Diplomatic transcription (by Míceál F. Vaughan ) of Cambridge University Library MS Gg 4.27

(from the published facsimile).

Folios 456v-462v, containing Chaucer's legend of Dido, from his Legend of Good Women.

Fol.(424 /455) 456v


 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



GLorye & honour Virgile Mantoan

Be to thy name & I shal as I can

ffolwe thy lanterne as thow gost by forn

How Enea to dido was forsworn

In Naso & Eneydos wele I take

The tenor & the grete effectis make

Whan troye brought was to distruccioun

By grekis sleyghte & namely by Synoun



(in bottom margin; later hand)

The legend of Dido

Queene of Carthage

Fol. (425/456) 457r

ffeynynge the hors I offerede to mynerue

Thoru which that many troyan muste sterue

And ector hadde aftyr his deth apiered

And fyr so wod it my3te nat been steerid

In al the noble toure of ylioun

That of the cete was the chif dongeoun

And al the cuntre was so lowe brought

And priamus the kyng fordon & nought

And Enyas was chargit by Venus

To fleen a wey & he tok ascanius

That was his sone in his rygh hand & fledde

And on his bak he bar & withym ledde

His owene fadyr I clepid Anchises

And by the weye his wif Crusa he les

And meche sorwe hadde he in his mynde

Or that he coude his felaue schepe fynde

But at the laste whan he hadde hem founde

He mad hym redy in a certeyn stounde

And to the se wol faste he gan hem hye

And saylyth forth al his cumpaynye

Toward ytayle as wolde his destene

But of hise auentourys in the se

Nis nat to purpos for to speke of heyre

ffor it acordyth nat to myn matere

But as I syede of hym & of Dido

Schal be myn tale til that I haue do

So longe he saylede in the salte se

Tyl in libie onethe aryuede he

With schepis vii & with no more nauye

And glad was he to londe for to hye

So was he with the tempest al to shake

And whan that he the hauene hadde take

He hadde a knyght was clepid achates

And hym of al his felaushepe he ches

To gon with hym the cuntre for tespie

He tok with hym no more cumpaynye

But forth they gon & lafte hise schepis ryde

His fere & he with outyn any gyde -- 

Fol. (425/456) 457v

So longe he walkyth in this wildyrnesse

Til at the laste he mette an hunteresse

A bowe in hande and arwis hadde sche

Hire clothis cutte were vn to the kne

But she was 3it the fayreste creature

That euere was I formyd by nature

And Eneas & Achates sche grette

And thus sche to hem spak whan she hem mette

Saw 3e quod sche as 3e han walkid wyde

Onye of myne susteryn walke 3ow be syde

With ony wilde bor or othir beste

That they han huntid to in this foreste

I tukkid vp with arwis in hire cas

Nay sothly lady quod this Enyas

But by thyn beute as it thynkyt me

Thouw myghtyst neuere erthely woman be

But Phebus systyr art thow as I gesse

And If so be that thow be a goddesse

Haue mercy on oure labour & oure wo

I neam no goddesse sothly quod sche tho

ffor maydenys walkyn in this cuntre here

With arwis & with bowe in this manere

This is the reyne of libie there 3e ben

Of that dido lady is & queen

And shortely tolde hym al the occasyoun

Whi Dido cam in to that regioun

Of whiche as now me lestyth nat to ryme

It nedyth nat it were but los of tyme

ffor this is al & som it was Venus

His owene modyr that spak thus

And to cartage he bad he shulde hym dighte

And vanyschid a non out of his syghte

I coude folwe word for word Virgile

But it schule lastyn al the longe while

This noble queen that clepid was dido

That whilom was the wif of Sytheo

That fayrere was than is the bryghte sunne

This noble toun of cartage hath bygunne 

Fol. (426/457) 458r

In which sche regnyth in so gret honour

That sche was holdyn ^of^ alle queenys ^the^ flour

Of gentillesse of fredom of beute

That wel was hym that myghte hire onys se

Of kyngis & of lordis so desyred

That al the world her beute hadde I fyred [?"y" corrected to "r" in "fyred"]

Sche stod so wel in euery wightis grace

What Enya was come on to that place

Vn to the maystir temple of al the toun

Ther dido was in hire deuocyoun

fful pryuyly his weye thus hath he nome

Whan he was in the large temple come

I can nat seyn If that it be possible

But Venus hadde hym makid inuysible

Thus seyt the bok with outyn ony les

And whan this Enyas & Achates

Haddyn in this temple ben oueral

Thanne founde they depeyntid on the wal

How troye & al the lond distroyed was

Allas that I was born quod Enyas

Thoru out the worl oure shame is kid so wyde

Now it is peyntid up on euery syde

We that weryn in prosperite

Been now disclanderyd & in swich degre

No lengere lyuyn I ne kepe

And with that word he brast out for to wepe

So tendyrly that routhe it was to sene

This frosche lady of the cete queene

Stod in the temple in hire estat ryal

So rychely and ek so fayr with al

So 3ong so lusty with hire eyen glade

That If that god that heuene & erte made

Wolde han a loue for beute & goodnesse

And womanhed & trouthe & semelynesse

Whom shulde he louyn but this lady swete

Ther nys no woman to hym half so mete

ffortune that hath the world in gouernaunce

Hath sodeynly brough in so newe a chaunce 

Fol. (426/457) 458v

That nevere 3it was so fremde a cas

ffor al the cumpaynye of Enyas

With that he wende a lorn in the se

Aryuyd is nat fer from that Cete

ffor which the gretteste of hise lordis some

By auenture ben to the cete come

Vn to that same temple for to seke

The queene & of hire socour to beyseke

Swich renoun was there sprongyn of hire goodnesse

And whan that they hadden told of al here distresse

And al here tempest & here harde cas

Vn to the quyen apiered Eny^e^as

And opynly he knew that it was he

Ho hadde Ioye thanne but his meyne

That hadde founde here lord here gouernour

The quyen saugh that they dede hym swych honour

And hadde herd ofte of Eneas er tho

And in hire herte she hadde routhe & wo

That euere swich anoble man as he

Schal ben disertyd in swich degre

And saw the man that he was lyk a knyght

And sufficiaunt of persone & of mygh

And lyk to been a verray gentil man

And wel hise wordis he besette can

And hadde a noble visage for thenonys

And formed wel of braun & of bonys

ffor aftyr Venus hadde he swich fayrnesse

That no man myghte be half so fayr I gesse

And wel a lord he semede for to be

And for he was a straunger sumwhat sche

Likede hym the bet as god do bote

To sum folk ofte newe thyng is sote

Anon hire herte hath pite of his wo

And with that pete loue come in also

And thus for pete & for gentillesse

Refreschede muste he been of his distresse

And seyde certis that sche sory was

That he hat had swych peryl & swich cas

Fol. (427/458) 459r

And in hire frendely speche in this manere

Sche to hym sp^a^k & seyde as 3e may here

Be 3e nat v^e^nus sone and anchises

In good fey al the worshepe & encres

That I may goodly don 3ow 3e schal haue

3oure shepis & 3oure meyne shal I saue [?"u" in "saue" altered to "v"?]

And manye a gentil word sche spak hym to

And comaunded hire massangerys for to go

The same day with outyn any fayle

His shippis for to seke & hem vitayle

Sche manye a beste ["sche" erased] to the shippis sente

And with the wyn sche gan hym to present

And to hire real paleys she hire spedde

And Enyas alwey with hire she ledde

What nedyth 3ow the feste to descrive

He neuere atese was betyr in al hese lyve

fful was the feste of deynteis & rychesse

Of instrumentis of song & of gladnesse

Of manye an amerous lokyng & deuys

This Enyas is come to paradys

Out of the swolis of helle & thus in Ioye

Remembrith hym of his estat in troye

To daunsynge chaumberys ful of paramentys

Of riche beddis & of ornementis

This enyas is led aftyr the mete

And with the quene / whan he hadde sete

And spicis partid & the wyn agon

Vn to his chambris was he led a non

ffor[?"the" erased] his ese & for to take his reste ["ff" inserted later over erasure]

With al his folk to don what so hem leste

There nas courser wel I brydelid non

Ne stede for to iuste wel to gon

Ne large palfrey esy forthenonys

Ne Iewel frettid ful of ryche stonys

Ne sakkis ful of gold of large weyghte

Ne rubye non that shynede by nyghte

Ne gentil hawtein faucoun heroner

Ne hound for hert or wilde bor or der 

Fol. (427/458) 459v

Ne coupe of gold with floreynys newe I bete

That in the land of libie may be gete

That dido hath it Enyas I sent

And al is payed what þat he hath spent [unique appearance of "þ"?]

Thus can this honurable quene hire gestis calle

As sche that can in fredom passyn alle

Eneas sothly ek with oute les

Hadde sent on to his schip by Achates

Aftyr his sone & aftyr riche thyngis

Bothe septre clothis^ & ek brochis^ ryngis

Some for to were & some to presente

To hym [error for "hyr"] that alle thyngis hym sente

And bad his sone how that he schulde make

The presentis & to the quyen it take

Repeyrid is this achates agayn

And Enyas ful blysful is & fayn

To sen this blysful sone Ascanyus

But natheles oure autour tellith vs

That Cupido that is the god of loue

At preyere of his modyr hye a boue

Hadde the liknesse of the child I take

This holy queen enamorede to make

On Eneas but as of that scripture

Be as be may I take of it no cure

But soth is this the queen hath mad swich chere

Vnto this child that wondir is to here

And of the present that his fadyr sente

Sche thankyth hym ful ofte with good entente

Thus is this quyen in plesaunce & in Ioye

With alle these new lusti folk of troye

And of the dedis hat she more enquyrid

Of Enyas & al the story lerid

Of Troye & al the longe day they tweye

Entendedyn to spekyn & to pleye

Of whiche ther gan to bredyn swich a fyer

That sely Dido hath now swich desyr

With Enyas hir^e newe geste to dele

That she hat lost hire hewe & ek hire hele 

Fol. (428/459) 460r

Now to theffect now comyth the freut of al

Whi I haue told this story & telle schal

Thus I begynne it fil vp on a nyght

Whan that the mone vp reysed hadde his lyght

This noble queene on to hire reste wente

Sche sikyth sore & gan hyre self turnemente

Sche waylith & sche makith manye a breyde

As don these loueris as I haue herd seyde

And at the laste vnto hire systyr anne

Sche made hire mone & ryght thus spak sche thanne

Now leue sistyr myn what may it be

That me agastith in myn slep quod she

This newe troyan is so in myn thought

Me thynkith that he is so wel I wrought

And likli for to ben a man

And ek thereto so mech good he can

That al myn loue & lyf lyth in his cure

Have 3e nat herd his auenture

Now certis anne if that 3e rede it me

I wolde fayn to hym I weddit be

This is theffect what schunde[for "schulde"] I more seye

In hym lyth al / to do me leue or deye

Hyre systir Anne as she that coude hire good

Seyde as hire thoughte & sumdel it with stod

But herof was so long a sarmounnyng

It were to longe to make rehersyng

But finaly it may nat ben withstande

Loue wil loue for not thing wele it wande

The dawenyng vp rist out of the se

This amerous quien chargith oure[for "hire"?] meyne

The nettis dresse & speris brode & kene

An. hunthyng wolde this lusti frosche queene

So prikyth hire this newe iolye wo

To hors is al his lusty folk I go

In to the court the houndis been I brought

And vp on courseris swift as ony thought

Hire 3onge knyghtis houyn al a boute

And of hire wemen ek an huge route

Fol. (428/459) 460v

Vp on a thikke palfrey paper whit

With sadyl red enbroudit with delyt

Of gold the barris vp enbosede[erasure] hye

Sit Dido al in gold & perre wrye

And she as bright as is the bryht morwe

That helith syke men of nyghtis sorwe

Vp on a courser stertelynge as the fyr

A3en myghte turne hym with a litil wyr

Sit Enyas lik phebus to deuyse

So was he frosch arayed in his wyse

The fomy brydil with the bit of gold

Gouernyth he ryght as hym self had wold

And forth this noble queen this lady ride

On huntynge with this troyan by hyre side

The hirde of hertis Is I founde a non

With hay bobet pryke thow lat gon lat gon

Why nyl the lioun comyn or the bere

That I myghte hym onys mete with this spere

Thus sey these 3onge folk & vp they kylle

These bestys wilde & han hem at here wille

Among al this to rumbelyn gan the heuene

The thundyr rored with a gresely steuene

Doun cam the reyn with hayl & slet so faste

With heuenys fer that it so sore a gaste

This noble quien & also hire meyne

That iche of hem was glad a wey to fle

And schortely from the tempest hire to saue

Sche fledde hireself in to a litil caue

And with hire wente this Enyas also

I not with hem If there wente any mo

The autour makyth of it no mencioun

And here be gan the depe affeccioun

Be twixe hem two this was the ferste morwe

Of hire gladnesse & gynnere of hire sorwe

ffor there hat Enyas I kneled so

And told hire al his erte and al his wo

And swore so depe to hire to be trewe

ffor wel or wo & chaunge hire for no newe

Fol. (429/460) 461r

And as a fals louere so wel can pleyne

That sely dido rewede on his peyne

And tok hym for husbonde & become his wyf

ffor euermo whil that hym leste lyf

And aftyr whil that the tempest stynte

With myrthe out as they comyn hom they wente

The wikke fame a ros & that a non

How Enias hath with the queen I gon

In to the caue & demede as hem leste

And whan the kyng that yarbis highte it woste

As he that hadde I louyd euere his lyf

And wowede hyre to han hire as his wyf

Swich sorwe as he makede & swich cheere

It is a routh & pite for to here

But in loue alday it happith so

That on schal layghyn of a notherys wo

Now layhith enias & is in Ioye

And more richesse than euere was in troye

O sely wemen ful of Innocence

fful of pite of trouthe of concience

What makyth 3ow to men to truste so

Have 3e swych routhe vp on hyre feynede wo

And han swich olde ensaumplis 3ow be forn

Se 3e nat alle how that 3e ben forsworn

Where sen 3e on that he ne hath lasthis lief

Or ben onkynde or don hire sum myschief

Or pilid hire or bostid of hise dede

3e may as wel it sen as 3e may it rede

Thak hede now of this grete gentil man

This troyan that so wel hire plesyn can

That feynyth hym so trewe & obeysauncis

And waytyn hire at festis & at dauncis

And whan sche [? 's' added later] goth to temple & hom a geyn

And fastyn til he hath his lady seyn

And beryn in hise deuysis for hire sake

Not I not what & songis wolde he make

Fol. (429/460) 461v

Iustyn & don of Armys manye thyngis

Synde hire letteres to kenys brochis ryngis

Now herkith how he shal his lady serue

There as he was in peril for to sterue

ffor hungyr & for myschif in the se

And desolat & fled from his cuntre

And al his folk with tempest al to dryuyn

Sche hath hire body & ek hire reame 3euyn

In to his hand there as she myghte haue been

Of othere landys than of cartage quien

And lyuyd in Ioye I now what wele 3e more

This Enyas that hat so depe I swore

Is wery of his craft with inne a throwe

The hote ernest is al ouerblowe

And pryuyly he doth hise shepis dyghte

And shapith hym to setel a wey by nyghte

This dido hath suspescioun of this

And thoughte wel that it was al a mys

ffor in hire be sche lyth a nyght & sykyth

Sche axeth hym a non what hym mys lykyth

Myn dere herte whiche that I loue most

Hertis quod he this nyght myn faderys gost

Hat in myn slep so sore me tormentid

And ek mercurye his massage hath presentid

That nedis to the conquest of ytayle

Myn destene is sone for to sayle

ffor which me thynkyth brostyn is myn herte

Therwith hise false terys out they sterte

And takith hire with Inne hise armys two

Is that in ernest quod sche wele 3e so

Haue 3e nat sworn to wyue me to take

Allas what weman wele 3e of me make

I am a gentil woman & a quien

3e wele nat from 3oure wif thus foule fleen

That I was born allas what schal I do

To telle in short this noble quen dydo ["so" erased]

Sche sekith halwis & doth sacryfise

Sche knelyth cryeth that routhe is to deuyse

Fol. (430/461) 462r

Coniurith hym & proferyth hym to be

His thral his seruant in the leste gre

Sche fallith hym to fore & swounnyth ther

Discheuele with hire bryghte gilte her

And seyth hauyth mercy & let me with 3ow ryde

These lordis whiche that wonyn me be syde

Wele me distroyen only for 3oure sake

And so 3e wele me now to wiue take

As 3e han sworn thanne wele I 3eue 3ow leue

To slen me with 3oure swerd nowsone at eue

ffor thanne 3it shal I deye as youre wif

I am with childe & 3eue myn child his lyf

Mercy lord hauyth pete in 3oure thought

But al this thing auaylith hire righ nought

ffor on a nyght slepynge he let hire lye

And stal a wey on to his cumpaynye

And as a traytour forth he gan to sayle

Toward the large cuntre of ytayle

Thus he hath laft dido in wo & peyne

And weddede ther[erasure?] a lady hy3te lauyne

A cloth he lafte & ek his swerd stondynge

Whan he from Dido stal in hire slepynge

Ryght at hire beddys hed so gan he hie

Whan that he stal a wey to his nauye

Which cloth what sely dido gan a wake

Sche hath it kyst & ful ofte for his sake

And seyde o swete cloth whil Iuppiter it leste

Tak now myn soule & brynge it of this on reste

I haue fulfild of fortune al the cours

And thus with outyn his socours

Twenti tyme I swounyd hath sche thanne

And whanne that sche vn to hire systyr Anne

Compleynede hadde of which I may nat wryte

So gret a reuthe I haue for tendite

And bad hire norice & hire sistir gon

To fechyn fyr & othyr thyng a non

And seyde that sche wolde sacryfye

And whan she myghte hire tyme wel espie

Fol. (430/461) 462v

Vp on fir of sacryfise she sterte

And with his swerd she rof hyre herte

But 3it as myn autour right thus sche seyde

Or she was hurt by forn or she deyede

Sche wrot a lettere a non that thus be gan

Ryght so quod she as that the white swan

A 3ens his deth be gynnyth for to synge

Right so to 3ow make I myn compleynynge

Not that I trowe to getyn 3ow a geyn

ffor wel I wot that it is al in veyn

Syn that the goddis been contrarye to me

But syn myn name is lost thoru 3ow quod she

I may wel lese on 3ow a word or lettere

Al be it that I shal ben neuere the bettere

ffor thilke wynd that blew 3oure schip a wey

The same wynd hath blowe a wey 3oure fey

But ho so wele al this lettere hauyn in mynde

Red he ouyde & in hym he shal it fynde.