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The idea that the woman you love will ignore you and leave you pining appears to be universal, and the problem is that one may end up abasing and enslaving your honour and wealth to someone who cares not a whit for you.

But you find beautiful.

This is a trap: For Chaucer, who knew the troubadour tradition, it was a poetical position to take. His only comfort, apparently, was the joy in watching her dance. There is a beauty in the young moving. But it passes.

The true beauty builds on more than this.

To Rosemounde: A Balade

Madame, ye ben of al beaute shryne
As fer as cercled is the mapamounde,
For as the cristal glorious ye shyne,
And lyke ruby ben your chekes rounde.
Therwith ye ben so mery and so jocounde
That at a revel whan that I see you daunce,
It is an oynement unto my wounde,
Thogh ye to me ne do no daliaunce.

For thogh I wepe of teres ful a tyne,
Yet may that wo myn herte nat confounde;
Your semy voys that ye so smal out twyne
Maketh my thoght in joy and blis habounde.
So curtaysly I go with love bounde
That to myself I sey in my penaunce,
“Suffyseth me to love you, Rosemounde,
Thogh ye to me ne do no daliaunce.”

Nas neuer pyk walwed in galauntyne
As I in love am walwed and ywounde,
For which ful ofte I of myself devyne
That I am trew Tristam the secounde.
My love may not refreyde nor affounde,
I brenne ay in an amorous plesaunce.
Do what you lyst, I wyl your thral be founde,
Thogh ye to me ne do no daliaunce.

Geoffery Chaucer


This needs translation, this is a minimal one.

To Rosamund – (Forrest Hainline’s Minimalist Translation) – Poem by Forrest Hainline

Madame, you be of all beauty shrine
As far as circled is the mappamund,
For as the crystal glorious you shine,
And like ruby be your cheeks round.
Therewith you be 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 not do no dalliance.

For though I weep of tears full a tyne,
Yet may that woe my heart not confound;
Your seemly voice, that you so small out-twine
Makes my thought in joy and bliss abound.
So courteously I go, with love bound,
That to myself I say, in my penance,
Suffiseth me to love you, Rosamund,
Though you to me not do no dalliance.

No never pike wallowed in galantine
As I in love am wallowed and am wound,
For which full oft I of myself divine
That I am truly Tristan the second.
My love may not refreyd be nor a found
I burn aye in amorous pleasure.
Do what you list, I will your thrall be found,
Though you to me not do no dalliance.

Forrest Hainline

  1. I agree…
    Often, we romanticize heartbreak and pain and sacrifice far too much, to an extent that we start living what was only considered to be an expression of art.
    Not a lot of people talk about that aspect of unrequited love: the reality of living it.
    Looking forward to reading more from you! <3

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