Previous Previous:
From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 603-630:
Constance is accused, but not yet convicted
Previous
Librarius Homepage
© Librarius
All rights reserved.



From The Canterbury Tales:
The Man of Law's Tale
lines 631-658: Constance pleads "not guilty"


       Allas, Custance, thou hast no champioun!
Ne fighte kanstow noght, so weylaway!
But he, that starf for our redempcioun,
And boond Sathan-and yet lith ther he lay-
635So be thy stronge champion this day!
For but if Crist open myracle kithe,
Withouten gilt thou shalt be slayn as swithe.
       Alas, Constance! You have no champion,
And since you cannot fight, it's welaway!
But he who died for us the cross upon,
And Satan bound (who lies yet where he lay),
635So be your doughty Champion this day!
For, except Christ a miracle make known,
You shall be slain, though guiltless, and right soon.

She sette hir doun on knees, and thus she sayde,
"Immortal God, that savedest Susanne
640Fro false blame, and thou, merciful Mayde,
Marie I meene, doghter to Seynte Anne,
Bifore whos child angeles synge Osanne,
If I be giltlees of this felonye,
My socour be, for ellis shal I dye."
She dropped upon her knees and thus she prayed:
"Immortal God, who saved the fair Susanna
640From lying blame, and you, O gracious maid
Mary, I mean, the daughter of Saint Anna
Before child the angels sing Hosanna,
If I be guiltless of this felony,
My succour be, for otherwise I die!"

645        Have ye nat seyn som tyme a pale face
Among a prees, of hym that hath be lad
Toward his deeth, wher as hym gat no grace,
And swich a colour in his face hath had,
Men myghte knowe his face, that was bistad,
650Amonges alle the faces in that route?
So stant Custance, and looketh hir aboute.
645       Have you not sometime seen a pallid face
Among the crowd, of one that's being led
Toward his death- one who had got no grace?
And such a pallor on his face was spread
All men must mark it, full of horrid dread,
650Among the other faces in the rout.
So stood fair Constance there and looked about.

       O queenes, lyvynge in prosperitee,
Duchesses, and ladyes everichone,
Haveth som routhe on hir adversitee;
655An Emperoures doghter stant allone,
She hath no wight to whom to make hir mone.
O blood roial, that stondest in this drede,
Fer been thy freendes at thy grete nede!
       O queens that live in all prosperity,
Duchesses, and you ladies, every one,
Have pity, now, on her adversity;
655An emperor's young daughter stands alone;
She has no one to whom to make her moan.
O royal blood that stands there in such dread,
Far are your friends away in your great need!





Next Next:
From The Man of Law's Tale, lines 659-679:
Constance's innocence is proved
Next