PEARLlines 1-36
Anon.trans. Marie Borroff (from Middle English)
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Perle, plesaunte, to prynces paye,
To clanly clos in golde so clere:
Oute of oryent, I hardyly saye,
Ne proued I neuer her precios pere.
So rounde, so reken in vche araye,
So smal, so smože her sydez were;
Queresoeuer I jugged gemmez gaye
I sette hyr sengeley in synglure.
Allas! I leste hyr in on erbere;
Žurgh gresse to grounde hit fro me yot.
I dewyne, fordolked of luf-daungere
Of žat pryuy perle wythouten spot.

Syžen in žat spote hit fro me sprange,
Ofte haf I wayted, wyschande žat wele
Žat wont watz whyle deuoyde my wrange
And heuen my happe and al my hele -
Žat dotz bot žrych my hert žrange,
My breste in bale bot bolne and bele.
Yet žoght me neuer so swete a sange
As stylle stounde let to me stele.
Forsože žer fleten to me fele.
To ženke hir color so clad in clot!
O moul, žou marrez a myry juele,
My priuy perle withouten spotte.

Žat spot of spysez mot nedez sprede,
Žer such rychez to rot is runne,
Blomez blayke and blwe and rede
Žer schyne ful schyr agayn že sunne.
Flor and fryte may not be fede
Žer hit doun drof in moldez dunne,
For vch gresse mot grow of graynez dede;
No whete were ellez to wonez wonne.
Of goud vche goude is ay bygonne:
So semly a sede moght fayly not,
Žat spryngande spycez vp ne sponne
Of žat precios perle wythouten spotte.
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Pearl, that a prince is well content
To give a circle of gold to wear,
Boldly I say, all orient
Brought forth none precious like to her;
So comely in every ornament,
So slender her sides, so smooth they were,
Ever my mind was bound and bent
To set her apart without a peer.
In a garden of herbs I lost my dear;
Through grass to ground away it shot;
Now, lovesick, the heavy loss I bear
Of that secret pearl without a spot.

Since in that spot it sped from me so,
Often I watched and wished for that grace
That once was wont to banish woe
And bless with brightness all my days;
That clutches my heart in cruel throe
And causes my blood to rage and race,
Yet sweeter songs could no man know
Than silence taught my car to trace;
And many there came, to think of her face
With cover of clay so coldly fraught:
O earth, you mar a gem past praise,
My secret pearl without a spot.

That spot with spice must spring and spread
Where riches rotted in narrow room;
Blossoms white and blue and red
Lift now alight in blaze of noon;
Flower and fruit could never fade
Where pearl plunged deep in earthen tomb,
For the seed must die to bear the blade
That the wheat may be brought to harvest home.
Good out of good to all and some:
Such a seed could never have come to nought
Nor spice in splendor spare to bloom
From that precious pearl without a spot.
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Trans. Copyright © W.W.Norton & Co. Inc. 2001, 1977, 1967 - publ. W.W.Norton. Original with acknowledgements to University of Exeter Press.


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