Verse > Geoffrey Chaucer > Complete Poetical Works
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Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400).  The Complete Poetical Works.  1894.
 
The Minor Poems
XVII. Lenvoy to Bukton
 
The counseil of Chaucer touching Mariage, which was sent to Bukton.

MY maister Bukton, whan of Criste our kinge
Was axed, what is trouthe or sothfastnesse,
He nat a word answerde to that axinge,
As who saith: ‘no man is al trewe,’ I gesse.
And therfor, thogh I highte to expresse        5
The sorwe and wo that is in mariage,
I dar not wryte of hit no wikkednesse,
Lest I my-self falle eft in swich dotage.
 
I wol nat seyn, how that hit is the cheyne
Of Sathanas, on which he gnaweth ever,        10
But I dar seyn, were he out of his peyne,
As by his wille, he wolde be bounde never.
But thilke doted fool that eft hath lever
Y-cheyned be than out of prisoun crepe,
God lete him never fro his wo dissever,        15
Ne no man him bewayle, though he wepe.
 
But yit, lest thou do worse, tak a wyf;
Bet is to wedde, than brenne in worse wyse.
But thou shalt have sorwe on thy flesh, thy lyf,
And been thy wyves thral, as seyn these wyse,        20
And if that holy writ may nat suffyse,
Experience shal thee teche, so may happe,
That thee were lever to be take in Fryse
Than eft to falle of wedding in the trappe.
 
Envoy.

This litel writ, proverbes, or figure
        25
I sende you, tak kepe of hit, I rede:
Unwys is he that can no wele endure.
If thou be siker, put thee nat in drede.
The Wyf of Bathe I pray you that ye rede
Of this matere that we have on honde.        30
God graunte you your lyf frely to lede
In fredom; for ful hard is to be bonde.

Explicit.
 
 
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