THE REGIMENT OF PRINCES - Thomas Hoccleve Poems

 
 

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THE REGIMENT OF PRINCES

     "O, maister deere, and fadir reverent!
     Mi maister Chaucer, flour of eloquence,
Mirour of fructuous entendement,
     O, universel fadir in science!
     Allas! that thou thyn excellent prudence
       In thi bed mortel mightist naght byqwethe;
       What eiled Deth? Allas! whi wolde he sle the?

     "O Deth! thou didest naght harme singuleer
     In slaghtere of him; but al this land it smertith;
But nathelees, yit hast thou no power
     His name sle; his hy vertu astertith
     Unslayn fro the, which ay us lyfly hertyth,
       With bookes of his ornat endytyng,
       That is to al this land enlumynyng.

     "Hast thou nat eeke my maister Gower slayn,
     Whos vertu I am insufficient
For to descreyve? I woot wel in certayn,
     For to sleen al this world thou haast yment;
     But syn our lorde Crist was obedient
       To the, in feith I can no ferther seye;
       His creatures mosten the obeye."

...

     Simple is my goost, and scars my letterure,
     Unto your excellence for to write
Myn inward love, and yit in aventure
     Wyle I me putte, thogh I can but lyte.
     Mi dere maistir--God his soule quyte!--
       And fadir, Chaucer, fayn wolde han me taght;
       But I was dul, and lerned lite or naght.

     Allas! my worthi maister honorable,
     This landes verray tresor and richesse,
Deth, by thi deth, hath harme irreparable
     Unto us doon; hir vengeable duresse
     Despoiled hath this land of the swetnesse
       Of rethorik; for un-to Tullius
       Was never man so lyk a-monges us.

     Also, who was hier in philosophie
     To Aristotle, in our tonge, but thow?
The steppes of Virgile in poesie
     Thow filwedist eeke. Men wot wel y-now
     That combre-world that the, my maistir, slow.
       Wold I slayn were! Deth was to hastyf
       To renne on the, and reve the thi lyf.

...

     She myghte han taried hir vengeance awhile,
     Til that sum man had egal to the be.
Nay, lat be that! sche knew wel that this yle
     May never man forth brynge lyk to the,
     And hir office needes do mot she;
       God bad hir so, I truste as for thi beste;
       O maister, maister, God thi soule reste!