Troy Book: Book 5
JOHN LYDGATE, TROY BOOK, BOOK 5: NOTES5 lady of the eyr. Juno is the wife and sister of Jupiter and queen of the pagan gods; she is traditionally associated with the moon. She is identified with the air by Augustine, De civitate Dei 7.16 and 10.21 (compare Sermo 197) and by Vatican Mythographer 2 (chs. 6 and 9).
11 any. Accepting Bergen's addition.
15 And. The conjunction is needed for rhythm and sense.
16 Fortune. Lydgate's description of Fortune, which he adds independently to the story, explains the downfall of the Greek victors as a Boethian tragedy.
26 and. MS: and of.
1788 and smothe. MS: now smothe.
1809 pleinly. Accepting Bergen's addition.
1826 Kyng Ydumee. King Idomeneus comes with King Merion from Crete, leading eighty ships. After Agamemnon's murder, he shelters and raises Orestes, and later arranges his marriage with Hermione.
1847 Mirma. In Odyssey 9, Odysseus comes to a land in Thrace; Guido (Book 33) calls it Mirna.
1862 Clanstafages. Lydgate's rendering of Guido's "Calastofagos." Griffin (p. 283) notes that Benoît and Guido have made Dictys's Lotophagos (Lotus eaters) into a port.
1875 pensif. Bergen emends to so pensif.
1882 In Guido the brother kings of Sicily are called Strigona and Ciclopa. Lydgate preserves the names of their sons but adds the detail that Polyphemus is a giant (5.1908), apparently to harmonize Guido's version with Ovid. In the Metamorphoses, Polyphemus uses a pine as a walking stick (13.782) and says that he is as large as Jupiter (13.842). Guido mentions Alphenor's love for Polyphemus's unnamed sister, but Lydgate embroiders the episode with the conventions of courtly love.
1895 thei. MS: ther.
1919 narwe. MS: nawe.
1920 upon. MS: on.
1921 alwey. Bergen emends to ay to avoid repetition.
1938 myght. Bergen emends to myghte.
1945 my. MS: me.
1958-75 like as writ Ovide. Telemus foretells the blinding of Polyphemus in Metamorphoses 13.770-75 and Achaemenides tells the story in Metamorphoses 14.167-222.
1987 wondirfully. Bergen emends to wonderly.
2000 abood. MS: bood.
2004-06 Mention of Telegonus here prepares for Ulysses's death at the end of the poem. Guido (Book 33) does not mention Telegonus's name.
2007 reherse. Bergen emends to wel reherse.
2009 secré. MS: socre.
2012 myght. Bergen emends to myghte, but the MS form gives an acceptable Lydgate line.
2048 Goddes myght. See the repeated phrase in Chaucer, "Goddes pryvytee."
2071 he. MS: thei.
2082 man. Bergen emends to a man.
2102 by southe and nat by est. In Guido (Book 33), Ulysses says only that he has circled the world and now come to this land.
2110 it doth to me. Bergen emends to to me it doth.
2120 also. MS: as.
2132 meyné. MS: money.
2140 desirous. The verb "was" is understood here.
2146 as. MS: a. an. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2152 yit grene. MS: grene yit.
2156 example of wommanhede. Penelope's wifely virtue is a conventional part of the defense of women that is included within the tradition of medieval misyogyny. See Dorigen's lament in Chaucer's The Franklin's Tale (V.1443) and the Balade in the The Legend of Good Women F 252 and G 206. Gower tells of Penelope's fidelity in Confessio Amantis 4.147-233, and makes several subsequent allusions to her steadfastness and wifely truth - 4.1822; 6.1461; 8.2621.
2160 auctours. The term encompasses both authors and the texts they write, the latter conceived as creations participating independently in a tradition.
2165 ay. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2174 inportable. Bergen reads importable.
2185 dremes. Bergen emends to a dreme.
2192 be. MS: he be.
2195 se. Bergen emends to yse.
2198 ben. MS: bem.
2232 thei. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2236 on. Bergen emends to of.
2240 had. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2250 lond. MS: hond.
2261 on the. Bergen emends to the.
2275-2314 Lydgate's extravagant sentence is organized as an extended consecutive thought: "Yif . . . Yif . . . It were to long tariyng for my boke . . . [and] Men wolde deme me. . . ."
2286 ilyche. Bergen reads iliche.
2295 mediacioun. MS: meditacioun.
2299-2300 The final narrative of Troy Book shows how the survivors of the Trojan War establish alliances in the generation that follows them. See below for the reconciliations of Achilleidos and Lamedonte and of Telemachus and Telegonus. In this passage, the wedding of Nausia and Telemonus foreshadows the wedding of Henry and Katherine (5.3420-23), which likewise joins two realms and ends strife.
2301 knotte. The term refers as well to the main point of a story or argument; see Chaucer's use in The Squire's Tale (V.401, 407) and Romaunt, line 4698, and Lydgate's earlier use at 4.3213.
2314 untwyne. Bergen emends to to untwyne.
2937 On the fate of Ulysses compare Gower's Tale of Ulysses and Telegonus (Confessio Amantis 6.1391-1778). Gower bases his tale on Benoît, lines 28571-28666 and 29629-30092. Benoît includes some details not found in Guido.
2939 glad. Bergen emends to glade.
2947 Lyk. Bergen reads Lik.
2964 fairie. MS: faire.
2977-78 These lines are misplaced with lines 2979-80 in MS.
But. MS: And.
2978 she. Accepting Bergen's addition.
2979 And. MS: But. the more he gan to purswe. Bergen emends to the more that he gan purswe.
2985-3000 Lydgate's Ulysses uses an aureate, courtly diction that is not in Guido.
2994 my. Bergen reads myn.
3021 of. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3022 Ful of fysshes betyn. Gold or some other metal is hammered into images, and then they are sown onto the banner (Guido, Book 35). Benoît (lines 30021-24) seems to be the source for details in the passage. See 5.3208-09, where Telegonus glosses this image by describing his birth.
3026 parte. MS: parten.
3032 he sodeynly. MS: sodeynly he.
3033 fantasie. In scholastic psychology, fantasy refers to a faculty of imagination that allows apprehension or recollection of sense data and images. See 2.2817 and 3.4806.
3052 on. MS: oon.
3058-64 Lydgate describes the mechanism of Ulysses's downfall by means of Boethian tragedy. Ulysses misperceives the situation before him and acts in a seemingly rational way that ironically carries him further toward catastrophe.
3060 But wenyng he. "He" is the subject of the sentence, and "wenyng" takes "to have be prudent" as its complement.
3066 the speris. Accepting Bergen's addition to MS: speris.
3093 noon. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3102 for. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3140 Monday. Latin dies lunae ("day of the moon"), hence a symbol of mutability.
3142 The porter's abuse of Telegonus recalls the remote origin of the Trojan War, when Jason feels that Lamedon treats him discourteously.
3155 roof. Bergen emends to brast.
3158 lepen into flood. Bergen emends to lepe into the flood.
3175 Hent. MS: Rent. Emendation is consistent with Lydgate's usage immediately above at 5.3169.
3178 That. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3178 he. MS: that he. nedis. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3197 it with. Bergen emends to with.
darte. Bergen reads dart.
3205 Ulixes. MS: hym.
3242 aswowne. MS: aswone.
3248 I. "Cursid" is understood.
3252 begat. MS: gat.
3257 Circes. MS: Cures.
3261 inportable. Bergen reads importable.
3267 founde. Bergen emends to hath founde, but founde is in the preterite, parallel with saw, knewe, and hent.
3306 his. Bergen records this as an emendation, but the reading occurs in the MS.
3319 Thelagonyus. Bergen emends to this Thelagonyus.
3323-25 Lydgate follows Guido (Book 35) in having Telemachus reign seventy years and Telegonus sixty; in Benoît (line 30268), Telemachus reigns eighty years. There is no reference in Guido or Benoît to Telemachus and Telegonus's going to Jupiter. Lydgate's addition recalls Castor and Pollux, the ideal figures of brothers united in death.
3360 Latyn. Bergen emends to of latyn.
3367 just. Bergen emends to juste.
3368-69 Bergen (4:2n) suggests that Lydgate's poem was completed late in 1420.
3370 manhede. MS: maidenhede.
3372 maide. Bergen emends to a maide.
3373 The eyghte yere. Henry V was crowned 9 April 1412.
3380 passeth. MS: passed.
3383 to withseyn. MS: withseyn.
3392 he is made regent. In July 1414, Henry sent an embassy to Paris to demand the cession of Normandy, Touraine, Maine, Anjou and Aquitaine. In 1415, he rejected efforts by a French embassy to stave off the English invasion. In these actions, he renewed the English claim to the French throne, initiated by Edward III who argued his claim by descent from his mother, Isabella of France. Henry's military campaign in Normandy began in August 1415 with the siege of Harfleur. Most of the Normandy campaign was carried out in 1417-19, and it led to the Treaty of Troyes in 1420, which made Henry regent of France and heir to the French throne after the death of Charles VI. These are the terms of the convencioun (5.3398). As part of the treaty, Henry married Charles's daughter Katherine of Valois on 2 June 1420. The father referred to at 5.3393 is Charles.
3400 the olde worlde called aureat. The literary commonplace of a Golden Age of original harmony originates with Hesiod's Works and Days, lines 109-20; for the Middle Ages, Ovid's Metamorphoses 1.89-112 and the Roman de la Rose, lines 8357-8458 are important expressions of the idea.
3411 ff. See note to 5.3392. Lydgate writes in the future tense about the union of England and France, though he may be expressing a hope rather than referring to an impending event following Henry's marriage. Lydgate's call for peace is doubtless genuine, but it is also a commonplace in the literature of princely advice. How far he advocates a specific policy, as distinct from offering good advice, is not certain. But his role as a de facto royal propagandist limits the extent to which he can put forth personal views. Henry, as Pearsall (1994, p. 386) remarks in the case of Thomas Hoccleve, Lydgate's nearest competitor as a court poet, was more interested in being seen to take advice than in actually following it.
3424 Kateryne. In the Legenda aurea, Jacobus de Voragine etymologizes Saint Catherine's name as "total ruin," meaning her humility destroyed the edifice of pride, and as a "small chain," which signifies the good works by which she climbed to heaven.
3466 boistous and rual. See the Franklin's description of himself as "a burel man" (V.716).
3481 her. MS: his.
3482 correcte. The common literary pose of the medieval poet is to be "under correccioun"; see Chaucer's use of the convention at the end of Troilus and Criseyde 5.1858. See also note to Pro.63-75 where Lydgate first introduces the idea.
3490 set behynde. MED records two relevant senses of the term: "given up" and "downgraded, treated as unimportant."
3493 that. Accepting Bergen's addition.
3499 lak. Bergen emends to a lak.
3506 Baiard. See above, 2.4731.
3520 Chaucer's poem to his scribe, Adam, belies Lydgate's claim that Chaucer cheerfully ignored blemishes in the texts of his works.
3549-62 Lydgate's list recalls the roster of felonies that Arcite sees depicted on the walls of the temple of Mars in The Knight's Tale (I.1995-2040).
3551 plounget. Bergen emends to plounged.
3570 The metaphor of life's pilgrimage is a medieval commonplace. Guillaume de Deguilleville's Le pelerinaige de vie humaine is one of the most important late medieval allegories. Dante's Divine Comedy incorporates the metaphor as the basis of its narrative.
3579 to Hym that starf uppon the Rode. Lydgate's phrasing invokes the ending of Troilus and Criseyde: "that sothfast Crist, that starf on rode" (5.1860).
3586 With a fewe ageyn gret multitude. Henry's victory at Agincourt in 1415 was against a vastly larger French force.
3602 after that. Bergen emends to afterward. nynthe spere. See above, 3.4382. Here Lydgate simply means heaven.
3604 God. MS: good.
Whan Eolus, which doth the windes rore,
Apesid was, that he blewe no more,
Which is of stormys governour and lord,
And was also fully of accord
With myghti Juno, lady of the eyr,
To make the skye and the wedir fair,
That cloude noon in hevene dide appere,
And Neptunus, blaundisshing of chere,
Was of assent, the stori seith forsothe,
To make the se fro tempest calm and smothe,
Withoute boilyng or trouble of any wawe,
The myghti Grekis to shipward gan hem drawe
For to repeire home to her contré,
After thei had wonnen the cité
And put her fomen fully at the worse.
But Fortune, ay froward and perverse,
Hath with her myrthe meynt adversité;
For whan thei wende ful assurid be
And have stonde stedefast in quiete,
This blinde lady falsly made flete
Into her sugre galle of discordance,
Amonge hemsilf to bring in variaunce
And her hertis, of rancour and of pride,
Contagiously to severyn and devyde,
Whan thei sat hiest in her glorie
With the palme of conquest and victorie,
Fully rejoyssinge, thorugh her highe renoun,
The crowne of laurer in possessioun,
And had also at her lust al wonne.
Whan brightest shon the lusti freshe sonne
From est to west of her worthines,
A cloudy sky unwarly with dirknesse
Eclipsed hath a parti of her light
And diffacid the holsom bemys bright
Of her welfare and prosperité
By th'envious fals contagiousté
Of the serpent, pompos and elat,
Amonge hemsilfe to make hem at debat,
Inducinge in rancour and discord.
For or thei entre withinne shippes bord,
Ageyn Ulixes worthi Thelamoun,
In presence of Kyng Agamenoun,
Purposed hath pleinly his matere
Tofore Grekis, anoon as ye shal here.
[Ajax objects to awarding the Palladium to Ulysses, but
Menelaus and Agamemnon decide in favor of Ulysses. When
Ajax threatens vengeance, he is murdered; Menelaus,
Agamemnon, and Ulysses fall under suspicion. Antenor invites
the Greek leaders to a feast, where they discuss Aeneas's
hiding Polyxena. Aeneas is banished, and he advises the
Trojans to elect Antenor as their king, so that he might kill
Antenor when he returns to accept the office. Antenor leaves
Troy for the island of Corbodya, where he is welcomed.
Cassandra prophesies the death of Agamemnon.
Meanwhile, King Naulus plans to exact revenge on the
Greeks because he believes the false story that his son
Palamedes, who replaced Agamemnon as the Greek leader,
was murdered by Ulysses and Diomede, though he was
actually killed by Paris. With his son Oetes, Naulus builds
signal fires to lure the Greek ships onto the rocks, where two
hundred ships are lost. Oetes also writes Clytemnestra that
Agamemnon has wed a Trojan princess. Aegisthus,
Clytemnestra's lover, murders Agamemnon on his return; and
Orestes, Agamemnon's son, is secretly sent to Crete. Oetes
seeks to destroy Diomede as well by telling his wife, Egra, that
Diomede killed her brother Assandrus on the voyage to Troy
and has taken another wife. Egra banishes Diomede from his
kingdom; he wanders forsaken until Aeneas calls him to Troy
to help him. Diomede becomes the chief protector of Troy. As
his reputation spreads, his wife, fearing his might, convokes
her parliament, rescinds his banishment, and welcomes him
back to his kingdom, where he lives happily. Aeneas then
leaves Troy with his men and reaches Carthage with his
father, Anchises. The Aeneid records his losing Creusa,
betraying Dido, and conquering Italy, but Troy Book says no
more about him. Orestes undertakes vengeance for the murder of
Agamemnon, with the aid of several kings. He captures the
city of Methene and imprisons Clytemnestra, while his men kill
Aegisthus. The next morning Orestes kills Clytemnestra, hacks
her body into small pieces, and carries them outside the city
boundaries to be fed to the beasts and dogs. Menelaus tries to
deprive Orestes of his crown because of matricide, but Nestor
supports Orestes. Orestes and Menelaus are reconciled, and
Orestes marries Hermione, the daughter of Menelaus and
Helen, while Erigona, the daughter of Aegisthus and
Clytemnestra hangs herself. The story next moves to the
adventures of Ulysses (lines 45-1780).]
O Ulixes, by ordre in my writyng
Thin aventures commen on the ring,
Ful wonderful bothe on lond and se,
Entermedlid with grete adversité!
For Guydo, first discrivinge thi repeire,
Seith how thou founde weder foule and faire,
Now agreable, now the thounder sowne,
Now stille and smothe, now with clowdis frowne;
And seith also that thou dedist ordeyne
To thi passage myghty shippes tweyne
Apparailled al for marchaundise,
That thou myghtest in most secré wyse
Every meschef of the se eskape.
But for al that thou haddist a fel jape:
For as this auctor thi resort doth wryte,
He seith Ulixes, for al his wordis white,
Irobbed was of riches and of good;
Contrarious wynde so ageyn him stood
That he was drive, to his confusioun,
Into the myghty stronge regioun
Where Thelamoun regned by his lyve;
And there he was hent and take blyve,
Be myghti hond sesid by the brest,
And merciles put under arest;
For thei him had suspect in werkyng,
Touching the mordre of the same kyng.
But he so wrought by his sleighti wyle
And his tale sette in swiche a stile
That hem alle he pleinly hath bejaped,
And fro her hond frely is eskaped,
Except that he, for al his queynte fare,
Of his tresour was ymade ful bare.
And for his passage was to him unkouthe,
He fil ageyn into the wolves mouthe;
For verraily, as it is specified,
Kyng Naulus men han hym eft espied,
Take and bounde and cheyned mercyles
For the mordre of Kyng Pallamydes.
But the story reherseth in certeyn
By his prudence he eskaped is ageyn —
For he was bothe expert, wys, and olde —
Althei the maner be not fully tolde
Of his eskape, thorugh his besy peyne,
Out of daunger of these kynges tweyne —
Til thorugh fortune he cam fro meschef fre
To the presence of Kyng Ydumee
In symple array and torne apparaile.
Wherof the kyng gretly gan mervaile
To sen his povert in so lowe maner;
But for al that he maked him good cher;
Though thilke tyme he were infortunat,
He hym resseiveth liche to his estat.
And whan thei wern bothe tweyne allone,
In compleynyng Ulixes made his mone
Unto the kyng, as he that was ful sage,
Ceriously the sort of his passage,
With face sad and a sobre chere,
Fro point to point, anon as ye shal here.
"My lord," quod he, "shortly to expresse,
Of trust I have in youre gentilnes,
I shal to yow myn aventures alle
Rehersyn her, right as it is falle.
First, whan that I Troye lond forsook
And the water with my shippes took,
I was anoon with wynde pesible blowe
To an yle whiche was to me unknowe,
Callid Mirma, of gret haboundance;
And alle thing that was to my plesaunce,
That may for silver or for gold be bought,
I redy fonde, and wantid right nought,
And ther abood ful longe while in joie
With the tresour that I gat at Troye.
My shippes stuffed, my men hool and sounde,
And for commodité of that ilke grounde,
We lyked so the contré enviroun
That for disport and recreacioun
Oure tariyng ther we thought not longe,
For no man dide unto us no wronge.
Til on a day that the eyr was stille,
The wynde also fully at oure wille,
We seyled forthe in quiete and in pes
Unto a port called Clanstafages,
Wher with my meyné long and many day
I fond al thing according to my pay —
The wedir lusty, agreable, and feir.
But who may trust outher in wynde or eyr?
For upon feith of the smothe skye
Ageyn to ship fast I gan me hye,
Taried nought, but tok anoon the see,
Smothe and calm enduring daies thre,
That in the wedir founde was no lak.
But sodeynly the hevene turned blak;
The hydous tempest and the wawes grene
Oute of hope han me dispeired clene,
Troublid my spirit and made me pensif,
Withoute refut t'eskape with the lyf,
Possid and drive by many sondri yle,
Til at the last, cast up at Cecyle,
Recuryng lond with gret annoy and peyne,
Wher thilke tyme regned kynges tweyne.
And as I can remembre douteles,
The ton of hem called Sorigenes,
Whiche unto me ful contrarious was,
And the tother named Coclopas —
Brethren of birthe and in conclusioun
Ilyche cruel of condicioun:
For though my sort had shape for the nonys,
Bothe tweyne fil on me attonys,
Oppressing me in ful gret distresse,
Spoiled my shipes of tresour and richesse,
And for no pité liked not to spare,
Til I was left destitut and bare
Of al my good. Allas, my mortal chaunce!
And most of al was to me grevaunce,
Whan of my gold thei myght no more restreyne,
Thei sent doun her myghti sonys tweyne —
Alipham, that was ful large and long,
And Polipheme the myghti geaunt strong —
Whiche on my men t'avenge hem wer so fayn
That thei of hem han an hundred slayn,
Disaraied to stonden at diffence.
And of malys, with sodeyn violence
Thei token me, for meschef almost lorn,
And Alphenor, myn owne brother sworn,
And hatfully, as thei han us founde,
In cheynes cast and in stokkys bounde,
And after that ylokked in presoun.
And for to make platly mencioun,
This myghti man, this grete Polypheme,
A suster had, shortly for to deme,
Oon the fairest that ever yit was born;
She myght in bewté so be set aforn —
Nature hir gaf swiche a prerogatyf —
A clene mayde, sothly, and no wyf,
Flouryng bothe in fairnes and bounté.
Whom Alphenor whan he dide se,
Albe he was fetrid in prisoun,
For love he lost wit and eke resoun,
And wex al mad — so narwe she dide him binde —
Save upon hir alwey was his mynde
And closid alwey was his perlous wounde.
And sixe monthes thus we leie bounde,
Bothe he and I, to seyn the platte trouthe,
Til Polypheme had upon us routhe;
And thorugh his grace and mediacioun,
He quyt us fre out of that prisoun
And shewed us, of mercy and pité,
After oure sorwe gret humanité.
But Alphenor, yliche of oon entent,
Was with the brond of Cupide brent
And felt his part with many mortal fyt,
Til he so wrought by his sotil wyt
That on a nyght, who was lef or lothe,
He stale this mayde, and his weye he gothe
Thorugh help of men with him at that tyme.
But on the morwe at the hour of pryme
Poliphemus gan us for to sewe,
Whos myghti hond we myght nat eschewe;
And swiche asaut on us thei gan make
That of force thei han the mayde take
From Alphenor, maugre al his rage.
And Polypheme unto my damage
With his knyghtes so sore upon me lay
That I myght unnethe eskape away
To save my lyf, compassid enviroun,
To deth purswyd of that champioun.
But whan I sawe ther was non other geyn,
To fle the deth, shortly for to seyn,
While this geaunt most fersly on me sette,
With my swerd oute his eye I smette;
And unto ship with my companye
I fledde in haste, that no man myght espie
Where I becam nor Alphenor my fere.
And whan the wawes gonne for to clere,
And gracious wynd gan to us awake,
Thilk contré we han anoon forsake:
It was nat holsom for us to abide."
But of this man, like as writ Ovide,
Poliphemus the geaunt, out of drede,
Had an eye mydde of his forhede,
Whiche Ulixes smot out at a stroke;
And like the bowes of a braunchid oke
Was al his heer and his longe berde —
On whom to loke childer were aferd.
And whan that he hadde lost his sight,
Amonge the hilles he renneth day and nyght
In a rage to fynde hym som refuge,
Caste roches and grete stones huge
On every part enviroun the contré,
On Ulixes avenged for to be.
Thus seith Ovide in conclusioun;
In his boke of transformacioun,
Methamorphoseos, ther ye may it se,
Whansoevere that your leyser be
Ceriously the story for to rede.
And in writinge forthe I wil procede,
How Ulixes, with face ded and pale,
To Ydumee tolde forthe his tale,
Rehersyng thus, supprised and awapid.
"Fro Polipheme whan we wern eskaped,
Thorugh oure unhap and infelicyté
Into an yle myddes of the see
We were dryve, whan it gan to nyghte;
And Elodium that litel kyngdam hyghte,
Wher that Circes, the gret enchaunteresse,
Thilke tyme was lady and goddesse,
That koude hir craft so wondirfully performe,
Al sodeynly a man for to transforme
To have the liknes (and lesen his resoun)
Of hors or bere, tigre or lyoun,
Wolf or fox, or what hir list devise.
Hir dredful craft was shapen in swiche wise:
So myghti wern hir straunge pociouns,
Her letuaryes and confecciouns.
And she also so fair upon to se
That fro hir power no man myghte fle.
For be the werke of this sorceresse,
I was so fonned uppon hir fairnesse
That finally thus with me it stood:
That al a yere I with hir abood
And pleynly had power noon ne myght
For to depart, nouther day ne nyght,
So lusti was the lyf that I ladde.
In whiche tyme by me a child she hadde,
Right inly fair and goodly to the sight."
And Thelagonius in sothnes he hight,
Whiche afterward, I reherse can,
By processe wex a manly man.
"And be my sotil secré providence,
Of hir craft I hadde experience,
That maugre hir enchauntementes olde,
I stale away — she myght me nat holde.
And finally my fate to conclude,
With my konnyng hir craft I gan delude,
That with my men I skaped fro her hond
And went at large fre out of hir lond.
But al this thing me litel dide availe.
For on my way as I gan to saile,
For al my sleight, in a litel while
I blowe was up into an yle
Wher Calypha, suster to Circes,
Was crowned quene and held her scepter in pes;
Whos craftis wern so myghty and so strong,
Maugre my wil she held me ther ful long.
But she in sothe, to speke of wommanhed,
Of bounté, fredam, and of goodlyhed,
Surly had so sovereyn excellence
That myn abood to me was noon offence.
But whosoevere therat crye or clappe,
At the last I skaped fro hir trappe
And cam to an yle, right as any lyne,
Whiche specialy thorugh high power devyne
Ordeyned is of yore be myracle —
As it were, a spiritual oracle —
A man to have in a temple there
Sodeyn answere of what him list enquere,
Of questiouns and demaundes alle,
And of soules what shal eke befalle,
Whan men ar dede and graven under stoon.
And I gan axe in the temple anoon
Myn aventures that shuld after swe
And wher a man myght his fate eschewe;
And of al this, lyk to myn entent,
I had answere ful convenient —
Save what befalleth whan a soule is goon,
Diffynycioun unto me was noon.
Swiche thing t'asoile acordeth nat to right:
It is reserved unto Goddes myght
And excedeth resoun and wit of man.
And fro thens forthe to seile I gan,
Dreven with wynde and no part socoured,
Wher I was lyk to have be devourid
Of Caribdis with his profounde welle,
Where Sirenes — Meremaydnes — dwelle,
That fro the brest with skalis silver shene
Ben of her shap fysches freshe and clene,
And uppermore, Kynde doth compasse
Hem to apere femynyn of face,
Lyk virgines that were of nature
Withoute spot, undefouled pure.
And of custom, in wawis as thei flete,
The song of hem is so hevenly swete,
So angelik and ful of armonye
That verrailly the sugred melodie
Ravisshe wolde any man alyve,
Of inly joie almost his herte ryve,
Make a man, of sodeyn highe plesaunce,
Foryete hymsilf and lese his remembraunce,
Devoide hym clene from his owne thought,
Til unwarly he be to meschef brought.
And with her song, or he take kepe,
He shal be brought in a mortal slepe;
And thei anoon, it may not be withdrawe,
Wil drenche his ship lowe under the wawe.
Thus the swetnes of her hevenly soun
Bringeth a man to confusioun,
Whosoevere by her boundis pace.
But with the lif I eskaped by grace;
For myn erys with wex and gommys clere
Were stoppid so that I ne myghte here
Touche nor werble of her instrumentis,
Wherby the resoun of man yblent is.
And finally, thorugh my sotilté,
I and my men ben eskapid fre,
Seiling forthe, al mat of werynesse,
Til we cam up with ful gret distresse
At Phenyce, and toke anoon the lond,
Cast anker, and oure shippes bond.
But sothly ther it fil us ful unfaire;
For the peple, cruel and contraire,
Only of malis fil on me anoon
And slowe my men almost everychon;
Tresour and good, litel that I hadde,
Was me byraft; and al with hem thei ladde;
And fewe of hem that wer left alive
Thei token hem and put in prisoun blyve.
Thus hath Fortune lad me on her daunce
With litel joie and plenté of meschaunce,
Of whos daunger lerned and expert,
I am falle in meschef and povert;
And with gret dool and sorwe ful my brest,
On se and londe, by southe and nat by est
I am com unto youre presence
And have declared pleinly in sentence
Myn aventures to youre worthinesse,
Of trust only and of feithfulnesse
That I have to yow in special.
And now I have rehersid and told al
To youre highnesse in my beste wyse,
Withoute more — it doth to me suffise."
And thaugh in hert he was constreyned sore,
Thilke tyme Ulixes spak no more
But held his pes, ful hevy in lokyng.
And Ydumeus lik a gentil kyng
Counforted hym al that evere he myght,
And besy was his herte for to light,
And hym besought his hevynesse lete;
And as long as hym list in Crete
With hym abide, he made hym sureté
He shulde faren also wel as he
And nat want of what may do him ese.
And whan his sorwe somwhat gan apese,
That his rage drow unto an ende,
Leve he toke and seide he wolde wende
Oute of that londe home to his contré.
But first the kyng, of fredam and bounté,
Yaf unto hym gret riches and array
And whatsoevere was unto his pay —
Gold, tresour, and many other thinges;
And at the partynge of these tweyne kynges,
There wer shippes whan him list to saile,
Redy stuffid with meyné and vitaile.
And thus Ulixes gan hym redy make;
And whan he hathe his leve fully take,
He hasted hym, and toke anoon the se,
And gan saile toward his contré.
But first he went to Kyng Alphenoun,
Whiche passingly hadde affeccioun
To sen Ulixes at his homecomyng
And desirous over alle thing
To han of hym newly aqueyntaunce:
For unto hym was inly gret plesaunce
To here hym talke, for his elloquence,
For his wysdam and his highe prudence.
And ther he was, after al his smert,
Receyved pleinly with as glad an hert
As evere yit was any maner man
Sithen tyme that the world began;
And to encres of his felicité,
Ther herd he first of Penolope,
His trewe wyf, withoute spot or blame,
Of whom yit grene is the noble fame,
Whiche from hir lord, for al his long absence,
In thought nor dede nevir dide offence
But sothly was, bothe in chere and dede,
Thorughoute Grece example of wommanhede.
And yit was she, as bokes list expresse,
Thorughoute the world merour of fairnes,
And among Grekis born of highest blood,
Called of auctours bothe fair and good;
And yit seyn bokes of hir, douteles,
Was never noon that had so gret pres
But she hir kepte, chaunging for no newe,
Unto hir lord evere iliche trewe,
Of hert ay oon, nat partid into tweyne,
That she is called quene and sovereyne
Of wyfly trouthe in this bokis olde.
And oft, I fynde, hir herte wolde colde;
She turne pale for hir lord so ferre,
In hir closet to heren of the werre,
Of drede she had, and for fere eke quake,
Of fantasies for hir lordes sake;
For his absence, bothe eve and morwe,
Was deth to hir and inportable sorwe.
And ay in sothe for joie or any game,
Whan it fel she herd Hectoris name,
In any place anoon she fil aswowne
And gan hirsilf al in teris drowne;
Of wommanhed so she was aferde
To here the slaughter of his mortal swerde,
List hir lord, of knyghtly surquedie,
Hadde of fortune falle in jupartye,
Of hap or sort tamet that worthi knyght,
That selde or never she felt hir herte light.
And many dremes anyghtes dide hir gaste,
Al the while that the sege laste;
And every play was venym in hir sight,
Whan that she was from hir owne knyght:
For in this world she had joie noon
Of highe nor lowe, pleinly, but of oon,
For whos sake al myrthe she refuseth.
And whoso be that in his herte museth
Of any womman anything but good,
Of malencolye mevid in his blood,
Lat hym adverte of wisdam and se,
And remembre on Penolope,
For his decert list that he be blamyd.
And, O Guydo, thou shuldest ben ashamed
To seyn of wyves anything but wele;
For in good feith, as fer as I can fele,
Though oon or two do among offence,
She that is good thorugh hir providence
Is therof no thing for to wyte.
And though Guydo in his boke endite
The variaunce of Eleyne or Cryseyde
Or Medea, that for sorwe deyde,
Lete ther ageyn, of right and equité,
The wyfly trowthe of Penolope,
The maydenhed of yonge Policene,
And the goodnes of Eccuba the quene,
Of Cassandra eke the stedfastnes;
And with al this, take the kyndenes
Of Pantasile, withoute variaunce;
And put al this togidre in balaunce,
And ye shal fynde, yif ye list acounte,
Maugre who grucchith, trouthe shal surmounte —
I dar aferme — and bere aweye the pris:
Ther wil no man replie that is wys —
He were to feble in his oppinioun!
And while Ulixes was with Alphenoun,
It was to hym made relacioun
Of an hatful conspiracioun,
That certeyn lordis enviroun his contré
Ravisshe wolde his quene Penolope,
Maugre alle tho that were ther ageyn,
Albe that she was evere ilike pleyn,
In hir trouthe stidefast as a wal.
Yet thei have cast pleynly that she shal
Be take of force, it may nat be eschewed,
But it so be in haste she be reskewed.
For thei hem cast the tyme nat ajourne;
For day and nyght with hir thei sojourne,
Inly in herte for love disamaied.
But of wisdam she hathe hem so delaied
That ther was noon so manly nor so sage
That koude on hir geten avauntage,
So avise she was in hir wirkyng.
And whan Ulixes conceyved al this thing,
And fully knewe by open evidence,
And also had in special credence
Sent unto hym fro Penolope,
The mater hool declaringe in secré,
His owne sone Thelamoneus,
He wexe in herte wood and furious,
And wolde make no delacioun,
But in al haste besoughte Alphenoun,
The myghti kyng, of his high bounté
To releve hym in his adversité,
And that he wold thorugh his myghti hond
Of gentilnes conveye hym to his lond.
He graunteth hym and seith nat onys nay;
And bothe two in ful gret array
Taken the se whan the wynd was good;
Wel fortuned, for nothing hem withstood,
Thei be arived and hadde no lettyng,
Wher Ulixes, as ye han herd, was kyng.
And secrely anyght thei wer conveied
To hem that han his ligaunce disobeied;
And merciles, or thei myght awake,
In her beddes thei han hem alle take,
Makyng noon prolongyng til on the morwe,
But in al hast, for no wyght durst hem borwe,
Smet of her hedes by jugement final,
And set hem up on the castel wal,
Everyche by other endelong the rowe,
Upon the hour whan the cok gan crowe.
And thus al nyght thei kept hemsilfe cloos,
Til that Phebus meryly aroos
In the orient, whan the larke song;
And tho this kynges with her meyné strong,
Freshely beseyn, entre the cité.
Who was tho glad but Penolope?
Who made joie but this goodly quene,
Ful desirous hir owne lorde to sene?
But yif I shulde al in ordre sette
The grete myrthe thei made whan thei mette,
Make rehersaile of compleintes olde
And how thei gan her hertes to unfolde
Eche to other and list nothing concele,
And the gladnes that thei inly fele;
Yif I shulde put al in memorie —
The rejoisshinge and the hertly glorie
That his liges made at his comynge,
The costis eke thei hadde at his metynge,
The giftes grete and presentis riche
(In al this world, I trowe, noon ilyche) —
It were to long tariyng for my boke —
And how that he newe assuraunce toke
Of his lordis and his liges alle,
And how that thei to his grace falle,
The chere he made eke to Alphenoun
Of gentilnes thorugh his highe renoun,
And how the doughter, inly debonaire,
Of Alphenoun, Nausia the faire,
By Ulixes mediacioun
Iwedded was unto Thelamoun,
Born by discent (ther may no man say nay)
To rejoisshe his crowne after his day —
And thus cam in by his purviaunce
Of two regnes the myghti alliaunce —
And how al this brought was to the knotte,
Men wolde deme me pleinly to sotte
To presume of oppinioun
For to delate a descripcioun,
Sithen Guydo, touching but the chef
In this mater, of stile was but bref,
Shortly rehersing how Kyng Alphenoun
Repeired is hom to his regioun
And Ulixes in his chefe cité
Abood stille with Penolope,
Where I hym leve in joie and in solace
Til Antropos liketh to purchace
For to ficche finally the date,
The thred untwyne of his lyves fate.
[Lydgate now turns to the story of Pyrrhus and follows his
author in describing the descent of Pyrrhus's line. Pyrrhus
tries to restore his grandparents Peleus and Thetis, whom
Atastus has banished from their realm. He lands in the region
where they are exiled. Dressed as a pauper, he kills Atastus's
two sons and then, dressing in purple, he tells Atastus he is
one of Priam's sons, imprisoned by Pyrrhus. Atastus asks
where Pyrrhus is, and Pyrrhus shows him the cave where
Peleus is hiding. As Pyrrhus prepares to slay Atastus, Peleus
and Thetis intervene to stop him. Pyrrhus and Atastus agree to
divide the kingdom of Thessaly, and then Atastus resigns the
kingdom to Pyrrhus. Afterwards, Pyrrhus falls in love with
Orestes's wife, Hermione, though Andromache, Hector's
widow, is now his wife and he has a son, Achilleidos, by her.
He carries off Hermione, and the two women are soon at
odds. After Hermione writes to Menelaus, complaining that
Pyrrhus cherishes Andromache more than her, Menelaus tries
to kill Andromache but fails. Afterwards, Orestes slays
Pyrrhus at Delos, where he has gone to pray for Achilles. The
kingship of Thessaly passes to Achilleidos. When he comes of
age, Achilleidos resigns the kingdom to his half-brother,
Lamedonte, Hector's son, who frees all the Trojan captives. At
this point, Guido adds the story of King Menon, whom
Achilles slew when he tried to rescue Troilus. After Menon's
queen dies, she appears at his tomb next to Troilus, takes his
bones out of the tomb, puts them in a chest made of gold and
precious stones, and then disappears. Some say she was an
angel or a goddess or the soul of the king, but these matters
surpass my knowledge. Lydgate turns at this point to his final
chapter, the fate of Ulysses (lines 2315-2936).]
Lowe on my knees, now I muste loute
To thilke god that maketh men to route
And causeth folke to have glad swevenes,
Bothe at morwe and on lusti evenes,
Whan Morpheus, with his slepi wond,
Whiche that he holdeth alweie in his hond,
Hath marked hem ageyn the dirke nyght,
To maken men bothe mery and lyght,
And somwhile for to han gladnes,
And sodeynly to falle in hevynes,
Lyk as to hem he yeveth evydence
By sondry signes in his apparence.
Unto that lord now moste I mekely preie
At this tyme my stile to conveye,
Of Ulixes the dreme to discrive,
The laste of alle he hadde be his lyve,
Declaryng hym be tokenes ful notable
And by signes verray demonstrable,
As he slepte ageyn the pale mone,
His fatal day that shulde folwe sone.
For it fel thus: as he abedde lay
After mydnyght, tofore the morwe gray,
Hym thought he sawe appere a creature
To his sight celestial of figure —
Noon erthely thing but verraily devyne,
Of port, of chere wonder femynyne,
And as hym sempte in his fantasye,
Like a thing sent oute of fairie;
For the bewté of hir goodly face
Recounforted pleynly al the place,
Moste surmountynge and most sovereyne;
And the clernes of hir eyne tweyne
Al sodeynli, or men myght adverte,
Perce wolde evene to the herte —
Diffence noon myghte be devysed.
And Ulixes, with hir loke supprysed,
Gan hir beholde alweie more and more
And in his slep for to sighe sore,
Presyng ay with ful besy peyne
Hir t'enbracen in his armys tweyne;
But ay the more he presed hir to se,
Ay the more from hym she gan to fle;
And ay the more he gan to purswe,
She ageynwarde gan hym to eschwe,
So contrarie to hym was Fortune.
And whan she sawe he was importune,
She axed hym shortly what he wolde;
And he to hir the platte trouthe tolde.
"Certis," quod he, "my lyves emperesse,
Wher that ye ben woman or goddes
I can not deme nor jugen half aright,
I am so dirked and blendid in my sight;
But I dar wel affermyn in this place,
My lyf, my deth stant hooly in your grace,
More of merci requiryng thanne of right
To rewe on me, whiche am your owne knyght,
And of pité and compassioun
Goodly to sen to my savacioun:
For my desire but I may fulfille,
This silfe nyght to have of yow my wille,
To my recure I can no remedie,
For lak of routhe but I moste dye.
Now have I al atwexe hope and drede
Mysilf declared to youre wommanhede."
And after that she kepte hir clos a while,
And ful sadly gan on hym to smyle,
And, as it is put in remembraunce,
Seyde unto hym, with sobre countenaunce.
"Sothly," quod she, "thin affeccioun
Wolde fully turne to confusioun
Of us bothe; it is so perillous,
So inly mortal and contagious
That outterly ther geyne may no red,
But oon of us moste anoon be ded:
This is the fyn of the hatful chaunce
That shulde folwe after oure plesaunce."
And as Ulixes gan to neyghe nere,
Beholdyng ay on hir hevenly cher,
Whereas she stood upright on the grounde,
He sawe hir holde a spere longe and rounde,
The hed therof al of burned stele,
Forged new and grounde wonder wele;
And theruppon in his avisioun
He sawe a baner blased up and doun,
The felde therof al of colour ynde,
Ful of fysshes betyn, as I fynde,
And in som bokys like as it is tolde,
In the myddes a large crowne of golde.
And or that she turne gan hir face,
Likly anoon to parte oute of the place,
She spak to hym and seyde in wordes pleyn:
"This ful tokene of partyng of us tweyn
Foreveremore, nowther for sour nor swete,
After this day never ageyn to mete."
And disapering, anoon hir leve she toke.
And after that he sodeynly awoke
And gan to muse in his fantasie
What thing this dreme myghte sygnyfie;
But wher it ment owther evel or good,
The secrenes he nat undirstood,
For it surmountid sothly his resoun.
Therfore he sent thorugh his regioun
For swiche as wern sotil expositours
Of fate or sort, or crafti devinours,
For alle the clerkis soget to his crowne,
T'assemble in oon his swevene to expowne.
And whan thei knewe be informacioun
The maner hool of his avisioun,
Thei conclude, accordynge into oon,
The tyme aprocheth and shal come anoon
That oon that is nexte of his kynrede
With a spere shulde make hym blede.
Lat se wher he his fate can remewe
Sith it is hard destyné to eschewe,
As seyn tho folke in ther oppinioun
That werke and truste on constellacioun.
And Ulixes, musyng on this tale,
Chaungeth colour and gan wexe pale,
Wonder dredful and ful of fantasies,
Gan in hymsilf seke remedyes
To voide aweie thing that wil nat be:
He stareth brode, but he may nat se;
His inward loke was with a cloude shent.
But wenyng he to have be prudent
Made calle his sone Thelamoun,
And to be take and shette up in presoun,
He supposyng fully in his wit
Fro alle meschef therby to go quyte.
He nat adverteth nor ne toke noon hede
To the sharpnes of the speris hed,
Nor to the fysshes in the baner bete,
Nor to the se, wher thei swymme and flete,
Nor of the quene that called is Circes,
That signes brought of werre and nat of pes,
Nor of the crowne, tokene of dignité
Of oon that shal holde his royal se
Mid the wawes, bothe fel and wood,
Amonge the fysshes in the large flood.
And he shal make the devisioun,
Toforne remembrid in th'avisioun,
Ageyn his wil, of verray ignoraunce,
And execute the fatal purveiaunce
Up of the dreme with his spere of stele,
Whiche Ulixes considereth nevereadele,
Nor to no wyght hath suspecioun
But to his sone called Thelamoun,
That is closed and shet up in a tour.
And Ulixes with coste and gret labour
Fro day to day doth his besynes
For hymsilf to make a forterresse,
Bilt on a roche, of lym and square stonys,
Depe diched aboute for the nonys,
That no man may entre on no side,
Where he casteth al his lyve t'abide
With certeyn men chose in special,
Night and day to wache on the wal
That no wyght shulde have noon entré,
But it so falle that he be secré,
Knowe of olde, and to counceil sworne.
Now as the story rehersed hath toforne,
The olde fool, this dotard Ulixes,
A sone hadde begeten on Circes —
Freshe and lusti, yonge and coraious —
And he was called Thelagonyus,
Born in the se amonge the flodis rage,
That was also, for to rekne his age,
Fyve and twenti yere or thereaboute.
But of his fader he was ay in doute
What man he was or who it myghte be,
Beinge thereof in noon sureté,
Til on a day he, desirous to knowe,
To his moder fil on knees lowe,
Beseching hir goodly (and nat spare)
Of his fader the trouthe to declare;
What he was and where he shulde dwelle,
He besought that she wolde telle.
But sothly she long and many daies
Of prudence put hym in delayes,
Til that she sawe she myght have no reste,
So inportune he was in his requeste;
And whanne she knewe ther was non other bote,
Fro point to point she tolde hym crop and rote
Of Ulixes and where that he was kyng.
And he anoon made no lettyng,
But toke leve — it may no better be —
And seide pleinly he wolde his fader se,
Wherof the quene gan in herte colde.
But whan she sawe she myght him nat withholde,
She hym besought with chere debonaire
That he wolde sone ageyn repeire.
And forthe he seileth onward on his wey
Withoute abood the silfe same day
By many port and many fer contré,
Til he was brought there he wolde be —
To Achaia, a lond of gret renoun.
And he gan cerche thorugh the regioun
After the place and paleis principal
Whereas the kyng helde his se royal;
And he so long in the contré rood,
Til he was taught where the kyng abood,
Ther Ulixes was shet up in mewe,
To whiche place in haste he gan purswe,
A gret party releved of his sorwe.
And on a Monday, erly be the morwe,
Unto the brigge the righte weie he toke
And fond a porter deynous of his loke;
And lowly first he gan hym to preie
That he wold goodly hym conveie
Into the courte and make no tariyng,
For a message he hadde to the kyng.
But proudly he denyed hym the gate,
And shortly seide that he cam to late
To entre there in any maner wyse,
And ungoodly gan hym to dispise,
Frowarde of speche and malicious.
But in al haste Thelagonyus,
As he that was in herte nat afferde,
The proude porter hente be the berde
And with his fyste roof his chawle boon,
That he fil ded, muet as a stoon;
And other eke that hym tho withstood
He made proudly to lepen into flood;
And whan mo cam to make resistence,
He hent a swerde be manly violence,
And furiously in his irous tene
(The story seith) he slowe of hem fiftene,
Hymsilfe almoste wounded to the deth,
And gan, forwery, sothly faile breth.
And Ulixes, what for noise and soun,
To the brigge is descendid doun,
Findinge his men at entré of the gate
Ded and slayn be ful mortal hate;
And he ful irous hent anoon a darte,
Of aventure stonding tho aparte,
And cruelly caste at Thelagoun.
But the stroke, as in conclusioun,
Damageth nat, for it glood aside;
And he for haste no lenger wolde abide,
Hent up the darte withoute more areste,
And smot the kyng lowe under the breste
Thorugh the ribbes, shortly for to seie,
That of the wounde he moste nedis deie,
Having tho noon oppinioun
That he was kyng, nor suspecioun,
Nor that he had his owne fader slawe.
Whiche faste gan to his ende drawe;
His wounde was so dedly and so kene
That he myght himsilve nat sustene,
But pale and wan to the grounde gan glide,
His men aboute upon every side,
That besy wern to help hym and releve.
But his sore gan so ake and greve
That he wel felte that he muste be ded;
But abrayding, as he lifte up his hed,
Havyng as yit mynde and good resoun,
Remembre gan on his avisioun
And how it was tolde him oute of drede
That oon that was nexte of hys kynrede,
Descendid doun from his owne lyne,
His swevene shal parforme to the fyne
And acomplisshe it with a darte of stele.
And for he coude nat conceyve wele
What that he was nor who it shulde be,
He bad anoon unto his meyné,
Withoute harme or any violence,
Fette anoon unto his presence
The yonge man whiche at the gate stood,
That hath that day shad so moche blood.
And whan he was aforn Ulixes brought,
Of hym he hath enquered oute and sought
Firste of his kyn and nexte of his contré.
"Certis," quod he, "I was born in the se,
Amonge fysshes myd the wawes grene,"
And seide also his moder was a quene
Called Circes, of whom the name is kouthe
Bothe est and west and right fer be southe,
And tolde also his fader was a kyng,
That hym begat at his homecomyng
Fro Troye toun toward his contré.
"And as my moder Circes tolde me
Secrely that he Ulixes highte,
Of wham desirous for to han a sighte,
I entred am this myghti regioun,
And have pursuyd unto this dongoun
Only in hope my fader to have seyn;
But I se wel my labour is in veyn.
And sith in soth loste is my traveyl
And that it may on no side aveyle,
It were foly lenger here to dwelle.
Lo, here is al that I can you telle
Of my kynred; axeth me no more."
With that Ulixes gan to syghe sore
For lak of blood, as he that was ful pale,
And seide anoon, whan he herde his tale:
"Now wote I wel my woful destiné
Fulfilled is — it may noon other be!
Now wote I wel that it is to late
To grucche or strive ageyn my pitous fate;
For my sone, as clerkes whylom tolde,
Hath made an ende of my daies olde,
Theron expectant, with peynes ful grevous!"
And with that word Thelagonyus,
Whan he wist ageyn Natures lawe
That he, allas, hadde his fader slawe,
Whiche in that lond longe bar his crowne,
Withoute abood he fil anoon aswowne,
His clothes rent, his yolwe here totorn.
"Allas," quod he, "that evere was I born!
For cursid is my woful destiné
And my fortune, whiche I may nat fle!
Cursid my sort, cursid myn aventure,
And I, refus of every creature,
Forwaried eke my disposicioun!
And cursid is my constellacioun,
Cursed also and infortunat
The hour in whiche my fader me begat!
So wolde God withoute lenger red,
T'aquiten hym anoon, that I were ded,
To leie my lif for his deth to borwe!"
And whan the kyng sawe his grete sorwe
And wist he was his sone of Circes born,
By many signe rehersed heretoforn,
He unto hym anoon forgaf his deth,
As he myght for want and lak of breth,
So inportable was his passioun.
And his sone ycalled Thelamoun,
Whiche hath in presoun so many day be shet,
To his presence in al haste was fet,
Whiche, whan he saw his fader in swiche point,
Upon the deth stondyng in disjoint,
And knewe also and the trouthe founde
By whom he had his laste dedly wounde,
A swerd he hent and mortally irous
And wolde have ronne on Thelagonius,
Of highe dispit avenged for to be.
But Ulixes of faderly pité
Made his men hold hym and restreyne;
And amyd of al his grevous peyne,
By his prudence — and that was don anoon —
He made his sones for to be al oon
And gaf in charge unto Thelamoun,
Of enternes and affeccioun
And of hool herte, feyned neveradel,
Al his lyve to love his brother wel,
To parte with hym tresour, gold, and good,
As to the nexte born of al his blood.
And tho in soth was no lenger taried
That Ulixes rially was caried
Of Achaya to the chefe cité,
And after that lyved daies thre,
Withoute more, and tho gaf up the gost.
I can nat seyn pleynly to what cost
After this lyf that his soule is goon,
But in a towmbe of metal and of stoon
The body was closed and yshet;
And after that maked was no let
That Thelamoun with gret sollennité
Icrowned was in his fadres see,
Swerd and septer delivered to his hond
Of Achaya, a ful worthi lond,
Right abundaunt of tresour and of good.
And Thelagoun with hym ther abood
A yere complet, wel cherisshed in his sight,
And of his brother toke the ordre of knyght;
And for hym list no lenger ther abide,
The kyng for hym wysly gan provide,
That he with gold, gret tresour, and plenté
Repeired is home to his contré;
And his moder, of age wexe sad,
Of his repeire passingly was glad,
As she that sawe be hir sorserie
He skaped was many jupartie,
Many pereil, and many gret distresse.
And after that she fil into seknesse
And hir dette yalde unto nature,
Whiche eskape may no creature
In al this world that is here lyvyng.
After whos deth hir sone was made Kyng
Of Aulydos, the merveillous contré,
As I have tolde, enclosed with a see,
Amonge rokkes, wher many shippes drowne;
And sixti yere ther he bar his crowne,
This manly man, Thelagonyus.
And his brother, Thelamonyus,
Regned also in his regioun
Seventi wynter, as made is mencioun.
And after that thei made a royal ende,
And bothe two to Iubiter thei wende,
To regne there among the sterris bright.
But now the lanter and the clere light
Is wastid oute of Frigius Darete,
Whilom of Troye wryter and poete.
Guyde have I noon, forthe for to passe:
For evene here in the silfe place
He ficched hath the boundis of his stile,
At the sege he present al the while;
And ay in oon with hem dide abide
Dites the Greke on the tother side;
And bothe two as in her writyng
Ne varie nat but in litel thing
Touching mater, as in special,
That is notable or historial.
I do no fors of incidentes smale,
Of whiche in soth it is but litel tale,
Save this Dites maketh mencioun
Of the noumbre slayen at the toun
Lastinge the sege, affermyng out of drede
Eyghte hundrid thousand and sixe wer ther dede
On Grekis side, upright in the felde;
And as Dares also there behelde,
On Troye party in the werre kene
Six hundrid thousand seventi and sixtene
Were slayen there — in Guydo ye may se —
With hem that cam to helpe the cité
Fro many coost and many regioun
In diffence and reskus of the toun.
And ful ten yere, so as I can caste,
And sixe monthes the myghti sege laste
Or it was gete — Dares writ hymsilve —
And overmore complet dayes twelve
Or Grekis hadde ful pocessioun,
By fals engyn of the Greke Synoun,
Like as toforn rehersid was but late.
I have no more Latyn to translate
After Dites, Dares, nor Guydo;
And me to adden any more therto
Than myn auctours specefie and seyn,
The occupacioun sothly wer but veyn,
Lik a maner of presumpcioun.
And tyme complet of this translacioun
By just rekenyng and accountis clere
Was a thousand and foure hundrid yere,
And twenti ner — I knowe it out of drede —
After that Crist resseyved oure manhede
Of hir that was Emperesse and Quene
Of hevene and helle and maide clene —
The eyghte yere by computacioun
Suynge after the coronacioun
Of hym that is most gracious in werkyng,
Herry the Fyfthe, the noble worthi kyng
And protector of Brutis Albyoun,
And called is thorugh his highe renoun,
Thorugh his prowes and his chivalrie,
Also fer as passeth clowde or skye,
Of Normaundie the myghti conquerour.
For thorugh his knyghthod and diligent labour,
Maugre alle tho that list hym to withseyn,
He hath conquered his herytage ageyn
And by his myghti prudent governaunce
Recured eke his trewe title of Fraunce,
That whoso liste loken and unfolde
The pedegrew of cronycles olde
And cerchen bokes ywrite longe aforn,
He shal fynde that he is justly born
To regne in Fraunce by lyneal discent.
And onward now he is made regent
Of thilke lond durynge his fader lyf,
Of his goodnes to voide werre and stryf,
He to rejoisshe withoute more delay
Septer and crowne after the kynges day,
As it is clerly in conclusioun
Enrolled up in the convencioun;
And thanne I hope the tyme fortunat
Of the olde worlde called aureat
Resorte shal, by influence of grace,
That cruel Mars shal no more manace
With his lokis furious and wood,
By false aspectus for to shede blood
Atwene the folkes of this rewmys tweyne,
Whiche every wyght oughte to compleyne.
But as I trust in myn oppinioun,
This worthi kyng of wisdam and resoun
And of knyghthod shal so doon his peyne
To maken oon that longe hath be tweyne.
I mene thus: that Yngelond and Fraunce
May be al oon withoute variaunce,
Oute of hertis old rancour to enchase
By influence of his myghti grace,
That called is of clerkis douteles
The sovereyn lord and the prince of pes.
And I hope his grace shal now reyne
To sette reste atwene this rewmys tweyne;
For in his power sothly stondeth al,
And alliaunce of the blod royal,
That is knet up by bonde of mariage,
Of werre shal voide aweie the rage,
To make pes with brighte bemys shyne.
And on that is called Kateryne
And namyd is right good and faire also
Shal be mene atwixe bothe two,
Of grace enprentid in hir wommanhede,
That to compleyne we shal have no nede.
And I hope hir gracious arryvaille
Into this lond shal so moche availle
That joie, honour, and prosperité
Withoute trouble of al adversité
Repeire shal and al hertly plesaunce,
Plenté, welfare, and fulsom abundaunce,
Pes and quiete, bothe nyghe and ferre,
Withoute strife, debat, or any werre,
Meschef, povert, nede, or indygence,
With ful ceessyng of deth and pestilence —
Sothly, al this I hope ye shal sen
Come into lond with this noble quene,
That we shal seyn of hert and feyne nought:
Blessed be she that al this hath us brought!
And he that hath thorugh myght of his werkyng,
Of his knyghthod concluded al this thing,
And swiche mervailles in armis don and wrought,
And his purpos fully aboute brought
Of highe wisdam set in his inward sight,
Rejoisshynge al that longeth to his right,
And highest sit of worthinesse in glorie
With the scepter of conquest and victorie —
I praie to God only for his beste,
Whan he hath al set in pes and reste
And is ful put in clere pocessioun
Of al that longeth to his subjeccioun,
To sende hym home with as gret honour
As evere yit hadde any conquerour,
Longe after in joie and in quyete
For to regnen in his royal sete.
Thus shal I ay — ther is no more to seye —
Day and nyght for his expleit ypreye
Of feythful herte and of hool entent,
That whylom gaf me in commaundement
Nat yore ago, in his faderes tyme,
The sege of Troye on my maner to ryme,
Moste for his sake, to speke in special.
Although that I be boistous and rual,
He gaf me charge this story to translate,
Rude of konnynge, called John Lydgate,
Monke of Burie be professioun,
Usynge an habite of perfeccioun,
Albe my lyf acorde nat therto.
I feyne nat; I wote wel it is so —
It nedeth nat witnesse for to calle;
Record I take of my brethren alle,
That wil nat faille at so gret a nede.
And al that shal this noble story rede
I beseche of support and of grace
Ther I offende in any maner place
Or whersoevere that thei fynde errour,
Of gentilnesse to shewe this favour:
Benygnely for to done her peyne
To correcte rather than disdeyne.
For wel wot I moche thing is wrong,
Falsly metrid, bothe of short and long;
And yif thei shuld han of al disdeyn,
It is no drede, my labour wer in veyn.
Late ignoraunce and rudnesse me excuse:
For yif that ye platly al refuse,
For certeyn fautes whiche ye shal fynde,
I doute nat, my thank is set behynde;
For in metring though ther be ignoraunce,
Yet in the story ye may fynde plesaunce
Touching substaunce of that myn auctour wryt.
And thoughe so be that any word myssit,
Amendeth it with chere debonaire;
For an errour to hyndren and appaire
That is nat seide of purpos nor malys
It is no worshippe to hym that is wys;
And no wyght gladly so sone yeveth lak
(Specialy behynden at the bake)
As he in sothe that can no skyl at al.
He goth ful hool that never hadde fal,
And I nat fynde, of newe nor of olde,
For to deme ther is noon so bolde
As he that is blent with unkonnyng —
For blind Baiard cast pereil of nothing,
Til he stumble myddes of the lake —
And noon so redy for to undirtake
Than he in soth nor bolder to seie wers
That kan no skyl on prose nor on vers;
Of alle swiche that can nat be stille,
Litel forse wher thei seie good or ille.
For unto hem my boke is nat direct
But to swiche as haven in effect
On symple folke ful compassioun,
That goodly can by correccioun
Amende a thing and hindre nevereadel,
Of custom ay redy to seie wel.
For he that was gronde of wel-seying
In al hys lyf hyndred no makyng,
My maister Chaucer, that founde ful many spot;
Hym liste nat pinche nor gruche at every blot,
Nor meve hymsilf to parturbe his reste
(I have herde telle), but seide alweie the best,
Suffring goodly of his gentilnes
Ful many thing enbracid with rudnes.
And yif I shal shortly hym discryve,
Was never noon to this day alyve,
To rekne alle, bothe yonge and olde,
That worthi was his ynkhorn for to holde.
And in this lond yif ther any be
In borwe or toun, village or cité
That konnyng hath his tracis for to swe,
Wher he go brood or be shet in mwe,
To hym I make a direccioun
Of this boke to han inspeccioun,
Besechyng hem with her prudent loke
To race and skrape thorughoute al my boke,
Voide and adde wher hem semeth nede;
And though so be that thei nat ne rede
In al this boke no rethorikes newe,
Yit I hope thei shal fynde trewe
The story pleyn, chefly in substaunce.
And whoso liste to se variaunce
Or worldly thing wrought be daies olde,
In this boke he may ful wel beholde
Chaunge of Fortune, in hir cours mutable,
Selde or nat feithful outher stable —
Lordes, princes from her royalté
Sodeinly brought in adversité,
And kynges eke plounget in povert,
And for drede darynge in desert;
Unwar slaughter compassed of envie,
Mordre execut by conspirasie,
Awaite liggyng, falshede, and tresoun,
And of kyngdammys sodeyn eversioun;
Ravysshyng of wommen for delyt,
Rote of the werre and of mortal despit,
Fals mayntenaunce of avouterye,
Many worthi causyng for to dye,
Synne ay concludynge, whoso taketh hede,
Vengaunce unwar for his final mede:
To declare, that in al worldly lust,
Who loke aright, is but litel trust,
As in this boke exaumple ye shal fynde,
Yif that ye list enprente it in your mynde —
How al passeth and halt here no sojour,
Wastyng away as doth a somer flour,
Riche and pore, of every maner age.
For oure lyf here is but a pilgrymage,
Meynt with labour and with moche wo,
That yif men wolde taken hede therto
And toforn prudently adverte,
Litel joie thei shuld han in her herte
To sette her trust in any worldly thing;
For ther is nouther prince, lord, nor kyng,
Be exaumple of Troye, like as ye may se,
That in this lif may have ful sureté.
Therfore, to Hym that starf uppon the Rode,
Suffringe deth for oure alder goode,
Lyfte up youre hertis and thinke on Him among:
For be ye nevere so myghti nor so strong,
Withoute Hym al may nat availle;
For He can yif victorie in bataille
And holde a felde, shortly to conclude,
With a fewe ageyn gret multitude.
And be grace He maketh princes stronge,
And worthi kynges for to regne longe,
And tirauntis sodeynly oppresse
(Throwe hem doun for al her gret richesse);
And in His hond power He reserveth
Eche man t'aquite liche as he disserveth.
To whom I preie with devocioun,
With al myn herte and hool affeccioun
That He list graunt longe contenuaunce,
Prosperité, and good perseveraunce,
Helthe, welfare, victorie, and honour
Unto that noble myghti conquerour,
Herry the Fyfthe, toforn yspecefied,
So that his name may be magnified
Here in this lyf up to the sterres clere
And after that above the nynthe spere,
Whan he is ded, for to han a place.
This praie I God for to send hym grace,
At whos biddynge, as I tolde late,
First I began the Sege to translate;
And now I have hooly in his honour
Executed the fyn of my labour.
Unto alle that shal this story se,
With humble herte and al humylité
This litel boke lowly I betake,
It to supporte, and thus an ende I make.
causes the winds to roar
wave; (see note)
foes; defeat; (see note)
ever obstinate and contrary; (see note)
arrogant and exultant
set them at odds
Put forth; case
arrive in time
Ajax; when he was alive
seized; eagerly taken
suspected him of treachery
deceived; (see note)
Idomeneus; (see note)
Point by point; fortune
drove me into despair
melancholy; (see note)
Tossed; driven past; isle
one; (see note)
Equally; by temperament
fortune; seemed set for the moment
at the same time
Bearing heavily on me
seize; (see note)
grew; (see note)
was in love; severe attack
no matter who liked it or not
hour of sunrise
escape; (see note)
surrounded; (see note)
without a doubt
in the middle of
Point by point
At that time
what she pleased to imagine
of such a nature
remained; (see note)
truth; was named
relate; (see note)
grew to be
ask about; immediately
before he is aware; (see note)
ears; gums (from plants)
blinded; (see note)
truly; bad luck befell us
despoiled; carried off
At that time
provided; followers; (see note)
fully; (see note)
alive; (see note)
truly; appearance; deed
by authors; (see note)
crowd [of lovers]
unbearable; (see note)
truth in all circumstances
at once; in a faint
By chance or fate pierced
at night; frighten; (see note)
think; (see note)
consider; (see note)
just punishment lest
not at all; blame
Let him be aware of
wish to take into account
No matter who complains
get the better of her; (see note)
secret message; (see note)
authority over his vassals
stand surety for
were on guard
if; (see note)
expenses; meeting him
came to his favor
have possession of
conclusion; (see note)
cut; (see note)
bow; (see note)
dreams; (see note)
land of supernatural creatures; (see note)
altogether; be no remedy
adorned with heraldic devices
blue; (see note)
shaped by hammering into a thin sheet; (see note)
directly; (see note)
imagination; (see note)
astrology; (see note)
looks with open eyes; (see note)
thinking; (see note)
Caused to be summoned
hammered into shape
not at all
Unless; happen; discreet
sworn to secrecy
gatekeeper haughty; (see note)
treat with contempt
broke his jaw bone; (see note)
water; (see note)
extremely weary, truly
Snatched; delay; (see note)
wound; ache; cause pain
before; (see note)
delay; immediately fainted; (see note)
yellow hair tore at
rejected by; (see note)
Cursed also my temperament
stars under which I was born
To repay; forthwith
pledge; as surety
knew; (see note)
grievous; suffering; (see note)
in such a plight
at the extremity
not at all
then truly without delay
Without delay; then gave
return; (see note)
to continue on to a new topic
set the limit of his writing
pay no heed
Before victory was achieved
time for finishing
Despite; wish; resist; (see note)
pedigree (genealogical tables)
search; written; before
from now on; (see note)
do away with
have possession of
golden; (see note)
one; (see note)
near and far
faculty of judgment
belongs; power of authority
untaught; unrefined; (see note)
Call to witness
Kindly; endeavor; (see note)
Undoubtedly; would be
if; plainly; reject
given up; (see note)
disparage; speak badly of
person; censure; (see note)
truly; knows no craft
blinded by ignorance
perceived; (see note)
in the middle; pool
It matters little
disparage not at all
disparaged no poetic composition; (see note)
very many blemishes
compositions enclosed by
take account of
skill; written practices to follow
Whether; is free; confined
erase; scrape off (text)
also overwhelmed by poverty; (see note)
lurking in wild regions
Lying in ambush
Sin; resulting in
If; wish; imprint
died; Cross; (see note)
good of us all
be put down
Siege [of Troy]
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