Imatges de pàgina
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For then at erst, I wote ye wol me leve.

By Mars, that ys chefe of my beleve,

So that I myghte lyven, and nat fayle

To morowe for to taken my batayle,

I nolde never fro this place flee, 2 no

Til that ye shulde the verray prefe see.

For now, yf that the sothe I shal yow saye,

I have loved yow ful many a daye,

Thogh ye ne wiste nat, in my contree,

And aldermoste desirede yow to see

Of any erthely lyvynge creature.

Upon my trouthe I swere and yow assure,

These seven yere I have your servant bee.

Now have I yow, and also have ye mee,

My dere hert, of Athenes1 duchesse!" 212a

This lady smyleth at his stedfastnesse, And at hys hertely wordys, and at his chere, And to hir suster sayde in this manere:

"And softely now, suster myn," quod she, "Now be we duchesses, both I and ye, And sykered to the regals2 of Athenes, And both heraftir lykly to be queenes, And saved fro hys deth a kynges sone, As ever of gentil wymen ys the wone * To save a gentilman, enforthe 4 hir myght, 2130 I n honest cause, and namely in his ryght. Me thinketh no wyght ought us hereof blame, Ne beren us therfore an evel name."

1 For Theseus was duke of Athens. 1 Assured of the regal af 'nbutes. s Wont. * As far as.

"THIS MYNATOWRE." l6l

And shortly of this matere for to make,
This Theseus of hir hath leve ytake,
And every poynt was performed in dede,
As ye have in the covenant herde me rede;
Hys wepne, his clyw, hys thing that I have
sayde

Was by the gayler in the house ylayde,
Ther as this Mynatowre hath hys dwellyng, 140
Ryght faste by the dorre at hys entrynge,
And Theseus ys ladde unto hys dethe;
And forthe unto this Mynataure he gethe,
And by the techynge of thys Adriane,
He overcome thys beste and was hys bane,
And oute he cometh by the clywe agayne
Ful prively. When he thys beste hath slayne,
And by the gayler gotten hath a barge,
And of his wives tresure gan it charge,
And tok hys wif, and eke hir suster free, 2150
And by the gayler, and wyth hem alle three
Ys stole away out of the londe by nighte,
And to the contree of Ennopye hym dyghte,1
There as he had a frende of his knowynge.
There festen they, there dauncen they and
synge,

And in hys armes hath thys Adriane,
That of the beste hath kepte him from hys
bane.

And gate him there a noble barge anoon, \nd of his countre folke a grete woon,*

Knope (Gerenta), in Messenia. set out- 1 Company. VOL. III. II

And taketh hys leve, and homewarde sayleth
hee; 2160
And in an yle, amydde the wilde see,
There as ther dwelleth creature noon
Save wilde bestes, and that ful many oon,
He made his shippe a-londe for to sette,
And in that ile halfe a day he lette,1
And sayde on the londe he moste.him reste.

Hys maryners han don ryght as hym leste;
And, for to telle schortly in thys case,
Whanne Adriane hys wyfe aslepe was,
For that hir suster fairer was than she, 2170
He taketh hir in hys honde, and forth gooth he
To shyppe, and as a traytour stale hys way,
While that thys Adriane aslepe lay,
And to hys contree-warde he sayleth blyve,—
A twenty devel way the wynde him dryve ! —
And fonde hys fader drenched in the see.
Me lyste no more to speke of hym, pardee!
These false lovers, poyson be her bane!

But I wol turne ageyne to Adryane, That ys with slepe for werynesse ytake; 2180 Ful sorwfully hir herte may awake. Alias, for the myn herte hath pitee! Ryght in the dawenynge awaketh shee, And gropeth2 in the bed, and fonde ryght noght.

"Allas," quod she, "that ever I was wroght 1

1 Waited 1 Searcheth. From this line to the end Chaucer fol 0ws Ovid in the Heroides quite closely.'

"HIR KERCHEFE ON A POLE." 163

I am betrayed," and hir heer to-rente,
And to the stronde barefote faste she wente,
And cryede, "Theseus! myn herte swete I
Where be ye, that I may not wyth yow mete?
And myghte thus with bestes ben yslayne."

The holowe roches answerde hir agayne.1
No man she sawe, and yet shone the mone,
And hye upon a rokke she wente sone, 2193
And saw hys barge saylynge in the see.
Colde waxe hir hert, and ryght thus sayde
she:

"Meker than ye fynde I the bestes wilde !" — Hath he not synne, that he hir thus begylde! — She cried, "O turne agayne for routhe and synne,

Thy barge hath not al thy meyny2 ynne."
Hir kerchefe on a pole stykede shee, 2200
Ascaunce* that he shulde hyt wel ysee,
And hym remembre that she was behynde,
And turne agayne, and on the stronde hir
fynde.

But al for noght; hys wey he ys i-goon,
And doune she felle a-swowne on a stoon;
And up she ryste, and kyssed in al hir care
The steppes of hys fete, there he hath fare,
And to hir bedde ryght thus she speketh
thoo:

"Thow bedd," quoth she, "that haste receyved twoo,

1 This is from Ovid. 1 Retinue. * As chanca.

Thow shalt answere of twoo and not of oon,
Where ys the gretter parte away i-goon? 2211
Allas, where shal I wreched wyght become?
For though so be that bote noon here come,
Home to my contree dar I not for drede;
I kan my selfe in this case not rede." 1

What shulde I telle more hir compleynynge?
Hyt ys so longe hyt were an hevy thynge.
In hyr Epistil Naso2 telleth alle,
But shortly to the ende tel I shalle.
The goddys have hir holpen for pitee, 2220
And in the sygne of Taurus men may see
The stones of hir corowne shyne clere;
I wol no more speke of thys matere.
But thus these false loveres kan begyle
Hire trewe love, the devel quyte hym hys
while ! *

Explicit Legenda Adriane de Athenes.

Incipit Legenda Philomene.

Thow giver of the formes, that hast wroght The faire worlde, and bare hit in thy thoght Eternally or * thow thy werke beganne, Why madest thow unto the sklaunder of manne, —

Or al be that hyt was not thy doyinge, 223c As for that fine 6 to make suche a thynge, —

1 Counsel. * Ovid. * Time. 4 Ere. 'End.

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