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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,
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;
And seiden her ensamples many oon.
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;
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;
So wel she loved clennesse and eek trouthe.
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,
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 toun
Sin thilke day; and she was holden there
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.
And for the stable herte, sad and kinde,
That in these women men may alday finde ;
1846. So all but F. Tn. B.; F. B. That nolde she suffre ; Tn. That wolde she suffren nat. 1847. T. opon; A. vpon ; rest vnto (badly). 1857. T. A. Add. she hede; rest hede she. 1862. So T. A. Add. ; rest hath by hir chaste blood. 1873. T. A. Add. as; rest om. 1876. T. A. Add. for the; rest in her.
Ther as they caste hir herte, ther hit dwelleth.
For wel I wot, that Crist him-selve telleth,
That in Israel, as wyd as is the lond,
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.
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;
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,
To scole hath sent his sone Androgeus,
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,
His sones deeth is comen for to wreke;
1879. All him-self or him-selfe. 1882. F. Add. om. and. 1883. F. women; rest men. C. has lost 11. 1836–1907.
1886. F. B. Tn. Grece; rest Crete; see I. 1894. 1888. F. B. oonly for thy sake; rest for thy sake only. F. Tn. Th. B. writen is ; T. A. Add. wryte I. 1890. F. vntrewe; rest vntrouthe (vntrouth). 1891. T. A. Add. the ; rest om. (after of). 1895. T. A. Th. had; B. wanne; F. whan (!); Tn. om. 1897. F. happeth ; A. hapned; Add. appynyd ; rest happed.
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;
Of Minos or his ost took he no cure,
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,
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,
So that the citee was al at his wille,
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;
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
Fro yere to yere her owne children dere
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,
He wolde him ete, ther helpeth no defence.
And every thridde yeer, with-outen doute,
They casten lot, and, as hit com aboute
1902. Th. Alcathoe (rightly); A. Alcitoe ; Tn. Alcie; T. All the cyte; F. B. And the citee. 1910. F. B. hyt happed; rest happed hit. caughte. 1912. C. T. A. Add, for; rest om. C. om. 1922, 1923. 1923. Th. As Alcathoe; A. As Alcitoe; F. B. And Alcites ; T. With all the cyte; see l. 1902. 1924. C. But (for And). 1925. F. B. Tn. B. om. that.
1927. C. T. righ(t) as ye shal here; A. rycht thus as ye schall here. A. Add. in ; rest in-to. 1932. C. om. yeer. 1933. C. T. A. Add. and; rest om. C. fil (for com).
On riche, on pore, he moste his sone take,
And of his child he moste present make
Unto os, to save him or to spille,
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 thral
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,
Sith that the lot is fallen him upon,
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 he
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 !
And now, if any woman helpe thee,
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
Doun in the botom derke and wonder lowe,
Was ioyning in the walle to a foreyne;
And hit was longing to the doghtren tweyne
1934. C. or ; Th. Add. and; rest on. 1936. T. Add. Vn-to; rest To. C. Theseus (for Minos). 1938. C. T. A. Th. Add. right; rest om. 1940. F. B. To; rest And. 1941. C. T. A. that; rest om. Add. that; rest om. 1945. Tn. Mot;C. T. Th. Mote; rest Moste (Must). 1948. C. gon (for lad).
1949. C. T. A. Add. court; rest contree. C. T. A. Add. right; rest of might. 1951. A. thilke; C. the ilke; rest the. 1954. C. T. A. Add. were depe; F. B. depe were; Tn. depe; Th. arte depe. 1955. C. hym; T. theym; rest whom. 1960. C. A. as; T. Add. that ; rest om.
1962. C. T. A. Add. in; rest to. C. Tn. T. A. Add to; F. B. Th. of.
Of king Minos, that in hir chambres grete
Dwelten above, toward the maister-strete,
In mochel mirthe, in Ioye and in solas.
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 al
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 prisoun
And be devoured, thoughte hem gret pitee.
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,
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 wo
For him as ever I was for any man ;
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.
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,
1964. A. king; rest om. C. Of Thesius that, &c. 1965. C. T. A. Add. toward; rest om. 1966. T. In mochell myrthe; Add. In moche myrth; Th. Of the towne; rest Of Athenes (!); see note. 1967. C. Tn. Th. Not; F. A. B. Wot. T. But I not how. A. happinit ; rest happed. Add. ther; T. there ;
1969. F. Tn. B. Add. that Adriane (badly); Th. that Ariadne. 1971. C. T. A. Add. compleynyge ; rest compleynt. 1972. C. T. lokedyn ; rest loked.
1973. F. B. (only) om. Isť to. C. A. sone; rest so sone. 1980. F. Tn. B. om. he. 1982. C. now certeyn; T. A. now certes; rest
1987. F. A. B. insert that before I. 1991. F. B. the ; rest this.