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LE BONE FLORENCE OF ROME.
As ferre as men ryde or gone
A more chyvalrous town then Troy was oon
In londe was never seen ;
Nor better knyghtys then came of hyt
In all thys worlde was never yyt,
For bothe hardy and kene.
Then came oon hyght Awdromoche,
The furste byger of Anteoche,
And enhabyted cuntreys clene ; '
Antenowre was of that barme-teme,
And was fownder of Jerufalem,
That was wyght withowtyn wene.
Helemytes hyght the thryd Troyoni,
And was a stronge man of blode and bone,
That fro Troy came to Awfryke ;
Eneas be fchyp gate to Rome,
The chefe cytè of Crystendome,
Then was ther none hyt lyke.
Unto the tyme that the emperowr fir Garcy
Werryd on hyt, and herkenyth why,
That many a oon fore can syke;.
Of Costantyne the nobull was he,
A döghtyar knyght thar not be
In batell for to stryke.
Another emperowre reygned at Rome,
Syr Otes the grawnt hyght that gome,
That wyght was undur-schylde;
A feyre lady he had to wyfe,
That on a day lofte hur lyfe,
That worthy was to welde, .
And dyed of a maydyn chylde,
That aftur waxe bothe meke and mylde,
So fayre was seen but felde.
Whan the emperys was dedd,
The emperowre was wylde of redd,
He gart cryften thys chylde bryght,
And callyd hur Florens thys maydyn feyre,
Bothe hys doghtyr and hys heyie,
In thys worlde was not foche a wyght.
Wolde ye lythe y fchoulde yow telle
Of the wondurs that there befelle
Abowte in cuntreys ryght:
For thre dayes hyt reyned blode,
And bestes faght as they were wode,
Bothe wylde and tame with myght;
Fowlys in the fyrmament
Eyther odur in fondur rente,
And felle dedd to the grownde,
Hyt sygnyfyed that aftur come
Grete trybulacions unto Rome,
Schulde many a man confownde ;
As was for that maydyn small,
Owte-takyn Troy and Rownsevall,
Was never in thys worlde rownde.
Syr Otes, the nobull emperowre,
Gart norysch the chylde with honowre,
And kept hur hole and fownde.
He set to fcole that damysell,
Tyll fche cowde of the boke telle,
And all thynge dyscrye,
Be that fche was fyftene yere olde,
Wel fche cowde, as men me tolde,
Of harpe and fawtrye;
All hur bewteys for to nevyn
Myght no man undur hevyn,
For sothe no more may i.
To mykyll bale was sche borne,
And many a man flayn hur forne,
And in grete batels can dye.
When fyr Garcy herde seye
.. 70 That the emperowre of Rome had foche a may
To hys doghtur, dere,
He waxe hasty as the fyre,
And gart sembyll the lordes of hys empyr,
That bolde and hardy were.
He feyde, Ofte have ye blamed me
For y wolde not weddyd bee,
Y have herde of a clere,
Florens that ys feyre and bryght,
In all thys worlde ys not soche a wyght,
Y wyll hur have to my fere.
As the romans trewly tolde,
He was a hundurd yerys olde,
And some boke seyth mare.
He was arayed in ryche parell,
Of fylke and golde wythowtyn fayle,
All whyte was hys hare.
He feyde, Syrs, wendyth ovyr the see,
And bydd the emperowre of Rome fende me
Hys doghtur fwete and sware,
And yf he any gruchyng make,
Many a crowne y schall gar crake,
And bodyes to drowpe and dare.
Hys flesche trembylde for grete elde,
Hys blode colde, hys body unwelde,
Hys lyppes blo for-thy;
He had more mystyr of a gode fyre,
Of bryght brondys brennyng schyre,
To beyke hys boones by,
A fofte bath, a warme bedd,
100 Then any maydyn for to wedd,
And gode encheson why,
For he was brefyd and all to-brokyn,
Ferre travelde in hærnes, and of warre wrokyn:
He tolde them redylye ;
When ye have the maydyn broght,
That ys fo feyre and worthely wroght,
Sche schall lygg be my fyde,