OCTAVIAN: FOOTNOTES1 Of whom the word began to spread very widely
2 He (Clement) sent his own son to learn the trade
3 That no one will attempt such feats of mastery
4 Until he knew which of the two would be victorious
5 For it was at that time the law of messengers
6 But of necessity it happens that he must fight on foot
OCTAVIAN: NOTESBefore 1 The text is preceded by an incipit: Here bygynnes the Romance off Octovyane.
1 The line begins with a large rubricated M.
10 Romances conventionally cite "books of Rome" as their source (see Eglamour, Emaré) to suggest the story's authenticity. Here it is appropriate since Rome is the Emperor's capital city.
15 The reference to romance reading is in contrast to the oral presentation of the first stanza; both are conventional. See note to Isumbras, line 135.
21 No worthier undir wede. Literally, in clothes; an idiom meaning roughly, “no worthier person alive.”
32 Southern Octavian alone does not suggest barrenness; there the unmarried Emperor is urged by his barons to take a wife so that he may have an heir. He does and twin sons are born.
66 fay (doomed to die) is infrequent in Middle English, surviving longest in Scotland (see Octovian, ed. McSparran, p. 182).
76 The building of an abbey to win the intercession of the Virgin is found only in Northern Octavian. (It is unnecessary in Southern; see note to line 32 above.) The building of abbeys to earn spiritual rewards occurs in other romances and the endowment of ecclesiastical foundations was a common practice in the Middle Ages (e.g., see Sir Gawain and the Carl of Carlyle and Sir Gowther). Here it is a functional analogue of the pilgrimage undertaken by Tryamour's barren father.
The empress’ association with the Virgin Mary, initiated here, continues throughout the romance. She enlists Mary’s help once again less than two hundred lines later when she is sentenced to death by burning (lines 259–64), and it is through the “myghte of Mary mylde” that she is able to regain one of her sons from the lioness. According to Salter, this persistent association with the Virgin establishes the empress as both the “personification of loving, patient, and self-sacrificing motherhood,” and the antithesis of her inexplicably evil mother-in-law (“‘Born to Thraldom and Penance,’” p. 49).
95 The giving of gifts to bearers of good news was traditional; these rewards of three towns to each messenger were generous.
124 ff. The episode of the supposed lover is derived from the Crescentia story (see The Erle of Tolous).
172-84 ff. 172-84 In the Cambridge text the Empress remains asleep during this scene.
185 Churching was a purification ritual for women after the birth of a child (usually forty days). Only in Northern Octavian is the punishment of the empress so delayed.
217 Adultery with the wife of one's lord was classified as an act of treason, according to medieval English law.
223 The role of the Empress' father here is suggestive of the cruel father found in other romances of calumniated queens. There the father intends to punish his daughter; here his condemnation of her is unwitting, and later he laments her ordeal (line 241).
244-55 Only the first three triplets appear in the corresponding Cambridge stanza, where they follow an introductory triplet that does not appear in Thornton.
273 nere ne myghte. MS: nere myghte. McSparran's emendation.
281 Florins were issued in Florence and circulated widely from the mid-thirteenth century. Edward III introduced a florin to England in 1343. Broh says a florin was worth six shillings, eight pence (Sir Isumbras, p. 111). Extrapolating from his calculations, a florin would have been worth roughly two hundred dollars in modern money.
303 wafull. MS: illegible. McSparran's emendation.
349 The belief that a lion will not harm those of royal blood is traditional. E.g., it occurs in Bevis of Hampton and in Spenser’s Faerie Queene, Book 1. The motif of the child carried off by a lion is found in the later romance Torrent of Portengale. Lost children suckled by wild animals are not uncommon in European legend, the story of Romulus and Remus being perhaps the best- known example. The English romance Chevalere Assigne, a version of the swan-knight legend, features a nurturing hind. Such episodes in the lives of culture heroes harken back to more primitive explorations of concepts of nature and culture, animal and human.
353 In the Old French Octavian, the child is carried off by a dragon. This seems to be one of the first references to a griffin carrying off a child. Later it appears in Eglamour and Torrent.
407 See Sir Isumbras, ed. Broh, p. 111 (note to line 359).
411 This line has been moved from after line 405 where it appears in the manuscript, following McSparran's emendation.
476 Another faithful lioness appears in the ballad Sir Aldinger. The faithful lion in Yvain is better known, and like the lioness, fights beside its master, though its faithfulness is earned by an act of kindness.
511 In Southern Octavian her circumstances are humbler; she supports herself by needlework, as does the heroine in Emaré.
515 Apparently the Emperor did not follow his queen's request to christen the children before burning them (see lines 266 ff.), but rather, in his pity, just banished them all without a christening. Second christenings were strictly forbidden in the fourteenth century; thus the christening of the one child here and the other in line 629 should not be perceived as second christenings.
532 The line begins with a large rubricated N, marking the turn of the story to the career of the other twin, Florent.
575 A badge in the shape of a palm was often worn by those who had been on pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
606 Clement's wife is named Gladwyn in line 948. She is nameless in other versions, but in the French Octavian Clement's son is named Gladwains. Her gladness here thus befits her.
627 In the Thornton manuscript, this line follows line 625. In moving the line, I follow McSparran's emendation.
645 chawndelere. That is, chandler, i.e., candlemaker, but the Cambridge text has chaungere. In the French Octavian, Clement’s son is to become a money-changer, while Florent is sent to be a butcher. In Southern Octavian only, Clement himself is a butcher.
664–807 Only the first line of the stanza remains in the Thornton manuscript where a leaf is missing after folio 102, so 147 or possibly 159 lines have been lost (Octovian, ed. McSparran, p. 11). The missing passage is supplied from the Cambridge text. However, the Thornton text resumes in a stanza to which none in Cambridge or the French Octavian corresponds, relating the giant’s interview with the sultan. (Line 664 in the Thornton manuscript reads: The squyer therof was full gladd.)
675 In the Cambridge manuscript hym is repeated.
760 This line begins with a large letter A, marking the conclusion of the enfance of Florent and the beginning of the episode of the war with the Sultan.
793 Borogh Larayn corresponds to Bourg-la-reine in the Parisian arrondissement of Sceaux (Mills, note line 787, p. 203). The reference to this locale is unique to Northern Octavian.
807a Mills, following Cambridge Ff. 2.38, provides a transition from what is missing in Thornton that smooths over the gap:
The gyauntys name was Aragonour;808 The Thornton text resumes at this point. The Sultan has promised Marsabelle to the giant, should he win the battle, and the giant eagerly accepts the challenge single-handedly.
He lovyd that maydyn par amour,
That was so feyre and free;
And sche had levyr drawyn bene
Than yn hur chaumber hym to sene:
So fowle a wyght was he!
816 Mount Martyn. The Cambridge text reads throughout Mount Mertrous which corresponds to the French Octavian's topographically accurate reference to Montmartre.
863-86 These two stanzas are not present in the Cambridge manuscript, omitting the Giant's bargain of Dagobert's head for Marsabelle's hand.
866 Dagobert was king of the Franks in the early seventh century.
867 abrayde. Mills treats as two words, a brayde, and glosses the phrase as "a bout," rather than as an adverbial form of abraiden, "abroad," "out of the house," or "out in the open." A third possibility might be an adverbial form of abreiden, meaning “violently” (Six Middle English Romances, p. 204).
899 Here begins a series of stanzas of dialogue notable for their use of repetition and formal structure of statement and reply.
908 nolde. MS: wolde. McSparran's emendation; the context requires a negative.
911-34 These two stanzas are not present in Cambridge. Their omission would seem to be due to the composer's desire to shorten the narrative.
935 ff. This follows the French Octavian closely, preserving its mock-heroic tone (see Octovian, ed. McSparran, p. 194). The knight setting out in inferior, borrowed armor is conventional, especially in chivalric enfances (see Sir Perceval of Galles).
936 An actone was a padded jacket worn under the hauberk (coat of mail).
945 seven yere. MS: seven. Emendation by McSparran and Sarrazin following the Cambridge text.
962 The aventayle is the chain-mail neckpiece of a suit of armor. A bacenete is a type of helmet.
1007-15 Thornton's nine-line stanza lacks three lines present in the Cambridge MS and the Old French Octavian:
Jhesu that syttyth yn trynyté1058 ff. The ironic detail of Florent's presentation of the giant's head does not appear in the Old French Octavian or the southern English version. There the head is presented to the French king and publicly displayed.
Blesse the fadur that gate the
And the modur that the dud bere
1064 The word brighte is written at the end of the line and marked for insertion after als. The sense demands that it be read before als or that a second als be added after it.
1072 Florent is apparently still on horseback, having ridden into the hall.
1098 Clermont is a town north of Paris. The reference to this locale is unique to Northern Octavian.
1123 Marsabelle's seemingly negative attitude toward Florent is a little puzzling. In the French Octavian she is at first favorably disposed to the giant and only admits her feelings for Florent after much soul-searching. Here she seems to put up a front to hide her feelings from her father.
1125 He bote. MS: He. Emendation by McSparran and Sarrazin, following the Cambridge text.
1146 that I ne. MS: that ne. McSparran emends the line: Allas, þat ne with my lemane [I] wore.
1172 A large rubricated capital T at the beginning of this stanza marks the fourth division: the episode of the knighting of Florent.
1175-1231 These lines are omitted in the Cambridge text, diminishing Clement's role and the social comedy.
1192 The king and the emperor cut his meat to honor him. It was an honor to serve and carve for those of higher rank. Even great nobles coveted appoint-ment to such ritualized service.
1206 Clement's beating the minstrels is especially uncourtly, not to mention unmotivated. Romance heroes are more often characterized by their patronage of minstrels; this bourgeois "hero" seems more concerned with cutting costs.
1280 Only in Northern Octavian does the recognition of father and son come here. In the French and southern versions it comes at the end in the family reunion scene, as is usual in Eustace/Constance/Crescentia-type narratives. Northern Octavian's separation of the recognitions gives rise to inconsis-tencies in lines 1613 and 1625. Octavian's recognition of Florent as his son is best explained by the fact that in the French Octavian the father is penitent.
1295 The Emperor's lament for his lost wife is more consistent with his character in the French Octavian, where he has (somehow) realized her innocence and gone in search of her.
1316 The hero disguised in the enemy's camp, and his narrow escape, is a conventional episode in epic romances. See King Alexander and Gawain's bold foray into Lucius' camp in the Alliterative Morte Arthure.
1332 Florent here uses the singular pronoun the rather than the royal ye in addressing the Sultan, indicating his inferiority. See also line 1599.
1373 Cambridge reverses the order of lines 1370-73 and lines 1373-75, giving a superior reading. There the Sultan's men first recognize Florent, then seize their weapons and attack him.
1387 This gruesome head/football simile may be conventional; see Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, where members of Arthur's court fend off the Green Knight's rolling head with their feet.
1420 herte. MS: herde. McSparran's emendation. See line 1507 for another occur-rence of this formula.
1436-71 The weak verse here and the vagueness of the events may be due to a departure from the French Octavian. Only the northern version develops this encounter into a major battle. The treatment serves to demonstrate Florent's prowess, but permits the other Christians to seem ineffective by contrast.
1448 I have emended the manuscript reading in to and. Syte (distress, grief) is a rare Northern form. The formula used here, sorow and syte, occurs in Old Norse (see Octovian, ed. McSparran, p. 197).
1506 haulsynge. Literally, "necking."
1532 The father of Josian, Saracen princess of Bevis of Hampton, also has a magic horse. In spite of Marsabelle's suggestion, the steed is not particularly instrumental in the defeat of the Sultan.
1564-65 These lines are inverted in the Cambridge manuscript.
1580 This description of Clement’s superior horsemanship repeats a simile used in line 1017 to describe Florent: “Sprong als sparke dose of glede.” As Wright notes, “This new skill is grossly inconsistent with Clement’s usual role as a rebuttal to chivalry, and illustrates the infirmity of the fabliau-romance partition” in Northern Octavian because Clement’s successful manipulation of the sultan depends on actual prowess and not “the pure workings of guile” (“Fabliau Ethos,” p. 493). Both the Old French and southern versions of Octavian exemplify a more traditional fabliau ethos in which Clement is the honored champion.
1612-13 As in lines 1624-26, Florent's parentage seems to be unknown here, an inconsistency created by the northern composer's rearrangement of the recognition scenes. See note to line 1280.
1621-1770 These lines are mutilated in the Thornton manuscript where half of folio 108 is missing. The first parts of lines 1621-52 and almost all of lines 1651-62 remain on folio 108 recto, column A, but column B, and column A on the verso are missing. The ends of lines 1740-73 are present on 108 verso in column B. In the text, the missing and mutilated passages have been supplied from the Cambridge manuscript. These lines agree substantially with what remains in the Thornton manuscript.
1627 A large capital A begins the line, marking the final battle and the reunion episode where the other twin, Octavian, again appears.
1714 brenyes. MS: bremus. McSparran's emendation.
1774-79 Cambridge reverses the order of these two three line units and gives the better reading since Octavian's defense of the mother is continuous, followed by his father's reaction.
1785 The Cambridge manuscript includes three lines not present in the Thornton text:
Than spekyth the lady of honowreThese seem to be original, since they provide an important transition and the Thornton stanza is short.
To hur lorde the emperour
Wordys of grete pyte.
1823 Death by burning was the usual punishment for women convicted of treason. McSparran cites the statutes of Edward III (Octavian, p. 199).
1824 [B]elle, meaning cauldron, is a local Yorkshire term; it always appears with reference to burning (see Octovian, ed. McSparran, p. 199).
1828–33 Wright suggests that this disturbing use of laughter in a romance that otherwise fails to preserve most of the fabliau humor found in both the Old French and Southern versions of Octavian “can only be interepreted as a signifier of social and moral opprobirum” (“Fabliau Ethos,” p. 492).
1844 The Cambridge text here concludes briefly:
Jhesu lorde, hevyn kynge
Graunt us all thy blessyng
And yn hevyn to abyde.
by: Harriet Hudson (Editor)
from: Four Middle English Romances: Sir Isumbras, Octavian, Sir Eglamour or Artois, Sir Tryamour 2006
Mekyll and littill, olde and yynge,
Herkyns all to my talkynge
Of whaym I will yow kythe.
Jhesu fadir of heven kynge,
Gyff us all thy dere blyssynge
And make us glade and blythe.
For full sothe sawis I will yow synge,
Off whaym the worde full wyde gan sprynge, 1
And ye will a stownde me lythe.
In the bukes of Rome als it es tolde
How byfelle amange oure eldyrs olde,
Full ofte and fele sythe.
Somtym byffell ane aventure,
In Rome ther was ane Emperoure,
Als men in romance rede.
He was a man of grete favoure
And levede in joye and grete honoure
And doghety was of dede.
In tornament nor in no fyghte
In the werlde ther ne was a better knyghte,
No worthier undir wede.
Octovyane was his name thrughowte;
Everylke man hade of hym dowte
When he was armede one stede.
Ane Emprice he hade to wyffe,
One of fayreste that was one lyffe,
Thus thies clerkes sayne us so;
Seven yeres had thay samen bene
With joy and gamen tham bytwene,
And other myrthis moo;
The seven yere were comen and gone,
Bot child togedir had thay none
Getyn bytwene tham two,
That after tham thair land moghte welde,
When that thay drewe till elde:
And forthi tham in hert tham was full woo.
And als the Emperoure satt appon a daye,
In his chambir hym to playe
With his lady bryghte,
He byhelde hir faire lyre,
Was whyte so blossome on the brere,
That semly was of syghte.
A sorow than to his herte ther ranne
Forthi that thay childir hade nanne
Thaire landis to rewle one ryghte.
And by his lady so als he satte,
For sorowe his chekes wexe all wate,
That was so hende a knyghte.
Bot when the lady that gan aspye,
All chaunged than hir bryghte blyee
And scho syghede full sore.
Scho felle hir lorde one knees agayne,
And of his sorow scho gan hym frayne,
And of hs mekyll care.
"Sir," scho sais, "if it were your will
Youre concelle for to schewe me till
And of your lyffes fare,
Ye wote I ame youre werldes fere,
Opyn your herte unto me here,
Youre comforthe may be the mare."
Than in his armes he gan hir folde
And all his sorow he to hir tolde
And all his hertis wonde.
"Now hafe we seven yere sammen bene
And hafe no chylde us bytwene,
For fay we sall hythen fownde,
And I ne wote how this land sall fare
Bot lyfe in werre and in kare
When we are broghte to grownde.
Therefore I hafe so mekyll thoghte
That when I am to bedde broghte
I slepe bot littill stownde."
And than answerde that lady bryghte,
"Sir I kan rede yow full ryghte,
Gyffe yow nothynge ill.
A ryche abbaye schall ye do make
For oure swete lady sake,
And landis gyffe theretill,
And scho will pray hir Son so fayre
That we may samen gete an ayere,
This land to welde with skyll."
An abbaye than he gerte wyrke so
And sone he gatt knave childire two,
Als it was Goddis will.
With childe thane yode that lady thore;
Full grete scho wexe with paynnes sore,
That was so faire and free.
Till the tym felle that it was soo,
The lady hade knave childir two
That semly weren to see.
Tythande come to the Emperoure
There he laye in his ryche towre;
A full glade man was hee.
Two maydynes hym the bodworde broghte -
Withowttyn gyftes yede thay noghte:
Aythire hadde townnes three.
The Emperoure rosse with mylde mode
And till his chambir he hym yode
And thankes God His sande.
Erly are the daye gan sprynge,
He did a pryste his messe to synge;
His modir thore he fande.
"Sone," scho said, "I am full blythe
That the Empryse sall haf hyre lyfe
And lyffe with us in lande,
Bot mekyll sorowe dose it me
That Rome sall wrange ayerde bee
And in uncouthe hande."
"Modir," he sayse, "why saye ye soo?
Haffe I noghte knave-childir two?
I thanke it Goddes will."
"Nay certis" scho said, "sone myn,
Wete thou wele thay are noghte thyn,
And that lykes me full ill.
For thou myghte no childir have,
Scho hase takyn thy kokes knave;
I will it prove thurgh skyll."
A sorowe there to his herte gan goo
That wordis moghte he speke no moo
But yod awaye full still.
Till his chapelle forthe he yode;
Full sory at his messe he stode
Als man that was in kare.
His modir iwhils garte calle a knave
And highte hym grete gyftis to hafe,
A thowsande pownde or mare.
To the chambir bothe thay tuk the waye
There the Empryce in childbed laye;
All slepede that were there,
For scho had wakyd ryghte longe
In paynes and in thoghte full strange
Or scho delyvered ware.
Than said that lady to that knave,
"Hye the faste, the golde to hafe;
Thou schall be rewarde this nyghte.
Haste the tyte with all thi myghte,
Prevely that thou were dyghte
And that thou were unclede.
Softely by hir thou in crepe
That scho ne wakyn of hir slepe,
For full seke es scho bystadde."
Whatte for lufe and whatt for drede,
Into the ladyes beedd he yede;
He dyd als scho hym badd.
Bot ever he droghe hym ferre awaye
For the rechese that scho in laye,
Full sore than was he drade.
The Emperours modir away yode than
And till hir son full tite scho wan
There he att his messe stode.
"Son," scho saide, "thou trowed noghte me;
Come forthe, thou sall the sothe now see."
With hir to chambir he yode.
Bot when the Emperoure sawe that syghte,
For sorowe no worde speke he ne myghte,
For he wexe nerhande wode.
A scharpe baselarde owte he droghe;
That giltles knave there he sloghe -
Alle was byblede with blode.
Ay lay that lady faste and slepee
A dolefull swevenynge gan scho mete;
Scho was a wofull wyghte.
Hir thoghte scho was in wyldyrnes,
In thornes and in thyknes,
That scho myghte hafe no syghte.
And ther come flyande over the strande
A dragon all full bryghte birnande,
That all schone of that lyghte.
In his palmes alle byrnand so
Up he tuke hir childir two
And away he tuke his flyghte.
Therewith the lady bygan to wake,
A dolefull gronyng gan scho make
And scho syghede full sare.
The Emperour to the knave wente;
The hede up by the hare he hente
And caste it till hir thare.
The lady blyschede up in the bedde;
Scho saw the clothes all byblede -
Full mekyll was hir care.
Scho bygan to skryke and crye
And sythen in swonynge for to ly;
Hirselfe scho wolde forfare.
Wordis of this were spoken no mo
To that lady to the kirke solde go,
Als the lawe was in that lede.
The Emperoure made a full riche feste
Of kynges and dukes that were honeste,
Of many and dyverse stede.
The kynge of Calabre, allas,
That the lady fadir was,
Thedir than gan he bede.
Alle were thay sampnede appon a daye
With grete solace and mekill playe;
To the kyrke that lady yede.
And there duellyn the kynges samen
With joy and myrthe and mekill gamen
At that mawngery,
With gud myrthis tham emange,
Harpes, fethils and full faire songe,
Cytoles and sawtrye,
Till the sevenyghte was gone,
With alkyn welthis in that wone
Of myrthis and mynstralsye.
Was never so riche a gedirynge
That hadd so sary a partynge,
I sall yow tell for why.
Grete dole forsothe it es to telle,
Oppon the haghten daye byfell;
Herkyns and ye may here.
The Emperoure to the chambir yode,
All the lordes abowte hym stode
With full mery chere.
The Emperoure said, "I undirstande
Swylke an awnter fell in this lande
By a lady to yere
That was overtaken with swylk a treson.
I aske juggement of this with reson
Of hir whate worthy were."
When the Emperoure his tale hade tolde,
The kyng of Calabire answere wolde,
He ne wyste whate it bement.
He said: "It es worthi for hir sake,
Withowtten the ceté a fyre to make
With rightwyse juggement,
And when the fyre es byrnand faste,
Hir and hir childir in it to caste,
Till thay to the dede be bryntte."
The Emperoure answeres to hym sone,
"Thyn awen dogheter hase it done,
I holde to thyn assent."
There was dole and grete peté;
A fyre thay made withowtten the ceté,
With brondes byrnande bryghte.
To the fyre thay ledde that lady thare;
Two sqwyers hir childir bare,
That semly weren of syghte.
In a kirtyll of sckarlett rede
Into the fyre to take hir dede
All redy was scho dyghte.
The kynge of Calabire made evyll chere,
He ne myghte for sorowe stande hir nere.
Bothe wepede kynge and knyghte.
The lady than, the sothe to telle,
Byfore hir lorde one knees scho felle
And bothe hir handes uphelde.
Scho sayde, "My lorde, for Jhesu sake,
Graunt me ane orysoune to make
Till Hym that alle sall wellde,
And then of me ye do youre wyll,
The dede that I am ordeynede till
Therto I will me yelde."
The Emperoure graunted hir righte so,
Ilke a man than was full woo
That were that day in the felde.
Than the lady hir one knes there sette,
Till Jhesu Cryste full sore scho grette;
No wondir thoghe hir ware wo.
"Now Lorde," scho sayd, "of hevens blysse,
This day thou me rede and wysse,
And heven qwene also.
Mary, mayden and modir free,
My prayere make I to the
For my childir two:
Als thou lete tham be borne of me
Helpe that thay crystoned may be,
Or that thay to the dede goo."
Than lordis that abowte hyr ware
And laydes felle in swonyng thore,
And knyghttes stode wepande.
The Emperoure stode by hyr full nere;
The teris trykylde one his lyre
That wele nere ne myghte he stande.
Than spake he wordis of gret peté
And sayde, "Thi dede will I noghte see,
With herte nor yitt with hande."
The Emperoure gafe hire leve to goo
And take with hir hir childir two,
And flemed hir of his lande.
The Emperoure gafe hir fowrty pownde
Of florence, that were riche and rownde,
In romance als we rede.
And he bytaghte hir knyghtes two
And bad that thay solde with hir goo
Owt of his lande to lede.
Two sqwyers hir childir bare
In stede ther thay were never are,
And intill uncouthe thede.
When scho was flemyd that was so gent,
Ilke a lorde to hys lande es went,
For sorow thaire hertes gan blede.
When this lady was in a wyldirnes
That full thyke of wylde bestes bysett was,
And all wylsom it semed to syghte.
Thay hir bytaghte hir childir two,
Gafe hir hir golde and bad hir go;
A stye ther laye full ryghte.
They bade hir holde the hye strete,
For drede with whilde bestes to mete,
That mekill weren of myghte;
And agayne thay went with sory mode,
And allone that lady, forthe scho yode,
Als a full wafull wyghte.
Scho hade so wepede ther byforne
That scho the ryghte way hase sone forlorne,
So mekill was hir thoghte.
And into a wode, was ferly thykke,
There dales weren depe and cleves wykke;
The ryghte waye fonde scho noghte.
In a greve undir ane hill
Scho found a welle full faire and schille,
And ane herbere therby was wroghte.
With faire trees it was bysette,
The lady sett hir down and grette,
For ferrere scho ne moghte.
Bot by the welle scho sett hir down;
Scho gret and cryede with sory sown,
For scho was lefte allone.
"Now Lorde," scho said, "if it be Thi will,
In this wode late me nott spylle
For full will I am of wone.
Mary mayden, qwene of heven,
I pray the herkyn to my steven
And mend my carefull mone.
So full I am of pyn and wo
That thre dayes es gon and mo,
That mete ne ete I none."
And by that scho had hir childir dyghte,
By that than wexe it even myrk nyghte
Als scho satt by the welle.
So in that herbere down scho laye
Till it was lyghte on the tother day,
That fowlles herde scho than synge and yelle.
Thare come an ape to seke hir pray;
Hir one childe scho bare awaye
Up heghe appon ane hyll.
What wondir was yif hir were wo
When hir child was fro hir so?
In swonynge doun scho felle.
And in all the sorow that scho in was,
Ryghte so com rynnande a lyones
Of wode als scho wolde wede.
In swonynnge als the lady laye,
Hyr other childe scho bare awaye,
Hir whelpes with to feede.
Whate wonndir was thofe hyr were wo,
Awaye were borne hir childir two;
In swoghe scho lay for drede.
Bot for it was a kynge sone iwysse,
The lyones moghte do it no mys,
Bot forthe therwith scho yede.
There come a fewle full faire of flyghte,
A gryffone, sayse the buke, he hyghte,
Over those holtes so hare.
The fewle than was so mekill of myghte,
That esyly myghte he bere a knyghte
Alle armed thofe he ware.
The lyones with the childe tuke he,
And intill ane ile of the see
The gryffone bothe tham bare.
The child slepid in the lyones mouthe,
Of wele ne wo it ne kouthe,
Bot God kepid it fro kare.
And whane the lyones gatt fote on lande,
Full styfly than gan scho up stande,
Als beste bothe stronge and whilde.
The gryffone thurgh Goddis grace scho sloghe,
And of that fewle scho ete ynoghe
And layde hir by that childe.
The childe sowkyde the lyones,
Als it Goddis will was,
When it the pappes felide.
The lyones gan it wake
And lufe it for hir whelpes sake
And was therwith full mylde.
With hir feet scho made a dene,
That lyttill childe in broghte scho then
And kepede hym day and nyghte.
And ay, when hir hungirde sore,
Scho yode and ete of the gryffone more,
That are was mekill of myghte.
And thus, als it was Goddis will,
The lyones byleves thore styll
With that barne so bryghte.
The lady that was leved allone,
To Jhesu Criste scho made hir mone
Als a full wofull wyghte.
Scho sais, "Jhesu, kyng of alle,
With carefulle herte to the I calle,
That thou be my socoure.
Als I was kyngis dogheter and qwene
And Emprice of Rome hase bene
And many a riche towre.
And thorowe the lessynges es one me wroghte
Till mekill sorow thus am I broghte,
And owte of myn honoure.
This werldes blysse hafe I forlorne,
And my two childir er fro me borne;
This lyfe may I noghte dowre!
"This sorowe, Lorde, that I am in,
Full wele I wote, es for my syn;
Welcome be alle Thi sande.
To the werlde will I me never gyffe,
Bot serve The, Lorde, whills I may lyfe,
Into the Holy Londe."
And over an hille the waye scho name
And to the Grekkes se scho came
And welke appon the strande.
And byfore hir an haven scho seghe
And a ceté with towris full heghe;
A redy waye ther scho fand.
Whan the lady com than to that town,
A schipe scho fond all redy bowne
With pylgremes for to fare.
Scho badd the schipmen golde and fee
In that schipp that scho moghte be,
If that thaire willes it were.
A bote thay sente appone the flode
To the lady right ther scho stode,
A wyghte man in hir bare.
And by the maste thay badde hir sytt,
There myghte no man hir sorowe wete
And ay scho wepede sare.
The schippe come sayland by an ile syde,
The mayster badd that thay sold byde,
"For fresche water hafe we nane."
Bysyde tham was a roche on hye,
A welle streme thare thay see
Come rynnande over a stone.
Two men to the lande thay sent,
Heghe upe ovir that roche thay went;
The welle thay found anone.
The lyones laye in hir dene
And was full blythe of tho two men,
And full son scho hade tham slayne.
So lange one ankir gan thay ryde,
Thies two men for to habyde,
Till none was of the daye.
Than gan twelve men tham dyghte
With helme and with hawberke bryghte,
And till the lande wente thay.
The lyones fonde thay in hir dene,
A knave childe laye sowkand hir then
And gan with the lyones to playe.
Umwhile the childe sowkede hir pappe,
Umwhile gan thay kysse and clappe;
For drede thay fledde awaye.
Thay tolde the wondir that thay seghe,
And that thay fonde on the roche on heghe
A lyones in hir den.
A knave childe ther in laye,
Therewith the lyones gan hir playe,
And dede were bothe thaire men.
Than spake that lady so mylde,
"Mercy, syrris, that es my childe -
One land ye late me rynn."
A bote thay sett appon the flode,
The lady unto the lande ther yode,
Full sore wepide thay then.
When scho com on that roche on heghe,
Scho ran ywhils that scho myght dreghe
With full sory mode.
The lyones thurgh Goddis grace,
When scho sawe the lady face,
Full debonorly up sche stode.
Thurgh the myghte of Mary mylde
Scho sufferd that lady to tak hir childe
And scho forthe with hir yode;
Bot when the schippmen the lyones seghe,
The land durste thay noghte com neghe;
For drede thay were nere wode.
Sum hent an ore and som a sprete,
The wylde lyones for to mete,
And thaire chippe for to werre.
The lady intill thair chippe thay hente;
Thritty fote after the lyones sprent -
Durste no man in hir bere.
There was than bot lyttill glee,
For many lepped into the see,
So ferde of hir thay were;
Bot by the lady downe scho laye
And with the childe bygan to playe
And to no man wolde scho dere.
They droghe up saile of riche hewe,
The wynd tham owte of haven blewe
Over that wan streme.
The fyrste lande than that thay seghe,
Was a ceté with towres full heghe
That hyghte Jerusalem.
Als blythe were thay than of that syghte
Als es the fowlles, when it es lighte,
Of the dayes gleme.
When it was ebbe and no flode,
The lady to the lande than yode,
Into that riche rewme.
Over all the ceté wyde and longe
Of that lady the worde than spronge,
That thore one lande was lente,
And how scho hade a lyones
Broghte owte of wyldirnes.
The kyng after hir sente;
He bad scho solde lett for no thynge
And the lyones with hir brynge.
To the castelle es scho went.
When scho byfore the kynge ther come,
He kende hir for the Emprice of Rome
And by the hande he hir hente.
The kyng than frayned of hir fare;
Scho tolde hym of hir mekill care
And of hir grete unryghte.
He garte hir duelle with the qwene stille,
Scho hadd maydyns redy to will
To serve hir bothe daye and nyghte.
The childe that was so faire and fre,
The kyng did it crystened for to be.
Octovyane it highte.
When the childe was of elde
That he couthe ryde and armes welde,
The kyng dubbede hym to knyghte.
The lyones that was so wilde,
Belefte with the lady and the childe;
Hir comforthe was the more.
The lady byleved with the qwene
With joye and blysse tham bytwene,
To covyre hir of hir care.
Ilke man hir plesyde day and nyghte
To make hir glade with alle thair myghte,
Unto hir better were.
In Jerusalem thus gan scho duelle;
Of hir other childe now will I telle,
That the ape away bare.
Now comes the ape that was wilde
Thurgh the forest with the childe
Over the holttis so hare.
Als the ape come over a strete,
With a knyghte so gan scho mete,
Als scho the childe bare.
Thore faghte the knyght wondirly longe
Agayne the ape styffe and stronge,
His swerde so brake he there.
The ape leved the childe and away ran,
The knyght the child son up wan
And with it forthe gan fare.
Forthe with the child the knyght went than,
In the wode mett he owtlawes tene,
That mekill weryn of myghte.
Yitt was never the knyghte so wo,
For his swerde was brokyn in two,
That he myghte nothyng fyghte.
If all the knyghte were kene and thro,
Those owtlawes wan the child hym fro,
That was so swete a wyghte.
The knyghte was wondid, forsothe to saye,
Unnethes his horse bare hym awaye,
So dulefully was he dyghte.
Those outlawes sett tham on a grene,
The child thay laide tham bytwene,
And it faste on tham loghe.
The mayster owtlawe spake then,
"Grete schame it were for hardy men,
If thay a childe sloghe.
I rede we bere it here besyde
To the se with mekill pride,
And do we it no woghe;
It es comyn of gentill blode;
We sall hym selle for mekill gude,
For golde and sylver enoghe."
Two owtlawes than made tham yare,
To the Grekkes se thay it bare;
Thay couthe the way full ryghte.
It was no man that it seghe
That thay ne wepid with thaire eghe
So faire it was of syghte.
A burgesse of Pareche com than nere
Had bene a palmere seven yere;
Clement the Velayne he hyghte.
"Sirris," he said, "will ye this child selle,
The golde will I for hym telle,
Florence bothe brode and bryghte."
For fourty pound hym selle thay wolde.
He said, "Full lange may ye hym halde,
Are ye hym so selle may.
Gode men," he said, "be my hode,
I trowe ye kan ful littill gude,
Swilke wordis for to saye!
Golde and silver es me bot nede,
Bot twentty pownd I will yow bede
And mak yow redy paye."
The childe thay unto Clement yolde,
And twentty pownde he tham tolde
And went forthe one his waye.
Clement hase the childe boghte,
A payneyere did he to be wroghte,
The childe in forthe to lede.
A noresche gatt he hym also,
Into Fraunce with hym to go,
That yong childe for to fede.
Home he tuke the way ful ryghte
And hastede hym with all his myghte,
And unto Paresche he yede.
The burgesche of Paresche wer ful fayne,
Full many went Clement agayne;
A slavyne was his wede.
Thay haylsest Clement and kyssed hym alle
And broghte hym till his awen haulle.
His wyfe was glade and blythe.
Scho hym fraynede the ryght dome
How he to the childe come;
He tolde hir also swythe:
"In the Holy Lond I hym gatt,
And thore I wold hym noghte lett,
The sothe I will the kythe."
His wyfe ansuerde with herte mylde,
"He sall be myn awen childe."
Scho kyste hym ful ofte sythe.
Clement saide to his wyfe tho,
"Sen the childe es getyn so
In the hethen thede,
And now es it to this land broghte,
I pray the, dame, that thou greve the noghte,
And riche sall be thi mede."
"Sir," scho said with wordis free,
"Full welecom es it unto me.
Full faire sall I hym fede
And yeme hym with oure awen child,
To that he come of helde,
And clothe tham in one wede."
Clement was therof full blythe,
He garte crysten the child ful swythe;
It was not duellid that nyghte.
And als it es in romance tolde,
The right name that thay it callde,
Florent the child hyghte.
And when the child was seven yere olde
He was bothe wysse, faire, and bolde,
The man that redis righte.
Alle the rewme wyde and longe
Worde of the childe spronge,
So was he faire to syghte.
Ever the burgesse and his wyfe
Loffed the childe als thaire lyfe,
With tham he was full dere.
When he was tuelve yere olde and more,
He sett his owun son to the lore 2
To be a chawndelere.
And Florent bytaughte he oxen two
And bad hym over the bryge go
Unto a bouchere,
To lere his crafte for to do.
Als hym was never of kynd therto,
To use swylke mystere.
Als Florent over the brygge gan go,
Dryvand on his oxen two,
A semely syghte sawe he:
A sqwyere bare, als I yow telle,
A gentill fawcon for to selle,
That semly was to see.
Florent to the sqwyere yede
And bothe his oxen he gan hym bede
For that fowle so fre.
The sqwyere therof was full glade,
He tuke the oxen als he hym bade,
Florent was blythe in ble.
The squyer therof was full gladd
When he tho oxen taken had
And hyed owt of syght.
And Florent to fle was full fayne -
He wende he wolde have had hys hawk agayne
And ranne wyth all hys myght.
Home he toke the ryght way
To Clements hows as hyt lay,
And yn he wente full ryght.
He fedde the hawke whyll he wolde,
And sythen he can hys fedurs folde
As the squyer had hym teyght.
Clement came yn full sone;
"Thefe, where haste thou my oxen done,
That Y the begyfte?"
Grete dele myght men see thore;
Clement bete the chylde sore,
That was so swete a wyght.
"Wyth odur mete shalt thou not leve
But that thys glede wyll the yeve,
Neythur day ne nyght."
As sore beton as the chylde stode,
Yyt he to the fawcon yode,
Hys fedurs for to ryght.
The chylde thoght wondur thore
That Clement bete hym so sore,
And mekely he can pray.
"Syr," he seyde, "for Crystys ore,
Leve and bete me no more,
But ye wyste well why.
Wolde ye stonde now and beholde
How feyre he can hys fedurs folde,
And how lovely they lye,
Ye wolde pray God wyth all your mode
That ye had solde halfe your gode,
Soche anodur to bye."
The burgeys wyfe besyde stode,
Sore sche rewyd yn hur mode
And seyde, "Syr, thyn ore.
For Mary love, that maydyn mylde,
Have mercy on owre feyre chylde
And bete hym no more.
Let hym be at home and serve us two,
And let owre odur sonys go
Eche day to lore.
Soche grace may God for the chylde have wroght,
To a bettur man he may be broght
Than he a bocher were!"
Aftur all thys tyme befelle
Clement forty pownde can telle
Into a pawtenere.
Clement toke hyt chylde Florent
And to the brygge he hym sente,
Hys brothur hyt to bere.
As the chylde thorow the cyté of Parys yede,
He sye where stode a feyre stede,
Was stronge yn eche werre.
The stede was whyte as any mylke,
The brydyll reynys were of sylke,
The molettys, gylte they were.
Florent to the stede can gone;
So feyre an hors sye he never none
Made of flesche and felle.
Of wordys the chylde was wondur bolde
And askyd whedur he schoulde be solde,
The penyes he wolde hym telle.
The man hym lovyd for thirty pownde,
Eche peny hole and sownde,
No lesse he wolde hym selle.
Florent seyde, "To lytull hyt were,
But never the less thou schalt have more."
Forty pownde he can hym telle.
The merchaund therof was full blythe
For to take the money swythe,
And hastyd hym away.
Chylde Florent lepe up to ryde,
To Clementys hows wyth grete pryde
He toke the ryght way.
The chylde soght noon odur stalle,
But sett hys stede yn the halle
And gave hym corne and haye.
And sethyn he can hym kembe and dyght
That every heer lay aryght
And nevyr oon wronge lay.
Clement comyth yn full sone:
"Thefe," he seyde, "what haste thou done?
What haste thou hedur broght?"
"Mercy, fadur, for Goddys peté
Wyth the money that ye toke me,
Thys horse have y boght."
The burges wyfe felle on kne thore,
"Syr, mercy," sche seyde, "for Crystys ore,
Owre feyre chylde bete ye noght.
Ye may see, and ye undurstode,
That he had never kynde of thy blode
That he these werkys hath wroght."
Aftur thys hyt was not longe,
In Fraunce felle a werre stronge,
An hundred thousande were there ylente.
Wyth schyldys brode and helmys bryght,
Men that redy were to fyght,
Thorowowt the londe they went.
They broke castels stronge and bolde,
Ther myght no hye wallys them holde,
Ryche townys they brente.
All the kyngys, ferre and nere,
Of odur londys that Crysten were,
Aftur were they sente.
Octavyon, the Emperour of Rome,
To Parys sone he come
Wyth many a mody knyght.
And othur kynges kene wyth crowne,
All they were to batell bowne
Wyth helmys and hawberkys bryght.
In Parys a monyth the oost lay,
For they had takyn a day
Wyth the Sowdon moche of myght.
The Sowdon wyth hym a gyaunt broght;
The realme of Fraunce durste noght
Agenste hym to fyght.
The Sowdon had a doghtur bryght,
Marsabelle that maydyn hyght,
Sche was bothe feyre and fre;
The feyrest thynge alyve that was
In crystendome or hethynnes,
And semelyest of syght.
To the kynge of Fraunce the maydyn sende
To lye at Mountmertrous there nerehonde,
From Parys mylys thre.
At Mountmertrous besyde Borogh Larayn,
That stondyth over the banke of Sayne,
For aventours wolde sche see.
The kyng of Fraunce the maydyn hyght,
As he was trewe kyng and knyght,
And swere hur be hys fay
That she must savely come therto;
Ther schulde no man hur mysdo
Neythur be nyght ne day.
The mayde therof was full blythe;
To the castell sche went swythe
And seven nyghtes there sche lay.
For sche thoght joye and pryde
To see the Crystyn knyghtes ryde,
On fylde them for to play.
. . . . .
"Merveylle therof thynkes mee,
If thou and alle thi men will blyn,
I will undirtake to wynn
Paresche, that stronge ceté;
Bot Mersabele than weedde I will."
Sayd the Sowdanne, "I halde thertill
With thi, that it so bee."
Arageous, appon that same daye
To the Mount Martyn ther the lady laye,
The waye he tuke full ryghte.
And hir hade lever dede to hafe bene
Than hym in hir chambir to hafe sene,
So fulle he was of syghte.
He sayse, "Leman, kysse me belyve,
Thy lorde me hase the graunte to wyefe,
And Paresche I hafe hym hyghte.
And I hete the witterly
The kynges hevede of Fraunce, certanely,
Tomorowe or it be nyghte."
The mayden sayse with mylde mode
To the geaunte, ther he stode,
And gaffe hym this answere:
"The kynges hevede if thou me brynge,
Than sall thou hafe thyne askynge,
For full lefe to me it were."
Thane armede the geaunt hym ful wele
Bothe in iryn and in stele,
With helme and schelde and spere.
It was twenty fote and twoo
Bytwyxe his crown and his too,
There myghte none horse hym bere.
The geaunte tuke the ryghte waye
Unto Paresche that ilke daye,
With hym wente no moo.
He lenede hym over the towne walle,
And thus he spake the folke withalle
Wordis kene and throo.
He badde thay solde send owte a knyghte
That myghte hym fynde his fill of fyghte,
Ore he that londe wolde overgoo.
Therin solde he nother leve one lyffe,
Beste ne man, childe ne wyffe,
That he ne sold tham bryne and sloo.
Than all the folke of that ceté
Rane the geaunte for to see,
At the bretage thare he stode.
Bot als ferre als thay myghte hym se or ken,
Faste awaywarde gan thay ryn;
For ferde thay were nere wode.
There wente owte armede knyghtes fyve
And sayd thay wolde aventure thair lyfe;
The geaunt thoghte it gode.
Full hastyly he hase tham slayne.
Skapede never one qwykke agayne,
That owte unto hym yode.
When he had slayne the knyghtes fyve,
Agayne to the walles gan he dryve
And over the bretage gan lye.
"Kynge Dagaberde of Fraunce," he sayde,
"Come thiselfe and fyghte abrayde
For thi curtasye!
For I will with none other fyghte:
Thi hevede I hafe my leman highte;
Scho salle me kysse with thi.
And if thou ne will noghte do so,
Alle this ceté I will overgo;
Als dogges than sall thay dy!"
Grette dole it was than for to see
The sorowe that was in that ceté,
Bothe with olde and yonge.
For ther was nother kynge ne knyghte
That with that geaunt than durste fyghte,
He was so foulle a thynge.
And ay iwhills Arageous with his staffe
Many a grete bofete he gaffe
And the walles downe gan he dynge.
And than gane alle the pepille crye
Unto God and to mylde Marye
With sorowe and grete wepynge.
Florent than askede his fadir Clement
Whate alle that spetous noyes than ment,
And whedir the folke so faste ren.
Clement saide: "My dere sone,
A geaunte to the walles es wonne,
Hase slayne fyve of oure men.
Oure kynges hede hase he highte
The Sowdan dogheter that es so bryghte,
For scho solde kysse hym then.
There es no man dare with hym fyghte;
Forthi my dere sone, hase he tyghte
This ceté to breke and brynne."
"Now fadir," he sayde, "I hafe a stede,
Wanttes me no thynge bot wede -
Nowe helpes that I were dyghte.
A, lorde, why ever thus many men hym drede?
Me thynke I myghte do alle his nede
And I were armed ryghte."
Sayse Clement, "And thou therof speke,
I trow I sall thyn hede breke,
For had thou of hym a syghte,
For all this ceté nolde thou habyde,
Bot faste awaywarde wold thou ryde,
He es so fowle a wyghte!"
"A, fadir," he said, "takes to none ille,
For with the geaunt fighte I wille,
To luke, if I dare byde.
And bot I titter armede be,
I sall noghte lett, so mote I the,
That I ne salle to hym ryde."
Clement saide, "Sen thou willt fare,
I hafe armoures swylke as thay are;
I sall tham lene the this tyde,
Bot this seven yere sawe thay no sonne."
"Fadir," he sayd, "alle es wonne!
Ne gyffe I noghte a chide."
"Bot Fadir," he sayde, "I yow praye,
That we ne make no more delaye
Bot tyte that I ware dyghte;
For I wolde noghte for this ceté
That another man before me
Undirtuke that fyghte."
"Nay, nay," saise Clement, "I undirtake
That ther will none swylke maystres make, 3
Nother kynge ne knyghte.
Bot God sone sende the grace wirchipe to wyn
And late me never hafe perelle therin,
To the dede if thou be dyghte."
For sorowe Clement herte nere braste
When he one hym an actone caste;
The childe was bolde and kene.
Ane hawberke abowne lete he falle,
Full rysty weren the mayles alle,
And alle his atyre bydene.
Clement broghte forthe schelde and spere
That were unsemly for to were,
Soyty and alle unclene.
A swerd he broghte the child byforne,
That seven yere byfore had not bene borne
Ne drawen, and that was sene.
Clement drewe the swerd, bot owte it nolde;
Gladwyn his wyfe sold the schawebereke holde,
And bothe righte faste thay drewe.
And when the swerde owte glente,
Bothe unto the erthe thay went -
Than was ther gamen ynoghe.
Clement felle to the bynke so faste
That mouthe and nose al tobraste,
And Florente stode and loghe.
Grete gamen it es to telle
How thay bothe to the erthe felle,
And Clement laye in swoghe.
Child Florent in his unfaire wede,
Whane he was armede on his stede,
His swerde with hym he bere.
His aventayle and his bacenete,
His helme appon his heved was sett,
And bothe full soyty were.
Bothe two, Clement and his wyfe,
Luffede the childe als thaire lyfe;
For hym thay wepede sore.
To Jhesu Criste full faste thay bede,
"Lene hym grace, wele for to spede!"
Thay myghte do hym no more.
For his atyre that was unbryghte,
Hym byhelde bothe kyng and knyghte,
And mekill wondir tham thoghte.
Many a skornefulle worde he hent
Als he thrughe the ceté went,
Bot therof gafe he noghte.
Than gane the folke to the walles goo
To see the batelle bytwyx tham two
When thay were samen broghte.
His fadir Clement, full sory was he,
To that he wyste whether mayster solde be, 4
And glade ne was he noghte.
Florent come to the gates full sone
And bade the portere swythe undone
And open the gates wyde.
All that abowte the gates stode,
Loughe so faste thay were nere wode,
And skornede hym that tyde.
Ilk a man sayde to his fere,
"Here commes a doghety bachelere,
Hym semes full wele to ryde;
Men may see by hys brene bryghte
That he es a nobylle knyghte
The geaunt for to habyde!"
Bot than the geaunt upryghte gan stande
And tuke his burdone in his hande,
That was of stele unryde.
And to the childe he smote so
That his schelde brake in two
And felle one aythire syde.
Than was the childe never so wo
Als when his schelde was in two,
Bot more he thoghte to byde.
And to the geaunt he smote so sore
That his righte arme flowe of thore;
The blode stremyde than full wyde.
Than Clement appon the walles stode
And full blythe he wex than in his mode
And gan amend his chere
And said, "Son, I hafe herde, I wene,
Thi nobill dynt that es so kene;
With me thou arte full dere.
Now thynke me righte in my mode
That thou hase wele bysett oure gude,
Swylke lawes for to lere."
Childe Florent in his unfaire wede
Spronge als sparke dose of glede,
The sothe I will yow saye,
And rode hym forthe with egre mode
To the geaunt, righte ther he stode -
Was thore no childes playe!
The geaunt smote to the childe so
That childe and horse to the grownde gan go,
The stede one knes laye.
Than cryede Clement with sory mode
And said, "Sone, be of comforthe gude
And venge the, if thou maye."
And als ill als the childe ferde,
When he the speche of Clement herde,
His herte bygan to bolde.
Boldly his swerde up he laghte
And to the geaunt a stroke he raughte
That all his blode gan colde.
The childe hym hitt one the schuldir bone
That to the pappe the swerde gan gone,
And the geaunt to the grounde gan folde.
And thus it felle thorow Goddes grace,
He slewe the geaunt in that place,
In bukes als it es tolde.
The kynges appon the walles stode;
When the geaunt to the grounde yode,
The folke, full blythe thay were.
Alle the folke at the childe loughe,
How he the geaunt hede of droghe
When he hade smetyn hym thore.
The childe leppe up appon his stede
And rode awaye wele gude spede;
With tham spekes he no more.
The childe toke the ryghte waye
To the castelle ther the mayden laye,
And the hede with hym he bare.
When he come to the mayden haulle,
He founde the burdes coverde alle
And tham bowne to the mete.
The mayden that was mylde of mode,
In a surkott in hyr haulle scho stode
And redy was to hir sette.
"Damesele," said Florent, "faire and free,
Wele now gretis thi leman the
Of that he the byhete.
Lo, here an hevede I hafe the broghte -
The kynges of Fraunce ne es it noghte,
For it were full evylle to gete."
That mayden brighte als golden bey,
When scho the geaunt heved sey,
Full wele scho it kende,
And sayde, "He was ay trewe of his hete -
When he the kynges hevede myght not get,
His owen he hase me sende."
"Damesele," he sayde, "faire and bryghte,
Now wolde I hafe that, that ye hym highte."
And over his sadylle he lende.
Full ofte sythes he kyssede that maye
And hent hir upe and wolde awaye,
Bot thay alle the brigges did fende.
Crye and noyse rose in thate towne,
And sone thay ware to the batelle bowne -
Full many an hardy knyghte.
With speres longe and swerdes brounne.
And Florent lete the mayden downe
And made hym bowne to fyghte.
Hyre surkotte sleve he rofe of then
And sayde, "By this ye sall me kene
When ye se me by syghte."
Swylke lufe wexe bytwix tham two,
That lady grett, so was hir wo,
That he ne wyn hir myghte.
Childe Florent in his unfaire wede,
Full many a Sarezene made he to blede,
The sothe I will yow saye.
Many a hethyn man in a stownde
He made to lygge appon the grownde -
Was ther no childes playe.
When Florent thoghte that he wold founde
Withowtten other weme or wounde,
To Paresche he tuke the waye
The hethyn men were so adrede,
To Cleremont with the may thay flede,
There the Sowdanne laye.
And in hir fadir paveleone
Thore lyghttede the mayden down
And knelede appon hir knee.
Than was the Sowdane wondir blythe
And to his dogheter went he swythe
And kyssed hir sythes thre.
He sett hir downe appon the dese
That full riche was, withowttyn lese,
With grete solempnyté
Scho tolde hir fadir and wilde nott layne,
How Arageous the geaunt was slayne.
A fulle sorye man was he.
Scho saide: "Leve fadir, thyne ore,
At the Mont Martyn late me lye no more,
So nere Christen men to bene.
In swylke ane aventure I was this daye,
A rebawde me hade nere borne awaye
Fro alle myn knyghttes kene.
Thore was no man of hethen londe
That myghte a dynt stonde of his honde,
That he ne fellede tham bydene.
Als ofte als I appon hym thynke,
I may nother ete nor drynke,
So full I ame of tene."
Bot when the Sowdane this tythande herde,
He bote his lippes and schoke his berde,
That grymly was to see,
And swore with hedouse contenance
That he sulde hange the kynge of Frauncce
And bryne alle Cristyanté,
And that he sulde nother leve one lyve
Man, beste, childe no wyfe,
With eghene that he myghte see.
"Dougheter," he said, "go to thi chambir
And luke thou make full glade chere;
Thow salle wele vengede be."
Full richely was hir chambir sprede
And thedir in was that lady lede
With birdis that scho broghte.
One softe seges was hir sete,
Bot myghte scho nother drynke ne ete,
So mekill scho was in thoghte
Sumtyme one his faire chere,
And one his coloure, and one his lyre;
Scho myghte forgete hym noghte.
Full stylle scho saide with hert sore,
"Allas! that I ne with my lemane wore
Whedir he wolde me hafe broghte."
One hir bede righte als scho laye
Scho callede unto hir a maye
Full prevaly and stylle.
That mayden highte Olyvayne
That was full faire of blode and bane
And moste wiste of hir wille.
Scho saide, "Olyve, in prevaté
My concelle I will schewe to the
That greves me full ille,
For one a childe es alle my thoghte
That me to Paresche wolde hafe broghte,
And I ne maye come hym tille!"
Olyve hir answers tho
And sais, "Lady, sen ye will so,
Ne drede yow for no wyghte,
For I sall helpe yow that I may,
Bothe by nyghte and by day,
That he wynn yow myghte.
Yitt may swylke aventure be
At youre wille ye may hym see
Or this daye fowrtene nyghte,
At the Monte Martyne I wolde ye were,
There salle ye somewhate of hym here
Whether he be sqwyere or knyghte."
The Cristyn men than were full blythe
When thay sawe Florent on lyfe;
Thay wende he hade bene lorne.
And when he come nere the ceté
Agayne hym wente kynges thre,
And the Emperoure rode byforne.
And to the palayse the childe was broghte,
Full riche atyre thay for hym soghte
Of golde and sylver schene.
Men callede hym Florent of Paresche,
For thus in romance tolde it es,
Thoghe he ther were noghte borne.
And Clement, for the childes sake,
Full faire to courte thay gan take
And gaffe hym full riche wede.
One softe seges was he sett
Amonge grete lordes at the mete
And servede of many riche brede.
The childe was sett with grete honowre
Bytwixe the kynge and the Emperoure,
His mete thay gan hym schrede.
He was so curtayse and so bolde
That alle hym lovede, yonge and olde,
For his doghety dede.
Noghte longe after, als I yow saye,
The childe solde be knyghte that other daye;
No lenger wolde thay habyde.
His atyre of golde was wroghte,
Byfore the Emperoure the childe was broghte,
A kyng one aythir syde.
The kyng of Fraunce byfore hym yode
With mynstralles full many and gode
And lede hym up with pryde.
Clement to the mynstralles gan go
And gafe some a stroke and some two;
There durste noghte one habyde.
Clement so sorye was that daye
For alle thaire costes that he solde paye,
That he gane wepe wele sore.
And whills the kynges dauwnsede in the halle
Clement tuke thaire mantills alle
And to his howse tham bare.
Than the kynges gan thaire mantills myse
And ilke man askede after his,
Where thay bycomen were.
Than swore Clement, "By Goddes daye,
For youre mete moste ye paye
Or ye gete tham no more."
Thereatt all the kynges loghe,
There was joye and gamen ynoghe
Amonges tham in the haulle.
The kynge of Fraunce with hert ful fayne
Said, "Clement, brynge the mantils agayne,
For I sall paye for alle."
Clement thoreof was full blythe
And home he rane als so swythe
To his owen haulle;
And to the palays he mantils bare
And bade tham take tham alle thare
And downe he lette tham falle.
The burdes were sett and coverd alle,
Childe Florent was broghte into the haulle
With full mekill presse.
The childe was sett with gret honowre
Bytwixe the kyng and the Emperoure,
Sothe withowtten lese.
The Emperoure gan the childe byholde;
He was so curtayse and so bolde,
Bot he ne wiste what he was.
And ever he thoghte in his mode
The childe was comen of gentill blode.
Hym thoghte righte, als it was.
When the folke all had eten
Clement hade noghte forgetyn,
His purse he openede thore.
Thritty florence forthe keste he
And said, "Hafe here for my son and me,
I may paye for no more."
Clement was curtaise and wyse,
He wend alle had bene marchandyse,
The pryde that he sawe thore.
At Clement loghe the knyghtes alle,
So did the kynges in the haulle,
Childe Florent schamede full sore.
Than spekes the Emperoure anone ryghte
To Florent, that was faire and bryghte,
Wordis full wondir stille
And said, "Yonge knyghte, telle thou me,
If yone man thyn owen fadir be."
The childe answerde hym till,
"Sir, lufe hade I never hym too,
Als I solde to my fadir doo,
Never in herte ne wille;
Bot of alle the men that ever sawe I,
Moste lufes myn herte yowe sekirly.
Syr, takes it to none ille."
The Emperoure did calle Clement thore
And made hym come and sytt hym nere
Oppon the heghe dese.
He bade hym telle the righte dome,
How he to the childe come,
Sothe withowtten lese.
"Sir," he said, "this childe was taken in a foreste
Fro a lady with a wylde beste
In ane grete wildirnes;
And I hym boghte for thritty pownde,
Everylke peny bothe hole and rownde,
And sayde myn owen he was."
Than was the Emperoure joyefull and blythe,
Of his tales for to lythe,
And thanked God almyghte.
The Emperoure felle one knes als swythe
And kyssede the childe full fele sythe,
Thoghe he ne wiste whate he highte,
For full wele he trowede, withowtten lese,
His owen sone that he was.
Alle gamnes, bothe kyng and knyghte.
The childes name was chaungede with dome,
Thay callede hym than Florent of Rome
Als it was full gude ryghte.
The Emperoure was so blythe of chere
That the teris trekelide one his lyre.
He made than full grete care
And said, "Allas, my faire wyfe,
The beste lady that was one lyfe,
Salle I hir see no mare?
Me ware lever than alle the golde
That ever was appon Cristyn molde,
Wyste I one lyve scho ware!"
The Emperoure gafe Clement welthis fele
To lyfe in reches and in wele,
Aye nowe for evermore.
Als Florent one an nyghte in bede laye,
He thoghte one Marsabele that faire maye,
And full mekill he was in kare.
The childe had nother riste ne ro
For thoghte how he myghte com hir to,
And whate that hym beste ware.
The childe thoghte for the mayden sake
A message that he wolde make
And to the Sowdane fare.
And sone the childe did sadill his stede
And armede hym in full riche wede,
A braunche of olyve he bare.
For that was that tym messangere lawe 5
A brawnche of olyve for to schewe
And it in hand to bere.
For the ordynance than was so,
Messangers solde savely come and go
And no man solde tham dere.
The childe takes the heghe waye
To Cleremont thare the Sowdan laye
With alle his grete here;
And at the haulle dore he reyngened his stede
And one fote in he yede,
Messangere als he were.
Than spekes the childe with hardy mode,
Byfore the Sowdane there he stode,
Als man of mekill myghte:
"The kynge of Fraunce me hedir sende
And byddis the owte of his lande wende,
For thou werreys agayne the righte;
Or he wille brynge agayne the
Twentty thowsande tolde by thre
With helmes and hawberkes bryghte.
And ilke a knyghte sall thritty sqwyers hafe,
And ilke a sqwyere a foteknave
Worthe an heythen knyghte."
Than the Sowdane bygane to speke,
Als he satt at his riche mete
Amonge his knyghttes kene:
"The kynge of Fraunce welecome sall be;
Ever agayne on I sall brynge thre,
Weite he withowtten wene,
That als fayne bene for to fyghte
Als fowle es of dayes lyghte,
To schewe thaire scheldes schene.
To prove tomorowe, by my laye,
I kepe to take no langere daye;
Than salle the sothe be sene!"
Than spekes that may with mylde mode
To faire Florent thare he stode,
That was so swete a wyghte:
"Messenger, I wolde the frayne
Whether he es knyghte or swayne,
That es so mekill of myghte
That hase my fadir geaunt slayne
And wolde hafe ravesched me fra Borow Lerayne
And slewe ther many a knyghte."
Alle thoghe scho nevenede hym with ille,
Fulle mekill was it than hir wille,
Of hym to hafe a syghte.
"Lady," he sayse, "he es nother lesse ne more,
Than it I my selfe wore.
Sythe ye will of hym frayne,
Ye sall hym knawe thurgh alle the here,
Youre sleve he wille hafe on his spere
In the batelle al playne."
Withowtten any more worde
Ilke man stirte upe fro the borde
With swerdes and knyves drawen;
For alle thay wiste wele by than,
That he it was, that ilke man
That hade the geaunt slayne.
Than Florent sawe no better bote
Bot nedely hym tydes to fighte one fote6
Agayne the Sarazenes alle;
And ever he hitt tham amange
Where he sawe the gretteste thrange;
Full many he did to falle.
Sum by the armes he nome
That the schuldir with hym come,
The prowdeste in the haulle;
And some he swilke a boxe lent
That the heved fro the body went,
Als it were a foteballe.
And when his swerde broken was,
A meteforme he gatt par cas
And therewith he gan hym were;
And to the grounde sone garte he go
Ten score and somdele mo
That heythen knyghtes were.
Florent made a waye ful gode
To his stede righte ther he stode,
There myghte no man hym dere.
And home he takes the righte waye
Unto Parische als it laye,
Thurgheowte the heythen here.
Than were the Crysten folke full blythe
When thay sawe Florent one lyve;
Thay wende he lorne hade bene.
And whenne he come nere the ceté,
Agayne hym went kynges thre,
The Emperoure rode bytwene.
Alle the folke pressede hym to se.
Ilke a man fraynede, "Whilke es he?"
Als thay hym never hade sene.
Unto the palese he was ledde;
He tolde tham alle how he had spede
Amonge the Sarazens kene.
"Lordynges," he saide, "lukes ye be yare
Unto the batelle for to fare,
And redy for to ryde.
Tomorowe moste it nede be sene
Who es hardy man and kene,
No lengere ne may we byde."
The folke sayde that thay were blythe
To wende to that batelle swythe -
In herte es noghte to hide.
A riche clothe one the borde was sprede
To make the childe bothe blythe and glade,
A kyng one aythir syde.
One the morowe when the daye was lyghte,
The folke tham to the batelle dyghte,
Alle that wapen moghte welde.
There men myghte se many a wyghte
With helmes schene and hawberke bryghte,
With spere and als with schelde.
With trompes and with mekill pryde
Full boldly owt of borowe thay ryde
Unto a full brode felde.
The felde was bothe longe and brode,
Thore bothe the partyes one habode,
And aythere other byhelde.
Marsabele, that mayden fre,
Was broghte that batelle for to see,
To the Mont Martyne appon Seyne.
Florent hir sleve did on his spere
For in the batelle he wolde it bere,
And forthe he rode in the playne
For that men solde wele se than
That he it was, that ilke man
That haved the geaunt slayne,
And also for that mayden free
Was broghte that batelle for to see;
There of scho was full fayne.
Than was there mekill sorow and syte,
When the batells bygan to smytte
With many a grymly wonde.
Fro morow that the daye was lyghte
To it was even and dirke nyghte,
Or owthir partye wolde fownde.
Florent gan ever amonges ryde
And made thore many a sory syde
That ore was hale and sownde.
So many folke thore to the dede yode
That stedis wode in the blode
That stremyd one the grounde.
Thore men myghte see helmes bare
And hevedis that full faire waree
Full lawe to the grownde than lyghte.
The Cristen men bycome so thyn
That the felde myghte thay noghte wyn,
Alle cryede, bothe kyng and knyghte.
Than Florent smote with herte so gude,
His swerde thurghe thaire helmes wode,
So mekyll he was of myghte.
Thurghe Goddes grace and Florent thore
The Cristen men the better wore
That ilke daye in the fyghte.
The parties ere withdrawen awaye
And taken there es another daye
That the batelle sulde be.
Florent rode to Borow Lerayne
Besyde the water banke of Sayne,
For aventurs wolde he see.
The mayden whitt als lely floure
Laye in a kirnelle of a towre,
Was ferly faire and fre.
Florent scho sawe on the felde fare;
By hir sleve that he bare
Scho knewe wele that it was he.
Then spekes that may with mylde mode
To Olyve that byfore hir stode
That wyste hir prevaté,
And saide, "Howe were it beste to do,
A worde that I myghte speke hym to?
Iwysse, than wele were me."
Scho saide, "Lady, we one two
By the rever banke sall go,
That he may us see.
If he yow lufe with hert gude,
He lettes no thyng for the flode;
A full gude horse haves he."
Forthe than went theis maydenes two,
Owte of the castelle gan thay goo
By the revere syde.
When Florent sawe that swete wyghte
He sprent als any fowle of flyghte,
No lenger then wolde he byde.
His horse he was full wondir gude
And bare hym smertly over the flode,
Hymselffe couthe full wele ryde.
It was grete joye to se tham mete
With haulsynge and with kyssynge swete -
In herte es noghte to hyde.
"Lady," he sayde, "full wele es mee,
A worde that I may speke with the,
So bryghte ert thou of hewe.
In alle this werlde es non so free
Forwhi that thow wolde cristenede be
And sythen of herte be trewe."
"Sir, if that thou myghte me wyn,
I wolde forsake all my kyn,
Als I them never knewe.
Sythen thou wolde wedde me to wyfe
I wolde lyve in Cristen lyfe;
My joye solde ever be newe."
"Lady," he sayde, "withowtten fayle,
Howe were than thi beste consaile,
That I the wynn myghte?"
"Sertes, ye me never wyn ne maye
Bot if it were that ilke daye
That ye hafe tane to fyghte,
That ye wolde send up by the flode
Men that bene styffe and gude,
And a schippe that wele were dyghte,
And ywhills the folke weren at thaire dede,
That thay me myghte awaye lede
Into youre ceté full ryghte.
"My fadir has a nobille stede,
In the werlde es none so gude at nede
In tornament no in fyghte.
In his hevede he hase an horne,
Es schapen als an unycorne
That selcouthe es of syghte.
Sir, if you myghte that stede now wyn,
There were no man in heythen kynn
Agayne the that stande myghte."
Florent kyssede that faire maye
And sayd, "Lady, hafe gud daye
And holde that thou hase highte."
Florent hase his stede nomen
And over that water es he comen,
To Paresche he tuke the waye.
He wolde neythir stynte ne blyn
Bot home to Clement gan he wyn,
His awntirs for to saye;
And tolde hym of that gude stede
That nobille was in ilke a nede,
And of that faire maye.
And he said, "Sone, be doghety man of dede,
And certes thou sall hafe that stede
Tomorowe, gyff that I maye."
One the morne when the day was lyghte,
Clement gan hymselven dyghte
Lyke an unfrely fere
And went into the heythen oste
Thore the presse was althermoste,
A Sarazene als he were.
And to the paveleone he gan wynn
There the Sowdan hymselfe was in.
Full brymly he gan bere
And askede tham sum of thaire mete.
Full wele he couthe thaire speche speke;
The Sowdane hymselfe gan here.
Grete dole the Sowdane of hym thoghte,
And sone he was byfore hym broghte
And with hym gan he speke.
He saide he was a Sarazene stronge
And in his oste hade bene full longe
And hade grete fawte of mete.
"Sir, there es no man in heythen thede
That better kane ryde and kepe a stede
Or other horsses grete."
The Sowdane saide that ilke tyde,
"If that thou wele a stede kan ryde,
With me thou sall be lette."
Thay horsede Clement one a stede,
He spronge als any sparke one glede
Appone a full faire felde.
Alle that stode on ilk a syde
Hade joye to se Clement ryde
Byfore the Sowdans telde.
And when he hade reden courses thre
Alle had joye that hym gan see,
The Sowdan hym behelde.
Clement lyghtede down full sone
And one a better horse was done;
Full faire he gan hym welde.
Grete joye the Sowdan of hym thoghte
And badde his owen stede solde be broghte
And Clement one hym solde ryde.
And when Clement was on that stede
He rode awaye wele gud spede -
No lengare he wold habyde.
And when he was redy for to fownde,
"Fare wele," he said, "heythen honde,
For thou hase loste thi pryde."
Clement tuke hym the heghe waye
Unto Paresche als it laye,
Full blythe he was that tydee.
"Florent," he said, "whore art thou?
That I the highte, I hafe here nowe,
I hafe the broghte the stede."
Florent was full blythe that daye,
And saide, "Fadir, if that I maye,
I salle the yelde thi mede.
Bot to the Emperoure of Rome
The stede I wolde were present sone;
To the the palesse ye hym lede.
For ever me thynke in my mode,
That I ame comen of his blode,
So proudly if I moghte spede."
Than to the palays the stede was ledde,
The knyghttes were than alle full glade,
One hym for to see.
The Emperour byfore tham stode
And resceyvede hym with mylde mode,
So wondir faire was hee.
Florent spake with grete honour
To his lorde the Emperour,
"Sir, this stede gyffe I the."
Alle that evir abowte him stode
Sayde he was comen of gentull blode,
It moghte nevir othirwis be.
Aftur thys the day was nomyn
That the batell on schulde comyn
Agenste the Sarsyns to fyght.
Wyth trompes and wyth moche pryde
Boldely owte of borogh they ryde
Als men of mekill myght.
Florent thoghte on the feyre maye,
To the batelle wente he not that day
A schipe sone he hath hym dyght.
Fro Mont Martrons there the lady lay
To Paresche he broght hur away,
Wist nother kynge ne knyght.
That while was moche sorowe yn fyght
When the batell began to smyght
With many a grymme gare;
Fro morowe that hyt was daylyght
To it even was and myrke of nyght,
Wyth wondes wondur sore.
And for that Florent was not there
The heythen folke the bettur were;
The batelle thay venquyscht thore.
Or Florent was to the felde comyn,
The Emperoure and the kynge were ynomyn
And the Crysten kynges all that were.
Than Florent smote with herte so gode
And rode thurgh tham als he were wode,
Of witt als he wolde wede.
Thore was no Sarazene of myghte ne mayne
That myght with strenghe stande hym agayne,
Whills that he hade his stede.
Than was of Florent dole ynoghe,
How thay his stede undir hym sloghe
And he to the gronde than yode.
Sir Florent was taken in that fyghte -
Bothe the Emperoure, kynge and knyghte,
Bownden thay gan thaym lede.
The Sarsyns buskyd them wyth pryde
Into ther own londys to ryde;
They wolde no lenger dwelle.
Takyn they had Syr Florawns,
The Emperour and the kyng of Fraunce
Wyth woundys wondur fele.
Othur Crystyn kyngys moo,
Dewkys, erlys and barons also,
That arste were bolde and swelle.
And ladd them wyth yron stronge
Hur fete undur the hors wombe,
Grete dele hyt ys to telle.
Wyde the worde sprange of thys chawnce,
How the Sowdon was yn Fraunce,
To warre agenste the ryght.
In Jerusalem men can hyt here,
How the Emperour of Rome was there
Wyth many an hardy knyght.
Than spekyth Octavyon, the yyng,
Full feyre to hys lorde, the kyng,
As chylde of moche myght,
"Lorde, yf hyt were yowre wylle,
I wolde wynde my fadur tylle
And helpe hym yn that fyght."
Than spekyth the kyng of moche myght
Full fayre unto that yong knyght,
Sore hys herte can blede,
"Sone, thou schalt take my knyghtes fele
Of my londe that thou wylle wele
That styffe are on stede,
Into Fraunce wyth the to ryde,
Wyth hors and armys be thy syde,
To helpe the at nede.
When thou some doghtynes haste done,
Then may thou shewe thyn errande soone,
The bettur may thou spede."
He bad hys modur make hur yare,
Into Fraunce wyth hym to fare,
He wolde no lenger byde.
Wyth hur she ladd the lyenas,
That sche broght owt of wyldurnes,
Rennyng be hur syde.
There men myght see many a knyght
With helmys and wyth hawberkys bryght
Forthe ynto the strete.
Forthe they went on a day,
The hethyn ooste on the way
All they can them meete.
By the baners that they bare,
They knewe that they hethyn ware
And stylle they can abyde.
They dyght them wyth brenyes bryght
And made them redy for to fyght;
Ageyn them can they ryde.
They hewe the flesche fro the bone,
Soche metyng was never none
Wyth sorow on ylke syde.
Octavyon the yong knyght,
Thorow the grace of God almyght,
Full faste he fellyd ther pryde.
The lyenas that was so wyght,
When she sawe the yong knyght
Into the batell fownde,
Sche folowed hym wyth all hur myght
And faste fellyd the folke yn fyght;
Many sche made onsownde.
Grete stedys downe sche drowe
And many hethen men sche slowe
Wythynne a lytull stownde.
Thorow God that ys of myghts gode,
The Crysten men the bettur stode -
The hethyn were broght to grownde.
The Crysten prysoners were full fayne
When the Sarsyns were yslayne,
And cryed, "Lorde, thyn ore!"
He ne stynt ne he ne blanne
To the prysoners tyll that he wanne,
To wete, what they were.
The Emperour, wythowt lees,
That hys own fadur was,
Bowndon fownde he there.
The kyng of Fraunce and odur moo,
Dewkys, erlys and barons also,
Were woundyd wondur sore.
Hys fadur was the furste man,
That he of bondys to lowse began,
Ye wete, wythowten lees;
And he lowsyd hys brodur Floraunce
Or he dud the kynge of Fraunce,
Yyt he wyste not what he was.
Be that hys men were to hym comyn,
Soon they were fro yrons nomyn,
The pryncys prowde yn prees.
Whan he had done that noble dede,
The bettur he oght for to spede
To make hys modur pees.
A ryche cyté was besyde
Boldely thedur can they ryde
To a castell swythe.
Ryche metys were thore dyghte,
Kyngys, dewkys, erlys and knyghte,
All were gladd and blythe.
Syth came Octavyon the yong with grete honoure
And knelyd before the Emperoure.
Hys errande for to kythe.
That ylke tale that he thore tolde,
Ryche and pore, yong and olde,
Glade thay were to lythe.
He seyde, "Lorde, in this lande I hafe the soghte,
My modir I hafe with me broghte,
I come to make hir pese."
The Emperoure was never so blythe,
Als for to kysse the childe full swythe,
And for his sone hym chese.
"Lorde, for a lesesynge that was stronge,
Scho was flemede owt of londe.
I prove that it was lese."
For joye that he his wiefe gan se,
Seven sythes swonede he
Byfore the heghe dese.
Faire Florent than was full blythe,
Of that tydandes for to lythe,
His modir for to see.
"Lorde," scho said, "for alle the noye that me was wroghte,
Thyn on childe I hafe the broghte
And yemede hym evir with me.
Thyn othir sone in a foreste
Was taken with a wilde beste;
He was bothe faire and fre.
Alle, I wote, es Goddes grace,
I knowe hym by his faire face:
That yone yong knyghte es he!"
Than was thore full mekill gamen,
With halsynge and with kyssyngez samen
Into the chambir thay yode.
And full grete joye there was also
At the metyng of the brethir two,
That doghety weren of dede.
A riche feste the Emperour mad thare
Of lordes, that were ferre and nere,
And of many a londes lede.
This tale whoso telles ryghte,
The feste lastede a fourtenyghte,
In romance thus we rede.
Marsabele that faire maye
Was after sent, the sothe to saye,
To Paresche righte thore scho was.
Cristenede scho was on a Sonondaye
With joye and gamen and mekill playe;
Florent to wyefe hir chese.
Swylke a brydale als was thore,
In that ceté was nevir ore,
Ye wiete withowtten lese.
Child Florent thore hir gan wedde,
And into Rome was scho ledde
With prynces prowde in prese.
And then byfelle appon a daye,
The Emperoure bygan for to saye
And tolde alle how it was.
And alle than gafe juggement,
That his modir sulde be brynte
In a belle of brasse.
Als sonne als scho therof herde telle,
In swonynge to the gronde scho felle,
Hir hare of scho gan rase.
For schame that scho was proved false,
In two scho cutte hir owen halse
With a longe anelase.
And therat alle the kynges loghe,
There was joye and gamen ynowghe;
Alle tuke thaire leve that tyde.
With trowmpes and with lowde songe
Ilke a man wente to his owun londe
With joye and mekill pryde.
With gamen and joye and grete honoure
To Rome than wente the Emperoure,
His lady by his syde
And his two sonnes also
And with tham many one mo,
Home than gan thay ryde.
And thus endis Octovean,
That in his tym was a doghety man,
With the grace of Mary free,
Now, Jhesu lorde, of heven kynge,
Thou gyffe us alle thi dere blyssynge.
Amen, amen, par charyté! Amen.
Great; young; (see note)
If; while; listen to me
as; is; (see note)
Very; many times
in clothes; (see note)
approached old age
That was pleasing to behold
by rights of inheritance
began to notice
She fell on her knees before her lord
And how your life fares
know; earthly mate
fated to die; hence go; (see note)
don't know; shall
But [shall] exist; war
a short time
If; don't take it wrong
have made; (see note)
lady's (i.e., Mary's)
begat male children
They didn't leave without gifts; (see note)
To each he gave
for what He sent
made; priest; mass
didn't die in childbirth
meanwhile had called; (see note)
It seemed to her
in a dense grove
head; hair; seized
Until; church should; (see note)
among those people
With all kinds of wealth in that dwelling
discovered; such; (see note)
death; condemned to
To; called out
banished her from
florins; (see note)
entrusted her to
places where; before
into; strange terrain
handed over to her
woeful person; (see note)
spring; lovely; loud (babbling)
further; might not go
I am utterly without shelter
running a lioness
In a rage as if she would go crazy
second child it bore
Except since; certainly; (see note)
it was called; (see note)
good or bad fortune; knew nothing
always; she (the lioness)
lies that are contrived about me
never give myself
An able; carried
asked her to
helmet; coat of mail
they (the men)
ran as fast as she could
leapt; (see note)
ebb tide; high tide
caused her to; (see note)
to (do her) will
knew how to; wield
wood; gray (dark)
soon caught up with the child
Although the knight was fierce and bold
pilgrim; (see note)
Villein; was called
by my hood
understand little about merchandizing
do I lack
he counted out for them
basket he had made
pilgrim's mantle; clothing
to; own manor
asked him for a true report
How he came by the child
make known to you
the same clothing; (see note)
had the child christened
candlemaker; (see note)
placed in charge of
But he was by nature unsuited
To follow that trade
flee [also] was eager
He [Florent]; he [the squire]
Then he began; feathers preen
taught; (see note)
bird of prey; give
thought it strange
learn [a trade]
He may become a better man
he counted out
entrusted to me
Borough of the Queen; (see note)
cease to fight
(the giant's name)
Montmartre; (see note)
ugly (foul); to look upon
promise you truly
as soon as
fear; nearly insane
fight out in the open; (see note)
head; to my lover promised
on that account
destroy and burn
I only lack armor
you would not abide; (see note)
evil a being
Until I have ridden against him
lend to you; time
I'll stop complaining
nearly broke; (see note)
padded jacket; (see note)
coat of mail on top
could do no more for him
Because of; tarnished
great; it seemed to them
he didn't care
Laughed so hard
does from a burning coal
it came about
giant's; pulled off
ready for dinner
at her seat
With what he had promised you
ornament; (see note)
leaned; (see note)
Although all the bridges were defended
Her; tore off
maiden; (see note)
without lying (i.e., truly)
would not be silent
blow sustain from
distress; (see note)
bit; shook; (see note)
beloved were; (see note)
fair in appearance (blood and bone)
thought; lost (killed)
wasn't born there
cut up (carved); (see note)
thought; merchandise (for sale)
Sir, take no offense
came by the child
It would be dearer to me than
[If] I knew she were alive
rest nor peace
orders you out; (see note)
war against justice
Worthy to be
against one [of the king's men]
person of servile rank
carried me off from
referred to him in anger
knew; (see note)
bench; by chance
in the middle
It is not to be concealed; (see note)
that very man
distress; (see note)
Until; evening; dark
Who knew; secret thoughts
delays not at all on account of the water
embracing; (see note)
keep your promises
stop nor cease
did he go
such a circumstance
Where; crowd; greatest
food; (see note)
knew how; language to speak
allowed [to stay]
What I promised you
set; (see note)
As though he would lose his mind
Their feet; stomach
fitted themselves; chain mail; (see note)
meeting (i.e., battle)
neither stopped nor ceased
others as well
valiant in battle
hugging; as well
burnt; (see note)
cauldron; (see note)
she tore out
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