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The Canterbury Tales and Other Works of Chaucer (Middle English), by Geoffery Chaucer, [14th cent.], at

The Shorter Poems

The Complaint of Venus

 Ther nys so high comfort to my pleasaunce,
 When that I am in any hevynesse,
 As for to have leyser of remembraunce
 Upon the manhod and the worthynesse,
 Upon the trouthe and on the stidfastnesse
 Of him whos I am al, while I may dure.
 Ther oghte blame me no creature,
 For every wight preiseth his gentilesse.
 In him is bounte, wysdom, governaunce,
10 Wel more then any mannes wit can gesse,
 For grace hath wold so ferforth hym avaunce
 That of knyghthod 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,
 For every wight preyseth his gentilesse.
 And notwithstondyng al his suffisaunce,
 His gentil herte is of so gret humblesse
 To me in word, in werk, in contenaunce,
20 And me to serve is al his besynesse,
 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.
 Now certis, Love, hit is right covenable
 That men ful dere bye thy nobil thing,
 As wake abedde and fasten at the table,
 Wepinge to laughe and singe in compleynyng,
 And doun to caste visage and lokyng,
30 Often to chaunge hewe and contenaunce,
 Pleyne in slepyng and dremen at the daunce,
 Al the revers of any glad felyng.
 Jelosie be hanged by a cable!
 She wolde al knowe thurgh her espying;
 Ther doth no wyght nothing so resonable
 That al nys harm in her ymagenyng.
 Thus dere abought is Love in yevyng,
 Which ofte he yiveth withouten ordynaunce,
 As sorwe ynogh and litil of plesaunce,
40 Al the revers of any glad felyng.
 A lytel tyme his yift ys agreable,
 But ful encomberous is the usyng,
 For subtil Jelosie, the deceyvable,
 Ful often tyme causeth desturbyng.
 Thus be we ever in drede and sufferyng;
 In nouncerteyn we languisshe in penaunce,
 And han wele ofte many an hard mischaunce,
 Al the revers of any glad felyng.
 But certes, Love, I sey not in such wise
50 That for t' escape out of youre las I mente,
 For I so longe have ben in your servise
 That for to lete of wil I never assente;
 No fors thogh Jelosye me turmente.
 Sufficeth me to sen hym when I may,
 And therfore certes, to myn endyng day
 To love hym best ne shal I never repente.
 And certis, Love, when I me wel avise
 On any estat that man may represente,
 Then have ye made me thurgh your fraunchise
60 Chese the best that ever on erthe wente.
 Now love wel, herte, and lok thou never stente,
 And let the jelous putte it in assay
 That for no peyne wol I not sey nay;
 To love him best ne shal I never repente.
 Herte, to the hit oughte ynogh suffise
 That Love so high a grace to the sente
 To chese the worthieste in alle wise
 And most agreable unto myn entente.
 Seche no ferther, neythir wey ne wente,
70 Sith I have suffisaunce unto my pay.
 Thus wol I ende this compleynt or this lay;
 To love hym best ne shal I never repente.
 Princes, receyveth this compleynt in gre,
 Unto your excelent benignite
 Direct after my litel suffisaunce.
 For elde, that in my spirit dulleth me,
 Hath of endyting al the subtilte
 Wel nygh bereft out of my remembraunce,
 And eke to me it ys a gret penaunce,
80 Syth rym in Englissh hath such skarsete,
 To folowe word by word the curiosite
 Of Graunson, flour of hem that make in Fraunce.

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