THE APOTHECARY TO HIS DAUGHTER

By Dorigen of the Grey Gate


(Decameron, 10.7)

My dearest daughter, hearken now to me:
Child of my heart, whose heart is full of pain
for love unanswered, heed my words, nor flee
the wisdom that I give thee for thy gain.
Thy love consumes thy life, so thou wouldst fain
lie down in death, from sorrow so to fly.
Pray seek not heaven, but on the earth remain:
live now and love, nor let thy sweet voice die.

Thou unaware didst look on high, to see
the Sun in splendor in his noon-tide reign,
too high to reach, what e'er thy rank might be,
too bright to look upon, desired in vain.
No need hast thou to fear the world's disdain
for hidden love, concealed from every eye.
An thou harm none, nor court dishonor's stain,
live now and love, nor let thy sweet voice die.

Now from thine eyes the tears flow fast and free,
and sleepless nights have marked thy visage plain.
Yet 'tis thy love that so ennobles thee,
and is thy blessing, though it be thy bane.
For though the faithless moon may wax and wane,
a loyal heart is like that star on high
that lights the north, that steadfast will remain.
Live now and love, nor let thy sweet voice die.

Prince, ruler of this land by might and main,
you hold no greater treasure, far or nigh.
Child of my heart, pray hear my heart's refrain:
live now and love, nor let thy sweet voice die.

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Reprinted from the Fall, 2005, issue of Arts and Sciences, a special issue of the Pikestaff,
the official newsletter of the Kingdom of the East. Used by permission.