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Book I.

Jason, son of Aeson, seeks his father's throne.

Pelias devises the plan of sending

Jason in search of the golden


(fol. 4 b.)

Where and how

the golden fleece vas kept.

(MS. has "as.")


By crafte pat she kouth of hir coint artys.
Eson, þat elde man þat I er said,

Hade a son of hym-selfe semly to wale,
And Jason, þat gentill aioynet was to name:
A faire man of feturs, & fellist in armys,

As meke as a Mayden, & mery of his wordis.
This Jason for his gentris was ioyfull till all,
132 Well louit with pe lordes & the londe hole;
All worshipped put worthy inwones aboute,
No les pan pe lege þat hom lede shuld:

And he as bainly obeyede to the buerne his Eme, 136 As pof his syre hade the soile & septure to yeme. Pelleus persayuit the people anone,

That the londe so hym louede, lorde as he were,
And ay drede hym on dayes for doute pat might


140 Lest he put hym from priuelage & his place take,
Of Tessaile, as truthe wold, to be trew kyng.
Thus Pelleus with payne was pricket in hert,
ffull egurly with enuy, & euer hym bethoght,
144 With a course of vnkyndnes he caste in his

The freike vpon faire wise ferke out of lyue,
And he no daunger nor deire for þat dede haue.
He bethoght hym full thicke in his throo hert,
148 And in his wit was he ware of a wyle sone,
Of a fame pat fer in fele kynges londes,
And borne was a brode for a bare aunter.
Out in the Orient Orible to here,

152 In a cuntre was cald Colchos by name,
Was (an) aunter in a nyle þat I nem shall,
Beyonde the terage of Troy as þe trety sayse,
There was a wonderfull wethur weghes to be-holde,
156 With a flese þat was fyne, flamond of gold;
And pe Kyng of pat coste callid was by name
Chethes, for sothe, as souerayne & lord:


He was mighty on molde & mekull goode hade, 160 His pride well ouerput, past into elde.

This whethur and be wole were wonderly keppit
By the crafte & the cure & conyng of Mars,
That with charmes & enchauntementes was chefe

164 Thus coyntly it kept was all with clene art,
By too oxen oribull on for to loke,
And a derfe dragon drede to be-holde.

These balfull bestes were, as pe boke tellus,
168 ffull flaumond of fyre with fuastyng of logh,
That girde thurgh ther gorge with a grete hete
A nelue brode all Aboute, pat no buerne might
ffor the birre it abide, but he brente were.

Book I.

Eetes, king of

The wether guarded by two oxen and a fiery


172 And wo this wethur shuld wyn bude wirke as Whoever would

I say,

Ayre euyn to pe Oxen, entre hom in yoke,

win the fleece

must seize the oxen, enter them

in the yoke and

With striffe or with stroke till þai stonde wold; plough up the

Aftur ayre vp the erthe on ardagh wise.

176 Sythen drawe to pe dragon, & pe derfe qwelle,

Girde out the grete teth of the grym best,

And alse sede in pe season sowe it on pe erthe, Than a ferlyfull frute shall he fynde after : 180 The tethe shall turne tite vnto knightes

Armyt at all peses, able to were


He must then quell the dragon; tear out his teeth and sow them like seed.

The teeth will turn into armed

knights, who will fight till they destroy each

Thai to falle vpon fight as fomen belyne,
With depe woundes and derfe till all be dede other.


184 All thes perels to passe with-outen payne other,

That the flese wold fecche & ferke yt away.
Of this wonderfull wethur for to here more,
Why it kept was by craft on so coynt wyse ;
188 Hit was said oft sythes and for sothe holden,
That Chethes the same Kyng had a som hoge
Of grete gobbottes of gold in the ground hid,
And so kepid it with craft of his coynt artys:

(fol. 5 a.)

Why the fleere was so carefully guarded. Æetes had a great sum of money hid

in the earth, and thus kept it.

Book I.

Pelias plans

get Jason away from Iolcus.

At a great feast arranged for the purpose,

he entices him to

go to Colchis for

the golden fleece.

(fol. 5 b.)

192 And for to get of this gold & the grete sommys,
ffor couetous pere come knightes full ofte,
And endit in Auerys to ay lastand sorowe.
This Pelleus with pyne printed in hert

196 Iff he might sleghly be sleght & sletyng of wordes,
Gar Jason with any gyn the iorney vndertake:

He were seker as hym semyd for sight of him


And most likly be loste & his los keppit.

200 He purpast hym plainly in his pure wit
ffor to tyse hym perto, if it tyde might,
To take it hertely on hond in a high pride,

And be way for to wylne with wilfull desyre. 204 He cast hym full cointly be cause of this thyng, In a Cité be-syde to somyn a fest,

With princes and prelates & prise of the lond, Thre dayes to endure with daintes ynogh. 208 The iijd day throly he thoght in his hert


ffor to mele of this mater, þat he in mynde hade:
He cald Jason in his Japis with a Joly wille.
Before the baronage at ther burde thus pe
buerne said,-

"Cosyn, it is knowen þat I am Kyng here,
And mekyll comfordes me the crowne of this
kyde realme;

But more it Joyes me, Jason, of þi just werkes, hat so mighty & meke & manly art holdyn: 216 Now pi fame shall go fer & pu furse holdyn, And all prouyns & pertes pi pes shall desyre. To tessayle a tresure tristy for euer,

Thy selfe to be sene and in suche fame, 220 By pi name pus anoisyt & for noble holden, Whyle you rixlis in this Reame no riot we drede, But all fferd be perfore and frendship dyssire. Hit wold sothely me set as souerayne in Joye, 224 Iff our goddes wold graunt þat þu grace hade,


That the fflese pat is ffreshe flamond of gold
Were brought throw pi boldness into pis byg yle
And þat wold doutles be done & no dere In,
228 Wold pu afforce pe perfore and pe fight take,
Be of gouernance graithe & of good wille.
Yiff þu puttes pe pristly pis point for to do,
Thou shall arayit be full ryolle with a route noble
232 of my Baronage bolde & my best wise.

I shall spare for no spence & pu spede wele,
And do pi deuer duly as a duke nobill:

Thou shalt haue holly my hert & my helpe alse, 236 And be lappid in my luffe all my lyffe after.

þu may be glad for to get such a good name, And haue for pi hardynes a full hegh mede: Leve pis for lell, me list it perfourme, 240 And to hold it with hert pat I hete nowe, I will fayne pe [no] faintis vnder faith wordes. When my dayes be done pu shalt be Duke here, And haue pe Crowne to kepe of pis Kyd Realme; 244 And while I liffe in this londe, no less þan my selfe,

Halfe for to haue & hold for þi name,

And with all weghis to be worshipt to pe worldes

Book I.

The rewards promised if he should be successful.


WHEN PELLEUS his proses hade puplishit on Jason undertakes


248 And all soburly said with a sad wille,

Jason was Joly of his Juste wordes,

bat in presens of the pepull po profers were made,


mony stythe of astate stonding aboute. 252 He hedit not the harme pat in his hert lurkyt, -Ne the ffalshed he faynit vnder faire wordes ; He drede no dissayet of his dere vncle, But hooped full hertely it come of hegh loue. 256 pen he trist hym full tyte in his tried strenght,

the journey,

(fol. 6 a.)

and has no suspicion of harm, falsehood, or deceit on the part of his uncle,

Book I.

He therefore accepts the

undertaking with heartiness.

Thurghe hardynes of hond hopit to spede;
He put noght vnpossible pelleus wordes,
Ne the kynges couetous cast not before:
260 þen he grauntis to go with a grete chere,
And all thies fferlyes to fraist he fursly awouet.

Pelias is glad, and hurries on the preparations for the enterprise.

He commands Argus, a son of Danaus, to build a great ship, which is called Argo.

Many noble men join the

expedition, chief

of whom is

(fol. 6 b.)


Pelleus of the proffer was proude at his hert, And glad of pe graunt before the grete lordys; 264 He ertid to an end egurly fast,

þat no tarying shuld tyde ouer a tyme set; And pet ffortune vnderfonges þat he feile shall, And will put hym fro purpos pat he presys after. 268 He consydret þat Calcos was closet in an yle, bat no creature might keuer for course of the


But with ship pat shapon were for pe shyre waghes.

han he comaundet to come of pe crafte noble, 272 A wright þat was wise pis werke for to ende; And Argus þat after was abill of his crafte, Sone he dressit to his dede & no dyn made, And made vp a mekyll ship, pe most vpon erthe, 276 þat after hym awne selfe Argon was cald. Sum sayn full sure & for sothe holdyn, Hit was þe formast on flete pat on flode past, bat euer saile was on set vpon salt water, 280 Or euer kairet ouer cost to cuntris O fer.

Now ordant was althing onestly pere,

And abundantly broght þat hom bild might,
With all stuff for pe stremes, pat hom strenght


284 Mony noble for pe nonest to pe note yode,

Tryed men þat were taken of tessayle rewme,
To this Journey with Jason, as the gest tellus :
All entred into Argon after anon.

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