Imatges de pàgina

Have ye nat sworne to wife me to take?
Alias, what woman wol ye of me make?
[ am a gentil woman, and a queene;
Ve wol nat fro your wyfe thus foule fleene I
That I was borne, alias! What shal I doo?"

To telle in short, this noble queene Dido
She seketh halwes,1 and doothe sacrifise;
She kneleth, crieth, that routhe is to devyse;
Conjureth him, and profereth him to bee 131c
Hys thral, hys servant, in the lest degre.
She falleth him to foote, and swowneth there,
Disshevely with hire bryghte gelte 2 here,
And seith, "Have mercy! let me with yow

These lordes, which that wonnen* me besyde,
Wol me destroien oonly for youre sake.
And4 ye wole now me to wife take,
As ye han sworn, than wol I give yow leve
To sleen me with your swerd now soone at eve
For than shal I yet dien as youre wife. 1320
I am with childe, and give my childe his lyfe!
Mercy, lorde, have pitee in youre thought!"

But al this thing avayleth hire ryght nought,
For on a nyght sleping he let hir lye,
And staal6 awey upon his companye,
And as a traytour forthe he gan to sayle
Towaide the large countree of Ytayle.
And thus hath he lefte Dido in woo and pyne,

1 Saints, i.e., goes to the temples. Cf. Canterbury TaUt,U l« Golden. • Dwell. 'Unless. • Stole.

[merged small][ocr errors]

\nd weddid there a lady highte Lavyne. A clooth he lefte, and eke his swerde stondynge — 1330 Whan he fro Dido staale in hire slepynge — Righte at hir beddes hed: so gan he hye, Whanne that he staale awey to his navye.

Which clooth, whan sely Dido gan awake,
She hath i-kyste ful ofte for hys sake;
And seyde, "O swete clooth, while Jupiter hit

Take my soule, unbynde me of this unreste,
I have fulfilled of fortune al the course."
And thus, allas, withouten hys socourse,1
Twenty tvme yswowned hath she thanne. 1340
And whan that she unto hir suster Anne
Compleyned had, of which I may not write,
So grete routhe I have hit for to endite,
And bad hir noryce 2 and hir sustren goon
To feche fire, and other thinges anoon,
And seyde that she wolde sacrifie;
And whan she myght hir tyme wel espye,
Upon the fire of sacrifice she sterte,
And with his swerde she roof* hire to the

But, as myn auctour4 seythe, yit thus she
seyde, 1350
Or she was hurte, beforne or she deide,
She wroot a letter anoon, that thus biganne.

1 Succor. • Nurse. * Rived Ovid. Lines 1354-1364 are a «e version of the HeroitUs, vii. v-8.

"Ryght so," quod she, "as the white swanne Agenst his deeth begynneth for to synge, Ryght so to yow I make my compleynynge, Nat that I trowe to geten yow agayne, For wel I woot that hit is al in vayne, Syn that the goddys ben contrariouse to me. But syn my name ys loste thurgh yow," quod she,

"I may wel Ieese a worde on yow, or letter, Albeit I shal be never the better. 1361

For thilke wynde that blew your shippe away, The same wynde hath blowe awey your fay." But who-so wool al this letter have in mynde, Rede Ovyde, and in him he shal hit fynde.

Explicit Legenda Didonis, Martiris, Cartagenis Regine.

Incipit Legenda Ypsiphile et Medee, Martiris}

Thou roote of false lovers, duke Jason! Thou slye devourer, and confusyon Of gentil women, gentil creatures! Thou madest thy reclaymynge2 and thy lures To ladies of thy staately aparaunce, 1370 And of thy wordes farsed * with plesaunce, And of thy feyned trouthe, and thy manere, With thyne obeysaunce and humble chere,

1 The Legends of the " Martyrs" Hypsiphile and Medea are found to Ovid, Metamorphoses, vii., and Reroutes, vi., xii. * To reclaim lawk is to tame and train it. s Stuffed (Fr. farcir).


And with thy countrefeted peyn and woo!
I'her other falsen oon, thou falseste twoo!
0, ofte swore thou that thou woldest deye
For love, whan thou ne felteste maladeye,
Save foule delyte, which that thou callest love I
If that I lyve, thy name shal be shove 1379
In Englyssh, that thy sleighte shal be knowe;
Have at the, Jason! now thyn horn is blowe I

But certes, it is bothe routhe and woo,
That love with false lovers werketh soo;
For they shalle have wel better and gretter

Than he that hath i-boughte love ful dere,

Or had in armes many a blody box.1

For ever as tender a capon eteth the fox,

Though he be fals, and hath the foule betrayed,

As shal the goode man that therfor payed;

Alle thof2 he have to the capon skille* and ryghte, 1390

The false fox wil have his part at nyghte.

On Jason this ensample is wel yseene,

By Isiphile and Medea the queene.

In Tessalye, as Ovyde telleth us,
I'her was a knyght that highte Pelleus,4
That had a brother whiche that hight Eson.4

And whan for age he myghte unnethes gon,

He gaf to Pelleus the governynge

Of al his regne, and made him lorde and kynge.

Of whiche Eson this Jason geten wa», 1400

1 Blow. 'Though. 'Reasot. 'Psleas. c Mao*.

That in his tyme in al that lande ther nas
Nat suche a famouse knyghte of gentilesse,
Of fredome,1 of strengthe, and of lustynesse.
After his fader deeth he bar him soo,
That there nas noon that lyste ben his foo,
But dide him al honour and companye.
Of which this Pelleus hath grete envye,
Imagynynge that Jason myghte bee
Enhaunced so, and put in suche degree,
With love of lordes of his regioun, 1410
That from hys regne he may be put adoun.

And in his witte a nyghte compassed he
How Jason myghte beste destroyed be,
Withoute sclaunder of his compassemente.
And at the laste he tooke avysemente,
To senden him into some fer contre,
There as this Jason may distroyed be.
This was his witte, al2 made he to Jasoun
Grete chere of love and of affeccioun,
For drede lest his lordes hyt espyede. 1420

So felle hyt so as fame renneth wide, Ther was suche tidynge overalle, and suche los,' That in an ile that called was Colcos,4 Beyonde Troye estewarde in the see, That ther a ram was that men myghte see, That had a flees of gold, that shoon so bryghte, That no wher was ther suche another syghte, But hit was kept alway with' a dragoun, — Vnd many other mervels up and doun;

'Generosity. "Although. • Fame(Lat.15i'«). * Colchi*

« AnteriorContinua »