Imatges de pàgina

To Jason, save they couthe nat begile.
And prayede God, or hit were longe while,
That she that had his herte yrefte hir fro 1570
Most him fynden to hir untrewe alsoo;
And that she moste booth nir children spille,1
And alle thoo 2 that suffreth hym his wille;
And trewe to Jason was she al hir lyve,
And ever kept hir chaste, as for his wyve;
And hadde never she joye at hir herte,
But dyede for his love of sorwes smerte.

To Colcos comen is this duke Jasoun,
That is of love devourer and dragoun,
As nature appeteth 2 forme alwey, 1580
And from a forme to forme it passen may;
Or as a welle that were botomeles,
Ryght so kan Jason ne have no pes,
For to desiren, thurgh his appetite,
To doon with gentil wymmen hys delyte;
This is his luste, and his felicite.

Jason is romed forthe to the cite, That whylom cleped was Jasonicos, That was the maister4 toune of al Colcos, And hath ytolde the cause of hiscomynge 1590 Unto yEetes, of that contree kynge; Praynge him that he moste doon his assay To gete the flese of golde, yf that he may. Of which the kynge assentith to hys bone,* And dothe him honour as hyt is to done,

1 Lose. These imprecations are from Ovid. 1 Those. * D» lireth (Lat. ptUre, lo seek to obtain). * Chief. • Boon.

"she Wex Enamoured." 141

So ferforthe, that his doghtre and his eyre,
Medea, which that was so wise and feyre,
That feyrer saugh ther never man with ye,
He made hire doone to Jason companye
Atte mete, and sitte by him in the hall. 1600

Now was Jasor. a semely man withalle,
And like a lorde, and had a grete renoun,
And of his loke as rial1 as lyoun,
And goodly of his speche, and famulere,2
And koude of love al crafte and arte plenere *
Withoute boke, and everyche observaunce.
And as fortune hiroughte 4 a foule meschaunce.
She wex enamoured upon this man.

"Jason," quod she, "for oght I se or kan, As of this thinge the whiche ye ben aboute, Ye, and your-selfe ye put in moche doute;6 For who-so wol this aventure acheve, 1612 He may nat wele asterten,6 as I leve,7 Withouten dethe, but I his helpe be. But nathelesse, hit ys my wille," quod she, "To furtheren yow, so that ye shal nat dye, But turne sounde home to youre Tessalye."

"My ryghte lady," quod thys Jason, "thoo, That ye han of my dethe or of my woo Any rewarde,8 and doon me this honour, 162c

I wote wel that my myght, ne my labour,
May not deserve hit in my lyves day;
God thanke yow, ther I ne kan nor may.

1 Royal. • Easy-manner,;d. • Fully. * Owed. • Danget

II Escape. 7 Believe. s Regard.

Youre man am I, and louly yow beseche
To ben my helpe, withoute more speche;
But certes for my dethe shal I not spare."

Thoo gan this Medea to him declare
The peril of this case, fro poynt to poynte
Of hys batayle, and in what disjoynte
He mote stonde; of whiche no creature 1630
Save oonly she ne myght hys lyfe assure.
And shortely, ryght to the poynt to goo,
They been accorded ful betwex hem two,
That Jason shal hir wedde, as trewe knyght,
And terme ysette to come soone at nyght
Unto hir chambre, and make there hys oothe
Upon the goddys, that he for leve ne loothe
Ne shulde hire never falsen, nyght ne day,
To ben hir husbonde while he lyve may, 1639
As she that from hys dethe hym saved there.

And here upon at nyght they mete yfere, And doth his oothe, and goothe with hir to bedde,

And on the morwe upwarde he him spedde,
For she hath taught him how he shal not faile
The flese to wynne, and stynten hys batayle;
And saved him his lyfe and his honour,
And gate a name as a conquerour,
Ryght thurgh the sleyghte of hir enchauntement.

Now hath Jason the fleese, and home ys went With Medea, and tresoures ful grete wopne; But unwiste of hir fader she is goone1 1651

1 Chaucer follows Guido pretty closely from line 1501 to tins ooin. "TRAYTOUR HE WAS.' 143

To Tessalye, with duke Jason hir leefe,
That afterwarde hath broght hir to myschefe.
For as a traytour he ys from hire goo,
And with hir lefte yonge children twoo,
And falsly hath betrayed hir, alias!
And ever in love a cheve1 traytour he was;
And wedded yet the thridde wife anon,
That was the doghtre2 of kynge Creon.

This ys the mede of lovynge and guerdoun,
That Medea receyved of Jasoun 1661
Ryght for hir trouthe, and for hir kyndenesse,
That loved hym beter thane hir-selfe, I gesse;
And left hir fadir and hire heritage.
And of Jason this is the vassalage,*
That in hys dayes nas never noon yfounde
So fals a lover goynge on the grounde.
\nd therfore in her letter thus she sayde,
First whan she of hys falsnesse hym umbrayde.*
"Why lykede6 me thy yelow heere to see, 1670
More than the boundes of myn honeste?
Why lykede me thy youthe and thy fairenesse,
And of thy tonge the infynyte graciousnesse?
O, haddest thou in thy conquest ded ybe,
Ful mykel untrouthe had ther dyed with the!"

Wei kan Ovyde hir letter in verse endyte,* Which were as now to longe for me to write.

Explicit Lcgenda Ysiphile rt Medee, Martirum.

• Chief. • That is, Creusa. * Courage. Cf. Canterbury Tmlm ^054. * Upbraided. * Pleased. fl Heroidts, xii 11.

Incipit Legenda Lucrecie, Rome, Martiris.

Now mote I sayne thexilynge of kynges Of Rome, for the horrible doynges Of the laste kynge Tarquynyus, 168c As saythe Ovyde, and Titus Lyvyus.1 But for that cause telle I nat thys story, But for to preysen, and drawen to memory '1 he verray wife, the verray Lucresse, That for hir wifehode, and hir stedfastnesse, Nat oonly that these payens 2 hir comende, But he that ycleped ys in oure legende The grete Austyne * hath grete compassyoun Of this Lucresse that starfe in Rome toun. And in what wise I wol but shortly trete, 1690 And of this thynge I touche wil but the grete.4

Whan Ardea beseged was aboute With Romaynes, that ful sterne were and stoute, Ful longe lay the sege, and lytel wroghten, So that they were halfe ydel, as hem thoghten. And in his pley Tarquynyus6 the yonge Gan for to jape, for he was lyghte of tonge; And sayde that hyt was an ydel lyfe; No man dide ther more than hys wife. "And lat us speke of wives that is best; 170c

1 Tne ott-repeated tale of the rape of Lucretia, the wife of Tarquinius Collatinus, is found in Livy s history, i. 55, etc.; and Oyid's Fasti, ii. 741, etc. The story belongs to the reign of Tarquin:ui Superbus, who was at the time besieging Ardea, near Rome. * I'* tans, 'St. Augustine, bishop of Hippo. 4 Substance. s Tar animus Sextus, cousin of Tarquinius Collatinus.

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