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And wirke after thy wiser ever moo.
For alderfirste,1 doghter, I love the soo
That al the worlde to me nys halfe so lefe,
Ne nolde rede 2 the to thy myschefe,
For al the good under the colde moone;
And what I meene, hyt shal be seyde ryght
With protestacioun, as seyn these wyse,
That but thou do as I shal the devyse, 2640
Thou shalt be ded,— by hym that al hath
At shorte wordes thou ne schapest nought
Out of my paleyse or that thou be dede,
But thou consente and werke aftir my rede;
Take this to the for ful conclusioun."
This Ypermystra caste hir eyen doun,
And quoke as dooth the lefe of aspe grene;
Ded wex hir hewe, and lyke as ashe to sene;
And seyde, "Lorde and fader, al youre wille,
After my myght, God wote I shal fulfille, 265c
So hit be to me no confusioun."
"I nyl," quod he, "have noon excepcioun." And out he kaughte a knyfe as rasour kene; "Hyde this," quod he, "that hyt be not i-sene And whan thyn housbonde ys to bedde goo, While that he slepeth kut hys throte atwoo; For in my dremes hyt is warned me, How that my nevywe shal my bane be, But which I not;* wherfore I wol be siker.*
1 Firat of all. 1 Counsel. • Know not. * Secure
"A COSTREL TAKETH HE." l8\
Git thou say nay, we two shal make a byker,1 As I have seyde, by him that I have sworne!"
This Ypermystra hath nygh hire wytte forlorne, 2662 And, for to passen harmlesse of that place, She graunted hym; ther was noon other grace. And therwithal a costrel2 taketh he tho And seyde, "Hereof a draught, or two, Gife hym to drynke whan he gooth to reste, And he shal slepe as longe as ever the leste, The narcotikes and opies ben so stronge. And goo thy way, lest that hym thynke to longe." 2670
Oute cometh the bride, and with ful sobre chere,
As ys of maidenes ofte the manere,
To chambre broght with revel and with songe.
And shortly, leste this tale be to longe,
This Lyno and she beth i-broght to bedde,
And every wight out at the dore hym spedde.
The nyght ys wasted and he felle aslepe;
Ful tenderly begynneth she to wepe;
She riste hir up, and dredefully * she quaketh,
As dothe the braunche that Zepherus shaketh,
And hussht were alle in Argone 4 that citee.
As colde as eny froste now wexeth shee, 2682
For pite by the herte streyneth hir soo,
And drede of dethe doth hir so moche woo.
That thries doun she fil in swich a were,1
She ryst hir up and stakereth her and there,
And on hir handes faste loketh she.
"Alias, [and] shal myn handes blody be?
I am a mayde, and as by my nature,
And be my semblant, and by my vesture, 269 c
Myn handes ben nat shapen for a knyfe,
As for to reve no man fro hys lyfe!
What devel have I with the knyfe to doo?
And shal I have my throte korve a twoo?
Than shal I blede, alias, and be i-shende!
And nedes-coste 2 thys thing mot have an ende
Or he or I mot nedes lese oure lyfe.
Now certes," quod she, "syn I am hys wyfe,
And hathe my fey the, yet is hyt bet fot me
For to be ded in wyfely honeste, 2700
Than be a traytour lyvyng in my shame.
Be as be may, for erneste or for game,
He shal awake and ryse and go hys way
Out at this goter,s or that hyt be day."
And wepte ful tendirly upon his face,
And in hir armes gan hym to embrace,
And hym she roggeth 4 and awaketh softe,
And at the wyndow lepe he fro the lofte,
Whan she hath warned hym and doon hym
This Lyno swyfte was and lyghtof fote, 2710
And from hir ranne a ful goode pace.
This sely womman ys so wayke,* allace!
Confusion • Of necessity. 1 Conduit. * Shaketn • Help
FLE FRO THE PRES. 183
Helpeles, so that er she ferre wente,
Her crewel fader did hir for to hente.1
Alias, Lyno, why art thou so unkynde?
Why ne hast thou remembred in thy mynde,
And taken hir, and ledde hir forthe with the?
For when she saw that goon away was he,
And that she myghte not so faste go,
Ne folowen hym, she sate hir doun ryght thoo,
Til she was kaught and fetred in prisoun. 2721
This tale ys sayde for this conclusioun.
Here endeth the Legende of Goode Women.
FLE FRO THE PRES.
Fle fro the pres s and duelle with sothfastnesse;*
Suffice the thy good, though hit be smale; For horde hath hate and clymbyng4 tikelnesse,* Pres hath envye and wele is blent 6 over alle, Savour7 no more then the behove shalle; Reule wel thyself that other folke canst rede,* And trouthe the shal delyver, hit ys no drede.
Peyne the not eche croked to redresse
In trust of hire that turneth as a balle,9
Grete reste stant in lytil besynesse;
Bewar also to spurn agein an nalle,10
• Caused her to be taken. 1 Crowd. * Truth. * Ambition, Uncertainty. • Wealth is deceived 7 Taste. 1 Counsel. > Thai W, Fortune. » An awl.
Stryve not as doth a croke 1 with a walle; Oaunte2 thyselfe that dauntest otheres dede, And trouthe the shal delyver, hit is no drede.
That the ys sent receyve in buxumnesse,
The wrasteling of this world asketh * a fall;
I ler is no home, her is but wyldyrnesse.
Forth, pilgrime! Forth, best, out of thy stalle
Loke up on hye and thonke God of alle;
Weyve thy luste and let thy goste the lede,
And trouthe the shal delyver, hit is no drede!
ORISOUNE TO THE HOLY VIRGIN.
Moder of God, and virgyne undefouled,
0 blisful queene, of queenes emperice! Preye for me, that am in synne mouled,
To God thy sone, punyssher of vice,
That of his mercy thogh that I be nyce,4
And negligent in keeping of his lawe,
His hye mercy my soule unto him drawe.
Moder of mercy, wey of indulgence,
That of al vertu art superlatyfe!
Saver of us by thy benevolence!
Humble lady, mayde, moder and wyfeJ
Causer of pees, styuter of wo and stryfe i
My preyere unto thy sone presente,
Syn of my gilt I fully me repente.
1 Earthen pot . s Control. 1 Courts. 4 Ignurant, tn",:?!i.