Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
Good Counseil of Chaucer
By Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1340–1400)
 
FLE fro the pres, and dwelle with sothfastnesse;
Sufficë thee thy good, though hit be smal;
For hord hath hate, and clymbyng tikelnesse, 1
Pres hath envye, and wele blent over al. 2
Savour no more then thee behovë shal;        5
Do wel thy-self that other folk canst rede,
And trouthe thee shal delyver, hit ys no drede. 3
 
Peynë thee not eche croked to redresse
In trust of hir that turneth as a bal, 4
Gret restë stant in lytil besynesse;        10
Bewar also to spurne ayein a nal, 5
Stryve not as doth a crokkë with a wal; 6
Dauntë thy-selfe that dauntest otheres dede,
And trouthe thee shal delyver, hit is no drede.
 
That thee is sent receyve in buxumnesse, 7        15
The wrasteling of this world asketh 8 a fal;
Heer is no hoom, heer is but wyldernesse.
Forth pilgrime, forth! forth best, out of thy stal!
Loke up on hye, and thonkë God of al;
Weyvë 9 thy lust, and let thy gost thee lede,        20
And trouthe shal thee delyver, hit is no drede.
 
L’Envoye 10

Therfor, thou vache, 11 leve thyn old wrecchednesse;
Unto the worldë leve now to be thral; 12
Crye him mercy, that of his heigh goodnesse
Made thee of naught; and, in especial,        25
Draw unto him, and pray in general
For thee, and eek for other, hevenly mede; 13
And trouthe schal thee delivere, it is no drede.
 
Note 1. insecurity. [back]
Note 2. wealth everywhere blinds people. [back]
Note 3. there is no doubt. [back]
Note 4. i.e., Fortune. [back]
Note 5. an awl. [back]
Note 6. i.e., as weak does with strong. [back]
Note 7. with submission. [back]
Note 8. brings. [back]
Note 9. set aside. [back]
Note 10. This stanza is only in MS. Addit. 10340 (Brit. Mus.). [back]
Note 11. cow, poor creature. [back]
Note 12. cease to be a slave to the world. [back]
Note 13. reward. [back]
 
 
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