Manuscripts and Special Collections

WLC/LM/8, f. 86r: John Gower, ‘Confessio Amantis’, Book 4, lines 3619-3638 (composed c.1393, English)


She wepež she criež she swonež oft
She castež hir yhen vp alofte
And seide a monge full pitously
O god žou wotest it am I
For whom Yphis is žus beseine
Ordeigne so . žat men may seine
A žousand winter efter žis
How such a maide did a mys
And as I did do to me
For I ne didd no pite
To hym which for my loue is lore
Do no pite to me žerfore
And wit žis worde she fell to grounde
A swonne and žer she lay a stounde
Že goddesse which hir pleintez herde
And se how wofully she ferde
Hir lif žei toke a weie anon
And shopen hir in to a stone
After že forme of hir ymage
Of body bož and of visage


She (Araxarathen) wept, she cried, she swooned often. She cast her eyes upwards and said very sorrowfully and continually, ‘Oh god, you know it is I for whom Iphis was so troubled. Arrange it so that men may see for a thousand winters after this how such a maiden as I did wrong, and as I did, do to me. Therefore, because I did not undergo grief for him (Iphis), who is lost because of my love, do not show me any mercy.’ And with these words she fell to the ground in a swoon, and there she lay for a moment. The gods who heard her complaint and saw how woefully she behaved took her life away immediately. They transformed her into stone, a replica of the shape in her image, of both her face and her body.

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