“Rosemounde” : A poem by Geoffrey Chaucer

Context: GEOFFREY CHAUCER (ca. 1340—1400) is the undisputed father of English poetry. Chaucer wrote in continental accentual-syllabic meter, a style which had developed since around the 12th century as an alternative to the alliterative Anglo-Saxon metre. A man of affairs as well as literature, he served as a diplomat and customs officer; when he died, his burial in Westminster Abbey inaugurated Poets’ Corner. This poem is a love ballad dedicated to a lady named Rosamunde.

Themes: Love, maiden, beauty, courtship. Pay attention to the line “Never was pike so imbued in galantine”; it is an allusion to the 15th-century habit of drenching the fish in sauce.😀 There are also references to the epic Tristan and Isolde. The narrator identifies himself as Tristan. Notice how he signs the Ballad with his own name, sweet.


Madame, you are a shrine of all beauty,
As far encircling as the map of the world.
For you shine as the glorious crystal,
And your round cheeks are like Ruby.

Therewith you are so merry and so jocund,
That at a revel when that I see you dance;
It is an ointment unto my wound,
Though you, to me, do no dalliance.

For though I weep a basin of tears,
Yet may that woe not confound my heart.
Your seemly voice that you so delicately bring forth,
Make my thoughts, in joy and bliss, abound.

So courteously I go, with love bound
That, to myself, I say in my penance,
“Suffer me to love you Rosemounde;
Though you, to me, do no dalliance”.

Never was pike so imbued in galantine
As I in love, am imbued and wounded.
For which I very oft, of myself, deign
That I am true Tristam the Second.

My love may not be cooled nor sunk,
I burn in an amourous pleasance.
Do what you like, I bid you find your thrall
Though you, to me, do no dalliance.

very gently,————//————Chaucer

 

Chaucher – The father of English Literature
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