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From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 533-581:
Constance converts her host to Christianity
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From The Canterbury Tales:
The Man of Law's Tale
lines 582-602: Another conspiracy


       Sathan, that ever us waiteth to bigile,
Saugh of Custance al hir perfeccioun
And caste anon how he myghte quite hir while;
585And made a yong knyght, that dwelte in that toun,
Love hir so hoote of foul affeccioun
That verraily hym thoughte he sholde spille,
But he of hir myghte ones have his wille.
       Satan, that ever waits, men to beguile,
Saw now, in Constance, all perfection grown,
And wondering how to be revenged the while,
585He made a young knight, living in the town,
Love her so madly, with foul passion flown,
That verily he thought his life should spill,
Except that, of her, be once might have his will.

He woweth hir, but it availleth noght,
590She wolde do no synne, by no were;
And for despit he compassed in his thoght
To maken hir on shameful deeth to deye.
He wayteth whan the constable was aweye
And pryvely upon a nyght he crepte
595In Hermengyldes chambre whil she slepte.
He wooed her, but it all availed him naught;
590She would not sin in any wise or way;
And, for despite, he plotted in his thought
To make her die a death of shame some day.
He waited till the warden was away,
And, stealthily by night, he went and crept
595To Hermengild's bed-chamber, while she slept.

       Wery, for-waked in hir orisouns,
Slepeth Custance, and Hermengyld also.
This knyght, thurgh Sathanas temptaciouns,
All softely is to the bed ygo,
600And kitte the throte of Hermengyld atwo,
And leyde the blody knyf by dame Custance,
And wente his wey, ther God yeve hym meschance!
       Weary with waking for her orisons,
Slept Constance, and Dame Hermengild also.
This knight, by Satan's tempting, came at once
And softly to the bedside he did go.
600And cut the throat of Hermengild, and so
Laid the hot reeking knife by fair Constance,
And went his way- where God give him mischance!





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From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 603-630:
Constance is accused, but not yet convicted
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