Good ladies, you that have your pleasure in exile,
Step in your foot, come take a place, and mourn with me a while,
And such as by their lords do set but little price,
Let them sit still: it skills them not what chance come on the dice.
But ye whom Love hath bound by order of desire
To love your lords, whose good deserts none other would require:
Come you yet once again, and set your foot by mine,
Whose woeful plight and sorrows great no tongue may well define.
My love and lord, alas, in whom consists my wealth,
Hath fortune sent to pass the seas in hazard of his health.
That I was wont for to embrace, contented mind's,
Is now amid the foaming floods at pleasure of the winds.
There God him well preserve, and safely me him send,
Without which hope, my life alas were shortly at an end.
Whose absence yet, although my hope doth tell me plain,
With short return he comes anon, yet ceaseth not my pain.
The fearful dreams I have, oft times they grieve me so,
That then I wake and stand in doubt, if they be true, or no.
Sometime the roaring seas, me seems, they grow so high,
That my sweet lord in danger great, alas, doth often lie.
Another time the same doth tell me, he is come;
And playing, where I shall him find with T., his little son.
So forth I go apace to see that liefsome sight,
And with a kiss me thinks I say: "Now welcome home, my knight;
Welcome my sweet, alas, the stay of my welfare;
Thy presence bringeth forth a truce betwixt me and my care."
Then lively doth he look, and salveth me again,
And saith: "My dear, how is it now that you have all this pain?"
Wherewith the heavy cares that heap'd are in my breast,
Break forth, and me dischargeth clean of all my huge unrest.
But when I me awake and find it but a dream,
The anguish of my former woe beginneth more extreme,
And me tormenteth so, that uneath may I find
Some hidden where, to steal the grief of my unquiet mind.
Thus every way you see with absence how I burn;
And for my wound no cure there is but hope of good return;
Save when I feel, by sour how sweet is felt the more,
It doth abate some of my pains that I abode before.
And then unto myself I say: "When that we two shall meet,
But little time shall seem this pain, that joy shall be so sweet."
Ye winds, I you convert in chiefest of your rage,
That you my lord me safely send, my sorrows to assuage;
And that I may not long abide in such excess,
Do your good will to cure a wight that liveth in distress.