The Man of Law and His Tale
That often hadde been at the Parvys,
Ther was also, ful riche of excellence.
Discreet he was and of greet reverence -
He semed swich, his wordes weren so wise.
Justice he was ful often in assise,
By patente and by pleyn commissioun." (309-315)
The Man of Law tells the story of Constance, a virtuous young Christian woman sent from Rome to marry the Sultan of Syria. The Sultan's mother disapproves and kills the entire wedding party except for Constance, who is cast out to sea in a rudderless ship. She lands on the shores of England, where her virtue and beauty again draw attention and she eventually marries King Alla. Her second mother-in-law is nearly as malicious as the first. When Constance gives birth to a beautiful son while her husband is away at war, her mother-in-law intercepts a series of letters so that Constance is again set adrift. She and her child drift at sea and eventually arrive in Rome, where, after many years, Alla and Constance are eventually reunited.
by Edward Coley Burne-Jones