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From The Franklin's Tale, lines 671-686:
Other examples about women who prefer suicide rather than being dishonoured
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Franklin's Tale
lines 687-710: Roman examples about women who prefer suicide rather than being dishonoured


       Now sith that maydens hadden swich despit,
To been defouled with mannes foul delit,
Wel oghte a wyf rather hirselven slee,
690Than be defouled, as it thynketh me.
What shal I seyn of Hasdrubales wyf
That at Cartage birafte hirself hir lyf?
For whan she saugh that Romayns wan the toun,
She took hir children alle and skipte adoun
695Into the fyr, and chees rather to dye
Than any Romayn dide hir vileynye.
Hath nat Lucresse yslayn hirself, allas!
At Rome whan that she oppressed was
Of Tarquyn, for hir thoughte it was a shame
700To lyven whan she hadde lost hir name?
The sevene maydens of Milesie also
Han slayn hemself, for verray drede and wo
Rather than folk of Gawle hem sholde oppresse.
Mo than a thousand stories, as I gesse,
705Koude I now telle as touchynge this mateere.
Whan Habradate was slayn, his wyf so deere
Hirselven slow, and leet hir blood to glyde
In Habradates woundes depe and wyde;
And seyde, 'My body at the leeste way
710Ther shal no wight defoulen, if I may.'
       Now since these maidens showed such scorn outright
Of being defiled to make man's foul delight,
Well ought a wife rather herself to slay
690Than be defiled, I think, and so I say.
What shall I say of Hasdrubal's fair wife,
Who in Carthage bereft herself of life?
For when she saw that Romans won the town,
She took her children all and leaped right down
695Into the fire, choosing thus to die
Before a Roman did her villainy.
Did not Lucretia slay herself- alas!-
At Rome, when she so violated was
By Tarquin? For she thought it was a shame
700Merely to live when she had lost her name.
The seven maidens of Miletus, too,
Did slay themselves, for very dread and woe,
Rather than men of Gaul should on them press.
More than a thousand stories, as I guess,
705Could I repeat now of this matter here.
"With Abradates slain, his wife so dear
Herself slew, and she let her red blood glide
In Abradates' wounds so deep and wide,
And said: 'My body, at the least, I say,
710No man shall now defile,' and passed away.




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From The Franklin's Tale, lines 711-748:
Greek examples about women who prefer suicide rather than being dishonoured
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