A Complaynte of a Lovers Lyfe - JOHN LYDGATE

In May when Flora, the fressh lusty quene,
The soyle hath clad in grene, rede, and white,
And Phebus gan to shede his stremes shene
Amyd the Bole wyth al the bemes bryght,
And Lucifer, to chace awey the nyght,
Agen the morowe our orysont hath take
To byd lovers out of her slepe awake,

And hertys hevy for to recomforte
From dreryhed of hevy nyghtis sorowe,
Nature bad hem ryse and disporte
Ageyn the goodly, glad, grey morowe;
And Hope also, with Seint John to borowe,
Bad in dispite of Daunger and Dispeyre
For to take the holsome, lusty eyre.

And wyth a sygh I gan for to abreyde
Out of my slombre and sodenly out stert,
As he, alas, that nygh for sorowe deyde –
My sekenes sat ay so nygh myn hert.
But for to fynde socour of my smert,
Or attelest summe relesse of my peyn
That me so sore halt in every veyn,

I rose anon and thoght I wolde goon
Unto the wode to her the briddes sing,
When that the mysty vapour was agoon,
And clere and feyre was the morownyng.
The dewe also, lyk sylver in shynyng
Upon the leves as eny baume suete,
Til firy Tytan with hys persaunt hete

Had dried up the lusty lycour nyw
Upon the herbes in the grene mede,
And that the floures of mony dyvers hywe
Upon her stalkes gunne for to sprede
And for to splay out her leves on brede
Ageyn the sunne, golde-borned in hys spere,
That doun to hem cast hys bemes clere.

And by a ryver forth I gan costey,
Of water clere as berel or cristal,
Til at the last I founde a lytil wey
Touarde a parke enclosed with a wal
In compas rounde; and, by a gate smal,
Hoso that wolde frely myght goon
Into this parke walled with grene stoon.

And in I went to her the briddes songe,
Which on the braunches, bothe in pleyn and vale,
So loude songe that al the wode ronge,
Lyke as hyt sholde shever in pesis smale.
And, as me thoght, that the nyghtyngale
Wyth so grete myght her voys gan out wrest,
Ryght as her hert for love wolde brest.

The soyle was pleyn, smothe, and wonder softe,
Al oversprad wyth tapites that Nature
Had made herselfe, celured eke alofte
With bowys grene, the flores for to cure,
That in her beaute they may longe endure
Fro al assaute of Phebus fervent fere,
Which in his spere so hote shone and clere.

The eyre atempre and the smothe wynde
Of Zepherus amonge the blosmes whyte
So holsomme was and so norysshing be kynde
That smale buddes and rounde blomes lyte
In maner gan of her brethe delyte
To gif us hope that their frute shal take,
Agens autumpne redy for to shake.

I sawe ther Daphene, closed under rynde,
Grene laurer, and the holsomme pyne,
The myrre also, that wepeth ever of kynde,
The cedres high, upryght as a lyne,
The philbert eke, that lowe dothe enclyne
Her bowes grene to the erthe doune
Unto her knyght icalled Demophoune.

Ther saw I eke the fressh hawthorne
In white motele that so soote doth smelle;
Asshe, firre, and oke with mony a yonge acorne,
And mony a tre mo then I can telle.
And me beforne I sawe a litel welle
That had his course, as I gan beholde,
Under an hille with quyke stremes colde.

The gravel golde, the water pure as glas,
The bankys rounde the welle environyng,
And softe as velvet the yonge gras
That therupon lustely gan spryng.
The sute of trees about compassyng
Her shadowe cast, closyng the wel rounde
And al th’erbes grouyng on the grounde.

The water was so holsom and so vertuous
Throgh myghte of erbes grouynge beside –
Nat lyche the welle wher as Narcisus
Islayn was thro vengeaunce of Cupide,
Wher so covertely he did hide
The greyn of deth upon ech brynk
That deth mot folowe, who that evere drynk;

Ne lyche the pitte of the Pegace
Under Parnaso, wher poetys slept;
Nor lyke the welle of pure chastite,
Whiche as Dyane with her nymphes kept
When she naked into the water lept,
That slowe Atteon with his houndes felle
Oonly for he cam so nygh the welle.

But this welle that I her reherse
So holsom was that hyt wolde aswage
Bollyn hertis, and the venym perse
Of pensifhede with al the cruel rage,
And evermore refresh the visage
Of hem that were in eny werynesse
Of gret labour or fallen in distresse.

And I that had throgh Daunger and Disdeyn
So drye a thrust, thoght I wolde assay
To tast a draght of this welle, or tweyn,
My bitter langour yf hyt myght alay;
And on the banke anon doune I lay,
And with myn hede into the welle araght,
And of the watir dranke I a good draght.

Wherof me thoght I was refresshed wel
Of the brynnyng that sate so nyghe my hert
That verely anon I gan to fele
An huge part relesed of my smert;
And therwithalle anon up I stert
And thoght I wolde walke and se more
Forth in the parke and in the holtys hore.

And thorgh a launde as I yede apace
I gan about fast to beholde,
I fonde anon a delytable place
That was beset with trees yong and olde
(Whos names her for me shal not be tolde),
Amyde of which stode an erber grene
That benched was with clourys nyw and clene.

This erber was ful of floures ynde,
Into the whiche, as I beholde gan,
Betwex an hulfere and a wodebynde,
As I was war, I sawe ther lay a man
In blake and white colour, pale and wan,
And wonder dedely also of his hiwe,
Of hurtes grene and fresh woundes nyw.

And overmore destreyned with sekenesse
Besyde, as thus he was ful grevosly,
For upon him he had a hote accesse
That day be day him shoke ful petously,
So that, for constreynyng of hys malady
And hertly wo, thus lyinge al alone,
Hyt was a deth for to her him grone.

Wherof astonied, my fote I gan withdrawe,
Gretly wondring what hit myght be
That he so lay and had no felowe,
Ne that I coude no wyght with him se,
Wherof I had routhe and eke pite;
I gan anon, so softly as I coude,
Amonge the busshes me prively to shroude;

If that I myght in eny wise espye
What was the cause of his dedely woo,
Or why that he so pitously gan crie
On hys fortune and on his eure also,
With al my myght I leyde an ere to
Every worde to marke what he sayed
Out of his swogh among as he abreyde.

But first, yf I shal make mensyon
Of hys persone and pleynly him discrive,
He was in sothe, without excepcion,
To speke of manhod, oon the best on lyve –
Ther may no man agein trouthe stryve –
For of hys tyme, and of his age also,
He proved was ther men shuld have ado.

For oon the best ther of brede and lengthe,
So wel ymade by good proporsion
Yf he had be in his delyver strengthe;
But thoght and sekenesse wer occasion
That he thus lay in lamentacion,
Gruffe on the grounde in place desolate,
Sole by himself, awaped and amate.

And for me semeth that hit ys syttyng
His wordes al to put in remembraunce,
To me that herde al his compleynyng
And al the grounde of his woful chaunce,
Yf therwithal I may yow do plesaunce,
I wol to yow, so as I can, anone
Lych as he seyde reherse everychone.

But who shal helpe me now to compleyn?
Or who shal now my stile guy or lede?
O Nyobe! Let now thi teres reyn
Into my penne and eke helpe in this nede,
Thou woful mirre that felist my hert blede
Of pitouse wo, and my honde eke quake,
When that I write for this mannys sake.

For unto wo acordeth compleynyng,
And delful chere unto hevynesse;
To sorow also, sighing and wepyng
And pitouse morenyng unto drerynesse;
And who that shal write of distresse
In partye nedeth to know felyngly
Cause and rote of al such malady.

But I, alas, that am of wytte but dulle
And have no knowyng of suche mater
For to discryve and wryte at the fulle
The wofull compleynt which that ye shul here,
But even like as doth a skryvener
That can no more what that he shal write
But as his maister beside dothe endyte,

Ryght so fare I, that of no sentement
Sey ryght noght, as in conclusion,
But as I herde when I was present
This man compleyn wyth a pytouse son;
For even lych, wythout addissyon
Or disencrese, outher mor or lesse,
For to reherse anon I wol me dresse.

And yf that eny now be in this place
That fele in love brennyng or fervence,
Or hyndered were to his lady grace
With false tonges that with pestilence
Sle trwe men that never did offence
In worde ne dede, ne in their entent –
Yf eny such be here now present,

Let hym of routhe ley to audyence
With deleful chere and sobre contenaunce
To here this man, be ful high sentence,
His mortal wo and his perturbaunce,
Compleynyng, now lying in a traunce
With loke upcast and reuful chere,
Th’effect of which was as ye shal here.

Compleynt

“The thoght oppressed with inward sighes sore,
The peynful lyve, the body langwysshing,
The woful gost, the hert rent and tore,
The petouse chere pale in compleynyng,
The dedely face lyke asshes in shynyng,
The salt teres that fro myn yen falle,
Parcel declare grounde of my peynes alle.

“Whos hert ys grounde to blede on hevynesse,
The thoght resseyt of woo and of compleynt,
The brest is chest of dule and drerynesse,
The body eke so feble and so feynt.
With hote and colde my acces ys so meynt
That now I shyver for defaute of hete,
And hote as glede now sodenly I suete:

“Now hote as fire, now colde as asshes dede,
Now hote for colde, now cold for hete ageyn,
Now colde as ise, now as coles rede
For hete I bren; and thus betwext tweyn
I possed am, and al forcast in peyn,
So that my hete pleynly, as I fele,
Of grevouse colde ys cause everydele.

“This ys the colde of ynwarde high dysdeyn,
Colde of dyspite, and colde of cruel hate;
This is the colde that evere doth besy peyn
Agens trouthe to fight and debate;
This ys the colde that wolde the fire abate
Of trwe menyng, alas, the harde while;
This ys the colde that will me begile.

“For evere the better that in trouthe I ment
With al my myght feythfully to serve,
With hert and al to be dilygent,
The lesse thanke, alas, I can deserve.
Thus for my trouthe Daunger doth me sterve,
For oon that shuld my deth of mercie let
Hath made Dispite now his suerde to whet

“Agens me and his arowes to file
To take vengeaunce of wilful cruelte;
And tonges fals throgh her sleghtly wile
Han gonne a werre that wol not stynted be;
And fals Envye of wrathe, and Enemyte
Have conspired agens al ryght and lawe,
Of her malis, that Trouthe shal be slawe.

“And Male-Bouche gan first the tale telle
To sclaundre Trouthe of indignacion,
And Fals-Report so loude ronge the belle
That Mysbeleve and Fals-Suspecion
Have Trouthe brought to hys damnacion,
So that, alas, wrongfully he dyeth,
And Falsnes now his place occupieth

“And entred ys into Trouthes londe
And hath therof the ful possessyon.
O ryghtful God, that first the trouthe fonde,
How may Thou suffre such oppressyon,
That Falshed shuld have jurysdixion
In Trouthes ryght, to sle him giltles?
In his fraunchise he may not lyve in pes.

“Falsly accused and of his foon forjuged,
Without unsuer while he was absent
He damned was and may not ben excused,
For Cruelte satte in jugement
Of hastynesse, without avisement,
And bad Disdeyn do execute anon
His jugement in presence of hys fon.

“Atturney non ne may admytted ben
To excuse Trouthe, ne a worde to speke;
To feyth or othe the juge list not sen;
Ther ys no geyn, but he wil be wreke.
O Lorde of Trouthe, to Thee I calle and cleke:
How may Thou se thus in Thy presence
Without mercy mordred Innocence?

“Now God that art of Trouthe sovereyn
And seest how I lye for trouthe bounde,
So sore knytte in Loves firy cheyn,
Even at the deth, thro-girt wyth mony a wounde
That lykly ar never for to sounde,
And for my trouthe am damned to the dethe,
And noght abide but drawe alonge the brethe,

“Consider and se in Thyn eternal sight
How that myn hert professed whilom was
For to be trwe with al my ful myght
Oonly to oon, the which now, alas,
Of volunte, withoute more trespas,
Myn accusurs hath taken unto grace
And cherissheth hem my deth for to purchace.

“What meneth this? What ys this wonder ure
Of purveance, yf I shal hit calle,
Of God of Love that fals hem so assure,
And trew, alas, doun of the whele be falle?
And yet, in sothe, this is the worst of alle:
That Falshed wrongfully of Trouth hath the name,
And Trouthe, agenwarde, of Falshed bereth the blame.

“This blynde chaunce, this stormy aventure,
In love hath most his experience,
For who that doth with Trouth most his cure
Shal for his mede fynde most offence,
That serveth Love with al his diligence;
For who can feyne under loulyhede
Ne fayleth not to fynde grace and spede.

“For I loved oon ful longe sythe agoon
With al my hert, body, and ful myght,
And to be ded my hert cannot goon
From his hest, but hold that he hath hight.
Thogh I be banysshed out of her syght
And by her mouthe damned that I shal deye,
Unto my behest yet I wil ever obeye.

“For evere sithe that the worlde began,
Whoso lyste loke and in storie rede,
He shal ay fynde that the trwe man
Was put abake, wheras the falshede
Ifurthered was, for Love taketh no hede
To sle the trwe and hath of hem no charge,
Wheras the fals goth frely at her large.

“I take recorde of Palamides,
The trwe man, the noble worthy knyght,
That ever loved, and of hys peyne no relese;
Notwithstondyng his manhode and his myght,
Love unto him did ful grete unright,
For ay the bette he did in chevalrye,
The more he was hindred by envye;

“And ay the bette he dyd in every place
Throgh his knyghthode and besy peyn,
The ferther was he fro his ladys grace,
For to her mercie myght he never ateyn,
And to his deth he coude hyt not refreyn
For no daunger, but ay obey and serve
As he best coude, pleynly til he sterve.

“What was the fyne also of Ercules,
For al his conquest and his worthynesse,
That was of strengthe alone pereles?
For, lyke as bokes of him list expresse,
He set pilers thro his high prouesse
Away at Cades for to signifie
That no man myght hym passe in chevalrie;

“The whiche pilers ben ferre by-yonde Ynde
Beset of golde for a remembraunce.
And, for al that, was he sete behynde
With hem that Love list febly avaunce;
For him set laste upon a daunce
Agens whom helpe may no strife –
For al his trouth, he lost his lyfe.

“Phebus also, for al his persaunt lyght,
When that he went her in erthe lowe
Unto the hert with Venus sight
Ywounded was thro Cupides bowe;
And yet his lady list him not to knowe,
Thogh for her love his hert did blede;
She let him go and toke of him non hede.

“What shal I say of yong Piramus?
Of trwe Tristram for al his high renoune?
Of Achilles or of Antonyas?
Of Arcite or of him, Palamoune?
What was the ende of her passion
But after sorowe, dethe, and then her grave?
Lo, her the guerdon that lovers have!

“But false Jasoun with his doublenesse,
That was untrwe at Colkos to Mede;
And Tereus, rote of unkyndenesse;
And with these two eke the fals Ene.
Lo, thus the fals ay in oon degre
Had in love her lust and al her wille,
And save falshed ther was non other skille.

“Of Thebes eke the fals Arcite,
And Demophon eke for his slouthe,
They had her lust and al that myght delyte
For al her falshede and grete untrouthe.
Thus ever Love, alas, and that is routhe,
His fals legys furthereth what he may
And sleeth the trwe ungoodly day be day.

“For trwe Adon was slayn with the bore
Amyde the forest in the grene shade,
For Venus love he felt al the sore.
But Vulcanus with her no mercy made;
The foule cherle had many nyghtis glade,
Wher Mars, her worthi knyght, her trewe man,
To fynde mercy, comfort noon he can.

“Also the yonge, fressh Ipomones,
So lusty fre as of his corage,
That for to serve with al his hert ches
Athalans, so feire of her visage.
But Love, alas, quyte him so his wage
With cruel daunger pleynly at the last,
That with the dethe guerdonlesse he past.

“Lo, her the fyne of lovers servise!
Lo, how that Love can his servantis quyte!
Lo, how he can his feythful men dispise
To sle the trwe men and fals to respite!
Lo, how he doth the suerde of sorowe byte
In hertis suche as must his lust obey
To save the fals and do the trwe dey!

“For feythe nor othe, worde ne assuraunce,
Trwe menyng, awayte, or besynesse,
Stil port, ne feythful attendaunce,
Manhode, ne myght in armes, worthinesse,
Pursute of wurschip, nor high prouesse,
In straunge londe rydinge ne travayle –
Ful lyte or noght in love dothe avayle.

“Peril of dethe, nother in se ne londe,
Hungre ne thrust, sorowe ne sekenesse,
Ne grete emprises for to take on honde,
Shedyng of blode, ne manful hardynesse,
Nor ofte woundynge at sawtes by distresse,
Nor jupartyng of lyfe, nor dethe also –
Al ys for noghte, Love taketh non hede therto.

“But Lesynges with her fals flaterye,
Thro her falshed and with her doublenesse,
With tales new and mony feyned lye,
By false semlaunce and contrefet humblesse,
Under colour depeynt with stidfastnesse,
With fraude cured under a pitouse face,
Accept ben now rathest unto grace,

“And can hemself now best magnifie
With feyned port and presumpsion.
They haunce her cause with fals surquedrie,
Under menyng of double-entencion,
To thenken on in her opynyon
And sey another, to set hemselfe alofte
And hynder Truthe, as hit ys seyn ful ofte.

“The whiche thing I bye now al to dere,
Thanked be Venus and the god Cupide,
As hit is seen by myn oppressed chere
And by his arowes that stiken in my syde,
That, safe the dethe, I nothing abide
Fro day to day – alas, the harde while!
Whenevere hys dart that hym list to fyle,

“My woful hert for to ryve atwo
For faute of mercye and lake of pite
Of her that causeth al my peyn and woo
And list not ones of grace for to see
Unto my trouthe throgh her cruelte.
And most of al I me compleyn
That she hath joy to laughen at my peyn

“And wilfully hath my dethe sworone
Al giltles and wote no cause why,
Safe for the trouthe that I have hade aforne
To her allone to serve feythfully.
O God of Love, unto thee I crie
And to thy blende, double deyte
Of this grete wrong I compleyn me,

“And unto thy stormy, wilful variaunce,
Imeynt with chaunge and gret unstablesse:
Now up, now down, so rennyng is thy chaunce
That thee to trust may be no sikernesse,
I wite hit nothinge but thi doublenesse;
And who that is an archer and ys blynde
Marketh nothing, but sheteth by wenynge.

“And for that he hath no discrecion
Withoute avise he let his arowe goo,
For lak of syght and also of resoun,
In his shetyng hit happeth oft soo
To hurt his frende rathir then his foo.
So doth this god with his sharpe flon
The trwe sleeth and leteth the fals gon.

“And of his woundyng this is the worst of alle:
When he hurteth he dothe so cruel wreche
And maketh the seke for to crie and calle
Unto his foo for to ben his leche;
And herd hit ys for a man to seche
Upon the poynt of dethe in jupardie
Unto his foo to fynde remedye.

“Thus fareth hit now even by me,
That to my foo that gaf my hert a wounde
Mot axe grace, mercie, and pite,
And namely ther wher noon may be founde,
For now my sore my leche wol confounde;
And God of kynde so hath set myn ure
My lyves foo to have my wounde in cure.

“Alas the while now that I was borne
Or that I ever saugh the bright sonne!
For now I se that ful longe aforne,
Er I was borne, my destanye was sponne
By Parcas sustren, to sle me if they conne,
For they my dethe shopen or my shert,
Oonly for trouthe I may hit not astert.

“The myghty goddesse also of Nature,
That under God hath the governaunce
Of worldly thinges commytted to her cure,
Disposed hath thro her wyse purveaunce
To give my lady so moche suffisaunce
Of al vertues and therwithal purvyde
To mordre Trouthe hath taken Daunger to guyde.

“For bounte, beaute, shappe, and semelyhed,
Prudence, wite, passyngly fairenesse,
Benigne port, glad chere with loulyhed,
Of womanhed ryght plenteuous largesse,
Nature in her fully did empresse
Whan she her wroght, and altherlast Dysdeyne
To hinder Trouthe she made her chambreleyne,

“When Mystrust also, and Fals-Suspecion
With Mysbeleve, she made for to be
Chefe of counseyle, to this conclusion:
For to exile Routhe and eke Pite,
Out of her court to make Mercie fle,
So that Dispite now haldeth forth her reyn
Thro hasty beleve of tales that men feyn.

“And thus I am for my trouthe, alas,
Mordred and slayn with wordis sharp and kene,
Giltles, God wote, of al trespas,
And lye and blede upon this colde grene.
Now mercie, suete, mercye my lyves quene!
And to youre grace of mercie yet I prey,
In your servise that your man may dey.

“But and so be that I shall deye alagate,
And that I shal non other mercye have,
Yet of my dethe let this be the date
That by youre wille I was broght to my grave.
Or hastely, yf that ye list me save,
My sharpe woundes that ake so and blede
Of mercie charme, and also of womanhede.

“For other charme pleynly ys ther noon,
But only mercie, to helpe in this case;
For thogh my wounde blede evere in oon,
My lyve, my deth, stont in your grace;
And thogh my gilt be nothing, alace,
I axe mercie in al my best entent
Redy to dye yf that ye assent.

“For theragens shal I never strive
In worde ne werke, pleynly I ne may,
For lever I have then to be alyve
To dye sothely, and hit be her to pay;
Ye, thogh hit be this ech same day,
Or when that ever her lust to devyse,
Sufficeth me to dye in your servise.

“And God, that knowest the thoght of every wyght
Ryght as hit is in everything Thou maist se,
Yet er I dye, with al my ful myght
Louly I prey, to graunte unto me
That ye, goodly, feir, fressh, and fre,
Which sle me oonly for defaut of routhe,
Er then I die, may know my trouthe.

“For that in sothe suffiche me,
And she hit knowe in every circumstaunce,
And after I am welpayed that she,
Yf that her lyst, of deth to do vengeaunce
Unto me that am under her legeaunce;
Hit sitte me not her doom to dysobey
But at her lust wilfully to dey.

“Wythout gruching or rebellion
In wil or worde holy I assent,
Or eny maner contradixion,
Fully to be at her commaundement.
And yf I dye, in my testament
My hert I send and my spirit also,
Whatsoever she list with hem to do.

“And alderlast to her womanhede
And to her mercy me I recommaunde,
That lye now here betwext hope and drede,
Abyding pleynly what she list commaunde;
For utterly – this nys no demaunde –
Welcome to me while me lasteth brethe,
Ryght at her chose, wher hit be lyf or dethe.

“In this mater more what myght I seyn,
Sithe in her honde and in her wille ys alle:
Bothe lyf and dethe, my joy and al my peyn.
And fynally my hest holde I shall
Til my spirit be destanye fatal
When that her list fro my body wynde.
Have her my trouthe, and thus I make an ynde.”

And with that worde he gan sike as sore
Lyke as his hert ryve wolde atweyne
And holde his pese and spake a worde no more.
But for to se his woo and mortal peyn,
The teres gan fro myn eyen reyn
Ful piteusly, for verry inwarde routhe
That I hym sawe so languysshing for his trouthe.

And al this wile myself I kep close
Amonge the bowes and myself gunne hide,
Til at the last the woful man arose
And to a logge went ther besyde
Wher al the May his custom was to abide,
Sole to compleyn of his peynes kene
Fro yer to yer under the bowes grene.

And for because that hit drowe to the nyght,
And that the sunne his arke diurnall
Ipassed was, so that his persaunt lyght,
His bryght bemes, and his stremes all
Were in the wawes of the water fall,
Under the bordure of our occean
His chare of golde his course so swyftly ran;

And while the twilyght and the rowes rede
Of Phebus lyght wer deaurat a lyte,
A penne I toke and gan me fast spede
The woful pleynt of this man to write,
Worde be worde as he dyd endyte:
Lyke as I herde and coude him tho reporte
I have here set, your hertis to dysporte.

Iff oght be mys, leyth the wite on me,
For I am worthy for to bere the blame
Yf enything mysreported be
To make this dite for to seme lame
Thro myn unkynnyng. But for to sey the same,
Lyke as this man his compleynt did expresse,
I axe mercie and forgevenesse.

And as I wrote me thoght I sawe aferre
Fer in the west lustely appere
Esperus, the goodly bryght sterre,
So glad, so feire, so persaunt eke of chere:
I mene Venus with her bemys clere
That hevy hertis oonly to releve
Is wont of custom for to shew at eve.

And I as fast fel doun on my kne
And even thus to her I gan to preie:
“O lady Venus, so feire upon to se,
Let not this man for his trouthe dey,
For that joy thou haddest when thou ley
With Mars thi knyght, whom Vulcanus founde
And with a cheyne unvisible yow bounde

“Togedre both tweyne in the same while,
That al the court above celestial
At youre shame gan laughe and smyle.
O feire lady, wel-willy founde at al,
Comfort to carefull, O goddesse immortal,
Be helpyng now and do thy diligence
To let the stremes of thin influence

“Descende doune in furtheryng of the trouthe,
Namely of hem that lie in sorow bounde:
Shew now thy myght and on her wo have routhe
Er fals Daunger sle hem and confounde.
And specialy let thy myght be founde
For to socour, whatso that thou may,
The trew man that in the erber lay.

“And al trew further for his sake,
O glad sterre, O lady Venus myn,
And cause his lady him to grace take,
Her hert of stele to mercy so enclyne
Er that thy bemes go up to declyne,
And er that thou now go fro us adoune
For that love thou haddest to Adon.”

And when she was goon to her rest
I rose anon and home to bed went
For verry wery, me thoght hit for the best,
Preyng thus in al my best entent
That al trew that be with Daunger shent
With mercie may, in reles of her peyn,
Recured be er May come eft agen.

And for that I ne may noo lenger wake,
Farewel, ye lovers al that be trewe,
Prayng to God, and thus my leve I take,
That er the sunne tomorowe be ryse newe,
And er he have agen his rosen hewe,
That eche of yow may have such a grace
His oune lady in armes to embrace.

I mene thus: that in al honeste,
Withoute more, ye may togedre speke
Whatso yow list at good liberte,
That eche may to other her hert breke,
On Jelosie oonly to be wreke,
That hath so longe of his malice and envie
Werred Trouthe with his tiranye.

L’envoye

Princes, pleseth hit your benignite
This litil dite to have in mynde,
Of womanhede also for to se,
Your trew man may summe mercie fynde,
And pite eke that longe hath be behynde
Let him agein be provoked to grace.
For, by my trouthe, hit is agens kynde
Fals Daunger to occupie his place.

L’envoye de quare

Go, litel quayre, go unto my lyves quene
And my verry hertis sovereigne,
And be ryght glad for she shal thee sene –
Such is thi grace, but I, alas, in peyne
Am left behinde and not to whom to pleyn,
For Mercie, Routhe, Grace, and eke Pite
Exiled be, that I may not ateyne
Recure to fynde of myn adversite.

A Complaynte of a Lovers Lyfe