« AnteriorContinua »
And fro the toppe doune cometh the grete stones.
In gooth the grapenel so ful of crokes, 640
He poureth pesen upon the hacches slidre,*
For strokes which that wente as thik as hayle;
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,
* Body (Lat. corpus). * Fetched. • Were not.
THISBE OF BABYLON. 107
That ryght swich as ye felten wele or woo,
Amonge the serpents in the pit she sterte.
Now er I fynde a man thus trewe and stable,
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