A Cleric Courts His Lady

" My deth I love, my lif ich hate, "
For a levedy shene;
He is bright so dayes light,
That is on me well sene:
All I falewe so doth the lef
In somer when it is grene.
Yef my thoght helpeth me noght,
To wham shall I me mene?

" Sorewe and sike and drery mod
Bindeth me so faste,
That I wene to walke wod,
Yef it me lengore laste.
My sorewe, my care, all with a word,
He mighte awey caste.
Whet helpeth thee, my swete lemman,
My lif thus for to gaste?"

" Do wey! thou clerk, thou art a fol,
With thee bidde I noght chide.
Shalt thou never live that day
My love that thou shalt bide!
Yef thou in my bowre art take,
Shame thee may betide.
Thee is bettere on fote gon
Then wicked hors to ride."

" Weylawey! Why seist thou so?
Thou rewe on me, thy man:
Thou art ever in my thoght
In londe wher ich am.
Yef I deye for thy love
It is thee mikel sham!
Thou lete me live and be thy lef,
And thou my swete lemman."

" Be stille, thou fol — I calle thee right —
Cost thou never blinne?
Thou art waited day and night
With fader and all my kinne.
Be thou in my bowr itake,
Lete they, for no sinne,
Me to holde and thee to slon,
The deth so thou maht winne."

" Swete ledy, thou wend thy mod,
Sorewe thou wolt me kithe.
Ich am all so sory mon
So ich was whilen blithe:
In a window ther we stod,
We kuste us fifty sithe;
Fair beheste maketh mony mon
All his sorewes mithe."

" Weylawey! Why seist thou so?
My sorewe thou makest newe.
I lovede a clerk all par amours,
Of love he wes full trewe.
He nes nout blithe never a day,
Bote he me sone seye.
Ich lovede him betere then my lif —
Whet bote is it to leye?"

" Whil I wes a clerk in scole,
Well muchel I couthe of lore.
Ich have tholed for thy love
Woundes fele sore,
Fer from hom and eke from men,
Under the wode-gore.
Swete ledy, thou rewe of me —
Now may I no more."
" Thou semest well to ben a clerk,
For thou spekest so stille:
Shalt thou never for my love
Woundes thole grille.
Fader, moder and all my kun,
Ne shall me holde so stille,
That I nam thine and thou art mine,
To don all thy wille."
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