The Canterbury tales
Geoffrey Chaucer
F.N. Robinson

The Man of Law's Tale

In surrye whilom dwelte a compaignye
     134
Of chapmen riche, and therto sadde and trewe,
     135
That wyde-where senten hir spicerye,
     136
Clothes of gold, and satyns riche of hewe.
     137
Hir chaffare was so thrifty and so newe
     138
That every wight hath deyntee to chaffare
     139
With hem, and eek to sellen hem hire ware.
     140
Now fil it that the maistres of that sort
     141
Han shapen hem to rome for to wende;
     142
Were it for chapmanhod or for disport,
     143
Noon oother message wolde they thider sende,
     144
But comen hemself to rome, this is the ende;
     145
And in swich place as thoughte hem avantage
     146
For hire entente, they take hir herbergage.
     147
Sojourned han thise merchantz in that toun
     148
A certein tyme, as fil to hire plesance.
     149
And so bifel that th' excellent renoun
     150
Of the emperoures doghter, dame custance,
     151
Reported was, with every circumstance,
     152
Unto thise surryen marchantz in swich wyse.
     153
Fro day to day, as I shal yow devyse.
     154
This was the commune voys of every man:
     155
Oure emperour of rome -- God hym see! --
     156
A doghter hath that, syn the world bigan,
     157
To rekene as wel hir goodnesse as beautee,
     158
Nas nevere swich another as is shee.
     159
I prey to God in honour hire susteene,
     160
And wolde she were of al europe the queene. Page  64
     161
In hire is heigh beautee, withoute pride,
     162
Yowthe, withoute grenehede or folye;
     163
To alle hire werkes vertu is hir gyde;
     164
Humblesse hath slayn in hire al tirannye.
     165
She is mirour of alle curteisye;
     166
Hir herte is verray chambre of hoolynesse,
     167
Hir hand, ministre of fredam for almesse.
     168
And al this voys was sooth, as God is trewe.
     169
But now to purpos lat us turne agayn.
     170
Thise marchantz han doon fraught hir shippes newe,
     171
And whan they han this blisful mayden sayn,
     172
Hoom to surrye been they went ful fayn,
     173
And doon hir nedes as they han doon yoore,
     174
And lyven in wele; I kan sey yow namoore.
     175
Now fil it that thise marchantz stode in grace
     176
Of hym that was the sowdan of surrye;
     177
For whan they cam from any strange place,
     178
He wolde, of his benigne curteisye,
     179
Make hem good chiere, and bisily espye
     180
Tidynges of sondry regnes, for to leere
     181
The wondres that they myghte seen or heere.
     182
Amonges othere thynges, specially,
     183
Thise marchantz han hym toold of dame custance
     184
So greet noblesse in ernest, ceriously,
     185
That this sowdan hath caught so greet plesance
     186
To han hir figure in his remembrance,
     187
That al his lust and al his bisy cure
     188
Was for to love hire while his lyf may dure.
     189
Paraventure in thilke large book
     190
Which that men clepe the hevene ywriten was
     191
With sterres, whan that he his birthe took,
     192
That he for love sholde han his deeth, allas!
     193
For in the sterres, clerer than is glas,
     194
Is writen, God woot, whoso koude it rede,
     195
The deeth of every man, withouten drede.
     196
In sterres, many a wynter therbiforn,
     197
Was writen the deeth of ector, achilles,
     198
Of pompei, julius, er they were born;
     199
The strif of thebes; and of ercules,
     200
Of sampson, turnus, and of socrates
     201
The deeth; but mennes wittes ben so dulle
     202
That no wight kan wel rede it atte fulle.
     203
This sowdan for his privee conseil sente,
     204
And, shortly of this matiere for to pace,
     205
He hath to hem declared his entente,
     206
And seyde hem, certein, but he myghte have grace
     207
To han custance withinne a litel space,
     208
He nas but deed; and charged hem in hye
     209
To shapen for his lyf som remedye.
     210
Diverse men diverse thynges seyden;
     211
They argumenten, casten up and doun;
     212
Many a subtil resoun forth they leyden;
     213
They speken of magyk and abusioun.
     214
But finally, as in conclusioun,
     215
They kan nat seen in that noon avantage,
     216
Ne in noon oother wey, save mariage.
     217
Thanne sawe they therinne swich difficultee
     218
By wey of reson, for to speke al playn,
     219
By cause that ther was swich diversitee
     220
Bitwene hir bothe lawes, that they sayn
     221
They trowe, that no cristen prince wolde fayn
     222
Wedden his child under oure lawe sweete
     223
That us was taught by mahoun, oure prophete.
     224
And he answerde, rather than I lese
     225
Custance, I wol be cristned, doutelees.
     226
I moot been hires, I may noon oother chese.
     227
I prey yow hoold youre argumentz in pees;
     228
Saveth my lyf, and beth noght recchelees
     229
To geten hire that hath my lyf in cure;
     230
For in this wo I may nat longe endure.
     231
What nedeth gretter dilatacioun?
     232
I seye, by tretys and embassadrie,
     233
And by the popes mediacioun,
     234
And al the chirche, and al the chivalrie,
     235
That in destruccioun of mawmettrie,
     236
And in encrees of cristes lawe deere,
     237
They been acorded, so as ye shal heere:
     238
How that the sowdan and his baronage
     239
And alle his liges sholde ycristned be,
     240
And he shal han custance in mariage,
     241
And certein gold, I noot what quantitee;
     242
And heer-to founden sufficient suretee.
     243
This same accord was sworn on eyther syde;
     244
Now, faire custance, almyghty God thee gyde!
     245
Now wolde som men waiten, as I gesse,
     246
That I sholde tellen al the purveiance
     247
That th' emperour, of his grete noblesse,
     248
Hath shapen for his doghter, dame custance.
     249
Wel may men knowen that so greet ordinance
     250
May no man tellen in a litel clause
     251
As was arrayed for so heigh a cause.
     252
Bisshopes been shapen with hire for to wende,
     253
Lordes, ladies, knyghtes of renoun, Page  65
     254
And oother folk ynowe, this is th' ende;
     255
And notified is thurghout the toun
     256
That every wight, with greet devocioun,
     257
Sholde preyen crist that he this mariage
     258
Receyve in gree, and spede this viage.
     259
The day is comen of hir departynge;
     260
I seye, the woful day fatal is come,
     261
That ther may be no lenger tariynge,
     262
But forthward they hem dressen, alle and some.
     263
Custance, that was with sorwe al overcome,
     264
Ful pale arist, and dresseth hire to wende;
     265
For wel she seeth ther is noon oother ende.
     266
Allas! what wonder is it thogh she wepte,
     267
That shal be sent to strange nacioun
     268
Fro freendes that so tendrely hire kepte,
     269
And to be bounden under subjeccioun
     270
Of oon, she knoweth nat his condicioun?
     271
Housbondes been alle goode, and han ben yoore;
     272
That knowen wyves; I dar sey yow na moore.
     273
Fader, she seyde, thy wrecched child custance,
     274
Thy yonge doghter fostred up so softe,
     275
And ye, my mooder, my soverayn plesance
     276
Over alle thyng, out-taken crist on-lofte,
     277
Custance youre child hire recomandeth ofte
     278
Unto youre grace, for I shal to surrye,
     279
Ne shal I nevere seen yow moore with ye.
     280
Allas! unto the barbre nacioun
     281
I moste anoon, syn that it is youre wille;
     282
But crist, that starf for our redempcioun
     283
So yeve me grace his heestes to fulfille!
     284
I, wrecche womman, no fors though I spille!
     285
Wommen are born to thraldom and penance,
     286
And to been under mannes governance.
     287
I trowe at troye, whan pirrus brak the wal,
     288
Or ilion brende, at thebes the citee,
     289
N' at rome, for the harm thurgh hanybal
     290
That romayns hath venquysshed tymes thre,
     291
Nas herd swich tendre wepyng for pitee
     292
As in the chambre was for hire departynge;
     293
But forth she moot, wher-so she wepe or synge.
     294
O firste moevyng! crueel firmament,
     295
With thy diurnal sweigh that crowdest ay
     296
And hurlest al from est til occident
     297
That naturelly wolde holde another way,
     298
Thy crowdyng set the hevene in swich array
     299
At the bigynnyng of this fiers viage,
     300
That crueel mars hath slayn this mariage.
     301
Infortunat ascendent tortuous,
     302
Of which the lord is helplees falle, allas,
     303
Out of his angle into the derkeste hous!
     304
O mars, o atazir, as in this cas!
     305
O fieble moone, unhappy been thy paas!
     306
Thou knyttest thee ther thou art nat receyved;
     307
Ther thou were weel, fro thennes artow weyved.
     308
Imprudent emperour of rome, allas!
     309
Was ther no philosophre in al thy toun?
     310
Is no tyme bet than oother in swich cas?
     311
Of viage is ther noon eleccioun,
     312
Namely to folk of heigh condicioun?
     313
Noght whan a roote is of a burthe yknowe?
     314
Allas, we been to lewed or to slowe!
     315
To shippe is brought this woful faire mayde
     316
Solempnely, with every circumstance.
     317
Now jhesu crist be with yow alle! she sayde;
     318
Ther nys namoore, but farewel, faire custance!
     319
She peyneth hire to make good contenance;
     320
And forth I lete hire saille in this manere,
     321
And turne I wole agayn to my matere.
     322
The mooder of the sowdan, welle of vices,
     323
Espied hath hir sones pleyn entente,
     324
How he wol lete his olde sacrifices;
     325
And right anon she for hir conseil sente,
     326
And they been come to knowe what she mente.
     327
And whan assembled was this folk in-feere,
     328
She sette hire doun, and seyde as ye shal heere.
     329
Lordes, quod she, ye knowen everichon,
     330
How that my sone in point is for to lete
     331
The hooly lawes of our alkaron,
     332
Yeven by goddes message makomete.
     333
But oon avow to grete God I heete,
     334
The lyf shal rather out of my body sterte
     335
Or makometes lawe out of myn herte!
     336
What sholde us tyden of this newe lawe
     337
But thraldom to oure bodies and penance,
     338
And afterward in helle to be drawe,
     339
For we reneyed mahoun oure creance?
     340
But, lordes, wol ye maken assurance,
     341
As I shal seyn, assentynge to my loore,
     342
And I shal make us sauf for everemoore?
     343
They sworen and assenten, every man,
     344
To lyve with hire and dye, and by hire stonde,
     345
And everich, in the beste wise he kan,
     346
To strengthen hire shal alle his frendes fonde; Page  66
     347
And she hath this emprise ytake on honde,
     348
Which ye shal heren that I shal devyse,
     349
And to hem alle she spak right in this wyse:
     350
We shul first feyne us cristendom to take, --
     351
Coold water shal nat greve us but a lite!
     352
And I shal swich a feeste and revel make
     353
That, as I trowe, I shal the sowdan quite.
     354
For thogh his wyf be cristned never so white,
     355
She shal have nede to wasshe awey the rede,
     356
Thogh she a font-ful water with hire lede.
     357
O sowdanesse, roote of iniquitee!
     358
Virago, thou semyrame the secounde!
     359
O serpent under femynynytee,
     360
Lik to the serpent depe in helle ybounde!
     361
O feyned womman, al that may confounde
     362
Vertu and innocence, thurgh thy malice,
     363
Is bred in thee, as nest of every vice!
     364
O sathan, envious syn thilke day
     365
That thou were chaced from oure heritage,
     366
Wel knowestow to wommen the olde way!
     367
Thou madest eva brynge us in servage;
     368
Thou wolt fordoon this cristen mariage.
     369
Thyn instrument so, weylawey the while!
     370
Makestow of wommen, whan thou wolt bigile.
     371
This sowdanesse, whom I thus blame and warye,
     372
Leet prively hire conseil goon hire way.
     373
What sholde I in this tale lenger tarye?
     374
She rydeth to the sowdan on a day,
     375
And seyde hym that she wolde reneye hir lay,
     376
And cristendom of preestes handes fonge,
     377
Repentynge hire she hethen was so longe;
     378
Bisechynge hym to doon hire that honour,
     379
That she moste han the cristen folk to feeste, --
     380
To plesen hem I wol do my labour.
     381
The sowdan seith, I wol doon at youre heeste;
     382
And knelynge thanketh hire of that requeste.
     383
So glad he was, he nyste what to seye.
     384
She kiste hir sone, and hoom she gooth hir weye.
     385
Arryved been this cristen folk to londe
     386
In surrye, with a greet solempne route,
     387
And hastifliche this sowdan sente his sonde,
     388
First to his mooder, and al the regne aboute,
     389
And seyde his wyf was comen, out of doute,
     390
And preyde hire for to ryde agayn the queene,
     391
The honour of his regne to susteene.
     392
Greet was the prees, and riche was th' array
     393
Of surryens and romayns met yfeere;
     394
The mooder of the sowdan, riche and gay,
     395
Receyveth hire with also glad a cheere
     396
As any mooder myghte hir doghter deere,
     397
And to the nexte citee ther bisyde
     398
A softe paas solempnely they ryde.
     399
Noght trowe I the triumphe of julius,
     400
Of which that lucan maketh swich a boost,
     401
Was roialler ne moore curius
     402
Than was th' assemblee of this blisful hoost.
     403
But this scorpioun, this wikked goost,
     404
The sowdanesse, for al hire flaterynge,
     405
Caste under this ful mortally to stynge.
     406
The sowdan comth hymself soone after this
     407
So roially, that wonder is to telle,
     408
And welcometh hire with alle joye and blis.
     409
And thus in murthe and joye I lete hem dwelle;
     410
The fryt of this matiere is that I telle.
     411
Whan tyme cam, men thoughte it for the beste
     412
That revel stynte, and men goon to hir reste.
     413
The tyme cam this olde sowdanesse
     414
Ordeyned hath this feeste of which I tolde,
     415
And to the feeste cristen folk hem dresse
     416
In general, ye, bothe yonge and olde.
     417
Heere may men feeste and roialtee biholde,
     418
And deyntees mo than I kan yow devyse;
     419
But al to deere they boghte it er they ryse.
     420
O sodeyn wo, that evere art successour
     421
To worldly blisse, spreynd with bitternesse!
     422
The ende of the joye of oure worldly labour!
     423
Wo occupieth the fyn of oure gladnesse.
     424
Herke this conseil for thy sikernesse:
     425
Upon thy glade day have in thy mynde
     426
The unwar wo or harm that comth bihynde.
     427
For shortly for to tellen, at o word,
     428
The sowdan and the cristen everichone
     429
Been al tohewe and stiked at the bord,
     430
But it were oonly dame custance allone.
     431
This olde sowdanesse, cursed krone,
     432
Hath with hir freendes doon this cursed dede,
     433
For she hirself wolde al the contree lede.
     434
Ne ther was surryen noon that was converted,
     435
That of the conseil of the sowdan woot, Page  67
     436
That he nas al tohewe er he asterted.
     437
And custance han they take anon, foot-hoot,
     438
And in a ship al steerelees, God woot,
     439
They han hir set, and bidde hire lerne saille
     440
Out of surrye agaynward to ytaille.
     441
A certein tresor that she thider ladde,
     442
And, sooth to seyn, vitaille greet plentee
     443
They han hire yeven, and clothes eek she hadde,
     444
And forth she sailleth in the salte see.
     445
O my custance, ful of benignytee,
     446
O emperoures yonge doghter deere,
     447
He that is lord of fortune be thy steere!
     448
She blesseth hire, and with ful pitous voys
     449
Unto the croys of crist thus seyde she:
     450
O cleere, o welful auter, hooly croys,
     451
Reed of the lambes blood ful of pitee,
     452
That wessh the world fro the olde iniquitee,
     453
Me fro the feend and fro his clawes kepe,
     454
That day that I shal drenchen in the depe.
     455
Victorious tree, proteccioun of trewe,
     456
That oonly worthy were for to bere
     457
The kyng of hevene with his woundes newe,
     458
The white lamb, that hurt was with a spere,
     459
Flemere of feendes out of hym and here
     460
On which thy lymes feithfully extenden,
     461
Me kepe, and yif me myght my lyf t' amenden.
     462
Yeres and dayes fleet this creature
     463
Thurghout the see of grece unto the strayte
     464
Of marrok, as it was hire aventure.
     465
On many a sory meel now may she bayte;
     466
After hir deeth ful often may she wayte,
     467
Er that the wilde wawes wol hire dryve
     468
Unto the place ther she shal arryve.
     469
Men myghten asken why she was nat slayn
     470
Eek at the feeste? who myghte hir body save?
     471
And I answere to that demande agayn,
     472
Who saved danyel in the horrible cave
     473
Ther every wight save he, maister and knave,
     474
Was with the leon frete er he asterte?
     475
No wight but god, that he bar in his herte.
     476
God liste to shewe his wonderful myracle
     477
In hire, for we sholde seen his myghty werkis;
     478
Crist, which that is to every harm triacle,
     479
By certeine meenes ofte, as knowen clerkis,
     480
Dooth thyng for certein ende that ful derk is
     481
To mannes wit, that for oure ignorance
     482
Ne konne noght knowe his prudent purveiance.
     483
Now sith she was nat at the feeste yslawe,
     484
Who kepte hire fro the drenchyng in the see?
     485
Who kepte jonas in the fisshes mawe
     486
Til he was spouted up at nynyvee?
     487
Wel may men knowe it was no wight but he
     488
That kepte peple ebrayk from hir drenchynge,
     489
With drye feet thurghout the see passynge.
     490
Who bad the foure spirites of tempest
     491
That power han t' anoyen lond and see,
     492
Bothe north and south, and also west and est,
     493
Anoyeth, neither see, ne land, ne tree?
     494
Soothly, the comandour of that was he
     495
That fro the tempest ay this womman kepte
     496
As wel whan she wook as whan she slepte.
     497
Where myghte this womman mete and drynke have
     498
Thre yeer and moore? how lasteth hire vitaille?
     499
Who fedde the egipcien marie in the cave,
     500
Or in desert? no wight but crist, sanz faille.
     501
Fyve thousand folk it was as greet mervaille
     502
With loves fyve and fisshes two to feede.
     503
God sente his foyson at hir grete neede.
     504
She dryveth forth into oure occian
     505
Thurghout oure wilde see, til atte laste
     506
Under an hoold that nempnen I ne kan,
     507
Fer in northhumberlond the wawe hire caste,
     508
And in the sond hir ship stiked so faste
     509
That thennes wolde it noght of al a tyde;
     510
The wyl of crist was that she sholde abyde.
     511
The constable of the castel doun is fare
     512
To seen this wrak, and al the ship he soghte,
     513
And foond this wery womman ful of care;
     514
He foond also the tresor that she broghte.
     515
In hir langage mercy she bisoghte,
     516
The lyf out of hir body for to twynne,
     517
Hire to delivere of wo that she was inne.
     518
A maner latyn corrupt was hir speche,
     519
But algates therby was she understonde.
     520
The constable, whan hym lyst no longer seche,
     521
This woful womman broghte he to the londe.
     522
She kneleth doun and thanketh goddes sonde;
     523
But what she was she wolde no man seye,
     524
For foul ne fair, thogh that she sholde deye.
     525
She seyde she was so mazed in the see
     526
That she forgat hir mynde, by hir trouthe.
     527
The constable hath of hire so greet pitee,
     528
And eek his wyf, that they wepen for routhe. Page  68
     529
She was so diligent, withouten slouthe,
     530
To serve and plesen everich in that place,
     531
That alle hir loven that looken in hir face.
     532
This constable and dame hermengyld, his, wyf,
     533
Were payens, and that contree everywhere;
     534
But hermengyld loved hire right as hir lyf,
     535
And custance hath so longe sojourned there,
     536
In orisons, with many a bitter teere,
     537
Til jhesu hath converted thurgh his grace
     538
Dame hermengyld, constablesse of that place.
     539
In al that lond no cristen dorste route;
     540
Alle cristen folk been fled fro that contree
     541
Thurgh payens, that conquereden al aboute
     542
The plages of the north, by land and see.
     543
To walys fledde the cristyanytee
     544
Of olde britons dwellynge in this ile;
     545
Ther was hir refut for the meene while.
     546
But yet nere cristene britons so exiled
     547
That ther nere somme that in hir privetee
     548
Honoured crist and hethen folk bigiled,
     549
And ny the castel swiche ther dwelten three.
     550
That oon of hem was blynd and myghte nat see,
     551
But it were with thilke eyen of his mynde
     552
With whiche men seen, after that they ben blynde.
     553
Bright was the sonne as in that someres day,
     554
For which the constable and his wyf also
     555
And custance han ytake the righte way
     556
Toward the see a furlong wey or two,
     557
To pleyen and to romen to and fro;
     558
And in hir walk this blynde man they mette,
     559
Croked and oold, with eyen faste yshette.
     560
In name of crist, cride this blinde britoun,
     561
Dame hermengyld, yif me my sighte agayn!
     562
This lady weex affrayed of the soun,
     563
Lest that hir housbonde, shortly for to sayn,
     564
Wolde hire for jhesu cristes love han slayn,
     565
Til custance made hire boold, and bad hire wirche
     566
The wyl of crist, as doghter of his chirche.
     567
The constable weex abasshed of that sight,
     568
And seyde, what amounteth al this fare?
     569
Custance answerde, sire, it is cristes myght,
     570
That helpeth folk out of the feendes snare.
     571
And so ferforth she gan oure lay declare
     572
That she the constable, er that it was eve
     573
Converted, and on crist made hym bileve.
     574
This constable was nothyng lord of this place
     575
Of which I speke, ther he custance fond,
     576
But kepte it strongly many a wyntres space
     577
Under alla, kyng of al northhumbrelond,
     578
That was ful wys, and worthy of his hond
     579
Agayn the scottes, as men may wel heere;
     580
But turne I wole agayn to my mateere.
     581
Sathan, that evere us waiteth to bigile,
     582
Saugh of custance al hire perfeccioun,
     583
And caste anon how he myghte quite hir while,
     584
And made a yong knyght that dwelte in that toun
     585
Love hire so hoote, of foul affeccioun,
     586
That verraily hym thoughte he sholde spille,
     587
But he of hire myghte ones have his wille.
     588
He woweth hire, but it availleth noght;
     589
She wolde do no synne, by no weye.
     590
And for despit he compassed in his thoght
     591
To maken hire on shameful deeth to deye.
     592
He wayteth whan the constable was aweye,
     593
And pryvely upon a nyght he crepte
     594
In hermengyldes chambre, whil she slepte.
     595
Wery, forwaked in hire orisouns,
     596
Slepeth custance, and hermengyld also.
     597
This knyght, thurgh sathanas temptaciouns,
     598
Al softely is to the bed ygo,
     599
And kitte the throte of hermengyld atwo,
     600
And leyde the blody knyf by dame custance,
     601
And wente his wey, ther God yeve hym meschance!
     602
Soone after cometh this constable hoom agayn,
     603
And eek alla, that kyng was of that lond,
     604
And saugh his wyf despitously yslayn,
     605
For which ful ofte he weep and wroong his hond,
     606
And in the bed the blody knyf he fond
     607
By dame custance. Allas! what myghte she seye?
     608
For verray wo hir wit was al aweye.
     609
To kyng alla was toold al this meschance,
     610
And eek the tyme, and where, and in what wise
     611
That in a ship was founden this custance,
     612
As heer-biforn that ye han herd devyse.
     613
The kynges herte of pitee gan agryse,
     614
Whan he saugh so benigne a creature
     615
Falle in disese and in mysaventure.
     616
For as the lomb toward his deeth is broght,
     617
So stant this innocent bifore the kyng. Page  69
     618
This false knyght, that hath this tresoun wroght,
     619
Berth hire on hond that she hath doon thys thyng.
     620
But nathelees, ther was greet moornyng
     621
Among the peple, and seyn they kan nat gesse
     622
That she had doon so greet a wikkednesse;
     623
For they han seyn hire evere so vertuous,
     624
And lovynge hermengyld right as hir lyf.
     625
Of this baar witnesse everich in that hous,
     626
Save he that hermengyld slow with his knyf.
     627
This gentil kyng hath caught a greet motyf
     628
Of this witnesse, and thoghte he wolde enquere
     629
Depper in this, a trouthe for to lere.
     630
Allas! custance, thou hast no champioun,
     631
Ne fighte kanstow noght, so weylaway!
     632
But he that starf for our redempcioun,
     633
And boond sathan (and yet lith ther he lay),
     634
So be thy stronge champion this day!
     635
For, but if crist open myracle kithe,
     636
Withouten gilt thou shalt be slayn as swithe.
     637
She sette hire doun on knees, and thus she sayde:
     638
Immortal god, that savedest susanne
     639
Fro false blame, and thou, merciful mayde,
     640
Marie I meene, doghter to seint anne,
     641
Bifore whos child angeles synge osanne,
     642
If I be giltlees of this felonye,
     643
My socour be, for ellis shal I dye!
     644
Have ye nat seyn somtyme a pale face,
     645
Among a prees, of hym that hath be lad
     646
Toward his deeth, wher as hym gat no grace,
     647
And swich a colour in his face hath had,
     648
Men myghte knowe his face that was bistad,
     649
Amonges alle the faces in that route?
     650
So stant custance, and looketh hire aboute.
     651
O queenes, lyvynge in prosperitee,
     652
Duchesses, and ye ladyes everichone,
     653
Haveth som routhe on hire adversitee!
     654
An emperoures doghter stant allone;
     655
She hath no wight to whom to make hir mone.
     656
O blood roial, that stondest in this drede,
     657
Fer been thy freendes at thy grete nede!
     658
This alla kyng hath swich compassioun,
     659
As gentil herte is fulfild of pitee,
     660
That from his eyen ran the water doun.
     661
Now hastily do fecche a book, quod he,
     662
And if this knyght wol sweren how that she
     663
This womman slow, yet wol we us avyse
     664
Whom that we wole that shal been oure justise.
     665
A britoun book, written with evaungiles,
     666
Was fet, and on this book he swoor anoon
     667
She gilty was, and in the meene whiles
     668
An hand hym smoot upon the nekke-boon,
     669
That doun he fil atones as a stoon,
     670
And bothe his eyen broste out of his face
     671
In sighte of every body in that place.
     672
A voys was herd in general audience,
     673
And seyde, thou hast desclaundred, giltelees,
     674
The doghter of hooly chirche in heigh presence;
     675
Thus hastou doon, and yet holde I my pees!
     676
Of this mervaille agast was al the prees;
     677
As mazed folk they stoden everichone,
     678
For drede of wreche, save custance allone.
     679
Greet was the drede and eek the repentance
     680
Of hem that hadden wrong suspecioun
     681
Upon this sely innocent, custance;
     682
And for this miracle, in conclusioun,
     683
And by custances mediacioun,
     684
The kyng -- and many another in that place --
     685
Converted was, thanked be cristes grace!
     686
This false knyght was slayn for his untrouthe
     687
By juggement of alla hastifly;
     688
And yet custance hadde of his deeth greet routhe.
     689
And after this jhesus, of his mercy,
     690
Made alla wedden ful solempnely
     691
This hooly mayden, that is so bright and sheene;
     692
And thus hath crist ymaad custance a queene.
     693
But who was woful, if I shal nat lye,
     694
Of this weddyng but donegild, and namo,
     695
The kynges mooder, ful of tirannye?
     696
Hir thoughte hir cursed herte brast atwo.
     697
She wolde noght hir sone had do so;
     698
Hir thoughte a despit that he sholde take
     699
So strange a creature unto his make.
     700
Me list nat of the chaf, ne of the stree,
     701
Maken so long a tale as of the corn.
     702
What sholde I tellen of the roialtee
     703
At mariage, or which cours goth biforn;
     704
Who bloweth in a trumpe or in an horn?
     705
The fruyt of every tale is for to seye:
     706
They ete, and drynke, and daunce, and synge, and pleye. Page  70
     707
They goon to bedde, as it was skile and right;
     708
For thogh that wyves be ful hooly thynges,
     709
They moste take in pacience at nyght
     710
Swiche manere necessaries as been plesynges
     711
To folk that han ywedded hem with rynges,
     712
And leye a lite hir hoolynesse aside,
     713
As for the tyme, -- it may no bet bitide.
     714
On hire he gat a knave child anon,
     715
And to a bisshop, and his constable eke,
     716
He took his wyf to kepe, whan he is gon
     717
To scotlond-ward, his foomen for to seke.
     718
Now faire custance, that is so humble and meke,
     719
So longe is goon with childe, til that stille
     720
She halt hire chambre, abidyng cristes wille.
     721
The tyme is come a knave child she beer;
     722
Mauricius at the fontstoon they hym calle.
     723
This constable dooth forth come a messageer,
     724
And wroot unto his kyng, that cleped was alle,
     725
How that this blisful tidyng is bifalle,
     726
And othere tidynges spedeful for to seye.
     727
He taketh the lettre, and forth he gooth his weye.
     728
This messager, to doon his avantage,
     729
Unto the kynges mooder rideth swithe,
     730
And salueth hire ful faire in his langage:
     731
Madame, quod he, ye may be glad and blithe,
     732
And thanketh God an hundred thousand sithe!
     733
My lady queene hath child, withouten doute,
     734
To joye and blisse to al this regne aboute.
     735
Lo, heere the lettres seled of this thyng,
     736
That I moot bere with al the haste I may.
     737
If ye wol aught unto youre sone the kyng,
     738
I am youre servant, bothe nyght and day.
     739
Donegild answerde, as now at this tyme, nay;
     740
But heere al nyght I wol thou take thy reste.
     741
To-morwe wol I seye thee what me leste.
     742
This messager drank sadly ale and wyn,
     743
And stolen were his lettres pryvely
     744
Out of his box, whil he sleep as a swyn;
     745
And countrefeted was ful subtilly
     746
Another lettre, wroght ful synfully,
     747
Unto the kyng direct of this mateere
     748
Fro his constable, as ye shal after heere.
     749
The lettre spak the queene delivered was
     750
Of so horrible a feendly creature
     751
That in the castel noon so hardy was
     752
That any while dorste ther endure.
     753
The mooder was an elf, by aventure
     754
Ycomen, by charmes or by sorcerie,
     755
And every wight hateth hir compaignye.
     756
Wo was this kyng whan he this lettre had sayn,
     757
But to no wight he tolde his sorwes soore,
     758
But of his owene hand he wroot agayn,
     759
Welcome the sonde of crist for everemoore
     760
To me that am now lerned in his loore!
     761
Lord, welcome be thy lust and thy plesaunce;
     762
My lust I putte al in thyn ordinaunce.
     763
Kepeth this child, al be it foul or feir,
     764
And eek my wyf, unto myn hoom-comynge.
     765
Crist, whan hym list, may sende me an heir
     766
Moore agreable than this to my likynge.
     767
This lettre he seleth, pryvely wepynge,
     768
Which to the messager was take soone,
     769
And forth he gooth; ther is na moore to doone.
     770
O messager, fulfild of dronkenesse,
     771
Strong is thy breeth, thy lymes faltren ay,
     772
And thou biwreyest alle secreenesse.
     773
Thy mynde is lorn, thou janglest as a jay,
     774
Thy face is turned in a newe array.
     775
Ther dronkenesse regneth in any route,
     776
Ther is no conseil hyd, withouten doute.
     777
O donegild, I ne have noon englissh digne
     778
Unto thy malice and thy tirannye!
     779
And therfore to the feend I thee resigne;
     780
Lat hym enditen of thy traitorie!
     781
Fy, mannysh, fy! -- o nay, by god, I lye --
     782
Fy, feendlych spirit, for I dar wel telle,
     783
Thogh thou heere walke, thy spirit is in helle!
     784
This messager comth fro the kyng agayn,
     785
And at the kynges moodres court he lighte,
     786
And she was of this messager ful fayn,
     787
And plesed hym in al that ever she myghte.
     788
He drank, and wel his girdel underpighte;
     789
He slepeth, and he fnorteth in his gyse
     790
Al nyght, til the sonne gan aryse.
     791
Eft were his lettres stolen everychon,
     792
And countrefeted lettres in this wyse:
     793
The king comandeth his constable anon,
     794
Up peyne of hangyng, and on heigh juyse,
     795
That he ne sholde suffren in no wyse
     796
Custance in-with his reawme for t' abyde
     797
Thre dayes and o quarter of a tyde; Page  71
     798
But in the same ship as he hire fond,
     799
Hire, and hir yonge sone, and al hir geere,
     800
He sholde putte, and croude hire fro the lond,
     801
And charge hire that she never eft coome theere.
     802
O my custance, wel may thy goost have feere,
     803
And, slepynge, in thy dreem been in penance,
     804
Whan donegild cast al this ordinance.
     805
This messager on morwe, whan he wook,
     806
Unto the castel halt the nexte way,
     807
And to the constable he the lettre took;
     808
And whan that he this pitous lettre say,
     809
Ful ofte he seyde, allas! and weylaway!
     810
Lord crist, quod he, how may this world endure,
     811
So ful of synne is many a creature?
     812
O myghty god, if that it be thy wille,
     813
Sith thou art rightful juge, how may it be
     814
That thou wolt suffren innocentz to spille,
     815
And wikked folk regne in prosperitee?
     816
O goode custance, allas! so wo is me
     817
That I moot be thy tormentour, or deye
     818
On shames deeth; ther is noon oother weye.
     819
Wepen bothe yonge and olde in al that place
     820
Whan that the kyng this cursed lettre sente,
     821
And custance, with a deedly pale face,
     822
The ferthe day toward hir ship she wente.
     823
But nathelees she taketh in good entente
     824
The wyl of crist, and knelynge on the stronde,
     825
She seyde, lord, ay welcome be thy sonde!
     826
He that me kepte fro the false blame
     827
While I was on the lond amonges yow,
     828
He kan me kepe from harm and eek fro shame
     829
In salte see, althogh I se noght how.
     830
As strong as evere he was, he is yet now.
     831
In hym triste I, and in his mooder deere,
     832
That is to me my seyl and eek my steere.
     833
Hir litel child lay wepyng in hir arm,
     834
And knelynge, pitously to hym she seyde,
     835
Pees, litel sone, I wol do thee noon harm.
     836
With that hir coverchief of hir heed she breyde,
     837
And over his litel eyen she it leyde,
     838
And in hir arm she lulleth it ful faste,
     839
And into hevene hire eyen up she caste.
     840
Mooder, quod she, and mayde bright, marie,
     841
Sooth is that thurgh wommanes eggement
     842
Mankynde was lorn, and damned ay to dye,
     843
For which thy child was on a croys yrent.
     844
Thy blisful eyen sawe al his torment;
     845
Thanne is ther no comparison bitwene
     846
Thy wo and any wo man may sustene.
     847
Thow sawe thy child yslayn bifore thyne yen,
     848
And yet now lyveth my litel child, parfay!
     849
Now, lady bright, to whom alle woful cryen,
     850
Thow glorie of wommanhede, thow faire may,
     851
Thow haven of refut, brighte sterre of day,
     852
Rewe on my child, that of thy gentillesse,
     853
Rewest on every reweful in distresse.
     854
O litel child, allas! what is thy gilt,
     855
That nevere wroghtest synne as yet, pardee?
     856
Why wil thyn harde fader han thee spilt?
     857
O mercy, deere constable, quod she,
     858
As lat my litel child dwelle heer with thee;
     859
And if thou darst nat saven hym, for blame,
     860
So kys hym ones in his fadres name!
     861
Therwith she looked bakward to the londe,
     862
And seyde, farewel, housbonde routhelees!
     863
And up she rist, and walketh doun the stronde
     864
Toward the ship, -- hir folweth al the prees, --
     865
And evere she preyeth hire child to holde his pees;
     866
And taketh hir leve, and with an hooly entente
     867
She blisseth hire, and into ship she wente.
     868
Vitailled was the ship, it is no drede,
     869
Habundantly for hire ful longe space,
     870
And othere necessaries that sholde nede
     871
She hadde ynogh, heryed be goddes grace!
     872
For wynd and weder almyghty God purchace,
     873
And brynge hire hoom! I kan no bettre seye,
     874
But in the see she dryveth forth hir weye.
     875
Alla the kyng comth hoom soone after this
     876
Unto his castel, of the which I tolde,
     877
And asketh where his wyf and his child is.
     878
The constable gan aboute his herte colde,
     879
And pleynly al the manere he hym tolde
     880
As ye han herd -- i kan telle it no bettre --
     881
And sheweth the kyng his seel and eek his lettre,
     882
And seyde, lord, as ye comanded me
     883
Up peyne of deeth, so have I doon, certein.
     884
This messager tormented was til he Page  72
     885
Moste biknowe and tellen, plat and pleyn,
     886
Fro nyght to nyght, in what place he had leyn;
     887
And thus, by with and sotil enquerynge,
     888
Ymagined was by whom this harm gan sprynge.
     889
The hand was knowe that the lettre wroot,
     890
And al the venym of this cursed dede,
     891
But in what wise, certeinly, I noot.
     892
Th' effect is this, that alla, out of drede,
     893
His mooder slow -- that may men pleynly rede --
     894
For that she traitour was to hire ligeance.
     895
Thus endeth olde donegild, with meschance!
     896
The sorwe that this alla nyght and day
     897
Maketh for his wyf, and for his child also,
     898
Ther is no tonge that it telle may.
     899
But now wol I unto custance go,
     900
That fleteth in the see, in peyne and wo,
     901
Fyve yeer and moore, as liked cristes sonde,
     902
Er that hir ship approched unto londe.
     903
Under an hethen castel, atte laste,
     904
Of which the name in my text noght I fynde,
     905
Custance, and eek hir child, the see up caste.
     906
Almyghty god, that saveth al mankynde,
     907
Have on custance and on hir child som mynde,
     908
That fallen is in hethen hand eft soone,
     909
In point to spille, as I shal telle yow soone.
     910
Doun fro the castel comth ther many a wight
     911
To gauren on this ship and on custance.
     912
But shortly, from the castel, on a nyght,
     913
The lordes styward -- God yeve hym meschance! --
     914
A theef, that hadde reneyed oure creance,
     915
Cam into ship allone, and seyde he sholde
     916
Hir lemman be, wher-so she wolde or nolde.
     917
Wo was this wrecched womman tho bigon;
     918
Hir child cride, and she cride pitously.
     919
But blisful marie heelp hire right anon;
     920
For with hir struglyng wel and myghtily
     921
The theef fil over bord al sodeynly,
     922
And in the see he dreynte for vengeance;
     923
And thus hath crist unwemmed kept custance.
     924
O foule lust of luxurie, lo, thyn ende!
     925
Nat oonly that thou feyntest mannes mynde,
     926
But verraily thou wolt his body shende.
     927
Th' ende of thy werk, or of thy lustes blynde,
     928
Is compleynyng. Hou many oon may men fynde
     929
That noght for werk somtyme, but for th' entente
     930
To doon this synne, been outher slayn or shente!
     931
How may this wayke womman han this strengthe
     932
Hire to defende agayn this renegat?
     933
O golias, unmesurable of lengthe,
     934
Hou myghte david make thee so maat,
     935
So yong and of armure so desolaat?
     936
Hou dorste he looke upon thy dredful face?
     937
Wel may men seen, it nas but goddes grace.
     938
Who yaf judith corage or hardynesse
     939
To sleen hym olofernus in his tente,
     940
And to deliveren out of wrecchednesse
     941
The peple of god? I seye, for this entente,
     942
That right as God spirit of vigour sente
     943
To hem, and saved hem out of meschance,
     944
So sente he myght and vigour to custance.
     945
Forth gooth hir ship thurghout the narwe mouth
     946
Of jubaltare and septe, dryvynge ay
     947
Somtyme west, and somtyme north and south,
     948
And somtyme est, ful many a wery day,
     949
Til cristes mooder -- blessed be she ay! --
     950
Hath shapen, thurgh hir endelees goodnesse,
     951
To make an ende of al hir hevynesse.
     952
Now lat us stynte of custance but a throwe,
     953
And speke we of the romayn emperour,
     954
That out of surrye hath by lettres knowe
     955
The slaughtre of cristen folk, and dishonour
     956
Doon to his doghter by a fals traytour,
     957
I mene the cursed wikked sowdanesse
     958
That at the feeste leet sleen bothe moore and lesse.
     959
For which this emperour hath sent anon
     960
His senatour, with roial ordinance,
     961
And othere lordes, God woot, many oon,
     962
On surryens to taken heigh vengeance.
     963
They brennen, sleen, and brynge hem to meschance
     964
Ful many a day; but shortly, this is th' ende,
     965
Homward to rome they shapen hem to wende.
     966
This senatour repaireth with victorie
     967
To rome-ward, saillynge ful roially,
     968
And mette the ship dryvynge, as seith the storie,
     969
In which custance sit ful pitously.
     970
Nothyng ne knew he what she was, ne why
     971
She was in swich array, ne she nyl seye
     972
Of hire estaat, althogh she sholde deye.
     973
He bryngeth hire to rome, and to his wyf
     974
He yaf hire, and hir yonge sone also; Page  73
     975
And with the senatour she ladde hir lyf.
     976
Thus kan oure lady bryngen out of wo
     977
Woful custance, and many another mo.
     978
And longe tyme dwelled she in that place,
     979
In hooly werkes evere, as was hir grace.
     980
The senatoures wyf hir aunte was,
     981
But for al that she knew hire never the moore.
     982
I wol no lenger tarien in this cas,
     983
But to kyng alla, which I spak of yoore,
     984
That for his wyf wepeth and siketh soore,
     985
I wol retourne, and lete I wol custance
     986
Under the senatoures governance.
     987
Kyng alla, which that hadde his mooder slayn,
     988
Upon a day fil in swich repentance
     989
That, if I shortly tellen shal and playn,
     990
To rome he comth to receyven his penance;
     991
And putte hym in the popes ordinance
     992
In heigh and logh, and jhesu crist bisoghte
     993
Foryeve his wikked werkes that he wroghte.
     994
The fame anon thurgh rome toun is born,
     995
How alla kyng shal comen in pilgrymage,
     996
By herbergeours that wenten hym biforn;
     997
For which the senatour, as was usage,
     998
Rood hym agayns, and many of his lynage,
     999
As wel to shewen his heighe magnificence
     1000
As to doon any kyng a reverence.
     1001
Greet cheere dooth this noble senatour
     1002
To kyng alla, and he to hym also;
     1003
Everich of hem dooth oother greet honour.
     1004
And so bifel that in a day or two
     1005
This senatour is to kyng alla go
     1006
To feste, and shortly, if I shal nat lye,
     1007
Custances sone wente in his compaignye.
     1008
Som men wolde seyn at requeste of custance
     1009
This senatour hath lad this child to feeste;
     1010
I may nat tellen every circumstance, --
     1011
Be as be may, ther was he at the leeste.
     1012
But sooth is this, that at his moodres heeste
     1013
Biforn alla, durynge the metes space,
     1014
The child stood, lookynge in the kynges face.
     1015
This alla kyng hath of this child greet wonder,
     1016
And to the senatour he seyde anon,
     1017
Whos is that faire child that stondeth yonder?
     1018
I noot, quod he, by god, and by seint john!
     1019
A mooder he hath, but fader hath he noon
     1020
That I of woot -- and shortly, in a stounde,
     1021
He tolde alla how that this child was founde.
     1022
But God woot, quod this senatour also,
     1023
So vertuous a lyvere in my lyf
     1024
Ne saugh I nevere as she, ne herde of mo,
     1025
Of worldly wommen, mayde, ne of wyf.
     1026
I dar wel seyn hir hadde levere a knyf
     1027
Thurghout hir brest, than ben a womman wikke;
     1028
There is no man koude brynge hire to that prikke.
     1029
Now was this child as lyk unto custance
     1030
As possible is a creature to be.
     1031
This alla hath the face in remembrance
     1032
Of dame custance, and ther on mused he
     1033
If that the childes mooder were aught she
     1034
That is his wyf, and pryvely he sighte,
     1035
And spedde hym fro the table that he myghte.
     1036
Parfay, thoghte he, fantome is in myn heed!
     1037
I oghte deme, of skilful juggement,
     1038
That in the salte see my wyf is deed.
     1039
And afterward he made his argument:
     1040
What woot I if that crist have hyder ysent
     1041
My wyf by see, as wel as he hire sente
     1042
To my contree fro thennes that she wente?
     1043
And after noon, hoom with the senatour
     1044
Goth alla, for to seen this wonder chaunce.
     1045
This senatour dooth alla greet honour,
     1046
And hastifly he sente after custaunce.
     1047
But trusteth weel, hire liste nat to daunce,
     1048
Whan that she wiste wherfore was that sonde;
     1049
Unnethe upon hir feet she myghte stonde.
     1050
Whan alla saugh his wyf, faire he hire grette,
     1051
And weep, that it was routhe for to see;
     1052
For at the firste look he on hire sette,
     1053
He knew wel verraily that it was she.
     1054
And she, for sorwe, as doumb stant as a tree,
     1055
So was hir herte shet in hir distresse,
     1056
Whan she remembred his unkyndenesse.
     1057
Twyes she swowned in his owene sighte;
     1058
He weep, and hym excuseth pitously.
     1059
Now god, quod he, and alle his halwes brighte
     1060
So wisly on my soule as have mercy,
     1061
That of youre harm as giltelees am I
     1062
As is maurice my sone, so lyk youre face;
     1063
Elles the feend me fecche out of this place! Page  74
     1064
Long was the sobbyng and the bitter peyne,
     1065
Er that hir woful hertes myghte cesse;
     1066
Greet was the pitee for to heere hem pleyne,
     1067
Thurgh whiche pleintes gan hir wo encresse.
     1068
I pray yow alle my labour to relesse;
     1069
I may nat telle hir wo until to-morwe,
     1070
I am so wery for to speke of sorwe.
     1071
But finally, whan that the sothe is wist
     1072
That alla giltelees was of hir wo,
     1073
I trowe an hundred tymes been they kist,
     1074
And swich a blisse is ther bitwix hem two
     1075
That, save the joye that lasteth everemo,
     1076
Ther is noon lyk that any creature
     1077
Hath seyn or shal, whil that the world may dure.
     1078
Tho preyde she hir housbonde mekely,
     1079
In relief of hir longe, pitous pyne,
     1080
That he wolde preye hir fader specially
     1081
That of his magestee he wolde enclyne
     1082
To vouche sauf som day with hym to dyne.
     1083
She preyde hym eek he sholde by no weye
     1084
Unto hir fader no word of hire seye.
     1085
Som men wolde seyn how that the child maurice
     1086
Dooth this message unto this emperour;
     1087
But, as I gesse, alla was nat so nyce
     1088
To hym that was of so sovereyn honour
     1089
As he that is of cristen folk the flour,
     1090
Sente any child, but it is bet to deeme
     1091
He wente hymself, and so it may wel seeme.
     1092
This emperour hath graunted gentilly
     1093
To come to dyner, as he hym bisoughte;
     1094
And wel rede I he looked bisily
     1095
Upon this child, and on his doghter thoghte.
     1096
Alla goth to his in, and as hym oghte,
     1097
Arrayed for this feste in every wise
     1098
As ferforth as his konnyng may suffise.
     1099
The morwe cam, and alla gan hym dresse,
     1100
And eek his wyf, this emperour to meete;
     1101
And forth they ryde in joye and in gladnesse.
     1102
And whan she saugh hir fader in the strete,
     1103
She lighte doun, and falleth hym to feete.
     1104
Fader, quod she, youre yonge child custance
     1105
Is now ful clene out of youre remembrance.
     1106
I am youre doghter custance, quod she,
     1107
That whilom ye han sent unto surrye.
     1108
It am I, fader, that in the salte see
     1109
Was put allone and dampned for to dye.
     1110
Now, goode fader, mercy I yow crye!
     1111
Sende me namoore unto noon hethenesse,
     1112
But thonketh my lord heere of his kyndenesse.
     1113
Who kan the pitous joye tellen al
     1114
Bitwixe hem thre, syn they been thus ymette?
     1115
But of my tale make an ende I shal;
     1116
The day goth faste, I wol no lenger lette.
     1117
This glade folk to dyner they hem sette;
     1118
In joye and blisse at mete I lete hem dwelle
     1119
A thousand foold wel moore than I kan telle.
     1120
This child maurice with sithen emperour
     1121
Maad by the pope, and lyved cristenly;
     1122
To cristes chirche he dide greet honour.
     1123
But I lete al his storie passen by;
     1124
Of custance is my tale specially.
     1125
In the olde romayn geestes may men fynde
     1126
Maurices lyf; I bere it noght in mynde.
     1127
This kyng alla, whan he his tyme say,
     1128
With his custance, his hooly wyf so sweete,
     1129
To engelond been they come the righte way,
     1130
Wher as they lyve in joye and in quiete.
     1131
But litel while it lasteth, I yow heete,
     1132
Joye of this world, for tyme wol nat abyde;
     1133
Fro day to nyght it changeth as the tyde.
     1134
Who lyved euere in swich delit o day
     1135
That hym ne moeved outher conscience,
     1136
Or ire, or talent, or som kynnes affray,
     1137
Envye, or pride, or passion, or offence?
     1138
I ne seye but for this ende this sentence,
     1139
That litel while in joye or in plesance
     1140
Lasteth the blisse of alla with custance.
     1141
For deeth, that taketh of heigh and logh his rente,
     1142
Whan passed was a yeer, evene as I gesse,
     1143
Out of this world this kyng alla he hente,
     1144
For whom custance hath ful greet hevynesse.
     1145
Now lat us prayen God his soule blesse!
     1146
And dame custance, finally to seye,
     1147
Toward the toun of rome goth hir weye.
     1148
To rome is come this hooly creature,
     1149
And fyndeth hire freendes hoole and sounde;
     1150
Now is she scaped al hire aventure.
     1151
And whan that she hir fader hath yfounde,
     1152
Doun on hir knees falleth she to grounde;
     1153
Wepynge for tendrenesse in herte blithe,
     1154
She heryeth God an hundred thousand sithe. Page  75
     1155
In vertu and in hooly almus-dede
     1156
They lyven alle, and nevere asonder wende;
     1157
Til deeth departeth hem, this lyf they lede.
     1158
And fareth now weel! my tale is at an ende.
     1159
Now jhesu crist, that of his myght may sende
     1160
Joye after wo, governe us in his grace,
     1161
And kepe us alle that been in this place! amen
     1162