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A Balade of Complaint by Geoffrey Chaucer


"A Balade of Complaint" may or may not have been written by Chaucer, but it is often credited to him. Even though this writing is written in Middle English, some of the words are still different from today and need a bit of translating. To help you better understand the poem, below is a list of words and their translations.

bad = prayed
dyte = poem
in-fere = together
gode = good
gye = guide
hem = them
here = hear (my complaint)
koude = knew
ne = not or nor
newe = renew
peynes = pains

This poem is written in the rhyme scheme ABABACC throughout its three stanzas. The three stanzas are divided into seven lines each. This poem is written as a ballad.

A Balade of Complaint

Compleyne ne koude, ne might myn herte never,
My peynes halve, ne what torment I have,
Though that I sholde in your presence ben ever,
Myn hertes lady, as wisly he me save
That Bountee made, and Beautee list to grave
In your persone, and bad hem bothe in-fere
Ever t'awayte, and ay be wher ye were.

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

Beseching yow in my most humble wyse
T'accepte in worth this litel pore dyte,
And for my trouthe my servyce not despyse,
Myn observaunce eke have not in despyte,
Ne yit to longe to suffren in this plyte;
I yow beseche, myn hertes lady, here,
Sith I yow serve, and so wil yeer by yere.

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