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But though this mayden tendre were of age,
Yet in the brest of her virginitee Ther was enclosed sad and ripe corage:
And in great reverence and charitee
She wolde not ben idel til she slept.
And whan she homeward came, she wolde bring
Wortes and other herbés times oft, The which she shred and sethe for her living,
And made her bed ful hard, and nothing soft:
And ay she kept her fadres life on loft
With every obeisance and diligence, That child may don to fadres rever
Upon Grisilde, this pouré creature, Ful often sithe this markis sette his eye,
As he on hunting rode paraventure: And whan it fell that he might hire espie,
He not with wanton loking of folie His eyen cast on her, but in sad wise
Upon her chere he wold him oft avise,
Commending in his herte her womanliede,
And eke her vertue, passing any wight
Of so yong age, as wel in chere as dede.
For though the peple have no great insight
In virtue, he considered ful right Her bountee, and disposed that he
Wedde her only, if ever he wedden shold.
The day of wedding came, but no
wight can Tellen what woman that it shuldé be,
For which mervaillé wondred many
And saiden, whan they were in privetee,
"Grisilde," he said, "ye shuln wel understond,
It liketh to your fader and to me, That I you wedde, and eke it may so stond
As I suppose, ye wol that it so be: But thise demaundés aske I first (quod he)
That sin it shal be don in hasty wise, Wol ye assent, or elles you avise?
"I say this, be ye redy with good herte
To all my lust, and that I freely may As me best thinketh do you laugh or
And never ye to grutchen, night ne day,
And eke whan I say yea, ye say not nay,
Neither by word, ne frouning countenance?
Swere this, and here I swere our alliance."
Wondring upon this thing, quaking for drede,
She saide, "Lord, indigne and unworthy
Am I, to thilke honour, that ye me bede,
But as ye wol yourself, right so woll: And here I swere, that never will ingly
In werk, ne thought, I n'ill you disobeie
For to be ded, though me were loth to deie."
"This is ynough, Grisilde min," quod he.
And forth he goth with a ful sobre chere,
Out at the dore, and after then came she,
And to the peple he said in this
"This is my wif," quod he, "that stondeth here.
Honoureth her, and loveth her. I
Who so me loveth, ther n'is no more to say."
And for that nothing of her oldé
She shulde bring into his hous, he bad