Manuscripts and Special Collections

WLC/LM/8, ff. 31v-32r : John Gower, ‘Confessio Amantis’, Book 2, lines 644-652 and 678-713 (composed c.1393, English)


Že moder which že saudan bare
Was žan a lyue and žoght žis
Vnto hir selue . if so it is
My son hir wedd in žis manere
Žan haue I lost my ioyes here
For myn astate shal so be lassed
Ženkend žus she haž compassed
Be sleight how žat she may begile
Hir sone . and fell wižinne a while
She made so žat whan Constance
Was come forž wiž že romeynes
Of clerkes and of Citeȝeins
A riche feste she hem made
And most when žat žei weren glade
Wiž fals couyne which she hadd
Hir clos envie žer she spradd
And alžo žat hadden be
Or in aperte or in priuete
Of conseil to že mariage
She sloghe hem in a sodein rage
Endlonge and brode as žei ben sett
So žat it myght noght be lett
Hir owen sone was noght quite
Bot diede upon že same plite


The mother of the sultan was still alive then, and thought this to herself: ‘If it is so, that my son would marry her in this manner, then I have lost my joy here, for my estate [both socially and politically] shall thus be lessened.’

Thus thinking, she contrived how she might deceive and beguile her son. And within a while fell …

… When Constance came forth with the Romans, their clerics and citizens, the mother had made them a rich feast. And when they were at their most joyful, she spread her secret envy with false conspiracy, and she slaughtered those that had been in agreement to the marriage, either openly or in private, everyone along the table as they were seated, in a sudden rage; her own son was not unpunished, but died in the same way as the others.

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