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So hyt befelle upon a day
The erle and he went to play,

Be a rever syde,
The erle seyde to Trylabas,
Telle me, fyr, for goddys grace,

Of a thyng that spryngyth wyde ;
That youre emperour hath a wyfe,
The fayrest woman that is on lyfe,

Of hewe and eke of hyde :
Y fwere by boke and by belle,
Yfsche be fo feyre as men telle,

Mekyll may be hys pryde.

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Then fayde that lord anon ryght,
Be the ordre y bere of knyght,

The fothe y schall telle the,
To seeke the worlde more and lesse,
Bothe crystendome and hethynnelse,

Ther ys none fo bryght of blee :
Whyte as fnowe ys hur coloure,
Hur rudde ys radder then the rose four,

Yn fyght who may hur fee';
All men that evyr god wroght .
Myght not thynke nor caste in thoght

A fayrer for to bee.

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Then feyde the erle, Be goddes grace
Thys worde in mornyng me mas,

Thou seyeft fche ys so bryght;
Thy raunfom here y the forgeve,
My helpe my love whyll y leve,

Therto my trowthe y plyght,
So that thou wylt brynge me
Yn safe garde for to bee

Of hur to have a syght,
An hundurd pownde wyth grete honoure,
To bye the horses and ryche armoure,

Os y am trewe knyght.

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Than answeryd fyr Trylabas,
Yn that covenaunt in thys place

My trowthe y plyght thee,
Y schall holde thy forward gode,
To brynge the, wyth mylde mode,

In lyght hur for to see;
And therto wyll y kepe counsayle,
And never more, wythowte fayle,

Agayne yow to bee;
Y schall be trewe, be goddys ore,
To lose myn own lyfe therfore,

Hardely tryste to mee.

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The erle answeryd wyth wordys hende,
Y tryste to the as to my frende,

Wythowte any stryfe;
Anon that [we) were bulkyd yare,
On owre jurney for to fare,

For to see that wyfe.
Y fwere be god and seynt Andrewe,
Yf hyt be fo y fynde the trewe

Ryches schall be to the ryfe,
They lettyd nothyr for wynde nor wedur,
But forthe they wente bothe togedur,

Wythowte any stryfe.'

240

These knyghtes never stynte nor blanne
Tyll to the cyté that they wan,

There the emperes was ynne,
The erle hymfelfe for more drede
Cladd hym in armytes wede,

Thogh he were of ryche kynne;
For he wolde not knowen bee,
He dwellyd there dayes three,

And rested hym in hys ynne.
The knyght bethoght hym on a day
The gode erle to betray

Falsely he can begynne.

250

Anone he went in a rese
To chaumbur to the emperes,

And sett hym on hys knee;
He seyde, Be hym that barowed helle,
He hepe yow fro all parelle,

Yf that bys wylle bee.
Madam, he seyde, be Jhesus,
Y have the erle of Tollous,

Our moost enemye ys hee.
Yn what manere, the lady can fay,
Ys he comyn? y the pray,

Anone telle thou me.

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“ Madam; y was in hys preson,
He hate forgevyn me my raunfom,

Be god full of myght ;
And all ys for the love of the,
The fothe ys he longyth yow to fee,

Madam, onys in fyght.
An hundurd pownde y have to mede,
And armour for a nobull stede ;

For sothe y have hym hyght,
That he schall see yow at hys fylle,
Ryght at hys owne wylle,

Ther to my trowthe y plyght.

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Lady, he ys to us a foo,
Therfore y rede that we hym Noo,

He hath done us grete grylle.”
The lady seyde, So mut y goo,
Thy foule ys lofte yf thou do so,

Thy trowthe thou schalt fulfylle, Sythe he forgaf the thy raunfom, And lowsydd the owt of preson,

Do away thy wyckyd wylle;

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To-morne, when they rynge the mas-belle,
Brynge hym in to my chapelle,

And thynke thou on no false fouthe.
There schall he fee me at hys wylle.
Thy covenaunt to fulfylle,

Y rede thé holde thy trowthe.
Certys, yf thou hym begyle,
Thy foule ys in grete peryle,

Syn thou hast made hym othe;
Certys hyt were a traytory,
For to wayte hym velany,

Me thynkyth hyt were rowthe.

The knyght to the erle wente,
Yn herte he helde hym foule schente,

For hys wyckyd thoght;

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