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Yet oghte we with the ben wel apayede1.'
And whan these idel wordes weren sayde,
The colde walle they wolden kysse of stoon,
And take hir leve, and forth they wolden goon.
And this was gladly in the evetyde, 770
Or wonder erly, lest men it espyede.
And longe tyme they wroght in this manere,
Til on a day, whan Phebus2 gan to clere3--
Aurora with the stremes of hire hete1
Had dried uppe the dewe of herbes wete-
Unto this clyfte, as it was wont to be,
Come Piramus, and after come Tesbe.
And plighten trouthe5 fully in here faye,
That ilke same nyght to steele awaye,
And to begile hire wardeyns everychone,
And forth out of the citee for to gone.
And, for the feeldes ben so broode and wide,
Fór to meete in o place at o tyde


And eke so glade that she was escaped;
And ther she sytte, and darketh21 wonder stille.
Whan that this lyonesse hath dronke hire fille,
Aboute the welle gan she for to wynde22,
And ryght anon the wympil gan she fynde,
And with hir blody mouth it al to-rente.
Whan this was don, no lenger she ne stente23,
But to the woode hir wey than hath she nome24.
And at the laste this Piramus is come,
But al to longe, allas, at home was hee!
The moone shone, men myghte wel y-see,
And in his wey, as that he come ful faste,
His eyen to the grounde adoun he caste;
And in the sonde as he behelde adoun25,
780 | He seigh the steppes broode of a lyoun;
And in his herte he sodeynly agroos26,
And pale he wex, therwith his heer aroos,
And nere he come, and founde the wympel

They sette markes, hire metyng sholde bee
Ther7 kyng Nynus was gravens, under a tree,-
For olde payens", that ydóles heriede1o,
Useden tho in feeldes to ben beriede11,-
And faste by his grave was a welle.
And, shortly of this tale for to telle,
This covenaunt was affermed wonder faste, 790
And longe hem thoghte that the sonne laste,
That it nere goon12 under the see adoun.

This Tesbe hath so greete affeccioun,
And so grete lykynge Piramus to see,
That whan she seigh hire tyme myghte bee,
At nyght she stale13 awey ful prevely,
With hire face y-wympled subtilly.
For al hire frendes, for to save hire trouthe,
She hath forsake; allas, and that is routhe14,
That ever woman wolde be so trewe

To trusten man, but she the bet hym knewe15!
And to the tree she goth a ful goode paas16,
For love made hir so hardy in this caas;
And by the welle adoun she gan hir dresse17.
Allas! than comith a wilde leonesse
Out of the woode, withouten more arreste18,
With blody mouth, of strangelynge of a beste,
To drynken of the welle ther as she sat.
And whan that Tesbe had espyed that,
She ryst19 hir up, with a ful drery herte,
And in a cave with dredful foot she sterte,
For by the moone she saugh it wel withalle.
And as she ranne, hir wympel leet she falle,
And tooke noon
SO sore she was
awhaped 20,

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'Allas,' quod he, 'the day that I was borne!
This o nyght wol us lovers bothe slee!
How shulde I axen mercy of Tesbee,
Whan I am he that have yow slayne, allas?
My byddyng hath i-slayn yow in this caas!
Allas, to bidde a woman goon by nyghte
In place ther as27 peril fallen myghte!
And I so slowe! allas, I ne hadde be28
Here in this place, a furlong wey or ye29!
Now what lyon that be in this foreste,
My body mote he renten3o, or what beste
That wilde is, gnawen mote he now my herte!'
And with that worde he to the wympel sterte,
And kiste it ofte, and wepte on it ful sore;
And seyde, 'Wympel, allas! ther nys no more31,
But thou shalt feele as wel the blode of me,
As thou hast felt the bledynge of Tesbe.'
And with that worde he smot hym to the


The blood out of the wounde as brode sterte
As water, whan the conduyte broken is.

Now Tesbe, which that wyste32 nat of this,
But syttyng in hire drede, she thoghte thus:
'If it so falle that my Piramus

Be comen hider, and may me nat y-fynde,
He may me holden fals, and eke unkynde.'
And oute she comith, and after hym gan espien
Bóthe with hire herte and with hire eyen;
And thoghte, 'I wol him tellen of my drede,
Bothe of the lyonesse and al my dede.'
And at the laste hire love than hath she founde,
Bétynge with his helis33 on the grounde,
Al blody; and therwithal abak she sterte,

20 amazed

21 lies hid

15 unless she knew him 22 roam

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7 where

8 buried

9 pagans

10 worshipped

10 riseth

23 stopped

24 taken

25 looked down

26 shuddered

27 where


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And how she lyth and swowneth on the And therfore have I spoken of hym thus grounde?

And how she wepe of teres ful his wounde?
How medleth she his blood with hir com-

How with his blood hir-selven gan she peynte?
How clippeths she the dede corps? allas!
How doth this woful Tesbe in this cas?
How kysseth she his frosty mouthe so colde?
Who hath don this? and who hath ben so


To sleen my leefe? O speke, Piramus!
I am thy Tesbe, that thee calleth thus!'
And therwithal she lyfteth up his heed.


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To make my wounde large ynogh, I gesse.
I wole the11 folowen ded, and I wol be
Felawe and cause eke of thy deeth,' quod she.
'And thogh that nothing save the deth only
Myghte the fro me departe12 trewely,
Thou shal no more departe now fro me
Than fro the deth, for I wol go with the.
And now, ye wrecched jelouse fadres oure,
Wé, that weren whilome children youre,
We prayen yow, withouten more envye,
That in o grave i-fere1s we moten lye,
Syn love hath broght us to this pitouse ende.
And ryghtwis God to every lover sende,
That loveth trewely, more prosperite
Than ever hadde Piramus and Tesbe.
And let no gentile woman hire assure,
To putten hire in swiche an áventure.
But God forbede but a woman kan
Ben also trewe and lovynge as a man,

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For it is deyntee to us men to fyrde
A man that kan in love be trewe and kynde.
Here may ye seen, what lover so he be,

A woman dar and kan as wel as he.



To you, my purse, and to noon other wyght
Compleyne I, for ye be my lady dere!

I am so sorry now that ye been light;
For, certes, but ye make me hevy chere17,
Me were as leef be leyd upon my bere18,
For whiche unto your mercy thus I crye,-
Beth19 hevy ageyn, or elles mot20 I dye!
Now voucheth sauf21 this day or hit22 be nyght,
That I of you the blisful soun23 may here24,
Or see your colour lyk the sonne bright,


That of yelownesse hadde never pere25,
Ye be my lyf! ye be myn hertes stere26!
Quene of comfort and of good companye!
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye.
Now, purse, that be to me my lyves light
And saveour, as doun27 in this worlde here,
Out of this toun help me throgh your myght,
Syn28 that ye wole not been my tresorere29;
For I am shave as nye as is a frere30.
But yet I pray unto your curtesye,
Beth hevy ageyn, or elles mot I dye!
L'Envoye De Chaucer


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Forasmuch as the land beyond the sea, that is to say the Holy Land, that men call the Land of Promission or of Behest1, passing all other lands, is the most worthy land, most excellent, and lady and sovereign of all other lands, and is blessed and hallowed of the precious body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; in the which land it liked him to take flesh and blood of the Virgin Mary, to environ2 that holy land with his blessed feet; . . . and forasmuch as it is long time passed that there was no general passage ne voyage over the sea; and many men desire for to hear speak of the Holy Land, and have thereof great solace and comfort;-I, John Mandeville, Knight, albeit I be not worthy, that was born in England, in the town of St. Albans, and passed the sea in the year of our Lord Jesu Christ, 1322, in the day of St. Michael; and hitherto have been long

time over the sea, and have seen and gone through many diverse lands, and many provinces and kingdoms and isles; and have passed throughout Turkey, Armenia the little and the great; through Tartary, Persia, Syria, Arabia, Egypt the high and the low; through Libya, Chaldea, and a great part of Ethiopia; through Amazonia, Ind the less and the moret, a great part; and throughout many other isles that be about Ind, where dwell many diverse folks, and of diverse manners and laws,

and of diverse shapes of men;

I shall

tell the way that they shall hold thither. For I have oftentimes passed and ridden that way, with good company of many lords. God be thanked!

And ye shall understand that I have put this book out of Latin into French, and translated it again out of French into English, that every man of my nation may understand it. But lords and knights and other noble and worthy men that con3 Latin but little, and

1 Land of Promise 2 go about

3 know

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Jesu Christ, and his coat without seams, that At Constantinople is the cross of our Lord is clept tunica inconsutilise, and the sponge, and the reed, of the which the Jews gave our Lord eisel and gall, ins the cross. And there is one of the nails that Christ was nailed with on the cross. And some men trow that half the cross, that Christ was done on, be in

Cyprus, in an abbey of monks, that men call the Hill of the Holy Cross; but it is not so. in the which Dismas the good thief was hanged For that cross, that is in Cyprus, is the cross on. But all men know not that; and that is

evil y-done. For for profit of the offering they say that it is the cross of our Lord Jesu


And ye shall understand that the cross of our Lord was made of four manner of trees, as it is contained in this verse,-In cruce fit

palma, cedrus, cypressus, oliva. For that piece that went upright from the earth to the head thwart, to the which his hands were nailed, was was of cypress; and the piece that went overof palm; and the stock, that stood within the earth, in the which was made the mortise, was of cedar; and the table above his head, that was a foot and an half long, on the which the title was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, that was of olive. .

And the Christian men, that dwell beyond the sea, in Greece, say that the tree of the cross, that we call cypress, was of that tree that Adam ate the apple off; and that find And they say also that their they written. scripture saith that Adam was sick, and said to his son Seth, that he should go to the angel that kept Paradise, that he would send him oil of mercy, for to anoint with his members, that he might have health. And Seth went. But the angel would not let him come in; but said

This book, which was extremely popular in its
day, was accepted then and long after in good
faith. We now know it to be mainly a com-
pilation from other books of travel, ingeniously
passed off as a record of original experience.
"Mandeville" is probably a fictitious name.
The oldest MS. is in French, dated 1371.
The English translation from which our selec-
tions are taken was made after 1400, and
therefore represents the language of the gen-6 called "the tunic un-
eration succeeding Chaucer. The spelling is
modernized. See Eng. Lit., p. 44.

Mandeville here couples the fabulous land of the
Amazons with the actual Lesser and Greater

4 relating 5 because


7 vinegar

8 on

9 Old past participle; y equals German ge.

Possibly "Sir John" means to give the reader a sly hint here that it is also one of the frailties of mankind to tell big stories.

to him, that he might not have the oil of mercy. But he took him three grains of the same tree that his father ate the apple off; and bade him, as soon as his father was dead, that he should put these three grains under his tongue, and grave1 him so: and so he did. And of these three grains sprang a tree, as the angel said that it should, and bare a fruit, through the which fruit Adam should be saved. And when Seth came again, he found his father near dead. And when he was dead, he did with the grains as the angel bade him; of the which sprung three trees, of the which the cross was made, that bare good fruit and blessed, our Lord Jesu Christ; through whom Adam and all that come of him should be saved and delivered from dread of death without end, but2 it be their own default.


And a little from Hebron is the mount of Mamre, of the which the valley taketh his name. And there is a tree of oak, that the Saracens clepes Dirpe, that is of Abraham's time: the which men clepe the Dry Tree. And they say that it hath been there since the beginning of the world, and was some-time green and bare leaves, unto the time that our Lord died on the cross, and then it dried: and so did all the trees that were then in the world. And some say, by their prophecies, that a lord, a prince of the west side of the world, shall win the Land of Promission, that is the Holy Land, with help of Christian men, and he shall do sing a mass under that dry tree; and then the tree shall wax green and bear both fruit and leaves, and through that miracle many Jews and Saracens shall be turned to Christian faith: and therefore they do great worship thereto, and keep it full busily. And, albeit so, that it be dry, natheless yet he? beareth great virtue, for certainly he that hath a little thereof upon him, it healeth him of the falling evil, and his horse shall not be afoundered. And many other virtues it hath; wherefore men hold it full precious.

From Hebron men go to Bethlehem in half a day, for it is but five mile; and it is full fair way, by plains and woods full delectable. Bethlehem is a little city, long and narrow and well walled, and in each side enclosed with good ditches: and it was wont to be clept Ephrata, as holy writ saith, Ecce, audivimus eum in Ephrata, that is to say, 'Lo, we heard

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him in Ephrata.' And toward the east end of the city is a full fair church and a gracious, and it hath many towers, pinnacles and corners, full strong and curiously made; and within that church be forty-four pillars of marble, great and fair.

And between the city and the church is the field Floridus, that is to say, the 'field flourisheds.' Forasmuch as a fair maiden was blamed with wrong, and slandered; for which cause she was demned to death, and to be burnt in that place, to the which she was led. And as the fire began to burn about her, she made her prayers to our Lord, that as wisely as she was not guilty of that sin, that he would help her and make it to be known to all men, of his merciful grace. And when she had thus said, she entered into the fire, and anon was the fire quenched and out; and the brands that were burning became red rose-trees, and the brands that were not kindled became white And these were the rose-trees, full of roses. first rose-trees and roses, both white and red, that ever any man saw; and thus was this maiden saved by the grace of God. And therefore is that field clept the field of God flourished, for it was full of roses.


In that land, ne in many other beyond that, no man may see the Star Transmontane, that is clept the Star of the Sea, that is unmovable and that is toward the north, that we clepe the Lode-star. But men see another star, the contrary to him, that is toward the south, that is clept Antarctic. And right as the ship-men take their advice here and govern them by the Lode-star, right so do the men beyond those parts by the star of the south, the which star appeareth not to us. And this star that is toward the north, that we clepe the Lode-star, ne appeareth not to them. For which cause men may well perceive that the land and the sea be of round shape and form; for the part of the firmament showeth in one country that showeth not in another country. And men may well prove by experience and subtle compass. ment of wit, that if a man found passages by ships that would go to search the world, men might go by ship all about the world and above and beneath.

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pights into the earth, upon the hour of midday, when it is equinox, that showeth no shadow on no side. And that it should be in the midst of the world, David witnesseth it in the Psalter, where he saith, Deus operatus est salutem in medio terrac. Then, they that part from those parts of the west for to go toward Jerusalem, as many journeyss as they go upward for to go thither, in as many journeys may they go from Jerusalem unto other confines of the superficialty of the earth beyond. And when men go beyond those journeys toward Ind and to the foreign isles, all is environing9 the roundness of the earth and of the sea under our countries on this half.

The which thing I prove thus after that I have seen. For I have been toward the parts of Brabant1, and beholden the Astrolabe that the star that is clept the Transmontane is fiftythree degrees high; and more further in Almayne2 and Bohemia it hath fifty-eight degrees; and more further toward the parts septentrionals it is sixty-two degrees of height and certain minutes; for I myself have measured it by the Astrolabe. Now shall ye know, that against the Transmontane is the tother star that is clept Antartic, as I have said before. And those two stars ne move never, and by them turneth all the firmament right as doth a wheel that turneth by his axle-tree. So that those stars bear the firmament in two equal parts, so that it hath as much above as it hath beneath. After this I have gone toward the parts meridional, that is, toward the south, and I have found that in Libya men see first the star Antarctic. And so far I have gone more fur-yond Ind, where be more than 5000 isles. And ther in those countries, that I have found that star more high; so that toward the High Libya it is eighteen degrees of height and certain minutes (of the which sixty minutes make a degree). After going by sea and by land to ward this country of that I have spoken, and to other isles and lands beyond that country, I have found the Star Antarctic of thirty-three degrees of height and more minutes. And if I had had company and shipping for to go more beyond, I trow well, in certain, that we should have seen all the roundness of the firmament all about.

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And wit well, that, after that I may perceive and comprehend, the lands of Prester John,* Emperor of Ind, be under us. For in going from Scotland or from England toward Jerusalem men go upwards always. For our land is in the low part of the earth toward the west, and the land of Prester John is in the low part of the earth toward the east. And they have there the day when we have the night; and also, high to the contrary, they have the night when we have the day. For the earth and the sea be of round form and shape, as I have said before; and that that men go upward to one coast5, men go downward to another coast.

Also ye have heard me say that Jerusalem is in the midst of the world. And that may men prove, and show there by a spear, that is

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And therefore hath it befallen many times of one thing that I have heard countedio when I was young, how a worthy man departed sometime from our countries for to go search the world. And so he passed Ind and the isles be

so long he went by sea and land, and so environed the world by many seasons, that he found an isle where he heard speak his own language, calling an oxen in the plough such words as men speak to beasts in his own country; whereof he had great marvel, for he knew not how it might be. But I say that he had gone so long by land and by sea, that he had environed all the earth; that he was come again environing, that is to say, going about, unto his own marches11, and if he would have passed further, he would have found his country and his own knowledge. But he turned again from thence, from whence he was come from. And so he lost much painful labor, as himself said a great while after that he was come home. For it befell after, that he went into Norway. And there tempest of the sea took him, and he arrived in an isle. And when he was in that isle, he knew well that it was the isle where he had heard speak his own language before, and the calling of oxen at the plow; and that was possible thing.

But now it seemeth to simple men unlearned, that men ne may not go under the earth, and also that men should fall toward the heaven from under. But that may not be, upon less than12 we may fall toward heaven from the earth where we be. For from what part of the earth that men dwell, either above or beneath, it seemeth always to them that dwell that they

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