Chaucer's Works (ed. Skeat) Vol. III/Phyllis
VIII. THE LEGEND OF PHYLLIS.
Incipit Legenda Phillis.
By preve as wel as by auctoritee,
That wikked fruit cometh of a wikked tree, 2395
That may ye finde, if that it lyketh yow.
But for this ende I speke this as now,
To telle you of false Demophon.
In love a falser herde I never non,
But-if hit were his fader Theseus. 2400
'God, for his grace, fro swich oon kepe us!'
Thus may thise women prayen that hit here.
Now to theffect turne I of my matere. (10)
Destroyed is of Troye the citee;
This Demophon com sailing in the see 2405
Toward Athenes, to his paleys large;
With him com many a ship and many a barge
Ful of his folk, of which ful many oon
Is wounded sore, and seek, and wo begoon.
And they han at the sege longe y-lain. 2410
Behinde him com a wind and eek a rain
That shoof so sore, his sail ne mighte stonde,
Him were lever than al the world a-londe, (20)
So hunteth him the tempest to and fro.
So derk hit was, he coude nowher go; 2415
And with a wawe brosten was his stere.
His ship was rent so lowe, in swich manere,
That carpenter ne coude hit nat amende.
The see, by nighte, as any torche brende
For wood, and posseth him now up now doun, 2420
Til Neptune hath of him compassioun,
And Thetis, Chorus, Triton, and they alle,
And maden him upon a lond to falle, (30)
Wher-of that Phillis lady was and quene,
Ligurgus doghter, fairer on to sene 2425
Than is the flour again the brighte sonne.
Unnethe is Demophon to londe y-wonne,
Wayk and eek wery, and his folk for-pyned
Of werinesse, and also enfamyned;
And to the deeth he almost was y-driven. 2430
His wyse folk to conseil han him yiven
To seken help and socour of the queen,
And loken what his grace mighte been, (40)
And maken in that lond som chevisaunce,
To kepen him fro wo and fro mischaunce. 2435
For seek was he, and almost at the deeth;
Unnethe mighte he speke or drawe his breeth,
And lyth in Rodopeya him for to reste.
Whan he may walke, him thoughte hit was the beste
Unto the court to seken for socour. 2440
Men knewe him wel, and diden him honour;
For at Athenes duk and lord was he,
As Theseus his fader hadde y-be, (50)
That in his tyme was of greet renoun,
No man so greet in al his regioun; 2445
And lyk his fader of face and of stature,
And fals of love; hit com him of nature;
As doth the fox Renard, the foxes sone,
Of kinde he coude his olde faders wone
Withoute lore, as can a drake swimme, 2450
Whan hit is caught and caried to the brimme.
This honourable Phillis doth him chere,
Her lyketh wel his port and his manere. (60)
But for I am agroted heer-biforn
To wryte of hem that been in love forsworn, 2455
And eek to haste me in my legende,
Which to performe god me grace sende,
Therfor I passe shortly in this wyse;
Ye han wel herd of Theseus devyse
In the betraising of fair Adriane, 2460
That of her pite kepte him from his bane.
At shorte wordes, right so Demophon
The same wey, the same path hath gon (70)
That dide his false fader Theseus.
For unto Phillis hath he sworen thus, 2465
To wedden her, and her his trouthe plighte,
And piked of her al the good he mighte,
Whan he was hool and sound and hadde his reste;
And doth with Phillis what so that him leste.
And wel coude I, yif that me leste so, 2470
Tellen al his doing to and fro.
He seide, unto his contree moste he saile,
For ther he wolde her wedding apparaile (80)
As fil to her honour and his also.
And openly he took his leve tho, 2475
And hath her sworn, he wolde nat soiorne,
But in a month he wolde again retorne.
And in that lond let make his ordinaunce
As verray lord, and took the obeisaunce
Wel and hoomly, and let his shippes dighte, 2480
And hoom he goth the nexte wey he mighte;
For unto Phillis yit ne com he noght.
And that hath she so harde and sore aboght, (90)
Allas! that, as the stories us recorde,
She was her owne deeth right with a corde, 2485
Whan that she saw that Demophon her trayed.
But to him first she wroot and faste him prayed
He wolde come, and her deliver of peyne,
As I reherse shal a word or tweyne.
Me list nat vouche-sauf on him to swinke, 2490
Ne spende on him a penne ful of inke,
For fals in love was he, right as his syre;
The devil sette hir soules bothe a-fyre! (100)
But of the lettre of Phillis wol I wryte
A word or tweyne, al-thogh hit be but lyte. 2495
'Thyn hostesse,' quod she, 'O Demophon,
Thy Phillis, which that is so wo begon,
Of Rodopeye, upon yow moot compleyne,
Over the terme set betwix us tweyne,
That ye ne holden forward, as ye seyde; 2500
Your anker, which ye in our haven leyde,
Highte us, that ye wolde comen, out of doute,
Or that the mone ones wente aboute. (110)
But tymes foure the mone hath hid her face
Sin thilke day ye wente fro this place, 2505
And foure tymes light the world again.
But for al that, yif I shal soothly sain,
Yit hath the streem of Sitho nat y-broght
From Athenes the ship; yit comth hit noght.
And, yif that ye the terme rekne wolde, 2510
As I or other trewe lovers sholde,
I pleyne not, god wot, beforn my day.'—
But al her lettre wryten I ne may (120)
By ordre, for hit were to me a charge;
Her lettre was right long and ther-to large; 2515
But here and there in ryme I have hit laid,
Ther as me thoughte that she wel hath said.—
She seide, 'thy sailes comen nat again,
Ne to thy word ther nis no fey certein;
But I wot why ye come nat,' quod she; 2520
'For I was of my love to you so free.
And of the goddes that ye han forswore,
Yif that hir vengeance falle on yow therfore, (130)
Ye be nat suffisaunt to bere the peyne.
To moche trusted I, wel may I pleyne, 2525
Upon your linage and your faire tonge,
And on your teres falsly out y-wronge.
How coude ye wepe so by craft?' quod she;
'May ther swiche teres feyned be?
Now certes, yif ye wolde have in memorie, 2530
Hit oghte be to yow but litel glorie
To have a sely mayde thus betrayed!
To god,' quod she, 'preye I, and ofte have prayed, (140)
That hit be now the grettest prys of alle,
And moste honour that ever yow shal befalle! 2535
And whan thyn olde auncestres peynted be,
In which men may hir worthinesse see,
Than, preye I god, thou peynted be also,
That folk may reden, for-by as they go,
"Lo! this is he, that with his flaterye 2540
Betrayed hath and doon her vilanye
That was his trewe love in thoghte and dede!"
But sothly, of oo point yit may they rede, (150)
That ye ben lyk your fader as in this;
For he begyled Adriane, y-wis, 2545
With swiche an art and swiche sotelte
As thou thy-selven hast begyled me.
As in that point, al-thogh hit be nat fayr,
Thou folwest him, certein, and art his eyr.
But sin thus sinfully ye me begyle, 2550
My body mote ye seen, within a whyle,
Right in the haven of Athenes fletinge,
With-outen sepulture and buryinge; (160)
Thogh ye ben harder then is any stoon.'
And, whan this lettre was forth sent anoon, 2555
And knew how brotel and how fals he was,
She for dispeyr for-dide herself, allas!
Swich sorwe hath she, for she besette her so.
Be war, ye women, of your sotil fo,
Sin yit this day men may ensample see; 2560
And trusteth, as in love, no man but me. (168)
Explicit Legenda Phillis.
2400. F. Tn. Th. B. om. if. 2402. F. Tn. Th. B. om. may. 2408. C. his; rest om. 2409. C. sek (read seek); rest seke. 2410. A. Th. the sege; F. Tn. B. a sege; T. sege; C. thasege (good). 2412. C. T. A. ne myghte; rest myght not. 2418. C. A. ne; T. noon; rest om. 2420. A. So wood. C. A. now vp now doun; T. now vp and doun; rest vp and doun. 2422. Th. Chorus; T. Thora; rest Thorus (see note). F. Tn. B. om. Triton. 2423. F. Th. B. vp; rest vp-on. 2425. A. B. Ligurgus; C. Tn. T. Ligurges; Th. Lycurgus; F. Bygurgus (error for Lygurgus). 2430. C. That (for And). C. almost was (better than was almost in the rest). 2435. C. T. A. To; rest And. 2437. C. T. A. his; rest om. 2438. A. om. for. 2440. C. T. A. court; rest contree. 2443. F. Tn. Th. B. hath. 2444. C. T. A. of gret; rest grete of. 2445. C. of (for in). C. the; T. A. that; rest his. 2449. C. owene (for olde). 2452. A. phillis; C. Philes; Th. T. quene Phillis; rest quene. 2453. F. B. And; rest Her (Hire, Hir). 2454. A. Th. agroted; B. agrotyd; C. agrotyed; F. Tn. agroteyd; T. agroteyed. 2455. C. T. ben in love; A. ar of loue; rest in loue ben. 2459. C. T. A. deuyse; F. Tn. B. the nyse (sic); Th. the gyse. 2470, 1. T. I couthe ryght well, yef that hyt lykyd me Tell all hys doyng; but hyt ys vanyte. 2472. C. T. vnto; A. into; rest to. F. Th. B. him; rest he. 2475. F. B. omit. 2476. C. hath hire sworn; A. hath to hir suorn; Tn. to her sworne; F. T. Th. B. to hir swore. 2477. So C. A.; F. Tn. Th. B. ageyn he wolde. 2480. C. homly; F. T. B. homely; A. huimly; Tn. humble; Th. hombly. C. let; rest om. 2482. C. ne; rest om. 2483. A. C. Th. abought; F. Tn. B. yboght. 2484. F. Tn. B. om. as. A. T. stories; rest story (but this would require recordeth; indeed, C. has recordith!). 2485. C. T. A. ryght; rest om. 2487. F. Tn. Th. B. But firste wrote she to hym. 2488. C. T. A. hire delyuere; rest delyuer hir. F. pyne (error for peyne). 2489. F. B. oo; Tn. one; rest a; see l. 2495. 2491. C. T. A. Ne spende; rest Dispenden. 2493. C. a fere; T. afyre; A. in fyre; F. Tn. Th. B. on a fire (badly). 2496. C. Ostesse thyn. T. A. o thow Demophon. 2498. F. Tn. B. om. moot. 2504. F. Tn. B. om. hid. 2505. Th. thylke; C. F. Tn. B. that thilke (!); A. that ilke; T. that. 2506, 7. C. omits. 2506. A. hath lycht this. 2507. T. yef; A. if; F. B. Th. yet (error for yef); Tn. yit (error for yif). 2508. C. storm (error for streem); rest streme. Th. Scython; C. B. Sytoye; A. Cytoye; T. Sitoy; F. Tn. Sitoio (Ovid has Sithonis unda). T. y-brought; rest broght (brought). 2509. C. comyth it; T. A. cometh; F. Tn. B. come hit; Th. came it. 2517. C. A. wel hath; rest hath wel. 2518. C. T. A. thyne (thy); rest the. C. come; T. comen; F. Tn. Th. B. cometh. 2519. C. T. A. thyn (thy); rest the. 2523. C. T. A. Yif (only); F. Tn. Th. B. That (only); but read Yif that. 2525. C. T. A. pleyne; rest seyne (!). 2527. C. I-wronge; A. yronne (error for ywronge); F. Tn. Th. B. wronge. 2529. A. Quhethir ther may (but this is Scottish). 2532. All mayde. 2539. C. T. A. for by; rest forth by. 2546. A. C. T. subtilitee. 2549. C. T. A. him; rest om. A. has lost ll. 2551-2616. 2555. F. Tn. B. om. sent. 2561. So C. T.; so Tn. Th. (with now for as); F. B. And as in love truste no man but me.