With books of his ornate writing
That is to all this land illuminating.
O master dear and reverend father, my master Chaucer, flower of eloquence, mirror of fruitful wisdom, O universal father of knowledge! Alas, that on thy mortal bed thou mightest not bequeath thine excellent prudence! What aileth Death? Alas, why would he slay thee?
Many a servant unto his Lord saith
That all the world speaketh of him honóur,
When the contrary of that is sooth in faith
As for the moré part Youth is rebél
Unto Reasón, and hateth her doctrine.
If those men who to be lovers pretend
Behaved more faithfully and did not lie,
And dreaded to deceive or to offend,
Then women might not choose to pass them by.
But each man's heart's a fickle butterfly
Which can alight on one just a short while.
Can it be wrong in this case to beguile?
Lament for Chaucer -
ALLAS! my worthi maister honorable,
This landes verray tresor and richesse!
Deth by thy deth hath harme irreparable
Unto us doon: hir vengeable duresse
Despoiled hath this land of the swetnesse
Of rethorik; for unto Tullius
Was never man so lyk amonges us.
Also who was hier in philosophie
To Aristotle in our tonge but thou?
The steppes of Virgile in poesie
Thou folwedist eeke, men wot wel ynow.
Thou combre-worlde that the my maister slow--
Wolde I slayn were!--Deth, was to hastyf
To renne on thee and reve the thi lyf...
She myghte han taried hir vengeance a while
Til that sum man had egal to the be;
Nay, lat be that! sche knew wel that this y1e
May never man forth brynge lyk to the,
And hir office needes do mot she:
God bad hir so, I truste as for the beste;
O maister, maister, God thi soule reste!
Prudence, temperance, strengthe, and right, The foure ben vertues principal.