E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
A model of Resignation, daughter of the Emperor of Rome. The Sultan of Syria, in order to have her for his wife, renounced his religion and turned Christian; but the Sultans mother murdered him, and turned Cunstance adrift on a raft. After a time the raft stranded on a rock near Northumberland, and the constable rescued Cunstance, and took her home, where she converted his wife, Hermegild. A young lord fell in love with her; but, his suit being rejected, he murdered Hermegild, and laid the charge of murder against Cunstance. King Ella adjudged the cause, and Cunstance being proved innocent, he married her. While Ella was in Scotland, Cunstance was confined with a boy, named Maurice; and Ellas mother, angry with Cunstance for the introduction of the Christian religion, put her on a raft adrift with her baby boy. They were accidentally found by a senator, and taken to Rome. Ella, having discovered that his mother had turned his wife and child adrift, put her to death, and went to Rome in pilgrimage to atone for his crime. Here he fell in with his wife and son. Maurice succeeded his grandfather as Emperor of Rome, and at the death of Ella, Cunstance returned to her native land. (Chaucer: The Man of Lawes Tale.)