Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
Extracts from The Hous of Fame
By Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400)
(See full text.)

          [Chaucer dreams that he is carried up by an eagle to the House of Fame, midway between heaven, earth, and sea. The eagle thus explains why Jove does him this honour.]

‘BUT er I bere thee mochë ferre, 1
I wol thee tellë what I am,
And whider thou shalt, and why I cam
To do thys, so that thou [thee] take
Good herte, and not for ferë quake.’        5
‘Gladly,’ quod I. ‘Now wel,’ quod he:
‘First, I, that in my feet have thee,
Of which thou hast a fere and wonder,
Am dwellyng with the god of thonder,
Whiche that men callen Jupiter,        10
That dooth me flee ful oftë fer
To do al hys comaundëment.
And for this cause he hath me sent
To thee: now herkë, be thy trouthe!
Certeyn he hath of thee routhe,        15
That thou so longë trewëly
Hast served so ententyfly 2
Hys blyndë nevew 3 Cupido,
And fairë Venus also,
Withoutë guerdoun ever yit,        20
And nevertheles hast set thy wit,
(Although [that] in thy hede ful lyt is)
To makë songës, bokes, and dytees,
In ryme, or ellës in cadence,
As thou best conne, in reverence        25
Of Love, and of hys servantes eke,
That have hys servyse soght, and seke;
And peynest the to preyse hys art,
Although thou haddest never part;
Wherfore, al-so God me blesse,        30
Jovës halt 4 hyt gret humblesse,
And vertu eke, that thou wolt make
A nyght ful ofte thyn hede to ake,
In thy studyë so thou writest,
And evermo of love enditest,        35
In honour of hym and preysynges,
And in his folkës furtherynges,
And in hir matere al devisest,
And noght hym nor his folk dispisest,
Although thou maist goo in the daunce        40
Of hem that hym lyst not avaunce.
Wherfore, as I seyde, ywys,
Jupiter considereth this;
And also, beausir, other thynges;
That is, that thou hast no tydynges        45
Of Lovës folke, yf they be glade,
Ne of noght ellës that God made;
And noght oonly fro fer contree,
That ther no tydyng cometh to thee,
Not of thy verray neyghëbores,        50
That dwellen almost at thy dores,
Thou herest neyther that nor this,
For when thy labour doon al ys,
And hast made al thy rekënynges,
Instede of reste and newë thynges,        55
Thou goost home to thy house anoon,
And, also 5 domb as any stoon,
Thou sittest at another booke,
Tyl fully dasewyd 6 ys thy looke,
And lyvest thus as an heremyte,        60
Although thyn abstynence ys lyte.
And therfore Jovës, through hys grace,
Wol that I bere thee to a place,
Which that hight the Hous of Fame,
To do thee som disport and game,        65
In som recompensacioun
Of labour and devocioun
That thou hast had, loo! causëles,
To Cupido the rechchëles.
Note 1. further. [back]
Note 2. attentively. [back]
Note 3. grandson (nepos). [back]
Note 4. holds, deems. [back]
Note 5. quite as. [back]
Note 6. dazed. [back]

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