Geoffrey Chaucer

(c. 1343 – 25 October 1400 / London, England)

A Ballad Sent to King Richard


Sometime this world was so steadfast and stable,
That man's word was held obligation;
And now it is so false and deceivable,
That word and work, as in conclusion,
Be nothing one; for turned up so down
Is all this world, through meed and wilfulness,
That all is lost for lack of steadfastness.

What makes this world to be so variable,
But lust that folk have in dissension?
For now-a-days a man is held unable
But if he can, by some collusion,
Do his neighbour wrong or oppression.
What causeth this but wilful wretchedness,
That all is lost for lack of steadfastness?

Truth is put down, reason is holden fable;
Virtue hath now no domination;
Pity exil'd, no wight is merciable;
Through covetise is blent discretion;
The worlde hath made permutation
From right to wrong, from truth to fickleness,
That all is lost for lack of steadfastness.

L'Envoy.

O Prince! desire to be honourable;
Cherish thy folk, and hate extortion;
Suffer nothing that may be reprovable
To thine estate, done in thy region;
Show forth the sword of castigation;
Dread God, do law, love thorough worthiness,
And wed thy folk again to steadfastness.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Read poems about / on: lost, lust, truth, hate, world, work, ballad, god, wedding

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (A Ballad Sent to King Richard by Geoffrey Chaucer )

Enter the verification code :

  • Ian Fraser (12/2/2009 11:14:00 AM)

    A very famous poem though one sadly almost lost nowadays. Chaucer's language is surprisingly direct, even blunt. Writers have been executed for less. (Report) Reply

Read all 1 comments »

Top Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  8. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
    Maya Angelou
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. Invictus
    William Ernest Henley

PoemHunter.com Updates

New Poems

  1. A Senior Citizen, Pius Didier
  2. Beclouded, DEEPAK KUMAR PATTANAYAK
  3. Why I am taken as toy, noctiluca scintillans
  4. Let's smile, Nassy Fesharaki
  5. When I Die A Teacher, Pius Didier
  6. Family, Kolade Seun
  7. Mothers!, John Ugolo Umah
  8. I Just Do Not Know, John Ugolo Umah
  9. Are you looking, gajanan mishra
  10. Not worth as human, hasmukh amathalal

Poem of the Day

poet Edmund Spenser

Of this worlds theatre in which we stay,
My love like the spectator ydly sits
Beholding me that all the pageants play,
Disguysing diversly my troubled wits.
...... Read complete »

   
[Hata Bildir]