The Philomena of Chrétien de Troyes

(from the Ovide moralisé [Book VI. 2183-3855])


  1. Because of the great sorrow which Pelops suffers
  2. For Niobe his blood sister,
  3. Which he cannot shake off,
  4. There came, to comfort him,
  5. The kings of many lands,
  6. But king Pandion did not come with them
  7. For at that time in his territory
  8. King Pandion of Athens was fighting a war.
  9. Barbarians had besieged him.
  10. They would have made him poor and weak
  11. And all his territory desolate
  12. If it were not for the mounted warriors
  13. The king of Thrace brought,
  14. Who inflicted ruin on the barbarians.
  15. He destroyed many of them, injured many of them,
  16. And he put many of them in his prison.
  17. The king of Thrace exerted himself so much
  18. The he chased them forcibly from the country.
  19. When the war was concluded,
  20. Pandion offered him the elder
  21. Of the two daughters he had.
  22. Oh, god, it’s too bad he did not know
  23. The great sadness and the anxiety
  24. That afterwards came form this marriage,
  25. For which at that time he cried many tears
  26. And died of sorrow before his time!
  27. For all I know, if he knew it,
  28. This man never would have had her as his wife.
  29. But I will not describe the tale
  30. Except as Chretien tells it,
  31. Who translated it very literally.
  32. I don’t wish to put myself in the way.
  33. I will recount to you his entire poem
  34. And it will draw the allegory from it.
  35. Chrétien de Troyes, Philomena

  36. Pandion was king of Athens,
  37. Powerful and generous and courteous
  38. He had two daughters whom he loved a great deal:
  39. The one was named Philomena,
  40. The other Progne: she was the elder.
  41. She was given to a husband.
  42. A king of Thrace asked for her,
  43. At which Pandion became very happy.
  44. He became very happy at this? — True? — Why?
  45. Because he had married her to a king.
  46. To a king? Rather to a tyrannous bastard,
  47. Tereus was the name,
  48. To whom Pandion, without his making repeated requests,
  49. Gave his beloved daughter Progne.
  50. Tereus had an ill-fortuned wedding
  51. For Hymeneus was not there,
  52. The god who ought to be at a wedding,
  53. No priest of cloth, however, chanted there,
  54. And there was not any sign of joy here,
  55. But all night long, in their harsh voices,
  56. Below the bedroom sang the owl
  57. And the screech owl and the cuckoo
  58. And the white owl and the crow.
  59. These were not very good omens,
  60. Rather, they signified nothing but
  61. Sorrow and trouble.
  62. Their gathering together was a very unfortunate
  63. For in the bedroom and in the hall
  64. Flew all night the demons
  65. Atropos and Tesiphoné
  66. And all the evil fates.
  67. When the wedding was concluded,
  68. Tereus took his wife away with him
  69. To Thrace as a sovereign lady.
  70. There they had between the two of them a son.
  71. In an evil hour did they have him!
  72. The day the child was born
  73. There were celebrations throughout the kingdom
  74. And every year had a feast in honor of him
  75. As if he were Tervagant,
  76. For Tereus ordered it.
  77. The infant grew and improved
  78. And was very handsome within five years.
  79. Itys was his name. Too bad it was a great sorrow
  80. That he did not live longer.
  81. I will tell you soon enough
  82. What happened to him at the very end,
  83. But first I will tell you something else.
  84. (There had already passed, it seems to me,
  85. More than five years,
  86. For Progne and her husband).
  87. She had a desire to go and see
  88. Her sister Philomena
  89. But she did not ask her lord
  90. One day she put it to him the question,
  91. Making him many oaths and promises,
  92. That if he would let her go
  93. To her sister beyond the sea
  94. She would return from there very soon
  95. And scarcely stop there at all,
  96. And if he didn’t want her to make the journey,
  97. So that she would not see her sister,
  98. Then she prays him that he might go find her
  99. And bring her back to their own territory.
  100. He answers her that she may stay home
  101. So that she might not lament her staying home,
  102. That he will go, whenever he can
  103. And so he will bring her back to Thrace.
  104. Soon afterwards Tereus orders
  105. His ships to be outfitted with provisions,
  106. With masts, smooth sails and with booms (?).
  107. Soon everything is done. Then he went aboard.
  108. He had a large crew with him.
  109. At his departing Progne prays him
  110. That he soon bring her sister to her.
  111. Then they set sail on the sea,
  112. The lines and the sails stretch out
  113. And they are off on the tracks of the stars.
  114. They sail by day, they sail by night.
  115. There was great suffering and great sorrow
  116. Because they had traveled straight through,
  117. And the sea was all too calm for them,
  118. And because of this great evil comes to them,
  119. Since she does not restrain the king,
  120. And so many great evils derived from this.
  121. Pandion heard tell of the ships
  122. Which have arrived in his harbor.
  123. When the news is told him [Pandion],
  124. That his son-in-law is coming to see him.
  125. It seems right for him to go to meet him;
  126. Immediately he sets out to meet him.
  127. He meets him as he is coming away from the harbor,
  128. And greets him and kisses him often.
  129. On the mouth and eyes and face.
  130. He entertains him so much that he wears him completely out.
  131. He greets all his people en masse
  132. And leads them from there to the city
  133. Then he inquires for news
  134. About his daughter and his grandson,
  135. If they are very happy and healthy and well.
  136. And Tereus replies to him
  137. That both are happy and healthy and well
  138. And send him their greetings,
  139. Then he tells him that he will conceal no longer
  140. What is the occasion for his journey:
  141. "Sire", he says, "Progne who has
  142. So great a desire to speak
  143. With her sister Philomena, sent me to you.
  144. Your daughter asks you through me,
  145. And if my asking may add anything to that,
  146. I ask you, that you let her go.
  147. It will be long for you to get her back again
  148. For if she keeps her no more
  149. Than a single day or a single hour,
  150. I think that it will be too long for you
  151. To get her back again to this place,
  152. And so give yourself to the agreement,.
  153. So that, as soon as I see the wind
  154. Is fair and calm for returning
  155. I will not allow her to stay
  156. I will soon bring her back.
  157. But now it is right that I complain
  158. On behalf of her who didn’t come with me."
  159. Then there came from a room
  160. Philomena with her hair hanging loose
  161. She did not look like a veiled nun,
  162. For it will be a great miracle to describe
  163. Her noble body and her bright face
  164. That there could not, I think, be sufficient
  165. To tell all her great beauty
  166. The intelligence and tongue of Plato
  167. Nor of Homer nor of Cato,
  168. Who had very great knowledge.
  169. Therefore I ought not be ashamed
  170. If I fail in this after these three.
  171. And I will put my whole effort into it.
  172. Since I have undertaken this enterprise, I do not seek to abandon it:
  173. Rather I will tell what no one could believe,
  174. First about her head and then her body —
  175. In every strand her hair
  176. Was more sparkling than refined gold.
  177. God made her such that Nature,
  178. As far as I know, would have failed there,
  179. If she had wished to improve anything.
  180. She had a forehead while and clear, without any wrinkle;
  181. Her eyes brighter than a hyacinth,
  182. The eyebrows widely spaced and straight:
  183. Neither painted nor made up.
  184. She had a nose high and long and straight,
  185. Such as beauty ought to have;
  186. She had a fresh complexion
  187. Of peonies and fleur de lis;
  188. A smiling mouth, lips somewhat full
  189. And a little bit reddish
  190. More than red samite of scarlet tint,
  191. And her breath smelled sweeter
  192. Than spices or balm or incense.
  193. She had small teeth, close together and white;
  194. Chin and neck, throat and breast
  195. She had, more white than any ermine that ever existed,
  196. Just like two small apples
  197. Were her two small breasts;
  198. She had slender hands, long and white,
  199. A slender waist, low hips.
  200. Everything else was so very well formed
  201. That no one ever saw anything so beautiful,
  202. For Nature had put herself to more trouble
  203. Than for any other born creature,
  204. And put everything into her that she was able to.
  205. Along with all the beauty that she had
  206. She also knew whatever a maiden ought to know.
  207. She was no less intelligent than beautiful,
  208. If I am to tell the truth
  209. She knew more about pleasure and amusement
  210. Than Apollonius or Tristan:
  211. She knew more than ten times the sum of that.
  212. She knew about "tables" and chess,
  213. The old game and "six and ace".
  214. About buffe and hamee.
  215. She was beloved and sought by high noblemen
  216. On account their delight in her.
  217. She knew about hawks and falcons
  218. And about the jantil and the launer;
  219. She knew well how a falcon molts
  220. And a goshawk and a tercel.
  221. She would never be following her desire
  222. If she were not engaged in hunting in woods or river banks.
  223. At the same time she was such a good worker
  224. In working with purple cloth
  225. That she had no equal in the entire world.
  226. A diaper or baldachin
  227. Or even the Troop of Hellequin
  228. She would know how to depict on a cloth.
  229. She knows the authors and grammar
  230. And knew well how to make songs and write letters
  231. And, when it pleased her, to occupy herself
  232. With the psaltery and lyre:
  233. She knew more about these than one could say,
  234. And about the gigue and the rote.
  235. There was not a lay or song or tune under heaven
  236. That she didn’t know how to play well on the viol,
  237. And she also knew how to speak so knowledgeably
  238. That by her speaking alone
  239. She knew how to teach.
  240. The maiden, who had a face
  241. Red and bright, came to her father,
  242. She was clad in samite,
  243. And Tereus embraced her
  244. And greets and kisses her at the same time.
  245. Her great beauty and her beautiful countenance
  246. Makes his heart beat rapidly.
  247. His wickedness puts him in hope
  248. Of doing evil and folly;
  249. Love villainously binds him
  250. Villainously? — Yes, without doubt;
  251. He devotes his entire energy to villainy,
  252. Because when he turns his heart
  253. To love the sister of his wife —
  254. For this reason, if she were her fraternal sister
  255. The love would not at all have been villainous,
  256. For one of the gods which they had,
  257. According to the law which they observed,
  258. Had decided that they might do whatever
  259. Their desire and their pleasure wanted.
  260. Such a law had that one written for them
  261. That whatever pleased or delighted them
  262. Each one could do without committing a sin.
  263. Such was the law paganism observed.
  264. Therefore, if this had been forbidden
  265. And he who had willed it had revoked it,
  266. Whatever would have pleased them to do
  267. No one ought to have considered evil.
  268. But now let us leave their law be.
  269. Who could oppose Love
  270. That so very soon could perform his will?
  271. Tereus wickedly set out from Thrace
  272. To go to seek Philomena,
  273. And Love started a war against him
  274. And he was deceived and badly led
  275. For in his heart the fire crackled
  276. Which easily ignites and flames up.
  277. The maiden he takes in his arms
  278. And says to her thus: "My sweet friend,
  279. Your sister greets you and asks
  280. That you might come to enjoy yourself with her,
  281. And I myself ask you for this,
  282. If my asking can help the cause.
  283. If prayers had any power in God’s presence
  284. You would have been in Thrace long ago,
  285. Besides there is no prayer that Progne makes
  286. Except that she might be able to embrace you.
  287. If I had let her come
  288. She would have come here to you,
  289. But I have held her back from that
  290. Only by force, against her heart.
  291. Your sister had a very great desire
  292. To see you for a fortnight.
  293. Take care that my effort may be spared in this
  294. And ask my lord the king
  295. To allow you to come with me.
  296. I do not think that anything would hurt him
  297. If he were to allow you to come to enjoy yourself
  298. With your sister over there.
  299. This much she said to me, she never concealed it,
  300. When I took leave of her,
  301. That I would never be her lord
  302. And her friend for even a single day
  303. If I did not bring her sister to her,
  304. And certainly I would prefer
  305. To be weak, white-haired and old,
  306. Than have her give me a hurt look.
  307. But so beseech, my dear friend,
  308. Your father that, if it please him,
  309. He allow you to come from here with me."
  310. She, who was no fool,
  311. Answers him: "Lord, what would my words
  312. Be worth next to yours?
  313. If you have regard for what’s right,
  314. You ought to ask once,
  315. — Such is the custom with the French—
  316. Let one who wishes to obtain something,
  317. If he has enough strength and knowledge,
  318. Let him make the effort and exert himself to have it,
  319. And if it happens that he fails in that
  320. And cannot succeed with him,
  321. Then he ought to take his request to someone else"—
  322. "Damsel, you have spoken correctly
  323. But nevertheless you could
  324. Improve on it a little more;
  325. First you ought to have asked
  326. If I had asked him for this or not."
  327. "Upon my soul, this I certainly should have!
  328. If I had had enough sense
  329. I would also have asked that.
  330. But now tell me anyway:
  331. Have you not spoken to him
  332. At all concerning this matter?"
  333. "I have told him indeed, without any quarrel."
  334. "What did he answer you?" — "Not a thing."
  335. "Then there is no need at all of commentary from me.
  336. Since he does not wish to give you a response,
  337. My sister can look for me as long as she wants
  338. But she will not see me for months.
  339. I knew well that my lord the king
  340. Is not willing to give me leave.
  341. This matter does not please him." —
  342. "It doesn’t please him?" — "No, I think." —
  343. "How do you know this?" — "How?
  344. Because he does not choose to give you any answer." —
  345. "You can explain it in another way
  346. And hope for a different response."
  347. He heard my whole request
  348. And listened most willingly to it,
  349. With the result that he did not say a word during that time,
  350. And therefore I think that it pleases him,
  351. Because he who keeps silent gives consent." —
  352. "This is not a true interpretation,
  353. Because we are still in doubt
  354. With regards to his refusal or assent." —
  355. Then Tereus speaks again to the king.
  356. "Sire, wise king of Athens,
  357. My message from your daughter
  358. Progne has been well delivered to you,
  359. If all the men who have been born
  360. Requested something from you,
  361. You ought rather to act on my behalf
  362. Than for all of them together,
  363. And for your daughters, it seems to me,
  364. At least you ought to do it,
  365. Even if you were not doing it for me,
  366. For the one has asked you for this
  367. And the other has commanded me
  368. That I ask you for this and make a so great an effort
  369. That I might bring her back with me from here."
  370. Pandion leaned on his arm,
  371. Because this is a very tiring matter.
  372. It tires him as much as it is possible to be tired,
  373. But it is necessary for him to respond.
  374. "Friend," he says, "you well know
  375. That I have nothing in this world
  376. That you cannot take and possess
  377. Completely for your own pleasure
  378. If you were to have need of it,
  379. But I believe, if only you knew
  380. The benefits my daughter brings me,
  381. Never would you beg me
  382. For this gift you request of me.
  383. I would be completely without hope
  384. If I were one day without my daughter.
  385. I will need a crutch or staff
  386. From now on for me to lean on.
  387. If it did not have to upset you,
  388. There would be a postponement and delay
  389. Regarding this gift you have requested of me." —
  390. "A delay?" — "Yes" — "As much as you wish.
  391. How long?" — "As long as I live,
  392. For you should know this for certain:
  393. I will not live long,
  394. For I am old and very weak.
  395. I have lived longer than Jacob did,
  396. Than Abraham and Esau,
  397. And I have had many possessions,
  398. But now I have not a thing that pleases me;
  399. In my daughter see all my comforts;
  400. Entirely because of her alone do I live,
  401. For I have no other sustenance.
  402. If you only take her from me,
  403. You wish to shorten my life for me.
  404. By this I make you sure and certain
  405. That my daughter watches and serves me
  406. Both night and day and evening and morning;
  407. I do not let anyone else lend a hand
  408. At my getting up and not my lying down.
  409. My sweet daughter holds me so dear
  410. That she puts my shoes on, she puts my clothes on
  411. And her services please me so much
  412. That if her comforts did not exist,
  413. I would have been dead a very long time ago.
  414. Therefore, I ask, if you love me,
  415. Withdraw this request."
  416. Now Tereus is not at ease,
  417. For he does not have the thing which pleases him
  418. And thinks he has failed in everything.
  419. Now he considers himself badly mistreated.
  420. He does not know what to do or what to say,
  421. But he is very downcast and sighs deeply
  422. And gives the appearance of grieving greatly
  423. When he does not get what he wants,
  424. Though what he wants is wicked and foolish.
  425. He completely loses the power of speech,
  426. So that he doesn’t say a word, only complains.
  427. His foolishness overcomes his knowledge.
  428. Foolishness? But rather Love, I think,
  429. Which conquers and destroys all
  430. And, when it pleases him, in a short space of time
  431. Puts the one who has been conquered back on top.
  432. — Is love, then, if such power
  433. That it makes the conquered conquer?
  434. — Yes, those who cry out and hold forth about love
  435. Give testimony and say this,
  436. And since they give this testimony,
  437. Those who serve and cultivate love,
  438. Therefore I can prove properly
  439. That one cannot find fidelity
  440. In this Love, which changes so quickly,
  441. Which alienates its friends from it
  442. And hires new mercenary soldiers
  443. And gives equal pay to all. —
  444. Upon my word, then is Love just
  445. Because it gives equal pay —
  446. Rather it is openly unjust,
  447. Because to each one, according to what he deserves
  448. And according to what is worth more,
  449. He ought to increase his pay.
  450. But I know well how it happens
  451. That love retains the worst
  452. And refuses those who are worth more.
  453. Do you know shy the better ones don’t succeed?
  454. Because Love does not know how to choose
  455. Who is better and who is worse.
  456. — Doesn’t know? Then she is not very smart. —
  457. — That’s right. But she has such feelings
  458. That it makes no difference to her if she knows nothing,
  459. As long as she can have what she wants.
  460. Love is more changeable than the wind;
  461. Because she is false and a liar
  462. And is generous and noble in promising
  463. But cheap and miserly in keeping those promises,
  464. She does not prove of much good (?) to those
  465. Who are subjected to her;
  466. Love strikes and punishes those
  467. Who exert themselves in its service,
  468. And neither for boredom not for disaffection
  469. Can they withdraw themselves from her,
  470. For no one who once loved, certainly,
  471. Received what he deserved from her,
  472. But was conquered or worn out by her,
  473. For no one can do enough for her.
  474. Love does everything she wishes to
  475. And one who complains much about her and laments
  476. Is more inflamed and burns more fiercely,
  477. For he takes neither joy nor solace from it.
  478. Love is bad for those in whom the remedy
  479. Causes the illness to become more deeply rooted.
  480. No one knows what health is,
  481. For he thinks to seek his cure
  482. By doing its desires:
  483. Because of that it binds and imprisons him more tightly.
  484. Then Tereus would be wiser —
  485. If he wished to retreat back from there
  486. And to go back home without the girl,
  487. But he sees she is so courtly and good looking
  488. And well endowed with beauty
  489. That if he does not succeed in his desire for her
  490. His whole life will go crazy,
  491. Because he cannot detach his heart from her.
  492. What will he do then? He doesn’t know what to do.
  493. He embraces the girl often
  494. And sighs a lot and weeps.
  495. He does not think to see the hour
  496. That he might embrace her as he desires.
  497. If the devil (who does not rest from doing evil),
  498. Had bewitched him,
  499. So that he thinks to himself and considers
  500. That he must take her by force,
  501. If he cannot conquer her by love,
  502. Or take her away secretly at night,
  503. But he would have acted in a less than noble fashion,
  504. And he hesitated to undertake such a thing
  505. Which he could not bring to a good end.
  506. Therefore unless he had been able to disguise himself (?)
  507. How foolish and villainous would be his efforts
  508. If the city were stormed
  509. While the people were asleep,
  510. For not a single one of them could be allowed to depart from there alive.
  511. Reason (who came to him, I do not know when)
  512. Had pushed him away from this thought.
  513. It is a wonder to me how that happened
  514. That Reason did anything at that time,
  515. For it had been quite convincingly destroyed.
  516. — Destroyed? By what? — From loving more
  517. Than anyone would dare to call love — (?)
  518. Love? — Not really. — Then what? — Abuse,
  519. Infidelity and folly,
  520. For, if you think about naming it properly,
  521. Acting foolishly is not love.
  522. Tereus is acting very foolishly
  523. And so becomes more and more foolish:
  524. Therefore it causes me greatly astonishment
  525. That no reason counsels him.
  526. — Reason? How? — He did not retreat
  527. From the foolish intention that he had taken,
  528. And said that he still wants to try
  529. Whether he will be able to succeed by asking.
  530. Then he begins again his prayer;
  531. To the king he speaks in this fashion:
  532. "Sire," he says, "I knew and saw quite well
  533. That you would do little for me
  534. When you have refused me this gift.
  535. I wasted my time for nothing,
  536. When I came now to this place.
  537. Now I’m sorry about it, but it is wrong,
  538. If I depart from here just as I came.
  539. Never have I held myself to be so much a fool
  540. Over anything I might have done.
  541. I wish I had never seen you here
  542. Nor have crossed the sea.
  543. You have found poor reason
  544. For your daughter who treats you well!
  545. If I lose my way in this account,
  546. I will have worn myself out completely in vain.
  547. Don’t you, then, have servants enough
  548. And girls to serve you?
  549. You can easily put up with them
  550. For only three or four days,
  551. If you would let her come play
  552. With her sister, who sent me here.
  553. I have made a long trip for no reason
  554. And will feel very sorry if I fail in it,
  555. Not on account of these reasons, but on account of my efforts,
  556. And more on her account, who weighs on my mind more,
  557. For Progne will tell me that I should leave on account of this
  558. And never come back to her
  559. For I would have failed her love
  560. If I came back without her sister.
  561. Therefore I do not know what I ought to do,
  562. For if I see myself exiled on this account,
  563. I will be very sorry because of my son,
  564. And more because of her, if I lose her,
  565. For I do not think I’ll ever get her back.
  566. On account of these tears, as you can see,
  567. I am extremely agitated
  568. When you refuse such a little thing.
  569. Good sire, now entrust her to me
  570. With my solemn promise that before a fortnight
  571. I will bring her back to you happy and healthy,
  572. And with what I promise you
  573. I entrust to you my word of honor in hostage
  574. And all the gods I believe in.
  575. Upon my oath and upon my word of honor,
  576. Entrust her confidently to me."
  577. Ha! Such a wicked man! How he lies to him now!
  578. How he now betrays and deceives him!
  579. Pandion, who sees him weeping,
  580. Doesn’t have any suspicion that he is lying to him;
  581. Because he is acting crazy, weeping,
  582. He thinks that he weeps because of the great pity he feels.
  583. So well has the wicked tyrant endeavored
  584. By making promises and swearing oaths
  585. And by praying and weeping
  586. That he succeeds in just the way he wanted.
  587. Pandion cannot keep himself
  588. From weeping along with him.
  589. The two of them wept so bitterly
  590. That I don’t know which wept more.
  591. It is right for a man, when he is old,
  592. To weep often and easily.
  593. "Friend," he says, "in accord with this covenant
  594. That you have made and sworn to me,
  595. In accord with your faithful pledge
  596. You will lead my daughter away from here tomorrow.
  597. I entrust her into your hands,
  598. But understand that you are causing me great grief.
  599. Watch over her just as you ought
  600. And bring her back in a short time.
  601. My eyes will not be free of tears
  602. Nor my heart happy, no matter what happens,
  603. Until my daughter returns to me.
  604. If you wish to retain my love,
  605. Then think of coming back soon
  606. And bringing back my daughter.
  607. Indeed, you ought to do everything you can
  608. To accomplish what I ask you.
  609. See that you do not forget it." —
  610. "I will not do that," says Tereus,
  611. "Sire, say no more about it,
  612. For it would be more wrong for me than would be satisfying for you
  613. If I did not return from there,
  614. If I did not bring her back."
  615. When the speech is ended,
  616. And Tereus asks no more,
  617. Pandion the king commands
  618. That the tables soon be set up.
  619. The seneschals, the constables,
  620. The storekeeper, the cup-bearer,
  621. Each devotes his care and special attention
  622. To arranging and setting up
  623. What is under his responsibility.
  624. Some run to set up the tables,
  625. Others go to devote themselves
  626. To bringing water to various places.
  627. There was no servant without something to do there,
  628. No squire, no good valet,
  629. Who did not provide service as he should,
  630. They all put themselves out to do good service,
  631. But Tereus takes no delight
  632. In any service anyone might offer him
  633. Except looking on the noble figure
  634. And on the face of the girl
  635. Who was at supper with him:
  636. This is his drink, this his food.
  637. He flatters her immensely
  638. And attends her carefully and speaks a great deal to her,
  639. But no one knows why he does this
  640. Except himself, and he has no intent to hold himself back
  641. From carrying out his great crime
  642. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, but the delay is too long.
  643. He looks at her with great infatuation,
  644. And pays attention to nothing else.
  645. He sat long at his food
  646. And it gave him great pleasure to sit there,
  647. More because of looking at the girl
  648. Than because of the drink and food,
  649. And there was no shortage there,
  650. Peacocks and swans and pheasants
  651. And fine and delicious wines,
  652. But they had everything they could desire
  653. In abundance and plenty,
  654. As was proper to a royal table.
  655. When the noblemen had finished dining
  656. They get up and the servants
  657. Bring in water in silver basins.
  658. The nobles wash and dry themselves.
  659. When they have washed then they lay down
  660. On a couch, all together,
  661. And each says what ever comes to mind
  662. Good or bad, foolish or sensible,
  663. And the valets occupy themselves,
  664. In making up and preparing the beds.
  665. This was not a matter of joy or happiness
  666. To the traitor, to the wicked tyrant,
  667. Who had no desire to sleep.
  668. He would prefer to stay up the whole night,
  669. If he were permitted to talk quietly
  670. With her who held his heart captive—
  671. What? Does she know nothing of this?—
  672. No, I swear, for if she knew
  673. That he had it in his heart
  674. To act shamefully and vilely
  675. Never would she have gone with him.
  676. They talk so much, they stayed up so long
  677. That their beds were ready,
  678. And all the nobles went to bed.
  679. This night Tereus never once took
  680. Any rest or repose in bed.
  681. Nor did he even close his eyes to sleep;
  682. As long as the entire night lasted,
  683. All night he tossed on his bed,
  684. From side to side, end to end,
  685. And he drove himself mad as a result,
  686. And lay awake until day dawned;
  687. All night he tossed and turned
  688. And got up and lay down again.
  689. Those who were lying in their beds
  690. Slept in very great comfort
  691. And knew nothing about this whole story,
  692. And he was awake all night,
  693. Because his foolishness was working away,
  694. Until the tower guards
  695. Began to trumpet the day.
  696. When he heard the day announced,
  697. Even if someone gave him thirty marks of gold
  698. He would not have been as happy.
  699. His companions woke up,
  700. He made them get up quickly,
  701. And they, at his command,
  702. Got dressed very quickly.
  703. The king heard they were awake
  704. And were hurrying to get up.
  705. How sharply he should blame himself,
  706. How could he keep his word,
  707. And keep to his promise,
  708. To entrust his daughter to him?
  709. She was very joyous and happy at this
  710. And this turn of events pleased her immensely,
  711. But often those who rejoice at something come
  712. To experience instead misfortune.
  713. She very certainly considers herself certain
  714. To go and return in safety.
  715. And how can it happen
  716. That she would imagine the unexpected events
  717. Which the tyrant might prepare for her?
  718. Never would anyone imagine that.
  719. Tereus led her from there to the harbor
  720. And Pandion accompanied them there
  721. And implored him the whole way
  722. To return just as he promised him
  723. At the end of the period he had agreed to with him.
  724. "And you," he says, "my dear daughter,
  725. Remember to come back soon
  726. And also keep me in your thoughts
  727. For I am so happy when I see you
  728. And I have so much joy and well-being!
  729. My sweet daughter, quickly return.
  730. Return quickly. If you return quickly
  731. Quickly my joy and my well-being will return."
  732. A thousand times he repeats these words
  733. And a thousand times kisses and hugs her
  734. And more than a thousand times makes her return,
  735. When she turns to board the ship,
  736. Ad he holds her back as much as he can,
  737. And when it is necessary for her to return,
  738. He commends her to the traitor.
  739. Thus he has made a shepherd of a wolf!
  740. He has made him a shepherd, that’s no lie,
  741. If he did not wish to repeat
  742. His folly and his madness,
  743. But he has no heart for it,
  744. And instead he restrains and delays her for a long time.
  745. Pandion weeps at the departure
  746. And kisses with good will the disloyal man
  747. Who is plotting treachery and evil.
  748. He is plotting treachery. No matter who it grieves,
  749. He will do whatever pleases him
  750. Because he now has the power and the control.
  751. The girl whom he takes from there
  752. Will be in a short time brought to destruction!
  753. The sail is completely filled with wind
  754. And the ship runs before it not at all slowly
  755. For they have the wind blowing in their direction
  756. And they are soon at a distance from the harbor,
  757. Where Pandion weeps very bitterly
  758. For his daughter whom he sees going away from him.
  759. And it is very right for him to weep bitterly,
  760. Since he will never see her again
  761. And she will not return to her homeland,
  762. But he does not think of all this,
  763. And Philomena is now very close
  764. To danger and to trouble
  765. Because he has taken her away on her own from there
  766. To a deserted house of his,
  767. He, who pursues this madness.
  768. The house was in a forest,
  769. — This Chretien li Gois narrates —
  770. Far from cities in every direction
  771. And far from cultivated fields and clearings,
  772. Far from roads and paths.
  773. Speaking, chatting together
  774. Now of this, now of that, by treachery
  775. He led her to his house,
  776. And when they were alone together,
  777. All on their own, the girl and he,
  778. So that no one sees or hears them,
  779. He, who had plotted this wickedness,
  780. Drew her to him with his right hand.
  781. She did not know what this can be
  782. Not could she figure out
  783. That he might wish to deceive her,
  784. He who embraces and kisses her so sweetly.
  785. It is true, when a thief sees his opportunity
  786. For doing evil, then he does not care
  787. Which end goes first.
  788. Doing evil is a very pleasant thing
  789. For the criminal who dares to commit it,
  790. And it is a most bitter and savage a thing
  791. To a noble, faithful and wise man.
  792. But this fellow is not good or noble or refined,
  793. He is instead wicked, evil and rash,
  794. And when he does not abandon his wickedness
  795. Everything becomes necessary to him that weighs on his heart
  796. And he undertakes all his wicked intentions
  797. As soon as doing so encounters no fear.
  798. But until he acts wickedly or courteously (?)
  799. As his love for her requires (?)
  800. Let him not betray her in any way (?).
  801. "Beautiful," he says, "now realize clearly
  802. That I love you and so beg you
  803. To make me your friend,
  804. And this matter will be kept secret,
  805. If you want it to go on."
  806. "Kept secret, fair sir? Why?
  807. I love you well, just as I ought
  808. And I do not have any intention of keeping it secret,
  809. But if you wish to ask me
  810. To participate in a love that might be against the law,
  811. Keep quiet about it; I have no desire for that." —
  812. — "I will keep quiet, but keep quiet about it yourself.
  813. I love you so much and you are so pleasing to me
  814. That I wish that you would consent
  815. To act according to my desires, of your own volition." —
  816. —"Oh! sir, now you are not behaving like a gentleman!
  817. May it never please god that such a betrayal of fidelity
  818. Might involve us!
  819. Remember my sister
  820. Who is your loyal spouse!
  821. Never shall my sister have cause to be jealous of me
  822. Nor ever, unless I am forced to it,
  823. Will I do anything which might displease her."—
  824. "You will not?"—"No!" — "And I swear to you,
  825. As long as I hold you here under my control
  826. And have the power to do what I desire,
  827. Whether it be agreeable to you, or completely a cause of grief,
  828. There is no defense of any worth to you there:
  829. I will do whatever my heart conceives."
  830. — "You will?" — "Yes, without any delay,
  831. And whoever wishes may watch me do it,
  832. For I do care a bit who watches!"—
  833. Then he made her afraid and she cries out
  834. And struggles and twists;
  835. She almost dies of fear;
  836. Because of anger, anguish, and sorrow,
  837. Her complexion changes color more than a hundred times,
  838. She trembles, grows pale and also perspires,
  839. And says that it was an evil day that she left
  840. The land where she was born,
  841. When she taken away to such dishonor.
  842. "Ah," she says, "vile bastard,
  843. Sad villain, what are you going to do?
  844. Wicked villain, , unrestrained criminal,
  845. Traitorous villain, perjured villain,
  846. Tormented villain, lawless villain,
  847. Villain, have you not promised the king
  848. That you would treat me honorably
  849. And that you would bring me back to him
  850. Safe and happy to my homeland?
  851. You swore an oath to him and thus you betray it.
  852. Traitor, my father, who did not perceive
  853. Your treachery, believed you,
  854. Because you wept before him
  855. And because you swore an oath to him
  856. Upon all the gods in whom you believe.
  857. Where are those gods? Where is that faith?
  858. Have you forgotten them already?
  859. Where are the tears I saw
  860. When you wept before him?
  861. Alas, why did I not recognize
  862. Your hypocrisy and treachery?
  863. Villain, why do you commit such a crime
  864. And act so foolishly and madly?
  865. Repent, and you will be acting wisely,
  866. As long as it is possible for you to repent,
  867. Without perjury, without betraying your faith."—
  868. Thus the unhappy woman, sorrowing,
  869. Begs him to repent;
  870. But no prayer carries any weight with him,
  871. And he assaults her without restraint
  872. And forces himself on her and dominates her so much
  873. That he has totally oppressed her by force
  874. And has entirely gotten his way with her.
  875. He says truly who says: "One evil always
  876. Attracts another and nourishes itself with it."
  877. And evil nourishment issues from it,
  878. If such evil derives from it.
  879. Tereus does not even stop there
  880. And after this evil he does another that’s worse.
  881. He took a small sharp knife,
  882. And so that she may not be able
  883. To tell anyone she might come across
  884. This shame and this dishonor,
  885. He says that he will cut her tongue
  886. Out of her mouth immediately,
  887. And she will never talk with it again.
  888. When troubles come they never come alone:
  889. He pulls her tongue from her throat,
  890. And cuts it off near the middle.
  891. Now he has committed a great crime
  892. Both in this and in the other thing.
  893. He leaves her closed up in the house
  894. Where she weeps and cries and sobs.
  895. He returns from there to his companions
  896. Who knew all about these events,
  897. But they feared the traitor so greatly,
  898. Those whose king and lord he was,
  899. That they did not dare say a word about it
  900. And they kept quiet more for fear
  901. Than they did for love.
  902. But Tereus acted foolishly
  903. When he put a peasant woman
  904. With Philomena to guard her,
  905. A peasant woman who lived off her own labor
  906. For she knew how to spin and weave
  907. And had a daughter of hers
  908. Whom she instructed in her craft.
  909. Tereus had no way of keeping watch there
  910. When he ordered her to guard her,
  911. And to let Tereus know
  912. Everything which she asked of her,
  913. And asked her to take care
  914. That the girl not ramble far
  915. By chance or for need
  916. Since she would always have everything there.
  917. She swears him an oath and he believes her.
  918. Then Tereus departed form there;
  919. He had no more wish to delay,
  920. And he came to his city in Thrace.
  921. Progne thought for sure
  922. That her sister would come with him;
  923. And for this reason she had very great joy in her heart,
  924. But her joy lasted only a short time
  925. For as soon as she saw
  926. Her lord and his company
  927. And did not see anything of her sister
  928. With whom she planned to have a good time,
  929. It didn’t please her at all to listen to anything
  930. Nor did she have any desire to reply
  931. Neither "Welcome" nor "God save you,"
  932. But rather she asks, like a woman gone mad,
  933. When they had all greeted her:
  934. —"Where is my sister? Why as she not come?
  935. What is she doing? What detains her?
  936. And why does she delay so long?
  937. Where has she stopped? And for how long?
  938. Tell me where you have left her."—
  939. The villain kept his head down
  940. And gives the appearance and countenance
  941. Of a man who felt both sorrow and anxiety
  942. And deceitfully he gives
  943. An obviously false sigh
  944. In order to make his lie believable.
  945. "Lady," he says, "it is a true thing
  946. That one must be resigned to necessity
  947. To what one cannot have."—
  948. "That is true. You have said it for me.
  949. My sister is not coming, I guess."—
  950. "No lady, she has not come."—
  951. "What obstacle has kept her then?"—
  952. "What obstacle? Lady, that I will never tell you."—
  953. "Why? Because I will also go
  954. Off there to her if it is not disagreeable to you."—
  955. "Lady, don’t cause any more quarrels,
  956. For I will tell you the truth about it,
  957. Since you want to know it;
  958. But my desire would be not to tell you it.
  959. I must tell you the truth,
  960. Whatever it may be, either good or bad."
  961. And then he drew another false sigh,
  962. And in order to reinforce better his story
  963. Began to weep from his eyes
  964. Deceptively, like Reynard the fox.
  965. —"Lady," he says, "I do not know what to say,
  966. For my desire would be not to say
  967. Anything from which you might derive sorrow.
  968. Can’t you guess how truly great is
  969. The sorrow that causes me to be I am so sorrowful
  970. That I cannot keep myself from crying
  971. No matter what I do?
  972. I weep because you will have
  973. Very great sadness when you know of it.
  974. But concealing something is not worth anything to me,
  975. Unless I lose speech and feeling,
  976. So grievous a thing is it for me to tell."
  977. As he says this he sighs again,
  978. Without there being any great sorrow in his heart,
  979. And when he has heaved this sigh,
  980. Then he says what he had planned.
  981. "Lady," he says, "he comes too soon
  982. Who brings bad news.
  983. Learn that your sister is dead."—
  984. "My sister is dead? Poor woman, alas!"—
  985. "Yes, I know nothing else that I would want to keep from you;
  986. But moderate your feelings,
  987. For one ought not to lament so much
  988. Or be so sorrowful over a loss.
  989. Death does what he wants to each person,
  990. And neither good people nor evil can escape him.
  991. We all owe this gift to death;
  992. It is necessary for everyone of us to pay it,
  993. And we will not know how to put him off at all;
  994. And since such is the fortune
  995. That death has taken as his right,
  996. Which your sister owed him,
  997. Don’t indulge in such great sorrow,
  998. But suffer without too great grief
  999. What it will be necessary for all to suffer."—
  1000. Thus the wicked tyrant thought to mingle
  1001. Honey with the gall
  1002. Whose bitterness he had by his deceit
  1003. Placed in her heart,
  1004. And he tries to assuage
  1005. The anger and the sorrow it causes,
  1006. But he does not know how best to console her
  1007. So that he can give her comfort,
  1008. For she nearly goes completely mad,
  1009. Then she calls herself unhappy, wretched,
  1010. And with such sorrow she does not know what to do.
  1011. Now she pulls her hair, now she beats her face,
  1012. Now she weeps, now cries and now faints,
  1013. Curses the gods and berates Death.
  1014. "Death," she says, " you did wrong
  1015. When you killed my sister,
  1016. And Nature ought to hate you greatly for this
  1017. When you have killed the most beautiful
  1018. Creature she ever made.
  1019. Death, you would be doing the noble thing,
  1020. If you put me with her.
  1021. Death, why do you hold back from sending
  1022. My soul to dwell with hers?
  1023. Death, you keep me too long from dying,
  1024. For I do not desire to live any longer.
  1025. Death, come now and set yourself free,
  1026. And help me in this need.
  1027. Death, why are you so far from me
  1028. That you neither hear nor listen to me?
  1029. Death, if I should live a hundred years,
  1030. My sorrow will never end.
  1031. Death, if you want to be on good terms with me,
  1032. Then do what I command you.
  1033. But always, in remembrance
  1034. Of this anger, anguish and sorrow,
  1035. I will wear clothes of black colors,
  1036. And that’s what I really ought to wear,
  1037. Because it is written in our law
  1038. That one who feels the anger and anguish of death
  1039. Should wear black clothing."—
  1040. Now she orders the clothes brought to her.
  1041. They are brought immediately
  1042. And she puts them on and speaks and swears an oath
  1043. That she will never wear clothing
  1044. Except like this or even worse.
  1045. Then a bull was brought to her
  1046. In order to make sacrifice to the gods.
  1047. The blood was put in an urn,
  1048. So that not a drop ever fell outside of it
  1049. When the bull was sacrificed.
  1050. She ordered a fire to be light in the temple,
  1051. Because such a custom and such an example
  1052. They maintained on account of their ancestors,
  1053. Because they sacrificed to Pluto.
  1054. Pluto was lord of the devils,
  1055. The most powerful of them all,
  1056. The most ugly and the most horrible.
  1057. The fire was prepared and light
  1058. As soon as she ordered it,
  1059. In front of the altar to this god,
  1060. And in order to send up more smoke,
  1061. And since this was the custom,
  1062. The bull was led into the fire.
  1063. Then she made promises and vows to the god
  1064. To perform such sacrifice
  1065. Each year before his altar,
  1066. So that he might guard the soul
  1067. Of her sister in hell with honor
  1068. And in happiness and rest.
  1069. When everything was burned up, both flesh and bone,
  1070. So that nothing remained there
  1071. Besides cinders and embers,
  1072. Then she poured the blood over it;
  1073. Afterwards she put everything in a white jar
  1074. In the most ritually pure manner she could.
  1075. Then she buried the jar in the earth
  1076. In a sarcophagus of brown marble.
  1077. When the sarcophagus had been closed up
  1078. She set up at one end
  1079. A statue, ugly to behold,
  1080. That she had made in the image
  1081. Of the one who has power
  1082. Over the souls that are in fiery hell
  1083. And over the devils who watch over them.
  1084. Then she had written in her own language,
  1085. Upon the sarcophagus, in front of the statue,
  1086. So that one could read it very well:
  1087. "O God, who are king and lord of hell,
  1088. Pluto, have mercy on the soul
  1089. Of her for whom I here offered
  1090. This sacrifice and performed this ritual,
  1091. Wherever her body may lie."—
  1092. Thus with great devotion
  1093. Progne gave her devoted attention
  1094. To carrying out the sacrifice,
  1095. In order to draw the soul of her sister
  1096. Out of a place where she should not be,
  1097. But previously she lived and with her life
  1098. She was grievously burdened and each day
  1099. The traitor renewed for her
  1100. Her sorrow, the vile hypocrite
  1101. Who burned with love for her,
  1102. And mistreated her so terribly
  1103. And forcibly took what he wanted
  1104. From her he had betrayed.
  1105. She had great need of help
  1106. And would have desired greatly, if she could have,
  1107. That her sister might have knowledge of her condition;
  1108. But she did not know to come up with a plan
  1109. To get word to her,
  1110. For she had no messenger who might go there
  1111. And she lacked the ability to speak,
  1112. For if she indeed had a messenger,
  1113. She could not show what was on her mind
  1114. Or tell him in any way.
  1115. On the other hand, she is also under such a sentence
  1116. That she has neither leave nor leisure
  1117. To go out of the house.
  1118. What? Why? Who holds her back?
  1119. Who? The peasant women who guards her
  1120. To whom Tereus entrusted her.
  1121. A thousand times she would have fled from her
  1122. If she could have, but she wasn’t free to.
  1123. So she remained for a long time
  1124. Until in the end she thought to herself,
  1125. Just as need taught her,
  1126. That there were in the house weavings,
  1127. For the old woman and her daughter
  1128. Had woven many of them,
  1129. And she didn’t lack the materials
  1130. To make a diapered tapestry;
  1131. And so she hit upon a strategy
  1132. By which she thinks to be certain
  1133. That her whole misadventure
  1134. Will be brought to the attention of her sister.
  1135. She does not stop at thinking about it.
  1136. Immediately, she wants to carry it out.
  1137. She comes to a chest, and opens it,
  1138. In which the peasant woman had put
  1139. Her skeins of thread and her spindles
  1140. And she takes them and also winds them
  1141. And begins with studied care
  1142. Her work just as wanted to.
  1143. The old woman did not forbid her,
  1144. But very willingly helped her
  1145. And as soon as she thought of it
  1146. Whatever was lacking for such work
  1147. She had it found and bought.
  1148. She found all her materials for her,
  1149. So that she had violet thread and red thread
  1150. And yellow and green in plentiful supply,
  1151. But she neither perceived nor knew
  1152. Anything of what it was she was weaving,
  1153. But the work was a distraction for her,
  1154. Who had been given to grieving greatly,
  1155. And she wove in at one end
  1156. That Philomena had made it:
  1157. Afterwards she portrayed there the ship
  1158. In which Tereus crossed the sea
  1159. When he went to seek her at Athens,
  1160. And then how he behaved
  1161. When he cane there to Athens,
  1162. And how he took her away from there,
  1163. And then how he raped her forcibly
  1164. And how he left her behind
  1165. After he cut out her tongue.
  1166. All this she inscribed in the tapestry,
  1167. And the house and the forest
  1168. Where she was imprisoned.
  1169. When she finished her work
  1170. As well as she knew how to work it,
  1171. If she could locate a man
  1172. Who would carry it to her sister,
  1173. It would comfort her greatly
  1174. From her sadness and her anxiety;
  1175. But she didn’t at all know by whom to send it,
  1176. Unless her guardian made the journey
  1177. Or sends her daughter on it,
  1178. For in that place these were only the three of them.
  1179. Phenomena was there six months
  1180. Without once being able start her plan in motion
  1181. Until she made new signs
  1182. About what she needed and found out
  1183. And discovered for a fact
  1184. That her guardian understood everything,,
  1185. Whatever it was she ever she asked of her,
  1186. And she never refused her
  1187. Anything, large or small,
  1188. Except leaving the house.
  1189. About that she was right,
  1190. Because the king had forbidden that.
  1191. She had suffered so much and waited so long
  1192. That now indeed she thinks kindly of finding
  1193. Security and protection n her prison.
  1194. One day she was at the window
  1195. Of the house, she and her guardian,
  1196. And she had not once been able to be
  1197. At a window or a door
  1198. Since Tereus put her there,
  1199. Tereus who had mistreated her so very badly.
  1200. There where she was leaning
  1201. At the window somewhat happily,
  1202. Between the forest and the river bank
  1203. She saw the city where her sister was,
  1204. And she begins to weep a great deal,
  1205. Just like one who was unable
  1206. To find comfort in her sorrow.
  1207. If her guardian had known
  1208. Anything that would have comforted her,
  1209. She would most gladly have consoled her with it,
  1210. Because she felt very great pity for her
  1211. For the great sadness which she was suffering,
  1212. And had she a wish for anything
  1213. Except to go from there,
  1214. She now would have done anything
  1215. To give he what she wanted.
  1216. When Philomena saw
  1217. Many times and realized
  1218. That she would do for her anything to please her,
  1219. And when she sees the time and opportunity,
  1220. She takes the tapestry
  1221. She has woven, then came back
  1222. To the place where her guardian was waiting for her,
  1223. She who understood her,
  1224. And never misunderstood her,
  1225. But rather understood her as clearly
  1226. As if she had spoken with her mouth.
  1227. Philomena comes and touches her,
  1228. And makes signs to her that she should send
  1229. To that city she sees there,
  1230. By means of her daughter, this tapestry
  1231. And present it to the queen.
  1232. The woman understood her wish completely,
  1233. But she has no hesitation at all
  1234. To do what she asks,
  1235. And does not know why she should delay,
  1236. For she does not see it as anything but good,
  1237. But rather thinks that, because of the reward
  1238. And the hope she has of receiving
  1239. What she might be owed for doing this for her,
  1240. She would like to be there for her
  1241. And is very willing to do
  1242. Everything that Philomena wants,
  1243. Who now showed much less than she was accustomed to
  1244. Of anger and anguish, and heavy heartedness,
  1245. And she has at least more hope
  1246. That, when her sister comes to know of the situation,
  1247. She will want to take her away from this place,
  1248. And she wants to put it off no longer,
  1249. Because it is foolishness—that’s what books say—,
  1250. To hold back on one’s plans
  1251. When they can be easily accomplished.
  1252. But in this she has the foresight
  1253. Not to delay doing what she’s decided on
  1254. Since she now has initiated it. (?)
  1255. Her guardian was not at all disappointed,
  1256. Since she does not think to lose anything by it.
  1257. "Daughter," she says, "now be wise.
  1258. You will carry out this request:
  1259. You will take to the queen
  1260. The tapestry and in addition hand it to her.
  1261. Don’t be slow in coming back.
  1262. Go quickly and come without any dawdling."
  1263. Then for the first time Philomena
  1264. Stopped weeping and counseled herself,
  1265. When this girl takes the tapestry from her,
  1266. Because she thinks she will get rescued soon.
  1267. The girl takes off at more than a trot,
  1268. And doesn’t once cease or stop
  1269. Until she comes to the queen,
  1270. And presents the tapestry to her,
  1271. And the queen unrolled it
  1272. And looks at it and recognizes the handiwork,
  1273. But she does not let on what she is thinking
  1274. Lest she cry out or cause a disturbance,
  1275. Rather she commands her to go back home.
  1276. The girl leaves and the queen follows,
  1277. Not too far or too close behind,
  1278. So that she never loses sight of her.
  1279. The girl does not become aware of this
  1280. Until she had made the journey home,
  1281. And Progne like a crazy woman
  1282. Came to the door and finds it barred (?).
  1283. She did not say a word or call out,
  1284. But knocks with her fist as well as she can,
  1285. And the peasant woman does not move,
  1286. But rather keeps quiet and acts deaf.
  1287. Philomena cries out and runs
  1288. To open the door for her sister.
  1289. The peasant woman runs to restrain her,
  1290. Trembling all over with fear,
  1291. And Progne knocks and bangs and strikes
  1292. The door so powerfully that it shatters and breaks.
  1293. The peasant woman senses she is in trouble
  1294. And so flees from there, because she does not dare stay around:
  1295. She locks herself up in a bedroom;
  1296. And Progne comes in like a madwoman,
  1297. When she finds her entry not blocked,
  1298. And she cries aloud at the top of her voice:
  1299. "Philomena, sister, where are you?
  1300. I am your sister. Don’t be afraid."
  1301. Philomena comes to meet her,
  1302. Weeping, and faster than a walk,
  1303. And Progne kisses her on the run
  1304. Almost out of her mind.
  1305. "Sister," she says, "come away from here,
  1306. For you’ve been here too long.
  1307. Most unhappily did you see that day dawn
  1308. On which that villain married me
  1309. Who has inflicted such harm on you
  1310. That now you cannot speak to me.
  1311. You must go away from here,
  1312. For you have been imprisoned here too long."
  1313. Then they go toward the city,
  1314. Bemoaning their sorrow together.
  1315. They do not stick to the roads or paths,
  1316. And Progne secretly leads her from there
  1317. Into an out-of-the-way room
  1318. Where they can lament their sorrow in secret.
  1319. There was no one there except the two of them alone,
  1320. And Progne weeps and gets hysterical:
  1321. "Sister," she says, "I am greatly saddened
  1322. To find you so injured
  1323. And I do not know how nor am I able to avenge you
  1324. On the villain who did this to you.
  1325. May god grant that he get a reward for it
  1326. That’s appropriate to his vile crime."
  1327. Then her son came into her presence,
  1328. Who was extremely good looking
  1329. And it was misfortune that led him
  1330. To come in to her then.
  1331. The mother sees her son come
  1332. And says in a low voice something very surprising,
  1333. As if the devil were advising her.
  1334. "Aha," she says, " here’s something suitable
  1335. For a traitor, or a wicked devil!
  1336. You must die a bitter death
  1337. Because of the crimes of your father.
  1338. You will pay for his crime.
  1339. You, who have in no way deserved it,
  1340. Will die unjustly for his sin.
  1341. If only I had never seen you
  1342. And God had not put into my mind
  1343. Something better suited for that other one!
  1344. And for this reason I want to slit your neck."
  1345. The child, who had heard nothing of all this
  1346. Runs to put his arms about her neck.
  1347. He kissed and behaved so lovingly towards her
  1348. That Progne ought to have been carried
  1349. From the thoughts she had begun contemplating,
  1350. As the law and nature requires
  1351. Of every human creature
  1352. And as pity/piety forbids it,
  1353. Namely, that a mother ought not kill
  1354. Or dismember her child.
  1355. But once she began to bring to mind
  1356. The traitor, the oath breaker,
  1357. The child would have no safety,
  1358. But rather she says that, however it might come about
  1359. He will have his head cut off
  1360. And she will give his father some of it for dinner:
  1361. In this way she can take vengeance for her sister
  1362. On the villain who injured her.
  1363. Although the child, out of love,
  1364. Holds her around the neck,
  1365. She, with diabolical will and pride
  1366. That the devil inspired in her,
  1367. Cut off the child’s head
  1368. And gave it to Philomena to look after,
  1369. Then they cooked the meat
  1370. Between the two of them, very well and quickly.
  1371. Part of it they set to roasting
  1372. And the rest they set to boiling.
  1373. When the meat was cooked and roasted
  1374. And it was time and occasion for dinner.
  1375. Progne delays a good while and waits
  1376. Until she can fully accomplished what she wants.
  1377. She approaches the king, who was not aware
  1378. Of any of this, and asks and suggests to him,
  1379. As the person in all the world (?)
  1380. That she thinks he most loves, (?)
  1381. That he might come to dinner and not bring with him
  1382. Either companion or squire,
  1383. Unless he was intent on annoying her
  1384. For there will only be the two of them:
  1385. She and he will be on their own
  1386. And she will serve him everything.
  1387. He responds to her that he will go,
  1388. As long as his son Itys is there also;
  1389. He desires no more company there
  1390. Except himself and her and their son.
  1391. "On my word, he will certainly be there,"
  1392. Says Progne, "I promise you that.
  1393. We will be all three alone there,
  1394. And there will be neither more nor less than that,
  1395. Nor is my wish that anyone will know
  1396. Where we have gone.
  1397. Come on; everything is set up
  1398. And well prepared, I think,
  1399. So that you dine at your leisure."
  1400. She told him the truth about this,
  1401. But he cannot tell
  1402. What sort of dinner she is inviting him to.
  1403. Don’t imagine she tells him
  1404. She is serving him their son for dinner!
  1405. He does not put off going any longer,
  1406. Since he doesn’t there’s anything to upset him.
  1407. Progne leads him from there and sits him down
  1408. Most pleasantly and in great comfort,
  1409. So that his dinner might be most pleasing.
  1410. He accepts with great pleasure what she serves him.
  1411. She has prepared the table for him
  1412. And the tablecloth was beautiful and white.
  1413. She brings him a haunch of Itys,
  1414. And he cuts in and eats and drinks
  1415. And asks for what he wants (?):
  1416. "Lady," he says, "where is Itys?
  1417. You promised me
  1418. That he would be here with us!"
  1419. —"Lord, you will be completely satisfied there,"
  1420. Says Progne, "and will not lack a thing.
  1421. Itys is not far from here.
  1422. If he is not here now, he will be
  1423. With scarcely any delay at all." —
  1424. Then some roasted meat was brought in,
  1425. And the whole time he keeps insisting to her,
  1426. While he eats and while he carves,
  1427. That she should go bring his son to him.
  1428. "Lady," he says, "you are not keeping
  1429. Your word to me when you do not bring Itys,
  1430. And I am unhappy he does not come.
  1431. I must go find him,
  1432. Since there is no one else I might send
  1433. And I am unhappy not to see him.
  1434. Now go find and call him."
  1435. She cannot any longer keep secret from him
  1436. What it is she has given him for dinner,
  1437. But she tells him straight out:
  1438. "You have what you seek inside you,
  1439. But he is not entirely there.
  1440. You have part of it inside your body
  1441. And part outside of it."
  1442. Philomena, who had remained
  1443. In a room next to that one there,
  1444. Came out with the head.
  1445. She comes to a stop right up in front of him,
  1446. And threw the head right in his face,
  1447. Completely covered in blood,
  1448. Tereus sees that he is betrayed,
  1449. And stood a while in surprise
  1450. And didn’t move or say a word
  1451. Because of the anguish and shame he felt.
  1452. He felt such shame as he ought to have
  1453. When he recognized the head of his son,
  1454. And this made his blood boil
  1455. And his anger and sorrow to double
  1456. Since he now realized what Progne
  1457. Had given him for dinner.
  1458. He was greatly shamed and very sorrowful,
  1459. And because of the shame he changed color
  1460. When he saw Philomena,
  1461. But soon he lost all sense of shame,
  1462. For he wants to avenge the death of his son.
  1463. Now the two sisters are in great danger
  1464. Of death, but they’re not much concerned about that.
  1465. Tereus leaps across the table
  1466. And lands on his feet, and spills onto the floor
  1467. Everything that was on the table.
  1468. Everything is thrown on the floor and everything is spilled,
  1469. And he sees a sword which hangs
  1470. On the wall, and he runs to grab it.
  1471. The women don’t dare stick around,
  1472. But instead they escape from there, and he chases them,
  1473. And threatens them with death,
  1474. Carried away with his lawless desires.
  1475. He chased and harried them
  1476. As far as the threshold of the door.
  1477. There, as it pleased the fates,
  1478. A very surprising thing happened,
  1479. Whose equal you have never heard,
  1480. For Tereus became a bird
  1481. Repulsive and despicable, small and old.
  1482. From his hand the sword fell
  1483. And he became a tufted lapwing,
  1484. As the fable tells it,
  1485. Because of the sin and the shame
  1486. He had inflicted on the girls.
  1487. Progne became a swallow
  1488. And Philomena a nightingale.
  1489. Still, those who would believe in fame
  1490. Would be completely ashamed
  1491. That disloyal death also destroys, (?)
  1492. The criminal and oath-breaker
  1493. And the one who has no love for joy
  1494. And all those who carry out wicked deeds
  1495. And crime and treachery
  1496. Against a wise and courteous girl,
  1497. For it grieves her and it disturbs her so much
  1498. That when it comes to the beginning of summer,
  1499. And winter has completely passed,
  1500. Because of the wicked deeds she resents so much,
  1501. She sings out in the sweetest way she knows
  1502. In the middle of the woods: "Kill! Kill!"—
  1503. Here I leave off about Philomena.

  1505. ― This finishes the story of Philomena,
  1506. As Chretien’s retells it.
  1507. Now I will give the explanation
  1508. Of this version
  1509. So that you would be able to understand the story
  1510. Which is completely true, without any lies.
  1511. Because Philomena was held so long
  1512. Caged up in the woods—
  1513. Noble and brave, honest and well thought of,
  1514. Wise, courteous and joyful—
  1515. And because she sang so well,
  1516. In the place where she was
  1517. Completely safe, hidden and concealed in the wood
  1518. The fable pretends that she was transformed
  1519. Into a nightingale, but the queen,
  1520. Progne, who had made a roast meat
  1521. Out of her son, whom she had beheaded
  1522. Wickedly and sinfully,
  1523. Out of fear of her husband
  1524. Turned away in flight and protected herself
  1525. In a large tower, strong and beautiful:
  1526. And thus she became a swallow,
  1527. Who is accustomed to make its nest in such towers,
  1528. In chimneys and in corners.
  1529. Tereus, because of his iniquity,
  1530. Because of the filth and the vileness
  1531. That he performed in deceiving the beautiful women
  1532. And in deflowering the girl,
  1533. And because he had been
  1534. A knight who was around in many battles
  1535. With crested helmet and with shield
  1536. And with hauberk of mail,
  1537. The fable pretends, it seems to me,
  1538. That he became a filthy and vile lapwing.

  1540. — Now I will tell you the allegory
  1541. That this fable signifies.
  1542. The king of the city of Athens,
  1543. Is god, the immortal king,
  1544. All powerful and everlasting king,
  1545. Generous, courteous, and merciful.
  1546. Progne, who was his elder daughter,
  1547. She is the soul which God has formed
  1548. In his likeness and image,
  1549. And which God joins and gives in marriage
  1550. To the body, which is made from the earth.
  1551. The barbarian who started a war
  1552. Against the king of the city of Athens
  1553. Was the son of iniquity,
  1554. The devil, who wars against God,
  1555. And thinks to win the heavens from him
  1556. And would ravish them for himself
  1557. And tumble them down into the abyss,
  1558. Into hell, that horrible cage.
  1559. Because of this God made the marriage
  1560. Between the soul and the body to take place
  1561. So that through them the heavens
  1562. Could be replenished, which had been emptied
  1563. By the foolish presumptuous angels.
  1564. Contentedly, they lived together,
  1565. Soul and body, so it seems to me,
  1566. A longtime and were faithful, one to the other.
  1567. They had produced a son,
  1568. The good fruit of a holy life,
  1569. And they felt no temptation to evil
  1570. And lived honestly
  1571. In joyous and holy peace
  1572. Until Progne, human nature,
  1573. Inclined toward every low desire,
  1574. Had desire to have her sister with her,
  1575. And wanted to send the body to her.
  1576. Philomena, who signifies
  1577. Love deceivable and weak,
  1578. Stands for the transitory goods of the world,
  1579. Which God, in whom all good things abound,
  1580. Made to sustain the human creature
  1581. In a moderate measure.
  1582. God made worldly goods to exist
  1583. For each man and woman
  1584. That they might honor him in them
  1585. And serve and adore him,
  1586. But to gain these vain delights
  1587. The soul made the body to rouse itself
  1588. And travel over sea and land.
  1589. She wanted nothing else from God
  1590. Nor prayed him for any other good
  1591. And God granted it to her
  1592. For her own moderate use,
  1593. But the body immoderately turned
  1594. His thoughts and attention to her
  1595. And he wanted forcibly and injuriously
  1596. To use her in excess
  1597. And to live in a dissolute fashion.
  1598. He imprisoned and enclosed her and shut her up
  1599. In a strong house, in a tower made of stone,
  1600. Where he desires to live with her
  1601. In order to enjoy and please himself
  1602. With worldly delight.
  1603. An old woman is greedy avarice,
  1604. And guards her, locked up in prison,
  1605. So that she might not get out of the enclosure,
  1606. On account of earthly delight.
  1607. The soul offers sacrifice to Pluto,
  1608. Oblation and homage,
  1609. And like a sad and deranged woman
  1610. Tears off her golden robe,
  1611. In which she had been dressed and clothed,
  1612. And she dresses herself in black clothes:
  1613. The adornments of the dress of gold are
  1614. Those of a holy and virtuous life,
  1615. And the black and mournful robe
  1616. Denotes the sinful life
  1617. With which the sad and shameful soul
  1618. Dresses itself for the body which deceives her
  1619. And abuses her with vain delights,
  1620. And she makes offerings and sacrifice
  1621. To Pluto, when on account of the worldly delights
  1622. She joins and allies herself to him
  1623. And forgets God her creator,
  1624. To whom she ought to give all her attentions.
  1625. When the soul decided to lower itself
  1626. Immoderately and unreasonably,
  1627. Then Progne shatters the enclosure
  1628. Which holds Philomena captive.
  1629. When earthly delight goes
  1630. Beyond the bounds of covetousness,
  1631. Then the soul deceives and delights itself
  1632. Like a foolish and extravagant and prodigal person,
  1633. And likewise goes seeking only
  1634. To destroy the spiritual fruit
  1635. To feed and delight the gluttonous body,
  1636. And to go astray and indulge in folly
  1637. In order to satisfy the sad body.
  1638. Inspired by this gluttonous lechery, she also destroys
  1639. The good fruit of her life.
  1640. The wretched body, because of its gluttonous belly,
  1641. Is conquered and directs itself to vile behavior,
  1642. To shame and corruption,
  1643. And leads the soul to damnation
  1644. Within the hellish chimney.
  1645. The joy of the pleasures which she sought
  1646. Is brief and soon ended.
  1647. He who devotes himself to nothing
  1648. Except to live in pleasure
  1649. And to pursue the delights
  1650. Of the shameful and stinking flesh,
  1651. That delight goes fleeing away from him
  1652. More quickly than a nightingale flies,
  1653. And the wicked, foolish soul
  1654. Is sent to dwell in the fire of hell
  1655. As soon as it is flown from the body.
  1656. Thus the fable arrives at the truth.
  1657. The stinking body becomes a lapwing,
  1658. Full of stink and filth
  1659. And of shameful rottenness,
  1660. And the vain and changeable delights
  1661. Become the flighty nightingale.
  1662. — Above you have heard the tale,
  1663. Just as Chretien retold it,
  1664. Of the great misdeed and of the shame
  1665. Which Tereus did in the woods
  1666. With his sister-in-law whom he brought to shame,
  1667. And how Progne became his declared enemy
  1668. And, in order to get revenge for Philomela,
  1669. Caused the father to have his son for dinner,
  1670. For which, unless the story lies to me,
  1671. The gods took such vengeance
  1672. That for their transgressions and outrage
  1673. All three became flying birds.
  1674. When old Pandion came to know if this,
  1675. He had such sorrow and trouble over this
  1676. That he gave up his life in sorrow because of it.