A Lover's Stratagem

The porter thoughte what to rede:
He let flowres gaderen in the mede
(He wiste it was the maidenes wille),
Two coupen he let of flowres fille;
That was the rede that he thought tho,
Florice in that o coupe do.
Tweye gegges the coupe bere,
So hevy charged that wroth they were;
They bad God yif him evil fin
That so many flowres dide therin!
Thider that they weren y-bede
Ne were they nought aright be-rede,
Ac they turned in here left hond
Blaunchefloures bowr anond:
To Clarice bowr the coupe they bere
With the flowres that therinne were.
There the coupe they sette adown
And yaf him here malisoun
That so fele flowres hem broughte on honde;
They wenten forth and leten the coupe stonde.
Clarice to the coupe com and wolde
The flowres handlen and beholde.
Floris wende it hadde been his sweet wight,
In the coupe he stood upright;
And the maiden al for drede
Began to shrichen and to grede.
Tho he segh it n'as nought hié
Into the coupe he stirte ayé,
And held him betrayed al clene;
Of his deth he ne yaf nought a bene.
Ther come to Clarice maidenes lepe
By ten, by twenty, in one hepe,
And askede what hire were
That hié makede so loude bere.
Clarice hir understood anonright
That it was Blauncheflours swete wight,
For here bowres neghe were,
And selden that they n'eren y-fere,
And either of other counseil they wiste,
And michel either to other triste.
Hié yaf hir maidenes answere anon
That into bowre they sholden gon;
‘To this coupe ich cam and wolde
The flowres handly and beholde,
Ac er ich it ever wiste
A boterfleye toyein me fliste.
Ich was so sor a-drad of than,
That schrichen and greden I began.’
The maidenes hadde therof gle,
And turnede ayein and let Clarice be.
So soone so the maidenes weren a-gon
To Blauncheflours bowr Clarice went anon
And saide leyende to Blauncheflour:
‘Wilt thou seen a ful fair flowr?
Swich a flowr that thee shal like,
Have thou seën it a lite.’
‘Avoy! dameisele,’ quath Blauncheflour,
‘Hié that loveth paramour
And hath therof joye may love flowres;
Ac ich libbe in sorewe in these towres.
Ich y-here, Clarice, withoute gabbe,
The Amiral wil me to wive habbe.
Ac th'ilke day shal never be
That men shal atwite me
That I shal been of love untrewe,
Ne chaungy love for non newe,
For no love ne for non eie;
So doth Floris in his contreie.
Now shal swete Floris misse
Shal non other of me have blisse.’
Clarice stant and behalt that reuthe
And the treunesse of this treuthe.
Leyende she saide to Blauncheflour:
‘Com now, see that ilche flowr’;
To the coupe they yeden tho.
Wel blisful was Florìsse tho,
For he had y-herd al this;
Out of the coupe he stirte, y-wis.
Blauncheflour chaungede hewe;
Wel soone either other knewe:
Withouten speche togidere they lepe,
They clipte and kiste and eke wepe.
Here kissing laste a mile,
And that hem thoughte litel while.
Clarice behalt al this—
Here contenaunce and here blis—
And leyende saide to Blauncheflour:
‘Felawe, knowest thou ought this flowr?
Litel er n'oldest thou it see,
And now thou ne might it lete fro thee;
He moste conne wel muchel of art
That thou woldest yif therof any part!’
Bothe these swete thinges for bliss
Falleth down hir feet to kiss,
And crieth hir mercy al weping
That hié hem bewreye nought to the king,
To the king that hié hem nought bewreye,
Wher-thourgh they were siker to deye.
Tho spak Clarice to Blauncheflour
Wordes ful of fin amour:
‘Ne doute you namore withalle
Than to myself it hadde befalle;
Wite ye wel witerly
That hele ich wille youre bother drury.’
To one bedde hié hath hem y-brought,
That was of silk and sendal wrought.
They sette hem there wel softe adown,
And Clarice drow the courtin roun. . . .
Now hadde the Amiral swich a wone
That every day ther sholde come
Two maidenes out of here bowre
To serven him up in the towre,
That one with towaille and basìn
For to washen his handes in,
That other sholde bringe combe and miròur
To serven him with gret honòur;
And thei they servede him never so faire,
A-morewen sholde another paire;
And mest was woned into the towr
Therto Clarìce and Blauncheflour.
So long him servede the maidenes route
That here servìce was come aboute:
On the morewen that thider come Florìce
It fel to Blauncheflour and to Clarìce.
Clarice (so wel hir mote betide)
Aros up in the morewen-tide
And clepede after Blauncheflour
To wende with hir into the towr;
Blauncheflour saide: ‘Ich am comende’,
Ac hir answère was al slepende.
Clarice in the way is nome
And wende that Blauncheflour had come;
Soone so Clarice com in the towr
The Amiral asked after Blauncheflour.
‘Sire’, hié saide anonright,
‘Hié hath y-waked al this night
And y-kneeled and y-looke
And y-rad upon hir booke,
And bad to God hir orisoun
That He thee yive His benisoun
And thee helde longe alive.
Now she slepeth al so swithe,
Blauncheflour, that maiden swete,
That hié ne may nought comen yete.’
‘Certes’, said the king,
‘Now is hié a swete thing!
Wel aughte ich hir yerne to wive
Whenne hié bit so for my live.’
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.