The Letter of Cupid
Cupido, unto whos commandement
The gentil kinrede of goddes on hy
And peple infernal been obedient,
And the mortel folk seruen bisyly,
Of goddesse Sitheree sone oonly,
To alle tho that to our deitee
Been sogettes greetinges senden we.
In general, we wole that yee knowe
That ladies of honour and reverence
And other gentil wommen han ysowe
Swich seed of complainte in our audience
Of men that doon hem outrage and offense
That it our eres greeveth for to heere,
So pitous is th' effect of hir mateere;
And passing alle londes on this yle
That clept is Albioun they moost complaine;
They sayn that ther is croppe and roote of guile,
So can tho men dissimulen and faine
With standing dropes in hir eyen twaine,
Whan that hir herte feeleth no distresse.
To blinde wommen with hir doublenesse,
Hir wordes spoken been so sighingly
And with so pitous cheere and contenance,
That every wight that meeneth trewely
Deemeth that they in herte han swich greuance.
They sayn so importable is hir penance
That but hir lady list to shewe hem grace
They right anoon moot sterven in the place.
"A, lady min," they sayn, "I yow ensure,
Shewe me grace and I shal evere be,
Whiles my lif may lasten and endure,
To yow as humble in every degree
As possible is, and keepe al thing secree
As that yourselven liketh that I do;
And elles moot min herte breste on two."
Ful hard is it to knowe a mannes herte,
For outward may no man the truthe deeme
Whan word out of his mouth may ther noon sterte,
But it sholde any wight by reson queeme
So is it seid of herte, it wolde seeme.
O faithful womman, ful of Innocence,
Thou art betrayed by fals apparence!
By procees wommen, meved of pitee,
Weening al thing were as that tho men saye,
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