stod, 914 For wel he wiste and understod 915 Sche was a noble creature. 916 The hihe makere of nature 917 Hire hath visited in a throwe, 918 That it was openliche knowe 919 Sche was with childe be the king, 920 Wherof above al other thing 921 He thonketh god and was riht glad. 922 And fell that time he was bestad 923 Upon a werre and moste ride; 924 And whil he scholde there abide, 925 He lefte at hom to kepe his wif 926 Suche as he knew of holi lif, 927 Elda forth with the Bisschop eke; 928 And he with pouer goth to seke 929 Ayein the Scottes forto fonde 930 The werre which he tok on honde. 931 The time set of kinde is come, 932 This lady hath hire chambre nome, 933 And of a Sone bore full, 934 Wherof that sche was joiefull, 935 Sche was delivered sauf and sone. 936 The bisshop, as it was to done, 937 Yaf him baptesme and Moris calleth; 938 And therupon, as it befalleth, 939 With lettres writen of record 940 Thei sende unto here liege lord, 941 That kepers weren of the qweene: 942 And he that scholde go betwene, 943 The Messager, to Knaresburgh, 944 Which toun he scholde passe thurgh, 945 Ridende cam the ferste day. 946 The kinges Moder there lay, 947 Whos rihte name was Domilde, 948 Which after al the cause spilde: 949 For he, which thonk deserve wolde, 950 Unto this ladi goth and tolde 951 Of his Message al how it ferde. 952 And sche with feigned joie it herde 953 And yaf him yiftes largely, 954 Bot in the nyht al prively 955 Sche tok the lettres whiche he hadde, 956 Fro point to point and overradde, 957 As sche that was thurghout untrewe, 958 And let do wryten othre newe 959 In stede of hem, and thus thei spieke: 960 "Oure liege lord, we thee beseke 961 That thou with ous ne be noght wroth, 962 Though we such thing as is thee loth 963 Upon oure trowthe certefie. 964 Thi wif, which is of faierie, 965 Of such a child delivered is 966 Fro kinde which stant al amis: 967 Bot for it scholde noght be seie, 968 We have it kept out of the weie 969 For drede of pure worldes schame, 970 A povere child and in the name 971 Of thilke which is so misbore 972 We toke, and therto we be swore, 973 That non bot only thou and we 974 Schal knowen of this privete: 975 Moris it hatte, and thus men wene 976 That it was boren of the qweene 977 And of thin oghne bodi gete. 978 Bot this thing mai noght be foryete, 979 That thou ne sende ous word anon 980 What is thi wille therupon." 981 This lettre, as thou hast herd devise, 982 Was contrefet in such a wise 983 That noman scholde it aperceive: 984 And sche, which thoghte to deceive, 985 It leith wher sche that other tok. 986 This Messager, whan he awok, 987 And wiste nothing how it was, 988 Aros and rod the grete pas 989 And tok this lettre to the king. 990 And whan he sih this wonder thing, 991 He makth the Messager no chiere, 992 Bot natheles in wys manere 993 He wrote ayein, and yaf hem charge 994 That thei ne soffre noght at large 995 His wif to go, bot kepe hire stille, 996 Til thei have herd mor of his wille. 997 This Messager was yifteles, 998 Bot with this lettre natheles, 999 Or be him lief or be him loth, 1000 In alle haste ayein he goth 1001 Be Knaresburgh, and as he wente, 1002 Unto the Moder his entente 1003 Of that he fond toward the king 1004 He tolde; and sche upon this thing 1005 Seith that he scholde abide al nyht 1006 And made him feste and chiere ariht, 1007 Feignende as thogh sche cowthe him thonk. 1008 Bot he with strong wyn which he dronk 1009 Forth with the travail of the day 1010 Was drunke, aslepe and while he lay, 1011 Sche hath hise lettres overseie 1012 And formed in an other weie. 1013 Ther was a newe lettre write, 1014 Which seith: "I do you forto wite, 1015 That thurgh the conseil of you tuo 1016 I stonde in point to ben undo, 1017 As he which is a king deposed. 1018 For every man it hath supposed, 1019 How that my wif Constance is faie; 1020 And if that I, thei sein, delaie 1021 To put hire out of compaignie, 1022 The worschipe of my Regalie 1023 Is lore; and over this thei telle, 1024 Hire child schal noght among hem duelle, 1025 To cleymen eny heritage. 1026 So can I se non avantage, 1027 Bot al is lost, if sche abide: 1028 Forthi to loke on every side 1029 Toward the meschief as it is, 1030 I charge you and bidde this, 1031 That ye the same Schip vitaile, 1032 In which that sche tok arivaile, 1033 Therinne and putteth bothe tuo, 1034 Hireself forthwith hire child also, 1035 And so forth broght unto the depe 1036 Betaketh hire the See to kepe. 1037 Of foure daies time I sette, 1038 That ye this thing no longer lette, 1039 So that your lif be noght forsfet." 1040 And thus this lettre contrefet 1041 The Messager, which was unwar, 1042 Upon the kingeshalve bar, 1043 And where he scholde it hath betake. 1044 Bot whan that thei have hiede take, 1045 And rad that writen is withinne, 1046 So gret a sorwe thei beginne, 1047 As thei here oghne Moder sihen 1048 Brent in a fyr before here yhen: 1049 Ther was wepinge and ther was wo, 1050 Bot finaly the thing is do. 1051 Upon the See thei have hire broght, 1052 Bot sche the cause wiste noght, 1053 And thus upon the flod thei wone, 1054 This ladi with hire yonge Sone: 1055 And thanne hire handes to the hevene 1056 Sche strawhte, and with a milde stevene 1057 Knelende upon hire bare kne 1058 Sche seide, "O hihe mageste, 1059 Which sest the point of every trowthe, 1060 Tak of thi wofull womman rowthe 1061 And of this child that I schal kepe." 1062 And with that word sche gan to wepe, 1063 Swounende as ded, and ther sche lay; 1064 Bot he which alle thinges may 1065 Conforteth hire, and ate laste 1066 Sche loketh and hire yhen caste 1067 Upon hire child and seide this: 1068 "Of me no maner charge it is 1069 What sorwe I soffre, bot of thee 1070 Me thenkth it is a gret pite, 1071 For if I sterve thou schalt deie: 1072 So mot I nedes be that weie 1073 For Moderhed and for tendresse 1074 With al myn hole besinesse 1075 Ordeigne me for thilke office, 1076 As sche which schal be thi Norrice." 1077 Thus was sche strengthed forto stonde; 1078 And tho sche tok hire child in honde 1079 And yaf it sowke, and evere among 1080 Sche wepte, and otherwhile song 1081 To rocke with hire child aslepe: 1082 And thus hire oghne child to kepe 1083 Sche hath under the goddes cure. 1084 And so fell upon aventure, 1085 Whan thilke yer hath mad his ende, 1086 Hire Schip, so as it moste wende 1087 Thurgh strengthe of wynd which god hath yive, 1088 Estward was into Spaigne drive 1089 Riht faste under a Castell wall, 1090 Wher that an hethen Amirall 1091 Was lord, and he a Stieward hadde, 1092 Oon Thelos, which al was badde, 1093 A fals knyht and a renegat. 1094 He goth to loke in what astat 1095 The Schip was come, and there he fond 1096 Forth with a child upon hire hond 1097 This lady, wher sche was al one. 1098 He tok good hiede of the persone, 1099 And sih sche was a worthi wiht, 1100 And thoghte he wolde upon the nyht 1101 Demene hire at his oghne wille, 1102 And let hire be therinne stille, 1103 That mo men sih sche noght that dai. 1104 At goddes wille and thus sche lai, 1105 Unknowe what hire schal betide; 1106 And fell so that be nyhtes tide 1107 This knyht withoute felaschipe 1108 Hath take a bot and cam to Schipe, 1109 And thoghte of hire his lust to take, 1110 And swor, if sche him daunger make, 1111 That certeinly sche scholde deie. 1112 Sche sih ther was non other weie, 1113 And seide he scholde hire wel conforte, 1114 That he ferst loke out ate porte, 1115 That noman were nyh the stede, 1116 Which myhte knowe what thei dede, 1117 And thanne he mai do what he wolde. 1118 He was riht glad that sche so tolde, 1119 And to the porte anon he ferde: 1120 Sche preide god, and he hire herde, 1121 And sodeinliche he was out throwe 1122 And dreynt, and tho began to blowe 1123 A wynd menable fro the lond, 1124 And thus the myhti goddes hond 1125 Hire hath conveied and defended. 1126 And whan thre yer be full despended, 1127 Hire Schip was drive upon a dai, 1128 Wher that a gret Navye lay 1129 Of Schipes, al the world at ones: 1130 And as god wolde for the nones, 1131 Hire Schip goth in among hem alle, 1132 And stinte noght, er it be falle 1133 And hath the vessell undergete, 1134 Which Maister was of al the Flete, 1135 Bot there it resteth and abod. 1136 This grete Schip on Anker rod; 1137 The Lord cam forth, and whan he sih 1138 That other ligge abord so nyh, 1139 He wondreth what it myhte be, 1140 And bad men to gon in and se. 1141 This ladi tho was crope aside, 1142 As sche that wolde hireselven hide, 1143 For sche ne wiste what thei were: 1144 Thei soghte aboute and founde hir there 1145 And broghten up hire child and hire; 1146 And therupon this lord to spire 1147 Began, fro whenne that sche cam, 1148 And what sche was. Quod sche, "I am 1149 A womman wofully bestad. 1150 I hadde a lord, and thus he bad, 1151 That I forth with my litel Sone 1152 Upon the wawes scholden wone, 1153 Bot why the cause was, I not: 1154 Bot he which alle thinges wot 1155 Yit hath, I thonke him, of his miht 1156 Mi child and me so kept upriht, 1157 That we be save bothe tuo." 1158 This lord hire axeth overmo 1159 How sche believeth, and sche seith, 1160 "I lieve and triste in Cristes feith, 1161 Which deide upon the Rode tree." 1162 "What is thi name?" tho quod he. 1163 "Mi name is Couste," sche him seide: 1164 Bot forthermor for noght he preide 1165 Of hire astat to knowe plein, 1166 Sche wolde him nothing elles sein 1167 Bot of hir name, which sche feigneth; 1168 Alle othre thinges sche restreigneth, 1169 That a word more sche ne tolde. 1170 This lord thanne axeth if sche wolde 1171 With him abide in compaignie, 1172 And seide he cam fro Barbarie 1173 To Romeward, and hom he wente. 1174 Tho sche supposeth what it mente, 1175 And seith sche wolde with him wende 1176 And duelle unto hire lyves ende, 1177 Be so it be to his plesance. 1178 And thus upon here aqueintance 1179 He tolde hire pleinly as it stod, 1180 Of Rome how that the gentil blod 1181 In Barbarie was betraied, 1182 And therupon he hath assaied 1183 Be werre, and taken such vengance, 1184 That non of al thilke alliance, 1185 Be whom the tresoun was compassed, 1186 Is from the swerd alyve passed; 1187 Bot of Constance hou it was, 1188 That cowthe he knowe be no cas, 1189 Wher sche becam, so as he seide. 1190 Hire Ere unto his word sche leide, 1191 Bot forther made sche no chiere. 1192 And natheles in this matiere 1193 It happeth thilke time so: 1194 This Lord, with whom sche scholde go, 1195 Of Rome was the Senatour, 1196 And of hir fader themperour 1197 His brother doughter hath to wyve, 1198 Which hath hir fader ek alyve, 1199 And was Salustes cleped tho; 1200 This wif Heleine hihte also, 1201 To whom Constance was Cousine. 1202 Thus to the sike a medicine 1203 Hath god ordeined of his grace, 1204 That forthwith in the same place 1205 This Senatour his trowthe plihte, 1206 For evere, whil he live mihte, 1207 To kepe in worschipe and in welthe, 1208 Be so that god wol yive hire helthe, 1209 This ladi, which fortune him sende. 1210 And thus be Schipe forth sailende 1211 Hire and hir child to Rome he broghte, 1212 And to his wif tho he besoghte 1213 To take hire into compaignie: 1214 And sche, which cowthe of courtesie 1215 Al that a good wif scholde konne, 1216 Was inly glad that sche hath wonne 1217 The felaschip of so good on. 1218 Til tuelve yeres were agon, 1219 This Emperoures dowhter Custe 1220 Forth with the dowhter of Saluste 1221 Was kept, bot noman redily 1222 Knew what sche was, and noght forthi 1223 Thei thoghten wel sche hadde be 1224 In hire astat of hih degre, 1225 And every lif hire loveth wel. 1226 Now herke how thilke unstable whel, 1227 Which evere torneth, wente aboute. 1228 The king Allee, whil he was oute, 1229 As thou tofore hast herd this cas, 1230 Deceived thurgh his Moder was: 1231 Bot whan that he cam hom ayein, 1232 He axeth of his Chamberlein 1233 And of the Bisschop ek also, 1234 Wher thei the qweene hadden do. 1235 And thei answerde, there he bad, 1236 And have him thilke lettre rad, 1237 Which he hem sende for warant, 1238 And tolde him pleinli as it stant, 1239 And sein, it thoghte hem gret pite 1240 To se so worthi on as sche, 1241 With such a child as ther was bore, 1242 So sodeinly to be forlore. 1243 He axeth hem what child that were; 1244 And thei him seiden, that naghere, 1245 In al the world thogh men it soghte, 1246 Was nevere womman that forth broghte 1247 A fairer child than it was on. 1248 And thanne he axede hem anon, 1249 Whi thei ne hadden write so: 1250 Thei tolden, so thei hadden do. 1251 He seide, "Nay." Thei seiden, "Yis." 1252 The lettre schewed rad it is, 1253 Which thei forsoken everidel. 1254 Tho was it understonde wel 1255 That ther is tresoun in the thing: 1256 The Messager tofore the king 1257 Was broght and sodeinliche opposed; 1258 And he, which nothing hath supposed 1259 Bot alle wel, began to seie 1260 That he nagher upon the weie 1261 Abod, bot only in a stede; 1262 And cause why that he so dede 1263 Was, as he wente to and fro, 1264 At Knaresburgh be nyhtes tuo 1265 The kinges Moder made him duelle. 1266 And whan the king it herde telle, 1267 Withinne his herte he wiste als faste 1268 The treson which his Moder caste; 1269 And thoghte he wolde noght abide, 1270 Bot forth riht in the same tide 1271 He tok his hors and rod anon. 1272 With him ther riden manion, 1273 To Knaresburgh and forth thei wente, 1274 And lich the fyr which tunder hente, 1275 In such a rage, as seith the bok, 1276 His Moder sodeinliche he tok 1277 And seide unto hir in this wise: 1278 "O beste of helle, in what juise 1279 Hast thou deserved forto deie, 1280 That hast so falsly put aweie 1281 With tresoun of thi bacbitinge 1282 The treweste at my knowlechinge 1283 Of wyves and the most honeste? 1284 Bot I wol make this beheste, 1285 I schal be venged er I go." 1286 And let a fyr do make tho, 1287 And bad men forto caste hire inne: 1288 Bot ferst sche tolde out al the sinne, 1289 And dede hem alle forto wite 1290 How sche the lettres hadde write, 1291 Fro point to point as it was wroght. 1292 And tho sche was to dethe broght 1293 And brent tofore hire Sones yhe: 1294 Wherof these othre, whiche it sihe 1295 And herden how the cause stod, 1296 Sein that the juggement is good, 1297 Of that hir Sone hire hath so served; 1298 For sche it hadde wel deserved 1299 Thurgh tresoun of hire false tunge, 1300 Which thurgh the lond was after sunge, 1301 Constance and every wiht compleigneth. 1302 Bot he, whom alle wo distreigneth, 1303 This sorghfull king, was so bestad, 1304 That he schal nevermor be glad, 1305 He seith, eftsone forto wedde, 1306 Til that he wiste how that sche spedde, 1307 Which hadde ben his ferste wif: 1308 And thus his yonge unlusti lif 1309 He dryveth forth so as he mai. 1310 Til it befell upon a dai, 1311 Whan he hise werres hadde achieved, 1312 And thoghte he wolde be relieved 1313 Of Soule hele upon the feith 1314 Which he hath take, thanne he seith 1315 That he to Rome in pelrinage 1316 Wol go, wher Pope was Pelage, 1317 To take his absolucioun. 1318 And upon this condicioun 1319 He made Edwyn his lieutenant, 1320 Which heir to him was apparant, 1321 That he the lond in his absence 1322 Schal reule: and thus be providence 1323 Of alle thinges wel begon 1324 He tok his leve and forth is gon. 1325 Elda, which tho was with him there, 1326 Er thei fulliche at Rome were, 1327 Was sent tofore to pourveie; 1328 And he his guide upon the weie, 1329 In help to ben his herbergour, 1330 Hath axed who was Senatour, 1331 That he his name myhte kenne. 1332 Of Capadoce, he seide, Arcenne 1333 He hihte, and was a worthi kniht. 1334 To him goth Elda tho forth riht 1335 And tolde him of his lord tidinge, 1336 And preide that for his comynge 1337 He wolde assigne him herbergage; 1338 And he so dede of good corage. 1339 Whan al is do that was to done, 1340 The king himself cam after sone. 1341 This Senatour, whan that he com, 1342 To Couste and to his wif at hom 1343 Hath told how such a king Allee 1344 Of gret array to the Citee 1345 Was come, and Couste upon his tale 1346 With herte clos and colour pale 1347 Aswoune fell, and he merveileth 1348 So sodeinly what thing hire eyleth, 1349 And cawhte hire up, and whan sche wok, 1350 Sche syketh with a pitous lok 1351 And feigneth seknesse of the See; 1352 Bot it was for the king Allee, 1353 For joie which fell in hire thoght 1354 That god him hath to toune broght. 1355 This king hath spoke with the Pope 1356 And told al that he cowthe agrope, 1357 What grieveth in his conscience; 1358 And thanne he thoghte in reverence 1359 Of his astat, er that he wente, 1360 To make a feste, and thus he sente 1361 Unto the Senatour to come 1362 Upon the morwe and othre some, 1363 To sitte with him at the mete. 1364 This tale hath Couste noght foryete, 1365 Bot to Moris hire Sone tolde 1366 That he upon the morwe scholde 1367 In al that evere he cowthe and mihte 1368 Be present in the kinges sihte, 1369 So that the king him ofte sihe. 1370 Moris tofore the kinges yhe 1371 Upon the morwe, wher he sat, 1372 Fulofte stod, and upon that 1373 The king his chiere upon him caste, 1374 And in his face him thoghte als faste 1375 He sih his oghne wif Constance; 1376 For nature as in resemblance 1377 Of face hem liketh so to clothe, 1378 That thei were of a suite bothe. 1379 The king was moeved in his thoght 1380 Of that he seth, and knoweth it noght; 1381 This child he loveth kindely, 1382 And yit he wot no cause why. 1383 Bot wel he sih and understod 1384 That he toward Arcenne stod, 1385 And axeth him anon riht there, 1386 If that this child his Sone were. 1387 He seide, "Yee, so I him calle, 1388 And wolde it were so befalle, 1389 Bot it is al in other wise." 1390 And tho began he to devise 1391 How he the childes Moder fond 1392 Upon the See from every lond 1393 Withinne a Schip was stiereles, 1394 And how this ladi helpeles 1395 Forth with hir child he hath forthdrawe. 1396 The king hath understonde his sawe, 1397 The childes name and axeth tho, 1398 And what the Moder hihte also 1399 That he him wolde telle he preide. 1400 "Moris this child is hote," he seide, 1401 "His Moder hatte Couste, and this 1402 I not what maner name it is." 1403 But Allee wiste wel ynowh, 1404 Wherof somdiel smylende he lowh; 1405 For Couste in Saxoun is to sein 1406 Constance upon the word Romein. 1407 Bot who that cowthe specefie 1408 What tho fell in his fantasie, 1409 And how his wit aboute renneth 1410 Upon the love in which he brenneth, 1411 It were a wonder forto hiere: 1412 For he was nouther ther ne hiere, 1413 Bot clene out of himself aweie, 1414 That he not what to thenke or seie, 1415 So fain he wolde it were sche. 1416 Wherof his hertes privete 1417 Began the werre of yee and nay, 1418 The which in such balance lay, 1419 That contenance for a throwe 1420 He loste, til he mihte knowe 1421 The sothe: bot in his memoire 1422 The man which lith in purgatoire 1423 Desireth noght the hevene more, 1424 That he ne longeth al so sore 1425 To wite what him schal betide. 1426 And whan the bordes were aside 1427 And every man was rise aboute, 1428 The king hath weyved al the route, 1429 And with the Senatour al one 1430 He spak and preide him of a bone, 1431 To se this Couste, wher sche duelleth 1432 At hom with him, so as he telleth. 1433 The Senatour was wel appaied, 1434 This thing no lengere is delaied, 1435 To se this Couste goth the king; 1436 And sche was warned of the thing, 1437 And with Heleine forth sche cam 1438 Ayein the king, and he tho nam 1439 Good hiede, and whan he sih his wif, 1440 Anon with al his hertes lif 1441 He cawhte hire in his arm and kiste. 1442 Was nevere wiht that sih ne wiste 1443 A man that more joie made, 1444 Wherof thei weren alle glade 1445 Whiche herde tellen of this chance. 1446 This king tho with his wif Constance, 1447 Which hadde a gret part of his wille, 1448 In Rome for a time stille 1449 Abod and made him wel at ese: 1450 Bot so yit cowthe he nevere plese 1451 His wif, that sche him wolde sein 1452 Of hire astat the trowthe plein, 1453 Of what contre that sche was bore, 1454 Ne what sche was, and yit therfore 1455 With al his wit he hath don sieke. 1456 Thus as they lihe abedde and spieke, 1457 Sche preide him and conseileth bothe, 1458 That for the worschipe of hem bothe, 1459 So as hire thoghte it were honeste, 1460 He wolde an honourable feste 1461 Make, er he wente, in the Cite, 1462 Wher themperour himself schal be: 1463 He graunteth al that sche him preide. 1464 Bot as men in that time seide, 1465 This Emperour fro thilke day 1466 That ferst his dowhter wente away 1467 He was thanne after nevere glad; 1468 Bot what that eny man him bad 1469 Of grace for his dowhter sake, 1470 That grace wolde he noght forsake; 1471 And thus ful gret almesse he dede, 1472 Wherof sche hadde many a bede. 1473 This Emperour out of the toun 1474 Withinne a ten mile enviroun, 1475 Where as it thoghte him for the beste, 1476 Hath sondry places forto reste; 1477 And as fortune wolde tho, 1478 He was duellende at on of tho. 1479 The king Allee forth with thassent 1480 Of Couste his wif hath thider sent 1481 Moris his Sone, as he was taght, 1482 To themperour and he goth straght, 1483 And in his fader half besoghte, 1484 As he which his lordschipe soghte, 1485 That of his hihe worthinesse 1486 He wolde do so gret meknesse, 1487 His oghne toun to come and se, 1488 And yive a time in the cite, 1489 So that his fader mihte him gete 1490 That he wolde ones with him ete. 1491 This lord hath granted his requeste; 1492 And whan the dai was of the feste, 1493 In worschipe of here Emperour 1494 The king and ek the Senatour 1495 Forth with here wyves bothe tuo, 1496 With many a lord and lady mo, 1497 On horse riden him ayein; 1498 Til it befell, upon a plein 1499 Thei sihen wher he was comende. 1500 With that Constance anon preiende 1501 Spak to hir lord that he abyde, 1502 So that sche mai tofore ryde, 1503 To ben upon his bienvenue 1504 The ferste which schal him salue; 1505 And thus after hire lordes graunt 1506 Upon a Mule whyt amblaunt 1507 Forth with a fewe rod this qweene. 1508 Thei wondren what sche wolde mene, 1509 And riden after softe pas; 1510 Bot whan this ladi come was 1511 To themperour, in his presence 1512 Sche seide alowd in audience, 1513 "Mi lord, mi fader, wel you be! 1514 And of this time that I se 1515 Youre honour and your goode hele, 1516 Which is the helpe of my querele, 1517 I thonke unto the goddes myht." 1518 For joie his herte was affliht 1519 Of that sche tolde in remembrance; 1520 And whanne he wiste it was Constance, 1521 Was nevere fader half so blithe. 1522 Wepende he keste hire ofte sithe, 1523 So was his herte al overcome; 1524 For thogh his Moder were come 1525 Fro deth to lyve out of the grave, 1526 He mihte nomor wonder have 1527 Than he hath whan that he hire sih. 1528 With that hire oghne lord cam nyh 1529 And is to themperour obeied; 1530 Bot whan the fortune is bewreied, 1531 How that Constance is come aboute, 1532 So hard an herte was non oute, 1533 That he for pite tho ne wepte. 1534 Arcennus, which hire fond and kepte, 1535 Was thanne glad of that is falle, 1536 So that with joie among hem alle 1537 Thei riden in at Rome gate. 1538 This Emperour thoghte al to late, 1539 Til that the Pope were come, 1540 And of the lordes sende some 1541 To preie him that he wolde haste: 1542 And he cam forth in alle haste, 1543 And whan that he the tale herde, 1544 How wonderly this chance ferde, 1545 He thonketh god of his miracle, 1546 To whos miht mai be non obstacle: 1547 The king a noble feste hem made, 1548 And thus thei weren alle glade. 1549 A parlement, er that thei wente, 1550 Thei setten unto this entente, 1551 To puten Rome in full espeir 1552 That Moris was apparant heir 1553 And scholde abide with hem stille, 1554 For such was al the londes wille. 1555 Whan every thing was fulli spoke, 1556 Of sorwe and queint was al the smoke, 1557 Tho tok his leve Allee the king, 1558 And with full many a riche thing, 1559 Which themperour him hadde yive, 1560 He goth a glad lif forto live; 1561 For he Constance hath in his hond, 1562 Which was the confort of his lond. 1563 For whan that he cam hom ayein, 1564 Ther is no tunge it mihte sein 1565 What joie was that ilke stounde 1566 Of that he hath his qweene founde, 1567 Which ferst was sent of goddes sonde, 1568 Whan sche was drive upon the Stronde, 1569 Be whom the misbelieve of Sinne 1570 Was left, and Cristes feith cam inne 1571 To hem that whilom were blinde. 1572 Bot he which hindreth every kinde 1573 And for no gold mai be forboght, 1574 The deth comende er he be soght, 1575 Tok with this king such aqueintance, 1576 That he with al his retenance 1577 Ne mihte noght defende his lif; 1578 And thus he parteth from his wif, 1579 Which thanne made sorwe ynowh. 1580 And therupon hire herte drowh 1581 To leven Engelond for evere 1582 And go wher that sche hadde levere, 1583 To Rome, whenne that sche cam: 1584 And thus of al the lond sche nam 1585 Hir leve, and goth to Rome ayein. 1586 And after that the bokes sein, 1587 She was noght there bot a throwe, 1588 Whan deth of kinde hath overthrowe 1589 Hir worthi fader, which men seide 1590 That he betwen hire armes deide. 1591 And afterward the yer suiende 1592 The god hath mad of hire an ende, 1593 And fro this worldes faierie 1594 Hath take hire into compaignie. 1595 Moris hir Sone was corouned, 1596 Which so ferforth was abandouned 1597 To Cristes feith, that men him calle 1598 Moris the cristeneste of alle. 1599 And thus the wel meninge of love 1600 Was ate laste set above; 1601 And so as thou hast herd tofore, 1602 The false tunges weren lore, 1603 Whiche upon love wolden lie. 1604 Forthi touchende of this Envie 1605 Which longeth unto bacbitinge, 1606 Be war thou make no lesinge 1607 In hindringe of an other wiht: 1608 And if thou wolt be tawht ariht 1609 What meschief bakbitinge doth 1610 Be other weie, a tale soth 1611 Now miht thou hiere next suiende, 1612 Which to this vice is acordende. 1613 In a Cronique, as thou schalt wite, 1614 A gret ensample I finde write, 1615 Which I schal telle upon this thing. 1616 Philippe of Macedoyne kyng 1617 Two Sones hadde be his wif, 1618 Whos fame is yit in Grece rif: 1619 Demetrius the ferste brother 1620 Was hote, and Perses that other. 1621 Demetrius men seiden tho 1622 The betre knyht was of the tuo, 1623 To whom the lond was entendant, 1624 As he which heir was apparant 1625 To regne after his fader dai: 1626 Bot that thing which no water mai 1627 Quenche in this world, bot evere brenneth, 1628 Into his brother herte it renneth, 1629 The proude Envie of that he sih 1630 His brother scholde clymbe on hih, 1631 And he to him mot thanne obeie: 1632 That may he soffre be no weie. 1633 With strengthe dorst he nothing fonde, 1634 So tok he lesinge upon honde, 1635 Whan he sih time and spak therto. 1636 For it befell that time so, 1637 His fader grete werres hadde 1638 With Rome, whiche he streite ladde 1639 Thurgh mihty hond of his manhode, 1640 As he which hath ynowh knihthode, 1641 And ofte hem hadde sore grieved. 1642 Bot er the werre were achieved, 1643 As he was upon ordinance 1644 At hom in Grece, it fell per chance, 1645 Demetrius, which ofte aboute 1646 Ridende was, stod that time oute, 1647 So that this Perse in his absence, 1648 Which bar the tunge of pestilence, 1649 With false wordes whiche he feigneth 1650 Upon his oghne brother pleigneth 1651 In privete behinde his bak, 1652 And to his fader thus he spak: 1653 "Mi diere fader, I am holde 1654 Be weie of kinde, as resoun wolde, 1655 That I fro yow schal nothing hide, 1656 Which mihte torne in eny side 1657 Of youre astat into grevance: 1658 Forthi myn hertes obeissance 1659 Towardes you I thenke kepe; 1660 For it is good ye take kepe 1661 Upon a thing which is me told. 1662 Mi brother hath ous alle sold 1663 To hem of Rome, and you also; 1664 For thanne they behote him so, 1665 That he with hem schal regne in pes. 1666 Thus hath he cast for his encress 1667 That youre astat schal go to noght; 1668 And this to proeve schal be broght 1669 So ferforth, that I undertake 1670 It schal noght wel mow be forsake." 1671 The king upon this tale ansuerde 1672 And seide, if this thing which he herde 1673 Be soth and mai be broght to prove, 1674 "It schal noght be to his behove, 1675 Which so hath schapen ous the werste, 1676 For he himself schal be the ferste 1677 That schal be ded, if that I mai." 1678 Thus afterward upon a dai, 1679 Whan that Demetrius was come, 1680 Anon his fader hath him nome, 1681 And bad unto his brother Perse 1682 That he his tale schal reherse 1683 Of thilke tresoun which he tolde. 1684 And he, which al untrowthe wolde, 1685 Conseileth that so hih a nede 1686 Be treted wher as it mai spede, 1687 In comun place of juggement. 1688 The king therto yaf his assent, 1689 Demetrius was put in hold, 1690 Wherof that Perses was bold. 1691 Thus stod the trowthe under the charge, 1692 And the falshede goth at large, 1693 Which thurgh beheste hath overcome 1694 The greteste of the lordes some, 1695 That privelich of his acord 1696 Thei stonde as witnesse of record: 1697 The jugge was mad favorable: 1698 Thus was the lawe deceivable 1699 So ferforth that the trowthe fond 1700 Rescousse non, and thus the lond 1701 Forth with the king deceived were. 1702 The gulteles was dampned there 1703 And deide upon accusement: 1704 Bot such a fals conspirement, 1705 Thogh it be prive for a throwe, 1706 Godd wolde noght it were unknowe; 1707 And that was afterward wel proved 1708 In him which hath the deth controved. 1709 Of that his brother was so slain 1710 This Perses was wonder fain, 1711 As he that tho was apparant, 1712 Upon the Regne and expectant; 1713 Wherof he wax so proud and vein, 1714 That he his fader in desdeign 1715 Hath take and set of non acompte, 1716 As he which thoghte him to surmonte; 1717 That wher he was ferst debonaire, 1718 He was tho rebell and contraire, 1719 And noght as heir bot as a king 1720 He tok upon him alle thing 1721 Of malice and of tirannie 1722 In contempt of the Regalie, 1723 Livende his fader, and so wroghte, 1724 That whan the fader him bethoghte 1725 And sih to whether side it drowh, 1726 Anon he wiste well ynowh 1727 How Perse after his false tunge 1728 Hath so thenvious belle runge, 1729 That he hath slain his oghne brother. 1730 Wherof as thanne he knew non other, 1731 Bot sodeinly the jugge he nom, 1732 Which corrupt sat upon the dom, 1733 In such a wise and hath him pressed, 1734 That he the sothe him hath confessed 1735 Of al that hath be spoke and do. 1736 Mor sori than the king was tho 1737 Was nevere man upon this Molde, 1738 And thoghte in certain that he wolde 1739 Vengance take upon this wrong. 1740 Bot thother parti was so strong, 1741 That for the lawe of no statut 1742 Ther mai no riht ben execut; 1743 And upon this division 1744 The lond was torned up so doun: 1745 Wherof his herte is so distraght, 1746 That he for pure sorwe hath caght 1747 The maladie of which nature 1748 Is queint in every creature. 1749 And whan this king was passed thus, 1750 This false tunged Perses 1751 The regiment hath underfonge. 1752 Bot ther mai nothing stonde longe 1753 Which is noght upon trowthe grounded; 1754 For god, which alle thing hath bounded 1755 And sih the falshod of his guile, 1756 Hath set him bot a litel while, 1757 That he schal regne upon depos; 1758 For sodeinliche as he aros 1759 So sodeinliche doun he fell. 1760 In thilke time it so befell, 1761 This newe king of newe Pride 1762 With strengthe schop him forto ride, 1763 And seide he wolde Rome waste, 1764 Wherof he made a besi haste, 1765 And hath assembled him an host 1766 In al that evere he mihte most: 1767 What man that mihte wepne bere 1768 Of alle he wolde non forbere; 1769 So that it mihte noght be nombred, 1770 The folk which after was encombred 1771 Thurgh him, that god wolde overthrowe.