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For unto Phillis yet come he noghte,
And that hath she so harde and sore yboghte,
Allas, as the story doth us recorde,
She was hire owne dethe with a corde,
Whanne that she segh that Demophoon her
But firste wrote she to hym, and faste hym prayed
He wolde come and delyver hire of peyne,
As I reherse shal oo worde or tweyne.
Me lyste nat vouche sauf on hym to swynke,
Dispenden on hym a penne ful of ynke,
For fals in love was he ryghte as hys syre;
The Devel set hire soules both on a fire!
But of the letter of Phillis wol I wryte,
A worde or tweyne althogh hit be but lyte.
'Thyn hostesse,' quod she, ' 0 Demophoon,
Thy Phillis, which that is so woo begon,
Of Rhodopey, upon yow mote compleyne,
Over the terme sette betwix us tweyne,
That ye ne holden forwarde, as ye seyde.
Your anker, which ye in oure haven leyde,
Hyghte us that ye wolde comen out of doute,
Or that the moone ones went aboute;
But tymes foure, the moone hath hid hire face
Syn thilke day ye went fro this place;
And foure tymes lyghte the worlde ageyne.
But for al that, yet I shal soothly seyne,
Yet hath the streme of Scython1 nat broght
From Athenes the shippe; yet come hit noght.
And yf that ye the terme rekne wolde,
As I or other trewe loveres sholde,
I pleyue not, God wot! beforne my day.'*
But al hire letter writen I ne may
By ordre, for hit were to me a charge;
Hire letter was ryghte longe, and therto large.
But here and there, in ryme I have hyt layde
There as me thoght that she hath wel sayde.
She seyde, 'The saylles cometh nat ageyn,
Ne to the worde there nys no fey certeyn,
But I wote why ye come not,' quod she;
'For I was of ray love to yow so fre.
And of the goddys that ye han forswore,
That hire vengeaunce fal on yow therfore,
Ye be nat suffisaunt to bere the peyne.
To moche trusted I, wel may I seyne,
Upon youre lynage and youre faire tonge,
And on youre teres falsly oute wronge.
How couthe ye wepe so be crafted quod she;
'May ther suche teres feynede be?
Now certes yf ye wolde have in memorye,
Hyt oughte be to yow but lyttel glorye,,
To have a sely mayde thus betrayed!
To God,' quod she, 'prey I, and ofte have prayed,
That hyt be nowe the gretest prise of alle,
And moste honour that ever yow shal befalle.
And whanne thyn olde auncetres peynted be,
In which men may hire worthinesse se,
Thanne prey I God, thow peynted be also,
That folke may reden, forth by as they go:—
'Lo this is he, that with his flaterye Betrayed hath, and doon hire vilanye, That was his trewe love in thoghte and dede.'
'But sothely of oo poynt yet may they rede, That ye ben lyke youre fader, as in this; For he begiled Adriane, ywis, With suche an arte, and suche sobteltee, As thou thy selven haste begiled me. As in that poynt, althogh hit be nat feire, Thou folwest hym certeyn, and art his eyre. But syn thus synfully ye me begile, My body mote ye seen, within a while Kyghte in the havene of Athenes fietynge, Withouten sepulture and buryinge,
Though ye ben harder than is any stoon.'1
And whanne this letter was forthe sent anooo,
And knyw how brotel and how fals he was,
She for dispeyre fordidde hire selfe, allas!
Suche sorowe hath she for he beset,hire so!
Bewar ye wymmen of youre sotile fo!
Syns yet this day men may ensample se,
And as in love trusteth" no man but me.
EXPLICIT LEGENDA PHILLIS.
INCIPIT LEGENDA YPERMYSTRE.3
IN Grece whilom weren brethren twoo
Of which that oon was called Danoo,
That many a sone hath of hys body wonne,
As suche fals loveres ofte konne.
Amonge hys sones alle there was oon,
That aldermoste he loved of everychoon.
And whanne this childe was borne, this Danoo
Shope hym a name, and called hym Lyno.
That other brother called was Egiste,
That was in love as fals as ever hym lyste.
And many a doughtre gate he in hys lyf;
Of which he gate upon his ryghte wif
A doughter dere, and did hire for to calle,
Ypermystra, yongest of hem alle.
The whiche childe, of hire natyvite,
To alle goode thewes borne was she,
As lyked to the goddes or she was borne,
That of the shefe she shulde be the corne.
The wirdes that we clepen destanye,
Hath shapen hire, that she moste nedes bo
• This is a very faithful translation of the Epistle from Phyllis to Vemophoon. f - Ovid, Herold. xiv.
Pitouse, sad, wise, trewe as stele.
And to this woman hyt acordeth wele;
For though that Venus yaf hire grete beaute,
With Jubiter compouned so was she,
That conscience, trouthe, and drede of shame,,
And of hire wyfhode for to kepe hire name,
This thoghte hire was felicite as here.
And rede Mars, was that tyme of the yere
So feble, that his malice ys him rafte;
Repressed hath Venus hys cruelle crafte.
And what with Venus, and other oppressyoun
Of houses,1 Mars hys venyme ys adoun,
That Ypermystre dar not handel a knyf
In malyce, thogh she shulde lese hire lyf.
But natheles, as heven gan thoo turne,
To badde aspectes hath she of Saturne,"
That made hire to dye in prisoun.
And I shal after make mencioun,
Of Danoo and Egistis also.
And thogh so be that they were brethren twoo,
Fv~ thilke tyme nas spared no lynage,
Kyi lyketh hem to maken mariage
Betwi^ Ypermestra and hym Lyno.
And casten suche a day hyt shal be so,
And fulle acorded was hit witterly.
The aray ys wroghte, the tyme ys faste by,
And thus Lyno hath of his fadres brother >
The doughter wedded, and eche of hem hath other.
The torches brennen, and the lampes bryghte,
The sacrifices ben ful redy dyghte,
Thencence out of the fire reketh sote,
The floure, the lefe, ys rent up by the rote,
To maken garlandes and corounes hye;
Ful ys the place of sounde of mynstralcye,
For the meaning of this astrological term, see vol. Ill- p. 79. note 1. a Saturn describes the effect of bis influences in vol. i. p. iff8.
Of songes amourouse of mariage,
As thilke tyme was the pleyne usage1
And this was in the paleys of Egiste,
That in his house was lorde, as hym lyste.
And thus that day they driven to an ende;
The frendes taken leve, and home they wende;
The nyghte ys comen, the bride shal go to bed.
Egiste to hys chambre fast hym sped,
And privejy he let his doghter calle,
Whanne that the house voyded was of alle.
He loked on hys doghter with glad chere,
And to hire spak as ye shal after here.
'My ryghte doghter, tresoure of myn herte,
Syn firste day that shapen was my sherte,"
Or by the fatale sustren hadde my dome,
So nye myn herte never thinge me come
As thou, Ypermystra, doughter dere!
Take hede what thy fader seythe the here,
And werke after thy wiser ever moo.
For alderfirste, doghter, I love the soo,
That al the worlde to me nys halfe so lefe,
Ne nolde rede the to thy myschefe,
For al the good under the colde moone,
And what I meene, hyt shal be seyde ryghte soone,
With protestacioun, as seyne these wyse,
That but thou do as I shal the devyse,
Thou shalt be ded, by hym that al hath wroughte!
At shorte wordes thou ne schapest noughte
Out of my paleyse or that thou be dede,
But thou consente and werke after my rede;
Take this to the forcful conelusioun.'
This Ypermystra caste hire eyen doun,
And quok as dooth the leefe of aspe grene;
Ded wex hire hewe, and lyke as ashe to sene;
'The allusion is to the epithalamia of the Greeks.
2 For this expression see vol. i. p. 138, note 2.