Verse > Geoffrey Chaucer > Complete Poetical Works
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Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1894.
 
The Minor Poems
XVIII. The Compleynt of Venus
 
I. (The Lover’s worthiness.)

THER nis so hy comfort to my plesaunce,
Whan that I am in any hevinesse,
As for to have leyser of remembraunce
Upon the manhod and the worthinesse,
Upon the trouthe, and on the stedfastnesse        5
Of him whos I am al, whyl I may dure;
Ther oghte blame me no creature,
For every wight preiseth his gentilesse.
 
In him is bountee, wisdom, governaunce
Wel more then any mannes wit can gesse;        10
For grace hath wold so ferforth him avaunce
That of knighthode he is parfit richesse.
Honour honoureth him for his noblesse;
Therto so wel hath formed him Nature,
That I am his for ever, I him assure,        15
For every wight preiseth his gentilesse.
 
And not-withstanding al his suffisaunce,
His gentil herte is of so greet humblesse
To me in worde, in werke, in contenaunce,
And me to serve is al his besinesse,        20
That I am set in verrey sikernesse.
Thus oghte I blesse wel myn aventure,
Sith that him list me serven and honoure;
For every wight preiseth his gentilesse.
 
II. (Disquietude caused by Jealousy.)

Now certes, Love, hit is right covenable
        25
That men ful dere bye thy noble thing,
As wake a-bedde, and fasten at the table,
Weping to laughe, and singe in compleyning,
And doun to caste visage and loking,
Often to chaungen hewe and contenaunce,        30
Pleyne in sleping, and dremen at the daunce,
Al the revers of any glad feling.
 
Ialousye be hanged by a cable!
She wolde al knowe through hir espying;
Ther doth no wight no-thing so resonable,        35
That al nis harm in hir imagening.
Thus dere abought is love in yeving,
Which ofte he yiveth with-outen ordinaunce,
As sorow ynogh, and litel of plesaunce,
Al the revers of any glad feling.        40
 
A litel tyme his yift is agreable,
But ful encomberous is the using;
For sotel Ialousye, the deceyvable,
Ful often-tyme causeth destourbing.
Thus be we ever in drede and suffering,        45
In nouncerteyn we languisshe in penaunce,
And han ful often many an hard meschaunce,
Al the revers of any glad feling.
 
III. (Satisfaction in Constancy.)

But certes, Love, I sey nat in such wyse
That for tescape out of your lace I mente;        50
For I so longe have been in your servyse
That for to lete of wol I never assente;
No force thogh Ialousye me tormente;
Suffyceth me to see him whan I may,
And therfore certes, to myn ending-day        55
To love him best ne shal I never repente.
 
And certes, Love, whan I me wel avyse
On any estat that man may represente,
Than have ye maked me, through your franchyse,
Chese the best that ever on erthe wente.        60
Now love wel, herte, and look thou never stente;
And let the Ielous putte hit in assay
That, for no peyne wol I nat sey nay;
To love him best ne shal I never repente.
 
Herte, to thee hit oghte y-nogh suffyse        65
That Love so hy a grace to thee sente,
To chese the worthiest in alle wyse
And most agreable unto myn entente.
Seche no ferther, neyther wey ne wente,
Sith I have suffisaunce unto my pay.        70
Thus wol I ende this compleynt or lay;
To love him best ne shal I never repente.
 
Lenvoy.

Princess, receyveth this compleynt in gree,
Unto your excellent benignitee
  Direct after my litel suffisaunce.        75
For eld, that in my spirit dulleth me,
Hath of endyting al the soteltee
  Wel ny bereft out of my remembraunce;
  And eek to me hit is a greet penaunce,
Sith rym in English hath swich scarsitee,        80
To folowe word by word the curiositee
  Of Graunson, flour of hem that make in Fraunce.
 
 
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