That founded were in time of fathers old,
And many another delitable sighte,
And Saluces this noble contree highte.

A markis whilom lord was of that lond,
As were his worthy elders him before,
And obeysant, ay redy to his hond,
Were all his lieges, bothe lesse and more:
Thus in delit he liveth, and hath don yore,
Beloved and drad, thurgh favour of fortune,
Both of his lordes, and of his commune.

Therwith he was, to speken of linage,
The gentilest yborne of Lumbardie, .
A faire person, and strong, and yong of age,

And ful of honour and of curtesie:
Discret ynough, his contree for to gie,
Sauf in som thinges that he was to blame,
And Walter was this


lordes name. I blame him thus, that he considered nought In time coming what might him betide, But on his lust present was all his thought, And for to hauke and hunt on every side: Wel neigh all other cures let he slide, And eke he n’old (and that was worst of all) Wedden no wif for ought that might befall.

Only that point his peple bare so sore, That flockmel on a day to him they went, And on of hem, that wisest was of lore, (Or elles that the lord wold best assent That he shuld tell him what the peple ment, Or elles coud he wel shew swiche matere) He to the markis said as ye shul here.

O noble markis, your humanitee
Assureth us and yeveth us hardinesse,
As oft as time is of necessitee,
That we to you mow tell our hevinesse:
Accepteth, lord, than of your gentillesse,
That we with pitous herte unto you plaine,
And let your eres nat my vois disdaine.

Al have I not to don in this matere
More than another man hath in this place,
Yet for as moch as ye, my lord so dere,
Han alway shewed me favour and grace,
I dare the better aske of you a space
Of audience, to shewen our request,
And ye, my lord, to don right as you lest.

For certes, lord, so wel us liketh you
And all your werke, and ever have don, that
Ne couden not ourself devisen how

e mighten live in more felicitee: Save o thing, lord, if it your

wille be, That for to be a wedded man you lest, Than were your peple in soverain hertes rest. Boweth

your nekke under the blisful yok Of soveraintee, and not of servise, Which that men clepen spousaile or wedlok: And thinketh, lord, among your thoughtes wise, How that our dayes passe in sondry wise: For though we slepe, or wake, or rome, or ride, Ay fleth the time, it wol no man abide.

And though your grene youthe floure as yet, In crepeth age alway as still as ston, And deth manaseth every age, and smit In eche estat, for ther escapeth non: VOL. I.



And al so certain, as we knowe eche on
That we shul die, as uncertain we all
Ben of that day whan deth shal on us fall.

Accepteth than of us the trewe entent,
That never yet refuseden your hest,
And we wol, lord, if that


wol assent,
Chese you a wife in short time at the mest,
Borne of the gentillest and of the best
Of all this lond, so that it oughte seme
Honour to God and you, as we can deme.

Deliver us out of all this besy drede,
And take a wif, for highe Goddes sake:
For if it so befell, as God forbede,
That thurgh your deth your linage shulde slake,
And that a strange successour shuld take
Your heritage, o! wo were us on live:
Wherfore we pray you hastily to wive.

Hir meke praiere and hir pitous chere
Made the markis for to han pitee.
Ye wol, quod he, min owen peple dere,
To that I never er thought constrainen me.
I me rejoyced of my libertee,
That selden time is found in mariage;
Ther I was free, I moste ben in servage.

But natheles I see your trewe entent,
And trust upon your wit, and have don ay:
Wherfore of my free will I wol assent
To wedden me, as sone as ever

I may.
But ther as ye han profred me to-day
To chesen me a wif, I you relese
That chois, and pray you of that profer cese.

For God it wot, that children often ben
Unlike hir worthy eldres hem before,

Bountee cometh al of God, not of the stren,
Of which they ben ygendred and ybore:
I trust in Goddes bountee, and therfore
My mariage, and min estat, and rest
I him betake, he may don as him lest.

Let me alone in chesing of my wif,
That charge upon my bak I wol endure:
But I you pray, and charge upon your lif,
That what wif that I take, ye me assure
To worship hire while that hire lif may dure,
In word and werk both here and elles where,
As she an emperoures doughter were.
And forthermore this shuln ye swere,


ye Again my chois shul never grutch ne strive, For sith I shal forgo my libertee At your request, as ever mote I thrive, Ther as min herte is set, ther wol I wive: And but


wol assent in swiche manere, I pray you speke no more of this matere.

With hertly will they sworen and assenten To all this thing, ther saide not o wight nay: Beseching him of grace, or that they wenten, That he wold granten hem a certain day Of bis spousaile, as sone as ever he may, For yet alway the peple somwhat dred, Lest that this markis wolde no wif wed.

He granted hem a day, swiche as him lest, On which he wold be wedded sikerly, And said he did all this at hir request; And they with humble herte ful buxumly Kneling upon hir knees ful reverently Him thonken all, and thus they han an end Of hir entente, and home agen they wend.

And hereupon he to his officeres Commandeth for the feste to purvay. And to his privee knightes and squieres Swiche charge he yave, as him list on hem lay: And they to his commandement obey, And eche of hem doth al his diligence To do unto the feste al reverence.

Nought fer fro thilke paleis honourable,
Wher as this markis shope his mariage,
Ther stood a thorpe, of sighte delitable,
In which that poure folk of that village
Hadden hir bestes and hir herbergage,
And of hir labour toke hir sustenance,
After that the erthe yave hem habundance.

Among this poure folk ther dwelt a man,
Which that was holden pourest of hem all:
But highe God somtime senden çan
His grace unto a litel oxes stall:
Janicola men of that thorpe him call.
A doughter had he, faire ynough to sight,
And Grisildis this yonge maiden hight.

But for to speke of vertuous beautee,
Than was she on the fairest under sonne:
Ful pourely yfostred up was she:
No likerous lust was in hire herte yronne;
Wel ofter of the well than of the tonne
She dranke, and for she wolde vertue plese,
She knew wel labour, but

But though this mayden tendre were of age,
Yet in the brest of hire virginitee
Ther was enclosed sad and ripe corage;


idel ese.

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