A Complaint to His Lady

By Geoffrey Chaucer

Lady 1 The longe nightes, whan every creature
Lady 2 Shulde have hir rest in somwhat as by kynde,
Lady 3 Or elles ne may hir lif nat longe endure,
Lady 4 Hit falleth most into my woful mynde
Lady 5 How I so fer have broght myself behynde
Lady 6 That, sauf the deeth, ther may nothyng me lisse,
Lady 7 So desespaired I am from alle blisse.
Lady 8 This same thoght me lasteth til the morwe
Lady 9 And from the morwe forth til hit be eve;
Lady 10 Ther nedeth me no care for to borwe,
Lady 11 For bothe I have good leyser and good leve;
Lady 12 Ther is no wyght that wol me wo bereve
Lady 13 To wepe ynogh and wailen al my fille;
Lady 14 The sore spark of peyne now doth me spille.
Lady 15 This Love, that hath me set in such a place
Lady 16 That my desir [he] nevere wol fulfille,
Lady 17 For neither pitee, mercy, neither grace
Lady 18 Can I nat fynde, and yit my sorwful herte
Lady 19 For to be deed I can hit nought arace.
Lady 20 The more I love, the more she doth me smerte,
Lady 21 Thourgh which I see withoute remedye
Lady 22 That from the deeth I may no wyse asterte.
Lady 23 Now sothly what she hight I wol reherse:
Lady 24 Hir name is Bountee set in womanhede,
Lady 25 Sadnesse in youthe and Beautee prydelees
Lady 26 And Plesaunce under governaunce and drede;
Lady 27 Hir surname is eek Faire Rewthelees
Lady 28 The Wyse, yknit unto Good Aventure,
Lady 29 That, for I love hir, she sleeth me giltelees.
Lady 30 Hir love I best, and shal, whyl I may dure,
Lady 31 Bet than myself an hundred thousand deel,
Lady 32 Than al this worldes richesse or creature.
Lady 33 Now hath not Love me bestowed weel
Lady 34 To love ther I never shal have part?
Lady 35 Allas, right thus is turned me the wheel,
Lady 36 Thus am I slayn with Loves fyry dart!
Lady 37 I can but love hir best, my swete fo;
Lady 38 Love hath me taught no more of his art
Lady 39 But serve alwey and stinte for no wo.
Lady 40 In my trewe [and] careful herte ther is
Lady 41 So moche wo and [eek] so litel blis
Lady 42 That wo is me that ever I was bore;
Lady 43 For al that thyng which I desyre I mis
Lady 44 And al that ever I wolde not ywis,
Lady 45 That finde I redy to me evermore;
Lady 46 And of al this I not to whom me pleyne.
Lady 47 For she that mighte me out of this brynge
Lady 48 Ne reccheth nought whether I wepe or synge,
Lady 49 So litel rewthe hath she upon my peyne.
Lady 50 Allas! Whan slepyng-tyme is than I wake,
Lady 51 Whan I shulde daunce, for fere, lo, than I quake.
Lady 52 This hevy lif I lede, lo, for your sake
Lady 53 Thogh ye therof in no wyse hede take,
Lady 54 Myn hertes lady and hool my lyves quene.
Lady 55 For trewly durste I seye as that I fele,
Lady 56 Me semeth that your swete herte of stele
Lady 57 Is whetted now ageynes me to kene.
Lady 58 My dere herte and best beloved fo,
Lady 59 Why lyketh yow to do me al this wo?
Lady 60 What have I doon that greveth yow or sayd,
Lady 61 But for I serve and love yow and no mo?
Lady 62 And while I lyve I wol ever do so,
Lady 63 And therfor, swete, ne beth nat yvel apayd.
Lady 64 For so good and so fair as ye be
Lady 65 Hit were right gret wonder but ye hadde
Lady 66 Of alle servantes, bothe of goode and badde;
Lady 67 And leest worthy of alle hem, I am he.
Lady 68 But nevertheles, my righte lady swete,
Lady 69 Thogh that I be unconnyng and unmete
Lady 70 To serve, as I coude best, ay your hynesse,
Lady 71 Yit is ther noon fayner, that wolde I hete,
Lady 72 Than I, to do yow ese, or elles bete
Lady 73 What so I wiste that were to youre hevynesse;
Lady 74 And hadde I myght as good as I have wille,
Lady 75 Than shulde ye fele wher it were so or noon;
Lady 76 For in this world livyng than is ther noon
Lady 77 That fayner wolde your hertes wil fulfille.
Lady 78 For bothe I love and eek drede yow so sore,
Lady 79 And algates moot, and have doon yow, ful yore,
Lady 80 That bettre loved is noon ne never shal;
Lady 81 And yit I wolde beseche yow of no more,
Lady 82 But leveth wel and be not wrooth therfore,
Lady 83 And lat me serve yow forth; lo, this is al.
Lady 84 For I am not so hardy ne so wood,
Lady 85 For to desire that ye shulde love me,
Lady 86 For wel I wot — allas — that wil nat be;
Lady 87 I am so litel worthy and ye so good.
Lady 88 For ye be oon the worthiest on-lyve
Lady 89 And I the most unlykly for to thryve,
Lady 90 Yit for al this, witeth ye right wele
Lady 91 That ye ne shul me from your servyce dryve
Lady 92 That I ne wil ay, with alle my wittes fyve,
Lady 93 Serve yow trewly, what wo so that I fele.
Lady 94 For I am set on yow in such manere
Lady 95 That, thogh ye never wil upon me rewe,
Lady 96 I moste yow love and been ever as trewe
Lady 97 As any man can, or may, on-lyve [here].
Lady 98 But the more that I love yow, goodly free,
Lady 99 The lasse fynde I that ye loven me;
Lady 100 Allas, whan shal that harde wit amende?
Lady 101 Wher is now al your wommanly pitee,
Lady 102 Your gentilesse and your debonairtee?
Lady 103 Wil ye nothyng therof upon me spende?
Lady 104 And so hool, swete, as I am youres al,
Lady 105 And so gret wil as I have yow to serve,
Lady 106 Now certes, and ye lete me thus sterve,
Lady 107 Yit have ye wonne theron but a smal.
Lady 108 For at my knowyng I do nought why,
Lady 109 And this I wol beseche yow hertely,
Lady 110 That ther ever ye fynde, whyles ye lyve,
Lady 111 A trewer servant to yow than am I,
Lady 112 Leveth thanne and sleeth me hardely,
Lady 113 And I my deeth to yow wol al foryive.
Lady 114 And if ye fynde no trewer verrayly,
Lady 115 Wil ye suffre than that I thus spille
Lady 116 And for no maner gilt but my good wille?
Lady 117 As good were thanne untrewe as trewe to be.
Lady 118 But I, my lyf and deeth, to yow obeye
Lady 119 And with right buxom herte hooly I preye
Lady 120 As is your moste plesure, so doth by me;
Lady 121 Wel lever is me liken yow and deye
Lady 122 Than for to anythyng or thynke or seye
Lady 123 That yow myghte offende in any tyme.
Lady 124 And therfor, swete, rewe on my peynes smerte,
Lady 125 And of your grace graunteth me som drope,
Lady 126 For elles may me laste no blis ne hope,
Lady 127 Ne dwelle within my trouble careful herte.