Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Chaucer - Merciles Beaute





Merciles Beaute 

Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,  
I may the beautè of hem not sustene,  
So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene.  

And but your word wol helen hastily  
My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene,        
Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,  
I may the beautè of hem not sustene.  

Upon my trouthe I sey yow feithfully,  
That ye ben of my lyf and deeth the quene;  
For with my deeth the trouthe shal be sene.   
Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,  
I may the beautè of hem not sustene,  
So woundeth hit through-out my herte kene  




















 [Geoffrey Chaucer (c.1345-1400)]

AG:  Merciles Beaute -  (Geoffrey) Chaucer (Ezra) Pound keeps quoting throughout The Cantos - "Your eyen two wol slee me sodenly,/ I may the beautè of hem not sustene" -  that's really a perfect heart-pierced, love-look, lyric. You've all had the experience, I take it, of being "slain by two eyes suddenly", unable to to sustain actually the "piercing delight"? - "(an) eye for eye" - "And but your word would  "helen hastily.."?  - " heal" - "will heal me", "will heal it, fast" - "just one word and you'll heal me fast" - "And but your word wol helen hastily/My hertes wounde" - "will heal my heart's wound fast"- - "And but your word wol helen hastily/My hertes wounde, whyl that hit is grene" -" while that it is still fresh as a wound."

[Audio for the above (Ginsberg reading Chaucer) can be found here, beginning at approximately twenty-five-and-three-quarter minutes in and concluding at approximately twenty-seven-and-a-half minutes in]







Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene
Straight through my heart, the wound is quick and keen.

Only your word will heal the injury
To my hurt head, while yet the wound is clean -
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.

Upon my word, I tell you faithfully
Through life and after death you are my queen;
For with my death the whole truth shall be seen.

Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly 
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene
Straight through my heart, the wound is quick and keen.

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