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This Alia king hath of this child gret wonder,
And to the senatour he said anon,
Whos is that faire child that stondeth yonder?
I n'ot, quod he, by God, and by Seint John;
A moder he hath, but fader hath he non 544Q

That I of wote: but shortly in a stound
He told Alia how that this child was found,

But God wot, quod this senatour also,
So vertuous a liver in all my lif
Ne saw I never as she, ne herd of mo . 5445

Of wordly woman, maiden, widewe or wif:
I<lare welsayn hire hadde lever a knif
Thurghout hire bred than ben a woman wikke;
Ther is no man coude bring hire to that prikke.

Now was this child as like unto Custaoce 5 450
As possible is a creature to be:
This Alia hath the face in remembrance
Of Dame C u stance, and theron mused he,
If that the childes moder were aught she
That is his wif, and prively he iighte, 5455

And sped him fro the table that he mightc.

Parfay, thought he, fantome is in minhed;
I ought to deme of skilful jugement
That in the salte see my wif is ded.
And afterward he made his argument; 54<JQ

What wot 1 if that Crist have hider sent
My wif by sec, as wel as he hire lent
To my contrecj fro thennes that she went?

Volums II. Y

And aster Soon home with the stnatcur
Goth Alia, for to see this wonder chance. 546s

This senJitour dofh AHa gtet honour,
And hastily he sent after Costance;'
But trusteth wel hire luste not ro ciance: ■*

Whan that shewifte wherfore was that fonde
Unncthe upbn hire feet she mighte ftoode. 547&

Whan Alia saw his wif faire he hire grette, And wept that it was touthe for to.foe$ Tor at the sirste look he on hire sehe He knew wel'Veraily that it was' she; And she for sorwe as domb fiant as a tree :- J475 So washire herre flietre in hire distreffe Whan stie remembered his unkindenefle.

Twies she swouneth in his ewen light; He wepeth and him extnscth pitously: Now God, quod he, and ail hishatwesbright, 5480 So wisiy oniiny soule as have mercy, That of your harme as gilteles am I As is'P.laurice my sone, so like ydtir face, Eilcs the ferid me fetche out of this place.

Long was the fobbing andthe Jawer peine 5485 Or that hir woful hertes mij'.htcn eese, Gret was the pitee for to hcie hem pteine, Thufgh whichepleinusgari fairwoencrese. 1 pray you all my labour to relese, I may not tell his wo until to-nionve, 5490

I am so wary for to speke of sorwe.

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Alia eoth to his inne, and as him ought
Arraied for this feste in every wife
As ferforth as his conning may suffice.

The morwe came, and Alia gan him dresse, 55 JO
And eke his vrif, this emperour to mete;
And forth they ride in joye and in gladnesse;
And whan (he saw hire fader in the strete
She light adoun and falleth him to fete.
Fader, quod she, your yonge child Custance 55*^
Is now ful clene out of your remembrance.

I am your doughter, your Custance, quod me,
That whilom ye han senc into Surrie;
It am I, fader, that in the salte see
Was put alone, and dampned for to die: 553©

Now, goode fader, I you mercy crie;
Send me no more into non Hethenesse,
But thanketh my lord here of his kindeneffc.

Who can the pitous joye tellen all
Betwix hem thre sin they ben thus ymette? 5535
But of my Tale make an ende I fhal,
The day goth fast, I wol no longer lette.
Thisc glade folk to dinner ben ysette;
In joye and blisse at mete I let hem dwell,
A thousand fold wel more than I can tell. 5?40

This child Maurice was sithen Emperour
Made by the Pope, and lived Cristenly j
To Cristes chirche did he gret honour:

■»•- ssn-yovrQiflmcel I have added your for the fake of the metre*

But I let all his storie passen by;
Of distance i« my Tale specially; 5545

In the olde Romane gestes men may find
Maurices lif, I bere it not in mind.

This King Alia, whan he his time fey,
With his Custance, his holy wif so swete,
To Englond ben they come the righte wey, SS5°
Ther as they live in joye and in quicte:
But litel while it lasteth 1 you hete;
Joye of this world for time wol not abide,
Fro day to night it changeth as the tide.

Who lived ever in fwiche delite o day 5SSS

That him ne meved eyther conscience,
Or ire, or talent, or som kin affray,
En vie, or pride, or paflion, or offence?
I ne say but for this end this sentence,
That litel while in joye or in plesance 5560

Lasteth the bliffe of Alia with Cuslance.

For Deth, that taketh of hie and low his rente,
Whan passed was a yere, even as I gesse,
Out of this world this King Alia he hente,

♦. JJ52. Bui litel while] In Marg. C. I," A mane usque ad "vesperem mutabitur tempug. tenent tympanum et gaudent "ad sonum organi," &c.

1r. 5555* W&fl lived ever} Ibid. "Quis unquam unicam diem "totam in sua dilectione duxit jocundam > quem in aliqua •' parte diei reatus conscientix, viz. impetus iræ, vel motu» •* concupiscentiæ non turbavit; quem livor, vel ardor avari"tiæ, vel tumor superbiæ non vexavit, quem aliqua jactura, ■' vel offensa, vel paflio non commoverit," E^c.

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