The Legend of Hypsipyle and Medea

By Geoffrey Chaucer

LGW 4 1368 Thow rote of false lovers, Duc Jasoun,
LGW 4 1369 Thow sly devourere and confusioun
LGW 4 1370 Of gentil wemen, tendre creatures,
LGW 4 1371 Thow madest thy recleymyng and thy lures
LGW 4 1372 To ladyes of thy statly aparaunce,
LGW 4 1373 And of thy wordes farced with plesaunce,
LGW 4 1374 And of thy feyned trouthe and thy manere,
LGW 4 1375 With thyn obesaunce and humble cheere,
LGW 4 1376 And with thy contrefeted peyne and wo.
LGW 4 1377 There othere falsen oon, thow falsest two!
LGW 4 1378 O, often swore thow that thow woldest dye
LGW 4 1379 For love, whan thow ne feltest maladye
LGW 4 1380 Save foul delyt, which that thow callest love!
LGW 4 1381 Yif that I live, thy name shal be shove
LGW 4 1382 In English that thy sekte shal be knowe!
LGW 4 1383 Have at thee, Jason! Now thyn horn is blowe!
LGW 4 1384 But certes, it is bothe routhe and wo
LGW 4 1385 That love with false loveres werketh so;
LGW 4 1386 For they shal have wel betere love and chere
LGW 4 1387 Than he that hath abought his love ful dere,
LGW 4 1388 Or hadde in armes many a blody box.
LGW 4 1389 For evere as tendre a capoun et the fox,
LGW 4 1390 Thow he be fals and hath the foul betrayed,
LGW 4 1391 As shal the good-man that therfore hath payed.
LGW 4 1392 Al have he to the capoun skille and ryght,
LGW 4 1393 The false fox wol have his part at nyght.
LGW 4 1394 On Jason this ensaumple is wel ysene
LGW 4 1395 By Isiphile and Medea the queene.
LGW 4 1396 In Tessalie, as Guido tellith us,
LGW 4 1397 There was a kyng that highte Pelleus,
LGW 4 1398 That hadde a brother which that highte Eson;
LGW 4 1399 And whan for age he myghte unnethes gon,
LGW 4 1400 He yaf to Pelleus the governyng
LGW 4 1401 Of al his regne and made hym lord and kyng.
LGW 4 1402 Of which Eson this Jason geten was,
LGW 4 1403 That in his tyme in al that land there nas
LGW 4 1404 Nat swich a famous knyght of gentilesse,
LGW 4 1405 Of fredom, and of strengthe and lustynesse.
LGW 4 1406 After his fadres deth he bar hym so
LGW 4 1407 That there nas non that liste ben his fo,
LGW 4 1408 But dide hym al honour and companye.
LGW 4 1409 Of which this Pelleus hadde gret envye,
LGW 4 1410 Imagynynge that Jason myghte be
LGW 4 1411 Enhaunsed so and put in swich degre
LGW 4 1412 With love of lordes of his regioun,
LGW 4 1413 That from his regne he may ben put adoun.
LGW 4 1414 And in his wit a-nyght compassed he
LGW 4 1415 How Jason myghte best distroyed be
LGW 4 1416 Withoute sclaunder of his compassement,
LGW 4 1417 And at the last he tok avysement
LGW 4 1418 To senden hym into som fer contre,
LGW 4 1419 There as this Jason may destroyed be.
LGW 4 1420 This was his wit, al made he to Jasoun
LGW 4 1421 Gret chere of love and of affeccioun,
LGW 4 1422 For drede lest his lordes it espide.
LGW 4 1423 So fyl it, so as fame renneth wide,
LGW 4 1424 There was swich tydyng overal and swich loos,
LGW 4 1425 That in an yle that called was Colcos,
LGW 4 1426 Beyonde Troye, estward in the se,
LGW 4 1427 That therin was a ram that men mighte se
LGW 4 1428 That hadde a fles of gold that shon so bryghte
LGW 4 1429 That nowher was ther swich anothir syghte;
LGW 4 1430 But it was kept alwey with a dragoun,
LGW 4 1431 And many other merveyles, up and doun,
LGW 4 1432 And with two boles maked al of bras,
LGW 4 1433 That spitten fyr, and moche thyng there was.
LGW 4 1434 But this was ek the tale, natheles,
LGW 4 1435 That whoso wolde wynne thylke fles,
LGW 4 1436 He moste bothe, or he it wynne myghte,
LGW 4 1437 With the boles and the dragoun fyghte.
LGW 4 1438 And kyng Oetes lord was of that yle.
LGW 4 1439 This Pelleus bethoughte upon this wile,
LGW 4 1440 That he his neveu Jason wolde enhorte
LGW 4 1441 To saylen to that lond, hym to disporte,
LGW 4 1442 And seyde, “Nevew, if it myghte be
LGW 4 1443 That swich a worshipe myghte fallen the,
LGW 4 1444 That thow this famous tresor myghtest wynne,
LGW 4 1445 And bryngen it my regioun withinne,
LGW 4 1446 It were to me gret plesaunce and honour.
LGW 4 1447 Thanne were I holde to quyte thy labour;
LGW 4 1448 And al the cost I wol myselven make.
LGW 4 1449 And chees what folk that thow wilt with the take;
LGW 4 1450 Lat sen now, darst thow take this viage?”
LGW 4 1451 Jason was yong, and lusty of corage,
LGW 4 1452 And undertok to don this ilke empryse.
LGW 4 1453 Anon Argus his shipes gan devyse;
LGW 4 1454 With Jason wente the stronge Ercules,
LGW 4 1455 And many another that he with hym ches.
LGW 4 1456 But whoso axeth who is with hym gon,
LGW 4 1457 Lat hym go rede Argonautycon,
LGW 4 1458 For he wole telle a tale long ynogh.
LGW 4 1459 Philotetes anon the sayl up drogh,
LGW 4 1460 Whan that the wynd was good, and gan hym hye
LGW 4 1461 Out of his contre called Thessalye.
LGW 4 1462 So longe he seyled in the salte se,
LGW 4 1463 Til in the yle of Lemnon aryvede he —
LGW 4 1464 Al be this nat rehersed of Guido,
LGW 4 1465 Yit seyth Ovyde in his Epistels so —
LGW 4 1466 And of this ile lady was and quene
LGW 4 1467 The fayre yonge Ysiphele, the shene,
LGW 4 1468 That whylom Thoas doughter was, the kyng.
LGW 4 1469 Isiphile was gon in hire pleying,
LGW 4 1470 And, romynge on the clyves by the se,
LGW 4 1471 Under a banke anon aspied she
LGW 4 1472 Where that the ship of Jason gan aryve.
LGW 4 1473 Of hire goodnesse adoun she sendeth blyve
LGW 4 1474 To witen if that any straunge wight
LGW 4 1475 With tempest thider were yblowe a-nyght,
LGW 4 1476 To don him socour, as was hire usaunce
LGW 4 1477 To fortheren every wight, and don plesaunce
LGW 4 1478 Of verrey bounte and of curteysye.
LGW 4 1479 This messangeer adoun hym gan to hye,
LGW 4 1480 And fond Jason and Ercules also,
LGW 4 1481 That in a cog to londe were ygo,
LGW 4 1482 Hem to refreshen and to take the eyr.
LGW 4 1483 The morwenynge attempre was and fayr,
LGW 4 1484 And in his weye this messanger hem mette.
LGW 4 1485 Ful cunnyngly these lordes two he grette,
LGW 4 1486 And dide his message, axinge hem anon
LGW 4 1487 If they were broken, or ought wo begon,
LGW 4 1488 Or hadden nede of lodman or vitayle;
LGW 4 1489 For of socour they sholde nothyng fayle,
LGW 4 1490 For it was outrely the quenes wille.
LGW 4 1491 Jason answerde mekely and stylle:
LGW 4 1492 “My lady,” quod he, “thanke I hertely
LGW 4 1493 Of hire goodnesse; us nedeth, trewely,
LGW 4 1494 Nothyng as now, but that we wery be,
LGW 4 1495 And come for to pleye out of the se
LGW 4 1496 Tyl that the wynd be better in oure weye.”
LGW 4 1497 This lady rometh by the clyf to pleye,
LGW 4 1498 With hire meyne, endelong the stronde,
LGW 4 1499 And fynt this Jason and this other stonde
LGW 4 1500 In spekynge of this thyng, as I yow tolde.
LGW 4 1501 This Ercules and Jason gan beholde
LGW 4 1502 How that the queen it was, and fayre hire grette
LGW 4 1503 Anon-ryght as they with this lady mette;
LGW 4 1504 And she tok hed, and knew by hyre manere,
LGW 4 1505 By hire aray, by wordes, and by chere,
LGW 4 1506 That it were gentil-men of gret degre,
LGW 4 1507 And to the castel with hire ledeth she
LGW 4 1508 These straunge folk and doth hem gret honour,
LGW 4 1509 And axeth hem of travayle and labour
LGW 4 1510 That they han suffered in the salte se;
LGW 4 1511 So that, withinne a day, or two, or thre,
LGW 4 1512 She knew, by folk that in his shipes be,
LGW 4 1513 That it was Jason, ful of renone,
LGW 4 1514 And Ercules, that hadde the grete los,
LGW 4 1515 That soughten the aventures of Colcos;
LGW 4 1516 And dide hem honour more than before,
LGW 4 1517 And with hem deled evere lenger the more,
LGW 4 1518 For they ben worthy folk, withouten les.
LGW 4 1519 And namely, most she spak with Ercules;
LGW 4 1520 To hym hire herte bar, he shulde be
LGW 4 1521 Sad, wys, and trewe, of wordes avyse,
LGW 4 1522 Withouten any other affeccioun
LGW 4 1523 Of love, or evyl ymagynacyoun.
LGW 4 1524 This Ercules hath so this Jason preysed
LGW 4 1525 That to the sonne he hath hym up areysed,
LGW 4 1526 That half so trewe a man there nas of love
LGW 4 1527 Under the cope of heven that is above;
LGW 4 1528 And he was wis, hardy, secre, and ryche.
LGW 4 1529 Of these thre poyntes there nas non hym liche:
LGW 4 1530 Of fredom passede he, and lustyhede,
LGW 4 1531 Alle tho that lyven or been dede;
LGW 4 1532 Therto so gret a gentilman was he,
LGW 4 1533 And of Thessalye likly kyng to be.
LGW 4 1534 There nas no lak, but that he was agast
LGW 4 1535 To love, and for to speke shamefast.
LGW 4 1536 He hadde lever hymself to morder, and dye,
LGW 4 1537 Than that men shulde a lovere hym espye.
LGW 4 1538 “As wolde God that I hadde yive
LGW 4 1539 My blod and flesh, so that I myghte live,
LGW 4 1540 With the nones that he hadde owher a wif
LGW 4 1541 For hys estat; for swich a lusty lyf
LGW 4 1542 She shulde lede with this lusty knyght!”
LGW 4 1543 And al this was compassed on the nyght
LGW 4 1544 Bytwixe hym Jason and this Ercules.
LGW 4 1545 Of these two here was a shrewed lees,
LGW 4 1546 To come to hous upon an innocent!
LGW 4 1547 For to bedote this queen was here assent.
LGW 4 1548 And Jason is as coy as is a mayde;
LGW 4 1549 He loketh pitously, but nought he sayde,
LGW 4 1550 But frely yaf he to hire conseyleres
LGW 4 1551 Yiftes grete, and to hire officeres.
LGW 4 1552 As wolde God I leyser hadde and tyme
LGW 4 1553 By proces al his wowyng for to ryme!
LGW 4 1554 But in this hous if any fals lovere be,
LGW 4 1555 Ryght as hymself now doth, ryght so dide he,
LGW 4 1556 With feynynge, and with every subtil dede.
LGW 4 1557 Ye gete namore of me, but ye wole rede
LGW 4 1558 Th’ origynal, that telleth al the cas.
LGW 4 1559 The somme is this: that Jason wedded was
LGW 4 1560 Unto this queen and tok of hir substaunce
LGW 4 1561 What so hym leste unto his purveyaunce;
LGW 4 1562 And upon hire begat he children two,
LGW 4 1563 And drogh his sayl and saw hir nevere mo.
LGW 4 1564 A letter sente she to hym, certeyn,
LGW 4 1565 Which were to longe to wryten and to sen,
LGW 4 1566 And hym reprevith of his grete untrouthe,
LGW 4 1567 And preyeth him on hire to have som routhe.
LGW 4 1568 And of his children two she seyde hym this:
LGW 4 1569 That they ben lyk of alle thyng, ywis,
LGW 4 1570 To Jason, save they coude nat begile;
LGW 4 1571 And preyede God, or it were longe while,
LGW 4 1572 That she that hadde his herte yraft hire fro
LGW 4 1573 Moste fynden hym untrewe to hir also,
LGW 4 1574 And that she moste bothe hire chyldren spylle,
LGW 4 1575 And alle tho that sufferede hym his wille.
LGW 4 1576 And trewe to Jason was she al hire lyf,
LGW 4 1577 And evere kepte hire chast, as for his wif;
LGW 4 1578 Ne nevere hadde she joye at hire herte,
LGW 4 1579 But deyede for his love, of sorwes smerte.
LGW 4 1580 To Colcos comen is this duc Jasoun,
LGW 4 1581 That is of love devourer and dragoun.
LGW 4 1582 As mater apetiteth forme alwey
LGW 4 1583 And from forme into forme it passen may,
LGW 4 1584 Or as a welle that were botomles,
LGW 4 1585 Ryght so can false Jason have no pes.
LGW 4 1586 For to desyren thourgh his apetit
LGW 4 1587 To don with gentil women his delyt,
LGW 4 1588 This is his lust and his felicite.
LGW 4 1589 Jason is romed forth to the cyte
LGW 4 1590 That whilom cleped was Jaconitos,
LGW 4 1591 That was the mayster-toun of al Colcos,
LGW 4 1592 And hath ytold the cause of his comyng
LGW 4 1593 Unto Oetes, of that contre kyng,
LGW 4 1594 Preyinge hym that he moste don his assay
LGW 4 1595 To gete the fles of gold if that he may;
LGW 4 1596 Of which the kyng assenteth to his bone,
LGW 4 1597 And doth hym honour, as it was to done,
LGW 4 1598 So fer forth that his doughter and his eyr,
LGW 4 1599 Medea, which that was so wis and fayr
LGW 4 1600 That fayrer say there nevere man with ye,
LGW 4 1601 He made hire don to Jason companye
LGW 4 1602 At mete, and sitte by hym in the halle.
LGW 4 1603 Now was Jason a semely man withalle,
LGW 4 1604 And lyk a lord, and hadde a gret renoun,
LGW 4 1605 And of his lok as real as a leoun,
LGW 4 1606 And goodly of his speche, and familer,
LGW 4 1607 And coude of love al craft and art pleyner
LGW 4 1608 Withoute bok, with everych observaunce.
LGW 4 1609 And, as Fortune hire oughte a foul myschaunce,
LGW 4 1610 She wex enamoured upon this man.
LGW 4 1611 “Jason,” quod she, “for ought I se or can,
LGW 4 1612 As of this thyng the whiche ye ben aboute,
LGW 4 1613 Ye han youreself yput in moche doute.
LGW 4 1614 For whoso wol this aventure acheve,
LGW 4 1615 He may nat wel asterten, as I leve,
LGW 4 1616 Withouten deth, but I his helpe be.
LGW 4 1617 But natheles, it is my wylle,” quod she,
LGW 4 1618 “To fortheren yow so that ye shal nat die,
LGW 4 1619 But turnen sound hom to youre Tessalye.”
LGW 4 1620 “My ryghte lady,” quod this Jason tho,
LGW 4 1621 “That ye han of my deth or of my wo
LGW 4 1622 Any reward, and don me this honour,
LGW 4 1623 I wot wel that my myght ne my labour
LGW 4 1624 May nat disserve it in my lyves day.
LGW 4 1625 God thanke yow there I ne can ne may!
LGW 4 1626 Youre man I am, and lowely yow beseche
LGW 4 1627 To ben my helpe, withoute more speche;
LGW 4 1628 But, certes, for my deth shal I nat spare.”
LGW 4 1629 Tho gan this Medea to hym declare
LGW 4 1630 The peril of this cas from poynt to poynt,
LGW 4 1631 And of his batayle, and in what disjoynt
LGW 4 1632 He mote stonde, of which no creature
LGW 4 1633 Save only she ne myghte his lyf assure.
LGW 4 1634 And shortly to the poynt ryght for to go,
LGW 4 1635 They been acorded ful bytwixe hem two
LGW 4 1636 That Jason shal hire wedde, as trewe knyght;
LGW 4 1637 And terme set to come sone at nyght
LGW 4 1638 Unto hire chamber and make there his oth
LGW 4 1639 Upon the goddes, that he for lef or loth
LGW 4 1640 Ne sholde nevere hire false, nyght ne day,
LGW 4 1641 To ben hire husbonde whil he lyve may,
LGW 4 1642 As she that from his deth hym saved here.
LGW 4 1643 And hereupon at nyght they mette in-feere,
LGW 4 1644 And doth his oth, and goth with hire to bedde;
LGW 4 1645 And on the morwe upward he hym spedde,
LGW 4 1646 For she hath taught hym how he shal nat fayle
LGW 4 1647 The fles to wynne and stynten his batayle;
LGW 4 1648 And saved hym his lyf and his honour;
LGW 4 1649 And gat hym a name ryght as a conquerour,
LGW 4 1650 Ryght thourgh the sleyghte of hire enchauntement.
LGW 4 1651 Now hath Jason the fles, and hom is went
LGW 4 1652 With Medea, and tresor ful gret won;
LGW 4 1653 But unwist of hire fader is she gon
LGW 4 1654 To Tessaly with Duk Jason hire lef,
LGW 4 1655 That afterward hath brought hire to myschef.
LGW 4 1656 For as a traytour he is from hire go,
LGW 4 1657 And with hire lafte his yonge children two,
LGW 4 1658 And falsly hath betraysed hire, allas,
LGW 4 1659 As evere in love a chef traytour he was;
LGW 4 1660 And wedded yit the thridde wif anon,
LGW 4 1661 That was the doughter of the kyng Creon.
LGW 4 1662 This is the mede of lovynge and guerdoun
LGW 4 1663 That Medea receyved of Jasoun
LGW 4 1664 Ryght for hire trouthe and for hire kyndenesse,
LGW 4 1665 That lovede hym beter than hireself, I gesse,
LGW 4 1666 And lafte hire fader and hire herytage.
LGW 4 1667 And of Jason this is the vassellage,
LGW 4 1668 That in his dayes nas ther non yfounde
LGW 4 1669 So fals a lovere goinge on the grounde.
LGW 4 1670 And therfore in hire letter thus she seyde
LGW 4 1671 Fyrst, whan she of his falsnesse hym upbreyde:
LGW 4 1672 “Whi lykede me thy yelwe her to se
LGW 4 1673 More than the boundes of myn honeste?
LGW 4 1674 Why lykede me thy youthe and thy fayrnesse,
LGW 4 1675 And of thy tonge, the infynyt graciousnesse?
LGW 4 1676 O, haddest thow in thy conquest ded ybe,
LGW 4 1677 Ful mikel untrouthe hadde ther deyd with the!”
LGW 4 1678 Wel can Ovyde hire letter in vers endyte,
LGW 4 1679 Which were as now to long for me to wryte.