Geoffrey Chaucer.

The student's Chaucer, being a complete edition of his works; online

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This Troyan, that so wel her plesen can,
That feineth him so trewe and obeising,
So gentil and so privy of his doing, 1267


of (Boot

And can so wel doon nlle his obeisaunces,
And waiten her at festes and at daunces,
And when she goth to temple and hoom
ageyn, * 2 7

And fasten til he hath his lady seyn,
And bere in his devyses, for her sake,
Noot I nat what ; and songes wolde he
make, (35<>)

Justen, and doon of armes many thinges,
Sende herlettres, tokens, troches, ringes
Now herkneth, how he shal his lady
serve ! 1276

Ther-as he was in peril for to sterve
For hunger, and for mischeef in the


And desolat, and fled from his contree,
And al his folk with tempest al to-driven,
She hath her body and eek her reame
yiven 1281

In-to his hond, ther-as she mighte have


Of other lond than of Cartage a queen,
And lived in joye y-nogh ; what wolde ye
more? (361)

This Eneas, that hath so depe y-swore,
Is wery of his craft with-in a thro we ; 1286
The hote ernest is al over-blowe.
And prively he doth his shippes dighte,
And shapeth him to stele a-wey by nighte.
This Dido hath suspecioun of this, 1 290
And thoughte wel, that hit was al a-mis ;
For in his bedde he lyth a-night and


She asketh him anoon, what him mis-
lyketh (370)

' My dere herte, which that I love most ? '
' Certes,' quod he, ' this night my fadres
gost 1295

Hath in my sleep so sore me tormented,
And eek Mercurle his message hath pre-

That nedes to the conquest of Itaile
My destinee is sone for to saile ;
For which, me thinketh, brosten is myn
herte ! ' 1300

Ther-with his false teres out they sterte ;
And taketh her with-in his armes two.
4 Is that in ernest,' quod she ; ' wil ye
so ? ( 3 8o)

Have ye nat sworn to wyve me to take,
Alas ! what womman wil ye of me make ?

I am a gentil- woman and a queen, 1306
Ye wil nat fro your wyf thus foule fleen ?
That I was born ! alias ! what shal I do ? '
To telle in short, this noble queen Dido,
She seketh halwes, and doth sacrifyse ;
She kneleth, cryeth, that routhe is to
devyse ; 1311

Conjureth him, and profreth him to be
His thral, his servant in the leste gree ;
She falleth him to fote, and swownetli
there (391)

Dischevele. with her brighte gilte here,
And seith, ' have mercy ! let me with
yow ryde ! 1316

Thise lordes, which that wonen me besyde
Wil me destroyen only for your sake.
And, so ye wil me now to wyve take,
As ye han sworn, than wol I yive yow
leve 1320

To sleen me with your swerd now sone at

eve !

For than yit shal I dyen as your wyf.
I am with childe, and yive my child his
lyf. (400)

Mercy, lord ! have pite in your thoght ! '
But al this thing availeth her right noght ;
For on a night, slepinge, he let her lye,
And stal a-wey un-to his companye, 1327
And, as a traitour, forth he gan to saile
Toward the large contree of Itaile.
Thus hath he laft Dido in wo and pyne ;
And wedded ther a lady hight Lavyne.
A cloth he lafte, and eek his swerd
stonding, (409) I33 2

Whan he fro Dido stal in her sleping,
Right at her beddes heed, so gan he hye
Whan that he stal a-wey to his navye ;
Which cloth, whan sely Dido gan awake,
She hath hit kist ful ofte for his sake ;
And seide, ' O cloth, whyl Jupiter hit


Tak now my soule, unbind me of this

unreste ! 1339

I have fulfild of fortune al the cours.'

And thus, alias ! with-outen his socours,

Twenty tyme y-swowned hath she thanne.

And, whan that she un-to her suster

Anne (420)

Compleyned had, of which I may nat

wryte 1344

So greet a routhe I have hit for t'endyte



And bad her norice and her suster goon
To focchen fyr and other thing anoon,
And seide, that she wolde sacrifye.
And, whan she mighte her tyme wel


Up-on the fyr of sacrifys she sterte, 1350
And with his swerd she roof her to the


But, as myn autour seith, right thus
she seyde ; (429)

Or she was hurt, before that she deyde,
She wroot a lettre anoon, that thus be-
gan :

' Right so,' quod she, ' as that the whyte
swan 1355

Ayeins his deeth beginneth for to singe,
Right so to yow make I my compleyninge.

Nat that I trowe to geten yow again,
For wel I woot that it is al in vain,
Sin that the goddes been contraire to me.
But sin my name is lost through yow,'

quod she, 1361

' I may wel lese a word on yow, or letter,
Al-be-it that I shal be never the better ;
For thilke wind that blew your ship

a-wey, (441)

The same wind hath bio we a-wey your

fey.' 1365

But who wol al this letter have in

Rede Ovide, and in him he shal hit finde.

Explicit Legenda Didonis Martiris,
Cartaginis regine.


Incipit Legenda Ysiphile et Medee,


THOU rote of false lovers, duk Jasoun !
Thou sly devourer and confusioun
Of gentil-wommen, tender creatures, 1370
Thou madest thy reclaiming and thy


To ladies of thy statly apparaunce,
And of thy wordes, farced with plesaunce,
And of thy feyned trouthe and thy

With thyn obeisaunce and thy humble

chere, (8) 1375

And with thy counterfeted peyne and wo.
Ther other falsen oon, thou falsest two !
O ! ofte swore thou that thou woldest dye
For love, whan thou ne feltest maladye
Save foul delyt, which that thou callest

love ! 1380

If that I live, thy name shal be shove
In English, that thy sleighte shal be

knowe !
Have at thee, Jasoun ! now thyn horn is

blowe !

But certes, hit is bothe routhe and wo
That love with false loveres werketh so ;

For they shul have wel better love and
chere 1386

Than he that hath aboght his love ful
dere, (20)

Or had in armes many a blody box.
For ever as tendre a capoun et the fox,
Thogh he be fals and hath the foul be-
trayed, 1390
As shal the good-man that ther-for hath

payed ;
Al have he to the capoun skille and


The false fox wol have his part at night.
On Jasoun this ensample is wel y-sene
By Isiphile and Medea the quene. 1395

In Tessalye, as Guido telleth us,
Ther was a king that highte Pelleus, (30)
That had a brother, which that highte

And, whan for age he mighte unnethes


He yaf to Pelleus the governing 1400

Of al his regne, and made him lord and


Of which Eson this Jasoun geten was,
That, in his tyme, in al that lond, ther nas
Nat swich a famous knight of gentilesse,
Of freedom, and of strengthe and lusti-
nesse. 1405




After liis fader deeth, he bar him so (39)
That ther nas noon that liste been his fo,
But dide him al honour and companye ;
Of which this Pelleus hath greet envye,
Imagining that Jasoun mighte be 1410
Enhaunsed so, and put in swich degree
With love of lordes of his regioun,
That from his regne he may be put adoun.
And in his wit, a-night, compassed he
How Jasoun mighte best destroyed be 1415
Withoute slaunder of his compasment.
And at the laste he took avisement (50)
To senden him in-to som fer contree
Ther as this Jasoun may destroyed be.
This was his wit ; al made he to Jasoun
Gret chere of love and of affeccioun, 1421
For drade lest his lordes hit espyde.
So fil hit so, as fame renneth wyde,
Ther was swich tyding over-al and swich


That in an yle that called was Colcos, 1425
Beyonde Troye, estward in the see,
That ther-in was a ram, that men mighte

see, (60)

That had a flees of gold, that shoon so

That no-wher was ther swich an-other

sighte ; 1429

But hit was kept alway with a dragoun,
And many othere merveils, up and doun,
And with two boles, maked al of bras,
That spitten fyr, and moche thing ther


But this was eek the tale, nathelees,
That who-so wolde winne thilke flees, 1435
He moste bothe, or he hit winne mighte,
With the boles and the dragoun fighte ;
And king Oetes lord was of that yle. (71)
This Pelleus bethoghte upon this wyle ;
That he his nevew Jasoun wolde enhorte
To sailen to that lond, him to disporte,
And seide, ' Nevew, if hit mighte be
That swich a worship mighte fallen thee,
That thou this famous tresor mightest

winne, 1444

And bringen hit my regioun with-inne,
Hit were to me gret plesaunceand honour ;
Than were I holde to quyte thy labour. (80)
And al the cost I wol my-selven make ;
And chees -what folk that thou wilt with

thee take ; 1449

Lat see now, darstow taken this viage ? '
Jasoun was yong, and lusty of corage,
And under-took to doon this ilke em-

Anoon Argus his shippes gan devyse ;
With Jasoun wente the stronge Ercules,
And many an-other that he with him
chees. 1455

But who-so axeth who is with him gon,
Lat him go reden Argonauticon, (90)

For he wol telle a tale long y-now.
Philotetes anoon the sail up-drow,
Whan that the wind was good, and gan
him hye 1460

Out of his contree called Tessalye.
So long he sailed in the salte see
Til in the yle ^ Lemnoun aryyed he
Al be this nat rehersed of Gruido,
Yet seith Ovyde in his Epistles so 1465
And of this yle lady was and quene
The faire yonge Isiphilee, the shene, (100)
That whylom Thoas doghter was, the

Isiphilee was goon in her playing ; 1469
And, roming on the clyves by the see,
Under a banke anoon espyed she
Wher that the ship of Jasoun gan aryve.
Of her goodnesse adoun she sendeth blyve
To witen yif that any straunge wight 1474
With tempest thider were y-blowe a-night,
To doon him socour ; as was her usauiice
To forthren every wight, and doon ple-
saunce (no)

Of veray bountee and of curtesye.

This messagere adoun him gan to hye,
And fond Jasoun, and Ercules also, 1480
That in a cogge to londe were y-go
Hem to refresshen and to take the eyr.
The morwening atempre was and fair ;
And in his wey the messagere hem mette.
Ful cunningly thise lordes two he grette,
And dide his message, axing hem anoon
Yif they were broken, or oght wo begoon,
Or hadde nede of lodesmen or vitaile ; (121)
For of socour they shulde no-thing faile,
For hit was utterly the queries wille. 1490

Jasoun answerde, mekely and stille,
' My lady,' quod he, ' thanke I hertely
Of hir goodnesse ; us nedeth, trewely,
No-thing as now, but that we wery be,
And come for to pleye, out of the see, 1495

Jlegenfc of

anfc QtUfcea.


Til that the wind be better in onr weye.'

This lady rometh by the clif to pleye, ( 130)

With her meynee, endelong the stronde,

And fynt this Jasoun and this other

stonde, 1499

In spekinge of this thing, as I yow tolde.

This Ercules and Jasoun gan beholde
How that the quene hit was, and faire

her grette

Anon-right as they with this lady mette ;
And she took heed, and knew, by hir


By hir aray, by wordes and by chere, 1505
That hit were gentil-men, of greet degree.
And to the castel with her ledeth she
Thise straunge folk, and doth hem greet

honour, (141)

And axeth hem of travail and labour
That they han siiffred in the salte see ; 1510
So that, within a day, or two, or three,
She knew, by folk that in his shippes be,
That hit was Jasoun, ful of renomee,
And Ercules, that had the grete los, 1514
That soghten the aventures of Colcos ;
And dido hem honour more then before,
And with hem deled ever lenger the

more, (150)

For they ben worthy folk, with-outen lees.
And namely, most she spak with Ercules ;
To him her herte bar, he sholde be 1520
Sad, wys, and trewe, of wordes avisee,
With-outen any other aifeccioun
Of love, or evil imaginacioun.

This Ercules hath so this Jasoun preysed,
That to the sonne he hath him up

areysed, 1525

That half so trewe a man ther nas of love
Under the cope of heven that is above ;
And he Was wys, hardy, secree, and

riche. (161)

Of thise three pointes ther nas noon him

liche ;

Of freedom passed he, and lustihede, 1530
Alle tho that liven or. ben dede ;
Ther-to so greet a gentil-man was he,
And of Tessalie lykly king to be.
Ther nas no lak, but that he was agast
To love, and for to speke shamefast. 1535
He haddo lever him-self to mordre, and

dye (169)

Than that men shulde a lover him espye :

' As wolde almighty god that I had yive
My blood and flesh, so that I mighte live,
With tho nones that he hadde o-wher

a wyf 1540

For his estat ; for swich a lusty lyf
She sholde lede with this lusty knight ! '
And al this was compassed on the


Betwixe him Jasoun and this Ercules.
Of thise two heer was mad a shrewed lees
To come to hous upon an innocent; 1546
For to be-dote this queen was hir assent.
And Jasoun is as coy as is a maide, (181)
He loketh pitously, but noght he saide,
But frely yaf he to her conseileres 1550
Yiftes grete, and to her officeres.
As wolde god I leiser hadde, and tyme,
By proces al his wowing for to ryme.
But in this hous if any fals lover be,
Right as him-self now doth, right so dide

he, 1555

With feyning and with every sotil dede.

Ye gete no more of me, but ye wil rede

Th'original, that telleth al the cas. (191)

The somme is this, that Jasoun wedded

Unto this quene, and took of her sub-

staunce 1560

What-so him liste, unto his purveyaunce :
And upon her begat he children two,
And drow his sail, and saw her never-mo.

A lettre sente she to him certein,
Which were to long to wryten and to

sein, 1565

And him repreveth of his grete untrouthe.
And preyeth him on her to have som

routhe. (200)

And of his children two, she seide him


That they be lyke, of alle thing, y-wis,
To Jasoun, save they coude nat begyle ;
And preyed god, or hit were longe whyle,
That she, that had his herte y-raft her fro,
Moste finden him to her untrewe al-so,
And that she moste bothe her children

spille, 1574

And alle tho that suffreth him his wille.
And trew to Jasoun was she al her lyf,
And ever kepte her chast, as for his wyf :
Ne never had she joye at her herte, (211)
But dyed, for his love, of sorwes smerte.

3 8

of <5oofc Q#ontett.


To Colcos comen is this duk Jasoun,

That is of love devourer and dragoun. 1581

As matere appetyteth forme al-wey,

And from forme in-to forme hit passen


Or as a welle that were botomlees,
Right so can fals Jasoun have no pees.
For, to desyren, through his appetyt, 1586
To doon with gentil wommen his delyt,
This is his lust and his felicitee. (221)

Jasoun is romed forth to the citee,
That whylom cleped was Jaconitos, 1590
That was the maister-toun of al Colcos,
And hath y-told the cause of his coming
Un-to Oetes, of that contre king,
Preying him that he moste doon his
assay 1594

To gete the flees of gold, if that he may ;
Of which the king assenteth to his bone,
And doth him honour, as hit is to done,
So ferforth, that his doghter and his eyr,
Medea, which that was so wys and fair
That fairer saw ther never man with ye,
He made her doon to Jasoun companye
At mete, and sitte by him in the halle.
Now was Jasoun a semely man with-
aUe, (236)

And lyk a lord, and had a greet renoun,
And of his loke as real as leoun, 1605

And goodly of his speche, and famulere,
And coude of love al craft and art plenere
With-oute boke, with everich observaunce.
And, as fortune her oghte a foul mes-


She wex enamoured upon this man. 1610
' Jasoun,' quod she, ' for ought I see or


As of this thing the which ye been aboute,
Ye han your-self y-put in moche doute.
For, who-so wol this aventure acheve,
He may nat wel asterten, as I leve, 1615
With-outen deeth, but I his helpe be. (249)
But natheles, hit is my wille,' quod she,
' To forthren yow, so that ye shal nat dye,
But turnen, sound, hoom to your Tessalye. '
1 Myrighte lady, 'quod this Jasoun tho,
' That ye han of my dethe or of my wo
Any reward, and doon me this honour,
I wot wel that my might ne my labour

May nat deserve hit in my lyves day ; 1624
God thanke yow, ther I ne can ne may.
Your man am I, and lowly you beseche,
To been my help, with-oute more speche ;
But certes, for my deeth shal I nat

spare.' (261)

Tho gan this Medea to him declare
The peril of this cas, fro point to point,
And of his batail, and in what disjoint
He mote stande, of which no creature,
Save only she, ne mighte his lyf assure.
And shortly, to the point right for to go,
They been accorded ful, betwix hem two,
That Jasoun shal her wedde, as trewe

knight ; 1636

And term y-set,to come sone at night (271))
Unto her chambre, and make ther his

Upon the goddes, that he, for leef ne

looth, 1639

Ne sholde her never falsen, night ne day,
To been her husbond, whyl he liven may,
As she that from his deeth him saved


And her-upon, at night they mette y-fere,
And doth his ooth, and goth with her to

bedde. 1644

And on the morwe, upward he him spedde;
For she hath taught him how he shal

nat faile (279)

The flees to winne, and stinten his bataile ;
And saved him his lyf and his honour ;
And gat him greet name as a conquerour
Eight through the sleight of her en-

chantement. 1650

Now hath Jasoun the flees, and hoom

is went

With Medea, and tresor ful gret woon.
But unwist of her fader is she goon
To Tessaly, with duk Jasoun her leef,
That afterward hath broght her to mes-

cheef. 1655

For as a traitour he is from her go,
And with her laffce his yonge children

two, (290)

And falsly hath betrayed her, alias !
And ever in love a cheef traitour he was ;
And wedded yit the thridde wyf anon, 1660
That was the doghter of the king Creon.
This is the meed of loving and guerdoun
That Medea received of Jasoun



Right for her trouthe and for her kinde-

That loved him better than her-self, I

gesse, 1665

And lafte her fader and her heritage.
And of Jasoun this is the vassalage, (300)
That, in his dayes, nas ther noon y-founde
So fals a lover going on the grounde.
And therfor in her lettre thus she

seyde 1670

First, whan she of his falsnesse him um-


' Why lyked me thy yelow heer to see
More then the boundes of myn honestee,

Why lyked me thy youthe and thy fair-

And of thy tonge the infinit gracious-

nesse ? 1675

O, haddest thou in thy conquest deed

Ful mikel untrouthe had ther dyed with

thee!' (310)

Wei can Ovyde her lettre in vers endyte,

Which were as now to long for me to


Explicit Legenda Ysiphile et Medee,


Incipit Legenda Lucrecie Home, Martiris.

Now moot I seyn the exiling of kinges
Of Rome, for hir horrible doinges, 1681
And of the laste king Tarquinius,
As saith Ovyde and Titus Livius.
But for that cause telle I nat this storie,
But for to preise and drawen to memorie
The verray wyf, the verray trewe Lucresse,
That, for her wyf hood and her stedfast-

nesse, 1687

Nat only that thise pay ens her comende,
But he, that cleped is in our legende (10)
The grete Austin, hath greet compas-

sioun 1690

Of this Lucresse, that starf at Rome toun ;
And in what wyse, I wol but shortly trete,
And of this thing I touche but the grete.

Whan Ardea beseged was aboute
With Romains, that ful sterne were and

stoute, 1695

Ful longe lay the sege, and litel wroghte,
So that they were half ydel, as hem

thoghte; (18)

And in his pley Tarquinius the yonge
Gan for to jape, for he was light of tonge,
And seyde, that ' it was an ydel lyf ; 1700
No man did ther no more than his wyf ;
And lat us speke of wyves, that is best ;
Praise every man his owne, as him lest,
And with our speche lat us ese our herte.'
A knight, that highte Colatyne, up

sterte, 1705

And seyde thus, ' nay, for hit is no nede
To trowen on the word, but on the


I have a wyf,' quod he, ' that, as I trowe.
Is holden good of alle that ever her

knowe ; (yo)

Go we to-night to Rome, and we shul

see.' 1710

Tarquinius answerde, 'that lyketh me.'

To Rome be they come, and faste hem


To Colatynes hous, and doun they lighte,
Tarquinius, and eek this Colatyne.
The husbond knew the estres wel and

fye, 1715

And prively into the hous they goon ;
Nor at the gate porter was ther noon ;
And at the chambre-dore they abyde. (39)
This noble wyf sat by her beddes syde
Dischevele, for no malice she ne thoghte ;
And softe wolle our book seith that she

wroghte 1721

To kepen her fro slouthe and ydelnesse ;
And bad her servants doon hir businesse.
And axeth hem, ' what tydings heren ye ?
How seith men of the sege, how shal hit

be? 1725

God wolde the walles weren falle adoun ;
Myn husbond is so longe out of this toun,
For which the dreed doth me so sore

Right as a swerd hit stingeth to myn

herte (501

3 82

of <5oob QSDomen.

Whan I think on the sege or of that place ;
God save my lord, I preye him for his

grace :' 1731

And ther-with-al ful tenderly she weep,
And of her werk she took no more keep,
But mekely she leet her eyen falle ;
Andthilke semblant sat her wel with-alle.
And eek her teres, ful of honestee, 1736
Embelisshed her wyfly chastitee ;
Her countenaunce is to her herte digne,
For they acordeden in dede and signe. (60)
And with that word her husbond Colatyn,
Or she of him was war, com sterting in,
And seide, 'dreed thee noght, for I am

here!' 1742

And she anoon up roos, with blisful chere,

And kiste him, as of wyves is the wone.

Tarquinius, this proude kinges sone,

Conceived hath her beautee and -her

chere, 1746

Her yelow heer, her shap, and her manere,
Her hew, her wordes that she hath com-

And by no crafte her beautee nas nat

feyned ; (70)

And caughte to this lady swich desyr,
That in his herte brende as any fyr 1751
So woodly, that his wit was al forgeten.
For wel, thoghte he, she sholde nat be

And ay the more that he was in dispair,
The more he coveteth and thoghte her

fair. i 755

His blinde lust was al his covetinge.

A-morwe, whan the brid began to singe,
Unto the sege he comth ful privily,
And by himself he walketh sobrely, (So)
Th'image of her recording alwey newe ;
' Thus lay her heer, and thus fresh was

herhewe; 1761

Thus sat, thus spak, thus span ; this was

her chere,
Thus fair she was, and this was her


Al this conceit his herte hath now y-take.
And, as the see, with tempest al to-shake,
That, after whan the storm is al ago, 1766
Yet wol the water quappe a day or two,
Eight so, thogh that her forme wer

absent, ( 8 9 )

The plesaunce of her forme was present ;

But natheles, nat plesaunce, but delyt,
Or an unrightful talent with despyt ; 1771
' For, maugre her, she shal my lemman.


Hap helpeth hardy man alday,' quod he ;
' What ende that I make, hit shal be so ; '
And girt him with his swerde, and gan

to go ; 1775

And forth he rit til he to Eome is come,
And al aloon his wey than hath he nome
Unto the house of Colatyn ful right.
Doun was the sonne, and day hath lost

his light ; (100)

And in he com un-to a privy halke, 1780
And in the night ful theefly gan he stalke,
Whan every night was to his reste broght,
Ne no wight had of tresoun swich a


Were hit by window or by other gin, 1784
With swerde y-drawe, shortly he comth in
Ther as she lay, this noble wyf Lucresse.
And, as she wook. her bed she felte presse.
'What beste is that,' quod she, 'that

weyeth thus ? '

' I am the kinges sone, Tarquinius,' (no)
Quod he, ' but and thou crye, or noise

make, 1790

Or if thou any creature awake,
By thilke god that formed man on lyve,
This swerd through-out thyn herte shal

I ryve.'

And ther- withal unto her throte he sterte,
And sette the point al sharp upon her

herte. 1795

No word she spak, she hath no might


What shal she sayn ? her wit is al ago.
Eight as a wolf that fynt a lomb aloon,
To whom shal she compleyne, or make

moon? (120)

What ! shal she fighte with an hardy

knight ? 1800

Wel wot men that a woman hath no

What ! shal she crye, or how shal she

That hath her by the throte, with swerde

at herte?

She axeth grace, and seith al that she can.
' Ne wolt thou nat,' quod he, this cruel

man, 1805



' As wisly Jupiter my soule save,
As I shal in the stable slee thy knave,
And leye him in thy bed, and loude crye,
That I thee finde in suche avouterye ; (130)
And thus thou shalt be deed, and also

lese 1810

Thy name, for thou shalt lion other chese.'

Thise Romain \vyves loveden so hir


Atthilke tyme, and dredden so the shame,
That, what for fere of slaundre and drede

ofdeeth, 1814

She loste bothe at-ones wit and breeth,
And in a swough she lay and wex so


Men mighte smyten of her arm or heed ;
She feleth no-thing, neither foul lie fair.
Tarquinius, that art a kinges eyr, (140)
And sholdest, as by linage and by right,
Doon as a lord and as a verray knight,

Online LibraryGeoffrey ChaucerThe student's Chaucer, being a complete edition of his works; → online text (page 54 of 128)