Percy's Reliques - An original Ballad by Chaucer.

An original Ballad by Chaucer.

            This little sonnet, which hath escaped all the editors of Chaucer's works, is now printed for the first time from an ancient manuscript in the Pepysian Library, that contains many other poems of its venerable author. The versification is of that species, which the French call Rondeau, very naturally Englished by our honest countrymen Round O. Though so early adopted by them, our ancestors had not the honour of inventing it: Chaucer picked it up, along with other better things, among the neighbouring nations. A fondness for laborious trifles hath always prevailed in the dark ages of literature. The Greek poets have had their wings and axes: the great father of English poesy may therefore be pardoned one poor solitary rondeau. Geoffrey Chaucer died Oct. 25, 1400, aged 72.

I. 1.

YOURE two eyn will sle me sodenly,
I may the beaute of them not sustene,
So wendeth it thorowout my herte kene.

2.

And but your words will helen hastely
My hertis wound, while that it is grene,
Youre two eyn will sle me sodenly.

3.

Upon my trouth I sey yow feithfully,
That ye ben of my life and deth the quene;
For with my deth the trouth shal be sene.
Youre two eyn, &c.

II. 1.

So hath youre beauty fro your herte chased
Pitee, that me n' availeth not to pleyn;
For daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.

2.

Giltless my deth thus have ye purchased;
I sey yow soth, me nedeth not to fayn:
So hath your beaute fro your herte chased.

3.

Alas, that nature hath in yow compassed
So grete beaute, that no man may atteyn
To mercy, though he sterve for the peyn.
So hath youre beaute, &c.

III .1.

Syn I fro love escaped am so fat,
I nere think to ben in his prison lene;
Syn I am fre, I counte hym not a bene.

2.

He may answere, and sey this and that,
I do no fors, I speak ryght as I mene:
Syn I fro love escaped am so fat.

3.

Love hath my name i-strike out of his sclat,
And he is strike out of my bokes clene:
For ever mo ther is non other mene.
Syn I fro love escaped, &c.

 

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