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Geoffrey Chaucer

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

Merciles Beaute


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.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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