Poems » john gower » confessio amantis book iii the tale of apollonius of tyre


Appolinus his leve tok,
To God and al the lond betok
With al the poeple long and brod,
That he no lenger there abod.
The king and queene sorwe made,
Bot yit somdiel thei weren glade
Of such thing as thei herden tho:
And thus betwen the wel and wo
To schip he goth, his wif with childe,
The which was evere meke and mylde
And wolde noght departe him fro,
Such love was betwen hem tuo.
Lichorida for hire office
Was take, which was a norrice,
To wende with this yonge wif,
To whom was schape a woful lif.
Withinne a time, as it betidde,
Whan thei were in the see amidde,
Out of the north they sihe a cloude;
The storm aros, the wyndes loude
Thei blewen many a dredful blast,
The welkne was al overcast,
The derke nyht the sonne hath under,
Ther was a gret tempeste of thunder:
The mone and ek the sterres bothe
In blake cloudes thei hem clothe,
Wherof here brihte lok thei hyde.
This yonge ladi wepte and cride,
To whom no confort myhte availe;
Of childe sche began travaile,
Wher sche lay in a caban clos:
Hire woful lord fro hire aros,
And that was longe er eny morwe,
So that in anguisse and in sorwe
Sche was delivered al be nyhte
And ded in every mannes syhte;
Bot natheles for al this wo
A maide child was bore tho.

     Appolinus whan he this knew,
For sorwe a swoune he overthrew,
That noman wiste in him no lif.
And whanne he wok, he seide, "Ha, wif,
Mi lust, mi joie, my desir,
Mi welthe and my recoverir,
Why schal I live, and thou schalt dye?
Ha, thou fortune, I thee deffie,
Nou hast thou do to me thi werste.
Ha, herte, why ne wolt thou berste,
That forth with hire I myhte passe?
Mi peines weren wel the lasse."
In such wepinge and in such cry
His dede wif, which lay him by,
A thousend sithes he hire kiste;
Was nevere man that sih ne wiste
A sorwe unto his sorwe lich;
For evere among, upon the lich
He fell swounende, as he that soghte
His oghne deth, which he besoghte
Unto the goddes alle above
With many a pitous word of love;
Bot suche wordes as tho were
Yit herde nevere mannes ere,
Bot only thilke whiche he seide.
The maister schipman cam and preide
With othre suche as be therinne,
And sein that he mai nothing winne
Ayein the deth, bot thei him rede,
He be wel war and tak hiede,
The see be weie of his nature
Receive mai no creature
Withinne himself as forto holde,
The which is ded: forthi thei wolde,
As thei conseilen al aboute,
The dede body casten oute.
For betre it is, thei seiden alle,
That it of hire so befalle,
Than if thei scholden alle spille.

     The king, which understod here wille
And knew here conseil that was trewe,
Began ayein his sorwe newe
With pitous herte, and thus to seie:
"It is al reson that ye preie.
I am," quod he, "bot on al one,
So wolde I noght for mi persone
There felle such adversité.
Bot whan it mai no betre be,
Doth thanne thus upon my word,
Let make a cofre strong of bord,
That it be ferm with led and pich."
Anon was mad a cofre sich,
Al redy broght unto his hond;
And whanne he sih and redy fond
This cofre mad and wel enclowed,
The dede bodi was besowed
In cloth of gold and leid therinne.
And for he wolde unto hir winne
Upon som cooste a sepulture,
Under hire heved in aventure
Of gold he leide sommes grete
And of jeueals a strong beyete
Forth with a lettre, and seide thus:

     "I, king of Tyr Appollinus,
Do alle maner men to wite,
That hiere and se this lettre write,
That helpeles withoute red
Hier lith a kinges doghter ded:
And who that happeth hir to finde,
For charité tak in his mynde,
And do so that sche be begrave
With this tresor, which he schal have."
Thus whan the lettre was full spoke,
Thei have anon the cofre stoke,
And bounden it with yren faste,
That it may with the wawes laste,
And stoppen it be such a weie,
That it schal be withinne dreie,
So that no water myhte it grieve.
And thus in hope and good believe
Of that the corps schal wel aryve,
Thei caste it over bord als blyve.

     The schip forth on the wawes wente;
The prince hath changed his entente,
And seith he wol noght come at Tyr
As thanne, bot al his desir
Is ferst to seilen unto Tharse.
The wyndy storm began to skarse,
The sonne arist, the weder cliereth,
The schipman which behinde stiereth
Whan that he sih the wyndes saghte,
Towardes Tharse his cours he straghte.

     Bot now to mi matiere ayein,
To telle as olde bokes sein,
This dede corps of which ye knowe
With wynd and water was forthrowe
Now hier, now ther, til ate laste
At Ephesim the see upcaste
The cofre and al that was therinne.
Of gret merveile now beginne
Mai hiere who that sitteth stille;
That God wol save mai noght spille.
Riht as the corps was throwe alonde,
Ther cam walkende upon the stronde
A worthi clerc, a surgien,
And ek a gret phisicien,
Of al that lond the wisest on,
Which hihte Maister Cerymon;
Ther were of his disciples some.
This maister to the cofre is come,
He peiseth ther was somwhat in,
And bad hem bere it to his in,
And goth himselve forth withal.
Al that schal falle, falle schal;
They comen hom and tarie noght;
This cofre is into chambre broght,
Which that thei finde faste stoke,
Bot thei with craft it have unloke.
Thei loken in, where as thei founde
A bodi ded, which was bewounde
In cloth of gold, as I seide er,
The tresor ek thei founden ther
Forth with the lettre which thei rede.
And tho thei token betre hiede;
Unsowed was the bodi sone,
And he, which knew what is to done,
This noble clerk, with alle haste
Began the veines forto taste,
And sih hire age was of youthe,
And with the craftes whiche he couthe
He soghte and fond a signe of lif.
With that this worthi kinges wif
Honestely thei token oute,
And maden fyres al aboute;
Thei leide hire on a couche softe,
And with a scheete warmed ofte
Hire colde brest began to hete,
Hire herte also to flacke and bete.
This maister hath hire every joignt
With certein oile and balsme enoignt,
And putte a liquour in hire mouth,
Which is to fewe clerkes couth,
So that sche coevereth ate laste:
And ferst hire yhen up sche caste,
And whan sche more of strengthe cawhte,
Hire armes bothe forth sche strawhte,
Hield up hire hond and pitously
Sche spak and seide, "Ha, wher am I?
Where is my lord, what world is this?"
As sche that wot noght hou it is.
Bot Cerymon the worthi leche
Ansuerde anon upon hire speche
And seith, "Ma dame, yee ben hiere,
Where yee be sauf, as yee schal hiere
Hierafterward; forthi as nou
Mi conseil is, conforteth you:
For trusteth wel withoute faile,
Ther is nothing which schal you faile,
That oghte of reson to be do."