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The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
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DIMEV 4375
IMEV 2756
NIMEV 2756
Pity that I have sought so yore ago
Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘The Compleynt unto Pite’, — seventeen stanzas rhyme royal
Note: Critical edition: Ten-Brink (1874), 2.170.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer
Title(s): ‘The Compleynt unto Pite’
Subjects: love, vicissitudes of
Versification: — seven-line — ababbcc



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 638 (SC 2078), ff. 46-47v
First Lines:
Pite that I haue sought so yore ago
with hert sore & full of besy peyne…
Last Lines:
…Thus for youre deth I may well wepe & pleyne
With herte sore & full of besy peyne
Attributed Title: The complaynte vnto Pyte (f. 46); The complaynt vnto Pyte (RT); The Complaynte vn to Pyte (f. 47v)
Facsimiles:
Robinson, Pamela. “Introduction.” Manuscript Bodley 638: A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1982.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Fairfax 16 (SC 3896), ff. 187-188v
First Lines:
PIte that I haue sought so yore agoo
with hert soore and ful of besy peyne…
Last Lines:
…Thus for your deth I may wel wepe and pleyne
With herte sore and ful of besy peyne
Attributed Title: Balade (f. 187); complainte of the deathe of pitie (added by John Stow, f. 187)
Facsimiles:
Norton-Smith, John. “Introduction.” Bodleian Library MS Fairfax 16. London: Scolar Press, 1979.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A One-Text Print of the Minor Poems. 2 pts. London: Trübner, 1871, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Skeat, Walter William, ed. The Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. 7 vols. Oxford: Clarendon, 1894-7: 1.272-6.
Robinson, F. N., ed. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933; 2nd ed. 1957: 620-1; 1957, 526-7.
Luria, Maxwell Sidney, and Richard L. Hoffman, eds. Middle English Lyrics. New York: Norton, 1974: 44-7.
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Tanner 346 (SC 10173), ff. 71-73
First Lines:
Pitee that I haue soghte so yore Ago
with herte sore and full of bisy peyn…
Last Lines:
…Thus for youre deth I may well wepe and pleyn
With herte sore and full of bisye peyn
Attributed Title: How pitie is dead etc (added by hand of the seventeenth century, f. 71)
Facsimiles:
Robinson, Pamela. “Introduction.” Manuscript Tanner 346: A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and Woodbridge: Boydell and Brewer, 1980.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
4.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ff.1.6 [Findern MS], ff. 15-17
First Lines:
[p]Itee that I haue sogthe so yore ago
Wyth herte sore and full of bisy peyn
That in this worde wass heuyr wyghte so wo
Wyth oute deth and I shall not…
Last Lines:
…Thus for youre payn deth I may well wepe and playn
Wyth herte sore and ffulle of bisie peyn
Facsimiles:
Beadle, Richard, and Alfred E. B. Owen. The Findern Manuscript: Cambridge University Library MS. F.1.6. London: Scolar Press, 1977.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
5.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.19 (599), ff. 151-152v
First Lines:
[p]YTE that I haue sought so yore a go
With hert sore and full of besy payne…
Last Lines:
…Thus for your deth I may well wepe and playn
With hert sore and full of besy payn
Attributed Author: Geof Chaucer (added by later hand, f. 151)
Attributed Title: Here endeth the exclamacioun of the Deth of Pyte (f. 152v); How Pyte is dede & c. (added by later hand, f. 151)
Facsimiles:
Fletcher, Bradford Y. “Introduction.” Manuscript Trinity R.3.19. A Facsimile. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, 1987.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
6.Source: London, British Library Harley 78, ff. 80-82
First Lines:
Pitye whiche þat I haue sought so yore
With hert sore ful of besy peyne…
Last Lines:
…Þus for youre dethe I may weel weepe and pleyne
With hert sore al ful of besy peyne
Note: Scribe John Shirley; followed by 5380 as if part of same text, with RT continuing as ‘þe balade Of Pitee…By Chauciers’ on ff. 82-83v.
Attributed Title: And nowe here filowing begynneþe a complaint of pitee made by Geffrey Chaucier þe aureat poete þat euer was fonde in oure vulgare tofore hees dayes (f. 80)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 3 vols. Chaucer Society 1st. ser. 21, 57, 58. London: Trübner, n.d. repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Benson, Larry Dean, ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987: 640-1.
7.Source: London, British Library Addit. 34360 [olim Phillipps 9053], ff. 49-51
First Lines:
[P]Ite whiche that I have sought so yoer
with hert sore ful of besy peyne…
Last Lines:
…Thus for yowre deth I may wele wepe and pleyne
With hert sore al ful of besy peyne
Note: Followed by 5380 as if part of same text.
Attributed Title: And now here folwith A complaynt of pite / made bi Geffray Chauncier the Aureat / Poete that euer was founde in oure vulgar / tofore his daues (f. 49)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Odd Texts of the Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 23, 60. London: Trübner, 1868, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
8.Source: London, British Library Harley 7578, ff. 13v-14v
First Lines:
[P]ite that I haue sought so yoore
With herte sore ful of heuy peine…
Last Lines:
…Thus for youre deith I may wel wepe and pleyne
With herte sore and ful of sely peyne
Note: Initial ‘P’ is missing, with space left for illuminated initial.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Odd Texts of the Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 23, 60. London: Trübner, 1868, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
9.Source: Longleat, Marquess of Bath MS 258, ff. 55-57v
First Lines:
[P]ite that I haue sought so yore agoo
With hert sore and ful of besy payne…
Last Lines:
…Thus for youre dethe I may wel wepe & playne
With hert sore and ful of besy payne
Attributed Title: Here endith thexclamacion / of the dethe of pite (f. 57v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. Odd Texts of the Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 23, 60. London: Trübner, 1868, 1880; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
Chalmers, Alexander, ed. The Works of the English Poets from Chaucer to Cowper. London, 1810; repr. New York: Greenwood, 1969: 1.517-18.



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: Geoffrey Chaucer, Workes, Thynne, 1532 , ff. 286ra-286va
First Lines:
Pyte that I haue sought so yore ago
with herte sore and ful of besy payne…
Last Lines:
…Thus for your dethe I may wepe & playne
With herte sore and ful of besy payne
Note: Further editions include Stowe (1561).
Attributed Title: How pite is ded and beried in a gentyll hert (f. 285)