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This Ercules hath so this Iasoun preysed,
That to the sonne he hath him up areysed,
That half so trewe a man ther nas of love
Under the cope of heven that is above;
And he was wys, hardy, secree, and riche.-
Of thise three pointes ther nas noon him liche;
Of freedom passed he, and lustihede,
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.
He hadde lever him-self to mordre, and dye
Than that men shulde a lover him espye:
'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 wyf
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 lees
To come to hous upon an innocent;
For to be-dote this queen was hir assent.
And Iasoun is as coy as is a maide,
He loketh pitously, but noght he saide,
But frely yaf he to her conseileres
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,
1524. C. T. A. Add. so; rest om. 1525. C. T. A. Add. him; rest hyt (it). C. areysid ; rest reysed. 1526. C. om. half. 1527. C. cape; rest cope. 1536. F. A. B. Add. He; rest Him (badly). 1538. A. almychti; rest om. 1540. C. With nonys; read With th' nones. 1545. T. made; rest omit; but sense and metre require it. 1547. C. T. Add. assent; B. intente (which will not rime) ; rest entent (but Chaucer uses entente). 1548. F. Thise; B. As; rest And. 1550. F. B. om. he.
1552. F. B. god wolde ; rest wolde god. C. T. Add. I; rest that I.
With feyning and with every sotil dede.
Ye gete no more of me, but ye wil rede
Thoriginal, that telleth al the cas.
The somme is this, that Iasoun wedded was
Unto this quene, and took of her substaunce
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,
And him repreveth of his grete untrouthe,
And preyeth him on her to have som routhe.
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;
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.
And trew to Iasoun was she al her lyf,
And ever kepte her chast, as for his wyf;
Ne never had she loye at her herte,
But dyed, for his love, of sorwes smerte.
To Colcos comen is this duk Iasoun,
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.
For, to desyren, through his appetyt,
To doon with gentil wommen his delyt,
1559. C. T. somme; A. text; rest sothe (soth). I564. F. Tn. Th. B. om. to. 1569. F. B. (only) om. they. 1573. C. Th. Muste; F. T B. Most; T. A. Myght. 1578. F. And; rest Ne. 1582. F. nature; C. matier ; Tn. Th. B. matire ; T. A. matyr. C. apetitith ; T. Add. appetyteth ; rest appeteth (!). 1583. F. Tn. Th. B. to (for in-to). 1585. A. (only) this false; rest om, this. F. Th. B. om. fals. (Accent Rigbt.)
This is his lust and his felicitee.
Iasoun is romed forth to the citee,
That whylom cleped was laconitos,
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;
Of which the king assenteth to his bone,
And doth him honour, as hit is to done,
So ferforth, that his doghter and his eyr,
Medea, which that was so wys and fair
That fairer saw ther never man with yë,
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,
And goodly of his speche, and famulere,
And coude of love al craft and art plenere
With-oute boke, with everich observaunce.
And, as fortune her oghte a foul meschaunce,
She wex enamoured upon this man.
'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,
With-outen deeth, but I his helpe be.
But natheles, hit is my wille,' quod she,
'To forthren yow, so that ye shal nat dye,
But turnen, sound, hoom to your Tessalye.'
'My righte lady,' quod this Iasoun tho,
'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
1590. C. T. Iaconitos ; A. Iacomitos; F. Tn. Th. B. Iasonicos; (Latin laconites). 1593. F. Vnto tho (!). C. Oetes ; Add. Cetes; T. Cytees (!); rest Otes. 1599. F. Tn. B. Add. and so feyre. 1605. C. T. Th. B. Add. as a leoun (lyoun). 1613. C. han ; T. A. Add. haue; rest and (!).
May nat deserve hit in my lyves day;
God thanke yow, ther I ne can ne may.
Your man am I, and lowly you beseche,
To been my help, with-oute more speche;
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,
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,
That Iasoun shal her wedde, as trewe knight;
And term y-set, to come sone at night
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,
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;
For she hath taught him how he shal nat faile
The flees to winne, and stinten his bataile;
And saved him his lyf and his honour;
And gat him greet name as a conquerour
Right through the sleight of her enchantement.
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.
1626. T. A. Th. lowly; F. louly; B. loulye; C. louely; Tn. lowe. 1631. C. T. A. Add. And; rest om. F. Tn. om, in. 1634. C. T. A. Add. to the point right; rest ryght to the poynt. 1642. C. T. sauyth ; rest saued. F. B. there ; rest here. 1643. F. Tn. B. omit; C. has And here vp a nyght, &c. 1649. C. T. gat; A. gatt; Add. Th. gate; rest gete. F. B. (only) om, him. T. gret; Add. grete; A. om.; rest a. C. ryth as; T. A. ryght as; Add. lyke as; rest as. 1652. F. Tn. Th. B. tresoures; C. tresor; T. A. Add. tresour.
For as a traitour he is from her go,
And with her laste his yonge children two, (290)
And falsly hath betrayed her, allas !
And ever in love a cheef traitour he was ;
And wedded yit the thridde wyf anon,
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, 1665
And lafte her fader and her heritage.
And of Iasoun this is the vassalage,
That, in his dayes, nas ther noon y-founde
So fals a lover going on the grounde.
And therfor in her lettre thus she seyde
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?
O, haddest thou in thy conquest deed y-be,
Ful mikel untrouthe had ther dyed with thee!' (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
Of Rome, for hir horrible doinges,
And of the laste king Tarquinius,
As saith Ovyde and Titus Livius.
1657. T. A. his; C. hire; rest om. 1659. C. thef and (for cheef). 1661. C. A. the; rest om. 1667. F. (only) om. the. 1668. C. T. A. Add. ther; rest neuer.
1671. C. Fyrst of his falsenesse whan she hym vpbreyde. 1681. F. B. dedes ; rest doinges. 1682. Addit. (12524) And; rest om.