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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,
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,
And with thy counterfeted peyne and wo.
Ther other falsen oon, thou falsest two!
0! ofte swore thou that thou woldest dye
For love, whan thou ne feltest maladye
Save foul delyt, which that thou callest love!
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;
For they shul have wel better love and chere
Than he that hath aboght his love ful dere,
Or had in armes many a blody box.
For ever as tendre a capoun et the fox,
1366. Tn. P. who; rest who so, or who that. 1370. A. T. Add. tender; rest repeat gentil. C. has tendere wemen gentil. 1373. A. C. farced; F. Tn. Th. farsed ; B. forsed; P. filled ; T. versyd. 1375. P. A. thy; rest om. 1377. Here MS. P. ends. 1386. C. T. A. Th. Add. love and; F. Tn. B. and gretter. 1387. C. A. abought; rest bought. C. T. A. Add. his; rest om. 1389. C. et (=eteth); rest eteth (etith).
Thogh he be fals and hath the foul betrayed,
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.
In Tessalye, as Guido telleth us,
Ther was a king that highte Pelleus,
That had a brother, which that highte Eson;
And, whan for age he mighte unnethes gon,
He yaf to Pelleus the governing
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.
After his fader deeth, he bar him so
That ther nas noon that liste been his fo,
But dide him al honour and companye;
Of which this Pelleus hath greet envye,
Imagining that Iasoun mighte be
Enbaunsed 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 be
Withoute slaunder of his compasment.
And at the laste he took avisement
To senden him in-to som fer contree
Ther as this Iasoun may destroyed be.
This was his wit ; al made he to Iasoun
Gret chere of love and of affeccioun,
For drede lest his lordes hit espyde.
So fil hit so, as fame renneth wyde,
1391. C. hath; rest om. (badly). 1392. C. T. Add. Al haue he; F. Alle thof he haue. 1396. F. Tn. B. and; rest as. C. Guido; T. A. Gaydo; Add. Gwydo; F. Tn. Th. B. Quyde. 1397. F. Tn. B. knyght; rest kyng (see l. 1401); see note. 1405. So C.; rest Of fredom, of strength, and of lustynesse. 1409. C. T. Add. hadde.
1418. C. To syndyn; T. Add. To send ; To. Th. B. That to senden; F. That to selden (!).
Ther was swich tyding over-al and swich los,
That in an yle that called was Colcos,
Beyonde Troye, estward in the see,
That ther-in was a ram, that men mighte see, (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,
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,
He moste bothe, or he hit winne mighte,
With the boles and the dragoun fighte;
(70) And king Oëtes lord was of that yle.
This Pelleus bethoghte upon this wyle;
That he his nevew Iasoun wolde enhorte
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,
Hit were to me gret plesaunce and honour;
Than were I holde to quyte thy labour.
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?'
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.
But who-so axeth who is with him gon,
Lat him go reden Argonauticon,
1427. F. Tn. Th. B. ther; rest therin. C. may se. 1433. T. Th. moche; F. muche ; C. meche othir. 1438. C. Oetes; rest Otes (Otys). 1443 C. T. A. Add. a; re
1444. T. A. C. mightest; rest myghte. 1445 C. T. bryngyn; rest brynge (bring). 1448. C. T. A. Add. cost; rest costes. 1449. C. om. And. A. ches; F. Tn. T. B. chese; Th. chose ; C. Schis (!). C. A. that; rest om. 1452. C. T. Add. om, ilke. 1457. T. A. Add. go; rest om.
C. ryde ; rest rede; better reden.
For he wol telle a tale long y-now.
Philotetes anoon the sail up-drow,
Whan that the wind was good, and gan him hye
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 som
And of this yle lady was and quene
The faire yonge Isiphilee, the shene,
That whylom Thoas doghter was, the king.
Isiphilee was goon in her playing ;
And, roming on the clyves by the see,
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,
To doon him socour; as was her usaunce
To forthren every wight, and doon plesaunce
Of veray bountee and of curtesye.
This messagere adoun him gan to hye,
And fond Iasoun, and Ercules also,
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,
And dide his message, axing hem anoon
Yif they were broken, or oght wo begoon,
Or hadde nede of lodesmen or vitaile;
For of socour they shulde no-thing faile,
1460. C. T. Add. that; rest om. 1463. All insert of after yle (needlessly). Th. Lemnon; A. Lennoun; C. lenoun (for lēnoun=lemnoun); F. Tn. B. leonoun; T. Add. lenon ( = lemnon). 1471. F. brake (!); A. bonk; rest banke. 1472. So C. T. A. Add.; F. Tn. Th. B. Wher lay the shippe, that Iasoun (no sense). 1476. C. F. B. hem ; rest him. 1481. C. A. cog; T. Add. boote; rest cogge. 1483. F. atempree. 1486. C. T. A. Add. axinge; rest askynge. 1487. F. B. om. oght. 1489. C. T. A. Add. of; rest om.
For hit was utterly the quenes wille.
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,
Til that the wind be better in our weye.'
This lady rometh by the clif to pleye,
With her meynee, endelong the stronde,
And fynt this Iasoun and this other stonde,
In spekinge of this thing, as I yow tolde.
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,
That hit were gentil-men, of greet degree.
And to the castel with her ledeth she
Thise straunge folk, and doth hem greet honour,
And axeth hem of travail and labour
That they han suffred in the salte see;
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;
And dide hem honour more then before,
And with hem deled ever lenger the more,
For they ben worthy folk, with-outen lees.
And namely, most she spak with Ercules;
To him her herte bar, he sholde be
Sad, wys, and trewe, of wordes avisee,
With-outen any other affeccioun
Of love, or evil imaginacioun.
1490. F. Tn. B. omit this line. 1498. C. endelong (as in Kn. Tale); F. endlonge. 1499. C. F. Add. these other; rest this other. 1506. F. hit; C. Tn. Th. B. it ; T. A. Add, they. 1512. F. Tn. Th. B. by the (for by). 1519. F. (only) she spake moste ; Add. om, most. 1523. C. euyl; A. euill; rest any othir (caught from 1. 1522).