Page images

But wel he sigh and understode,
That he toward Arcenne stode,
And axeth him anone right there,
If that this childe his sone were.
He faide : ye, so I him calle,
And wolde it were so befalle,
But it is all in other wise.
And tho began he to devise,
How he the childes moder fonde
Upon the fee from every londe
Within a ship was stereles,
And how this lady helpeles
Forth with her childe he hath forth drawe.
The kinge hath understood his sawe
The childes name and axeth tho,
And what the moder hight also,
That he him wolde telle he praide.
Morice this childe is hote, he faide,
His moder hat Custe, and this
I not what maner name it is.
But Allee wiste wel inough,
Wherof somdele smilend he lough.
For Custe in Saxon is to faine
Constance upon the word Romaine.
But who that couthe specifie,
What tho fell in his fantasie,
And how his witte aboute renneth
Upon the love, in which he brenneth,
It were a wonder for to here.
For he was nouther there ne here,

But clene out of him selfe awey,
That he not what to thenke or say.
So faine he wolde it were she,
Wherof his hertes privete
Began the werre of ye and nay,
The whiche in such balaunce lay,
That contenaunce for a throwe
He lofte, till he mighte knowe
The foth. But in his memoire
The man, which lieth in purgatoire,
Desireth nought the heven more,
That he ne longeth also fore
To wite, what him shall betide
And whan the bordes were aside
And every man was rise aboute,
The kinge hath weived all the route
And with the senatour alone
He spake and praid him of a bone,
To se this Custe where she dwelleth
At home with him, so as he telleth.
The senatour was wel apaide.
This thing no lenger was delaide.
To se this Custe goth the kinge,
And she was warned of the thinge,
And with Heleine forth she came
Ayein the kinge, and he tho name
Good hede, and whan he figh his wife,
Anone with all his hertes life
He caught her in his armes and kiste.
Was never wight that sigh ne wiste

A man that more joie made,
Wherof they weren alle glade,
Which herde tellen of this chaunce.
This king tho with his wife Constance,
Whiche had a great part of his will,
In Rome for a time still
Abode and made him well at ese.
But so yet couth he never plese
His wife, that she him wolde faine
Of her estate the trouthe pleine,
Of what contre that she was bore,
Ne what she was, and yet therfore
With all his wit he hath done seke.
Thus as they ligh in bedde and speke,
She praith him and counseileth both,
That for the worship of hem both
So that her thought it were honeste
He wolde an honourable feste
Make er he went in that citee,
Where themperour him self shall be.
He graunteth all that she him praide.
But as men in that time faide,
This emperour fro thilke day
That first his doughter went away
He was than after never gladde,
But what that any man him badde
Of grace for his doughter fake
That grace wolde he nought forsake,
And thus ful great almesse he dede,
Wherof he hadde many a bede.

Qualiter Constancia, que antea per totum tempus exilii sui penes omnes incognitam se celavit, tunc demum patri suo imperatori" se ipfam per omnia manifestavit, quod cum rex Allee scivisset, una cum universa Romanorum multitudine inestimabili gaudio admirantes cunctipotentem laudarunt.

This emperour out of the towne,
Within a ten mile enviroune,
Where as it thought him for the beste
Hath fondry places for to reste,
And as fortune wolde tho
He was dwellend at one of tho.
The kinge Allee forth with thassent
Of Cufte his wife hath thider sent
Morice his sone, as he was taught,
To themperour, and he goth straught
And in his fader halve he sought
As he, whiche his lordship sought,
That of his highe worthinesse
He wolde do so great mekenesse
His owne town to come and se
And yive a time in the citee,
So that his fader might him gete,
That he wolde ones with him ete.
This lorde hath graunted his requeste.
And whan the day was of the feste,
In worship of her emperour
The kinge and eke the senatour
Forth with her wives bothe two,
With many a lorde and lady mo,
On hors riden him ayeine,
Till it befell upon a pleine
They sigh, where he was comend.
With that Constance anone praiend
Spake to her lord, that he abide,
So that I may to-fore ride

To ben upon his bienvenue The firste, which shall him salue. And thus after her lordes graunte Upon a mule white amblaunte Forth with a fewe rode this quene. They wondred, what she wolde mene, And riden after softe pas. But whan this lady comen was To themperour, in his presence She saide aloude in audience : My lord, my fader, wel you be ! And of this time that I fe Your honour and your gode hele, Whiche is the helpe of my quarele, I thonke unto the goddes might. For joie his herte was aflight Of that she tolde in remembraunce. And whan he wiste, it was Constance, Was never fader half so blithe. Wepend he kiste her often fithe, So was his hert all overcome, For though his moder were come Fro deth to life out of the grave, He might no more wonder have Than he hath, whan that he her sigh. With that her owne lord come nigh And is to themperour obeied. And whan the fortune is bewreied, How that Constance is come aboute, So harde an herte was none oute,

« PreviousContinue »