Imatges de pàgina
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Be in myn herte, now and everemore!

And of my soule wasshe away the sore. Amen.

PROVERBE OF CHAUCER.

What these clothes thus manyfolde,

Lo, this hoote somers day?
After greet hete cometh colde;

No man caste his pilch1 away.
Of al this worlde the large compace

It wil not in myn armes tweyne;
Whoso mochel wol embrace,

Litel therof he shal distreyne.8

THE COMPLEYNT OF VENUS

There nys so high comfort to my plesar 1 Whan that I am in eny hevynesse, (300 r.) As for to have leyser of remembraunce Upon the manhod and the worthynesse, Upon the truth and on the stedfastnesse Of him whos I am al whiles I may dure. Ther oghte blame me no creature, For every wight preiseth his gentilesse.

In him ys bounte, wysdom, governaunce, Wel more then eny mannes witte can gesse; 10 For grace hath wolde so ferforthe hym avaunce,

1 Fur cloak. 'Keep, effectively grasp. C£. Canterbttry Tales, I. 6*27. Fourteen spurious lines are often appended to this poem.

This poem is complementary to the CompUynt of Mars, and the two are usually printed as one poem. For convenience the numbed liTtn to the lines by Tryrwhitt are noted here.

THE COMPLEYNT OF VENU. I9I

That of knyghthode he is parfite richesse;
Honour honoureth him for his noblesse; (311 T.)
Therto so well hath formed him Nature.
That I am his for ever, I him assure,
For every wight preysith his gentilesse.

And not withstondyng al his suffisaunce
His gentil hert ys of so grete humblesse
To me in worde, in werke, in contenaunce,
And me to serve is al his besynesse, 20
That I am set in verrey sikirnesse.1
Thus oght I blesse wel myn aventure, (320 T.)
Sith that him list me serven and honoure,
For «very wight preiseth his gentilesse.

Now certis, Love, hit is right covenable,* That men ful dere bye the nobil thinge, As wake * a-bed, and fasten at the table, Wepinge to laugh and sing in compleynynge, And doun to caste visage and lokynge, Often to chaunge visage and countenaunce, 30 Pley in slepyng, and dremen at the daunce, Al the reverse of eny glad felynge. (330 T.)

Jelosie be hanged be a cable! She wold al knowe throgh her espyinge. Ther dothe no wyght nothing so resonable, That al nys harme in her ymagynynge. Thus dere abought4 is Love in his gevynge, Which ofte he gifeth withoute ordynaunce, As sorow ynogh, and litil of plesaunce, Al the reverse of any glad felynge. 40

1 Security. 'Appropriate. 'Watch. 'Suffered for.

A lytel tyme his gift ys agreable, But ful encomberouse is the usynge; (340 T.) For subtil Jelosie, the deceyvable, Ful often tyme causeth desturbynge. Thus be we ever in drede and suffrynge; Tn no certeyn 1 we languisshen in penaunce, And han ful often mony an harde myschaunce, Al the reverse of any glad felynge.

But certys, Love, I sey not in such wise, That for tescape out of youre lace * I mente, 50 For I so longe have be in your servise, That for to let you* wil I never assente. (350 T.) No fors ! 4 ye ! thogh Jelosye me turmente,. Sufficeth me to se hym when I may; And therfore certys to myn endyng day, To love hym best, that shal I never repente.

And certis, Love, whan I me wel avise 5
Of eny estate that man may represente,
Then have ye made me, thorogh your fraunchise,"
Chese7 the beste that ever on erthe wente. 60
Now love wel, hert, and loke thou never stente,
And let the jealouse put it in assay, (360 T.)
That for no peyn I wille not sey nay;
To love yow best, that shal I never repent.

Herte, to the hit oght ynogh suffice
That Love so highe a grace to yow sente
To chese the worthiest in alle wise,
\nd most agreable unto myn entente.

• Certainty. * Snare. • Lore you. 4 Matter. 'Inions • rnnknen. 'Cbno—.

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Seche no ferther, neythir way ne wente,1
Sith I have suffisaunce unto my pay,* — 70
Thus wol I ende this Compleynt or this Lay,
To love hym beste ne shal I never repent.

Princes! resseyveth this Compleynt in gre,*

Directe, aftir my litel suffisaunce;
For elde,4 that in my spirit dulleth me,
Hath of endyting al the subtilte
Welnyghe bereft out of my remembraunce;
And eke to me hit is a grete penaunce,
Syth ryme in Englissh hath such skarsete, 80
To folwe worde by worde the curiosite
Of Graunson,* floure of hem that make in
France I (380 T.)

L'ENVOY DE CHAUCER A SCOGAN.4

To-broken been the statutes hye in hevene, 1 .iat creat weren eternaly to dure,

1 Lane. * Satisfaction. • Favor. * Age. 'One Sir Oto de Graunson was in the court of Richard II., but it is not certain that he is the " maker n or poet here extolled, to whom Chaucer owns his indebtedness for the original of the Compleynt of Venus. s These tines appear to be addressed to a jester referred to by Ben Jonson as A fine gentleman and Master of Arts Of Henrythe Fourth's time, that made disguises ^For the king's sons and writ in ballad royal." There is some doubt about his identity, however, and Mr. Dyce lays that the M facetious" Scogan was named John, and flourished after Chaucer's death. If this be true, Shakespeare committed an anachronism by introducing a reference to him into 2 King Henry IVi act Hi., sc. 2, 1. 3a. Scogan's iests were published in the Slav Math and seventeenth centuries.

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Syth that I see the bryghte goddis sevene
Mowe wepe 1 and wayle, and passioun endure,
As may in erthe a mortale creature:
Alias! fro whennes may thys thinge procede?
Of whiche errour I deye almost for drede.

By worde eteme whilome was yshape,
That fro the fyfte sercle2 in no manere,
Ne myght a drope of teeres doun eschape; Io
But now so wepith Venus in hir spere,*
That with hir teeres she wol drenche 4 us here.
Allas! Scogan, this is for thyn offence 1
Thou causest this deluge of pestilence.

Havesthow not seyd in blaspheme of this goddis,

Thurgh pride, or thrugh thy grete rekelnesse, Swich thing as in the law of love forbode is, That for thy lady sawgh nat thy distresse, Therfore thow gave hir up at Mighelmesse ?* Allas, Scogan! of olde folke ne yonge, 20 Was never erst Scogan blamed for his tonge.

Thow drowe in skorne Cupide eke to recorde Of thilke rebel worde that thow hast spoken, For which he wol no lenger be thy lorde; And, Scogan, thowgh his bowe be nat broken, He wol nat with his arwes been ywroken * On the ne me, ne noon of youre figure; We shul of him have neyther hurte nor cure.

1 The reference appears to be to the great rains and pestilences oi the latter part of the fourteenth century. 2 See vol. i_ Introduo non, for astrological allusions. * Sphere. * Drown. * MirhaftE au (September 29th). * Revenged.

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