Sunday, December 25, 2011

Geoffrey Chaucer's "Complaint to His Purse"

My Translation

Complaint to His Purse

To you, my purse, and to no one else
Complain I, for you be my lady dear.
I am so sorry now that you be light,
For sure but unless you make me heavy cheer,
I were as left to be laid upon my bier,
For which unto your mercy thus I cry
Be heavy again or else I must die.

Now vouchsafe this day before it’s night
That I of you the  blissful sound may hear,
Or see your color like the sun is bright
That of yellowness which has no peer
You are my life, you are my heart’s steer,
Queen of comfort and of good company,
Be heavy again or else I must die.

Now purse that’s been to me my life’s light
And savior as down in this world here
Out of this turn help me through your might
Since you have not been my treasurer
For I am shaved as close as any friar;
But yet I pray unto your courtesy,
Be heavy again or else I must die.

The Envoy of Chaucer:

Oh conqueror of the Brut’s Brittain
Which by that line and free election
Became the very king, this song to you I send,
And you that may all our harms amend,
Have mind upon my supplication.


Original Middle English

Complaint to His Purse

To yow, my purse, and to noon other wight
Complaine I, for ye be my lady dere.
I am so sory now that ye be light,
For certes but if ye make me hevy chere,
Me were as leef be leyd upon my bere,
For which unto your mercy thus I crye
Beth hevy ageyn or elles mot I dye.

Now voucheth-sauf this day er it be night
That I of yow the blisful soun may here,
Or see your colour lyke the sonne bright
That of yelownesse hadde never pere.
Ye be my lyf, ye be myn hertes stere,
Quene of comfort and of good companye,
Beth hevy ageyn or elles mot I dye.

Now purse that been to me my lyves lyght
And saveour as doun in this worlde here
Out of this toune help me thurgh your might
Sin that ye wole nat been my tresorere
For I am shave as nye as any frere;
But yet I prey unto your curtesye,
Beth hevy ageyn or elles mot I dye.

Lenvoy de Chaucer

O conquerour of Brutes Albyoun
Which that by line and free eleccioun
Been verray king, this song to yow I sende,
And ye that mowen alle oure harmes amende
Have minde upon my supplicacioun.

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I view poetry as a kind of conversation, but on a different level, so feel free to write a comment or drop a few lines of verse in response.

Also, please feel free to offer suggestions or edits that can improve the work. I won't take it personally. ;-)