Previous Previous:
From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 498-504:
Why was Constance not starved while drifting at sea?
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.

From The Canterbury Tales:
The Man of Law's Tale
lines 505-532: Constance's ship runs ashore and she finds asylum

505        She dryveth forth into oure occian
Thurghout oure wilde see, til atte laste
Under an hoold that nempnen I ne kan,
Fer in Northhumberlond, the wawe hir caste,
And in the sond hir ship stiked so faste
510That thennes wolde it noght of al a tyde,
The wyl of Crist was that she sholde abyde.
505       Forth into our own ocean then she came,
Through all our wild white seas, until at last,
Under a keep, whose name I cannot name,
Far up Northumberland, her ship was cast,
And on the sands drove hard and stuck so fast
510That thence it moved not, no, for all the tide,
It being Christ's will that she should there abide.

       The constable of the castel doun is fare
To seen his wrak, and al the ship he soghte,
And foond this wery womman ful of care,
515He foond also the tresor that she broghte,
In hir langage mercy she bisoghte,
The lyf out of hire body for to twynne,
Hir to delivere of wo that she was inne.
       The warden of the castle down did fare
To view this wreck, and through the ship he sought
And found this weary woman, full of care;
515He found, also, the treasure she had brought.
In her own language mercy she besought
That he would help her soul from body win
To free her from the pain that she was in.

A maner Latyn corrupt was hir speche,
520But algates therby was she understonde.
The constable, whan hym lyst no lenger seche,
This woful womman broghte he to the londe.
She kneleth doun and thanketh Goddes sonde;
But what she was, she wolde no man seye,
525For foul ne fair, thogh that she sholde deye.
A kind of bastard Latin did she speak,
520But, nevertheless, these folk could understand;
The constable no longer thought to seek,
But led the sorrowing woman to the land;
There she knelt down and thanked God, on the sand.
But who or what she was, she would not say,
525For threat or promise, though she died that day.

She seyde, she was so mazed in the see
That she forgat hir mynde, by hir trouthe.
The constable hath of hir so greet pitee,
And eke his wyf, that they wepen for routhe.
530She was so diligent, withouten slouthe
To serve and plesen everich in that place,
That alle hir loven that looken on hir face.
She said she'd been bewildered by the sea,
And had lost recollection, by her truth;
The warden had for her so great pity,
As had his wife, that both they wept for ruth.
530She was so diligent to toil, in truth,
To serve and please all folk within that place,
That all loved her who looked upon her face.

Next Next:
From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 533-581:
Constance converts her host to Christianity