Imatges de pàgina
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And fro the toppe doune cometh the grete stones.

In gooth the grapenel so ful of crokes, 640
Amonge the ropes, and the sheryng1 hokes;
In with the polax preseth he and he;
Byhynde the maste begynneth he to fle,
And out agayn, and dryveth hym over borde;
He styngeth hym upon hys speres orde ;1
He rent the sayle with hokes lyke a sithe;
He bryngeth the cuppe, and biddeth hem be
blithe;

He poureth pesen upon the hacches slidre,*
With pottes ful of lyme, they goon togidre.
And thus the longe day in fight they spende 650
Til at the last, as every thing hath ende,
Antony is shent,4 and put hym to the flyghte,
And al hys folke to-goo, that best goo myghte.
Fleeth ek the queene with al hir purpre
sayle,

For strokes which that wente as thik as hayle;
No wonder was she myght it nat endure.
And whan that Antony saugh that aventure,
"Allas," quod he, "the day that I was borne!
My worshippe in this day thus have I lorne!"
And for dispeyre out of hys wytte he sterte, 660
And roof6 hymself anoon thurghout the herte,
Er that he ferther went out of the place.*

1 Cutting. 1 Point. • Slippery. * Discomfited. 'Rived B In truth Antony did not put an end to his life until the following jear. Chaucer is not careful to give exactly all the details, but hastens to the ** application."

Hys wyf, that koude of Cesar have no grace, I'o Egipte is fled, for drede and for distresse. But herkeneth ye that speken of kyndenesse.

Ye men that falsly sweren many an oothe, That ye wol dye yf that your love be wroothe, Here may ye seen of women which a trouthe. This woful Cleopatre hath made swich routhe, That ther nys tonge noon that mayyt telle. 67c But on the morowe she wol no lenger dwelle, But made hir subtil werkmen make a shryne Of al the rubees and the stones fyne In al Egipte that she koude espye; And put ful the shryne of spicerye, And let the corps 1 enbawme; and forth she fette 2

This dede corps, and in the shryne yt shette. And next the shryne a pitte than dooth she grave,

And alle the serpentes that she myght have,
She put hem in that grave, and thus she
seyde: 680
"Now, love, to whom my sorweful hert obeyde.
So ferforthely that fro that blysful houre
That I yow swor to ben al frely youre, —
I mene yow, Antonius, my knyght, —
That never wakyng in the day or nyght
Ye nere* out of myn hertes remembraunce,
For wele or woo, for carole, or for daunce;
A.nd in my self this coven aunt made I thoo,

* Body (Lat. corpus). * Fetched. • Were not.

THISBE OF BABYLON. 107

That ryght swich as ye felten wele or woo,
As ferforth as yt in my powere lay, 690
Unreprovable unto my wifhood ay,
The same wolde I felen, life or deethe;
And thilke covenaunt while me lasteth breethe
I wol fulfille; and that shal wel be seene,
Was never unto hir love a trewer queene."
And wyth that worde, naked, with ful good
herte,

Amonge the serpents in the pit she sterte.
And ther she chees to han hir buryinge.
Anoon the neddres1 gonne hir for to stynge,
And she hir deeth receveth with good chere,
For love of Antony that was hir so dere. 701
And this is storial, sooth it ys no fable.

Now er I fynde a man thus trewe and stable,
And wolde for love his deeth so frely take,
I prey God lat oure hedes nevere ake!

Explicit Legenda Cleopatre, Marlyris.

Fncipit Legenda Tesbe Babtlon, Martins.

At Babiloyne 2 whylom fil it thus, — The whiche toune the queene Simyramus Leet dichen al about, and walles make Ful hye, of harde tiles wel ybake: There were dwellynge in this noble toune 710

1 Adders. * The story of Pyramus and Thisbe is told by Ovid and atie other author, both laying the scene in Babylon. See Metamor *kcusy iv. 55.

Two lordes, which that were of grete renoune,

And woneden1 so neigh upon a grene,

That ther nas but a stoon wal hem betwene,

As ofte in grette tounes ys the wone.2

And sooth to seyn, that o man had a sone,

Of al that londe oon the lustieste;

That other had a doghtre, the faireste

That esteward in the worlde was tho dwellynge

The name of everyche gan to other sprynge,

By wommen that were neyghebores aboute; 720

For in that contre yit, wythouten doute,

Maydenes ben ykept for jelousye

Ful streyte, leste they diden somme folye.

This yonge man was cleped Piramus, Tesbe highte the maide, — Naso* seith thus. And thus by reporte was hir name yshove,4 That as they wox in age, wax hir love. And certeyne, as by reson of hir age, Ther myghte have ben betwex hem mariage, But that hir fadres nold yt not assente, 730 And booth in love ylike soore they brente, That noon of al hir frendes myghte yt lette. But prevely sommtyme yit they mette Be sleight, and spoken somme of hire desire, As "wre the glede5 and hotter is the fire ;" Forbeede a love, and it is ten times so woode.

This wal, which that bitwixe hem bothe stoode,

1 Dwelt. * Wont. 'Publius Ovidius Naso. * Her fame pub lshcd. 'Cover the coals. 'Mad.

THE WALL WAS CLOVEN. ICKJ

Was cloven atwoo, right fro the toppe aduune

Of olde tyme, of his foundacioun.

But yit this clyft was so narwe and lite 1 740

Yt was nat seene, deere ynogh a myte;2

But what is that that love kannat espye?

Ye lovers twoo, yf that I shal nat lye,

Ye founden first this litel narwe clifte,

And with a soune as softe as any shryfte,

They leete hir wordes thurgh the clifte pace,

And tolden, while that they stoden in the place,

Al hire compleynt of love, and al hire woo.

At every tyme whan they dorste soo,

Upon the o syde of the walle stood he, 750

And on that other syde stood Tesbe,

The swoote soune of other to receyve.

And thus hire wardeyns wolde they disceyve, And every day this walle they wolde threete, And wisshe to God that it were doune ybete. Thus wolde they seyn: "Allas, thou wikked walle!

Thurgh thyn envye thow us lettest alle!

Why nyltow cleve, or fallen al atwo?

Or at the leeste, that thow wouldest so,

Yit woldestow but ones let us meete, 760

Or oones that we myghte kyssen sweete,

Than were we covered* of oure cares colde.

But natheles, yit be we to the holde.4

In as muche as thou suffrest for to goon

Our wordes thurgh thy lyme and eke thy stoon,

Yet oghte we with the ben wel apayede." 6

Little. 1 That is, scarcely. s Recovered. * Holdeu 6 Satisfied

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