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But eke whan that the cas required it,
The comune profit coude she redresse:
Ther n'as discord, rancour, ne hevinesse
In all the lond, that she ne coude appese,
And wisely bring hem all in hertes ese.
55 Though that hire husbond absent were or non, If gentilmen, or other of that contree
Were wroth, she wolde bringen hem at on,
So wise and ripe wordes hadde she,
And jugement of so gret equitee,
That she from heven sent was, as men wend,
Peple to save, and every wrong to amend.
56. Not longe time after that this Grisilde
Was wedded, she a doughter hath ybore,
All had hire lever han borne a knave child:
Glad was the markis and his folk therfore,
For though a maiden childe come all before,
She may unto a knave child atteine
By likelyhed, sin she n'is not barreine.
57. Ther fell, as it befalleth times mo,
Whan that this childe had souked but a throwe,
This markis in his herte longed so
To tempt his wif, hire sadnesse for to knowe,
That he ne might out of his herte throwe
This marvellous desir his wif to assay,
Needles, God wot, he thought hire to affray.
58. He had assaied hire ynough before,
And found hire ever good, what nedeth it
Hire for to tempt, and alway more and more?
Though som men praise it for a subtil wit,
But as for me, I say that evil it sit
To assay a wif whan that it is no nede,
And putten hire in anguish and in drede.
59. For which this markis wrought in this manere ; He came a-night alone ther as she lay
With sterne face, and with ful trouble chere,
And sayde thus; Grisilde, (quod he) that day
That I you toke out of your poure array,
And put you in estat of high noblesse,
Ye han it not forgotten, as I gesse.
60. I say, Grisilde, this present dignitee,
In which that I have put you, as I trow,
Maketh you not forgetful for to be
That I you toke in poure estat ful low,
For only wele ye mote yourselven know.
Take hede of every word that I you say,
Ther is no wight that hereth it but we tway.
61. Ye wote yourself wel how that ye came here Into this hous, it is not long ago,
And though to me ye be right lefe and dere,
Unto my gentils ye be nothing so:
They say, to hem it is gret shame and wo
For to be suggetes, and ben in servage
To thee, that borne art of a smal linage.
62. And namely sin thy doughter was ybore, Thise wordes han they spoken douteles, But I desire, as I have don before,
To live my lif with hem in rest and pees:
may not in this cas be reccheles;
I mote do with thy doughter for the best,
Not as I wold, but as my gentils lest.
63. And yet, God wote, this is ful loth to me: But natheles withouten youre weting
I wol nought do, but thus wol I (quod he)
That ye to me assenten in this thing.
Shew now youre patience in youre werking,
That ye me hight and swore in youre village
The day that maked was our mariage.
64 Whan she had herd all this, she not ameved Neyther in word, in chere, ne countenance, (For as it semed, she was not agreved)
She sayde; Lord, all lith in your plesance,
My child and I, with hertely obeisance
Ben youres all, and ye may save or spill,
Your owen thing: werketh after your will.
65. Ther may no thing, so God my soule save,
Like unto you, that may displesen me:
Ne I desire nothing for to have,
Ne drede for to lese, sauf only ye:
This will is in myn herte, and ay shal be,
No length of time, or deth may this deface,
Ne change my corage to an other place.
66. Glad was this markis for hire answering,
But yet he feined as he were not so,
Al drery was his chere and his loking,
Whan that he shuld out of the chambre go.
Sone after this, a furlong way or two,
He prively hath told all his entent
Unto a man, and to his wif him sent.
67. A maner sergeant was this prive man,
The which he faithful often founden had
In thinges gret, and eke swiche folk wel can
Don execution on thinges bad:
The lord knew wel, that he him loved and drad.
And whan this sergeant wist his lordes will,
Into the chambre he stalked him ful still.
68. Madame, he sayd, ye mote foryeve it me,
Though I do thing, to which I am constreined:
Ye ben so wise, that right wel knowen ye,
That lordes hestes may not ben yfeined,
They may wel be bewailed and complained,
But men mote nedes to hir lust obey,
And so wol I, ther n'is no more to say.
69. This child I am commanded for to take.
And spake no more, but out the child he hent
Despitously, and gan a chere to make,
As though he wold have slain it, or he went.
Grisildis most al suffer and al consent:
And as a lambe, she sitteth meke and still,
And let this cruel sergeant do his will.
70. Suspecious was the diffame of this man,
Suspect his face, suspect his word also,
Suspect the time in which he this began:
Alas! hire doughter, that she loved so,
She wende he wold han slaien it right tho,
But natheles she neither wept ne siked,
Conforming hire to that the markis liked.
71. But at the last to speken she began,
And mekely she to the sergeant praid
(So as he was a worthy gentil man)
That she might kisse hire child, or that it deid:
And in hire barme this litel child she leid,
With ful sad face, and gan the child to blisse,
And lulled it, and after gan it kisse.
72. And thus she sayd in hire benigne vois :
Farewel, my child, I shal thee never see,
But sin I have thee marked with the crois,
Of thilke fader yblessed mote thou be,
That for us died upon a crois of tree:
Thy soule, litel child, I him betake,
For this night shalt thou dien for my sake.
73. I trow that to a norice in this cas
It had ben hard this routhe for to see :
Wel might a moder than han cried alas,
But natheles so sad stedfast was she,
That she endured all adversitee,
And to the sergeant mekely she sayde,
Have here agen your litel yonge mayde.
74. Goth now (quod she) and doth my lordes hest:
And o thing wold I pray you of your grace,
But if my lord forbade you at the lest,
Burieth this litel body in som place,
That bestes ne no briddes it to-race.
But he no word to that purpos wold say,
But toke the child and went upon his way.
75. This sergeant came unto his lord again,
And of Grisildes wordes and hire chere
He told him point for point, in short and plain,
And him presented with his doughter dere.
Somwhat this lord hath routhe in his manere,
But natheles his purpos held he still,
As lordes don, whan they wol have hir will,
76. And bad this sergeant that he prively Shulde this child ful softe wind and wrappe. With alle circumstances tendrely,
And carry it in a cofre, or in a lappe;
But upon peine his hed of for to swappe
That no man shulde know of his entent,
Ne whens he came, ne whider that he went;
77. But at Boloigne, unto his suster dere,
That thilke time of Panik was countesse,
He shuld it take, and shew hire this matere,
Beseching hire to don hire besinesse
This child to fostren in all gentillesse,
And whos child that it was he bade hire hide
From every wight, for ought that may betide.
78. This sergeant goth, and hath fulfilde this thing.
But to this marquis now retorne we;
For now goth he ful fast imagining,
If by his wives chere he mighte see,
Or by hire wordes apperceive, that she
Were changed, but he never could hire finde,
But ever in on ylike sad and kinde.
79. As glad, as humble, as besy in service
And eke in love, as she was wont to be,
Was she to him, in every maner wise;
Ne of hire doughter not a word spake she:
Non accident for non adversitee
Was seen in hire, ne never hire doughters name
Ne nevened she, for ernest ne for game.