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XVIII. THE COMPLEYNT OF VENUS.

I. (The Lover's worthiness.)
 
Ther nis so hy comfort to my plesaunce,
Whan that I am in any hevinesse,
As for to have leyser of remembraunce
Upon the manhod and the worthinesse,
Upon the trouthe, and on the stedfastnesse       5
Of him whos I am al, whyl I may dure;
Ther oghte blame me no creature,
For every wight preiseth his gentilesse.
 
In him is bountee, wisdom, governaunce
Wel more then any mannes wit can gesse;       10
For grace hath wold so ferforth him avaunce
That of knighthode he is parfit richesse.

I.
 
Il n'est confort que tant de biens me face,
Quant je ne puis a ma dame parler,
Comme d'avoir temps, loisir et espace
De longuement en sa valour penser,
Et [de] ses doulz fais femenins recorder       5
Dedens mon cuer. C'est ma vie, par m'ame,
Ne je ne truis nul homme qui me blasme,
Car chascun a joye de li loer.
 
Il a en li bonté, beauté et grace,
Plus que nulz homs ne saroit deviser.       10
C'est grant ëur quant en si pou de place
Dieux a voulu tous les biens assembler.

[ 401 ]Honour honoureth him for his noblesse;
Therto so wel hath formed him Nature,
That I am his for ever, I him assure,       15
For every wight preiseth his gentilesse.
 
And not-withstanding al his suffisaunce,
His gentil herte is of so greet humblesse
To me in worde, in werke, in contenaunce,
And me to serve is al his besinesse,       20
That I am set in verrey sikernesse.
Thus oghte I blesse wel myn aventure,
Sith that him list me serven and honoure;
For every wight preiseth his gentilesse.
 
II. (Disquietude caused by Jealousy.)
 
Now certes, Love, hit is right covenable       25
That men ful dere bye thy noble thing,
As wake a-bedde, and fasten at the table,
Weping to laughe, and singe in compleyning,

Honneur la vuelt sur toutes honnorer.
Oncques ne vi si [douce et] plaisant dame
De toutes gens avoir si noble femme;       15
Car chascun a joye de li loer.
 
Ou qu'elle soit, bien fait et mal efface.
Moult bien li siet le rire et le jouer.
Son cuer esbat et les autres soulace
Si liement qu'on ne l'en doit blasmer.       20
De li veoir ne se puet nulz lasser.
Son regart vault tous les biens d'un royaume.
Il semble bien qu'elle est tres noble femme,
Car chascun a joye de li loer.
 
II.
 
Certes, Amours, c'est chose convenable       25
Que voz grans biens [vous] faciez comparer:
Veillier ou lit et jeuner a la table,
Rire plourant et en plaignant chanter,

[ 402 ]And doun to caste visage and loking,
Often to chaungen hewe and contenaunce,       30
Pleyne in sleping, and dremen at the daunce,
Al the revers of any glad feling.
 
Ialousye be hanged by a cable!
She wolde al knowe through hir espying;
Ther doth no wight no-thing so resonable,       35
That al nis harm in hir imagening.
Thus dere abought is love in yeving,
Which ofte he yiveth with-outen ordinaunce,
As sorow ynogh, and litel of plesaunce,
Al the revers of any glad feling.       40
 
A litel tyme his yift is agreable,
But ful encomberous is the using;
For sotel Ialousye, the deceyvable,
Ful often-tyme causeth destourbing.

Baissier les yeux quant on doit regarder,
Souvent changier couleur et contenance,       30
Plaindre en dormant et songier a la dance
Tout a rebours de ce qu'on vuelt trouver.
 
Jalousie, c'est l'amer du deable;
Elle vuelt tout veoir et escouter,
Ne nulz ne fait chose si raisonnable       35
Que tout a mal ne le vueille tourner.
Amours, ainsi fault voz dons acheter,
Et vous donnez souvent sanz ordonnance
Assez douleur et petit de plaisance,
Tout a rebours de ce qu'on vuelt trouver.       40
 
Pour un court temps le gieu est agreable;
Mais trop par est encombreux a user.
Et, ja soit il a dames honnorable,
A leurs amis est trop grief a porter.

[ 403 ]Thus be we ever in drede and suffering,       45
In nouncerteyn we languisshe in penaunce,
And han ful often many an hard meschaunce,
Al the revers of any glad feling.
 
III. (Satisfaction in Constancy.)
 
But certes, Love, I sey nat in such wyse
That for tescape out of your lace I mente;       50
For I so longe have been in your servyse
That for to lete of wol I never assente;
No force thogh Ialousye me tormente;
Suffyceth me to see him whan I may,
And therfore certes, to myn ending-day       55
To love him best ne shal I never repente.
 
And certes, Love, whan I me wel avyse
On any estat that man may represente,
Than have ye maked me, through your franchyse,
Chese the best that ever on erthe wente.       60

Toudiz convient souffrir et endurer,       45
Sans nul certain languir en esperance,
Et recevoir mainte male meschance,
Tout a rebours de ce qu'on vuelt trouver.
 
III.
 
Amours, sachiez que pas ne le vueil dire
Pour moy getter hors des amoureux las;       50
Car j'ay porté si long temps mon martire
Que mon vivant ne le guerpiray pas.
Il me souffist d'avoir tant de soulas
Que veoir puisse la [belle et] gracieuse;
Combien qu'el est [en]vers moy dangereuse,       55
De li servir ne serai jamaiz las.
 
Certes, Amours, quant bien droit [je] remire
Les haulx estas, les moyens et les bas,
Vous m'avez fait de tous les bons eslire,
A mon avis, le meilleur, en tous cas.       60

[ 404 ]Now love wel, herte, and look thou never stente;
And let the Ielous putte hit in assay
That, for no peyne wol I nat sey nay;
To love him best ne shal I never repente.
 
Herte, to thee hit oghte y-nogh suffyse       65
That Love so hy a grace to thee sente,
To chese the worthiest in alle wyse
And most agreable unto myn entente.
Seche no ferther, neyther wey ne wente,
Sith I have suffisaunce unto my pay.       70
Thus wol I ende this compleynt or lay;
To love him best ne shal I never repente.
 
Lenvoy.
 
Princess, receyveth this compleynt in gree,
Unto your excellent benignitee
Direct after my litel suffisaunce.       75
For eld, that in my spirit dulleth me,
Hath of endyting al the soteltee
Wel ny bereft out of my remembraunce;
And eek to me hit is a greet penaunce,
Sith rym in English hath swich scarsitee,       80
To folowe word by word the curiositee
Of Graunson, flour of hem that make in Fraunce.

Or aime, cuer, ainsy que tu pourras;
Car ja n'aras paine si doulereuse,
Pour ma dame, que ne me soit joieuse;
De li servir ne seray jamaiz las.
 
Cuer, il te doit assez plus que souffire       65
D'avoir choisy ce[lle] que choisi as.
Ne quiers [or] plus royaume ne empire,
Car si bonne jamaiz ne trouveras,
Ne si belle par mes yeux ne verras:
C'est jeunesce sachant et savoureuse.       70
Ja soit elle de m'amour desdaigneuse,
De li servir ne seray jamaiz las.

Title: so in F. Ff. Ar.; see Notes. The MSS. are: T. (Trin. Coll. Cambridge, R. 3. 20); A. (Ashmole 59); Tn. (MS. Tanner 346); F. (Fairfax 16); Ff. (MS. Ff. I. 6. Camb. Univ. Library); Ar. (Arch. Seld. P. 24); P. (Pepys 2006); etc. Th.=Thynne (1532). I follow F. mainly.

1. F. high; T. A. hye (hy is better). 2. F. When; eny. 4. F. manhod; the rest have final e. 5. F. stidfastnesse. 6. F. whiles; A. whilest; rest while. 7. F. oght; Tn. oghte to. 9. F. ys bounte. F. T. A. Th. insert and after wisdom; but the rest omit it. 10. F. eny manes witte. 11. F. wolde (wrongly); Ff. wold. F. fersorthe. 12. F. parfite.

14. F. well. 16. F. preysith. 18. F. hert; grete. 19. F. werk. 21. F. sikirnesse. 22. F. oght. 25. F. certis. 26. T. A. Tn. Th. thy; F. Ff. the. 27. F. a-bed; T. A. a-bedde. 28. F. Wepinge; laugh; sing; compleynynge.

29. F. cast; the rest caste. F. lokynge. 30. F. chaunge visage (wrongly); change hewe in MS. Arch. Selden, B. 24; T. A. chaunge huwe. 31. MSS. Pley, Pleye; read Pleyne (F. Plaindre). F. dreme; T. Tn. Ff. Th. dremen. 32. F. reuerse; eny. 33. Ff. T. Ialousye; F. Ielosie. Ff. P. be; F. Th. he (!). Ialousye be] T. þaughe Ialousye wer. T. Tn. Th. by; F. be; Ff. with. 34. F. wold; thro; espyinge. 35. F. dothe. 36. F. nys harme; ymagenynge. 37. F. yevynge. 38. F. yifeth. Ff. withouten; rest withoute. 40. F. reuerse; felynge. 42. T. Ff. encomberous; F. encombrouse. F. vsynge. 43. Tn. sotell; F. subtil. F. Ielosie. 44. T. destourbing; F. derturbynge (sic).

45. F. suffrynge; P. sufferyng; T. souffering. 46. F. Ff. noun-certeyn; T. noun-certaine; A. nouncerteine. F. langvisshen. 47. F. harde. F. wrongly repeats penaunce; T. A. meschaunce. 48. F. reuerse; ony; felynge. 49. F. certys; not. 50. F. youre; ment. 51. F. be; the rest ben or been. 52. F. wil; T. A. Ff. wol. F. assent. 53. F. fors; turment. 55. F. certys. 56. F. om. ne, which T. A. P. insert; Ar. has that. Tn. inserts me before never. 57. F. certis; when. 58. F. eny estate; represent. 59. F. Tn. Then; rest Than, Thanne, Thane. T. Ff. P. maked; rest made. F. thro. 60. F. went.

61. F. hert; loke; stent. 62. P. Ielous; A. Ialous; T. Ialouse; F. Ielousie. A. putte; F. put. 63. F. peyn wille I not. 64. F. yow (for him); T. A. Tn. Ar. him (see l. 56). 65. F. Hert; the; ought ynogh. 66. F. highe; T. A. hye. T. A. Ff. Ar. thee; F. yow; Tn. you. F. sent. 67. F. al. 68. F. entent. 69. F. went. 70. F. Sithe. F. Tn. ye (for I); rest I. 71. All but Ju. (Julian Notary's edition) repeat this before lay. 72. See l. 56. 73. T. A. Pryncesse; rest Princes. F. resseyueth. 74. F. excelent benignite. 75. F. Directe aftir. 76. F. elde. 77. Tn. soteltee; F. subtilite. 78. F. nighe. 79. F. eke; grete. 80. F. ryme; englissh hat (sic) such skarsete. 81. F. worde by worde; curiosite. 82. F. floure; maken.