Confessio Amantis, Book III: The Tale of Apollonius of Tyre

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Appolinus his leve tok,To God and al the lond betokWith al the poeple long and brod,That he no lenger there abod.The king and queene sorwe made,Bot yit somdiel thei weren gladeOf such thing as thei herden tho:And thus betwen the wel and woTo schip he goth, his wif with childe,The which was evere meke and myldeAnd wolde noght departe him fro,Such love was betwen hem tuo.Lichorida for hire officeWas take, which was a norrice,To wende with this yonge wif,To whom was schape a woful lif.Withinne a time, as it betidde,Whan thei were in the see amidde,Out of the north they sihe a cloude;The storm aros, the wyndes loudeThei blewen many a dredful blast,The welkne was al overcast,The derke nyht the sonne hath under,Ther was a gret tempeste of thunder:The mone and ek the sterres botheIn blake cloudes thei hem clothe,Wherof here brihte lok thei hyde.This yonge ladi wepte and cride,To whom no confort myhte availe;Of childe sche began travaile,Wher sche lay in a caban clos:Hire woful lord fro hire aros,And that was longe er eny morwe,So that in anguisse and in sorweSche was delivered al be nyhteAnd ded in every mannes syhte;Bot natheles for al this woA maide child was bore tho.

Appolinus whan he this knew,For sorwe a swoune he overthrew,That noman wiste in him no lif.And whanne he wok, he seide, "Ha, wif,Mi lust, mi joie, my desir,Mi welthe and my recoverir,Why schal I live, and thou schalt dye?Ha, thou fortune, I thee deffie,Nou hast thou do to me thi werste.Ha, herte, why ne wolt thou berste,That forth with hire I myhte passe?Mi peines weren wel the lasse."In such wepinge and in such cryHis dede wif, which lay him by,A thousend sithes he hire kiste;Was nevere man that sih ne wisteA sorwe unto his sorwe lich;For evere among, upon the lichHe fell swounende, as he that soghteHis oghne deth, which he besoghteUnto the goddes alle aboveWith many a pitous word of love;Bot suche wordes as tho wereYit herde nevere mannes ere,Bot only thilke whiche he seide.The maister schipman cam and preideWith othre suche as be therinne,And sein that he mai nothing winneAyein the deth, bot thei him rede,He be wel war and tak hiede,The see be weie of his natureReceive mai no creatureWithinne himself as forto holde,The which is ded: forthi thei wolde,As thei conseilen al aboute,The dede body casten oute.For betre it is, thei seiden alle,That it of hire so befalle,Than if thei scholden alle spille.

The king, which understod here willeAnd knew here conseil that was trewe,Began ayein his sorwe neweWith pitous herte, and thus to seie:"It is al reson that ye preie.I am," quod he, "bot on al one,So wolde I noght for mi personeThere felle such adversité.Bot whan it mai no betre be,Doth thanne thus upon my word,Let make a cofre strong of bord,That it be ferm with led and pich."Anon was mad a cofre sich,Al redy broght unto his hond;And whanne he sih and redy fondThis cofre mad and wel enclowed,The dede bodi was besowedIn cloth of gold and leid therinne.And for he wolde unto hir winneUpon som cooste a sepulture,Under hire heved in aventureOf gold he leide sommes greteAnd of jeueals a strong beyeteForth with a lettre, and seide thus:

"I, king of Tyr Appollinus,Do alle maner men to wite,That hiere and se this lettre write,That helpeles withoute redHier lith a kinges doghter ded:And who that happeth hir to finde,For charité tak in his mynde,And do so that sche be begraveWith this tresor, which he schal have."Thus whan the lettre was full spoke,Thei have anon the cofre stoke,And bounden it with yren faste,That it may with the wawes laste,And stoppen it be such a weie,That it schal be withinne dreie,So that no water myhte it grieve.And thus in hope and good believeOf that the corps schal wel aryve,Thei caste it over bord als blyve.

The schip forth on the wawes wente;The prince hath changed his entente,And seith he wol noght come at TyrAs thanne, bot al his desirIs ferst to seilen unto Tharse.The wyndy storm began to skarse,The sonne arist, the weder cliereth,The schipman which behinde stierethWhan that he sih the wyndes saghte,Towardes Tharse his cours he straghte.

Bot now to mi matiere ayein,To telle as olde bokes sein,This dede corps of which ye knoweWith wynd and water was forthroweNow hier, now ther, til ate lasteAt Ephesim the see upcasteThe cofre and al that was therinne.Of gret merveile now beginneMai hiere who that sitteth stille;That God wol save mai noght spille.Riht as the corps was throwe alonde,Ther cam walkende upon the strondeA worthi clerc, a surgien,And ek a gret phisicien,Of al that lond the wisest on,Which hihte Maister Cerymon;Ther were of his disciples some.This maister to the cofre is come,He peiseth ther was somwhat in,And bad hem bere it to his in,And goth himselve forth withal.Al that schal falle, falle schal;They comen hom and tarie noght;This cofre is into chambre broght,Which that thei finde faste stoke,Bot thei with craft it have unloke.Thei loken in, where as thei foundeA bodi ded, which was bewoundeIn cloth of gold, as I seide er,The tresor ek thei founden therForth with the lettre which thei rede.And tho thei token betre hiede;Unsowed was the bodi sone,And he, which knew what is to done,This noble clerk, with alle hasteBegan the veines forto taste,And sih hire age was of youthe,And with the craftes whiche he coutheHe soghte and fond a signe of lif.With that this worthi kinges wifHonestely thei token oute,And maden fyres al aboute;Thei leide hire on a couche softe,And with a scheete warmed ofteHire colde brest began to hete,Hire herte also to flacke and bete.This maister hath hire every joigntWith certein oile and balsme enoignt,And putte a liquour in hire mouth,Which is to fewe clerkes couth,So that sche coevereth ate laste:And ferst hire yhen up sche caste,And whan sche more of strengthe cawhte,Hire armes bothe forth sche strawhte,Hield up hire hond and pitouslySche spak and seide, "Ha, wher am I?Where is my lord, what world is this?"As sche that wot noght hou it is.Bot Cerymon the worthi lecheAnsuerde anon upon hire specheAnd seith, "Ma dame, yee ben hiere,Where yee be sauf, as yee schal hiereHierafterward; forthi as nouMi conseil is, conforteth you:For trusteth wel withoute faile,Ther is nothing which schal you faile,That oghte of reson to be do."

© John Gower