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Floris and Blancheflour


1 This summary is based on Hubert's translation of Fonds Français MS 1447, edited by Pelan in 1956 as Floire et Blancheflor.

2 Lines 27-28: Their aptitude to learning was a great marvel, / But their love [was] an even greater one

3 Who saw what had happened to his son because of love

4 Lines 555-57: I think that you are not feeling well, / That you put up such a sorrowful face. / Or don't you like your accommodation?

5 Lines 748-49: "It seems to me that it is fitting for you, / Even if it were worth three times as much"

6 Lines 1100-03: No one is so fair while being happy, / As they (i.e., Floris and Blancheflour) were in their distress. / No one could make out that they were sad / By the appearance that they assumed then


ABBREVIATIONS: A = Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, MS Advocates' 19.2.1 (Auchinleck); C = Cambridge, Cambridge University Library, MS Gg.iv.27.2; DV = De Vries edition (1966); E = London, British Library, MS Egerton 2862; FH = French and Hale edition, in Middle English Metrical Romances (1930); S = Sands edition, in Middle English Verse Romances (1966); V = London, British Library, MS Cotton Vitellius D.iii.

31 When they had five yere to scoole goon. Since they went to school at the age of seven, the children are now twelve years old.

66 londe of Mountargis. The name "Montargis" is unique to the English text. The original Old French, and all other continental versions, have "Montoire," or "Montoro," in Andalusia, Spain. Montargis, a medieval town near the Montargis Forest near Orleans in the Loire Valley, takes its name, ultimately, from Odysseus' loyal dog Argos; hence a place of loyalty, apt for Floris as he is removed from home and Blancheflour by his parents, whose act only strengthens his dog-like obedience to his love. Legends of obedient dogs in this "londe of Mountargis" thrive into the fourteenth century, one of the latest being a story of a French courtier, Aubry de Montdidier, who was killed by one Macaire. The king ordered a trial by combat between Aubrey's dog Argos and Macaire, who was armed with a cudgel. The dog won the victory, Macaire confessed, and was hanged. The Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition, indicates that the story is founded in earlier loyal dog stories. The trope remained popular into the nineteenth century. See Pixérécourt, Le chien de Montargis.

105-06 Floris sees that such pastimes give joy to others, but they do not cheer him up.

115 speke. Third singular present subjunctive, best translated as "Should any man speak to him."

119 Galyngale. Aromatic root, a spice (and a word) brought home by the crusaders.

147 Babyloyn. Probably not the Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar, but "the town of Bab-al-yun in ancient Egypt, which later became part of old Cairo" (Reiss, "Symbolic Detail in Medieval Narrative," p. 346). It is perhaps noteworthy that the author of Mandeville's Travels expresses concern that his readers distinguish between the two Babylons: "And vnderstondeth þat that Babyloyne ['Babylon the Less'] þat I haue spoken offe where þat the Soudan duelleth is not þat gret Babylone where the dyuersitee of langages was first made" (ed. Hamelius, pp. 24-25).

149-50 may ye for that lovely foode / Have muche catell and goode. On the alterity of Blancheflour and the mercantile trafficking of women, see Kelly, "Bartering of Blauncheflur," especially pp. 103-05.

155 the burgeise. The burgess or citizen has not been mentioned before, so that "a citizen" would have been more logical. A burgess is a freeborn man, but a commoner. He will act as a kind of intermediary, a business agent, for the king, and sell Blancheflour for him.

163 a coupe good and ryche. That Blancheflour is initially valued primarily as a commodity by Floris' father, the tradesmen, and the Emir is evident from the beginning. That Floris would yield the cup in a chess game (lines 357-58) demonstrates that to Floris the whole person of Blancheflour is more important. He seems aware of the way the system works, whereby she is a high-priced trade object, and he is able to move in his affections and loyalty beyond that system to a sacred commitment that affects even the Emir, who comes to pity and love them.

168 Paryse. Paris was one of the sons of Priam, the king of Troy. At the wedding of Peleus and the demigoddess Thetis, the goddess Eris ("discord"), who had not been invited, delivered a golden apple inscribed "To the most beautiful." When Hera (Juno), Athena (Minerva), and Aphrodite (Venus) claimed it, Paris was asked to judge who should win the apple. He awarded it to Aphrodite, because she had promised him the most beautiful woman in return. This was Helen, wife to Menelaos, king of Sparta. Paris carried her off to Troy, which precipitated the Trojan war.

176 Although it fits the rhyme scheme, this line, as it stands, makes sense only if we take it to refer back to the golden cup that was "good and ryche" (line 163).

180 amy. This is Lavinia, daughter of Latinus and Aeneas' bride-to-be.

198 have to queene. Kelly ("Bartering of Blauncheflur," p. 105) notes the tradition in oriental tales of the emir taking a new queen each year and killing the old one, "thus giving a new meaning to the term 'planned obsolescence,'" but there is no evidence in Floris and Blancheflour of such a practice. Here the marriage simply suggests a pleasing addition to the harem.

199 bour. Bower, (lady's) bedroom, hence, in this particular context, harem (S).

209 chirche. Since Floris and his parents are pagans, this word had best be translated as "temple."

218 That. It is not clear whether this is the subject or the object of the sentence, but either solution makes good sense. The same ambiguity is found in the remark of Floris' mother (lines 242-44) that Blancheflour died "for thy love," i.e., her love for him or his love for her? It is clear that their mutual love is the cause of all their problems.

221 lyght. As the French version makes clear, the original meaning of the word is intended here, i.e., "to descend (from one's horse)":"Il descent jus du palefroy / En la sale devant le roi" ("He dismounts from his horse in the hall before the king"). To ride into a hall on horseback was not uncommon, at least in narratives; witness the famous entry of the Green Knight into King Arthur's hall (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, lines 136-96).

226 The sense of this line is difficult. The MED, citing this line, glosses chargeth as "demands." In her edition of the poem, Fellows follows suit, as I have done, to read: "He does not demand any sort of answer." French and Hale suggest that "Chargeth is a result of confusion for the French: Il (his parents) se tardent de respons rendre. The Cotton MS has targeth, and the rest of the context is more like the French. The idiom 'charge to answer,' demand an answer, may have been intended" (FH, p. 830). Sands says that the "ME is confused, perhaps from maladroit translation from the French, but the sense is 'He [does not wait] to demand an answer, [but] went forth until he got to the chamber.'" But all of these readings are problematic; why would not Floris demand an answer to his question about Blancheflour? Perhaps a better way to read the line would be to take it as referring to his greeting of his father and mother. "Chargeth" might be glossed "care about" (MED chargen 11.a). The sense would be that he could scarcely greet his parents without asking about his lover - and he did not care about their response to his greeting (because he was so concerned about his beloved).

274-75 In four extra verses, between lines 274 and 275 of the present text, V indicates why Blancheflour was loved by all:
Vor in worlde nes nere non               
Þine imake of no wimmon;
Inouʒ þu cuþest of clergie
And of alle curteysie.
wasn't ever anyone
your equal among women
knew; learning
courtly conduct
331 To the king he goth to take his leve. From this point on, as Floris asserts his own authority, he becomes somewhat more adult as he would attempt to control his destiny, though it is his childlike integrity, even as much as his stubborn will, that continues to define his behavior to the end. See Barnes ("Cunning and Ingenuity," p. 13) on Floris' more potent sense of gin in the English when compared to the French source.

338 Jhesu thee of care unbynde. A small slip of the E scribe: Floris and his family are pagans, though Blancheflour's mother is Christian (see line 3). In the French tale, the beginning of which is missing in all English versions, she was captured by the heathen king and given to his queen as a personal servant.

343 uppon the molde. A stopgap, providing a convenient rhyme word.

362 syde. Another stopgap, part of the standard description of a lady's beauty.

366 reed so sylke. The combination of "red" and "silk" is curious. The Old French reads rouge comme sans, "red as blood," a folklore phrase that explains the color, but not the reference to silk (OF sei). Unfortunately some folios are lost at this point in V.

375 Have nou, sone, here this ring. Veldhoen suggests that as Floris takes the protective ring from his mother, along with the gold cup, he adds a"feminine aspect to his male personality, thus making him whole" ("Floris and Blauncheflour," p. 60). With the ring, neither fire nor water can kill him. See note to line 1175, below, for further thoughts on this engendered alchemy that moves beyond gender.

380 thou schalt have whate. MED cites whate in this line to mean"the force of destiny" or"fortune as a causal force." The point is the mother recognizes the power of Floris' will and accepts his potent determination. What will be, will be.

392 child. In what follows the word is used in the sense "boy, young man" (also as a term of address), a common meaning in Middle English.

416-17 here eft selle to biyete. / To Babiloyne. Given the merchandising of Blancheflour, Floris wisely goes disguised as a merchant to gain access to his loved one. See Kelly on his wending of "his very bourgeois way toward Babylon" ("Bartering of Blauncheflur," p. 107). In the older French "version populaire," Floris is a typical warrior knight. This later mercantile adaptation reflects an appeal to a bourgeis audience. See Giacone, "Floris and Blauncheflur: Critical Issues," pp. 398-99.

419 of alle thinge. An intensifier and handy rhyming phrase (again in line 454).

427-28 hail . . . win. Floris first proposes a toast (a kind of hailing) to his hostess and then offers her both the goblet and the wine in it.

444 Wel yerne he thankede Godes sonde. C omits this line; maybe the scribe realized that Floris is a pagan.

447-52 This feast is something we never hear of again. When much later in the text the Emir has caught Floris and Blancheflour in bed and wants to set up a court-trial to adjudge them, the barons have to be specially invited for that.

465-66 gold . . . bi water and be londe. As the French original makes clear, this innkeeper (like most of them in the story) collects tolls from those who come by water or by land.

483-84 Mi thought is on alle wise / Mochel on mi marchaundise. Compare lines 563-64. Veldhoen ("Floris and Blauncheflour," p. 52) notes the near repetition of the lines as a component of the folkloristic ceremonial formalities of the poem: "The formality is immediately apparent in the ritualistic repetitions: there are several innkeepers, several guides, several obstacles to be overcome, several disguises, even the game of chess is to be played three times. Also words and lines are repeated in the same ritualistic way."

520 gan . . . kesse. "Kissed"; in ME gan (lit., "began") is often used as an auxilliary of the past tense.

579 goth. The common form for the A scribe is goth, the one he uses in the middle of a line (e.g., in line 331). Geth, the grammatically more correct form, is found in rhyming position only (compare lines 778-79). Considering that goth is the default form in A, and that A has many other imperfect rhyme pairs (such as wiste/fluste, lines 834-35), the MS reading may be retained.

582 Other half hondred. The literal meaning of this phrase is "the second [other] hundred half," i.e., only half of the second hundred, so 150.

587 Babiloine. See the explanatory note to line 147.

616 iwrout with so moche red. See MED red n.1 (meaning "wisdom" or "advice"), the implication being that the top of the tower is made with such special ingenuity that it actually glows at night. E records that the tower top is "made with muche pride" (line 578), an alteration that perhaps favors this meaning; so, too, lines 695-99 of the present poem, where "red" is thrice used to mean "counsel." Alternatively, the sense could be that of MED red n.2(j) and red adj.1(f), with the meaning "gold," the sense here being that the top is made of so much pure gold (red being the color associated with the metal in its molten form, cleansed of impurities) that it shines like the sun at night. Since red gold is associated with the highest form of wealth in the Middle Ages it would be fitting here.

638 reve. To castrate. See MED reven, v.4(b) and v.5(d): to cut off a bodily member. The sense is that if a man wants to get into the barbican he can get his wish but at an expense that might outweigh the desire.

643 The rhyme scheme makes clear that the A scribe must have skipped a line here. With the help of the other manuscripts the original may be reconstructed as: Þeiʒ he lovede his quene as his lif.

648-49 on orchard, / The fairest of al middelhard. Reiss discusses the garden as a kind of Edenic world beyond death, which Floris enters through his "coffin." This prelapsarian world "establishes the proper environment for the innocent love of Floris and Blauncheflour" ("Symbolic Detail in Medieval Narrative," p. 345). See also Veldhoen ("Floris and Blauncheflour," p. 62) on the orchard as a protective mandala.

651 libben ther. I.e., one might live there a long and/or comfortable life; consider E, "Men myʒt leue þeryn ful long," and V, "Me mihte wel libbe hem a[mong]."

655 V adds the word iwrite: apparently texts containing "this werldes wisdom" were engraved on the precious stones.

658 ff. The welle is of mochel pris, / The strem com fram Paradis. / The gravel in the grounde of preciouse stone. . . . The Edenic garden with its many towers, well, and paradisal stream bears marks of Apocalypse 21, and is akin to the description of the stream of paradise in Pearl. See also accounts of the exotic bird decor of oriental gardens in the Epistola Alexandri ad Aristotelem, with streams of water and bird melodies (n.b., the "foulen song," line 650).

661 vertu. Jewels were thought to have special powers. Such stones and their qualities were listed in lapidaries, books of stone lore, of which several in Middle English survive and even one in Old English; see English Mediaeval Lapidaries.

676 At the welle heved ther stant a tre. This "Tre of Love" (line 678) is a tree of life (rather than of fatal knowledge), where pure maidens bask. The Amerail, by art and enchantment, "cheseth thourgh the flour" (line 688) as it falls from the tree upon the chosen one.

690 Thre sithes Florice swouned. Gray ("Early English Entführung," p. 208) compares the tender sensibilities of Floris to those of Troilus, who seems as affected by the emotional turmoil as a woman; see lines 419-21, where the woman at the inn sees Floris and Blancheflour in each other.

717 at the scheker. Reiss ("Symbolic Detail in Medieval Narrative," pp. 346-48) notes that chess originated in ancient Babylon, where the board was modeled on the layout of the city. The game becomes associated with love pursuits as well as games of fortune. The three-day match has a ritual/magical component whereby, though he loses the match "rather than lose his own soul, [he] is able . . . to rescue another's" (p. 348).

726-27 E is not only more logical but also the version closest to the French original:

Ʒif þow wynne ouʒt of his,
þow tell þerof lytel pris.
And yf he wynne ouʒt of þyn,
Loke þow leue it with hym. (lines 675-78)

738 markes and pans fale. A mark is two-thirds of a pound sterling. There are 12 pennies to a shilling, 20 shillings to a pound, and, thus, 240 pennies to a pound, pans fale, indeed.

744-45 By his high bidding for the cup, the porter hopes to persuade Floris to go on playing.

795 Floris in that o coupe do. What happens to the other basket (line 793) we never learn. The basket (coupe) evokes two common folk motifs, the one a casket from which life overpasses death, the other a boat or basket from which a future hero emerges. See Thompson, Motif-Index, L111, S141 (exposure in boat, basket, or chest) and L111.2.1 (future hero found in boat, basket, or bushes). See Reiss on the coupe as a coffin ("Symbolic Detail in Medieval Narrative," p. 344), and Spargo on eastern analogues of the hero being carried by a basket to a tower where he meets a woman ("Basket Incident," pp. 69-75). See also Gower's Tale of the False Steward, and Shakespeare's Cymbeline and Merry Wives of Windsor, where men are carried into or out of the woman's private domain while hidden in a basket or chest.

819 deth. One might expect "life" rather than "death," as in E, though deth works as well in defining his fearlessness of death, as he will repeatedly demonstrate. Quite simply, he is not frightened by the spider in the cup, as Leontes in Shakespeare's Winter's Tale might say.

835 boterfleye. Clarise's response is evocative, given the common association of butterflies and flowers. Reiss cites traditions of the butterfly as symbol of male sexuality ("Symbolic Detail in Medieval Narrative," p. 344), but other more metaphysical connotations may apply as well. The butterfly "was widely regarded as a symbol of resurrection and rebirth, an association stemming apparently from the Greek word psyche, which meant both butterfly and soul. Its changing of form from caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly was seen traditionally as a parallel to man's pattern of life, death, and rebirth; the butterfly was analogous to the soul that had risen from the dead body (i.e., the chrysalis) and attained a new life in paradise. This significance, then, explains the butterfly's frequent appearance in paintings of the Christ Child. Perhaps in terms of the patterns in the romance, this detail suggests that Floris has gone not only beyond life to seek his love but also beyond death; and it may be additionally significant that, as the story states, he rises out of the basket on the third day after the porter has agreed to help him" (p. 345). See also Wentersdorf ("Iconographic Elements," pp. 91-93) who, citing Augustine, notes another tradition associating the butterfly with lechery, as it flutters about the candle until it burns its wings, a fate Floris is almost subject to, but is not, given the sacrificial commitment of the couple, each to each.

853 Ne chaung I love for non newe. The line echoes a line from a French song type known as the chanson à personages that was picked up by William Cornish, Master of the Revels in the court of Henry VIII, in A Robyn, Gentle Robyn, where, in praise of the true woman we learn "she will chaunge for no newe." Thomas Wyatt used the song in one of his poems, and it is sung by Feste in Twelfth Night 4.2, in mockery of Malvolio. The song was included in Percy's Reliques.

870 mile. Their kissing lasted as long as it takes to walk a mile.

891 hele ich wille youre bother druri. I have glossed the line to mean "I will cure you both of your lovesickness." But a better sense may be "I will hide both your lovemaking," especially given the fact that she provides a curtain to hide behind. N.b., MED helen v.1, to heal, cure; and helen v.2, to cover, conceal, hide.

952 arist. Contracted form of ariseth, third singular present. The A scribe often mixes up present and past tense forms, especially with hath and had (compare line 962).

960 piler. The word occurs in all four versions, in a passage that is remarkably similar and therefore must go back to the first adaptor. It is curious, nevertheless, since the existence of this piler comes as a complete surprise. The line is a literal translation of the corresponding line in the Old French version (quoted by DV), but there the reader had been given a much more detailed description of the palace of the Emir. Its central part is a tower, which functions as a four-story apartment building for the Emir and his harem; Blancheflour has her room on the top floor, together with seven times twenty other maidens. In the middle is a pillar which is the main support of all the floors and through which water, as from a spring, rises to all floors and all rooms. Whenever one of the maidens needs some water, she can tap it from this pillar-conduit.

992-93 The Ameral het hire clothes keste / A litel binethen here breste. See Gilbert's careful reading of the French text, here noting that if the two youths embracing had both been women "this involvement in the emir's eyes does not constitute a sexual relationship" ("Boys Will Be . . . What?" p. 45n15). In the French, Floris' childlike expression of sexual passion and his physical resemblance to a girl "disturbs categories of gender" (p. 46).

1035 seven sithes of gold hire wight. Further evidence of the Emir's commercial evaluation of the value of virginity. In marrying the virgin Clarice, instead, his code of fiscal ethics remains intact.

1056 The king is referring to the well-known adage, going back to Roman civil law, audite et alteram partem ("hear the opposing party too").

1096-97 For Florice was so fair a yongling, / And Blauncheflour so swete a thing. See Barnes on the "Youth versus Age situation of Greek New Comedy" ("Cunning and Ingenuity," pp. 11-12), as the potency of the young lovers defies the opposition of the old father and the Emir himself as the couple moves beyond the murderous threats of the elderly to their happy nuptials.

1109 Judging by what follows the Emir did not really throw them into the fire yet; the reading of E and C confirms this: "He bade þe children fast be bound, / And into þe fire slong" (He ordered the children to be bound fast and thrown into the fire; E 996-97), but the order is never carried out.

1134-35 pulte/brutte. The form brutte is not recorded in the MED. The text is obviously corrupt here, since the sense of the most likely OE original, brytan,"crush, break," does not fit the context, as DV concluded. The corresponding rhyme words in E do not offer much help: putte/tytte, in which tytte,"pulled," is of obscure origin, too.

1145-46 Weping he turned his heved awai, / And his swerd hit fil to grounde. Gray ("Early English Entführung," pp. 211-12) notes the kind presentation of the Emir to suggest a more subtle reading of the East, which, rather than being simply stereotypically evil, shows a leader who is more compassionate and capable of tolerance.

1175 The porter was his man bicom. See Veldhoen ("Floris and Blauncheflour," p. 54) on the "ennobling and civilizing force" of love that enables Floris to protect his "man," the gatekeeper, from the Emir's wrath, and for Blancheflour to intercede for Clarice (lines 1192-97), thereby "achieving final harmony in the form of marriage between Clarice and the Emir." This "civilizing force" is evident throughout the poem as male prowess is modified to embody kindness and sympathy. "Floris' antagonists are all male, because the checks to the ideal he portrays are aspects of the male psyche . . . the idea of Woman in a man's mind" (p. 57).

1189 wedde. The subject cannot be the Emir but must be Floris, a reading supported by DV, who in his glossary translates wedde here as "took in marriage." E reads "let wed hem," where the Emir, who "To a cherche he let hem bring" (line 1064), is the subject. Perhaps in A he let hem in line 1188 is subject and auxiliary of wedde, in which case one might read "he (the Emir) caused them to be brought to a temple / and had them married there with their own ring."

1194 the Amerale here wedded to quene. Kelly ("Bartering of Blauncheflur," p. 109) compares the double marriage of the Emir and Clarice along with Floris to Blancheflour to the double wedding at the end of a Shakespearean comedy, where the civic as well as the personal values are embraced, along with Christendom (line 1214).

1216-17 The subject of let croune is Floris:"And [he] had himself crowned king, and her (Blancheflour) queen"; in line 1218 the subject of the singular verb could be Blancheflour: "And she received Christianity . . ." which would accord with her mother's faith, though it might also be Floris, the implication being that they both became Christians.


ABBREVIATIONS: See Explanatory Notes, above.

Whenever a word ends in an m or n (and often in the case of a d), the scribe of the Egerton MS gives a nice flourish to the final minim, curling back over the letter. Originally this represented an -e, but at the time the scribe was active (around 1400) it had become a standard decorative addition, a development relieving the scribe from the task of remembering whether etymologically speaking the word should end in an -e or not. In the present text the flourish has consistently been interpreted as a mere decoration.

In the Auchinleck MS the yogh in general stands for the Middle English descendant of the Old English ʒ, but the A scribe often uses alternative spellings. Due to his inconsistent spelling habits identical words or endings may take on many shapes: brouʒte, browt, even in one and the same line: seʒ and beʒgh (line 1084). Besides that it may also be found in places where one would normally expect a thorn, e.g., in wiʒ,"with." Wherever the yogh occurs it has been silently replaced by its nearest modern equivalent.
The A scribe has committed many little mistakes and inconsistencies. Thus, in words like thought/þout, forms with a yogh alternate with, but are more frequent than, those without a yogh. In words with a series of minims he has often forgotten one. Vertical strokes are not his strong point anyway, as he also occasionally leaves out an l or tall s (e.g., god for gold, line 465, hi for his, line 476). At times he omits an m or an n by overlooking an abbreviatory sign (a horizontal stroke written over a vowel denotes a nasal, e.g., mournig for mourning, line 402). Finally, initial h- is problematic as well: it is frequently written where it does not belong, and vice versa (e.g., ere for here, line 502, or hore for ore, line 559). In a number of such instances the text has been emended without comment.
Quotations from the other MSS have been taken from De Vries' four-text edition.

1-366 These lines are based on the Egerton Manuscript.

13 he. E: she.

thow. When the word is written in full, this spelling is used, when abbreviated the spelling is þu, with suprascript u. Here the spelling thow has been used throughout.

19 y. The common spelling for "I" in E; A usually has I.

59 take. Not in E, supplied by Taylor.

60 nere. DV, improving on Taylor's ne were; E: were.

63 graunt. E: gunt. It often happens that a suprascript abbreviation sign (here ra) is forgotten by a scribe.

121 flour. Not in E; the emendation was first suggested by Kölbing (Review of Floris and Blauncheflur, ed. Hausknecht, p. 96). Even then, however, the line makes little sense. In the Old French text another spice is mentioned, girofles, "gilliflower, clove," for which a Middle English equivalent may have been used by the original English adaptor of the text. The E scribe, not knowing the word, subsequently tried to make something of a text he did not understand.

196 At this point the text of V begins. Since it was burnt round the edges, the parts of the texts closest to these, i.e., the b-column on the recto and the a-column on the verso sides, are only partly legible. But the inner columns have been well preserved, so that at least some comparison is possible.

203 Now. There is a small guideletter n (the initial itself was never filled in), followed by a capital O and a lower-case w. The space surrounding the n is two lines high, and the large initial was clearly meant to mark a new section of the story.

205 burgays. E: Bugays.

210 A. E: As.

wyrche is really superfluous here because of make in line 209.

222 he. V; E: him. In the immediate context E's reading is not impossible ("the king, and his mother too, greeted him"), but then the sense goes off the rails in line 224, for here he must refer to Floris, and not to his father.

243 above. V; E: aboute.

251 sawe. DV; E: herde.

255 myght. V; E: moʒt.

262 then. This word does not rhyme, nor does it add much to the meaning of the line. The text in V suggests that E's original may have read theron (possibly with a suprascript abbreviation for er): "Wel ʒerne he bihul þeron" (Very eagerly he looked at it), but even here the rhyme is off.

270 syght. E: myght cancelled, replaced with syght.

324 there. Not in E.

325 leve. DV translates "live," S "leave"; E's spelling allows for both meanings, and so does the context. V is of no help here, having only the first half of the line.

333 wynne. In the two early MSS, C and V, this should probably be taken as deriving from OE wynn, "joy, pleasure," otherwise it would not rhyme with synne, "sin" (from OE synn) in the next line. However, in the period and the area in which the E scribe was active, the East Midlands of c. 1400, synne would have its modern pronunciation (compare DV, p. 48), and therefore wynne could be interpreted as deriving from OE gewinn, and hence mean "profit, gain."

367-1227 These lines are based on the Auchinleck manuscript.

393 altherfairest. DV; A: alþrest fairest (compare line 472: altherferste).

402 mourning. A: mournig.

431 thought. A: thout.

431-32 hir, here, hire. Within two lines the scribe uses three different spellings for "her."

461-63 The scribe has obviously botched up the text here, but with the help of E and C the sense can be derived: "They have taken lodgings most attractively, as one was obliged to a king's son, at a palace - there was none like it [MS him]." Compare E: "Feire he hath his ynne ynoome / At a palaise, was none it lyche" (lines 444-45).

465 gold. A: god.

475 nowt. A: towt.

476 his. A: hi.

482 other thing. A: oþe þink.

498 hoste. A: hostesse. The scribe has confused this scene with that in the first inn, where Floris gave a gold cup to the lady of the house when she had mentioned Blancheflour. Very consistently, the scribe retains the feminine form (see the emendations listed below) to the end of this passage, where, just before the words of the innkeeper, he changes back to he (line 523).

499 he. A: ʒhe.

502 here. A: ere.

506 hath. E, C; A: had.

508 of gold here wight. DV; A: here gol of wiʒt.

509 hire faired. Twice in A.

519 his. A: hes.

520 his. A: hs.

521 oste. A: ostesse.

522 he. A: ʒhe (twice).

525 schalt. A: schat.

526 burgeis. A. All four texts have a different word for the bridgeman (another toll collector): E: senpere, A: bourgeis, C: porter, and V: bruggere, which comes closest to the OF pontonnier (DV, line 1375). But a few lines later he is referred to as vileins (line 1459), which translates as burgeis.

530 reden. A: renden.

537 hit. A: his.

hegh. A: heghʒ

541 Sittende. A: Stonded.

543 Dayre. A: daye.

559 ore. A: hore.

571 hath. E, C, V; A: had.

585 th'Ameral. A: thamerlal.

587 The reading of V shows that the A scribe must have forgotten a verb of motion: "About Babiloyne beþ to ʒonge [go], wiþoute wene, / Sixti longe mile and tene" (lines 205-06).

602 iswore. A: ishwore.

606 riche tour. A: riche a tour.

I. A: omits.

607 thousand. A: ʒousang.

608 bihalt. DV: bi-alt, A: bi alt.

wid. A: wit.

neghe. DV; A: negʒene.

617 dorfen. DV, A: tforren. The scribe first wrote thorren, a contamination of dorren, "dared (pl.)," and thorven, "needed (pl.)," and then, aware that he had to correct it, put the f in at the wrong place.

627 ther. E, C; A: the.

630 the. C, DV; A: thet, E: that.

635 ther. A: the.

649 middelhard. Probably a mistake for tmiddellard; compare E: mydlerd, V: middellerd.

661 And. A: And and.

664 welle. E, V; A: waie.

665 ther. A: the.

676 The MS has a three-line capital A here, marking a new section of the story.

679 C adds here:"So sone so þe olde beoþ idon [left off] / Þer springeþ niwe riʒt anon."

689 herkneth. Lit."listen," but the meaning is clear from C: "Alle weneþ [expect] hit schulle beo Blancheflour."

711 mildelich. A: midelich.

724 of. E, C; A: al.

733 thee. A: he.

781 The. A: Ther.

794 he thought. A: he þout.

803 around. A: an hond. A is clearly amiss here, but this time the other two versions do not offer a solution, as they have two completely different lines (though with the same rhyme).

810 The manuscript has a three-line capital C here.

811 handlen. DV; A: handleden.

816 he. A: she.

she. A: he.

828 And. A: And and.

836 so sor. E, C, DV; A: sor.

846 Avoy. DV; A: Auoþ; E: Awey, C: Away. Although A follows the French here more closely than E or C, it is C in which the next two lines of the French original are found as well: "Ho that luveth par amur/ And hath therof ioye, mai luve flures" (OFr: "Damoisele, qui a amours / Et joie en soi doit avoir flours").

848 Ich. DV; A: I ich.

853 chaung I. A: chaungi.

856 I. E; not in A.

858 The manuscript has a three-line capital C here.

869 Thai. DV; A: That.

883 biwraie. DV; A: briwaie.

885 deye. V; A: deþe; this kind of mistake is typically due to the similarity of y and þ in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century manuscripts.

890 ye. A: ʒhe.

905 care. A: car.

912 wone. A: wane, with o written above the a.

914 Two. E, C; A: thre. C's text reads as follows: "That on his heved for to kembe, / That other bringe towaille and bacin, / For to wasse his honden in."

918 That other. C; A: the thridde.

940 And. A: And and.

948 Again the manuscript has a three-line capital C here.

957 here. A: he.

962 hath. DV; V: haveþ, A: had.

icleped. A: icheped.

982 to neb. A: to neb to neb.

999 thai2. A: þat.

1010 ye. A: ʒe.

1019 don on other clothe. A: clothes. Probably a mistake, compare E: do on boþ her cloþ, and V: do on here beyre cloþe.

1022 had. A: dhad.

1026 hath. A: had.

1027 they. A, DV: ʒhe.

1031 wroth. E, C; V: wreþ; A: wroþt.

1035 of gold hire wight. E, C; A: hire wiʒt of gold.

1037 Ich. A: I ich.

1042 lothe. E, V; A: wro&thoron;e.

1046 Fort. Probably on the basis of E's Tyl. DV glossed this as "until."

1051 iherd. E, V, DV; A: irerd.

1052 dethe. E, C, V; A: deye; for a similar mistake, see line 885.

1054 sigge. DV amends to segge, but both in A and E sygge occurs twice in rhyming position, be it that this form is ambiguous, as it rhymes with alegge here (legge in E), and with bygge (E) / begge (A), "to buy," in line 1095.

1060 bringe. A: bringeʒ.

1079 ihc. In A only here (elsewhere it is always ich), but the normal spelling in C.

1082 hath. A: had.

1084 begh. A: beʒgh.

1088 folk. E; A: fok.

1096 For. E, C; A: Fo.

1099 and1. A: anr.

1111 speke. A: spleke.

1127 ne. C; A: no.

1132 bifore. E, DV; A: fifore.

1141 chaungede. C; A: chaungegde.

1147 holde. C, DV; A: hlde.

1159 of other. A: of other of other.

1165 schal. DV; A: scha.

1168 Nou. DV; E: Now, C: Nu, A: No.

1174 And. A: And and.

1181 had. A: hath.

1188 he. A: h.

1191 fot. A; E, C: fet. There is no reason to emend, with DV, to fet, as in A both forms occur in this expression in rhyming position: fot in line 754, fet in line 1184.

1198 The MS has a three-line capital N here.

1199 That Florice tidingge to cam. C: That to Florys tydyng cam; A, DV That Florice tidingge ne cam.

1220 At this place one would have expected a large capital as a paragraph marker, but there is not even a small paragraph sign in the MS.

1223 lemman. C; A: lemma.
[Listen lords, and especially lovers, and I will tell you the tale of Floris and Blancheflour, the ancestors of Charlemagne, which I heard from two maidens who wished to speak of love. Born on the same day, Blancheflour was a Christian maiden, and Floris a pagan; however, after he was baptized, Floris inherited kingdoms and riches.
Fenix, the pagan king of Spain, set sail to raid the Christian country of Galicia. He burned and pillaged the countryside within reach of the shore until no trace of the civilization remained. Before he left, he commanded his noblemen to terrorize those pilgrims seeking the shrine of St. James. They slaughtered a great number of pilgrims, including a noble French knight traveling with his devout daughter, a pregnant widow whose husband had been killed. After killing the knight, Fenix seized the daughter and gave her as a slave to his queen, who cherished her well and kindly allowed her to practice her faith. The women, who became fast friends despite their differences in faith, realized that they were both pregnant when the queen recognized the Christian woman's morning sickness. They gave birth on the same day, the slave woman to a girl-child and the queen to a boy; they named their children Floris and Blancheflour. King Fenix allowed the Christian woman to rear both children, although Floris was suckled by a pagan nurse.1]






















































































































































































































































Ne thurst men never in londe
After feirer children fonde.
The Cristen woman fedde hem thoo;
Ful wel she lovyd hem both twoo.
So longe she fedde hem in feere
That they were of elde of seven yere.
The king behelde his sone dere,
And seyde to him on this manere
That harme it were muche more
But his son were sette to lore
On the book, letters to know,
As men don both hye and lowe.
"Feire sone," he seide, "thow shalt lerne,
Lo, that thow do ful yerne."
Florys answerd with wepyng,
As he stood byfore the kyng;
Al wepyng seide he:
"Ne shal not Blancheflour lerne with me?
Ne can y noght to scole goon
Without Blaunchefloure," he seide than.
"Ne can y in no scole syng ne rede
Without Blauncheflour," he seide.
The king seide to his soon:
"She shal lerne for thy love."
To scole they were put.
Both they were good of wytte;
Wonder it was of hur lore,
And of her love wel the more.2
The children lovyd togeder soo,
They myght never parte atwoo.
When they had five yere to scoole goon,
So wel they had lerned thoo,
Inowgh they couth of Latyne,
And wel wryte on parchemyn.
The kyng understood the grete amoure
Bytwene his son and Blanchefloure,
And thought, when they were of age,
That her love wolde noght swage;
Nor he myght noght her love withdrawe,
When Florys shuld wyfe after the lawe.
The king to the queene seide thoo,
And tolde hur of his woo,
Of his thought and of his care,
How it wolde of Floreys fare.
"Dame," he seide, "y tel thee my reed:
I wyl that Blaunchefloure be do to deed.
When that maide is yslawe
And brought of her lyf dawe,
As sone as Florys may it underyete,
Rathe he wylle hur forgete.
Than may he wyfe after reed."
The queene answerd then and seid
(And thought with hur reed
Save the mayde fro the deed):
"Sir," she seide, "we aught to fond
That Florens lyf with menske in lond,
And that he lese not his honour
For the mayden Blauncheflour.
Whoso myght take that mayde clene
That she nere brought to deth bydene,
Hit were muche more honour
Than slee that mayde Blancheflour."
Unnethes the king graunt that it be soo:
"Dame, rede us what is to doo."
"Sir, we shul oure soon Florys
Sende into the londe of Mountargis.
Blythe wyl my suster be,
That is lady of that contree.
And when she woot for whoom
That we have sent him us froom,
She wyl doo al hur myght,
Both by day and by nyght,
To make hur love so undoo
As it had never ben soo."
"And, sir," she seide, "y rede eke
That the maydens moder make hur seek.
That may be that other resoun
For that ylk encheson,
That she may not fro hur moder goo."
Now ben these children swyth woo,
Now they may not goo in fere,
Drewryer thinges never noon were.
Florys wept byfore the kyng,
And seide: "Sir, without lesyng,
For my harme out ye me sende,
Now she ne myght with me wende.
Now we ne mot togeder goo,
Al my wele is turned to woo."
The king seide to his soon aplyght:
"Sone, withynne this fourtenyght,
Be her moder quykke or deed,
Sekerly," he him seide,
"That mayde shal com thee too."
"Ye, sir," he seid, "y pray yow it be soo.
Yif that ye me hur sende,
I rekke never wheder y wende."
That the child graunted, the kyng was fayn
And him betaught his chamburlayn.
With muche honoure they theder coom,
As fel to a ryche kynges soon.
Wel feire him receyvyd the Duke, Orgas,
That king of that castel was,
And his aunt, with muche honour,
But ever he thought on Blanchefloure.
Glad and blythe they ben him withe;
But for no joy that he seith
Ne myght him glade, game ne gle,
For he myght not his lyf see.
His aunt set him to lore
There as other children wore,
Both maydons and grom;
To lerne mony theder coom.
Inowgh he sykes, but noght he lernes;
For Blauncheflour ever he mornes.
Yf eny man to him speke,
Love is on his hert steke.
Love is at his hert roote,
That nothing is so soote;
Galyngale ne lycorys
Is not so soote as hur love is,
Ne nothing ne non other flour.
So much he thenketh on Blancheflour,
Of oo day him thynketh thre,
For he ne may his love see.
Thus he abydeth with muche woo
Tyl the fourtenyght were goo.
When he saw she was nought ycoom,
So muche sorow he hath noom,
That he loveth mete ne drynke,
Ne may noon in his body synke.
The chamberleyn sent the king to wete
His sones state, al ywrete.
The king ful sone the waxe tobrake
For to wete what it spake.
He begynneth to chaunge his mood,
And wel sone he understode,
And with wreth he cleped the queene,
And tolde hur alle his teene,
And with wrath spake and sayde:
"Let do bryng forth that mayde!
Fro the body the heved shal goo."
Thenne was the quene ful woo.
Than spake the quene, that good lady:
"For Goddes love, sir, mercy!
At the next haven that here is
Ther ben chapmen ryche ywys,
Marchaundes of Babyloyn ful ryche,
That wol hur bye blethelyche.
Than may ye for that lovely foode
Have muche catell and goode.
And soo she may fro us be brought,
Soo that we slee hur nought."
Unnethes the king graunted this,
But forsoth, so it is.
The king let sende after the burgeise,
That was hende and curtayse,
And welle selle and bygge couth,
And moony langages had in his mouth.
Wel sone that mayde was him betaught,
An to the haven was she brought.
Ther have they for that maide yolde
Twenté mark of reed golde,
And a coupe good and ryche,
In al the world was non it lyche;
Ther was never noon so wel grave,
He that it made was no knave.
Ther was purtrayd on, y weene,
How Paryse ledde awey the queene,
And on the covercle above
Purtrayde was ther both her love;
And in the pomel theron
Stood a charbuncle stoon.
In the world was not so depe soler
That it nold lyght the botelere,
To fylle both ale and wyne;
Of sylver and gold both good and fyne.
Enneas the king, that nobel man,
At Troye in batayle he it wan,
And brought it into Lumbardy,
And gaf it his lemman, his amy.
The coupe was stoole fro King Cesar;
A theef out of his tresour hous it bar.
And sethe that ilke same theef
For Blaunchefloure he it geef.
For he wyst to wynne suche three,
Myght he hur bryng to his contree.
Now these marchaundes saylen over the see
With this mayde to her contree.
So longe they han undernome
That to Babyloyn they ben coom.
To the Amyral of Babyloyn
They solde that mayde swythe soon;
Rath and soone they were at oon.
The Amyral hur bought anoon,
And gafe for hur, as she stood upryght,
Sevyn sythes of gold her wyght,
For he thought, without weene,
That faire mayde have to queene.
Among his maydons in his bour
He hur dide with muche honour.
Now these merchaundes that may belete,
And ben glad of hur byyete.
Now let we of Blancheflour be
And speke of Florys in his contree.
Now is the burgays to the king coom
With the golde and his garyson,
And hath take the king to wolde
The selver and the coupe of golde.
They lete make in a chirche
A swithe feire grave wyrche,
And lete ley ther uppon
A new feire peynted ston,
With letters al aboute wryte
With ful muche worshipp.
Whoso couth the letters rede,
Thus they spoken and thus thei seide:
"Here lyth swete Blaunchefloure
That Florys lovyd par amoure."
Now Florys hath undernome,
And to his fader he is coome.
In his fader halle he is lyght.
His fader he grette anoonryght,
And his moder, the queene, also.
But unnethes myght he that doo
That he ne asked where his leman bee.
Nonskyns answere chargeth hee.
So longe he is forth noom,
Into chamber he is coom.
The maydenys moder he asked ryght:
"Where is Blauncheflour, my swete wyght?"
"Sir," she seide, "forsothe, ywys,
I ne woot where she is."
She bethought hur on that lesyng
That was ordeyned byfore the king.
"Thow gabbest me," he seyde thoo,
"Thy gabbyng doth me muche woo.
Tel me where my leman be."
Al wepyng seide thenne shee:
"Sir," shee seide, "deed." "Deed?" seide he.
"Sir," she seide, "forsothe, yee!"
"Allas, when died that swete wyght?"
"Sir, withynne this fourtenyght
The erth was leide hur above,
And deed she was for thy love."
Flores, that was so feire and gent,
Sownyd there verament.
The Cristen woman began to crye
To Jhesu Crist and Seynt Marye.
The king and the queene herde that crye;
Into the chamber they ronne on hye,
And the queene sawe her byforn
On sowne the childe that she had born.
The kinges hert was al in care,
That sawe his son for love so fare.3
When he awooke and speke myght,
Sore he wept and sore he syght,
And seide to his moder ywys:
"Lede me there that mayde is."
Theder they him brought on hyghe;
For care and sorow he wold dyye.
As sone as he to the grave com,
Sone there behelde he then,
And the letters began to rede
That thus spake and thus seide:
"Here lyth swete Blauncheflour,
That Florys lovyd par amoure."
Thre sithes Florys sownydde nouth,
Ne speke he myght not with mouth.
As sone as he awoke and speke myght,
Sore he wept and sore he syght.
"Blauncheflour," he seide, "Blauncheflour!
So swete a thing was never in boure;
Of Blauncheflour is that y meene,
For she was com of good kyn.
Lytel and muche loveden thee
For thy goodnesse and thy beauté.
Yif deth were dalt aryght,
We shuld be deed both on oo nyght.
On oo day born we were,
We shul be ded both in feere.
Deeth," he seide, "ful of envye,
And of alle trechorye,
Refte thow hast me my leman.
Forsoth," he seide, "thow art to blame.
She wolde have levyd, and thow noldest,
And fayn wolde y dye, and thow woldest.
After deeth clepe no more y nylle,
But slee myself now y wille."
His knyf he braide out of his sheth,
Himself he wolde have doo to deth,
And to hert he had it smeten,
Ne had his moder it underyeten.
Then the queene fel him uppon,
And the knyf fro him noom.
She reft him of his lytel knyf,
And savyd there the childes lyf.
Forth the queene ranne, al wepyng,
Tyl she com to the kyng.
Than seide the good lady:
"For Goddes love, sir, mercy!
Of twelve children have we noon
On lyve now but this oon.
And better it were she were his make
Than he were deed for hur sake."
"Dame, thow seist soth," seide he.
"Sen it may noon other be,
Lever me were she were his wyf
Than y lost my sonnes lyf."
Of this word the quene was fayn,
And to her soon she ran agayn.
"Floryes, soon, glad make thee,
Thy lef thow shalt on lyve see.
Florys, son, through engynne
Of thy faders reed and myne,
This grave let we make,
Leve son, for thy sake;
Yif thow that maide forgete woldest,
After oure reed wyf thow sholdest."
Now every word she hath him tolde
How that they that mayden solde.
"Is this soth, my moder dere?"
"Forsoth," she seide, "she is not here."
The rowgh stoon adoun they leyde,
And sawe that there was not the mayde.
"Now, moder, y think that y leve may.
Ne shal y rest nyght ne day,
Nyght ne day ne no stound,
Tyl y have my lemmon found.
Hur to seken y woll wend,
Thaugh it were to the worldes ende."
To the king he goth to take his leve,
And his fader bade him byleve.
"Sir, y wyl let for no wynne,
Me to bydden it were grete synne."
Than seid the king: "Seth it is soo,
Seth thow wylt noon other doo,
Al that thee nedeth we shul thee fynde.
Jhesu thee of care unbynde."
"Leve fader," he seide, "y telle thee
Al that thow shalt fynde me.
Thow mast me fynde, at my devyse,
Seven horses al of prys:
And twoo ycharged, uppon the molde,
Both with selver and wyth golde;
And twoo ycharged with moonay
For to spenden by the way;
And three with clothes ryche,
The best of al the kyngryche.
Seven horses and sevyn men,
And thre knaves without hem,
And thyn own chamburlayn,
That is a wel nobel swayn.
He can us both wyssh and reede,
As marchaundes we shull us lede."
His fader was an hynde king,
The coupe of golde he dide him bryng,
That ilke self coupe of golde
That was Blauncheflour foryolde.
"Have this, soon," seide the king,
"Herewith thow may that swete thing
Wynne, so may betyde,
Blauncheflour with the white syde,
Blauncheflour, that faire may."
The king let sadel a palfray,
The oon half white so mylke,
And that other reed so sylk.
I ne kan telle you nowt
Hou richeliche the sadel was wrout.
The arsouns were gold pur and fin,
Stones of vertu set therin,
Bigon abouten with orfreis.
The Quen was hende and curteis.
She cast her hond to hire fingre,
And drough therof a riche ringe.
"Have nou, sone, here this ring.
While thou hit hast, doute thee nothing,
Ne fir thee brenne, ne drenchen in se,
Ne iren ne stel schal derie thee;
And be hit erli and be hit late,
To thi wille thou schalt have whate."
Weping thai departed nouthe
And kiste hem with softe mouthe.
Thai made for him non other chere
Than thai seye him ligge on bere.
Nou forht thai nime with alle main,
Himself and his chaumberlain.
So longe thai han undernome
To the havene thai beth icome
Ther Blauncheflour lai anight.
Richeliche thai were idight.
The loverd of the hous was wel hende;
The child he sette next his hende,
In the altherfairest sete.
Gladliche thai dronke and ete,
Al that therinne were.
Al thai made glade chere,
And ete and dronke echon with other.
Ac Florice thoughte al an other.
Ete ne drinke mighte he nought;
On Blauncheflour was al his thought.
The levedi of the hous underyat
Hou this child mourning sat,
And seide here loverd with stille dreme:
"Sire," she saide, "nimstou no yeme
Hou this child mourning sit?
Mete and drynk he forgit,
Litel he eteth and lasse he drinketh.
He nis no marchaunt, as me thinketh."
To Florice than spak she:
"Child, ful of mourning I thee se.
Thous sat herinne this ender dai
Blauncheflour, that faire mai.
Herinne was that maiden bowght,
And over the se she was ibrowght.
Herinne thai boughte that maden swete.
And wille here eft selle to biyete.
To Babiloyne thai wille hire bring,
And selle hire to kaiser other to king.
Thou art ilich here of alle thinge,
Of semblant and of mourning,
But thou art a man and she is a maide."
Thous the wif to Florice saide.
Tho Florice herde his lemman nevene,
So blithe he was of that stevene
That his herte bigan al light.
A coupe of gold he let fulle right.
"Dame," he saide, "this hail is thin,
Bothe the gold and the win,
Bothe the gold and the win eke,
For thou of mi lemman speke.
On hir I thought, for here I sight,
And wist ich wher hire finde might,
Ne scholde no weder me assoine
That I ne schal here seche at Babiloine."
Florice rest him there al night.
Amorewe, whan hit was dailight,
He dide him in the salte flod,
Wind and weder he hadde ful god.
To the mariners he gaf largeliche
That broughten him over bletheliche
To the londe thar he wold lende,
For thai founden him so hende.
Sone so Florice com to londe,
Wel yerne he thankede Godes sonde
To the lond ther his lemman is;
Him thoughte he was in paradis.
Wel sone men Florice tidingges told
The Amerail wolde feste hold,
And kinges an dukes to him come scholde,
Al that of him holde wolde,
For to honure his heghe feste,
And also for to heren his heste.
Tho Florice herde this tiding,
Than gan him glade in alle thing,
And in his herte thoughte he
That he wolde at that feste be,
For wel he hopede in the halle
His leman sen among hem alle.
So longe Florice hath undernome
To a fair cité he is icome.
Wel faire men hath his in inome,
Ase men scholde to a kinges sone,
At a palais - was non hit iliche.
The louerd of the hous was wel riche,
And gold inow him com to honde,
Bothe bi water and be londe.
Florice ne sparede for no fe,
Inow that there ne scholde be
Of fissc, of flessch, of tendre bred,
Bothe of whit win and of red.
The louerd hadde ben wel wide;
The child he sette bi his side,
In the altherferste sete.
Gladliche thai dronke and ete.
Ac Florice et an drank right nowt,
On Blauncheflour was al his thought.
Than bispak the bourgeis,
That hende was, fre and curteys:
"Child, me thinkketh swithe wel
Thi thought is mochel on thi catel."
"Nai, on mi catel is hit nowt,
On other thing is al mi thought.
Mi thought is on alle wise
Mochel on mi marchaundise;
And yit that is mi meste wo,
Yif ich hit finde and schal forgo."
Thanne spak the louerd of that inne:
"Thous sat this other dai herinne
That faire maide Blauncheflour.
Bothe in halle and ek in bour,
Evere she made mourning chere,
And biment Florice, here leve fere.
Joie ne blisse ne hadde she none,
Ac on Florice was al here mone."
Florice het nime a coppe of silver whight,
And a mantel of scarlet,
Ipaned al with meniver,
And gaf his hoste ther.
"Have this," he saide, "to thine honour,
And thou hit mighte thonke Blauncheflour.
Stolen she was out mine countreie;
Here ich here seche bi the waie.
He mighte make min herte glad
That couthe me telle whider she was lad."
"Child, to Babiloyne she is ibrought,
And Ameral hire hath ibought.
He gaf for hire, ase she stod upright,
Seven sithes of gold here wight.
For hire faired and for hire schere
The Ameral hire boughte so dere,
For he thenketh withouten wene
That faire mai to haven to quene.
Amang other maidenes in his tour
He hath hire ido with mochel honour."
Nou Florice rest him there al night.
On morewe, whan hit was dailight,
He aros up in the moreweninge,
And gaf his hoste an hondred schillinge,
To his hoste and to his hostesse,
And nam his leve and gan hem kesse.
And yerne he hath his oste bisought,
That he him helpe, yif he mought,
Hou he mighte with sum ginne,
The faire maiden to him awinne.
"Child, to one brigge thou schalt come;
A burgeis thou findest ate frome.
His paleis is ate brigges ende,
Curteis man he his and hende.
We beth wed brethren and trewthe iplight.
He thee can wissen and reden aright.
Thou schalt beren him a ring
Fram miselve to tokning,
That he thee helpe in eche helve
So hit were bifalle miselve."
Florice tok the ring and nam his leve,
For there no leng wolde he bileve.
Bi that hit was undren hegh
The brigge he was swithe negh.
When he was to the brigge inome,
The burges he fond ate frome,
Sittende on a marbelston.
Fair man and hende he was on.
The burgeis was ihote Dayre.
Florice him grette swithe faire,
And hath him the ring irawt
And wel faire him bitawt.
Thourgh tokning of that ilke ring
Florice hadde ther god gestning
Of fichss, of flessch, of tendre bred,
Bothe of whit win and of red.
Ac evere Florice sighte ful cold,
And Darys gan him bihold:
"Leve child, what mai the be,
Thous carfoul ase I thee se?
I wene thou nart nowt al fer,
That thou makest thous doelful cher.
Other thee liketh nowt thin in?"4
Nou Florice answered him:
"Yis, sire, bi Godes ore,
So god I ne hadde yore.
God late me bide thilke dai
That ich thee yelde mai.
Ac I thenke in alle wise
Upon min owen marchaundise,
Wherfore ich am hider come,
Lest I ne finde hit nowt ate frome.
And yit is that mi meste wo,
Yif ich hit finde and sschal forgo."
"Child, woldest thou tel me thi gref?
To helpe thee me were ful lef."
Nou everich word he hath him told,
Hou the maide was fram him sold,
And hou he was of Speyne a kinges sone,
And for hire love thider icome,
For to fonde with som ginne
That faire maide to biwinne.
Daris now that child bihalt,
And for a fol he him halt:
"Child," he seith, "I se hou goth:
Iwis, thou yernest thin owen deth.
Th'Ameral hath to his justening
Other half hondred of riche king.
That altherrichchest kyng
Ne dorste beginne swich a thing;
For mighte th'Ameral hit underyete,
Sone thou were of live quite.
Abouten Babiloine, withouten wene,
Sexti longe milen and tene
And ate walle thar beth ate
Seven sithe twente gate.
Twente toures ther beth inne,
That everich dai cheping is inne;
Nis no dai thourg the yer
That scheping nis therinne plener.
An hondred toures also therto
Beth in the borewe, and somdel mo.
That alderest feblest tour
Wolde kepe an emperour
To comen al ther withinne,
Noither with strengthe ne with ginne.
And thei alle the men that beth ibore
Adden hit up here deth iswore,
Thai scholde winne the mai so sone
As fram the hevene hegh the sonne and mone.
And in the bourh, amide the right,
Ther stant a riche tour, I thee aplight.
A thousand taisen he his heighe,
Woso it bihalt, wid, fer, and neghe.
And an hondred taises he is wid,
And imaked with mochel prid
Of lim and of marbelston;
In Cristienté nis swich non.
And the morter is maked so wel,
Ne mai no man hit breke with no stel.
And the pomel above the led
Is iwrout with so moche red,
That men ne dorfen anight berne
Neither torche ne lanterne;
Swich a pomel was never bigonne,
Hit schineth anight so adai doth the sonne.
Nou beth ther inne that riche toure
Four and twenty maidenes boure.
So wel were that ilke man
That mighte wonen in that an.
Now thourt him nevere, ful iwis,
Willen after more blisse.
Nou beth ther seriaunts in the stage
To serven the maidenes of parage.
Ne mai no seriaunt be therinne
That in his brech bereth the ginne,
Neither bi dai ne bi night,
But he be ase capoun dight.
And at the gate is a gateward,
He nis no fol ne no coward;
Yif ther cometh ani man
Withinne that ilche barbican,
But hit be bi his leve
He wille him bothe bete and reve.
The porter is proud withalle,
Everich dai he goth in palle.
And the Amerail is so wonder a gome
That everich yer hit is his wone
To chesen him a newe wif.
And whan he a newe wif underfo,
He knaweth hou hit schal be do.
Thanne scholle men fechche doun of the stage
Alle the maidenes of parage,
An brenge hem into on orchard,
The fairest of al middelhard;
Ther is foulen song,
Men mighte libben ther among.
Aboute the orchard goth a wal,
The werste ston is cristal.
Ther man mai sen on the ston
Mochel of this werldes wisdom.
And a welle ther springeth inne
That is wrowt with mochel ginne.
The welle is of mochel pris,
The strem com fram Paradis.
The gravel in the grounde of preciouse stone,
And of vertu iwis echone,
Of saphires and of sardoines,
Of oneches and of calsidoines.
Nou is the welle of so mochel eye,
Yif ther cometh ani maiden that is forleie,
And hi bowe to the grounde
For to waschen here honde,
The water wille yelle als hit ware wod,
And bicome on hire so red so blod.
Wich maiden the water fareth on so,
Hi schal sone be fordo.
And thilke that beth maidenes clene,
Thai mai hem wassche of the rene.
The water wille erne stille and cler,
Nelle hit hem make no daunger.
At the welle heved ther stant a tre,
The fairest that mai in erthe be.
Hit is icleped the Tre of Love,
For floures and blosmes beth ever above.
And thilke that clene maidenes be,
Men schal hem bringe under that tre.
And wichso falleth on that flour,
Hi schal ben chosen quen with honour.
And yif ther ani maiden is
That th'Amerail halt of mest pris,
The flour schal on here be went
Thourh art and thourgh enchantement.
Thous he cheseth thourgh the flour,
And evere we herkneth when hit be Blauncheflour."
Thre sithes Florice swouned nouthe,
Er he mighte speke with mouthe.
Sone he awok and speke might,
Sore he wep, and sore he sight.
"Darie," he saide, "ich worht ded,
But ich have of thee help and red."
"Leve child, ful wel I se
That thou wilt to dethe te;
The beste red that I can
(Other red I ne can):
Wende tomorewe to the tour,
Ase thou were a god ginour,
And nim in thin hond squir and scantiloun;
Als thai thou were a masoun
Bihold the tour up and doun.
The porter is colvard and feloun;
Wel sone he wil come to thee,
And aske what mister man thou be,
And ber upon thee felonie,
And saie thou art comen the tour aspie.
Thou schalt answeren him swetelich
And speke to him wel mildelich,
And sai thou art a ginour,
To biheld that ilche tour,
And for to lerne and for to fonde
To make another in thi londe.
Wel sone he wil come thee ner,
And bidde thee plaien at the scheker.
To plaien he wil be wel fous,
And to winnen of thin wel coveitous.
When thou art to the scheker brought,
Withouten pans ne plai thou nowt.
Thou schalt have redi mitte
Thritti mark under thi slitte.
And yif he winne ought of thin
Al leve thou hit with him.
And yif thou winne ought of his,
Thou lete therof ful litel pris.
Wel yerne he wille thee bidde and praie
That thou come amorewe and plaie.
Thou schalt sigge thou wilt so,
And nim with thee amorewe swich two.
And ever thou schalt in thin owen wolde
Thi gode cop with thee atholde,
That ilke self coppe of golde
That was for Blauncheflour iyolde.
The thridde dai bere with thee an hondred pond
And thi coppe al hol and sond.
Gif him markes and pans fale;
Of thi moné tel thou no tale.
Wel yerne he thee wille bidde and praie
That thou legge thi coupe to plaie.
Thou schalt answeren him ate first
No lenger plaie thou ne list.
Wel moche he wil for thi coupe bede,
Yif he mighte the better spede.
Thou schalt bletheliche given hit him,
Thai hit be gold pur and fin,
And sai: 'Me thinketh hit wel bisemeth te,
Thai hit were worth swiche thre.'5
Sai also thee ne faille non,
Gold ne selver ne riche won.
And he wil thanne so mochel love thee,
That thou hit schalt bothe ihere and see
That he wil falle to thi fot
And bicome thi man, yif he mot.
His manred thou schalt afonge,
And the trewthe of his honde.
Yif thou might thous his love winne,
He mai thee help with som ginne."
Nou also Florice hath iwrowt
Also Darie him hath itawt,
That thourgh his gold and his garsome
The porter is his man bicome.
"Nou," quath Florice, "Thou art mi man,
And al mi trest is thee upan.
Nou thou might wel ethe
Arede me fram the dethe."
And everich word he hath him told
Hou Blauncheflour was fram him sold,
And hou he was of Spaine a kynges sone,
And for hire love thider icome,
To fonde with som ginne
The maiden agen to him winne.
The porter that herde and sore sighte:
"Ich am bitraied thourgh righte;
Thourgh thi catel ich am bitraid,
And of mi lif ich am desmaid.
Nou ich wot, child, hou hit geth:
For thee ich drede to tholie deth.
And natheles ich ne schal thee nevere faile mo,
The whiles I mai ride or go.
Thi foreward ich wil helden alle,
Whatso wille bitide or falle.
Wende thou hom into thin in
Whiles I think of som ginne.
Bitwene this and the thridde dai
Don ich wille that I mai."
Florice spak and wep among,
That ilche terme him thoughte wel long.
The porter thoughte what to rede.
He let floures gaderen in the mede,
He wiste hit was the maidenes wille.
Two coupen he let of floures fille;
That was the rede that he thought tho:
Florice in that o coupe do.
Tweie gegges the coupe bere,
So hevi charged that wroth thai were.
Thai bad God yif him evel fin
That so mani floures dede therin.
Thider that thai weren ibede
Ne were thai nowt aright birede,
Acc thai turned in hire left hond,
Blaunchefloures bour around.
To Clarice bour the coupe thai bere
With the floures that therinne were.
There the couppe thai sette adoun,
And gaf him here malisoun,
That so fele floures embroughte on honde.
Thai wenten forht and leten the coppe stonde.
Clarice to the coppe com and wolde
The floures handlen and biholde.
Florisse wende hit hadde ben his swet wight;
In the coupe he stod upright,
And the maide, al for drede,
Bigan to schrichen an to grede.
Tho he segh hit nas nowth she,
Into the coupe he stirte aye,
And held him bitraied al clene;
Of his deth he ne gaf nowt a bene.
Ther come to Clarice maidenes lepe
Bi ten, be twenti, in one hepe,
And askede what here were
That hi makede so loude bere.
Clarice hire understod anonright
That hit was Blauncheflour, that swete wight,
For here boures negh were,
And selden that thai neren ifere
And aither of other counseil thai wiste,
And michel aither to other triste.
Hii gaf hire maidenes answere anon
That into boure thai sscholden gon:
"To this coupe ich cam, and wolde
The floures handli and biholde.
Ac er ich hit ever wiste
A boterfleye togain me fluste.
Ich was so sor adrad of than,
That sschrichen and greden I bigan."
The maidenes hadde therof gle
And turnede agen, and let Clarisse be.
So sone so the madenes weren agon,
To Blauncheflours bour Clarice wente anon
And saide leyende to Blauncheflour:
"Wiltou sen a ful fair flour?
Swiche a flour that thee schal like,
Have thou sen hit a lite."
"Avoy, dameisele," quath Blauncheflour,
"To scorne me is litel honour.
Ich ihere, Clarice, withoute gabbe,
The Ameral wil me to wive habbe.
Ac thilke dai schal never be
That men schal atwite me
That I schal ben of love untrewe,
Ne chaung I love for non newe,
For no love, ne for non eie;
So doth Floris in his contreie.
Nou I schal swete Florice misse,
Schal non other of me have blisse."
Clarice stant and behalt that reuthe,
And the treunesse of this treuthe.
Leighande sche saide to Blauncheflour:
"Com nou se that ilche flour."
To the coupe thai yeden tho.
Wel blisful was Florisse tho,
For he had iherd al this.
Out of the coupe he stirte iwis.
Blauncheflour chaungede hewe;
Wel sone aither other knewe.
Withouten speche togidere thai lepe,
Thai clepte and keste and eke wepe.
Hire cussing laste a mile,
And that hem thoughte litel while.
Clarice bihalt al this,
Here contenaunce and here bliss,
And leighende saide to Blauncheflour:
"Felawe, knouestou ought this flour?
Litel er noldest thou hit se,
And nou thou ne might hit lete fro thee.
He moste conne wel mochel of art
That thou woldest gif therof ani part."
Bothe thise swete thinges for blis
Falleth doun, here fet to kis,
And crieth hire merci, al weping,
That she hem biwraie nowt to the king,
To the king that she hem nowt biwreie,
Wher thourgh thai were siker to deye.
Tho spak Clarice to Blauncheflour
Wordes ful of fin amour:
"Ne doute thou nammore withalle
Than to miself hit hadde bifalle.
White ye wel, witerli,
That hele ich wille youre bother druri."
To on bedde she hath hem ibrowt,
That was of silk and sendal wrought.
Thai sette hem there wel softe adoun,
And Clarice drowgh the courtyn roum.
Tho bigan thai to clippe and kisse,
And made joie and mochele blisse.
Florice ferst speke bigan,
And saide: "Louerd that madest man,
Thee I thanke, Godes sone,
Nou al mi care ich have overcome.
And nou ich have mi lef ifounde,
Of al mi kare ich am unbounde."
Nou hath aither other itold
Of mani a care foul cold,
And of mani pine stronge,
That thai han ben atwo so longe.
Clarice hem servede al to wille,
Bothe dernelich and stille,
But so ne mighte she hem longe iwite
That hit ne sscholde ben underyete.
Nou hadde the Amerail swich a wone
That everi dai ther sscholde come
Two maidenes ut of hire boure,
To serven him up in the toure,
With water and cloth and bacyn,
For to wasschen his hondes in;
That other scholde bringge comb and mirour,
To serven him with gret honour.
And thai thai servede him never so faire,
Amorewen scholde another paire;
And mest was woned into the tour
Therto Clarice and Blauncheflour.
So longe him servede the maidenes route
That hire service was comen aboute:
On the morewen that thider com Florice
Hit fel to Blauncheflour and to Clarice.
Clarice - so wel hire mote bitide -
Aros up in the morewentide,
And clepede after Blauncheflour,
To wende with here into the tour.
Blauncheflour saide: "Ich am comende,"
Ac here answere was al slepende.
Clarice in the wai is nome,
And wende that Blauncheflour had come.
Sone so Clarice com in the tour
The Ameral asked after Blauncheflour.
"Sire," she saide anonright,
"She hath iwaked al this night,
And ikneled and iloke,
And irad upon hire boke,
And bad to God here oreisoun,
That He thee give His benisoun
And thee helde longe alive.
Nou sche slepeth al so swithe,
Blauncheflour, that maiden swete,
That hii ne mai nowt comen yhete."
"Certe," said the kyng,
"Nou is hi a swete thing.
Wel aughte ich here yerne to wive,
Whenne she bit so for mi live."
Another dai Clarice arist
And hath Blauncheflour atwist
Whi hi made so longe demoere.
"Aris up, and go we ifere."
Blauncheflour saide: "I come anan."
And Florice here klippe bigan
And felle aslepe on this wise;
And after hem gan sore agrise.
Clarice to the piler cam;
The bacyn of gold she nam,
And hath icleped after Blauncheflour,
To wende with here into the tour.
She ne answerede nai ne yo,
Tho wende Clarice she ware ago.
Sone so Clarice com into the tour,
The Ameral asked after Blauncheflour,
Whi and wharfore she ne come,
As hi was woned to done.
"She was arisen ar ich were,
Ich wende here haven ifonden here.
What, ne is she nowt comen yit?"
"Nou she me douteth al to lit."
Forht he clepeth his chaumberleyn,
And bit him wende with alle main,
And wite wi that she ne come,
As hi was wone bifore to done.
The chaumberleyn hath undernome,
Into hir bour he his icome,
And stant bifore hire bed,
And find thar twai, neb to neb,
Neb to neb, an mouth to mouth:
Wel sone was that sorewe couth.
Into the tour up he steigh,
And saide his louerd al that he seigh.
The Ameral het his swerd him bring,
Iwiten he wolde of that thinge.
Forht he nimth with alle mayn,
Himself and his chaumberlayn,
Til thaie come thar thai two laie;
Yit was the slep fast in hire eye.
The Ameral het hire clothes keste
A litel binethen here breste.
Than segh he wel sone anon
That on was a man, that other a womman.
He quok for anguisse ther he stod;
Hem to quelle was his mod.
He him bithoughte, ar he wolde hem quelle,
What thai were thai sscholde him telle,
And sithen he thoughte hem of dawe don.
The children awoken under thon.
Thai segh the swerd over hem idrawe;
Adrad thai ben to ben islawe.
Tho bispak the Ameral bold
Wordes that scholde sone bi told:
"Sai me now, thou bel ami,
Who made thee so hardi
For to come into mi tour,
To ligge ther bi Blauncheflour?
To wrotherhale ware ye bore;
Ye schollen tholie deth therfore."
Thanne saide Florice to Blauncheflour:
"Of oure lif nis non socour."
And mercy thai cride on him so swithe,
That he gaf hem respit of here live
Til he hadde after his baronage sent,
To awreken him thourgh jugement.
Up he bad hem sitte bothe
And don on other clothe,
And siththe he let hem binde fast,
And into prisoun hem he cast,
Til he had after his barenage sent
To wreken him thourgh jugement.
What helpeth hit longe tale to sschewe?
Ich wille you telle at wordes fewe.
Nou al his baronage hath undernome,
And to the Amerail they beth icome.
His halle, that was heighe ibult,
Of kynges and dukes was ifult.
He stod up among hem alle,
Bi semblaunt swithe wroth withalle.
He saide: "Lordingges, of mochel honour
Ye han herd speken of Blauncheflour,
Hou ich hire bought dere aplight
For seven sithes of gold hire wight.
For hire faired and hire chere
Ich hire boughte allinge so dere,
For ich thoughte, withouten wene,
Hire have ihad to mi quene.
Bifore hire bed miself I com,
And fond bi hire an naked grom.
Tho thai were me so lothe
I thoughte to han iqueld hem bothe,
Ich was so wroth and so wod;
And yit ich withdrough mi mod.
Fort ich have after you isent,
To awreke me thourgh jugement.
Nou ye witen hou hit is agon,
Awreke me swithe of mi fon."
Tho spak a kyng of on lond:
"We han iherd this schame and schonde,
Ac, er we hem to dethe wreke,
We scholle heren tho children speke,
What thai wil speke and sigge,
Yif thai ought agein wil allegge.
Hit ner nowt right jugement
Withouten answere to acoupement."
After the children nou men sendeth
Hem to brenne fur men tendeth.
Twaie Sarazins forth hem bringe
Toward here deth, sore wepinge.
Dreri were this schildren two;
Nou aither biwepeth otheres wo.
Florice saide to Blauncheflour:
"Of oure lif nis non socour.
Yif manken hit tholi might
Twies I scholde die with right:
One for miself, another for thee,
For this deth thou hast for me."
Blauncheflour saide agen tho:
"The gelt is min of oure bother wo."
Florice drow forth the ring
That his moder him gaf at his parting.
"Have nou this ring, lemman min,
Thou ne schalt nowt die whiles hit is thin."
Blauncheflour saide tho:
"So ne schal hit never go,
That this ring schal ared me;
Ne mai ihc no deth on thee se."
Florice the ring here araught,
And hi him agein hit bitaught.
On hire he hath the ring ithrast,
And hi hit haveth awai ikast.
A duk hit segh and begh to grounde,
An was glad that ring he founde.
On this maner the children come
Weping to the fur and to hire dome.
Bifor al that folk thai ware ibrowt,
Dreri was hire bother thought.
Ther nas non so sterne man
That thise children loked upan,
That thai ne wolde alle ful fawe
Here jugement have withdrawe,
And with grete garisoun hem begge -
Yif thai dorste speke other sigge -
For Florice was so fair a yongling,
And Blauncheflour so swete a thing.
Of men and wimmen that beth nouthe,
That gon and riden and speketh with mouthe,
Beth non so fair in hire gladnesse,
Als thai ware in hire sorewenesse.
No man ne knewe hem that hem was wo
Bi semblaunt that thai made tho,6
But bi the teres that thai schadde,
And fillen adoun bi here nebbe.
The Ameral was so wroth and wod
That he ne might withdraw his mod.
He bad binde the children faste,
Into the fir he hem caste.
Thilke duk that the gold ryng hadde
Nou to speke rewthe he hadde.
Fain he wolde hem helpe to live
And tolde hou thai for the ring strive.
The Ameral het hem agen clepe,
For he wolde tho schildren speke.
He askede Florice what he hete,
And he him told swithe skete.
"Sire," he saide, "Yif hit were thi wille,
Thou ne aughtest nowt this maiden spille.
Ac, sire, lat aquelle me,
And lat that maiden alive be."
Blauncheflour saide tho:
"The gilt is min of oure bother wo."
And the Ameral saide tho:
"Iwis ye sculle die bo.
With wreche ich wille me awreke,
Ye ne scholle nevere go ne speke."
His swerd he braid out of his sschethe,
The children for to do to dethe.
And Blauncheflour pult forth hire swire,
And Florice gan hire agein tire.
"Ich am a man, ich schal go bifore.
Thou ne aughtest nought mi deth acore."
Florice forht his swire pulte
And Blauncheflour agein hit brutte.
Al that iseyen this
Therfore sori weren iwis,
And saide: "Dreri mai we be
Bi swiche children swich rewthe se."
Th'Ameral, wroth thai he were,
Bothe him chaungede mod and chere
For aither for other wolde die,
And he segh so mani a weping eye.
And for he hadde so mochel loved the mai,
Weping he turned his heved awai,
And his swerd hit fil to grounde;
He ne mighte hit holde in that stounde.
Thilke duk that the ring found
With th'Ameral spak and round,
And ful wel therwith he spedde;
The children therwith fram dethe he redde.
"Sire," he saide, "hit is litel pris
Thise children to slen, iwis.
Hit is the wel more worsschipe
Florice conseile that thou wite,
Who him taughte thilke gin
For to come thi tour within,
And who that him broughte thar,
The bet of other thou might be war."
Than saide th'Ameraile to Florice tho:
"Tel me who thee taughte herto."
"That," quath Florice, "ne schal I nevere do,
But yif hit ben forgiven also
That the gin me taughte therto;
Arst ne schal hit never bi do."
Alle thai praied therfore iwis;
The Ameral graunted this.
Nou everi word Florice hath him told,
Hou the made was fram him sold,
And hou he was of Speyne a kyngges sone,
For hire love thider icome,
To fonden with som gin
That faire maiden for to win.
And hou thourgh his gold and his garisoun
The porter was his man bicom,
And hou he was in the coupe ibore;
And alle this other lowen therfore.
Nou the Amerail - wel him mote bitide -
Florice he sette next his side,
And made him stonde ther upright,
And had idubbed him to knight,
And bad he scholde with him be
With the formast of his mené.
Florice fallet to his fet,
And bit him gif him his lef so swet.
The Ameral gaf him his lemman;
Alle the othere him thanked than.
To one chirche he let hem bringge
And wedde here with here owene ringge.
Nou bothe this children alle for bliss
Fil the Amerales fot to kis;
And thourgh counseil of Blauncheflour
Clarice was fet doun of the tour,
And the Amerale here wedded to quene.
There was feste swithe breme
I ne can nowt tellen alle the sonde,
Ac the richest feste in londe.
Nas hit nowt longe after than
That Florice tidingge to cam
That his fader the king was ded.
And al the barnage gaf him red
That he scholde wenden hom
And underfongen his kyndom.
At Ameral he nom his leve,
And he him bad with him bileve.
Thanne bispak the Ameral:
"Yif thou wilt do, Florice, bi mi conseil,
Dwelle here, and wend nowt hom.
Ich wille thee given a kyngdom
Also longe and also brod,
Als evere yit thi fader bod."
"I nel bileve for no winne;
To bidde me hit were sinne."
Thai bitaught the Amerail oure Dright,
And thai com hom whan thai might,
And let croune him to king,
And hire to quene, that swete thing,
And underfeng Cristendom of prestes honde,
And thonkede God of alle His sonde.
Nou ben thai bothe ded;
Crist of Hevene houre soules led.
Nou is this tale browt to th'ende,
Of Florice and of his lemman hende,
Hou after bale hem com bote;
So wil oure Louerd that ous mote.
Amen siggeth also,
And ich schal helpe you therto.

Nor need one ever; (t-note)
more beautiful; try to find
nourished them then
Very much; the two of them
raised them together
Until; age

That it would be a great pity
Unless; study

you will learn; (t-note)
very seriously

I cannot; (t-note)

Nor; read

thanks to

very intelligent

each other
be separated
(see note)
could write; parchment
perceived; love

marry in accordance with
spoke then
her; distress
About how it would go with Floris
desire; put to death
And an end is made to her life
marry advisedly

intended through her counsel
[To] save; death
ought; try
live; honor
Because of
take away; pure; (t-note)
would not be; at once; (t-note)

Reluctantly; (t-note)
advise; to be done
should; son
(see note)

away from us

To resolve their love in such a way
As if
advise also
feigns to be ill
same cause
Why; from
very unhappy
Sadder; there never were

To my harm you send me away
is not able; go
are not allowed
happiness; woe
son in good faith (assuredly)

to you

do not care in the least where
consented pleased the king
entrusted him to
there (thither) come
was fitting for; noble

happy; together with him; (see note)
cheer up, [by] sport; entertainment
sweetheart (lit., life)
Where; were
many to that place came
sighs; nothing
speaks; (see note)
in; fastened
is [so much]; heart's
is as sweet [as that]
Spice; licorice; (see note)

One day seems as long as three to him

had passed
had; come
was afflicted by
food; nor
any; go down
[to] the king to inform [him of]
condition, in writing
immediately; wax [of the seal] broke
know; said

anger; called

Have that maiden sent for
From; head
very unhappy

[have] mercy
nearest harbor
merchants; certainly
from; (see note)
buy gladly
young woman; (see note)
property; goods
away from; taken
In such a way that; kill
truly; happened
burgess (merchant); (see note)
gentle; courteous
sell; buy; could

given over
And; harbor
cup; precious; (see note)
like it
depicted; think
led; (i.e., Helen); (see note)
both their
round knob on top
deep a cellar
would not give light to the cupbearer
fill [containers with] both
[The lid was] of; pure; (see note)

sweetheart; beloved; (see note)
afterwards; very
In exchange for; gave
expected (knew he could); gain


at once
Quickly; agreed

times her weight in gold; (t-note)
(see note)
harem; (see note)
maiden left behind
are; [their] profit from her
let us leave Blancheflour; (t-note)

burgess; (t-note)
to the king to keep

had made; temple; (see note)
very beautiful tomb created; (t-note)
had placed

Whoever could; read

(see note)

descended (from his horse); (see note)
greeted instantly; (t-note)

But that; beloved might be
No sort of; demanded; (see note)
So along he is taken
a chamber
in truth, certainly

recalled; deception
ordered by the king
mock; then
lying trickery causes



Swooned; truly

ran in haste
Unconscious; given birth to

Grievously; sighed

Take; where
There; in haste
grief; die

looked; (t-note)

times; swooned now

groaned; (t-note)

worthy parents; (see note)
High and low

portioned out fairly
the same night


Robbed; beloved
lived, if you'd not interfered
gladly; if you would [demand]
cry out; will not
drew; its sheath




Than [that]
speak true
Since; otherwise
I had rather

be glad
deceitful trickery

If (Unless)
In accordance with our advice marry

rough stone slab they removed
live; (t-note)


(see note)
desist; profit; (t-note)
To ask me that
not otherwise
provide you with
distress deliver; (see note)

may; request
loaded, on the earth; (see note)



servants in addition to them

guide; advise
had brought
very same
had been given in payment for Blancheflour
Obtain if it may so happen
side; (see note)
had saddled a riding horse
side as white as milk
as red as; (see note)
splendidly; made
saddlebows; exquisite
great potency
Surrounded; gold embroidery
(see note)
have no fear of anything
burn; drown; sea
steel; injure
Whether it be early
To your liking; whatsoever [will be]; (see note)
each other
They behaved; no differently
Than if; saw; lying; bier
off; go; might

have traveled

stayed at night
provided for
lord; gentle
youth; seated nearest to him; (see note)
fairest of all chairs; (t-note)
drank; ate
All those who

with each other
But; on someone else

lady; perceived
low voice
don't you notice

it seems to me

Just like that sat in here the other day
sea; taken
her again sell for a profit; (see note)
intend to
like her in all respects; (see note)
outward appearance
Except that
When; sweetheart named
glad; because of; sound
to be cheered
had fulfilled; immediately
toast; yours; (see note)
Because; spoke
sighed; (t-note)
knew; I might; (t-note)
[bad] weather; delay
look for
In the morning
set out; salty sea
quite favorable
sailors; gave generously
across happily
where he wanted to go
As soon as
eagerly; sending [him]; (see note)
where his sweetheart
It seemed to him
At once; news; (see note)
Emir intended to give a feast

from him hold land
hear his command
When; news
he was glad of every

to see; them

Comfortably; lodging; (t-note)

palatial house; none like it
plenty of; into his hands; (see note); (t-note)

Money was no object to Floris
Lest there should not be enough
meat; fresh bread

had been around
fairest of all

But; absolutely nothing; (t-note)
spoke; burgess (i.e., the host)
Who gentle; noble
it seems to me quite clearly
much; goods

something else; (t-note)
in every respect; (see note)
[intended] purchase
greatest concern
must lose [it]


lamented; her dear companion

ordered [to be] fetched; white

Lined; fur
gave [it]; (t-note)
you may thank Blancheflour for it
Here look for her; (t-note)

Who could; where; taken

An; (t-note)

times; her weight; (t-note)
beauty; bearing; (t-note)
at such a high price

rested himself
At daybreak

took; kissed them; (see note); (t-note)
earnestly; (t-note)
might; (t-note)
for himself win
bridge; (t-note)
instantly; (t-note)

he is
are sworn brothers; pledged by oath
counsel; advise properly; (t-note)
as a token
in every way
As if; had happened
took his leave
longer; stay
By the time that; high noon; (t-note)
very close to
came upon first thing
Sitting; (t-note)

called; (t-note)
greeted graciously
entrusted [it]

meat; fresh bread

Dear; what is the matter with you

mercy; (t-note)
Such a good [one]; before
live to see (abide) the very day
But; in every way
[intended] purchase

In case; to begin with
this is my greatest fear
must lose [it]

I'd be very happy
every; (t-note)

In order to devise; stratagem (ruse)
fool; held
[it] goes; (see note)
has [invited]; tournament
A second half hundred (i.e., 150); (see note)
The most powerful king of them all
Would not dare
discover; (t-note)
At once; from life departed
[To go] around; (see note); (t-note)
[It is] sixty; ten
at the wall there are
times; gates

There is no day in the entire year
in full progress

borough; a few more
weakest tower of them all
From coming; inside
force; cunning
Even if; have been born
Had; upon; sworn; (t-note)
as soon
high; moon
right in the middle
assure; (t-note)
fathoms it is tall; (t-note)
Whoever; beholds; far; near; (t-note)

In the Christian world [there] is not

ornamental globe on the top of the lead [roof]
made; ingenuity; (see note)
need by night burn; (t-note)

by night as by day


live; one
Desire for
servants; upper floor; (t-note)
noble descent

breeches; instrument; (t-note)

Unless; castrated cock fixed

same fortress
Unless; by; permission
beat; castrate; (see note)
rich clothes
astonishing a fellow
choose; (see note)
from the upper floor
noble descent
an; (see note)
earth; (t-note)
of birds
live; (see note)

much; (see note)

wrought; ingenuity
splendor; (see note)
[is] of
special power; every one; (see note); (t-note)
sardonyx stones
onyxes; chalcedonies
awe-inspiring quality; (t-note)
has been slept with; (t-note)

cry out as if it were furious
turn; as red as blood
Whichever; acts
She; put to death
those; chaste
themselves; stream
It will not cause them harm
head; (see note); (t-note)

about; (t-note)

whosoever the flower falls upon

considers [to be] of most excellence

expect to hear that; (t-note)
times; swooned then (in an instant); (see note)

As soon as

I'll die
Unless; advice

advice; know

As if; stonemason
take; square; measuring rule
As if; bricklayer

villainous; cruel

kind of
accuse; evil intention
spy on
kindly; (t-note)
[And have come] to

ask; chess; (see note)
with you
Thirty; pocket
anything of your [money]; (t-note)

(see note)
should not attach too much value to it
the next day
take; twice as much
retain; (t-note)
given in payment

in tip-top condition
Give; marks; pennies many; (see note)
keep no account


you don't feel like
offer; (see note)
have more luck

are short of nothing

homage; receive
oath of loyalty

Thus; done
Just as; taught
So that; reward


try; device

betrayed indeed
I despair of


As long as; (t-note)
condition; observe entirely

wept in between
be gathered; meadow
then; (t-note)
one basket was put; (see note)
young women; carried
loaded; angry
When they were asked to go to that place
They had not been directed correctly
But; to the left

brought together
touch; (t-note)
thought; creature

shriek; cry aloud
When; saw; (t-note)
jumped again
considered himself
didn't give a bean (i.e., he didn't care at all); (see note)
what was the matter with her
she; commotion
at once
was [meant for]; creature
close to each other
[it was] seldom; were not together
secrets; knew; (t-note)
much; entrusted
She gave

towards; darted; (see note)
terribly frightened by it; (t-note)
[to] shriek; cry
fun about it
went back
As soon as

Once you have seen it a little
Come; (t-note)

hear; no kidding; (t-note)
But that

(see note); (t-note)
nor for none (i.e., no one else) ever
Just so
Now that; lose; (t-note)

beheld that sorrow; (t-note)
faithfulness; troth
see; very
went then

jumped certainly
At once; recognized
embraced; kissed; also wept; (t-note)
kissing lasted a long time; (see note)


at all
A little while ago you would not
you can't give it up
know; cunning
Before; give [away]
creatures; happiness
her feet

betray them not; (t-note)

Through which; sure; (t-note)

true love
fear; no more indeed
Than if; happened
Know you; surely; (t-note)
cure; you both of your lovesickness; (see note)
a; taken
rich silk; made

closed; curtain completely


From; redeemed

very; (t-note)
Because; apart
to their liking
secretly; quietly
habit; (t-note)


towel; basin


although they; courteously
The next morning should [come]
most; accustomed [to go]

rest of the maidens
their turn to serve

all the best to her
called for
went on her way

As soon as

been awake
knelt; looked; (t-note)
made; prayer

she; yet
Surely; (t-note)
her desire to marry
arose; (see note)
at once
embrace; (t-note)

afterwards they became frightened
(see note)


thought; had already gone

supposed to do
she; before
thought to have found her here

fears; too little
orders; go; retinue
find out why
accustomed before
went away
has come
finds these two, face to face
calamity known

Know; event

their eyes
bed covers pulled down; (see note)

Them to kill; intention
A thought came to his mind, before; kill
afterwards; to put them to death
in the meantime
saw; drawn
Afraid; slain
at once
good friend

evil fortune; born; (t-note)

Nothing can save our lives

avenge himself; trial



traveled; (t-note)

outward appearance very angry; (t-note)
with all due respect
dearly indeed
times; weight; (see note); (t-note)
beauty; bearing
after all; (t-note)

Then; hateful; (t-note)
have killed
angry; mad
held back my anger

quickly; foes
disgrace; (t-note)
But; condemn; (t-note)

say; (t-note)
adduce anything as defense
would not be proper judicial procedure; (see note)

burn in the fire; intended
Saracens; (t-note)

weeps for

cannot be saved
If it were possible for a human being
suffer death justly
Because of
answered then
guilt; of the two of us


I can't see you condemned to death; (t-note)
she; passed
thrust; (t-note)
bent; (t-note)

brought; (t-note)

quite gladly
conviction; repealed
ransom; buy
If only they dared; or say
young man; (see note); (t-note)
live now
walk; (t-note)

Except; shed
And [which]; face

control; anger
ordered to
(see note)

[enough] compassion; (t-note)
about; argued
call; back

was called
very quickly

be killed

vengeance; avenge
drew; its

thrust; neck
pulled her back
thrust his neck; (see note)

With; grief to see
angry though
mind; countenance; (t-note)

head; (see note)
moment; (t-note)
The same duke who
was quite successful
secret; know

better; others; aware; (t-note)

Unless; forgiven
Sooner; be done; (t-note)


try; device

reward; (t-note)
(see note)
carried in the basket
the others laughed
all the best to him

foremost; retinue
give; love so sweet

temple; (t-note)
there; their; (see note)
Fell; (t-note)

fetched; from
(see note)
feast very splendid
But [it was]
It was not; (t-note)
news; (t-note)

barons; advice
From; took
requested; stay

Stay; go

As; offered
will not remain; gain

commended; Lord

be crowned; (see note)

for; gifts
our; guide
the end
gracious; (t-note)
misery for them; relief
it may [happen] to us


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