The Online 
Medieval and Classical Library

Confessio Amantis
Tales of the Seven Deadly Sins

Incipit Liber Quintus: Part 2

Online Medieval and Classical Library Release #4

1988   Wher he pourposeth him to fare    
1989   Upon his lucre and his beyete,
1990   The smale path, the large Strete,
1991   The furlong and the longe Mile,  
1992   Al is bot on for thilke while:
1993   And for that he is such on holde,
1994   Dame Avarice him hath withholde, 
1995   As he which is the principal  
1996   Outward, for he is overal  
1997   A pourveour and an aspie.  
1998   For riht as of an hungri Pie  
1999   The storve bestes ben awaited,
2000   Riht so is Covoitise afaited  
2001   To loke where he mai pourchace,  
2002   For be his wille he wolde embrace
2003   Al that this wyde world beclippeth; 
2004   Bot evere he somwhat overhippeth,
2005   That he ne mai noght al fulfille 
2006   The lustes of his gredi wille.
2007   Bot where it falleth in a lond,  
2008   That Covoitise in myhti hond  
2009   Is set, it is ful hard to fiede; 
2010   For thanne he takth non other hiede,
2011   Bot that he mai pourchace and gete, 
2012   His conscience hath al foryete,  
2013   And not what thing it mai amonte 
2014   That he schal afterward acompte. 
2015   Bote as the Luce in his degre 
2016   Of tho that lasse ben than he 
2017   The fisshes griedeli devoureth,  
2018   So that no water hem socoureth,  
2019   Riht so no lawe mai rescowe
2020   Fro him that wol no riht allowe; 
2021   For wher that such on is of myht,
2022   His will schal stonde in stede of riht.
2023   Thus be the men destruid fulofte,
2024   Til that the grete god alofte 
2025   Ayein so gret a covoitise  
2026   Redresce it in his oghne wise:    
2027   And in ensample of alle tho
2028   I finde a tale write so,
2029   The which, for it is good to liere, 
2030   Hierafterward thou schalt it hiere. 
2031   Whan Rome stod in noble plit, 
2032   Virgile, which was tho parfit,
2033   A Mirour made of his clergie  
2034   And sette it in the tounes ije
2035   Of marbre on a piler withoute;
2036   That thei be thritty Mile aboute 
2037   Be daie and ek also be nyhte  
2038   In that Mirour beholde myhte  
2039   Here enemys, if eny were,  
2040   With al here ordinance there, 
2041   Which thei ayein the Cite caste: 
2042   So that, whil thilke Mirour laste,  
2043   Ther was no lond which mihte achieve
2044   With werre Rome forto grieve; 
2045   Wherof was gret envie tho. 
2046   And fell that ilke time so,
2047   That Rome hadde werres stronge
2048   Ayein Cartage, and stoden longe  
2049   The tuo Cites upon debat.  
2050   Cartage sih the stronge astat 
2051   Of Rome in thilke Mirour stonde, 
2052   And thoghte al prively to fonde  
2053   To overthrowe it be som wyle. 
2054   And Hanybal was thilke while  
2055   The Prince and ledere of Cartage,
2056   Which hadde set al his corage 
2057   Upon knihthod in such a wise, 
2058   That he be worthi and be wise 
2059   And be non othre was conseiled,  
2060   Wherof the world is yit merveiled
2061   Of the maistries that he wroghte 
2062   Upon the marches whiche he soghte.      
2063   And fell in thilke time also, 
2064   The king of Puile, which was tho,
2065   Thoghte ayein Rome to rebelle,
2066   And thus was take the querele,
2067   Hou to destruie this Mirour.  
2068   Of Rome tho was Emperour
2069   Crassus, which was so coveitous, 
2070   That he was evere desirous 
2071   Of gold to gete the pilage;
2072   Wherof that Puile and ek Cartage 
2073   With Philosophres wise and grete 
2074   Begunne of this matiere trete,
2075   And ate laste in this degre
2076   Ther weren Philosophres thre, 
2077   To do this thing whiche undertoke,  
2078   And therupon thei with hem toke  
2079   A gret tresor of gold in cophres,
2080   To Rome and thus these philisophres 
2081   Togedre in compainie wente,
2082   Bot noman wiste what thei mente. 
2083   Whan thei to Rome come were,  
2084   So prively thei duelte there, 
2085   As thei that thoghten to deceive:
2086   Was non that mihte of hem perceive, 
2087   Til thei in sondri stedes have
2088   Here gold under the ground begrave  
2089   In tuo tresors, that to beholde  
2090   Thei scholden seme as thei were olde.  
2091   And so forth thanne upon a day
2092   Al openly in good arai  
2093   To themperour thei hem presente, 
2094   And tolden it was here entente
2095   To duellen under his servise. 
2096   And he hem axeth in what wise;
2097   And thei him tolde in such a plit,  
2098   That ech of hem hadde a spirit,  
2099   The which slepende a nyht appiereth     
2100   And hem be sondri dremes lereth  
2101   After the world that hath betid. 
2102   Under the ground if oght be hid  
2103   Of old tresor at eny throwe,  
2104   They schull it in here swevenes knowe; 
2105   And upon this condicioun,  
2106   Thei sein, what gold under the toun 
2107   Of Rome is hid, thei wole it finde, 
2108   Ther scholde noght be left behinde, 
2109   Be so that he the halvendel
2110   Hem grante, and he assenteth wel;
2111   And thus cam sleighte forto duelle  
2112   With Covoitise, as I thee telle. 
2113   This Emperour bad redily
2114   That thei be logged faste by  
2115   Where he his oghne body lay;  
2116   And whan it was amorwe day,
2117   That on of hem seith that he mette  
2118   Wher he a goldhord scholde fette:
2119   Wherof this Emperour was glad,
2120   And therupon anon he bad
2121   His Mynours forto go and myne,
2122   And he himself of that covine 
2123   Goth forth withal, and at his hond  
2124   The tresor redi there he fond,
2125   Where as thei seide it scholde be;  
2126   And who was thanne glad bot he?  
2127   Upon that other dai secounde  
2128   Thei have an other goldhord founde, 
2129   Which the seconde maister tok 
2130   Upon his swevene and undertok.
2131   And thus the sothe experience 
2132   To themperour yaf such credence, 
2133   That al his trist and al his feith  
2134   So sikerliche on hem he leith,
2135   Of that he fond him so relieved, 
2136   That thei ben parfitli believed, 
2137   As thogh thei were goddes thre.  
2138   Nou herkne the soutilete.      
2139   The thridde maister scholde mete,
2140   Which, as thei seiden, was unmete
2141   Above hem alle, and couthe most; 
2142   And he withoute noise or bost 
2143   Al priveli, so as he wolde,
2144   Upon the morwe his swevene tolde 
2145   To themperour riht in his Ere,
2146   And seide him that he wiste where
2147   A tresor was so plentivous 
2148   Of gold and ek so precious 
2149   Of jeueals and of riche stones,  
2150   That unto alle hise hors at ones 
2151   It were a charge sufficant.
2152   This lord upon this covenant  
2153   Was glad, and axeth where it was.
2154   The maister seide, under the glas,  
2155   And tolde him eke, as for the Myn
2156   He wolde ordeigne such engin, 
2157   That thei the werk schull undersette
2158   With Tymber, that withoute lette 
2159   Men mai the tresor saufli delve, 
2160   So that the Mirour be himselve
2161   Withoute empeirement schal stonde:  
2162   And this the maister upon honde  
2163   Hath undertake in alle weie.  
2164   This lord, which hadde his wit aweie
2165   And was with Covoitise blent, 
2166   Anon therto yaf his assent;
2167   And thus they myne forth withal, 
2168   The timber set up overal,  
2169   Wherof the Piler stod upriht; 
2170   Til it befell upon a nyht  
2171   These clerkes, whan thei were war
2172   Hou that the timber only bar  
2173   The Piler, wher the Mirour stod,-
2174   Here sleihte noman understod,-
2175   Thei go be nyhte unto the Myne    
2176   With pich, with soulphre and with rosine, 
2177   And whan the Cite was a slepe,
2178   A wylde fyr into the depe  
2179   They caste among the timberwerk, 
2180   And so forth, whil the nyht was derk,  
2181   Desguised in a povere arai 
2182   Thei passeden the toun er dai.
2183   And whan thei come upon an hell, 
2184   Thei sihen how the Mirour fell,  
2185   Wherof thei maden joie ynowh, 
2186   And ech of hem with other lowh,  
2187   And seiden, "Lo, what coveitise  
2188   Mai do with hem that be noght wise!"
2189   And that was proved afterward,
2190   For every lond, to Romeward
2191   Which hadde be soubgit tofore,
2192   Whan this Mirour was so forlore  
2193   And thei the wonder herde seie,  
2194   Anon begunne desobeie
2195   With werres upon every side;  
2196   And thus hath Rome lost his pride
2197   And was defouled overal.
2198   For this I finde of Hanybal,  
2199   That he of Romeins in a dai,  
2200   Whan he hem fond out of arai, 
2201   So gret a multitude slowh, 
2202   That of goldringes, whiche he drowh 
2203   Of gentil handes that ben dede,  
2204   Buisshelles fulle thre, I rede,  
2205   He felde, and made a bregge also,
2206   That he mihte over Tibre go
2207   Upon the corps that dede were 
2208   Of the Romeins, whiche he slowh there. 
2209   Bot now to speke of the juise,
2210   The which after the covoitise 
2211   Was take upon this Emperour,  
2212   For he destruide the Mirour;      
2213   It is a wonder forto hiere.
2214   The Romeins maden a chaiere
2215   And sette here Emperour therinne,
2216   And seiden, for he wolde winne
2217   Of gold the superfluite,
2218   Of gold he scholde such plente
2219   Receive, til he seide Ho:  
2220   And with gold, which thei hadden tho
2221   Buillende hot withinne a panne,  
2222   Into his Mouth thei poure thanne.
2223   And thus the thurst of gold was queynt,
2224   With gold which hadde ben atteignt. 
2225   Wherof, mi Sone, thou miht hiere,
2226   Whan Covoitise hath lost the stiere 
2227   Of resonable governance,
2228   Ther falleth ofte gret vengance. 
2229   For ther mai be no worse thing
2230   Than Covoitise aboute a king: 
2231   If it in his persone be,
2232   It doth the more adversite;
2233   And if it in his conseil stonde, 
2234   It bringth alday meschief to honde  
2235   Of commun harm; and if it growe  
2236   Withinne his court, it wol be knowe,
2237   For thanne schal the king be piled. 
2238   The man which hath hise londes tiled,  
2239   Awaiteth noght more redily 
2240   The Hervest, than thei gredily
2241   Ne maken thanne warde and wacche,
2242   Wher thei the profit mihten cacche: 
2243   And yit fulofte it falleth so,
2244   As men mai sen among hem tho, 
2245   That he which most coveiteth faste  
2246   Hath lest avantage ate laste. 
2247   For whan fortune is therayein,
2248   Thogh he coveite, it is in vein; 
2249   The happes be noght alle liche,  
2250   On is mad povere, an other riche,
2251   The court to some doth profit,    
2252   And some ben evere in o plit; 
2253   And yit thei bothe aliche sore
2254   Coveite, bot fortune is more  
2255   Unto that o part favorable.
2256   And thogh it be noght resonable, 
2257   This thing a man mai sen alday,  
2258   Wherof that I thee telle may  
2259   A fair ensample in remembrance,  
2260   Hou every man mot take his chance
2261   Or of richesse or of poverte. 
2262   Hou so it stonde of the decerte, 
2263   Hier is noght every thing aquit, 
2264   For ofte a man mai se this yit,  
2265   That who best doth, lest thonk schal have;
2266   It helpeth noght the world to crave,
2267   Which out of reule and of mesure 
2268   Hath evere stonde in aventure 
2269   Als wel in Court as elles where: 
2270   And hou in olde daies there
2271   It stod, so as the thinges felle,
2272   I thenke a tale forto telle.  
2273   In a Cronique this I rede. 
2274   Aboute a king, as moste nede, 
2275   Ther was of knyhtes and squiers  
2276   Gret route, and ek of Officers:  
2277   Some of long time him hadden served,
2278   And thoghten that thei have deserved
2279   Avancement, and gon withoute; 
2280   And some also ben of the route
2281   That comen bot a while agon,  
2282   And thei avanced were anon.
2283   These olde men upon this thing,  
2284   So as thei dorste, ayein the king
2285   Among hemself compleignen ofte:  
2286   Bot ther is nothing seid so softe,  
2287   That it ne comth out ate laste;  
2288   The king it wiste, and als so faste,    
2289   As he which was of hih Prudence, 
2290   He schop therfore an evidence 
2291   Of hem that pleignen in that cas,
2292   To knowe in whos defalte it was. 
2293   And al withinne his oghne entente,  
2294   That noman wiste what it mente,  
2295   Anon he let tuo cofres make
2296   Of o semblance and of o make, 
2297   So lich that no lif thilke throwe
2298   That on mai fro that other knowe:
2299   Thei were into his chambre broght,  
2300   Bot noman wot why thei be wroght,
2301   And natheles the king hath bede  
2302   That thei be set in prive stede. 
2303   As he that was of wisdom slih,
2304   Whan he therto his time sih,  
2305   Al prively, that non it wiste,
2306   Hise oghne hondes that o kiste
2307   Of fin gold and of fin perrie,
2308   The which out of his tresorie 
2309   Was take, anon he felde full; 
2310   That other cofre of straw and mull  
2311   With Stones meind he felde also. 
2312   Thus be thei fulle bothe tuo, 
2313   So that erliche upon a day 
2314   He bad withinne, ther he lay, 
2315   Ther scholde be tofore his bed
2316   A bord upset and faire spred; 
2317   And thanne he let the cofres fette, 
2318   Upon the bord and dede hem sette.
2319   He knew the names wel of tho, 
2320   The whiche ayein him grucche so, 
2321   Bothe of his chambre and of his halle, 
2322   Anon and sende for hem alle,  
2323   And seide to hem in this wise:
2324   "Ther schal noman his happ despise; 
2325   I wot wel ye have longe served,  
2326   And god wot what ye have deserved:  
2327   Bot if it is along on me    
2328   Of that ye unavanced be,
2329   Or elles it be long on you,
2330   The sothe schal be proved nou,
2331   To stoppe with youre evele word. 
2332   Lo hier tuo cofres on the bord:  
2333   Ches which you list of bothe tuo;
2334   And witeth wel that on of tho 
2335   Is with tresor so full begon, 
2336   That if ye happe therupon, 
2337   Ye schull be riche men for evere.
2338   Now ches and tak which you is levere:  
2339   Bot be wel war, er that ye take; 
2340   For of that on I undertake 
2341   Ther is no maner good therinne,  
2342   Wherof ye mihten profit winne.
2343   Now goth togedre of on assent 
2344   And taketh youre avisement,
2345   For bot I you this dai avance,
2346   It stant upon youre oghne chance 
2347   Al only in defalte of grace:  
2348   So schal be schewed in this place
2349   Upon you alle wel afyn, 
2350   That no defalte schal be myn."
2351   Thei knelen alle and with o vois 
2352   The king thei thonken of this chois:
2353   And after that thei up arise, 
2354   And gon aside and hem avise,  
2355   And ate laste thei acorde; 
2356   Wherof her tale to recorde,
2357   To what issue thei be falle,  
2358   A kniht schal speke for hem alle.
2359   He kneleth doun unto the king,
2360   And seith that thei upon this thing,
2361   Or forto winne or forto lese, 
2362   Ben alle avised forto chese.  
2363   Tho tok this kniht a yerde on honde,
2364   And goth there as the cofres stonde,
2365   And with assent of everichon      
2366   He leith his yerde upon that on, 
2367   And seith the king hou thilke same  
2368   Thei chese in reguerdoun be name,
2369   And preith him that thei mote it have. 
2370   The king, which wolde his honour save, 
2371   Whan he hath herd the commun vois,  
2372   Hath granted hem here oghne chois
2373   And tok hem therupon the keie.
2374   Bot for he wolde it were seie 
2375   What good thei have, as thei suppose,  
2376   He bad anon the cofre unclose,
2377   Which was fulfild with straw and stones:  
2378   Thus be thei served al at ones.  
2379   This king thanne in the same stede  
2380   Anon that other cofre undede, 
2381   Where as thei sihen gret richesse,  
2382   Wel more than thei couthen gesse.
2383   "Lo," seith the king, "nou mai ye se
2384   That ther is no defalte in me;
2385   Forthi miself I wole aquyte,  
2386   And bereth ye youre oghne wyte
2387   Of that fortune hath you refused."  
2388   Thus was this wise king excused, 
2389   And thei lefte of here evele speche 
2390   And mercy of here king beseche.  
2391   Somdiel to this matiere lik
2392   I finde a tale, hou Frederik, 
2393   Of Rome that time Emperour,
2394   Herde, as he wente, a gret clamour  
2395   Of tuo beggers upon the weie. 
2396   That on of hem began to seie, 
2397   "Ha lord, wel mai the man be riche  
2398   Whom that a king list forto riche." 
2399   That other saide nothing so,  
2400   Bot, "He is riche and wel bego,  
2401   To whom that god wole sende wele."  
2402   And thus thei maden wordes fele, 
2403   Wherof this lord hath hiede nome,
2404   And dede hem bothe forto come     
2405   To the Paleis, wher he schal ete,
2406   And bad ordeine for here mete 
2407   Tuo Pastes, whiche he let do make.  
2408   A capoun in that on was bake, 
2409   And in that other forto winne 
2410   Of florins al that mai withinne  
2411   He let do pute a gret richesse;  
2412   And evene aliche, as man mai gesse, 
2413   Outward thei were bothe tuo.  
2414   This begger was comanded tho, 
2415   He that which hield him to the king,
2416   That he ferst chese upon this thing:
2417   He sih hem, bot he felte hem noght, 
2418   So that upon his oghne thoght 
2419   He ches the Capoun and forsok 
2420   That other, which his fela tok.  
2421   Bot whanne he wiste hou that it ferde, 
2422   He seide alowd, that men it herde,  
2423   "Nou have I certeinly conceived  
2424   That he mai lihtly be deceived,  
2425   That tristeth unto mannes helpe; 
2426   Bot wel is him whom god wol helpe,  
2427   For he stant on the siker side,  
2428   Which elles scholde go beside:
2429   I se my fela wel recovere, 
2430   And I mot duelle stille povere." 
2431   Thus spak this begger his entente,  
2432   And povere he cam and povere he wente; 
2433   Of that he hath richesse soght,  
2434   His infortune it wolde noght. 
2435   So mai it schewe in sondri wise, 
2436   Betwen fortune and covoitise  
2437   The chance is cast upon a Dee;
2438   Bot yit fulofte a man mai se  
2439   Ynowe of suche natheles,
2440   Whiche evere pute hemself in press  
2441   To gete hem good, and yit thei faile.      
2442   And forto speke of this entaile  
2443   Touchende of love in thi matiere,
2444   Mi goode Sone, as thou miht hiere,  
2445   That riht as it with tho men stod
2446   Of infortune of worldes good, 
2447   As thou hast herd me telle above,
2448   Riht so fulofte it stant be love:
2449   Thogh thou coveite it everemore, 
2450   Thou schalt noght have o diel the more,
2451   Bot only that which thee is schape, 
2452   The remenant is bot a jape.
2453   And natheles ynowe of tho  
2454   Ther ben, that nou coveiten so,  
2455   That where as thei a womman se,  
2456   Ye ten or tuelve thogh ther be,  
2457   The love is nou so unavised,  
2458   That wher the beaute stant assised, 
2459   The mannes herte anon is there,  
2460   And rouneth tales in hire Ere,
2461   And seith hou that he loveth streite,  
2462   And thus he set him to coveite,  
2463   An hundred thogh he sihe aday.
2464   So wolde he more thanne he may;  
2465   Bot for the grete covoitise
2466   Of sotie and of fol emprise
2467   In ech of hem he fint somwhat 
2468   That pleseth him, or this or that;  
2469   Som on, for sche is whit of skin,
2470   Som on, for sche is noble of kin,
2471   Som on, for sche hath rodi chieke,  
2472   Som on, for that sche semeth mieke, 
2473   Som on, for sche hath yhen greie,
2474   Som on, for sche can lawhe and pleie,  
2475   Som on, for sche is long and smal,  
2476   Som on, for sche is lyte and tall,  
2477   Som on, for sche is pale and bleche,
2478   Som on, for sche is softe of speche,
2479   Som on, for that sche is camused,
2480   Som on, for sche hath noght ben used,      
2481   Som on, for sche can daunce and singe; 
2482   So that som thing to his likinge 
2483   He fint, and thogh nomore he fiele, 
2484   Bot that sche hath a litel hiele,
2485   It is ynow that he therfore
2486   Hire love, and thus an hundred score,  
2487   Whil thei be newe, he wolde he hadde;  
2488   Whom he forsakth, sche schal be badde. 
2489   The blinde man no colour demeth, 
2490   But al is on, riht as him semeth;
2491   So hath his lust no juggement,
2492   Whom covoitise of love blent. 
2493   Him thenkth that to his covoitise
2494   Hou al the world ne mai suffise, 
2495   For be his wille he wolde have alle,
2496   If that it mihte so befalle:  
2497   Thus is he commun as the Strete, 
2498   I sette noght of his beyete.  
2499   Mi Sone, hast thou such covoitise?  
2500   Nai, fader, such love I despise, 
2501   And whil I live schal don evere, 
2502   For in good feith yit hadde I levere,  
2503   Than to coveite in such a weie,  
2504   To ben for evere til I deie
2505   As povere as Job, and loveles,
2506   Outaken on, for haveles 
2507   His thonkes is noman alyve.
2508   For that a man scholde al unthryve  
2509   Ther oghte no wisman coveite, 
2510   The lawe was noght set so streite:  
2511   Forthi miself withal to save, 
2512   Such on ther is I wolde have, 
2513   And non of al these othre mo. 
2514   Mi Sone, of that thou woldest so,
2515   I am noght wroth, bot over this  
2516   I wol thee tellen hou it is.  
2517   For ther be men, whiche otherwise,      
2518   Riht only for the covoitise
2519   Of that thei sen a womman riche, 
2520   Ther wol thei al here love affiche; 
2521   Noght for the beaute of hire face,  
2522   Ne yit for vertu ne for grace,
2523   Which sche hath elles riht ynowh,
2524   Bot for the Park and for the plowh, 
2525   And other thing which therto longeth:  
2526   For in non other wise hem longeth
2527   To love, bot thei profit finde;  
2528   And if the profit be behinde, 
2529   Here love is evere lesse and lesse, 
2530   For after that sche hath richesse,  
2531   Her love is of proporcion. 
2532   If thou hast such condicion,  
2533   Mi Sone, tell riht as it is.  
2534   Min holi fader, nay ywiss, 
2535   Condicion such have I non. 
2536   For trewli, fader, I love oon 
2537   So wel with al myn hertes thoght,
2538   That certes, thogh sche hadde noght,
2539   And were as povere as Medea,  
2540   Which was exiled for Creusa,  
2541   I wolde hir noght the lasse love;
2542   Ne thogh sche were at hire above,
2543   As was the riche qwen Candace,
2544   Which to deserve love and grace  
2545   To Alisandre, that was king,  
2546   Yaf many a worthi riche thing,
2547   Or elles as Pantasilee, 
2548   Which was the quen of Feminee,
2549   And gret richesse with hir nam,  
2550   Whan sche for love of Hector cam 
2551   To Troie in rescousse of the toun,- 
2552   I am of such condicion, 
2553   That thogh mi ladi of hirselve
2554   Were also riche as suche tuelve,     
2555   I couthe noght, thogh it wer so, 
2556   No betre love hir than I do.  
2557   For I love in so plein a wise,
2558   That forto speke of coveitise,
2559   As for poverte or for richesse
2560   Mi love is nouther mor ne lesse. 
2561   For in good feith I trowe this,  
2562   So coveitous noman ther is,
2563   Forwhy and he mi ladi sihe,
2564   That he thurgh lokinge of his yhe
2565   Ne scholde have such a strok withinne, 
2566   That for no gold he mihte winne  
2567   He scholde noght hire love asterte, 
2568   Bot if he lefte there his herte; 
2569   Be so it were such a man,  
2570   That couthe Skile of a womman.
2571   For ther be men so ruide some,
2572   Whan thei among the wommen come, 
2573   Thei gon under proteccioun,
2574   That love and his affeccioun  
2575   Ne schal noght take hem be the slieve; 
2576   For thei ben out of that believe,
2577   Hem lusteth of no ladi chiere,
2578   Bot evere thenken there and hiere
2579   Wher that here gold is in the cofre,
2580   And wol non other love profre:
2581   Bot who so wot what love amounteth  
2582   And be resoun trewliche acompteth,  
2583   Than mai he knowe and taken hiede
2584   That al the lust of wommanhiede, 
2585   Which mai ben in a ladi face, 
2586   Mi ladi hath, and ek of grace 
2587   If men schull yiven hire a pris, 
2588   Thei mai wel seie hou sche is wys
2589   And sobre and simple of contenance,     
2590   And al that to good governance
2591   Belongeth of a worthi wiht 
2592   Sche hath pleinli: for thilke nyht  
2593   That sche was bore, as for the nones
2594   Nature sette in hire at ones  
2595   Beaute with bounte so besein, 
2596   That I mai wel afferme and sein, 
2597   I sawh yit nevere creature 
2598   Of comlihied and of feture 
2599   In eny kinges regioun
2600   Be lich hire in comparisoun:  
2601   And therto, as I have you told,  
2602   Yit hath sche more a thousendfold
2603   Of bounte, and schortli to telle,
2604   Sche is the pure hed and welle
2605   And Mirour and ensample of goode.
2606   Who so hir vertus understode, 
2607   Me thenkth it oughte ynow suffise
2608   Withouten other covoitise  
2609   To love such on and to serve, 
2610   Which with hire chiere can deserve  
2611   To be beloved betre ywiss  
2612   Than sche per cas that richest is
2613   And hath of gold a Milion. 
2614   Such hath be myn opinion
2615   And evere schal: bot natheles 
2616   I seie noght sche is haveles, 
2617   That sche nys riche and wel at ese, 
2618   And hath ynow wherwith to plese  
2619   Of worldes good whom that hire liste;  
2620   Bot o thing wolde I wel ye wiste,
2621   That nevere for no worldes good  
2622   Min herte untoward hire stod, 
2623   Bot only riht for pure love;  
2624   That wot the hihe god above.  
2625   Nou, fader, what seie ye therto? 
2626   Mi Sone, I seie it is wel do. 
2627   For tak of this riht good believe,      
2628   What man that wole himself relieve  
2629   To love in eny other wise, 
2630   He schal wel finde his coveitise 
2631   Schal sore grieve him ate laste, 
2632   For such a love mai noght laste. 
2633   Bot nou, men sein, in oure daies 
2634   Men maken bot a fewe assaies, 
2635   Bot if the cause be richesse; 
2636   Forthi the love is wel the lesse.
2637   And who that wolde ensamples telle, 
2638   Be olde daies as thei felle,  
2639   Than mihte a man wel understonde 
2640   Such love mai noght longe stonde.
2641   Now herkne, Sone, and thou schalt hiere
2642   A gret ensample of this matiere. 
2643   To trete upon the cas of love,
2644   So as we tolden hiere above,  
2645   I finde write a wonder thing. 
2646   Of Puile whilom was a king,
2647   A man of hih complexioun
2648   And yong, bot his affeccioun  
2649   After the nature of his age
2650   Was yit noght falle in his corage
2651   The lust of wommen forto knowe.  
2652   So it betidde upon a throwe
2653   This lord fell into gret seknesse:  
2654   Phisique hath don the besinesse  
2655   Of sondri cures manyon  
2656   To make him hol; and therupon 
2657   A worthi maister which ther was  
2658   Yaf him conseil upon this cas,
2659   That if he wolde have parfit hele,  
2660   He scholde with a womman dele,
2661   A freissh, a yong, a lusti wiht, 
2662   To don him compaignie a nyht: 
2663   For thanne he seide him redily,  
2664   That he schal be al hol therby,      
2665   And otherwise he kneu no cure.
2666   This king, which stod in aventure
2667   Of lif and deth, for medicine 
2668   Assented was, and of covine
2669   His Steward, whom he tristeth wel,  
2670   He tok, and tolde him everydel,  
2671   Hou that this maister hadde seid:
2672   And therupon he hath him preid
2673   And charged upon his ligance, 
2674   That he do make porveance  
2675   Of such on as be covenable 
2676   For his plesance and delitable;  
2677   And bad him, hou that evere it stod,
2678   That he schal spare for no good, 
2679   For his will is riht wel to paie.
2680   The Steward seide he wolde assaie:  
2681   Bot nou hierafter thou schalt wite, 
2682   As I finde in the bokes write,
2683   What coveitise in love doth.  
2684   This Steward, forto telle soth,  
2685   Amonges al the men alyve
2686   A lusti ladi hath to wyve, 
2687   Which natheles for gold he tok
2688   And noght for love, as seith the bok.  
2689   A riche Marchant of the lond  
2690   Hir fader was, and hire fond  
2691   So worthily, and such richesse
2692   Of worldes good and such largesse
2693   With hire he yaf in mariage,  
2694   That only for thilke avantage 
2695   Of good this Steward hath hire take,
2696   For lucre and noght for loves sake, 
2697   And that was afterward wel seene;
2698   Nou herkne what it wolde meene.  
2699   This Steward in his oghne herte      
2700   Sih that his lord mai noght asterte 
2701   His maladie, bot he have
2702   A lusti womman him to save,
2703   And thoghte he wolde yive ynowh  
2704   Of his tresor; wherof he drowh
2705   Gret coveitise into his mynde,
2706   And sette his honour fer behynde.
2707   Thus he, whom gold hath overset, 
2708   Was trapped in his oghne net; 
2709   The gold hath mad hise wittes lame, 
2710   So that sechende his oghne schame
2711   He rouneth in the kinges Ere, 
2712   And seide him that he wiste where
2713   A gentile and a lusti on
2714   Tho was, and thider wolde he gon:
2715   Bot he mot yive yiftes grete; 
2716   For bot it be thurgh grete beyete
2717   Of gold, he seith, he schal noght spede.  
2718   The king him bad upon the nede
2719   That take an hundred pound he scholde, 
2720   And yive it where that he wolde, 
2721   Be so it were in worthi place:
2722   And thus to stonde in loves grace
2723   This king his gold hath abandouned. 
2724   And whan this tale was full rouned, 
2725   The Steward tok the gold and wente, 
2726   Withinne his herte and many a wente 
2727   Of coveitise thanne he caste, 
2728   Wherof a pourpos ate laste 
2729   Ayein love and ayein his riht 
2730   He tok, and seide hou thilke nyht
2731   His wif schal ligge be the king; 
2732   And goth thenkende upon this thing  
2733   Toward his In, til he cam hom 
2734   Into the chambre, and thanne he nom 
2735   His wif, and tolde hire al the cas. 
2736   And sche, which red for schame was, 
2737   With bothe hire handes hath him preid
2738   Knelende and in this wise seid,  
2739   That sche to reson and to skile  
2740   In what thing that he bidde wile 
2741   Is redy forto don his heste,  
2742   Bot this thing were noght honeste,  
2743   That he for gold hire scholde selle.
2744   And he tho with hise wordes felle
2745   Forth with his gastly contienance
2746   Seith that sche schal don obeissance
2747   And folwe his will in every place;  
2748   And thus thurgh strengthe of his manace
2749   Hir innocence is overlad,  
2750   Wherof sche was so sore adrad 
2751   That sche his will mot nede obeie.  
2752   And therupon was schape a weie,  
2753   That he his oghne wif be nyhte
2754   Hath out of alle mennes sihte 
2755   So prively that non it wiste  
2756   Broght to the king, which as him liste 
2757   Mai do with hire what he wolde.  
2758   For whan sche was ther as sche scholde,
2759   With him abedde under the cloth, 
2760   The Steward tok his leve and goth
2761   Into a chambre faste by;
2762   Bot hou he slep, that wot noght I,  
2763   For he sih cause of jelousie. 
2764   Bot he, which hath the compainie 
2765   Of such a lusti on as sche,
2766   Him thoghte that of his degre 
2767   Ther was noman so wel at ese: 
2768   Sche doth al that sche mai to plese,
2769   So that his herte al hol sche hadde;
2770   And thus this king his joie ladde,  
2771   Til it was nyh upon the day.  
2772   The Steward thanne wher sche lay 
2773   Cam to the bedd, and in his wise 
2774   Hath bede that sche scholde arise.      
2775   The king seith, "Nay, sche schal noght go."  
2776   His Steward seide ayein, "Noght so; 
2777   For sche mot gon er it be knowe, 
2778   And so I swor at thilke throwe,  
2779   Whan I hire fette to you hiere." 
2780   The king his tale wol noght hiere,  
2781   And seith hou that he hath hire boght, 
2782   Forthi sche schal departe noght, 
2783   Til he the brighte dai beholde.  
2784   And cawhte hire in hise armes folde,
2785   As he which liste forto pleie,
2786   And bad his Steward gon his weie,
2787   And so he dede ayein his wille.  
2788   And thus his wif abedde stille
2789   Lay with the king the longe nyht,
2790   Til that it was hih Sonne lyht;  
2791   Bot who sche was he knew nothing.
2792   Tho cam the Steward to the king  
2793   And preide him that withoute schame 
2794   In savinge of hire goode name 
2795   He myhte leden hom ayein
2796   This lady, and hath told him plein  
2797   Hou that it was his oghne wif.
2798   The king his Ere unto this strif 
2799   Hath leid, and whan that he it herde,  
2800   Welnyh out of his wit he ferde,  
2801   And seide, "Ha, caitif most of alle,
2802   Wher was it evere er this befalle,  
2803   That eny cokard in this wise  
2804   Betok his wif for coveitise?  
2805   Thou hast bothe hire and me beguiled
2806   And ek thin oghne astat reviled, 
2807   Wherof that buxom unto thee
2808   Hierafter schal sche nevere be.  
2809   For this avou to god I make,  
2810   After this day if I thee take,
2811   Thou schalt ben honged and todrawe.     
2812   Nou loke anon thou be withdrawe, 
2813   So that I se thee neveremore."
2814   This Steward thanne dradde him sore,
2815   With al the haste that he mai 
2816   And fledde awei that same dai,
2817   And was exiled out of londe.  
2818   Lo, there a nyce housebonde,  
2819   Which thus hath lost his wif for evere!
2820   Bot natheles sche hadde a levere;
2821   The king hire weddeth and honoureth,
2822   Wherof hire name sche socoureth, 
2823   Which erst was lost thurgh coveitise
2824   Of him, that ladde hire other wise, 
2825   And hath himself also forlore.
2826   Mi Sone, be thou war therfore,
2827   Wher thou schalt love in eny place, 
2828   That thou no covoitise embrace,  
2829   The which is noght of loves kinde.  
2830   Bot for al that a man mai finde  
2831   Nou in this time of thilke rage  
2832   Ful gret desese in mariage,
2833   Whan venym melleth with the Sucre
2834   And mariage is mad for lucre, 
2835   Or for the lust or for the hele: 
2836   What man that schal with outher dele,  
2837   He mai noght faile to repente.
2838   Mi fader, such is myn entente:
2839   Bot natheles good is to have, 
2840   For good mai ofte time save
2841   The love which scholde elles spille.
2842   Bot god, which wot myn hertes wille,
2843   I dar wel take to witnesse,
2844   Yit was I nevere for richesse 
2845   Beset with mariage non; 
2846   For al myn herte is upon on
2847   So frely, that in the persone 
2848   Stant al my worldes joie al one: 
2849   I axe nouther Park ne Plowh,      
2850   If I hire hadde, it were ynowh,  
2851   Hir love scholde me suffise
2852   Withouten other coveitise. 
2853   Lo now, mi fader, as of this, 
2854   Touchende of me riht as it is,
2855   Mi schrifte I am beknowe plein;  
2856   And if ye wole oght elles sein,  
2857   Of covoitise if ther be more  
2858   In love, agropeth out the sore.  
2859   Mi Sone, thou schalt understonde 
2860   Hou Coveitise hath yit on honde  
2861   In special tuo conseilours,
2862   That ben also hise procurours.
2863   The ferst of hem is Falswitnesse,
2864   Which evere is redi to witnesse  
2865   What thing his maister wol him hote:
2866   Perjurie is the secounde hote,
2867   Which spareth noght to swere an oth,
2868   Thogh it be fals and god be wroth.  
2869   That on schal falswitnesse bere, 
2870   That other schal the thing forswere,
2871   Whan he is charged on the bok.
2872   So what with hepe and what with crok
2873   Thei make here maister ofte winne
2874   And wol noght knowe what is sinne    
2875   For coveitise, and thus, men sain,  
2876   Thei maken many a fals bargain.  
2877   Ther mai no trewe querele arise  
2878   In thilke queste and thilke assise, 
2879   Where as thei tuo the poeple enforme;  
2880   For thei kepe evere o maner forme,  
2881   That upon gold here conscience
2882   Thei founde, and take here evidence;
2883   And thus with falswitnesse and othes
2884   Thei winne hem mete and drinke and clothes.  
2885   Riht so ther be, who that hem knewe,
2886   Of thes lovers ful many untrewe: 
2887   Nou mai a womman finde ynowe, 
2888   That ech of hem, whan he schal wowe,
2889   Anon he wole his hand doun lein  
2890   Upon a bok, and swere and sein
2891   That he wole feith and trouthe bere;
2892   And thus he profreth him to swere
2893   To serven evere til he die,
2894   And al is verai tricherie. 
2895   For whan the sothe himselven trieth,
2896   The more he swerth, the more he lieth; 
2897   Whan he his feith makth althermest, 
2898   Than mai a womman truste him lest;  
2899   For til he mai his will achieve, 
2900   He is no lengere forto lieve. 
2901   Thus is the trouthe of love exiled, 
2902   And many a good womman beguiled. 
2903   And ek to speke of Falswitnesse, 
2904   There be nou many suche, I gesse,
2905   That lich unto the provisours 
2906   Thei make here prive procurours, 
2907   To telle hou ther is such a man, 
2908   Which is worthi to love and can  
2909   Al that a good man scholde kunne;
2910   So that with lesinge is begunne  
2911   The cause in which thei wole procede,  
2912   And also siker as the crede    
2913   Thei make of that thei knowen fals. 
2914   And thus fulofte aboute the hals 
2915   Love is of false men embraced;
2916   Bot love which is so pourchaced  
2917   Comth afterward to litel pris.
2918   Forthi, mi Sone, if thou be wis, 
2919   Nou thou hast herd this evidence,
2920   Thou miht thin oghne conscience  
2921   Oppose, if thou hast ben such on.
2922   Nai, god wot, fader I am non, 
2923   Ne nevere was; for as men seith, 
2924   Whan that a man schal make his feith,  
2925   His herte and tunge moste acorde;
2926   For if so be that thei discorde, 
2927   Thanne is he fals and elles noght:  
2928   And I dar seie, as of my thoght, 
2929   In love it is noght descordable  
2930   Unto mi word, bot acordable.  
2931   And in this wise, fader, I 
2932   Mai riht wel swere and salvely,  
2933   That I mi ladi love wel,
2934   For that acordeth everydel.
2935   It nedeth noght to mi sothsawe
2936   That I witnesse scholde drawe,
2937   Into this dai for nevere yit  
2938   Ne mihte it sinke into mi wit,
2939   That I my conseil scholde seie
2940   To eny wiht, or me bewreie 
2941   To sechen help in such manere,
2942   Bot only of mi ladi diere. 
2943   And thogh a thousend men it wiste,  
2944   That I hire love, and thanne hem liste 
2945   With me to swere and to witnesse,
2946   Yit were that no falswitnesse;
2947   For I dar on this trouthe duelle,
2948   I love hire mor than I can telle.
2949   Thus am I, fader, gulteles,    
2950   As ye have herd, and natheles 
2951   In youre dom I put it al.  
2952   Mi Sone, wite in special,  
2953   It schal noght comunliche faile, 
2954   Al thogh it for a time availe 
2955   That Falswitnesse his cause spede,  
2956   Upon the point of his falshiede  
2957   It schal wel afterward be kid;
2958   Wherof, so as it is betid, 
2959   Ensample of suche thinges blinde 
2960   In a Cronique write I finde.  
2961   The Goddesse of the See Thetis,  
2962   Sche hadde a Sone, and his name is  
2963   Achilles, whom to kepe and warde,
2964   Whil he was yong, as into warde  
2965   Sche thoghte him salfly to betake,  
2966   As sche which dradde for his sake
2967   Of that was seid in prophecie,
2968   That he at Troie scholde die, 
2969   Whan that the Cite was belein.
2970   Forthi, so as the bokes sein, 
2971   Sche caste hire wit in sondri wise, 
2972   Hou sche him mihte so desguise
2973   That noman scholde his bodi knowe:  
2974   And so befell that ilke throwe,  
2975   Whil that sche thoghte upon this dede, 
2976   Ther was a king, which Lichomede 
2977   Was hote, and he was wel begon
2978   With faire dowhtres manyon,
2979   And duelte fer out in an yle. 
2980   Nou schalt thou hiere a wonder wyle:
2981   This queene, which the moder was 
2982   Of Achilles, upon this cas 
2983   Hire Sone, as he a Maiden were,  
2984   Let clothen in the same gere  
2985   Which longeth unto wommanhiede:  
2986   And he was yong and tok non hiede,      
2987   Bot soffreth al that sche him dede. 
2988   Wherof sche hath hire wommen bede
2989   And charged be here othes alle,  
2990   Hou so it afterward befalle,  
2991   That thei discovere noght this thing,  
2992   Bot feigne and make a knowleching,  
2993   Upon the conseil which was nome, 
2994   In every place wher thei come 
2995   To telle and to witnesse this,
2996   Hou he here ladi dowhter is.  
2997   And riht in such a maner wise 
2998   Sche bad thei scholde hire don servise,
2999   So that Achilles underfongeth 
3000   As to a yong ladi belongeth
3001   Honour, servise and reverence.
3002   For Thetis with gret diligence
3003   Him hath so tawht and so afaited,
3004   That, hou so that it were awaited,  
3005   With sobre and goodli contenance 
3006   He scholde his wommanhiede avance,  
3007   That non the sothe knowe myhte,  
3008   Bot that in every mannes syhte
3009   He scholde seme a pure Maide. 
3010   And in such wise as sche him saide, 
3011   Achilles, which that ilke while  
3012   Was yong, upon himself to smyle  
3013   Began, whan he was so besein. 
3014   And thus, after the bokes sein,  
3015   With frette of Perle upon his hed,  
3016   Al freissh betwen the whyt and red, 
3017   As he which tho was tendre of Age,  
3018   Stod the colour in his visage,
3019   That forto loke upon his cheke
3020   And sen his childly manere eke,  
3021   He was a womman to beholde.
3022   And thanne his moder to him tolde,  
3023   That sche him hadde so begon  
3024   Be cause that sche thoghte gon
3025   To Lichomede at thilke tyde,          
3026   Wher that sche seide he scholde abyde  
3027   Among hise dowhtres forto duelle.
3028   Achilles herde his moder telle,  
3029   And wiste noght the cause why;
3030   And natheles ful buxomly
3031   He was redy to that sche bad, 
3032   Wherof his moder was riht glad,  
3033   To Lichomede and forth thei wente.  
3034   And whan the king knew hire entente,
3035   And sih this yonge dowhter there,
3036   And that it cam unto his Ere  
3037   Of such record, of such witnesse,
3038   He hadde riht a gret gladnesse
3039   Of that he bothe syh and herde,  
3040   As he that wot noght hou it ferde
3041   Upon the conseil of the nede. 
3042   Bot for al that king Lichomede
3043   Hath toward him this dowhter take,  
3044   And for Thetis his moder sake 
3045   He put hire into compainie 
3046   To duelle with Dei5damie,  
3047   His oghne dowhter, the eldeste,  
3048   The faireste and the comelieste  
3049   Of alle hise doghtres whiche he hadde. 
3050   Lo, thus Thetis the cause ladde, 
3051   And lefte there Achilles feigned,
3052   As he which hath himself restreigned
3053   In al that evere he mai and can  
3054   Out of the manere of a man,
3055   And tok his wommannysshe chiere, 
3056   Wherof unto his beddefere  
3057   Dei5damie he hath be nyhte.
3058   Wher kinde wole himselve rihte,  
3059   After the Philosophres sein,  
3060   Ther mai no wiht be therayein:
3061   And that was thilke time seene.      
3062   The longe nyhtes hem betuene  
3063   Nature, which mai noght forbere, 
3064   Hath mad hem bothe forto stere:  
3065   Thei kessen ferst, and overmore  
3066   The hihe weie of loves lore
3067   Thei gon, and al was don in dede,
3068   Wherof lost is the maydenhede;
3069   And that was afterward wel knowe.
3070   For it befell that ilke throwe
3071   At Troie, wher the Siege lay  
3072   Upon the cause of Menelay  
3073   And of his queene dame Heleine,  
3074   The Gregois hadden mochel peine  
3075   Alday to fihte and to assaile.
3076   Bot for thei mihten noght availe 
3077   So noble a Cite forto winne,  
3078   A prive conseil thei beginne, 
3079   In sondri wise wher thei trete;  
3080   And ate laste among the grete 
3081   Thei fellen unto this acord,  
3082   That Prothes, of his record 
3083   Which was an Astronomien
3084   And ek a gret Magicien, 
3085   Scholde of his calculacion 
3086   Seche after constellacion, 
3087   Hou thei the Cite mihten gete:
3088   And he, which hadde noght foryete
3089   Of that belongeth to a clerk, 
3090   His studie sette upon this werk. 
3091   So longe his wit aboute he caste,
3092   Til that he fond out ate laste,  
3093   Bot if they hadden Achilles
3094   Here werre schal ben endeles. 
3095   And over that he tolde hem plein 
3096   In what manere he was besein, 
3097   And in what place he schal be founde;  
3098   So that withinne a litel stounde 
3099   Ulixes forth with Diomede  
3100   Upon this point to Lichomede      
3101   Agamenon togedre sente. 
3102   Bot Ulixes, er he forth wente,
3103   Which was on of the moste wise,  
3104   Ordeigned hath in such a wise,
3105   That he the moste riche aray, 
3106   Wherof a womman mai be gay,
3107   With him hath take manyfold,  
3108   And overmore, as it is told,  
3109   An harneis for a lusti kniht, 
3110   Which burned was as Selver bryht,
3111   Of swerd, of plate and ek of maile, 
3112   As thogh he scholde to bataille, 
3113   He tok also with him be Schipe.  
3114   And thus togedre in felaschipe
3115   Forth gon this Diomede and he 
3116   In hope til thei mihten se 
3117   The place where Achilles is.  
3118   The wynd stod thanne noght amis, 
3119   Bot evene topseilcole it blew,
3120   Til Ulixes the Marche knew,
3121   Wher Lichomede his Regne hadde.  
3122   The Stieresman so wel hem ladde, 
3123   That thei ben comen sauf to londe,  
3124   Wher thei gon out upon the stronde  
3125   Into the Burgh, wher that thei founde  
3126   The king, and he which hath facounde,  
3127   Ulixes, dede the message.  
3128   Bot the conseil of his corage,
3129   Why that he cam, he tolde noght, 
3130   Bot undernethe he was bethoght
3131   In what manere he mihte aspie 
3132   Achilles fro Dei5damie  
3133   And fro these othre that ther were, 
3134   Full many a lusti ladi there. 
3135   Thei pleide hem there a day or tuo, 
3136   And as it was fortuned so,     
3137   It fell that time in such a wise,
3138   To Bachus that a sacrifise 
3139   Thes yonge ladys scholden make;  
3140   And for the strange mennes sake, 
3141   That comen fro the Siege of Troie,  
3142   Thei maden wel the more joie. 
3143   Ther was Revel, ther was daunsinge, 
3144   And every lif which coude singe  
3145   Of lusti wommen in the route  
3146   A freissh carole hath sunge aboute; 
3147   Bot for al this yit natheles  
3148   The Greks unknowe of Achilles 
3149   So weren, that in no degre 
3150   Thei couden wite which was he,
3151   Ne be his vois, ne be his pas.
3152   Ulixes thanne upon this cas
3153   A thing of hih Prudence hath wroght:
3154   For thilke aray, which he hath broght  
3155   To yive among the wommen there,  
3156   He let do fetten al the gere  
3157   Forth with a knihtes harneis eke,-  
3158   In al a contre forto seke  
3159   Men scholden noght a fairer se,- 
3160   And every thing in his degre  
3161   Endlong upon a bord he leide. 
3162   To Lichomede and thanne he preide
3163   That every ladi chese scholde 
3164   What thing of alle that sche wolde, 
3165   And take it as be weie of yifte; 
3166   For thei hemself it scholde schifte,
3167   He seide, after here oghne wille.
3168   Achilles thanne stod noght stille:  
3169   Whan he the bryhte helm behield, 
3170   The swerd, the hauberk and the Schield,
3171   His herte fell therto anon;
3172   Of all that othre wolde he non,  
3173   The knihtes gere he underfongeth,    
3174   And thilke aray which that belongeth
3175   Unto the wommen he forsok. 
3176   And in this wise, as seith the bok, 
3177   Thei knowen thanne which he was: 
3178   For he goth forth the grete pas  
3179   Into the chambre where he lay;
3180   Anon, and made no delay,
3181   He armeth him in knyhtli wise,
3182   That bettre can noman devise, 
3183   And as fortune scholde falle, 
3184   He cam so forth tofore hem alle, 
3185   As he which tho was glad ynowh.  
3186   But Lichomede nothing lowh,
3187   Whan that he syh hou that it ferde, 
3188   For thanne he wiste wel and herde,  
3189   His dowhter hadde be forlein; 
3190   Bot that he was so oversein,  
3191   The wonder overgoth his wit.  
3192   For in Cronique is write yit  
3193   Thing which schal nevere be foryete,
3194   Hou that Achilles hath begete 
3195   Pirrus upon Dei5damie,  
3196   Wherof cam out the tricherie  
3197   Of Falswitnesse, whan thei saide 
3198   Hou that Achilles was a Maide.
3199   Bot that was nothing sene tho,
3200   For he is to the Siege go  
3201   Forth with Ulixe and Diomede. 
3202   Lo, thus was proved in the dede  
3203   And fulli spoke at thilke while: 
3204   If o womman an other guile,
3205   Wher is ther eny sikernesse?  
3206   Whan Thetis, which was the goddesse,
3207   Dei5damie hath so bejaped, 
3208   I not hou it schal ben ascaped
3209   With tho wommen whos innocence
3210   Is nou alday thurgh such credence
3211   Deceived ofte, as it is seene,    
3212   With men that such untrouthe meene. 
3213   For thei ben slyhe in such a wise,  
3214   That thei be sleihte and be queintise  
3215   Of Falswitnesse bringen inne  
3216   That doth hem ofte forto winne,  
3217   Wher thei ben noght worthi therto.  
3218   Forthi, my Sone, do noght so. 
3219   Mi fader, as of Falswitnesse  
3220   The trouthe and the matiere expresse,  
3221   Touchende of love hou it hath ferd, 
3222   As ye have told, I have wel herd.
3223   Bot for ye seiden otherwise,  
3224   Hou thilke vice of Covoitise  
3225   Hath yit Perjurie of his acord,  
3226   If that you list of som record
3227   To telle an other tale also
3228   In loves cause of time ago,
3229   What thing it is to be forswore, 
3230   I wolde preie you therfore,
3231   Wherof I mihte ensample take. 
3232   Mi goode Sone, and for thi sake  
3233   Touchende of this I schall fulfille 
3234   Thin axinge at thin oghne wille, 
3235   And the matiere I schal declare, 
3236   Hou the wommen deceived are,  
3237   Whan thei so tendre herte bere,  
3238   Of that thei hieren men so swere;
3239   Bot whan it comth unto thassay,  
3240   Thei finde it fals an other day: 
3241   As Jason dede to Medee, 
3242   Which stant yet of Auctorite  
3243   In tokne and in memorial;  
3244   Wherof the tale in special 
3245   Is in the bok of Troie write, 
3246   Which I schal do thee forto wite.
3247   In Grece whilom was a king,
3248   Of whom the fame and knowleching     
3249   Beleveth yit, and Peles  
3250   He hihte; bot it fell him thus,  
3251   That his fortune hir whiel so ladde 
3252   That he no child his oghne hadde 
3253   To regnen after his decess.
3254   He hadde a brother natheles,  
3255   Whos rihte name was Eson,  
3256   And he the worthi kniht Jason 
3257   Begat, the which in every lond
3258   Alle othre passede of his hond
3259   In Armes, so that he the beste
3260   Was named and the worthieste, 
3261   He soghte worschipe overal.
3262   Nou herkne, and I thee telle schal  
3263   An aventure that he soghte,
3264   Which afterward ful dere he boghte. 
3265   Ther was an yle, which Colchos
3266   Was cleped, and therof aros
3267   Gret speche in every lond aboute,
3268   That such merveile was non oute  
3269   In al the wyde world nawhere, 
3270   As tho was in that yle there. 
3271   Ther was a Schiep, as it was told,  
3272   The which his flees bar al of gold, 
3273   And so the goddes hadde it set,  
3274   That it ne mihte awei be fet  
3275   Be pouer of no worldes wiht:  
3276   And yit ful many a worthi kniht  
3277   It hadde assaied, as thei dorste,
3278   And evere it fell hem to the worste.
3279   Bot he, that wolde it noght forsake,
3280   Bot of his knyhthod undertake 
3281   To do what thing therto belongeth,  
3282   This worthi Jason, sore alongeth 
3283   To se the strange regiouns 
3284   And knowe the condiciouns  
3285   Of othre Marches, where he wente;
3286   And for that cause his hole entente     
3287   He sette Colchos forto seche, 
3288   And therupon he made a speche 
3289   To Peles his Em the king.
3290   And he wel paid was of that thing;  
3291   And schop anon for his passage,  
3292   And suche as were of his lignage,
3293   With othre knihtes whiche he ches,  
3294   With him he tok, and Hercules,
3295   Which full was of chivalerie, 
3296   With Jason wente in compaignie;  
3297   And that was in the Monthe of Maii, 
3298   Whan colde stormes were away. 
3299   The wynd was good, the Schip was yare, 
3300   Thei tok here leve, and forth thei fare
3301   Toward Colchos: bot on the weie  
3302   What hem befell is long to seie; 
3303   Hou Lamedon the king of Troie,
3304   Which oghte wel have mad hem joie.  
3305   Whan thei to reste a while him preide, 
3306   Out of his lond he hem congeide; 
3307   And so fell the dissencion,
3308   Which after was destruccion
3309   Of that Cite, as men mai hiere:  
3310   Bot that is noght to mi matiere. 
3311   Bot thus this worthi folk Gregeis
3312   Fro that king, which was noght curteis,
3313   And fro his lond with Sail updrawe  
3314   Thei wente hem forth, and many a sawe  
3315   Thei made and many a gret manace,
3316   Til ate laste into that place 
3317   Which as thei soghte thei aryve, 
3318   And striken Sail, and forth as blyve
3319   Thei sente unto the king and tolden 
3320   Who weren ther and what thei wolden.
3321   Oe5tes, which was thanne king,    
3322   Whan that he herde this tyding
3323   Of Jason, which was comen there, 
3324   And of these othre, what thei were, 
3325   He thoghte don hem gret worschipe:  
3326   For thei anon come out of Schipe,
3327   And strawht unto the king thei wente,  
3328   And be the hond Jason he hente,  
3329   And that was ate paleis gate, 
3330   So fer the king cam on his gate  
3331   Toward Jason to don him chiere;  
3332   And he, whom lacketh no manere,  
3333   Whan he the king sih in presence,
3334   Yaf him ayein such reverence  
3335   As to a kinges stat belongeth.
3336   And thus the king him underfongeth, 
3337   And Jason in his arm he cawhte,  
3338   And forth into the halle he strawhte,  
3339   And ther they siete and spieke of thinges,
3340   And Jason tolde him tho tidinges,
3341   Why he was come, and faire him preide  
3342   To haste his time, and the kyng seide, 
3343   "Jason, thou art a worthi kniht, 
3344   Bot it lith in no mannes myht 
3345   To don that thou art come fore:  
3346   Ther hath be many a kniht forlore
3347   Of that thei wolden it assaie."  
3348   Bot Jason wolde him noght esmaie,
3349   And seide, "Of every worldes cure
3350   Fortune stant in aventure, 
3351   Per aunter wel, per aunter wo:
3352   Bot hou as evere that it go,  
3353   It schal be with myn hond assaied." 
3354   The king tho hield him noght wel paied,
3355   For he the Grekes sore dredde,
3356   In aunter, if Jason ne spedde,
3357   He mihte therof bere a blame; 
3358   For tho was al the worldes fame  
3359   In Grece, as forto speke of Armes.  
3360   Forthi he dredde him of his harmes,     
3361   And gan to preche him and to preie; 
3362   Bot Jason wolde noght obeie,  
3363   Bot seide he wolde his porpos holde 
3364   For ought that eny man him tolde.
3365   The king, whan he thes wordes herde,
3366   And sih hou that this kniht ansuerde,  
3367   Yit for he wolde make him glad,  
3368   After Medea gon he bad, 
3369   Which was his dowhter, and sche cam.
3370   And Jason, which good hiede nam, 
3371   Whan he hire sih, ayein hire goth;  
3372   And sche, which was him nothing loth,  
3373   Welcomede him into that lond, 
3374   And softe tok him be the hond,
3375   And doun thei seten bothe same.  
3376   Sche hadde herd spoke of his name
3377   And of his grete worthinesse; 
3378   Forthi sche gan hir yhe impresse 
3379   Upon his face and his stature,
3380   And thoghte hou nevere creature  
3381   Was so wel farende as was he. 
3382   And Jason riht in such degre  
3383   Ne mihte noght withholde his lok,
3384   Bot so good hiede on hire he tok,
3385   That him ne thoghte under the hevene
3386   Of beaute sawh he nevere hir evene, 
3387   With al that fell to wommanhiede.
3388   Thus ech of other token hiede,
3389   Thogh ther no word was of record;
3390   Here hertes bothe of on acord 
3391   Ben set to love, bot as tho
3392   Ther mihten be no wordes mo.  
3393   The king made him gret joie and feste, 
3394   To alle his men he yaf an heste, 
3395   So as thei wolde his thonk deserve, 
3396   That thei scholde alle Jason serve, 
3397   Whil that he wolde there duelle. 
3398   And thus the dai, schortly to telle,    
3399   With manye merthes thei despente,
3400   Til nyht was come, and tho thei wente, 
3401   Echon of other tok his leve,  
3402   Whan thei no lengere myhten leve.
3403   I not hou Jason that nyht slep,  
3404   Bot wel I wot that of the Schep, 
3405   For which he cam into that yle,  
3406   He thoghte bot a litel whyle; 
3407   Al was Medea that he thoghte, 
3408   So that in many a wise he soghte 
3409   His witt wakende er it was day,  
3410   Som time yee, som time nay,
3411   Som time thus, som time so,
3412   As he was stered to and fro
3413   Of love, and ek of his conqueste 
3414   As he was holde of his beheste.  
3415   And thus he ros up be the morwe  
3416   And tok himself seint John to borwe,
3417   And seide he wolde ferst beginne 
3418   At love, and after forto winne
3419   The flees of gold, for which he com,
3420   And thus to him good herte he nom.  
3421   Medea riht the same wise,  
3422   Til dai cam that sche moste arise,  
3423   Lay and bethoughte hire al the nyht,
3424   Hou sche that noble worthi kniht 
3425   Be eny weie mihte wedde:
3426   And wel sche wiste, if he ne spedde 
3427   Of thing which he hadde undertake,  
3428   Sche mihte hirself no porpos take;  
3429   For if he deide of his bataile,  
3430   Sche moste thanne algate faile
3431   To geten him, whan he were ded.  
3432   Thus sche began to sette red  
3433   And torne aboute hir wittes alle,
3434   To loke hou that it mihte falle  
3435   That sche with him hadde a leisir
3436   To speke and telle of hir desir. 
3437   And so it fell that same day      
3438   That Jason with that suete may
3439   Togedre sete and hadden space 
3440   To speke, and he besoughte hir grace.  
3441   And sche his tale goodli herde,  
3442   And afterward sche him ansuerde  
3443   And seide, "Jason, as thou wilt, 
3444   Thou miht be sauf, thou miht be spilt; 
3445   For wite wel that nevere man, 
3446   Bot if he couthe that I can,  
3447   Ne mihte that fortune achieve 
3448   For which thou comst: bot as I lieve,  
3449   If thou wolt holde covenant
3450   To love, of al the remenant
3451   I schal thi lif and honour save, 
3452   That thou the flees of gold schalt have." 
3453   He seide, "Al at youre oghne wille, 
3454   Ma dame, I schal treuly fulfille 
3455   Youre heste, whil mi lif mai laste."
3456   Thus longe he preide, and ate laste 
3457   Sche granteth, and behihte him this,
3458   That whan nyht comth and it time is,
3459   Sche wolde him sende certeinly
3460   Such on that scholde him prively 
3461   Al one into hire chambre bringe. 
3462   He thonketh hire of that tidinge,
3463   For of that grace him is begonne 
3464   Him thenkth alle othre thinges wonne.  
3465   The dai made ende and lost his lyht,
3466   And comen was the derke nyht, 
3467   Which al the daies yhe blente.
3468   Jason tok leve and forth he wente,  
3469   And whan he cam out of the pres, 
3470   He tok to conseil Hercules,
3471   And tolde him hou it was betid,  
3472   And preide it scholde wel ben hid,  
3473   And that he wolde loke aboute,
3474   Therwhiles that he schal ben oute.  
3475   Thus as he stod and hiede nam,    
3476   A Mayden fro Medea cam  
3477   And to hir chambre Jason ledde,  
3478   Wher that he fond redi to bedde  
3479   The faireste and the wiseste eke;
3480   And sche with simple chiere and meke,  
3481   Whan sche him sih, wax al aschamed. 
3482   Tho was here tale newe entamed;  
3483   For sikernesse of Mariage  
3484   Sche fette forth a riche ymage,  
3485   Which was figure of Jupiter,  
3486   And Jason swor and seide ther,
3487   That also wiss god scholde him helpe,  
3488   That if Medea dede him helpe, 
3489   That he his pourpos myhte winne, 
3490   Thei scholde nevere parte atwinne,  
3491   Bot evere whil him lasteth lif,  
3492   He wolde hire holde for his wif. 
3493   And with that word thei kisten bothe;  
3494   And for thei scholden hem unclothe, 
3495   Ther cam a Maide, and in hir wise
3496   Sche dede hem bothe full servise,
3497   Til that thei were in bedde naked:  
3498   I wot that nyht was wel bewaked, 
3499   Thei hadden bothe what thei wolde.  
3500   And thanne of leisir sche him tolde,
3501   And gan fro point to point enforme  
3502   Of his bataile and al the forme, 
3503   Which as he scholde finde there, 
3504   Whan he to thyle come were.
3505   Sche seide, at entre of the pas  
3506   Hou Mars, which god of Armes was,
3507   Hath set tuo Oxen sterne and stoute,
3508   That caste fyr and flamme aboute 
3509   Bothe at the mouth and ate nase, 
3510   So that thei setten al on blase  
3511   What thing that passeth hem betwene:
3512   And forthermore upon the grene
3513   Ther goth the flees of gold to kepe     
3514   A Serpent, which mai nevere slepe.  
3515   Thus who that evere scholde it winne,  
3516   The fyr to stoppe he mot beginne,
3517   Which that the fierce bestes caste, 
3518   And daunte he mot hem ate laste, 
3519   So that he mai hem yoke and dryve;  
3520   And therupon he mot as blyve  
3521   The Serpent with such strengthe assaile,  
3522   That he mai slen him be bataile; 
3523   Of which he mot the teth outdrawe,  
3524   As it belongeth to that lawe, 
3525   And thanne he mot tho Oxen yoke, 
3526   Til thei have with a plowh tobroke  
3527   A furgh of lond, in which arowe  
3528   The teth of thaddre he moste sowe,  
3529   And therof schule arise knihtes  
3530   Wel armed up at alle rihtes.  
3531   Of hem is noght to taken hiede,  
3532   For ech of hem in hastihiede  
3533   Schal other slen with dethes wounde:
3534   And thus whan thei ben leid to grounde,
3535   Than mot he to the goddes preie, 
3536   And go so forth and take his preie. 
3537   Bot if he faile in eny wise
3538   Of that ye hiere me devise,
3539   Ther mai be set non other weie,  
3540   That he ne moste algates deie.
3541   "Nou have I told the peril al:
3542   I woll you tellen forth withal," 
3543   Quod Medea to Jason tho,
3544   "That ye schul knowen er ye go,  
3545   Ayein the venym and the fyr
3546   What schal ben the recoverir. 
3547   Bot, Sire, for it is nyh day, 
3548   Ariseth up, so that I may  
3549   Delivere you what thing I have,  
3550   That mai youre lif and honour save."
3551   Thei weren bothe loth to rise,    
3552   Bot for thei weren bothe wise,
3553   Up thei arisen ate laste:  
3554   Jason his clothes on him caste
3555   And made him redi riht anon,  
3556   And sche hir scherte dede upon
3557   And caste on hire a mantel clos, 
3558   Withoute more and thanne aros.
3559   Tho tok sche forth a riche Tye
3560   Mad al of gold and of Perrie, 
3561   Out of the which sche nam a Ring,
3562   The Ston was worth al other thing.  
3563   Sche seide, whil he wolde it were,  
3564   Ther myhte no peril him dere, 
3565   In water mai it noght be dreynt, 
3566   Wher as it comth the fyr is queynt, 
3567   It daunteth ek the cruel beste,  
3568   Ther may no qued that man areste,
3569   Wher so he be on See or lond, 
3570   Which hath that ring upon his hond: 
3571   And over that sche gan to sein,  
3572   That if a man wol ben unsein, 
3573   Withinne his hond hold clos the Ston,  
3574   And he mai invisible gon.  
3575   The Ring to Jason sche betauhte, 
3576   And so forth after sche him tauhte  
3577   What sacrifise he scholde make;  
3578   And gan out of hire cofre take
3579   Him thoughte an hevenely figure, 
3580   Which al be charme and be conjure
3581   Was wroght, and ek it was thurgh write 
3582   With names, which he scholde wite,  
3583   As sche him tauhte tho to rede;  
3584   And bad him, as he wolde spede,  
3585   Withoute reste of eny while,  
3586   Whan he were londed in that yle, 
3587   He scholde make his sacrifise 
3588   And rede his carecte in the wise 
3589   As sche him tauhte, on knes doun bent, 
3590   Thre sithes toward orient;     
3591   For so scholde he the goddes plese  
3592   And winne himselven mochel ese.  
3593   And whanne he hadde it thries rad,  
3594   To opne a buiste sche him bad,
3595   Which sche ther tok him in present, 
3596   And was full of such oignement,  
3597   That ther was fyr ne venym non
3598   That scholde fastnen him upon,
3599   Whan that he were enoynt withal. 
3600   Forthi sche tauhte him hou he schal 
3601   Enoignte his armes al aboute, 
3602   And for he scholde nothing doute,
3603   Sche tok him thanne a maner glu, 
3604   The which was of so gret vertu,  
3605   That where a man it wolde caste, 
3606   It scholde binde anon so faste
3607   That noman mihte it don aweie.
3608   And that sche bad be alle weie
3609   He scholde into the mouthes throwen 
3610   Of tho tweie Oxen that fyr blowen,  
3611   Therof to stoppen the malice; 
3612   The glu schal serve of that office. 
3613   And over that hir oignement,  
3614   Hir Ring and hir enchantement 
3615   Ayein the Serpent scholde him were, 
3616   Til he him sle with swerd or spere: 
3617   And thanne he may saufliche ynowh
3618   His Oxen yoke into the plowh  
3619   And the teth sowe in such a wise,
3620   Til he the knyhtes se arise,  
3621   And ech of other doun be leid 
3622   In such manere as I have seid.
3623   Lo, thus Medea for Jason
3624   Ordeigneth, and preith therupon  
3625   That he nothing foryete scholde, 
3626   And ek sche preith him that he wolde,  
3627   Whan he hath alle his Armes don, 
3628   To grounde knele and thonke anon     
3629   The goddes, and so forth be ese  
3630   The flees of gold he scholde sese.  
3631   And whanne he hadde it sesed so, 
3632   That thanne he were sone ago  
3633   Withouten eny tariynge. 
3634   Whan this was seid, into wepinge 
3635   Sche fell, as sche that was thurgh nome
3636   With love, and so fer overcome,  
3637   That al hir world on him sche sette.
3638   Bot whan sche sih ther was no lette,
3639   That he mot nedes parte hire fro,
3640   Sche tok him in hire armes tuo,  
3641   An hundred time and gan him kisse,  
3642   And seide, "O, al mi worldes blisse,
3643   Mi trust, mi lust, mi lif, min hele,
3644   To be thin helpe in this querele 
3645   I preie unto the goddes alle."
3646   And with that word sche gan doun falle 
3647   On swoune, and he hire uppe nam, 
3648   And forth with that the Maiden cam, 
3649   And thei to bedde anon hir broghte, 
3650   And thanne Jason hire besoghte,  
3651   And to hire seide in this manere:
3652   "Mi worthi lusti ladi dere,
3653   Conforteth you, for be my trouthe
3654   It schal noght fallen in mi slouthe 
3655   That I ne wol thurghout fulfille 
3656   Youre hestes at youre oghne wille.  
3657   And yit I hope to you bringe  
3658   Withinne a while such tidinge,
3659   The which schal make ous bothe game."  
3660   Bot for he wolde kepe hir name,  
3661   Whan that he wiste it was nyh dai,  
3662   He seide, "A dieu, mi swete mai."
3663   And forth with him he nam his gere, 
3664   Which as sche hadde take him there, 
3665   And strauht unto his chambre he wente, 
3666   And goth to bedde and slep him hente,      
3667   And lay, that noman him awok, 
3668   For Hercules hiede of him tok,
3669   Til it was undren hih and more.  
3670   And thanne he gan to sighe sore  
3671   And sodeinliche abreide of slep; 
3672   And thei that token of him kep,  
3673   His chamberleins, be sone there, 
3674   And maden redi al his gere,
3675   And he aros and to the king
3676   He wente, and seide hou to that thing  
3677   For which he cam he wolde go. 
3678   The king therof was wonder wo,
3679   And for he wolde him fain withdrawe,
3680   He tolde him many a dredful sawe,
3681   Bot Jason wolde it noght recorde,
3682   And ate laste thei acorde. 
3683   Whan that he wolde noght abide,  
3684   A Bot was redy ate tyde,
3685   In which this worthi kniht of Grece 
3686   Ful armed up at every piece,  
3687   To his bataile which belongeth,  
3688   Tok ore on honde and sore him longeth, 
3689   Til he the water passed were. 
3690   Whan he cam to that yle there,
3691   He set him on his knes doun strauht,
3692   And his carecte, as he was tawht,
3693   He radde, and made his sacrifise,
3694   And siththe enoignte him in that wise, 
3695   As Medea him hadde bede;
3696   And thanne aros up fro that stede,  
3697   And with the glu the fyr he queynte,
3698   And anon after he atteinte 
3699   The grete Serpent and him slowh. 
3700   Bot erst he hadde sorwe ynowh,
3701   For that Serpent made him travaile      
3702   So harde and sore of his bataile,
3703   That nou he stod and nou he fell:
3704   For longe time it so befell,  
3705   That with his swerd ne with his spere  
3706   He mihte noght that Serpent dere.
3707   He was so scherded al aboute, 
3708   It hield all eggetol withoute,
3709   He was so ruide and hard of skin,
3710   Ther mihte nothing go therin; 
3711   Venym and fyr togedre he caste,  
3712   That he Jason so sore ablaste,
3713   That if ne were his oignement,
3714   His Ring and his enchantement,
3715   Which Medea tok him tofore,
3716   He hadde with that worm be lore; 
3717   Bot of vertu which therof cam 
3718   Jason the Dragon overcam.  
3719   And he anon the teth outdrouh,
3720   And sette his Oxen in a plouh,
3721   With which he brak a piece of lond  
3722   And sieu hem with his oghne hond.
3723   Tho mihte he gret merveile se:
3724   Of every toth in his degre 
3725   Sprong up a kniht with spere and schield, 
3726   Of whiche anon riht in the field 
3727   Echon slow other; and with that  
3728   Jason Medea noght foryat,  
3729   On bothe his knes he gan doun falle,
3730   And yaf thonk to the goddes alle.
3731   The Flees he tok and goth to Bote,  
3732   The Sonne schyneth bryhte and hote, 
3733   The Flees of gold schon forth withal,  
3734   The water glistreth overal.
3735   Medea wepte and sigheth ofte, 
3736   And stod upon a Tour alofte:  
3737   Al prively withinne hirselve, 
3738   Ther herde it nouther ten ne tuelve,
3739   Sche preide, and seide, "O, god him spede,    
3740   The kniht which hath mi maidenhiede!"  
3741   And ay sche loketh toward thyle. 
3742   Bot whan sche sih withinne a while  
3743   The Flees glistrende ayein the Sonne,  
3744   Sche saide, "Ha, lord, now al is wonne,
3745   Mi kniht the field hath overcome:
3746   Nou wolde god he were come;
3747   Ha lord, that he ne were alonde!"
3748   Bot I dar take this on honde, 
3749   If that sche hadde wynges tuo,
3750   Sche wolde have flowe unto him tho  
3751   Strawht ther he was into the Bot.
3752   The dai was clier, the Sonne hot,
3753   The Gregeis weren in gret doute, 
3754   The whyle that here lord was oute:  
3755   Thei wisten noght what scholde tyde,
3756   Bot waiten evere upon the tyde,  
3757   To se what ende scholde falle.
3758   Ther stoden ek the nobles alle
3759   Forth with the comun of the toun;
3760   And as thei loken up and doun,
3761   Thei weren war withinne a throwe,
3762   Wher cam the bot, which thei wel knowe,
3763   And sihe hou Jason broghte his preie.  
3764   And tho thei gonnen alle seie,
3765   And criden alle with o stevene,  
3766   "Ha, wher was evere under the hevene
3767   So noble a knyht as Jason is?"
3768   And welnyh alle seiden this,  
3769   That Jason was a faie kniht,  
3770   For it was nevere of mannes miht 
3771   The Flees of gold so forto winne;
3772   And thus to talen thei beginne.  
3773   With that the king com forth anon,  
3774   And sih the Flees, hou that it schon;      
3775   And whan Jason cam to the lond,  
3776   The king himselve tok his hond
3777   And kist him, and gret joie him made.  
3778   The Gregeis weren wonder glade,  
3779   And of that thing riht merie hem thoghte, 
3780   And forth with hem the Flees thei broghte,
3781   And ech on other gan to leyhe;
3782   Bot wel was him that mihte neyhe,
3783   To se therof the proprete. 
3784   And thus thei passen the cite 
3785   And gon unto the Paleis straght. 
3786   Medea, which foryat him naght,
3787   Was redy there, and seide anon,  
3788   "Welcome, O worthi kniht Jason." 
3789   Sche wolde have kist him wonder fayn,  
3790   Bot schame tornede hire agayn;
3791   It was noght the manere as tho,  
3792   Forthi sche dorste noght do so.  
3793   Sche tok hire leve, and Jason wente 
3794   Into his chambre, and sche him sente
3795   Hire Maide to sen hou he ferde;  
3796   The which whan that sche sih and herde,
3797   Hou that he hadde faren oute  
3798   And that it stod wel al aboute,  
3799   Sche tolde hire ladi what sche wiste,  
3800   And sche for joie hire Maide kiste. 
3801   The bathes weren thanne araied,  
3802   With herbes tempred and assaied, 
3803   And Jason was unarmed sone 
3804   And dede as it befell to done:
3805   Into his bath he wente anon
3806   And wyssh him clene as eny bon;  
3807   He tok a sopp, and oute he cam,  
3808   And on his beste aray he nam, 
3809   And kempde his hed, whan he was clad,  
3810   And goth him forth al merie and glad
3811   Riht strawht into the kinges halle. 
3812   The king cam with his knihtes alle      
3813   And maden him glad welcominge;
3814   And he hem tolde the tidinge  
3815   Of this and that, hou it befell, 
3816   Whan that he wan the schepes fell.  
3817   Medea, whan sche was asent,
3818   Com sone to that parlement,
3819   And whan sche mihte Jason se, 
3820   Was non so glad of alle as sche. 
3821   Ther was no joie forto seche, 
3822   Of him mad every man a speche,
3823   Som man seide on, som man seide other; 
3824   Bot thogh he were goddes brother 
3825   And mihte make fyr and thonder,  
3826   Ther mihte be nomore wonder
3827   Than was of him in that cite. 
3828   Echon tauhte other, "This is he, 
3829   Which hath in his pouer withinne 
3830   That al the world ne mihte winne:
3831   Lo, hier the beste of alle goode."  
3832   Thus saiden thei that there stode,  
3833   And ek that walkede up and doun, 
3834   Bothe of the Court and of the toun. 
3835   The time of Souper cam anon,  
3836   Thei wisshen and therto thei gon,
3837   Medea was with Jason set:  
3838   Tho was ther many a deynte fet
3839   And set tofore hem on the bord,  
3840   Bot non so likinge as the word
3841   Which was ther spoke among hem tuo, 
3842   So as thei dorste speke tho.  
3843   Bot thogh thei hadden litel space,  
3844   Yit thei acorden in that place
3845   Hou Jason scholde come at nyht,  
3846   Whan every torche and every liht 
3847   Were oute, and thanne of other thinges 
3848   Thei spieke aloud for supposinges
3849   Of hem that stoden there aboute:     
3850   For love is everemore in doute,  
3851   If that it be wisly governed  
3852   Of hem that ben of love lerned.  
3853   Whan al was don, that dissh and cuppe  
3854   And cloth and bord and al was uppe, 
3855   Thei waken whil hem lest to wake,
3856   And after that thei leve take 
3857   And gon to bedde forto reste. 
3858   And whan him thoghte for the beste, 
3859   That every man was faste aslepe, 
3860   Jason, that wolde his time kepe, 
3861   Goth forth stalkende al prively  
3862   Unto the chambre, and redely  
3863   Ther was a Maide, which him kepte.  
3864   Medea wok and nothing slepte, 
3865   Bot natheles sche was abedde, 
3866   And he with alle haste him spedde
3867   And made him naked and al warm.  
3868   Anon he tok hire in his arm:  
3869   What nede is forto speke of ese? 
3870   Hem list ech other forto plese,  
3871   So that thei hadden joie ynow:
3872   And tho thei setten whanne and how  
3873   That sche with him awey schal stele.
3874   With wordes suche and othre fele 
3875   Whan al was treted to an ende,
3876   Jason tok leve and gan forth wende  
3877   Unto his oughne chambre in pes;  
3878   Ther wiste it non bot Hercules.  
3879   He slepte and ros whan it was time, 
3880   And whanne it fell towardes prime,  
3881   He tok to him suche as he triste 
3882   In secre, that non other wiste,  
3883   And told hem of his conseil there,  
3884   And seide that his wille were 
3885   That thei to Schipe hadde alle thinge  
3886   So priveliche in thevenynge,  
3887   That noman mihte here dede aspie     
3888   Bot tho that were of compaignie: 
3889   For he woll go withoute leve, 
3890   And lengere woll he noght beleve;
3891   Bot he ne wolde at thilke throwe 
3892   The king or queene scholde it knowe.
3893   Thei saide, "Al this schal wel be do:" 
3894   And Jason truste wel therto.  
3895   Medea in the mene while,
3896   Which thoghte hir fader to beguile, 
3897   The Tresor which hir fader hadde 
3898   With hire al priveli sche ladde, 
3899   And with Jason at time set 
3900   Awey sche stal and fond no let,  
3901   And straght sche goth hire unto schipe 
3902   Of Grece with that felaschipe,
3903   And thei anon drowe up the Seil. 
3904   And al that nyht this was conseil,  
3905   Bot erly, whan the Sonne schon,  
3906   Men syhe hou that thei were agon,
3907   And come unto the king and tolde:
3908   And he the sothe knowe wolde, 
3909   And axeth where his dowhter was. 
3910   Ther was no word bot Out, Allas! 
3911   Sche was ago. The moder wepte,
3912   The fader as a wod man lepte, 
3913   And gan the time forto warie, 
3914   And swor his oth he wol noght tarie,
3915   That with Caliphe and with galeie
3916   The same cours, the same weie,
3917   Which Jason tok, he wolde take,  
3918   If that he mihte him overtake.
3919   To this thei seiden alle yee: 
3920   Anon thei weren ate See,
3921   And alle, as who seith, at a word
3922   Thei gon withinne schipes bord,  
3923   The Sail goth up, and forth thei strauhte.
3924   Bot non espleit therof thei cauhte, 
3925   And so thei tornen hom ayein,     
3926   For al that labour was in vein.  
3927   Jason to Grece with his preie 
3928   Goth thurgh the See the rihte weie: 
3929   Whan he ther com and men it tolde,  
3930   Thei maden joie yonge and olde.  
3931   Eson, whan that he wiste of this,
3932   Hou that his Sone comen is,
3933   And hath achieved that he soughte
3934   And hom with him Medea broughte, 
3935   In al the wyde world was non  
3936   So glad a man as he was on.
3937   Togedre ben these lovers tho, 
3938   Til that thei hadden sones tuo,  
3939   Wherof thei weren bothe glade,
3940   And olde Eson gret joie made  
3941   To sen thencress of his lignage; 
3942   For he was of so gret an Age, 
3943   That men awaiten every day,
3944   Whan that he scholde gon away.
3945   Jason, which sih his fader old,  
3946   Upon Medea made him bold,  
3947   Of art magique, which sche couthe,  
3948   And preith hire that his fader youthe  
3949   Sche wolde make ayeinward newe:  
3950   And sche, that was toward him trewe,
3951   Behihte him that sche wolde it do,  
3952   Whan that sche time sawh therto. 
3953   Bot what sche dede in that matiere  
3954   It is a wonder thing to hiere,
3955   Bot yit for the novellerie 
3956   I thenke tellen a partie.  
3957   Thus it befell upon a nyht,
3958   Whan ther was noght bot sterreliht, 
3959   Sche was vanyssht riht as hir liste,
3960   That no wyht bot hirself it wiste,  
3961   And that was ate mydnyht tyde.
3962   The world was stille on every side;     
3963   With open hed and fot al bare,
3964   Hir her tosprad sche gan to fare,
3965   Upon hir clothes gert sche was,  
3966   Al specheles and on the gras  
3967   Sche glod forth as an Addre doth:
3968   Non otherwise sche ne goth,
3969   Til sche cam to the freisshe flod,  
3970   And there a while sche withstod. 
3971   Thries sche torned hire aboute,  
3972   And thries ek sche gan doun loute
3973   And in the flod sche wette hir her, 
3974   And thries on the water ther  
3975   Sche gaspeth with a drecchinge onde,
3976   And tho sche tok hir speche on honde.  
3977   Ferst sche began to clepe and calle 
3978   Upward unto the sterres alle, 
3979   To Wynd, to Air, to See, to lond 
3980   Sche preide, and ek hield up hir hond  
3981   To Echates, and gan to crie,  
3982   Which is goddesse of Sorcerie.