Tag Archives: Geoffrey Chaucer

Poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer (To the Purse and Counsel)

Geoffrey Chaucer

To the majority of readers Geoffrey Chaucer is known as the author The Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Cressida. But there were smaller poems he composed, and here come the two of them. In the first, Chaucer addressed his purse; the second he was said to have written on his deathbed, “lying in anguish”.

The Complaint Of Chaucer To His Purse
To you, my purse, and to none other wight,
Complain I, for ye be my lady dear!
I am sorry now that ye be so light,
For certes ye now make me heavy cheer;
Me were as lief be laid upon my bier.
For which unto your mercy thus I cry,
Be heavy again, or elles must I die!
Now vouchesafe this day, ere it be night,
That I of you the blissful sound may hear,
Or see your colour like the sunne bright,
That of yellowness hadde peer.Ye be my life!
Ye be my hearte’s steer! rudder
Queen of comfort and of good company!
Be heavy again, or elles must I die!
Now, purse! that art to me my life’s light
And savour, as down in this worlde here,
Out of this towne help me through your might,
Since that you will not be my treasurere;
For I am shave as nigh as any frere.
But now I pray unto your courtesy,
Be heavy again, or elles must I die!
Chaucer’s Envoy to the King.
O conqueror of Brute’s Albion,
Which by lineage and free election
Be very king, this song to you I send;
And ye which may all mine harm amend,
Have mind upon my supplication!
Good Counsel Of Chaucer
Flee from the press, and dwell with soothfastness;
Suffice thee thy good, though it be small;
For hoard hath hate, and climbing tickleness,
Press hath envy, and weal is blent o’er all,
Savour no more than thee behove shall;
And truth thee shall deliver, it is no dread.
Paine thee not each crooked to redress,
In trust of her that turneth as a ball;
Great rest standeth in little business:
Beware also to spurn against a nail;
Strive not as doth a crocke with a wall;
Deeme thyself that deemest others’ deed,
And truth thee shall deliver, it is no dread.
What thee is sent, receive in buxomness;
The wrestling of this world asketh a fall;
Here is no home, here is but wilderness.
Forth, pilgrim! Forthe beast, out of thy stall!
Look up on high, and thank thy God of all!
Weive thy lust, and let thy ghost thee lead,
And truth thee shall deliver, it is no dread.