EMARÉ: FOOTNOTES1 Bear our errand (prayer) between heaven and earth
2 Whoever will, for a time, stay (to listen to me)
3 And knew well how to distribute [wealth] and govern
4 [And he] had a double king's [birth]mark
5 On sentence of death for the child and wife / And for fear of your own life
6 He had never seen such [a beautiful one] among the people
EMARÉ: NOTESAbbreviations: MS: Cotton Caligula A.ii; Kö: Kölbing; G: Gough; M: Mills; F&H: French & Hale; R: Rickert; Ri: Ritson; Ru: Rumble; S: Sands. See Select Bibliography for full references.
1-12 Although most romances begin with a prayer or invocation, this one is somewhat longer than most. R claims that it is "the longest introductory prayer in any English romance" (p. 33).
2 The images of light which inform the opening prayer are pervasive throughout the tale. Emaré herself is frequently described as "fayr and bryght" and her robe is dazzling.
4 The narrator asks God for an act of "grace" which will inform the actions of both narrator and listener. The narrative that follows illustrates the grace given for virtuous action.
7-8 The poet appeals to the Virgin, praying that she will intercede to secure a place for humanity in heaven. This same intercession is sought by Emaré in lines 315, 671. Emaré, as the long-suffering mother of the next Holy Roman Emperor, is modeled after the Virgin: the Virgin is intercessor between humanity and heaven, so Emaré is the intercessor between the various worlds of the poem, eventually uniting three generations of men.
23 R discusses the derivation of the name "Emaré," assuming it is meant to contrast with "Egaré," a name Emaré adopts in line 360. "Egaré" comes from the OF esgaree, meaning "outcast." The word "Emaré," stems from OF esmeree, meaning "refined" or "excellent"; although it also could come from OF esmarie, meaning "afflicted or troubled" (Emare, p. xxix).
24 The narrator calls attention to his source quite frequently throughout the poem, though no direct source is known. See lines 115, 162, 216, 319.
52-54 See Beaumanoir's La Manekine, in which the queen, on her deathbed, urges the king to marry his own daughter. She insists on this only if the barons refuse to recognize the daughter as heir to the throne. If he takes a second wife, she charges him that she must look exactly like his first wife; obviously, the only woman who will resemble the queen will be her own daughter. Here, the death of Queen Erayne begins Emaré's series of misfortunes. See also Perrault's rendition of the popular folk narrative Peau d'Ane (Donkey Skin), which adheres to these same stipulations which impel the king toward incest. The child without one or both parents is a common feature in medieval romance and folklore. See Chaucer's Clerk's Tale, Physician's Tale, Knight's Tale, and Perceval, various Tristrem romances, tales of the young Arthur, Le Freine, King Horn, Havelok, and Le Bone Florence of Rome.
56 The nurse figure who nurtures and/or trains the young protagonist can also be found in the OF La Belle Helene de Constantinople. R (in her line note) makes several suggestions about the name "Abro." Probably it comes from the medieval Latin "Abra," meaning "female servant," though a corruption from Arabic might also be possible.
58-62 The narrator emphasizes Emaré's ability to embroider throughout the text. See lines 67, 376-84, 427-29, 730. Embroidery is also the Amerayle's daughter's forte. In Nicholas Trivet's Anglo-Norman Chronicle, Constance learns the seven liberal arts and numerous foreign languages. See also Le Bone Florence of Rome (lines 58-63): "He set to scole that damsyell, / Tyll sche cowde of the boke telle, / And all thynge dyscrye, / Be that she was xv yere olde, / Wel she cowde as men me tolde, / Of harpe and sawtyre."
66 whyte. MS: whythe.
68 MS: All he.
77 A: And. R and M emend to read A ledde, meaning "he led," as in line 989.
78 Playnge may well carry sexual connotations here; see line 254.
83 The earliest medieval silks came from Sicily where schools of silk weavers were famous from the mid-twelfth century onward. Arab invasion and occupation of the island from 827 to 1091 placed skilled weavers and designers from the Middle East on the island. Later, under the Norman kings who conquered the island in 1091, the weaving industry continued to thrive, especially in Palermo. Palermo silks were highly prized in cathedrals and courts throughout Europe. Rickert notes that the cloth is similar to actual cloths woven in Palermo; she cites Michel, Recherches sur le Commerce, la Fabrication et l'Usage des Etoffes de Soie, d'Or, et d'Argent (Paris: Impr. de Crapelet, 1852-54), esp. vol. II, 354-55. She also speculates on potential connections between characters in the text and historical personages (Introduction, pp. xxxi-xxxii). The wealth associated with the cloth can be ascertained in comparison with statistics available on the cloth industry in medieval Europe. A fine piece of cloth from Brussels could easily be worth 800 grams of gold or one diamond, five rubies, and five emeralds.
83-180 The robe described in this passage is a key image in the poem (see introduction). The long description of the parade of fairy ladies in Sir Launfal has a similar effect, though placed toward the end of the narrative. Galeran de Bretagne, lines 509-51, presents a description of an elegant cloth. In that romance, the female child is abandoned wrapped in a cloth on which are embroidered two couples: Paris and Helen, and Floris and Blancheflor (see notes to Le Freine). For actual elegant fabrics, embroidery, and garments worn during the period, whether European or Byzantine, see Eunice R. Goddard, Women's Costume in French Texts of the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries, The Johns Hopkins Studies in Romance Literatures and Languages, vol. 7 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1927; rpt. New York: Johnson, 1973); Mary G. Houston, Medieval Costume in England & France, the 13th, 14th and 15th Centuries, A Technical History of Costume, vol. 3 (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1939); Mary G. Houston, Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine Costume and Decoration, 2nd ed., A Technical History of Costume, vol. 2 (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1947; rpt. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1965); Joan Evans, Dress in Medieval France (Oxford: Clarendon, 1952); Opus Anglicanum: English Medieval Embroidery (London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1963); Blanche Payne, History of Costume (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), especially her chapters on the twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth centuries, pp. 157-97; Pauline Johnstone, The Byzantine Tradition in Church Embroidery (London: Tiranti, 1967); Cyril G. E. Bunt, Byzantine Fabrics (Leigh-on-Sea: F. Lewis, 1967); Maurice Lombard, Les Textiles dans le monde musulman du VIIe au XIIe siecle (Paris: Mouton, 1978); Stella M. Newton, Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A Study of the Years 1340-1365 (Woodbridge: Boydell Press, 1980); Kay Staniland, Embroiderers (Toronto: University of Toronto, 1991). Mary Houston's texts are especially useful because they identify the MSS which contain the visual images. She notes that ornamental woven and embroidered textiles reached "their finest and fullest development . . . [in] the last half of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth" (Medieval Costume, p. 62). In her study of Byzantine costume, Houston discusses the shroud of Byzantine Emperor Honorius' wife, Maria, which, when it was melted down, yielded 36 lbs. of pure gold (Ancient, p. 134). Houston notes that the extant examples of royal Byzantine costume, from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries were dignified in construction and elegant to an extreme. Gem studdings are not uncommon. Cloaks of the Byzantine royal household often contained embroidered panels, called tablion "which was an important feature of men's court dress from the fifth to the tenth century, and even later. On it was lavished the most sumptuous decoration of the whole costume. As a rule, it was a cloth of gold embroidered in jewels. The Empresses wore it also from the eighth to the eleventh century, but otherwise it was confined to the Emperor and his nobles" (p. 136). The use of embroidery for illustration in cloth can be seen in the depiction of the adoration of the Magi which forms the substantial border of Empress Theodora's cloak, represented in a sixth-century mosaic in the church of S. Vitali, Ravenna. (It is represented by Houston's figs. 148a and 148b on p. 137.) Houston also discusses a carved ivory panel depicting the bejewelled and embroidered court costumes of Emperor Romanus and Empress Eudocia who reigned in Constantinople from 1068 to 1071 (Ancient, pp. 150-51). She notes that Byzantine costume influenced the Western courts and ecclesiastical dress considerably; Western Europe imitated the elegance, design, and expense of Byzantine clothings. See, for example, her fig. 167a (p. 157) depicting the German emperor which demonstrates this line of influence. In the Rotuli litterarum clausarum in turri londinensi asservati by Thomas D. Hardy (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1833-44), vol. 1, 54, King John is reported (in an inventory from 1205) as having a royal robe made of Eastern silk which was studded with sapphires, cameos, pearls, emeralds, rubies, and turquoise. And in Henry Thomas Riley's Memorials of London and London Life in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Centuries (London: Longmans, Green & Co. 1868), p. 44, Richard II in 1377 is reported to have used hats and hoods as security for a loan. One was made of scarlet, embroidered with rubies, balasses, diamonds, sapphires, and large pearls; the others were cloth or fur studded with embroidered gems. Magic clothes are a feature of the Cinderella folktale. Emaré shares several features of the widespread Cinderella tradition. See Alan Dundes, Cinderella: A Folklore Casebook (New York: Garland, 1982); Marian Roalfe Cox, Cinderella (London: David Nutt, 1893); Anna Birgitta Rooth, The Cinderella Cycle (Lund: C. W. K. Gleerup, 1951). Also compare her cloak with the pilgrim's sclavin in Langland where it is covered with protective metals (Piers Plowman, B text V, 527-31, ed., W. W. Skeat [London: Oxford University Press, 1886], I, 180):
An hundreth of ampulles . on his hatt seten,85 The MS includes the word hyght at the end of the line. The word is blotted and, since it disrupts the meter, Kö and G considered it erased. Ru, M, and F&H all leave the word out; R leaves it in.
Signes of Synay . and shelles of Galice;
And many a cruche on his cloke . and keyes of Rome,
And the vernicle bifore . for men shulde knowe,
And se bi his signes whom he soughte hadde.
91 Gems, "stuffed with ymagerye" (line 168), were thought to possess virtues (or powers). Lapidaries, or guides to stones and their qualities, were popular in the Middle Ages. The Peterborough Lapidary (PbL) and several others mentioned in subsequent notes are gathered in a collection called English Mediaeval Lapidaries, ed. Joan Evans and Mary S. Serjeantson EETS o.s. 190 (London: Oxford University Press, 1933). The correspondence between the stones on Emaré's robe and the virtue of the gems is discussed by Hanspeter Schelp; however, he selects only those qualities of the stones which are consistent with his religious/moral reading of Emaré. On the virtues of stones, see Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose:
Rychesse a girdell hadde upon,And Langland's Piers Plowman: "Fetislich hir fyngres . were fretted with golde wyre / And there-on red rubyes . as red as any glede / And diamantz of derrest pris . and double manere safferes, / Orientales and ewages . enuenymes to destroye" (B text, II, 11-14). For topaze, see notes to line 139; for rubies, see line note 130.
The bokel of it was of a stoon
Of vertu gret and mochel of myght,
. . . . . . . . . . .
The mourdaunt wrought in noble wise,
Was of a stoon full precious,
That was so fyn and vertuous,
That hol a man it coude make
Of palasie, and of toth-ake.
(lines 1085-87, 1094-98)
94 Crapowtes were believed to originate in a toad's head. Toad-stones, in the Peterborough Lapidary (Evans and Serjeantson, p. 79), are "gode for medecyne and for venym, and ther as he is may no yvel be done. And he maketh a man and woman myghty; also he maketh a man to incres fro day to day, and abounde in worthinnes. And some seyne that ther is one of the colour of wax, and he is gode to conquer batayls." Nakette is "agate," with the n from the definite article allided to the initial vowel. The "Achate," or agate in the PbL "temporeth softly and comforteth old men . . . . All the maner of achates ben god ayens venymm and ayens bighting of serpentes and he kepeth A man fro evell thinges; and he encresite strengthe and maketh god spekyng togeder and creable and of goode colour; he geveth gode consayl and he maketh good beleve, he holpeth the plesauns to god and to the wordell." Of another color of Agate, the writer claims "Men trowen that the fyft maner ther-of helpith wich-crafte, for ther-with thei changen tempest and stauncheth ryvers and stremes" (pp. 64-65). R suggests that this stone is "nacre," meaning mother-of-pearl. In this and subsequent notes, I have provided fuller quotations from the lapidaries (I have regularizing u/v, i/j, þ, and writing out abbreviations).
104 The Emperor's comment points to the possibility of reading the effect of the cloth as an enchantment.
111 The fact that the Saracen princess makes the cloth "wyth pryde" opens up the possibility for reading the cloth as sinful or as inappropriately powerful, although it also attests to the perfection of craft in the garment. See introduction.
113 Azure was a highly esteemed color for cloth in the Middle Ages.
121-56 R notes similarities between this description and a passage in Mai und Beaflor where a young woman wears a marvelous robe.
122 Ydoyne and Amadas are well-known lovers. Amadas is not of the same rank as his beloved Ydoyne; he goes through a long series of sufferings and trials before he wins her. The similarity with Emaré only occurs in the extreme trials that must be endured and in Emaré's statement that she is "symple" and lowborn (although this is not true at all). Her rank and lineage are what confer upon her son the title of emperor. The tale of Ydoyne and Amadas, also woven in a cloth, is described in Sir Degrevant (lines 1477-78).
125 The "trewe-love-flour" is an herb whose four leaves resemble a love knot. It is mentioned in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (line 612).
127 Carbunkull, "schineth as feyre whose schynyng is not overcom by nyght" (PbL, 82). Saffere, or sapphire, "distrowen fowlnes and envy, and comforteth the body and membres, and letteth the man fro enprisonyng; and he that with the saphir towcheth the iiij places of the prison or of the cheynes, if he have gode beleve he schal be delyverd by vertu of the ston . . . The bok tellen us that the saphir is wel good to acord men togidder, and to brek wyche-craft; and it is mych worthe to hele byles and swellyng; if it be geven to him that have byles or swellyng within the body, anon he schall be hole by vertu that gode hathe gyven therto; and it schall kele the body of hot syknes, and do away the sorow of the hede, and it helpeth the seknes of goomes, and it chaseth owte the ange of yene . . . it maketh a man to have wyte and myght . . . Also this ston was of gret autorite in old tyme, that men seyd that they wold holowgh it to hir god, and so it was syngulerly holowed to her god appolyne. For when naciouns axedet consel of appolyn in tyme of sacrifice, they hope to be certefy and to have answer the rather if saphir ston wer present" (PbL, 101-02).
128 Kassydonys is Chalcedony: "Calcidonice is a ston of white pale coler . . . and it cometh owt of the est, and it is lik to cristal; and he that bereth him schall be wel spekyng and ful of gret eloquens; and if he have eny ple or cause, schwe the stone to his adversary, and it schall helpe him in his cause . . . and if a man be juged thorow fals jugement this wol nat leve fro him that he schall not be lost from him; and he schall love the service of god whiles he bereth him clen" (PbL, 75). Onyx can "kepeth him saaf and encreseth his bewte. The onycle is blak of color . . . . He doeth away fantasies, and maketh a man to hawe gret dremes, and he maketh a man hardy in fyght, and he helpeth a man in plee, and so to conquer his ryght. . . . He that bereth it schal have many gode graces" (PbL, 115-16). In the London Lapidary, its blackness "signifieth the synne of man and also the tendrenesse of . . . the flesshe that is alwey freele to falle"(PbL, 27).
130 Deamondes: "The lapidare seyth us that god gave many fayre vertues and grace to the diamond, that if a man bere it in strenth and vertu, it kepith him fro grevance, metinges and temtacions, and fro venym . . . it defendeth him fro his enemyis; . . . also it kepth the sed of man wythinne the wombe of his wyfe, and it helpeth the child and kepeth the childis membres hole" (PbL, 83). And the London Lapidary observes: "holy he shal be that this vertuouse ston berith in clennesse"(p. 31). On Rubyes, the London Lapidary says: "the gentil rubie fyne and clene is lorde of stones and is also of water of waters" (pp. 21-22).
132 glewe. MS: Gle. Emended by G, R, F&H, Ru, and M to maintain the rhyme scheme.
134 Tristrem and Isowde is a famous story of adulterous love; in some versions of their story, however, the magic potion is emphasized. The fated nature of the two lovers' suffering and their separations are similar to Emaré's fate; however, adultery is never an issue here.
139 Topase: "He that bereth this ston schall love to lede his body chastly, and then mor to loke hevenly wayes . . . In the tresor of kyngges no thyng is mor cler nor mor preciose then this preciose ston is . . . he helpeth ayens the passioun of lynatik folke . . . . Also he stancheth blode, and he helpeth hem that han the emoroides and swageth him. And he wold not suffre fervent water for to boile, as it is seyd in bokes. Dias seythe that it asswageth bothe wrath and sorowgh, and it helpeth ayens yvel thowghtes and frenesesy, and ayens soden dethe" (PbL, pp. 106-07).
146 Florys and Blawncheflour's idyllic courting takes place in a Middle Eastern setting, exotic for medieval English listeners. The story was popular. See F. C. de Vries, ed., Floris and Blanchefleur (Dissertation, 1930; rpt. Groningen Drukkerijv Press, 1966); A. B. Taylor, ed., Floire et Blancheflor (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1927). It is also available in S and F&H.
151 knyghtus and senatowres. These nouns seem out of place in a list of gems. R suggests "Ther were onyx and centaureus."
152 Emerawde "is a ston that overpasseth al the grennesse of grenhede; . . .and the esmeraude cometh owte of the lond of tyre by a water of paradis. Nero hathe a myrrour of this ston wherein he loked, and he wyst by the vertu of this stone al that he wole seke or deseyre. It encresseth ryches and maketh word of man dredfull. Also is myche worthe ayens the gowte and ayens tempest and ayenes lechery. . . ''(PbL, 85). The Sloane Lapidary says: "it mendeth the sight of a man, and doth away great tempests of wethers" (p. 121); and the North Midlands Lapidary claims: "Emeraud helpys a man is eyn and kepes the syght" (p. 40).
vertues. M emends to v[alowr]es to preserve the rhyme scheme. See line 994.
154 Coral: "a ston that groweth in the red see as an erbe that is gren, and when it is owte in the eyr it wexyth hard and red and recembleth to a branche . . . it kepeth away tempest and . . . delyverith a man fro fantaseys; ane it geveth a gode begynnyng and a gode endyng . . . . Also whoso bereth this stone upone him or one his fynger, he schal get love . . . . Wycches tellen that this stone withstondith lyghtynge; and Ised [Isidore of Seville] sayth the same, that it putteth away tempest and whirlewyndes" (PbL p. 77).
155 Perydotes may well be the "deadotes" described in the PbL: "He that bereth this ston, ther schall no fantasie overcom him. Also yf this ston towche a ded body thris, this body schall aryse and mowe by vertu of this ston, but he schall not speke neyther doe . . . a man schal never dye whiles this ston is upon him" (p. 84). Crystall: "a stone that conceyveth wel fyre of the sone bem. Also make pouder ther-of, gif it to the nurse to drynke, and it schal increse her mylke. . . Also he kepeth a man chast . . ."(PbL, 76).
156 garnettes are not listed in the English lapidaries. Anselmus Boetius de Boot published his Gemmarum et Lapidum Historia in Lyons in 1636, and it claims that the garnet protects against melancholia. See Joan Evans, Magical Jewels of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1922), pp. 152-53.
158 The Sultan of Babylon appears in a number of other Middle English texts; see The Romaunce of the Sowdone of Babylone and of Ferumbras, ed. Emil Hausknecht, EETS e.s. 38 (London: Trübner, 1881) and the Sultan of Babylon in Three Middle English Charlemagne Romances, ed. Alan Lupack (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications, 1990), pp. 1-103.
164 The unicorn is a symbol of virginity. It was, according to legend, notoriously vicious and wild; it could only be tamed by a virgin, and would lay its head in her lap. See John Williamson, The Oak King, the Holly King and the Unicorn: The Myths and Symbolism of the Unicorn Tapestries (New York: Harper and Row, 1986); Jurgen W. Einhorn, Spiritalis unicornis: das Einhorn als Bedeu-tungstrager in Literatur und Kunst des Mittelalters (Munchen: W. Fink, 1976).
168 ymagerye. See Launfal line 951 and Gower's Confessio Amantis, 5. 5771.
198 The idea of Emaré (and later Segramour) being "worthy under clothing" is emphasized and repeated throughout the lay. See Chaucer's Sir Thopas, line 2107: "So worthy under wede"; Second Nun's Tale, lines 132-33: "She, ful devout and humble in hir corage, / Under hir robe of gold, that sat ful faire "; and the Romaunce of the Rose, lines 2684, 4754, and 6359.
202 they go. MS: gan the go.
218 doun. MS: dou.
219 swythe. MS: swyde. Ru's emendation.
223-28 Here, Syr Artyus's incestuous desires are revealed to the audience. See Elizabeth Archibald, "Incest in Medieval Literature and Society," Forum for Modern Language Studies 25 (1989), 1-15; James A. Brundage, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987); David Herlihy, Medieval Households (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985). See the theme developed in Sir Degaré and in Gower's "Apollonius of Tyre," "Canace and Machaire," and "Tale of Constance." The possessiveness of the father is also echoed in Chaucer's Physician's Tale. As with the Oedipal myth which featured mother-son incest, the Middle Ages' most well-known incest narrative featured a victimized male: St. Gregorius. See Hartmann von Aue, Gregorius (Tubingen: M. Niemeyer, 1984). See also the OF La Belle Helene de Constantinople and La Manekine.
239 A papal bull is, in this case, a dispensation from the laws of consanguinity.
245 This may be a hint of the fairy origins of Emaré. See also lines 396, 443, and 701.
247-49 The king now reveals his sexual desire for his daughter to her. It has been hinted in lines 188-89 and made clear to the audience in 223-28.
264 MS: þorne.
268 See Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale, line 439.
273 M emends shate to shote.
280 This sudden reversal in emotion, without any explanatory development or representation of internal debate, is common in the action-oriented romance or lay. M (p. 199) points to La Manekine, lines 6697-714, as a text which represents a more gradual change of heart.
287 yn. MS: vn. R emends to vp, followed by M and F&H. G reconstructs the line to read: And toke [hym] up [full] hastyly.
303 kelle is usually glossed as "headdress" but could also mean "cloak," "garment," or "shroud," thus befitting the King rather than Emaré. M (p. 199) argues for the latter interpretation, noting also lines 612 and 938.
310 Now is inserted in the margin at the end of the line.
313-27 The image of the rudderless ship is a powerful one, both in Christian iconography of the Middle Ages and in the English literary tradition. Within the Christian tradition, the ship has often been used as an image of faith or of Holy Church. An extensive and excellent discussion of the iconography is available, with illustrations, in V. A. Kolve's chapter, "The Man of Law's Tale: The Rudderless Ship and the Sea," pp. 297-358 in his book, Chaucer and the Imagery of Narrative: The First Five Canterbury Tales (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1984). Within the literary tradition of northern Europe, the image of Tristan and Isolde on their various ship journeys, the ship of faith and various other boats found in the Holy Grail quest narratives, the ships that carry souls from one world to another in dream visions and romances, and the image of the sorrowful mariner in the Old English "Song of the Wayfarer," are just a few well-known examples. See also Guillaume de Deguileville, Pilgrimage of the Lyf of the Manhode, ed. William A. Wright. (London: Roxburghe Club, 1869), pp. 190-92. See also the psychological-religiosity of the "at sea" image found, for example, in Hugh of St. Victor's treatise on Noah's Flood (De arca Noe morali): "let a man return to his own heart, and he will find there a stormy ocean lashed by the fierce billows of overwhelming passions and desires, which swamp the soul as often as by consent they bring it into subjection. For there is this flood in every man, as long as he lives in this corruptible life, where the flesh lusts against the spirit. Or rather, every man is in this flood, but the good are in it as those borne in ships upon the sea, whereas the bad are in it as shipwrecked persons at the mercy of the waves" (cited in Kolve, pp. 336-37); Hugh of St. Victor's text is available in his Selected Spiritual Writings (London: Faber, 1962).
314-15 See the Man of Law's Tale, lines 832-33: "In hym triste I, and in his mooder deere, / That is to me my seyl and eek my steere." See also lines 670-72 below.
331 In the MS, this line is followed by line 338 which is crossed out and then repeated in the correct position.
357 poynt. MS: poyn. Universally emended to poynt.
366 worthy. MS: wordy.
377 MS: sylky is partially erased; I have emended to sylkyn following M, F&H, and Ru.
396 MS: erdly.
409 MS: calle.
411 This line was omitted and added in the margin of the MS.
415 M emends the line to Then spakke the ryche ray to parallel line 430.
441-50 This unearthly characteristic of Emaré is emphasized in the poem: see lines 245 and 396. Since the Queen considers Emaré a cast-off from her own land, possibly from the fairy world, and possibly a "fiend," note the complication added here if we consider Galatians 4:30 "What saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman."
445 M (p. 199) finds the word "unhende" to be consistent with "the deliberately low-keyed style" of the poem.
450 the. MS: de. Ru emends as I do.
481-95 R suggests that the passage may reflect "the last great Saracenic attempt upon Europe" which was conducted in 1212. Then, the King of Castile summoned help from other European countries to repel the Ottoman Empire's territorial advancements.
496 MS: stward.
499 yn place has been variously interpreted. In her notes, R suggests that the line be emended to "yn thylke place" meaning "as it was her place to do." Ru interpolates place so that it becomes palace: "She wente wyth chylde yn palace." F&H gloss "place" as "there."
504 The birthmark in many romances, like Havelok, can serve to identify children who are separated somehow from their parents. Here, however, Segramowre is always with Emaré. It may indicate his later ascendence to the imperial throne, or it may be a hold-over from other folk materials where the birthmark identifies a lost child. See Havelok, line 604: "On his right shuldre a kine-merk," and lines 2139-47:
So weren he war of a croiz full gentF&H (p. 439) read this mark as indicating that both father and mother were of royal blood.
On his right shuldre swithe bright,
Brighter than gold again the light
So that he wiste, heye and lowe,
That it was kunrick that he sawe.
It sparkede and full brighte shon
So doth the gode charbuncle ston
That men see moughte by the light
A penny chesen so was it bright.
529 he. MS: she.
533 tho. MS: do. M leaves do with the gloss of "then." In fact, the scribe repeatedly interchanges þ, d, and t.
535-40 Although the motive for the evil mother-in-law is not certain here, Gower places his version of the story in a section on "Envy." In Chaucer's translation of the Romaunt of the Rose, Envy is portrayed as follows:
And by that ymage, nygh ynough,540 See Sir Gowther, line 71: "a felturd fende."
Was peynted Envye, that never lough,
Nor never wel in hir herte ferde,
But if she outher saugh or herde
Som gret myschaunce or gret disese.
Nothyng may so moch hir plese
As myschef and mysaventure;
Or whan she seeth discomfiture
Upon ony worthy man falle,
Than likith hir wel withalle.
She is ful glad in hir corage,
If she se any gret lynage
Be brought to nought in shamful wise.
. . . . . . . . . . .
Envie is of such crueltee
That feith ne trouthe holdith she
To freend ne felawe, bad or good.
Ne she hath kyn noon of hir blood,
That she nys ful her enemy . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
I trowe that if Envie, iwis,
Knewe the beste man that is
On this side or biyonde the see,
Yit somwhat lakken hym wolde she;
And if he were so hende and wis
That she ne myght al abate his pris,
Yit wolde she blame his worthynesse,
Or by hir wordis make it lesse.
(lines 247-59, 265-69, 281-88)
558 MS: That hyt euur so shullde be. I have followed R's emendation which maintains the rhyme scheme. M, Ru, and F&H emend likewise.
580 R notes that fyne should probably be emended to afyne as in line 913.
587-97 See Shakespeare's Winter's Tale II, iii, 170-83. Leontes instructs Antigonus to abandon Perdita:
Mark and perform it - seest thou? for the fail594 kith. MS: kygh. G and Ru also emend to kith. The scribe frequently interchanges yoghs and thornes.
Of any point in't shall not only be
Death to thyself but to thy lewd-tongu'd wife
. . . . . . . . We enjoin thee,
As thou art liegeman to us, that thou carry
This female bastard hence, and that thou bear it
To some remote and desert place, quite out
Of our dominions; and that there thou leave it,
Without more mercy, to its own protection
And favour of the climate. As by strange fortune
It came to us, I do in justice charge thee,
On thy soul's peril, and thy body's torture,
That thou commend it strangely to some place
Where chance may nurse or end it. Take it up.
606 delfull. MS: defull. G's emendation, followed by others.
629 MS: commaunndement.
631-33 See Chaucer's Clerk's Tale, lines 463-83.
635 blode. MS: blolde.
667-68 Emaré asserts herself. See also Clerk's Tale, lines 1037-43.
684 chawnses ylle. M glosses as "tribulations," which is perhaps best.
685 MS: dw led. A blemish in the MS obliterates the "el."
685-87 Emaré winds up in the house of a merchant. In most versions of the narrative, the long-suffering wife is put to sea and then taken in by a Roman Senator. M argues that "the substitution of the merchant for the senator . . . makes very little difference, since he is a quite colourless character"(p. 200). But Ramsey notes that the lower aristocracy in the figure of Syr Kadore and the middle class in the figure of the burgess here indicates some criticism levelled at the aristocracy. If so, it is consistent with material found in most of the other English Breton lays which suggests that virtue often resides or can reside in those outside the centers of power or outside the court worlds.
688 MS: Eeuery.
692 syde. MS: sythe.
701 erthyly. MS: erdyly.
702 such. MS: shuch.
722 metes. MS: mete.
730 sewed. MS: shewed.
733-41 See Florent in Octavian. Mills writes, "here, as at other points in Emaré, vividness is sacrificed to the celebration of well-bred courtesy" (p. 200).
751 MS: Kodore.
780 they. MS: the.
792 Lord. MS: Lor.
799-804 M notes again that the sentence on the mother-in-law is softened. In other texts she is commonly killed. See Octavian and Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale.
820-22 M notes that "the king's wish to do penance is rather unexpected, as he had never, even in his thoughts, been guilty of his wife's death, but it enhances the parallelism between his situation and that of his father-in-law. In the Man of Law's Tale, it is remorse at having slain his own mother that brings the husband to Rome as a penitent" (lines 988-94).
838 they. MS: the.
839 In the MS, line 837 gets repeated after this one, but is then crossed out.
841 her. MS: he.
846 shalt. MS: shat.
867 Menstrelles. MS: Mentrelles.
897 In the MS, chylde is written and crossed out after the word lytyll.
905, 917 grete ende. The meaning of the phrase is obscure. R notes: "The 'great end' of the hand would naturally be the thumb (see also Italian dito grosso, Catalan dit gros, English great toe)" (p. 46). G, F&H, and M read grece ende. G glosses grece as stairs (from OF gres), thus, according to R, "top of the stairs." F&H gloss as "foot of the (dais) steps," and M as "foot of the steps." Ru reads grete end and observes: "possibly what is intended is the hall or stairway, leading from the central part of the building to the sleeping chambers, the 'great end' being that end nearest the central rooms" (p. 128).
943 that. MS: wat.
950 was. MS: wax. So emended by G, R, Ru and M emend also.
973 tawghte. MS: thawghte.
989 Ri and G both emend A to And. R, Ru and M gloss the A as "he."
1000 stayde. MS: sayde. R's emendation. G emends to say[s]de (seized).
1024 Segramour. MS: egramour.
1030 See Le Freine where the evidence of the beautiful cloth confirms identity.
1032 MS: playn þ garye. The thorn can be interpreted as "the" or the French "de." "Complaint" is a verse form common in Celtic and Middle English literature. F&H (p. 455) suggest that "stories were often written around [complaints] to explain their existence and provide a setting."
1033 Jhesus. MS: Ihe. R transcribes Ihero; G, Jesu; F&H, Ihesus; M, Jesus.
1034 wone. MS: wene. I follow R's emendation, as does M.
Jhesu, that ys kyng in trone,
As Thou shoope bothe sonne and mone,
And all that shalle dele and dyghte,
Now lene us grace such dedus to done,
In Thy blys that we may wone -
Men calle hyt heven lyghte;
And Thy modur Mary, hevyn qwene,
Bere our arunde so bytwene, 1
That semely ys of syght,
To thy Sone that ys so fre,
In heven wyth Hym that we may be,
That lord ys most of myght.
Menstrelles that walken fer and wyde,
Her and ther in every a syde,
In mony a dyverse londe,
Sholde, at her bygynnyng,
Speke of that ryghtwes kyng
That made both see and sonde.
Whoso wyll a stounde dwelle, 2
Of mykyll myrght y may you telle,
And mornyng ther amonge;
Of a lady fayr and fre,
Her name was called Emaré,
As I here synge in songe.
Her fadyr was an emperour
Of castell and of ryche towre;
Syr Artyus was hys nome.
He hadde bothe hallys and bowrys,
Frythes fayr, forestes wyth flowrys;
So gret a lord was none.
Weddedde he had a lady
That was both fayr and semely,
Whyte as whales bone:
Dame Erayne hette that emperes;
She was full of love and goodnesse;
So curtays lady was none.
Syr Artyus was the best manne
In the worlde that lyvede thanne,
Both hardy and therto wyght;
He was curtays in all thyng,
Bothe to olde and to yynge,
And well kowth dele and dyght. 3
He hadde but on chyld in hys lyve
Begeten on hys weddedde wyfe,
And that was fayr and bryght;
For sothe, as y may telle the,
They called that chyld Emaré,
That semely was of syght.
When she was of her modur born,
She was the fayrest creature borne
That yn the lond was thoo.
The emperes, that fayr ladye,
Fro her lord gan she dye,
Or hyt kowthe speke or goo.
The chyld, that was fayr and gent,
To a lady was hyt sente,
That men kalled Abro.
She thawghth hyt curtesye and thewe,
Golde and sylke for to sewe,
Amonge maydenes moo.
Abro tawghte thys mayden small,
Nortur that men useden in sale,
Whyle she was in her bowre.
She was curtays in all thynge,
Bothe to olde and to yynge,
And whyte as lylye-flowre.
Of her hondes she was slye;
All her loved that her sye,
Wyth menske and mychyl honour.
At the mayden leve we,
And at the lady fayr and fre,
And speke we of the Emperour.
The Emperour of gentyll blode
Was a curteys lorde and a gode,
In all maner of thynge.
Aftur, when hys wyf was dede,
And ledde hys lyf yn weddewede,
And myche loved playnge.
Sone aftur, yn a whyle,
The ryche Kynge of Cesyle
To the Emperour gan wende;
A ryche present wyth hym he browght,
A cloth that was wordylye wroght.
He wellcomed hym as the hende.
Syr Tergaunte, that nobyll knyght,
He presented the Emperour ryght,
And sette hym on hys kne,
Wyth that cloth rychyly dyght,
Full of stones ther hyt was pyght,
As thykke as hyt myght be:
Off topaze and rubyes
And othur stones of myche prys,
That semely wer to se;
Of crapowtes and nakette,
As thykke ar they sette,
For sothe, as y say the.
The cloth was dysplayed sone;
The Emperour lokede therupone
And myght hyt not se,
For glysteryng of the ryche ston;
Redy syght had he non,
And sayde, "How may thys be?"
The Emperour sayde on hygh,
"Sertes, thys ys a fayry,
Or ellys a vanyté!"
The Kyng of Cysyle answered than,
"So ryche a jwell ys ther non
In all Crystyanté."
The Emerayle dowghter of hethenes
Made thys cloth wythouten lees,
And wrowghte hyt all wyth pryde;
And purtreyed hyt wyth gret honour,
Wyth ryche golde and asowr
And stones on ylke a syde.
And, as the story telles in honde,
The stones that yn thys cloth stonde,
Sowghte they wer full wyde.
Seven wynter hyt was yn makynge,
Or hyt was browght to endynge,
In herte ys not to hyde.
In that on korner made was
Ydoyne and Amadas,
Wyth love that was so trewe;
For they loveden hem wyth honour,
Portrayed they wer wyth trewe-love-flour,
Of stones bryght of hewe:
Wyth carbunkull and safere,
Kassydonys and onyx so clere
Sette in golde newe,
Deamondes and rubyes,
And othur stones of mychyll pryse,
And menstrellys wyth her glewe.
In that othur corner was dyght
Trystram and Isowde so bryght,
That semely wer to se;
And for they loved hem ryght,
As full of stones ar they dyght,
As thykke as they may be:
Of topase and of rubyes,
And othur stones of myche pryse,
That semely wer to se;
Wyth crapawtes and nakette,
Thykke of stones ar they sette,
For sothe, as y say the.
In the thyrdde korner, wyth gret honour,
Was Florys and Dam Blawncheflour,
As love was hem betwene;
For they loved wyth honour,
Purtrayed they wer wyth trewe-love-flour,
Wyth stones bryght and shene:
Ther wer knyghtus and senatowres,
Emerawdes of gret vertues,
To wyte wythouten wene;
Deamoundes and koralle,
Perydotes and crystall,
And gode garnettes bytwene.
In the fowrthe korner was oon,
Of Babylone the Sowdan sonne,
The Amerayles dowghtyr hym by.
For hys sake the cloth was wrowght;
She loved hym in hert and thowght,
As testymoyeth thys storye.
The fayr mayden her byforn
Was portrayed an unykorn,
Wyth hys horn so hye;
Flowres and bryddes on ylke a syde,
Wyth stones that wer sowght wyde,
Stuffed wyth ymagerye.
When the cloth to ende was wrowght,
To the Sowdan sone hyt was browght,
That semely was of syghte.
"My fadyr was a nobyll man;
Of the Sowdan he hyt wan
Wyth maystrye and wyth myghth.
For gret love he gaf hyt me;
I brynge hyt the in specyalté;
Thys cloth ys rychely dyght."
He gaf hyt the emperour;
He receyved hyt wyth gret honour,
And thonkede hym fayr and ryght.
The Kyng of Cesyle dwelled ther
As long as hys wyll wer,
Wyth the Emperour for to play;
And when he wolde wende,
He toke hys leve at the hende,
And wente forth on hys way.
Now remeveth thys nobyll kyng.
The Emperour aftur hys dowghtur hadde longyng,
To speke wyth that may.
Messengeres forth he sent
Aftyr the mayde fayr and gent,
That was bryght as someres day.
Messengeres dyghte hem in hye;
Wyth myche myrthe and melodye,
Forth gon they fare,
Both by stretes and by stye,
Aftur that fayr lady,
Was godely unthur gare.
Her norysse, that hyghte Abro,
Wyth her she goth forth also,
And wer sette in a chare.
To the Emperour gan they go;
He come ayeyn hem a myle or two;
A fayr metyng was there.
The mayden, whyte as lylye flour,
Lyghte ayeyn her fadyr the Emperour;
Two knyghtes gan her lede.
Her fadyr that was of gret renowne,
That of golde wered the crowne,
Lyghte of hys stede.
When they wer bothe on her fete,
He klypped her and kyssed her swete,
And bothe on fote they yede.
They wer glad and made good chere;
To the palys they yede in fere,
In romans as we rede.
Then the lordes that wer grete,
They wesh and seten doun to mete,
And folk hem served swythe.
The mayden that was of sembelant swete,
Byfore her owene fadur sete,
The fayrest wommon on lyfe;
That all hys hert and all hys thowghth
Her to love was yn browght:
He byhelde her ofte sythe.
So he was anamored hys thowghtur tyll,
Wyth her he thowghth to worche hys wyll,
And wedde her to hys wyfe.
And when the metewhyle was don,
Into hys chambur he wente son
And called hys counseyle nere.
He bad they shulde sone go and come,
And gete leve of the Pope of Rome
To wedde that mayden clere.
Messengeres forth they wente.
They durste not breke hys commandement,
And erles wyth hem yn fere.
They wente to the courte of Rome,
And browghte the Popus bullus sone,
To wedde hys dowghter dere.
Then was the Emperour gladde and blythe,
And lette shape a robe swythe
Of that cloth of golde;
And when hyt was don her upon,
She semed non erthely wommon,
That marked was of molde.
Then seyde the Emperour so fre,
"Dowghtyr, y woll wedde the,
Thow art so fresh to beholde."
Then sayde that wordy unthur wede,
"Nay syr, God of heven hyt forbede,
That ever do so we shulde!
"Yyf hyt so betydde that ye me wedde
And we shulde play togedur in bedde,
Bothe we were forlorne!
The worde shulde sprynge fer and wyde;
In all the worlde on every syde
The worde shulde be borne.
Ye ben a lorde of gret pryce,
Lorde, lette nevur such sorow aryce:
Take God you beforne!
That my fadur shulde wedde me,
God forbede that I hyt so se,
That wered the crowne of thorne!"
The Emperour was ryght wrothe,
And swore many a gret othe,
That deed shulde she be.
He lette make a nobull boot,
And dede her theryn, God wote,
In the robe of nobull ble.
She moste have wyth her no spendyng,
Nothur mete ne drynke,
But shate her ynto the se.
Now the lady dwelled thore,
Wythowte anker or ore,
And that was gret pyté!
Ther come a wynd, y unthurstonde,
And blewe the boot fro the londe,
Of her they lost the syght.
The Emperour hym bethowght
That he hadde all myswrowht,
And was a sory knyghte.
And as he stode yn studyynge,
He fell down in sowenynge,
To the erthe was he dyght.
Grete lordes stode therby,
And toke yn the Emperour hastyly,
And comforted hym fayr and ryght.
When he of sownyng kovered was,
Sore he wepte and sayde, "Alas,
For my dowhter dere!
Alas, that y was made man,
Wrecched kaytyf that I hyt am!"
The teres ronne by hys lere.
"I wrowght ayeyn Goddes lay
To her that was so trewe of fay.
Alas, why ner she here!"
The teres lasshed out of hys yghen;
The grete lordes that hyt syghen
Wepte and made yll chere.
Ther was nothur olde ny yynge
That kowthe stynte of wepynge,
For that comely unthur kelle.
Into shypys faste gan they thrynge,
Forto seke that mayden yynge,
That was so fayr of flesh and fell.
They her sowght ovurall yn the see
And myghte not fynde that lady fre,
Ayeyn they come full snell.
At the Emperour now leve we,
And of the lady yn the see,
I shall begynne to tell.
The lady fleted forth alone;
To God of heven she made her mone,
And to Hys modyr also.
She was dryven wyth wynde and rayn,
Wyth stronge stormes her agayn,
Of the watur so blo.
As y have herd menstrelles syng yn sawe,
Hows ny lond myghth she non knowe,
Aferd she was to go.
She was so dryven fro wawe to wawe,
She hyd her hede and lay full lowe,
For watyr she was full woo.
Now thys lady dwelled thore
A good seven nyghth and more,
As hyt was Goddys wylle;
Wyth carefull herte and sykyng sore,
Such sorow was here yarked yore,
And ever lay she styll.
She was dryven ynto a lond,
Thorow the grace of Goddes sond,
That all thyng may fulfylle.
She was on the see so harde bestadde,
For hungur and thurste almost madde.
Woo worth wederus yll!
She was dryven into a lond
That hyghth Galys, y unthurstond,
That was a fayr countré.
The kyngus steward dwelled ther bysyde,
In a kastell of mykyll pryde;
Syr Kadore hyght he.
Every day wolde he go,
And take wyth hym a sqwyer or two,
And play hym by the see.
On a tyme he toke the eyr
Wyth two knyghtus gode and fayr;
The wedur was lythe of le.
A boot he fond by the brym,
And a glysteryng thyng theryn,
Therof they hadde ferly.
They went forth on the sond
To the boot, y unthurstond,
And fond theryn that lady.
She hadde so longe meteles be
That hym thowht gret dele to se;
She was yn poynt to dye.
They askede her what was her name:
She chaunged hyt ther anone,
And sayde she hette Egaré.
Syr Kadore hadde gret pyté;
He toke up the lady of the see,
And hom gan her lede.
She hadde so longe meteles be,
She was wax lene as a tre,
That worthy unthur wede.
Into hys castell when she came,
Into a chawmbyr they her namm,
And fayr they gan her fede,
Wyth all delycyus mete and drynke
That they myghth hem on thynke,
That was yn all that stede.
When that lady, fayr of face,
Wyth mete and drynke kevered was,
And had colour agayne,
She tawghte hem to sewe and marke
All maner of sylkyn werke;
Of her they wer full fayne.
She was curteys yn all thyng,
Bothe to olde and to yynge,
I say yow for certeyne.
She kowghthe werke all maner thyng
That fell to emperour or to kyng,
Erle, barown or swayne.
Syr Kadore lette make a feste
That was fayr and honeste,
Wyth hys lorde, the kynge.
Ther was myche menstralsé,
Trommpus, tabours and sawtré,
Bothe harpe and fydyllyng.
The lady that was gentyll and small
In kurtull alone served yn hall,
Byfore that nobull kyng.
The cloth upon her shone so bryghth
When she was theryn ydyghth,
She semed non erthly thyng.
The kyng loked her upon,
So fayr a lady he sygh nevur non:
Hys herte she hadde yn wolde.
He was so anamered of that syghth,
Of the mete non he myghth,
But faste gan her beholde.
She was so fayr and gent,
The kynges love on her was lent,
In tale as hyt ys tolde.
And when the metewhyle was don,
Into the chambur he wente son,
And called hys barouns bolde.
Fyrst he called Syr Kadore,
And othur knyghtes that ther wore,
Hastely come hym tyll.
Dukes and erles, wyse of lore,
Hastely come the kyng before
And askede what was hys wyll.
Then spakke the ryche yn ray,
To Syr Kadore gan he say
Wordes fayr and stylle:
"Syr, whenns ys that lovely may
That yn the halle served thys day?
Tell my yyf hyt be thy wyll."
Then sayde syr Kadore, y unthurstonde,
"Hyt ys an erles thowghtur of ferre londe,
That semely ys to sene.
I sente aftur her certeynlye
To teche my chylderen curtesye,
In chambur wyth hem to bene.
She ys the konnyngest wommon,
I trowe, that be yn Crystendom,
Of werke that y have sene."
Then sayde that ryche raye,
"I wyll have that fayr may
And wedde her to my quene."
The nobull kyng, verament,
Aftyr hys modyr he sent
To wyte what she wolde say.
They browght forth hastely
That fayr mayde Egarye;
She was bryghth as someres day.
The cloth on her shon so bryght
When she was theryn dyght,
And herself a gentell may,
The olde qwene sayde anon,
"I sawe never wommon
Halvendell so gay!"
The olde qwene spakke wordus unhende
And sayde, "Sone, thys ys a fende,
In thys wordy wede!
As thou lovest my blessynge,
Make thou nevur thys weddynge,
Cryst hyt the forbede!"
Then spakke the ryche ray,
"Modyr, y wyll have thys may!"
And forth gan her lede.
The olde qwene, for certayne,
Turnede wyth ire hom agayne,
And wolde not be at that dede.
The kyng wedded that lady bryght;
Grete purvyance ther was dyghth,
In that semely sale.
Grete lordes wer served aryght,
Duke, erle, baron and knyghth,
Both of grete and smale.
Myche folke, forsothe, ther was,
And therto an huge prese,
As hyt ys tolde yn tale.
Ther was all maner thyng
That fell to a kyngus weddyng,
And mony a ryche menstralle.
When the mangery was done,
Grete lordes departed sone,
That semely were to se.
The kynge belafte wyth the qwene;
Moch love was hem betwene,
And also game and gle.
She was curteys and swete,
Such a lady herde y nevur of yete;
They loved both wyth herte fre.
The lady that was both meke and mylde
Conceyved and wente wyth chylde,
As God wolde hyt sholde be.
The kyng of France yn that tyme
Was besette wyth many a Sarezyne,
And cumbered all in tene;
And sente aftur the kyng of Galys,
And othur lordys of myche prys,
That semely were to sene.
The kyng of Galys, in that tyde,
Gedered men on every syde,
In armour bryght and shene.
Then sayde the kyng to Syr Kadore
And othur lordes that ther wore,
"Take good hede to my qwene."
The kyng of Fraunce spared none,
But sent for hem everychone,
Both kyng, knyghth and clerke.
The steward bylaft at home
To kepe the qwene whyte as fome,
He come not at that werke.
She wente wyth chylde yn place,
As longe as Goddus wyll was,
That semely unthur serke;
Thyll ther was of her body
A fayr chyld borne and a godele;
Hadde a dowbyll kyngus marke. 4
They hyt crystened wyth grete honour
And called hym Segramour:
Frely was that fode.
Then the steward, Syr Kadore,
A nobull lettur made he thore,
And wrowghte hyt all wyth gode.
He wrowghte hyt yn hyghynge
And sente hyt to hys lorde the kynge,
That gentyll was of blode.
The messenger forth gan wende,
And wyth the kyngus modur gan lende,
And ynto the castell he yode.
He was resseyved rychely,
And she hym askede hastyly
How the qwene hadde spedde.
"Madame, ther ys of her yborne
A fayr man-chylde, y tell you beforne,
And she lyth in her bedde."
She gaf hym for that tydynge
A robe and fowrty shylynge,
And rychely hym cladde.
She made hym dronken of ale and wyne,
And when she sawe that hyt was tyme,
Tho chambur she wolde hym lede.
And when he was on slepe browght,
The qwene that was of wykked thowght,
Tho chambur gan she wende.
Hys letter she toke hym fro,
In a fyre she brente hyt tho;
Of werkes she was unhende.
Another lettur she made wyth evyll,
And sayde the qwene had born a devyll;
Durste no mon come her hende.
Thre heddes hadde he there,
A lyon, a dragon, and a beere:
A fowll feltred fende.
On the morn when hyt was day,
The messenger wente on hys way,
Bothe by stye and strete;
In trwe story as y say,
Tyll he come theras the kynge laye,
And speke wordus swete.
He toke the kyng the lettur yn honde,
And he hyt redde, y unthurstonde,
The teres downe gan he lete.
And as he stode yn redyng,
Downe he fell yn sowenyng,
For sorow hys herte gan blede.
Grete lordes that stode hym by
Toke up the kyng hastely;
In herte he was full woo.
Sore he grette and sayde, "Alas,
That y evur man born was!
That hyt evur shullde be so.
Alas, that y was made a kynge,
And sygh wedded the fayrest thyng
That on erthe myght go.
That evur Jesu hymself wolde sende
Such a fowle, lothly fende
To come bytwene us too."
When he sawe hyt myght no bettur be,
Anothur lettur then made he,
And seled hyt wyth hys sele.
He commanded yn all thynge
To kepe well that lady yynge
Tyll she hadde her hele;
Bothe gode men and ylle
To serve her at her wylle,
Bothe yn wo and wele.
He toke thys lettur of hys honde,
And rode thorow the same londe,
By the kyngus modur castell.
And then he dwelled ther all nyght;
He was resseyved and rychely dyght
And wyst of no treson.
He made hym well at ese and fyne,
Bothe of brede, ale and wyne,
And that berafte hym hys reson.
When he was on slepe browght,
The false qwene hys lettur sowghte.
Into the fyre she kaste hyt downe:
Another lettur she lette make,
That men sholde the lady take,
And lede her owt of towne,
And putte her ynto the see,
In that robe of ryche ble,
The lytyll chylde her wyth;
And lette her have no spendyng,
For no mete ny for drynke,
But lede her out of that kyth.
"Upon payn of chylde and wyfe
And also upon your owene lyfe, 5
Lette her have no gryght!"
The messenger knewe no gyle,
But rode hom mony a myle,
By forest and by fryght.
And when the messenger come home,
The steward toke the lettur sone,
And bygan to rede.
Sore he syght and sayde, "Alas,
Sertes thys ys a fowle case,
And a delfull dede!"
And as he stode yn redyng,
He fell downe yn swonygne;
For sorow hys hert gan blede.
Ther was nothur olde ny yynge,
That myghte forbere of wepynge
For that worthy unthur wede.
The lady herde gret dele yn halle;
On the steward gan she calle,
And sayde, "What may thys be?"
Yyf anythyng be amys,
Tell me what that hyt ys,
And lette not for me."
Then sayde the steward, verament,
"Lo, her a lettur my lord hath sente,
And therfore woo ys me!"
She toke the lettur and bygan to rede;
Then fonde she wryten all the dede,
How she moste ynto the see.
"Be stylle, syr," sayde the qwene,
"Lette syche mornynge bene;
For me have thou no kare.
Loke thou be not shente,
But do my lordes commaundement,
God forbede thou spare.
For he weddede so porely
On me, a sympull lady,
He ys ashamed sore.
Grete well my lord fro me,
So gentyll of blode yn Cristyanté,
Gete he nevur more!"
Then was ther sorow and myche woo,
When the lady to shype shulde go;
They wepte and wronge her hondus.
The lady that was meke and mylde,
In her arme she bar her chylde,
And toke leve of the londe.
When she wente ynto the see
In that robe of ryche ble,
Men sowened on the sonde.
Sore they wepte and sayde, "Alas,
Certys thys ys a wykked kase!
Wo worth dedes wronge!"
The lady and the lytyll chylde
Fleted forth on the watur wylde,
Wyth full harde happes.
Her surkote that was large and wyde,
Therwyth her vysage she gan hyde,
Wyth the hynthur lappes;
She was aferde of the see,
And layde her gruf uponn a tre,
The chylde to her pappes.
The wawes that were grete and strong,
On the bote faste they thonge,
Wyth mony unsemely rappes.
And when the chyld gan to wepe,
Wyth sory herte she songe hyt aslepe,
And putte the pappe yn hys mowth,
And sayde, "Myghth y onus gete lond,
Of the watur that ys so stronge,
By northe or by sowthe,
Wele owth y to warye the, see,
I have myche shame yn the!"
And evur she lay and growht;
Then she made her prayer
To Jhesu and Hys modur dere,
In all that she kowthe.
Now thys lady dwelled thore
A full sevene nyght and more,
As hyt was Goddys wylle;
Wyth karefull herte and sykyng sore,
Such sorow was her yarked yore,
And she lay full stylle.
She was dryven toward Rome,
Thorow the grace of God yn trone,
That all thyng may fulfylle.
On the see she was so harde bestadde,
For hungur and thurste allmost madde,
Wo worth chawnses ylle!
A marchaunte dwelled yn that cyté,
A ryche mon of golde and fee,
Jurdan was hys name.
Every day wolde he
Go to playe hym by the see,
The eyer forto tane.
He wente forth yn that tyde,
Walkynge by the see syde,
All hymselfe alone.
A bote he fonde by the brymme
And a fayr lady therynne,
That was ryght wo-bygone.
The cloth on her shon so bryght,
He was aferde of that syght,
For glysteryng of that wede;
And yn hys herte he thowghth ryght
That she was non erthyly wyght;
He sawe nevur non such yn leede. 6
He sayde, "What hette ye, fayr ladye?"
"Lord," she sayde, "y hette Egarye,
That lye her, yn drede."
Up he toke that fayre ladye
And the yonge chylde her by,
And hom he gan hem lede.
When he come to hys byggynge,
He welcomed fayr that lady yynge
That was fayr and bryght;
And badde hys wyf yn all thynge,
Mete and drynke forto brynge
To the lady ryght.
"What that she wyll crave,
And her mowth wyll hyt have,
Loke hyt be redy dyght.
She hath so longe meteles be,
That me thynketh grette pyté;
Conforte her yyf thou myght."
Now the lady dwelles ther,
Wyth alle metes that gode were,
She hedde at her wylle.
She was curteys yn all thyng,
Bothe to olde and to yynge;
Her loved bothe gode and ylle.
The chylde bygan forto thryfe;
He wax the fayrest chyld on lyfe,
Whyte as flour on hylle.
And she sewed sylke werk yn bour,
And tawghte her sone nortowre,
But evyr she mornede stylle.
When the chylde was seven yer olde,
He was bothe wyse and bolde,
And wele made of flesh and bone;
He was worthy unthur wede
And ryght well kowthe pryke a stede;
So curtays a chylde was none.
All men lovede Segramowre,
Bothe yn halle and yn bowre,
Whersoevur he gan gone.
Leve we at the lady clere of vyce,
And speke of the kyng of Galys,
Fro the sege when he come home.
Now the sege broken ys,
The kyng come home to Galys,
Wyth mykyll myrthe and pryde;
Dukes and erles of ryche asyce,
Barones and knyghtes of mykyll pryse,
Come rydynge be hys syde.
Syr Kadore, hys steward thanne,
Ayeyn hym rode wyth mony a man,
As faste as he myght ryde.
He tolde the kyng aventowres
Of hys halles and hys bowres,
And of hys londys wyde.
The kyng sayde, "By Goddys name,
Syr Kadore, thou art to blame
For thy fyrst tellynge!
Thow sholdest fyrst have tolde me
Of my lady Egaré,
I love most of all thyng!"
Then was the stewardes herte wo,
And sayde, "Lorde, why sayst thou so?
Art not thou a trewe kynge?
Lo her, the lettur ye sente me,
Yowr owene self the sothe may se;
I have don your byddynge."
The kyng toke the lettur to rede,
And when he sawe that ylke dede,
He wax all pale and wanne.
Sore he grette and sayde, "Alas,
That evur born y was,
Or evur was made manne!
Syr Kadore, so mot y the,
Thys lettur come nevur fro me;
I telle the her anone!"
Bothe they wepte and yaf hem ylle.
"Alas!" he sayde, "Saf Goddys wylle!"
And both they sowened then.
Grete lordes stode by,
And toke up the kyng hastyly;
Of hem was grete pyté;
And when they both kevered were,
The kyng toke hym the letter ther
Of the heddys thre.
"A, lord," he sayde, "be Goddus grace,
I sawe nevur thys lettur yn place!
Alas, how may thys be?"
Aftur the messenger ther they sente,
The kyng askede what way he went:
"Lord, be your modur fre."
"Alas!" then sayde the kynge,
"Whethur my modur wer so unhende
To make thys treson?
By my krowne she shall be brent,
Wythowten any othur jugement;
That thenketh me best reson!"
Grete lordes toke hem betwene
That they wolde exyle the qwene
And berefe her hyr renowne.
Thus they exiled the false qwene
And byrafte her hyr lyflothe clene:
Castell, towre and towne.
When she was fled ovur the see fome,
The nobull kyng dwelled at hom,
Wyth full hevy chere;
Wyth karefull hert and drury mone,
Sykynges made he many on
For Egarye the clere.
And when he sawe chylderen play,
He wepte and sayde, "Wellawey,
For my sone so dere!"
Such lyf he lyved mony a day,
That no mon hym stynte may,
Fully seven yere.
Tyll a thowght yn hys herte come,
How hys lady whyte as fome,
Was drowned for hys sake.
"Thorow the grace of God yn trone,
I woll to the Pope of Rome,
My penans for to take!"
He lette ordeyne shypus fele
And fylled hem full of wordes wele,
Hys men mery wyth to make.
Dolys he lette dyghth and dele,
For to wynnen hym sowles hele;
To the shyp he toke the gate.
Shypmen that wer so mykyll of pryce,
Dyght her takull on ryche acyse,
That was fayr and fre.
They drowgh up sayl and leyd out ore;
The wynde stode as her lust wore,
The wethur was lythe on le.
They sayled over the salt fome,
Thorow the grace of God in trone,
That most ys of powsté.
To that cyté, when they come,
At the burgeys hous hys yn he nome,
Theras woned Emarye.
Emaré called her sone
Hastely to here come
Wythoute ony lettynge,
And sayde, "My dere sone so fre,
Do a lytull aftur me,
And thou shalt have my blessynge.
Tomorowe thou shall serve yn halle,
In a kurtyll of ryche palle,
Byfore thys nobull kyng.
Loke, sone, so curtays thou be,
That no mon fynde chalange to the
In no manere thynge!
When the kyng ys served of spycerye,
Knele thou downe hastylye,
And take hys hond yn thyn.
And when thou hast so done,
Take the kuppe of golde sone,
And serve hym of the wyne.
And what that he speketh to the,
Cum anon and tell me,
On Goddus blessyng and myne!"
The chylde wente ynto the hall,
Among the lordes grete and small,
That lufsumme wer unthur lyne.
Then the lordes that wer grete,
Wysh and wente to her mete;
Menstrelles browght yn the kowrs.
The chylde hem served so curteysly,
All hym loved that hym sy,
And spake hym gret honowres.
Then sayde all that loked hym upon,
So curteys a chylde sawe they nevur non,
In halle ny yn bowres.
The kynge sayde to hym yn game,
"Swete sone, what ys thy name?"
"Lorde," he seyd, "y hyghth Segramowres."
Then that nobull kyng
Toke up a grete sykynge,
For hys sone hyght so;
Certys, wythowten lesynge,
The teres out of hys yen gan wryng;
In herte he was full woo.
Neverthelese, he lette be,
And loked on the chylde so fre,
And mykell he lovede hym thoo.
The kyng sayde to the burgeys anon,
"Swete syr, ys thys thy sone?"
The burgeys sayde, "Yoo."
Then the lordes that wer grete
Whesshen ayeyn aftyr mete,
And then come spycerye.
The chylde that was of chere swete,
On hys kne downe he sete,
And served hym curteyslye.
The kynge called the burgeys hym tyll,
And sayde, "Syr, yf hyt be thy wyll,
Yyf me thys lytyll body!
I shall hym make lorde of town and towr;
Of hye halles and of bowre,
I love hym specyally."
When he had served the kyng at wylle,
Fayr he wente hys modyr tyll
And tellys her how hyt ys.
"Soone, when he shall to chambur wende,
Take hys hond at the grete ende,
For he ys thy fadur, ywysse;
And byd hym come speke wyth Emaré,
That changed her name to Egaré,
In the londe of Galys."
The chylde wente ayeyn to halle,
Amonge the grete lordes alle,
And served on ryche asyse.
When they wer well at ese afyne,
Bothe of brede, ale and wyne,
They rose up, more and myn.
When the kyng shulde to chambur wende,
He toke hys hond at the grete ende,
And fayre he helpe hym yn;
And sayde, "Syr, yf your wyll be,
Take me your honde and go wyth me,
For y am of yowr kynne!
Ye shull come speke wyth Emaré
That chaunged her nome to Egaré,
That berys the whyte chynne."
The kyng yn herte was full woo
When he herd mynge tho
Of her that was hys qwene;
And sayde, "Sone, why sayst thou so?
Wherto umbraydest thou me of my wo?
That may never bene!"
Nevurtheles wyth hym he wente;
Ayeyn hem come the lady gent,
In the robe bryght and shene.
He toke her yn hys armes two,
For joye they sowened, both to,
Such love was hem bytwene.
A joyfull metyng was ther thore,
Of that lady, goodly unthur gore,
Frely in armes to folde.
Lorde, gladde was Syr Kadore,
And othur lordes that ther wore,
Semely to beholde.
Of the lady that was put yn the see,
Thorow grace of God in Trinité,
That was kevered of cares colde.
Leve we at the lady whyte as flour,
And speke we of her fadur the emperour,
That fyrste thys tale of ytolde.
The Emperour her fadyr then
Was woxen an olde man,
And thowght on hys synne:
Of hys thowghtyr Emaré
That was putte ynto the see,
That was so bryght of skynne.
He thowght that he wolde go,
For hys penance to the Pope tho
And heven for to wynne.
Messengeres he sente forth sone,
And they come to the kowrt of Rome
To take her lordes inne.
Emaré prayde her lord, the kyng,
"Syr, abyde that lordys komyng
That ys so fayr and fre.
And, swete syr, yn all thyng,
Aqweynte you wyth that lordyng,
Hyt ys worshyp to the."
The kyng of Galys seyde than,
"So grete a lord ys ther non,
Yn all Crystyanté."
"Now, swete syr, whatevur betyde,
Ayayn that grete lord ye ryde,
And all thy knyghtys wyth the."
Emaré tawghte her sone yynge,
Ayeyn the Emperour komynge,
How that he sholde done:
"Swete sone, yn all thyng
Be redy wyth my lord the kyng,
And be my swete sone!
When the Emperour kysseth thy fadur so fre,
Loke yyf he wyll kysse the,
Abowe the to hym sone;
And bydde hym come speke wyth Emaré,
That was putte ynto the see,
Hymself yaf the dome."
Now kometh the Emperour of pryse;
Ayeyn hym rode the kyng of Galys,
Wyth full mykull pryde.
The chyld was worthy unthur wede,
A satte upon a nobyll stede,
By hys fadyr syde;
And when he mette the Emperour,
He valed hys hode wyth gret honour
And kyssed hym yn that tyde;
And othur lordys of gret valowre,
They also kessed Segramowre;
In herte ys not to hyde.
The Emperours hert anamered gretlye
Of the chylde that rode hym by
Wyth so lovely chere.
Segramowre he stayde hys stede;
Hys owene fadur toke good hede,
And othur lordys that ther were.
The chylde spake to the Emperour,
And sayde, "Lord, for thyn honour,
My worde that thou wyll here:
Ye shull come speke wyth Emaré
That changede her name to Egaré,
That was thy thowghthur dere."
The Emperour wax all pale,
And sayde, "Sone, why umbraydest me of bale,
And thou may se no bote?"
"Syr, and ye wyll go wyth me,
I shall the brynge wyth that lady fre,
That ys lovesom on to loke."
Nevurthelesse, wyth hym he wente;
Ayeyn hym come that lady gent,
Walkynge on her fote.
And the Emperour alyghte tho,
And toke her yn hys armes two,
And clypte and kyssed her sote.
Ther was a joyfull metynge
Of the Emperour and of the Kynge,
And also of Emaré;
And so ther was of Syr Segramour,
That aftyr was emperour:
A full gode man was he.
A grette feste ther was holde,
Of erles and barones bolde,
As testymonyeth thys story.
Thys ys on of Brytayne layes
That was used by olde dayes,
Men callys "Playn d'Egarye."
Jhesus, that settes yn Thy trone,
So graunte us wyth The to wone
In thy perpetuall glorye! Amen.
on throne; (see note)
created; (see note)
dispense and rule
lend; (see note)
mother; (see note)
Who [Mary] is beautiful to see
far and wide
Here; all regions
at the beginning of their lays
sea and sand
mourning intermingled with it
halls and private chambers
Before it [the child] could talk or walk
sent; (see note)
taught; courtesy; good manners; (see note)
Manners; in hall
saw; (see note)
Let's leave the maiden for now
The lovely and noble lady
as a widower; (see note)
playing (amusement or music); (see note)
worthily made; (see note)
presented [himself to]
it was studded
Of; (see note)
toad-stones and agates; (see note)
Truly; tell you
Surely; from; (see note)
else an illusion
daughter of the Emir of heathendom
wrought; (see note)
portrayed (painted) on it
azure; (see note)
Sought; far and wide
Ere; an ending
one corner; (see note)
loved each other; (see note)
[Made] of; hue
saffire; (see note)
Chalcedony; (see note)
Diamonds; (see note)
their song; (see note)
because; each other truly
virtues (powers or value); (see note)
To know; doubt
coral; (see note)
Chrysolite; (see note)
good garnets; (see note)
Babylonian Sultan's son; (see note)
Emir's daughter beside him
unicorn; (see note)
imagery; (see note)
From; Sultan; won
gave it to me
to you as a rare gift
gave it [to]
took themselves hastily
appropriately dressed (under cloth); (see note)
nurse; was called
carriage or litter
washed; sat down to food; (see note)
quickly; (see note)
Pope's bulls quickly; (see note)
To [permit him to]
had a robe made quickly
earthly; (see note)
clay (earth or mortality)
worthy woman clothed in the robe
have sexual intercourse
Both of us would be lost
would be carried
Hold God's law before you
should ever see it
wore; (see note)
boat; (see note)
put herself; knows
pushed herself; (see note)
of his swoon recovered
acted against; law
[one who was]; cloak; (see note)
floated ; (see note)
complaint; (see note)
ordained long before
Woe come to all evil weathers (storms)
(beside the sea)
without food been
he thought it a great sorrow to see
at the point of death; (see note)
been without food
had grown lean; stick
robe; (see note)
knew how to fashion; of thing[s]
were worn by
Trumpets, drums; psaltery
array; (see note)
[from] whence; maid
she; daughter; distant
Half so beautiful
spoke; discourteous; (see note)
many a splendid
(both loved); heart
beseiged by; Saracen
remained; (see note)
care for; (sea) foam
did not take part in that [military] action
lovely one under smock
wrote; good (news)
burned it then; (see note)
wrote; evil; (see note)
dared; man; near
foul matted-haired fiend; (see note)
should; (see note)
[The messenger]; from
took away from him his reason
[Indicating] that; (see note)
land; (see note)
Surely; wicked situation
cruel; (see note)
withhold nothing from
must [be put]
obey; (see note)
a child; (see note)
had to go
Woe come to evil deeds
face down; plank
once get to
ought; curse you sea; (see note)
all [ways]; knew
destined for her long ago
Through; on throne
Accursed be such bad luck; (see note)
earthly; (see note)
are you called
Who lies here in dread
foods; good; (see note)
bower; (see note)
For telling me these things first
so might I thrive
you here at once
lamented; berated themselves
of them swooned; (see note)
[Which told] of
by; (see note)
was so malicious
decided between them; (see note)
deprive; honors (rank)
deprived; livelihood completely
could stop him (from mourning)
He ordered many ships to be readied
Alms he had prepared and distributed
took his way
Prepared their tackle; manner
The wind blew just as they desired
fair and calm
he took his lodging; (see note)
Do [just] as I shall tell you for a little while
See to it
fault with you
course; (see note)
I am called
was named the same
came the sweets
give; fellow; (see note)
in splendid manner
(What you say)
Had grown into; (see note)
prepare their; lodging
coming (his arrival)
He; (see note)
reined in; (see note)
reproach; [my] evil
If; see no remedy
one; (see note)
dwell; (see note)
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