Geoffrey Chaucer

(c. 1343 – 25 October 1400 / London, England)

Merciles Beaute - Poem by Geoffrey Chaucer

1. CAPTIVITY

YOUR eyen two wol slee me sodenly,
I may the beaute of hem not sustene,
So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.

And but your word wol helen hastily
My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene,
   Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,
   I may the beaute of hem not sustene.

Upon my trouthe I sey yow feithfully,
That ye ben of my lyf and deeth the quene;
For with my deeth the trouthe shal be sene.
   Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,
   I may the beaute of hem not sustene,
   So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.

2. REJECTION

So hath your beaute fro your herte chaced
Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne;
For Daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.

Giltles my deeth thus han ye me purchaced;
I sey yow sooth, me nedeth not to feyne;
   So hath your beaute fro your herte chaced
   Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne.

Allas! that nature hath in yow compassed
So greet beaute, that no man may atteyne
To mercy, though he sterve for the peyne.
   So hath your beaute fro your herte chaced
   Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne;
   For Daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.

3. ESCAPE

Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat,
I never thenk to ben in his prison lene;
Sin I am free, I counte him not a bene.

He may answere, and seye this or that;
I do no fors, I speke right as I mene.
   Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat,
   I never thenk to ben in his prison lene.

Love hath my name y-strike out of his sclat,
And he is strike out of my bokes clene
For ever-mo; ther is non other mene.
   Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat,
   I never thenk to ben in his prison lene;
   Sin I am free, I counte him not a bene.

Form: Rondeau


Comments about Merciles Beaute by Geoffrey Chaucer

  • Susan Williams Susan Williams (3/24/2016 3:21:00 PM)

    A Modern Day Translation of Merciless Beauty by Sarah Burke
    l. Your two bright eyes will slay me suddenly; The beauty of them I cannot sustain, So throughout my eager heart is wounded.   Unless your word will heal hastily My heart’s wound while the wound is green, Your two bright eyes will slay me suddenly; The beauty of them I cannot sustain.   Upon my truth I say to you faithfully, That you have been the queen of my life and death, For with my death the truth shall be seen, Your two bright eyes will slay me suddenly, The beauty of them I cannot sustain, So throughout my eager heart is wounded.
    II...So has your Beauty from your heart chased Pity, that to complain would not benefit me, For Danger restrains your mercy in his chain.   My death, guiltless, so that I could obtain your hand; I say to you the truth, I have no need to pretend; So has your Beauty from your heart chased Pity, that to complain would not benefit me.   Alas, that Nature you have plotted inside Beauty so great that no man shall attainTo Mercy, though he may starve for the pain. So has your Beauty from your heart chased Pity, that to complain would not benefit me, For Danger restrains your mercy in his chain.
    III...Since from Love I have escaped so fat, I never think to be in his lean prison; Since I am free, I count him to not have been.   He may reply, and say this and that; I do not repudiate, I speak just as I mean.Since from Love I have escaped so fat, I never think to be in his lean prison;   Love has stricken my name from his slate, And he is stricken from my books completely Forevermore, there is no other one.Since from Love I have escaped so fat, I never think to be in his lean prison; Since I am free, I count him to not have been. (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: nature, love



Poem Submitted: Saturday, January 4, 2003



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