Lament for Chaucer

by Alice Cattley

Alas, my worthy master honourable,
The riches and the treasure of this land!
Death, by your death, has dealt irreparable
And grievous harm: the vengeance of her hand
Has robbed our country of the sweet command
Of speech; for no-one else was ever so
Adept an orator as Cicero.
And who was heir to Aristotle in
Philosophy but you? In poetry,
Who followed Virgil’s steps? We know too well.
The burden of the world that killed my master –
I wish that I were killed! – Death, was too fast
To run at you and rob you of your life.
She might have held her vengeance off a while,
Until there was an equal in your place;
But no, forget that – she well knew this isle
Would never bear another man like you,
And yet she had to do what she was told.
Oh master, master, may God rest your soul!