Imatges de pàgina


Why suffrest thow that Tereus1 was bore,
That ys in love so fals and so forswore,
That fro thys worlde up to the firste hevene
Corrumpeth, whan that folke hys name nev-

And as to me, so grisly was hys dede,

That whan that I this foule story rede,

Myn eyen wexen foule and sore also;

Yet laste the venym of so longe ago,

That infecteth hym that wolde beholde 2240

The story of Tereus, of which I tolde.

Of Trase was he lorde, and kynne to Marte, The cruelle god that stante with blody darte, And wedded hadde he, with blisful chere, King Pandyones faire doghter dere, That hyghte Proygne, floure of hir contree; Thogh Juno luste nat at the feste bee, Ne Ymeneus, that god of weddyng is. But at the feste redy ben, ywys, 2249 The Furies thre, with al hire mortel bronde.* The owle at nyght about the balkes wonde,4 That prophete ys of woo and of myschaunce. This revel, ful of songe, and ful of daunce, Laste a fourtenyght or lytel lasse. But shortly of this story for to passe, — For I am wery of hym for to telle, — Fyve yere hys wyfe and he togedir dwelle; Til on a day she gan so sore longe

1 The storjr of Tereus, king of Thrace, and Philomela, daughter of Pandion, king of Athens, is related in Ovid's MetumerpkoMt, n 112-676. * Name. * Brand 4 Rafters dwelt.

To seen hir suster, that she sawgh not longe,
That for desire she nyste what to seye, 2260
But to hir husbonde gan she for to preye
For Goddys love, that she moste ones goon
Hir suster for to seen, and come anoon.
Or elles but she moste to hyr wende,
She preyde hym that he wolde aftir hir sende.
And thys was day be day al hir prayere,
With al humblesse of wyfehode, worde and

This Tereus let make hys shippes yare,1
And into Grece hymselfe ys forthe yfare, 2269
Unto hys fader in lawe, and gan hym preye,
To vouche-safe that for a moneth or tweye,
That Philomene, his wyfes suster, myghte
On Proigne hys wyfe but ones have a syghte;
"And she shal come to yow agayne anoon,
My selfe with hyr, 1 wil bothe come and goon,
And as myn hertes lyfe I wol hir kepe."

Thys olde Pandeon, thys kynge, gan wepe For tendernesse of herte for to leve Hys doghtre goon, and for to give hir leve; Of al thys worlde he lovede nothinge soo ; 2280 But at the laste leve hath she to go. For Philomene with salte teres eke Gan of hir fader grace to beseke, To seen hir sustre that hir longeth soo, And hym embraceth with hir armes twoo. \nd ther-with-alle so yonge and faire was she.

1 Ready. Cf. The Tempest, act I, sc. i, 1. 7.


That whan that Tereus sawgh hir beaute,
And of array that ther nas noon hir lyche,
And yet of bounte1 was she too so ryche,
He caste hys fiery hert upon hir soo, 2290
That he wol have hir how-soo that hyt goo,
And with hys wiles kneled and so preyde,
Til at the laste Pandeon thus seyde:

"Now, sone," quod he, "that arte to me so dere,

I the betake 2 my yonge doghtre dere,
That bereth the key of al myn hertes lyfe.
And grete wel my doghter and thy wyfe,
And geve hir leve sommetyme for to pleye,
That she may seen me oones or I deye." 2299
And sothely he hath made him ryche feste,
And to hys folke, the moste and eke the leste,
That with him come; and gaf him geftes grete,
And him conveyeth thurgh the maistir * strete
Of Athenes, and to the see him broghte,
And turneth home; no malyce 4 he ne thoghte.
The ores pulleth forthe the vessel faste,
And into Trace arryveth at the laste;
And up into a forest he hir ledde,
And into a cave pryvely hym spedde.
And in this derke cave, git hir leste, 2310
Or leste noght, he bad hir for to reste;
Of which hir hert agrosse,6 and seyde thus:
"Where ys my suster, brother Tereus?"
\nd therewithal she wepte te.idirly,

'tk»dnes4. 'Commit. • Chief. * Evil. • Shuddered

And quok for fere, pale and pitously,
Ryghte as the lambe that of the wolfe ys byten,
Or as the colver1 that of thegle ys smyten,
And ys out of his clawes forthe escaped,
Yet hyt ys aferde and awhapeda
Lest hit be hent * eftsones: so sate she. 232c
But utterly hyt may none other be,
By force hath this traytour done a dede,
That he hathe refte hir hir maydenhede
Maugree hir hede, be strengthe and by his

Loo, heere a dede of men, and that aryght!
She crieth " Suster!" with ful longe stevene,4
And "Fader dere! Helpe me, God in hev-

Al helpeth nat. And yet this false thefe

Hath doon thys lady yet a more myschefe,

For ferde lest she sholde hys shame crye, 2330

And done hym openly a vilanye,

And with his swerde hire tonge of kerf he,

And in a castel made hir for to be

Ful prively in prison evermore,

And kept hir to his usage and to hys store,

So that she ne mighte never more asterte.6

O sely Philomene, woo ys in thyn herte! Huge ben thy sorwes, and wonder smerte! God wreke the, and sende the thy bone! Now ys hyt tyme I make an ende sone. 234c

This Tereus ys to hys wyfe ycome,

1 Dove. * Confused. * Caugb* * Note. * Escape.


And in hyse armes hath hys wyfe ynome,1
And pitously he wepe, and shoke hys hede,
And swore hire that he fonde hir suster dede;
For whiche the sely Proigne hath suche woo,
That nighe hire sorwful herte brake atwoo.
And thus in teres lat I Proigne dwelle,
And of hir suster forthe I wol yow telle.

This woful lady ylerned had in yowthe,
So that she werken and enbrowden kowthe,
And weven in stole the radevore,2 2351
As hyt of wymmen hath be woved yore.
And, shortly for to seyn, she hath hir fille
Of mete and drynke, of clothyng at hire wille,
And kouthe eke rede wel ynogh and endyte,
But with a penne she kouthe nat write;
But letteres kan she weve to and froo.
So thate by the yere was agoo,
She hadde woven in a stames laige,*
How she was broght from Athenes in a barge,
And in a cave how that she was broght, 2361
And al the thinge that Tereus hath wroght,
She wave4 hyt wel, and wrote the story above,
How she was served for hir suster love.
\nd to a knave 6 a rynge she gaf anoon,
\nd prayed hym by signes for to' goon
Unto the quene, and beren hir that clothe;
And by sygne sworne many an othe,
She shulde hym geve what she geten myghte.

* Taken. 'Tapestry. • Large piece of cloth (Lat. ttamtn, a "rover's warp). 4 Wove. 'Boy (Ger. knait).

« AnteriorContinua »