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From The Franklin's Tale, lines 687-710:
Roman examples about women who prefer suicide rather than being dishonoured
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Franklin's Tale
lines 711-748: Greek examples about women who prefer suicide rather than being dishonoured


       What sholde I mo ensamples heer of sayn?
Sith that so manye han hemselven slayn,
Wel rather than they wolde defouled be,
I wol conclude that it is bet for me
715To sleen myself, than been defouled thus.
I wol be trewe unto Arveragus,
Or rather sleen myself in som manere,
As dide Demociones doghter deere,
By cause that she wolde nat defouled be.
720O Cedasus, it is ful greet pitee
To reden how thy doghtren deyde, allas,
That slowe hemself, for swich manere cas!
As greet a pitee was it, or wel moore,
The Theban mayden, that for Nichanore
725Hirselven slow right for swich manere wo.
Another Theban mayden dide right so;
For oon of Macidonye hadde hire oppressed,
She with hire deeth hir maydenhede redressed.
What shal I seye of Nicerates wyf,
730That for swich cas birafte hirself hir lyf?
How trewe eek was to Alcebiades
His love that rather for to dyen chees
Than for to suffre his body unburyed be.
Lo, which a wyf was Alceste," quod she,
735"What seith Omer of goode Penalopee?
Al Grece knoweth of hire chastitee.
Pardee of Lacedomya is writen thus,
That whan at Troie was slayn Protheselaus,
Ne lenger wolde she lyve after his day.
740The same of noble Porcia telle I may,
Withoute Brutus koude she nat lyve,
To whom she hadde al hool hir herte yeve.
The parfit wyfhod of Arthemesie
Honured is thurgh al the Barbarie.
745O Teuta, queene! thy wyfly chastitee
To alle wyves may a mirrour bee!
The same thyng I seye of Bilyea,
Of Rodogone, and eek Valeria."
       Why should I of more instances, be fain?
Since that so many have their bodies slain
Rather than that they should dishonoured be?
I will conclude it better is for me
715To slay myself than be dishonoured thus.
I will be true unto Arviragus,
Or else I'll slay myself in some manner,
As did Demotion's virgin daughter dear
Because she would not violated be.
720O Cedasus, it rouses great pity
To read of how your daughters died, alas!
That slew themselves in such another case.
As great a pity was it, aye and more,
That a fair Theban maid, for Nicanor,
725Did slay herself in such a kind of woe.
Another Theban maiden did also;
For one of Macedonia her had pressed,
And she, by death, her maidenhead redressed.
What shall I say of Nicerates' wife,
730Who, for like cause, took away her own life?
How true, too, was to Alcibiades
His love, who chose to drain death to the lees
And would not let his corpse unburied be!
Lo, what a wife was Alcestis," said she.
735"What says Homer of good Penelope?
The whole of Hellas knew her chastity.
Indeed, of Laodamia they wrote thus,
That when at Troy was slain Protesilaus,
No longer would she live after his day.
740"The same of noble Portia may I say;
Without her Brutus could she no wise live,
To whom in youth her whole heart she did give.
"The perfect wifehood of Artemisia
Was honoured throughout all old Caria.
745O Teuta, queen! Your wifely chastity,
To all wives may a very mirror be.
The same thing may I say of Bilia,
Of Rhodogune and of Valeria."




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From The Franklin's Tale, lines 749-761:
Dorigen tells her husband Arviragus about her dilemma
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