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From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 246-266:
The preparation of the marriage
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Man of Law's Tale
lines 267-315: Constance's pity and woe


       Allas, what wonder is it thogh she wepte,
That shal be sent to strange nacioun
Fro freendes that so tendrely hir kepte,
270And to be bounden under subjeccioun
Of oon, she knoweth nat his condicioun?
Housbondes been alle goode, and han ben yoore,
That knowen wyves! I dar sey yow namoore.
       Alas! What wonder is it that she wept?
She shall be sent to a strange country, far
From friends that her so tenderly have kept,
270And bound to one her joy to make or mar
Whom she knows not, nor what his people are.
Husbands are all good, and have been of yore,
That know their wives, but I dare say no more.

       "Fader," she seyde, "Thy wrecched child Custance,
275Thy yonge doghter, fostred up so softe,
And ye my mooder, my soverayn plesance,
Over alle thyng, out-taken Crist on-lofte,
Custance, youre child, hir recomandeth ofte
Unto your grace, for I shal to Surrye
280Ne shal I nevere seen yow moore with eye.
       "Father," she said, "your wretched child, Constance,
275Your daughter reared in luxury so soft,
And you, my mother, and my chief pleasance,
Above all things, except Christ who rules aloft,
Constance your child would be remembered oft
Within your prayers, for I to Syria go,
280Nor shall I ever see you more, ah no!

Allas! unto the Barbre nacioun
I moste goon, syn that it is youre wille,
But Crist, that starf for our savacioun,
So yeve me grace hise heestes to fulfille,-
285I, wrecche womman, no fors though I spille!
Wommen are born to thraldom and penance,
And to been under mannes governance."
Unto the land of Barbary my fate
Compels me now, because it is your will;
But Christ, who died to save our sad estate,
So give me grace, his mandates I'll fulfill;
285I, wretched woman, though I die, 'tis nil.
Women are born to slave and to repent,
And to be subject to man's government."

       I trowe at Troye, whan Pirrus brak the wal,
Or Ilion brende, ne at Thebes the Citee,
290N'at Rome for the harm thurgh Hanybal
That Romayns hath venquysshed tymes thre,
Nas herd swich tendre wepyng for pitee
As in the chambre was, for his departynge;
But forth she moot, wher-so she wepe or synge.
       I think, at Troy, when Pyrrhus broke the wall;
When Ilium burned; when Thebes fell, that city;
290At Rome, for all the harm from Hannibal,
Who vanquished Roman arms in campaigns three -
I think was heard no weeping for pity
As in the chamber at her leave-taking;
Yet go she must, whether she weep or sing.

295        O firste moevyng! crueel firmanent,
With thy diurnal sweigh, that crowdest ay
And hurlest al from Est til Occident
That naturelly wolde holde another way,
Thy crowdyng set the hevene in swich array
300At the bigynnyng of this fiers viage,
That crueel Mars hath slayn this mariage.
295       O primal-moving, cruel Firmament,
With thy diurnal pressure, that doth sway
And hurl all things from East to Occident,
Which otherwise would hold another way,
Thy pressure set the heavens in such array,
300At the beginning of this wild voyage,
That cruel Mars has murdered this marriage.

Infortunat ascendent tortuous,
Of which the lord is helplees falle, allas!
Out of his angle into the derkeste hous!
305O Mars! O Atazir! as in this cas,
O fieble Moone, unhappy been thy paas!
Thou knyttest thee, ther thou art nat receyved;
Ther thou were weel, fro thennes artow weyved.-
Unfortunate ascendant tortuous,
Of which the lord has helpless fall'n, alas,
Out of his angle to the darkest house!
305O Mars! O Atazir in present case!
O feeble Moon, unhappy is thy pace!
Thou'rt in conjunction where thou'rt not received,
And where thou should'st go, thou hast not achieved.

Imprudent Emperour of Rome, allas!
310Was ther no philosophre in al thy toun?
Is no tyme bet than oother in swich cas?
Of viage is ther noon eleccioun,
Namely to folk of heigh condicioun,
Noght whan a roote is of a burthe yknowe?
315Allas, we been to lewed or to slowe!
Imprudent emperor of Rome, alas!
310Was no philosopher in all thy town?
Is one time like another in such case?
Indeed, can there be no election shown,
Especially to folk of high renown,
And when their dates of birth may all men know?
315Alas! We are too ignorant or too slow.





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From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 316-322:
Constance leaves for Syria
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