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From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 218-245:
The sultan wants Constance
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Man of Law's Tale
lines 218-245: The legal difficulties of marriage


Thanne sawe they therin swich difficultee
By wey of reson, for to speke al playn
220By cause that ther was swich diversitee
Bitwene hir bothe lawes, that they sayn
They trowe that "no Cristene prince wolde fayn
Wedden his child under oure lawes swete
That us were taught by Mahoun oure prophete."
Then saw they therein so much difficulty,
When reasoning of it, to make all plain,
220Because such conflict and diversity
Between the laws of both lands long had lain
They held: "No Christian emperor were fain
To have his child wed under our sweet laws,
Given us by Mahomet for God's cause."

225        And he answerde: "Rather than I lese
Custance, I wol be cristned, doutelees.
I moot been hires, I may noon oother chese;
I prey yow, hoold youre argumentz in pees.
Saveth my lyf, and beth noght recchelees
230To geten hir that hath my lyf in cure,
For in this wo I may nat longe endure."
225       But he replied: "Nay, rather then than lose
The Lady Constance, I'll be christened, yes!
I must be hers, I can no other choose.
I pray you let be no rebelliousness;
Save me my life, and do not be careless
230In getting her who thus alone may cure
The woe whereof I cannot long endure."

       What nedeth gretter dilatacioun?
I seye, by tretys and embassadrye
And by the popes mediacioun,
235And al the chirche and al the chivalrie,
That in destruccioun of Mawmettrie
And in encrees of Cristes lawe deere,
They been acorded, so as ye shal heere:
       What needs a copious dilation now?
I say: By treaties and by embassy,
And the pope's mediation, high and low,
235And all the Church and all the chivalry,
That, to destruction of Mahometry
And to augmenting Christian faith so dear,
They were agreed, at last, as you shall hear.

How that the Sowdan and his baronage
240And alle hise liges sholde ycristned be-
And he shal han Custance in mariage,
And certein gold, I noot what quantitee,
And heerto founden suffisant suretee.
This same accord was sworn on eyther syde.
245Now, faire Custance, almyghty God thee gyde!
The sultan and his entire baronage
240And all his vassals, they must christened be,
And he shall have Constance in true marriage,
And gold (I know not in what quantity),
For which was found enough security;
This, being agreed, was sworn by either side.
245Now, Constance fair, may great God be your guide!





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From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 246-266:
The preparation of the marriage
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