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Book I.

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

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

Hade a son of hym-selfe semly to wale,
128 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 þat worthy inwones aboute,
No les þan þe lege þat hom lede shuld :

And he as bainly obeyede to the buerne his Eme, 136 As þof 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 þat 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,

ffüll egurly with enuy, & euer hym bethoght, 144 With a course of vnkyndnes he caste in his

thoghte, The freike vpon faire wise ferke out of lyue, And he no daunger nor deire for þat dede hauo.

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 pe trety sayse,

There was a wonderfull wethur weghes to be-holde, 156 With a flese þat was fyne, flamond of gold ;

And þe Kyng of þat coste callid was by name
Chethes, for sothe, as souerayne & lord :

Pelias devises the
plan of sending
Jason in search
of the golden


(fol. 4 d.)

Where and how the golden fleece vis kopt.

(MS. has “as.")

Book I.


The wether

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

#etes, king of
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,

guarded by two By too oxen oribull on for to loke,

oxen and a fiery

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

I say,

win the fleece must seize the oxen, enter thein in the yoke and

and sow them like seed.

The teeth will turn into nrined knights, who will

Ayre euyn to be Oxen, entre hom in yoke,
With strifie or with stroke till þai stonde wold; plough up the

Aftur ayre vp the erthe on ardagh wise. 176 Sythen drawe to be dragon, & þe derfe qwelle, He must then

quell the dragon ; Girde out the grete teth of the grym best, tear out his teeth And alse sede in þe season sowe it on þe erthe,

Than a ferlyfull frute shall he fynde after : 180 The tethe shall turne tite vnto knightes

Armyt at all peses, able to were
Thai to falle vpon fight as fomen belyue,

fight till they

destroy each With depe woundles and derfe till all be dede other.

euyn. 184 All thes perels to passe with-outen payne other, That the flese wold fecche & ferke yt away.

(fol.5 a ) 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, Why the fleece

was so carefully That Chethes the same Kyng had a som hoge Of grete gobbottes of gold in the ground hid,

of money hid And so kepid it with craft of his coynt artys:

guarded. Aetes had a great sun

thus kept it.

in the earth, and

Book 1.

Pelias plans
get Jason away
from lolcus.

At a great feast arranged for the purpose,

192 And for to get of this gold & the grete sommy's,

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 þerto, if it tyde might,
To take it hertely on hond in a high pride,

And þe 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 iija 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 þe

buerne said, 212 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,

bat so mighty & meke & manly art holdyn :
216 Now þi fame shall go fer & þu 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 þi name bus 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,

he entices him to go to Colchis for the golden fleece.

(fol. 5 b.)

Book I.

The rewards promised if he should be successful.

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That the filese þat is ffreshe flamond of gold
Were brought throw pi boldness into his byg yle

And þat wold doutles be done & no dere In, 228 Wold þu afforce be perfore and pe fight take,

Be of gouernance graithe & of good wille.
Yiff þu puttes be 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 & þu 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.

bu may be glad for to get such a good name,
And haue for þi hardynes a full hegh mede :

Leve his for lell, me list it perfourme,
240 And to hold it with hert þat I hete nowe,

I will fayne pe no) faintis vnder faith wordes.
When my dayes be done þu 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

Halfe for to haue & hold for þi name,
And with all weghis to be worshipt to be worldes


When Pelleus his proses hade puplishit on Jason undertakes

the journey, highe, 248 And all soburly said with a sad wille,

Jason was Joly of his Juste wordes,
bat in presens of the pepull þo profers were made,
And mony stythe of astate stonding aboute.

(fol. 6 a.) 252 He hedit not the harme þat in his hert lurkyt,

picion of harm, Ne the ffalshed he faynit vnder faire wordes ;

· falsehood, or He drede no dissayet of his dere vncle,

But hooped full hertely it come of hegh loue. 256 ben he trist hym full tyte in his tried strenght,

and has no sus

deceit on the part of his uncle.

Book I.

Thurghe hardynes of hond hopit to spede;
He put noght vnpossible pelleus wordes,

Ne the kynges couetous cast not before :
260 ben he grauntis to go with a grete chere,

And all thies fferlyes to fraist he fursly awouet.

He therefore accepts the undertaking with heartiness.


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.

Pelleus of the proffer was proude at his hert,

And glad of be graunt before the grete lordys; 264 He ertid to an end egurly fast,

pat no tarying shuld tyde ouer a tyme set; And pet ffortune vnderfonges þat he feile shall, And will put hym fro purpos þat he presys

after. 268 He consydret þat Calcos was closet in an yle, bat no creature might keuer for course of the

see, But with ship þat shapon were for be shyre

ban he comaundet to come of þe crafte noble,
272 A wright þat was wise bis 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, þe most vpon erthe, 276 bat after hym awne selfe Argon was cald.

Sum sayn full sure & for sothe holdyn,
Hit was pe formast on flete þat on flode past,

hat euer saile was on set vpon salt water,
280 Or euer kairet ouer cost to cuntris O fer.

Now ordant was althing onestly þere,
And abundantly broght þat hoin bild might,
With all stuff for be stremes, þat hom strenght

284 Mony noble for þe nonest to be 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.

Many noble men join the expedition, chief of whom is

(fol. 6 6.)

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