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XXIII. A BALADE OF COMPLEYNT.

Compleyne ne coude, ne might myn herte never
My peynes halve, ne what torment I have,
Though that I sholde in your presence ben ever,
My hertes lady, as wisly he me save
That bountee made, and beutee list to grave       5
In your persone, and bad hem bothe in-fere
Ever tawayte, and ay be wher ye were.

As wisly he gye alle my Ioyes here
As I am youres, and to yow sad and trewe,
And ye, my lyf and cause of my good chere,       10
And deeth also, whan ye my peynes newe,
My worldes Ioye, whom I wol serve and sewe,
My heven hool, and al my suffisaunce,
Whom for to serve is set al my plesaunce.

Beseching yow in my most humble wyse       15
Taccepte in worth this litel povre dyte,
And for my trouthe my service nat despyse,
Myn observaunce eek have nat in despyte,
Ne yit to long to suffren in this plyte,
I yow beseche, myn hertes lady dere,       20
Sith I yow serve, and so wil yeer by yere.


In MS. Addit. 16165, fol. 256, back; headed Balade of compleynte.

1. koude; hert. 2. turment. 3. Thaughe; shoulde; youre. 4. wissely. 5. beaute liste. 6. youre; bade; in-feere. 7. beo. 8. wissely. 9. yowe sadde; truwe. 10. lyff; gode. 11. dethe; whane; reewe, altered by the scribe to newe. 12. whome; suwe. 13. hole; souffisaunce. 14. sette. 15. yowe; moste. 16. Taccept; worthe; pore. 17. not despice. 18. eke; not. 19. longe; suffre. 20. here (error for dere; see XXII. 77). 21. yowe; yere by yere.