Forrest Hainline
Washington, DC
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Merciless Beauty, Geoffrey Chaucer (Forrest Hainline's Minimalist Translation)

I. CAPTIVITY

Your two eyes will slay me suddenly
I may the beauty of them not sustain,
So wounded, hit throughout my heart keen.

And but your word will heal hastily
My heart’s wound, while that hit is green,
Your two eyes will slay me suddenly
I may the beauty of them not sustain,

Upon my truth I say you faithfully,
That you’ve been of my life’s death the queen;
For with my death the truth shall be seen.
Your two eyes will slay me suddenly
I may the beauty of them not sustain,
So wounded, hit throughout my heart keen.

II. REJECTION

So has your beauty from your heart chased
Pity, that it avails me not to complain;
For Danger holds your mercy in his chain.

Guiltless my death thus have you purchased;
I say you truly, I need not to faint;
So has your beauty from your heart chased
Pity, that it avails me not to complain.

Alas! that nature has in you compassed
So great beauty; that no man may attain
To mercy, though he starves for the pain.
So has your beauty from your heart chased
Pity, that it avails me not to complain.
For Danger holds your mercy in his chain.

III. ESCAPE

Since I from love escaped am so fat,
I never think to be in his prison lean;
Since I am free, I count him not a bene.

He may answer, and say this or that;
I do not force, I speak right as I mean.
Since I from love escaped am so fat,
I never think to be in his prison lean;

Love has my name stricken out of his slate,
And he is stricken out of my books clean
For evermore; there’s no other mean.
Since I from love escaped am so fat,
I never think to be in his prison lean;
Since I am free, I count him not a bene.

© 2007 Forrest Hainline
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