The Legend of Phyllis

By Geoffrey Chaucer

LGW 8 2394 By preve as wel as by autorite,
LGW 8 2395 That wiked fruit cometh of a wiked tre,
LGW 8 2396 That may ye fynde, if that it like yow.
LGW 8 2397 But for this ende I speke this as now,
LGW 8 2398 To tellen yow of false Demophon.
LGW 8 2399 In love a falser herde I nevere non,
LGW 8 2400 But if it were his fader Theseus.
LGW 8 2401 “God, for his grace, fro swich oon kepe us!”
LGW 8 2402 Thus may these women preyen that it here.
LGW 8 2403 Now to the effect turne I of my matere.
LGW 8 2404 Destroyed is of Troye the cite;
LGW 8 2405 This Demophon com seylynge in the se
LGW 8 2406 Toward Athenes, to his paleys large.
LGW 8 2407 With hym com many a ship and many a barge
LGW 8 2408 Ful of his folk, of whiche ful many oon
LGW 8 2409 Is wounded sore, and sek, and wo begon,
LGW 8 2410 As they han at th’ asege longe yleyn.
LGW 8 2411 Byhynde hym com a wynd and ek a reyn
LGW 8 2412 That shof so sore his sayl ne myghte stonde;
LGW 8 2413 Hym were levere than al the world a-londe,
LGW 8 2414 So hunteth hym the tempest to and fro.
LGW 8 2415 So derk it was, he coude nowher go;
LGW 8 2416 And with a wawe brosten was his stere.
LGW 8 2417 His ship was rent so lowe, in swich manere,
LGW 8 2418 That carpenter ne coude it nat amende.
LGW 8 2419 The se, by nyghte, as any torche it brende
LGW 8 2420 For wod, and possith hym now up, now doun,
LGW 8 2421 Til Neptune hath of hym compassioun,
LGW 8 2422 And Thetis, Thorus, Triton, and they alle,
LGW 8 2423 And maden hym upon a lond to falle,
LGW 8 2424 Wherof that Phillis lady was and queene,
LGW 8 2425 Ligurges doughter, fayrer on to sene
LGW 8 2426 Than is the flour ageyn the bryghte sonne.
LGW 8 2427 Unnethe is Demophon to londe ywonne,
LGW 8 2428 Wayk, and ek wery, and his folk forpyned
LGW 8 2429 Of werynesse, and also enfamyned,
LGW 8 2430 That to the deth he almost was ydriven.
LGW 8 2431 His wise folk to conseyl han hym yiven
LGW 8 2432 To seken help and socour of the queen,
LGW 8 2433 And loke what his grace myghte been,
LGW 8 2434 And maken in that lond som chevysaunce,
LGW 8 2435 To kepen hym fro wo and fro myschaunce.
LGW 8 2436 For syk he was, and almost at the deth;
LGW 8 2437 Unnethe myghte he speke or drawe his breth,
LGW 8 2438 And lyth in Rodopeya hym for to reste.
LGW 8 2439 Whan he may walke, hym thoughte it was the beste
LGW 8 2440 Unto the court to seken for socour.
LGW 8 2441 Men knewen hym wel and diden hym honour;
LGW 8 2442 For of Athenes duk and lord was he,
LGW 8 2443 As Theseus his fader hadde be,
LGW 8 2444 That in his tyme was of gret renoun,
LGW 8 2445 No man so gret in al the regyoun,
LGW 8 2446 And lyk his fader of face and of stature,
LGW 8 2447 And fals of love; it com hym of nature.
LGW 8 2448 As doth the fox Renard, the foxes sone,
LGW 8 2449 Of kynde he coude his olde faders wone
LGW 8 2450 Withoute lore, as can a drake swimme
LGW 8 2451 Whan it is caught and caryed to the brymme.
LGW 8 2452 This honurable Phillis doth hym chere;
LGW 8 2453 Hire liketh wel his port and his manere.
LGW 8 2454 But, for I am agroted herebyforn
LGW 8 2455 To wryte of hem that ben in love forsworn,
LGW 8 2456 And ek to haste me in my legende,
LGW 8 2457 (Which to performe God me grace sende)
LGW 8 2458 Therfore I passe shortly in this wyse.
LGW 8 2459 Ye han wel herd of Theseus devyse
LGW 8 2460 In the betraysynge of fayre Adryane
LGW 8 2461 That of hire pite kepte him from his bane.
LGW 8 2462 At shorte wordes, ryght so Demophon
LGW 8 2463 The same wey, the same path hath gon,
LGW 8 2464 That dide his false fader Theseus.
LGW 8 2465 For unto Phillis hath he sworen thus,
LGW 8 2466 To wedden hire, and hire his trouthe plyghte,
LGW 8 2467 And piked of hire al the good he myghte,
LGW 8 2468 Whan he was hol and sound, and hadde his reste;
LGW 8 2469 And doth with Phillis what so that hym leste,
LGW 8 2470 As wel coude I, if that me leste so,
LGW 8 2471 Tellen al his doynge to and fro.
LGW 8 2472 He seyde unto his contre moste he sayle,
LGW 8 2473 For there he wolde hire weddynge aparayle,
LGW 8 2474 As fel to hire honour and his also.
LGW 8 2475 And openly he tok his leve tho,
LGW 8 2476 And hath hire sworn he wolde nat sojorne,
LGW 8 2477 But in a month he wolde ageyn retorne;
LGW 8 2478 And in that lond let make his ordenaunce
LGW 8 2479 As verray lord, and tok the obeysaunce
LGW 8 2480 Wel and homly, and let his shipes dighte,
LGW 8 2481 And hom he goth the nexte wey he myghte.
LGW 8 2482 For unto Phillis yit ne com he nought,
LGW 8 2483 And that hath she so harde and sore abought —
LGW 8 2484 Allas! — that, as the storyes us recorde,
LGW 8 2485 She was hire owene deth ryght with a corde,
LGW 8 2486 Whan that she saw that Demophon hire trayed.
LGW 8 2487 But to hym first she wrot, and faste him prayed
LGW 8 2488 He wolde come and hire delyvere of peyne,
LGW 8 2489 As I reherce shal a word or tweyne.
LGW 8 2490 Me lyste nat vouche-sauf on hym to swynke,
LGW 8 2491 Ne spende on hym a penne ful of ynke,
LGW 8 2492 For fals in love was he, ryght as his syre.
LGW 8 2493 The devil sette here soules bothe afyre!
LGW 8 2494 But of the letter of Phillis wol I wryte
LGW 8 2495 A word or two, althogh it be but lyte.
LGW 8 2496 “Thyn hostesse,” quod she, “O Demophon,
LGW 8 2497 Thy Phillis, which that is so wo begon,
LGW 8 2498 Of Rodopeye, upon yow mot compleyne
LGW 8 2499 Over the terme set bytwixe us tweyne,
LGW 8 2500 That ye ne holde forward, as ye seyde.
LGW 8 2501 Youre anker, which ye in oure haven leyde,
LGW 8 2502 Hyghte us that ye wolde comen, out of doute,
LGW 8 2503 Or that the mone wente ones aboute.
LGW 8 2504 But tymes foure the mone hath hid hire face,
LGW 8 2505 Syn thilke day ye wente from this place,
LGW 8 2506 And foure tymes lyghte the world ageyn.
LGW 8 2507 But for al that, yif I shal soothly seyn,
LGW 8 2508 Yit hath the strem of Sytho nat ybrought
LGW 8 2509 From Athenes the ship; yit cometh it noght.
LGW 8 2510 And if that ye the terme rekene wolde
LGW 8 2511 As I or as a trewe lovere shulde,
LGW 8 2512 I pleyne nat, God wot, byforn my day.”
LGW 8 2513 But al hire letter wryten I ne may
LGW 8 2514 By order, for it were to me a charge;
LGW 8 2515 Hire letter was ryght long and therto large.
LGW 8 2516 But here and ther in rym I have it layd,
LGW 8 2517 There as me thoughte that she wel hath sayd.
LGW 8 2518 She seyde, “Thy sayles come nat agen,
LGW 8 2519 Ne to thy word there is no fey certeyn;
LGW 8 2520 But I wot why ye come nat,” quod she,
LGW 8 2521 “For I was of my love to yow to fre.
LGW 8 2522 And of the goddes that ye han forswore,
LGW 8 2523 Yif hire vengeaunce falle on yow therfore,
LGW 8 2524 Ye be nat suffisaunt to bere the peyne.
LGW 8 2525 To moche trusted I, wel may I pleyne,
LGW 8 2526 Upon youre lynage and youre fayre tonge,
LGW 8 2527 And on youre teres falsly out yronge.
LGW 8 2528 How coude ye wepe so by craft?” quod she.
LGW 8 2529 “May there swiche teres feyned be?
LGW 8 2530 Now certes, yif ye wol have in memorye,
LGW 8 2531 It oughte be to yow but lyte glorye
LGW 8 2532 To han a sely mayde thus betrayed!
LGW 8 2533 To God,” quod she, “preye I, and ofte have prayed,
LGW 8 2534 That it mot be the grettest prys of alle
LGW 8 2535 And most honour that evere the shal befalle!
LGW 8 2536 And whan thyne olde auncestres peynted be,
LGW 8 2537 In which men may here worthynesse se,
LGW 8 2538 Thanne preye I God thow peynted be also
LGW 8 2539 That folk may rede forby as they go,
LGW 8 2540 ‘Lo! this is he that with his flaterye
LGW 8 2541 Bytraised hath and don hire vilenye
LGW 8 2542 That was his trewe love in thought and dede!’
LGW 8 2543 But sothly, of oo poynt yit may they rede,
LGW 8 2544 That ye ben lyk youre fader as in this,
LGW 8 2545 For he begiled Adriane, ywis,
LGW 8 2546 With swich an art and with swich subtilte
LGW 8 2547 As thow thyselven hast begyled me.
LGW 8 2548 As in that poynt, althogh it be nat fayr,
LGW 8 2549 Thow folwest hym, certayn, and art his ayr.
LGW 8 2550 But syn thus synfully ye me begile,
LGW 8 2551 My body mote ye se withinne a while,
LGW 8 2552 Ryght in the haven of Athenes fletynge,
LGW 8 2553 Withoute sepulture and buryinge,
LGW 8 2554 Thogh ye ben harder than is any ston.”
LGW 8 2555 And whan this letter was forth sent anon,
LGW 8 2556 And knew how brotel and how fals he was,
LGW 8 2557 She for dispeyr fordide hyreself, allas.
LGW 8 2558 Swych sorwe hath she, for she besette hire so.
LGW 8 2559 Be war, ye wemen, of youre subtyl fo,
LGW 8 2560 Syn yit this day men may ensaumple se;
LGW 8 2561 And trusteth, as in love, no man but me.