Verse > Geoffrey Chaucer > Complete Poetical Works
Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1894.
The Minor Poems
I. An A. B. C.
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ALMIGHTY and al merciable quene,
To whom that al this world fleeth for socour,
To have relees of sinne, sorwe and tene,
Glorious virgine, of alle floures flour,
To thee I flee, confounded in errour!        5
Help and releve, thou mighty debonaire,
Have mercy on my perilous langour!
Venquisshed me hath my cruel adversaire.
BOUNTEE so fix hath in thyn herte his tente,
That wel I wot thou wolt my socour be,        10
Thou canst not warne him that, with good entente,
Axeth thyn help. Thyn herte is ay so free,
Thou art largesse of pleyn felicitee,
Haven of refut, of quiete and of reste.
Lo, how that theves seven chasen me!        15
Help, lady bright, er that my ship to-breste!
COMFORT is noon, but in yow, lady dere,
For lo, my sinne and my confusioun,
Which oughten not in thy presence appere,
Han take on me a grevous accioun        20
Of verrey right and desperacioun;
And, as by right, they mighten wel sustene
That I were worthy my dampnacioun,
Nere mercy of you, blisful hevene quene.
DOUTE is ther noon, thou queen of misericorde,        25
That thou nart cause of grace and mercy here;
God vouched sauf thurgh thee with us tacorde.
For certes, Cristes blisful moder dere,
Were now the bowe bent in swich manere,
As it was first, of Iustice and of yre,        30
The rightful God nolde of no mercy here;
But thurgh thee han we grace, as we desyre.
EVER hath myn hope of refut been in thee,
For heer-biforn ful ofte, in many a wyse,
Hast thou to misericorde receyved me.        35
But mercy, lady, at the grete assyse,
Whan we shul come bifore the hye Iustyse!
So litel fruit shal thanne in me be founde,
That, but thou er that day me wel chastyse,
Of verrey right my werk me wol confounde.        40
FLEEING, I flee for socour to thy tente
Me for to hyde from tempest ful of drede,
Biseching you that ye you not absente,
Though I be wikke. O help yit at this nede!
Al have I been a beste in wille and dede,        45
Yit, lady, thou me clothe with thy grace.
Thyn enemy and myn—lady, tak hede,
Un-to my deth in poynt is me to chace.
GLORIOUS mayde and moder, which that never
Were bitter, neither in erthe nor in see,        50
But ful of swetnesse and of mercy ever,
Help that my fader be not wroth with me!
Spek thou, for I ne dar not him y-see.
So have I doon in erthe, allas ther-whyle!
That certes, but-if thou my socour be,        55
To stink eterne he wol my gost exyle.
HE vouched sauf, tel him, as was his wille,
Bicome a man, to have our alliaunce,
And with his precious blood he wroot the bille
Up-on the crois, as general acquitaunce,        60
To every penitent in ful creaunce;
And therfor, lady bright, thou for us praye.
Than shalt thou bothe stinte al his grevaunce,
And make our foo to failen of his praye.
I wot it wel, thou wolt ben our socour,        65
Thou art so ful of bountee, in certeyn.
For, whan a soule falleth in errour,
Thy pitee goth and haleth him ayeyn.
Than makest thou his pees with his sovereyn,
And bringest him out of the crooked strete.        70
Who-so thee loveth he shal not love in veyn,
That shal he finde, as he the lyf shal lete.
KALENDERES enlumined ben they
That in this world ben lighted with thy name,
And who-so goth to you the righte wey,        75
Him thar not drede in soule to be lame.
Now, queen of comfort, sith thou art that same
To whom I seche for my medicyne,
Lat not my foo no more my wounde entame,
Myn hele in-to thyn hand al I resigne.        80
LADY, thy sorwe can I not portreye
Under the cros, ne his grevous penaunce.
But, for your bothes peynes, I you preye,
Lat not our alder foo make his bobaunce,
That he hath in his listes of mischaunce        85
Convict that ye bothe have bought so dere.
As I seide erst, thou ground of our substaunce,
Continue on us thy pitous eyen clere!
MOISES, that saugh the bush with flaumes rede
Brenninge, of which ther never a stikke brende,        90
Was signe of thyn unwemmed maidenhede.
Thou art the bush on which ther gan descende
The Holy Gost, the which that Moises wende
Had ben a-fyr; and this was in figure.
Now lady, from the fyr thou us defende        95
Which that in helle eternally shal dure.
NOBLE princesse, that never haddest pere,
Certes, if any comfort in us be,
That cometh of thee, thou Cristes moder dere,
We han non other melodye or glee        100
Us to reioyse in our adversitee,
Ne advocat noon that wol and dar so preye
For us, and that for litel hyre as ye,
That helpen for an Ave-Marie or tweye.
O verrey light of eyen that ben blinde,        105
O verrey lust of labour and distresse,
O tresorere of bountee to mankinde,
Thee whom God chees to moder for humblesse!
From his ancille he made thee maistresse
Of hevene and erthe, our bille up for to bede.        110
This world awaiteth ever on thy goodnesse,
For thou ne failest never wight at nede.
PURPOS I have sum tyme for tenquere,
Wherfore and why the Holy Gost thee soughte,
Whan Gabrielles vois cam to thyn ere.        115
He not to werre us swich a wonder wroughte,
But for to save us that he sithen boughte.
Than nedeth us no wepen us for to save,
But only ther we did not, as us oughte,
Do penitence, and mercy axe and have.        120
QUEEN of comfort, yit whan I me bithinke
That I agilt have bothe, him and thee,
And that my soule is worthy for to sinke,
Allas, I, caitif, whider may I flee?
Who shal un-to thy sone my mene be?        125
Who, but thy-self, that art of pitee welle?
Thou hast more reuthe on our adversitee
Than in this world mighte any tunge telle.
REDRESSE me, moder, and me chastyse,
For, certeynly, my fadres chastisinge        130
That dar I nought abyden in no wyse:
So hidous is his rightful rekeninge.
Moder, of whom our mercy gan to springe,
Beth ye my Iuge and eek my soules leche;
For ever in you is pitee haboundinge        135
To ech that wol of pitee you biseche.
SOTH is, that God ne graunteth no pitee
With-oute thee; for God, of his goodnesse,
Foryiveth noon, but it lyke un-to thee.
He hath thee maked vicaire and maistresse        140
Of al the world, and eek governeresse
Of hevene, and he represseth his Iustyse
After thy wille, and therefore in witnesse
He hath thee crouned in so ryal wyse.
TEMPLE devout, ther god hath his woninge.        145
Fro which these misbileved pryved been,
To you my soule penitent I bringe.
Receyve me! I can no ferther fleen!
With thornes venimous, O hevene queen,
For which the erthe acursed was ful yore,        150
I am so wounded, as ye may wel seen,
That I am lost almost;—it smert so sore.
VIRGINE, that art so noble of apparaile,
And ledest us in-to the hye tour
Of Paradys, thou me wisse and counsaile,        155
How I may have thy grace and thy socour;
Al have I been in filthe and in errour.
Lady, un-to that court thou me aiourne
That cleped is thy bench, O fresshe flour!
Ther-as that mercy ever shal soiourne.        160
XRISTUS, thy sone, that in this world alighte,
Up-on the cros to suffre his passioun,
And eek, that Longius his herte pighte,
And made his herte blood to renne adoun;
And al was this for my salvacioun;        165
And I to him am fals and eek unkinde,
And yit he wol not my dampnacioun—
This thanke I you, socour of al mankinde.
YSAAC was figure of his deeth, certeyn,
That so fer-forth his fader wolde obeye        170
That him ne roughte no-thing to be slayn;
Right so thy sone list, as a lamb, to deye.
Now lady, ful of mercy, I you preye,
Sith he his mercy mesured so large,
Be ye not skant; for alle we singe and seye        175
That ye ben from vengeaunce ay our targe.
ZACHARIE you clepeth the open welle
To wasshe sinful soule out of his gilt.
Therfore this lessoun oughte I wel to telle
That, nere thy tender herte, we weren spilt.        180
Now lady brighte, sith thou canst and wilt
Ben to the seed of Adam merciable,
So bring us to that palais that is bilt
To penitents that ben to mercy able.    Amen.

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