By Geoffrey Chaucer
For 1 This wrecched worldes transmutacioun,
For 2 As wele or wo, now povre and now honour,
For 3 Withouten ordre or wys discrecioun
For 4 Governed is by Fortunes errour.
For 5 But natheles, the lak of hir favour
For 6 Ne may nat don me singen though I dye,
For 7 Jay tout perdu mon temps et mon labour;
For 8 For fynally, Fortune, I thee defye.
For 9 Yit is me left the light of my resoun
For 10 To knowen frend fro fo in thy mirour.
For 11 So muchel hath yit thy whirling up and doun
For 12 Ytaught me for to knowen in an hour.
For 13 But trewely, no force of thy reddour
For 14 To him that over himself hath the maystrye.
For 15 My suffisaunce shal be my socour,
For 16 For fynally Fortune, I thee defye.
For 17 O Socrates, thou stidfast champioun,
For 18 She never mighte be thy tormentour;
For 19 Thou never dreddest hir oppressioun,
For 20 Ne in hir chere founde thou no savour.
For 21 Thou knewe wel the deceit of hir colour,
For 22 And that hir moste worshipe is to lye.
For 23 I knowe hir eek a fals dissimulour,
For 24 For fynally, Fortune, I thee defye!
For 25 No man is wrecched but himself it wene,
For 26 And he that hath himself hath suffisaunce.
For 27 Why seystow thanne I am to thee so kene,
For 28 That hast thyself out of my governaunce?
For 29 Sey thus: “Graunt mercy of thyn haboundaunce
For 30 That thou hast lent or this.” Why wolt thou stryve?
For 31 What wostow yit how I thee wol avaunce?
For 32 And eek thou hast thy beste frend alyve.
For 33 I have thee taught divisioun bitwene
For 34 Frend of effect and frend of countenaunce;
For 35 Thee nedeth nat the galle of noon hyene,
For 36 That cureth eyen derked for penaunce;
For 37 Now seestow cleer that were in ignoraunce.
For 38 Yit halt thyn ancre and yit thou mayst arryve
For 39 Ther bountee berth the keye of my substaunce,
For 40 And eek thou hast thy beste frend alyve.
For 41 How many have I refused to sustene
For 42 Sin I thee fostred have in thy plesaunce.
For 43 Woltow than make a statut on thy quene
For 44 That I shal been ay at thyn ordinaunce?
For 45 Thou born art in my regne of variaunce,
For 46 Aboute the wheel with other most thou dryve.
For 47 My lore is bet than wikke is thy grevaunce,
For 48 And eek thou hast thy beste frend alyve.
For 49 Thy lore I dampne; it is adversitee.
For 50 My frend maystow nat reven, blind goddesse;
For 51 That I thy frendes knowe, I thanke it thee.
For 52 Tak hem agayn, lat hem go lye on presse.
For 53 The negardye in keping hir richesse
For 54 Prenostik is thou wolt hir tour assayle;
For 55 Wikke appetyt comth ay before syknesse.
For 56 In general, this reule may nat fayle.
For 57 Thou pinchest at my mutabilitee
For 58 For I thee lente a drope of my richesse,
For 59 And now me lyketh to withdrawe me.
For 60 Why sholdestow my realtee oppresse?
For 61 The see may ebbe and flowen more or lesse;
For 62 The welkne hath might to shyne, reyne, or hayle;
For 63 Right so mot I kythen my brotelnesse.
For 64 In general, this reule may nat fayle.
For 65 Lo, th’ execucion of the majestee
For 66 That al purveyeth of his rightwysnesse,
For 67 That same thing “Fortune” clepen ye,
For 68 Ye blinde bestes ful of lewednesse.
For 69 The hevene hath propretee of sikernesse,
For 70 This world hath ever resteles travayle;
For 71 Thy laste day is ende of myn intresse.
For 72 In general, this reule may nat fayle.
For 73 Princes, I prey you of your gentilesse
For 74 Lat nat this man on me thus crye and pleyne,
For 75 And I shal quyte you your bisinesse
For 76 At my requeste, as three of you or tweyne,
For 77 And but you list releve him of his peyne,
For 78 Preyeth his beste frend of his noblesse
For 79 That to som beter estat he may atteyne.