Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Geoffrey Chaucer. 1340?–1400
  
12. Merciles Beaute

A TRIPLE ROUNDEL
  
1. CAPTIVITY


YOUR eyen 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 eyen 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 eyen two wol slee me sodenly, 
  I may the beautè of hem not sustene, 
  So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene. 
 
2. 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. 
 
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. 
 
3. 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. 
 
GLOSS:  halt] holdeth.  sclat] slate.
 
 
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