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[ 387 ]

XI. MERCILES BEAUTE: A TRIPLE ROUNDEL.

I. Captivity.

Your yën two wol slee me sodenly,
I may the beautè of hem not sustene,
So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.

And but your word wol helen hastily
My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene,       5
Your yën two wol slee me sodenly,
I may the beautè of hem not sustene.

Upon my trouthe I sey yow feithfully,
That ye ben of my lyf and deeth the quene;
For with my deeth the trouthe shal be sene.       10
Your yën two wol slee me sodenly,
I may the beautè of hem not sustene,
So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.

II. Rejection.

So hath your beautè fro your herte chaced
Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne;       15
For Daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.

[ 388 ]Giltles my deeth thus han ye me purchaced;
I sey yow sooth, me nedeth not to feyne;
So hath your beautè fro your herte chaced
Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne.       20

Allas! that nature hath in yow compassed
So greet beautè, that no man may atteyne
To mercy, though he sterve for the peyne.
So hath your beautè fro your herte chaced
Pitee, that me ne availeth not to pleyne;       25
For Daunger halt your mercy in his cheyne.

III. Escape.

Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat,
I never thenk to ben in his prison lene;
Sin I am free, I counte him not a bene.

He may answere, and seye this or that;       30
I do no fors, I speke right as I mene.
Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat,
I never thenk to ben in his prison lene.

Love hath my name y-strike out of his sclat,
And he is strike out of my bokes clene       35
For ever-mo; [ther] is non other mene.
Sin I fro Love escaped am so fat,
I never thenk to ben in his prison lene;
Sin I am free, I counte him not a bene.       39

Explicit.


This excellent text is from P. (MS. Pepys 2006, p. 390). I note all variations from the MS.]

1. P. Yowre two yen; but read Your yen two; for in ll., 6, II, the MS. has Your yen, &c. P. wolle sle. 2. them; read hem. 3. wondeth it thorowout (out in the margin). 4. wille. 5. Mi hertis wound while; it. 6, 7. Your yen, &c. 8. trouth. 9. liffe; deth. 10. deth; trouth. 11-13. Your yen, &c. 14. yowre. 15. nauailleth; pleyn. 16. danger.

17. deth. 18. soth; fayn. 19, 20. So hath your, &c. 21. compased. 22. grete; atteyn. 23. peyn. 24-26. So hath your beaute, &c. 28. neuere. 29. fre. 30. answere & sey. 32, 33. Syn I fro loue, &c. 34. I strike. 36. this is (read ther is). 37-39. Syn I fro loue, &c.