Previous Previous:
From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 988-1001:
King Alla goes on a pilgrimage to Rome
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Man of Law's Tale
lines 1002-1029: King Alla unknowingly meets his own son


       Greet cheere dooth this noble senatour
To kyng Alla, and he to hym also,
Everich of hem dooth oother greet honour;
1005And so bifel, that inwith a day or two
This senatour is to kyng Alla go
To feste; and shortly, if I shal nat lye,
Custances sone wente in his compaignye.
       Great welcome gave this noble senator
To King Alla, and he to him also;
Each of them showed the other much honour;
1005And so befell that, in a day or so,
This senator to King Alla did go
To feast, and briefly, if I may not lie,
Constance' young son went in his company.

       Som men wolde seyn, at requeste of Custance
1010This senatour hath lad this child to feeste;
I may nat tellen every circumstance,
Be as be may, ther was he at the leeste,
But sooth is this, that at his moodres heeste
Biforn Alla durynge the metes space,
1015The child stood, lookynge in the kynges face.
       Some men would say, 'twas instance of Constance
1010That sent him with the senator to feast;
I cannot tell you every circumstance,
Be it as may be, he was there, at least.
But truth is that, at his mother's behest,
Before the king, during the banquet's space,
1015The child stood, looking in King Alla's face.

This Alla kyng hath of this child greet wonder,
And to the senatour he seyde anon,
"Whos is that faire child, that stondeth yonder?"
"I noot," quod he, "by God and by Seint John!
1020A mooder he hath, but fader hath he noon,
That I of woot." But shortly, in a stounde,
He tolde Alla how that this child was founde.
This child aroused within the king great wonder,
And to the senator he said, anon:
"Whose is the fair child that is standing yonder?"
"I know not," said he, "by God and Saint John!
1020A mother he has, but father has he none
That I know of"- and briefly, at a bound,
He told King Alla how this child was found.

"But God woot," quod this senatour also,
"So vertuous a lyvere in my lyf
1025Ne saugh I nevere as she, ne herde of mo
Of worldly wommen, mayde, ne of wyf;
I dar wel seyn, hir hadde levere a knyf
Thurghout hir brest, than ben a womman wikke,
There is no man koude brynge hir to that prikke."
"But God knows," said this senator, as well,
"So virtuous a liver, in my life
1025I never saw, as she is, nor heard tell
Of earthly woman, maiden, no nor wife.
I dare say, she would rather have a knife
Thrust through her breast than play a female trick;
There is no man could bring her to the prick."





Next Next:
From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 1030-1078:
King Alla and Constance are happily united
Next