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النشر الإلكتروني

"I say this, be ye redy with good herte
To all my lust, and that I freely may
As me best thinketh do you laugh or smerte,
And never ye to grutchen, night ne day,
And eke whan I say ya, ye say not nay,
Neither by word, ne frouning countenance?
Swere this, and here I swere our alliance."

Wondring upon this thing, quaking for drede,
She saide; "Lord, indigne and unworthy
Am I, to thilke honour, that ye me bede,
But as ye wol yourself, right so wol I:
And here I swere, that never willingly
In werk, ne thought, I ni'll you disobeie
For to be ded, though me were loth to deie.”

"This is ynough, Grisilde min," quod he. And forth he goth with a ful sobre chere, Out at the dore, and after than came she, And to the peple he said in this manere : "This is my wif," quod he, "that stondeth here. Honoureth her, and loveth hire, I pray, Who so me loveth, ther n'is no more to say."

And for that nothing of hire olde gere
She shulde bring into his hous, he bad
That women shuld despoilen hire right there,
Of which thise ladies weren nothing glad
To handle hire clothes wherin she was clad:
But natheles this maiden bright of hew
Fro foot to hed they clothed han all new.

Hire heres han they kempt, that lay untressed Ful rudely, and with hir fingres smal

A coroune on hire hed they han ydressed,
And sette hire ful of nouches gret and smal:
Of hire array what shuld I make a tale?
Unneth the peple hire knew for hire fairnesse,
Whan she transmewed was in swiche richesse.

This markis hath hire spoused with a ring
Brought for the same cause, and than hire sette
Upon an hors snow-white, and wel ambling,
And to his paleis, or he lenger lette,
(With joyful peple, that hire lad and mette)
Conveyed hire, and thus the day they spende
In revel, till the Sonne gan descende.

And shortly forth this tale for to chace,
I say, that to this newe markisesse

God hath swiche favour sent hire of his grace,
That it ne semeth not by likelinesse

That she was borne and fed in rudenesse,

As in a cote, or in an oxes stall,

But nourished in an emperoures hall.

To every wight she waxen is so dere,
And worshipful, that folk ther she was bore,
And fro hire birthe knew hire yere by yere,
Unnethes trowed they, but dorst han swore,
That to Janicle, of which I spake before,
She doughter n'as, for as by conjecture
Hem thoughte she was another creature.

For though that ever vertuous was she,
She was encresed in swiche excellence
Of thewes good, yset in high bountee,

And so discrete, and faire of eloquence,
So benigne, and so digne of reverence,
And coude so the peples herte embrace,
That eche hire loveth that loketh on hire face.

Not only of Saluces in the toun

Published was the bountee of hire name,
But eke beside in many a regioun,

If on saith wel, another saith the same:
So spredeth of hire hie bountee the fame,
That men and women, yong as wel as old,
Gon to Saluces upon hire to behold.

Thus Walter lowly, nay but really,
Wedded with fortunat honestetee,
In Goddes pees liveth ful esily

At home, and grace ynough outward had he
And for he saw that under low degree
Was honest vertue hid, the peple him held
A prudent man, and that is seen ful seld.

Not only this Grisildis thurgh hire wit
Coude all the fete of wifly homlinesse,
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.

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.

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.

PARS TERTIA.

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.

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.

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.

"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 ony wele ye mote yourselven know.
Take hede of every word that I you say,
Ther is no wight that hereth it but we tway.

"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.

"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:
I 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:

"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,

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