SEARCH RECORDS
SEARCH MSS
PRINTED BOOKS
INSCRIPTIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
GLOSSARY
DIMEV HOME
The Digital Index of Middle English Verse
ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ
DIMEV 5803
IMEV 3661
NIMEV 3661
This wretched worlds transmutation
Geoffrey Chaucer, ‘Balade of Fortune’ — nine eight-line stanzas and a six-line Envoy
Note: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 59 (SC 6943) and London, British Library Harley 2251 wrongly add the Envoy from Chaucer’s ‘Venus’ (4904); Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ii.3.21 is introduced into Chaucer’s translation of Boethius; non-source-specific edition is Anderson (1793), 1.578.
Author(s): Geoffrey Chaucer
Title(s): ‘Balade of Fortune’; Fortune
Subjects: Fortune; mutability; princes, advice to; advice, to princes; envoys; dialogues
Versification: — eight-line, six-line — ababbcbc, ababab



Manuscript Witnesses:
1.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Arch. Selden. B. 10 (SC 3356), ff. 200v-201v
First Lines:
This wredchid wolde is transmutacioun
As welle and wo now pore & now honour…
Last Lines:
…Thy last day is ende of myne intresse
In generall I this rule may not fayle
Attributed Title: paupertas conqueritur super fortunam (f. 200v)
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. More Odd Texts. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 77. London: Trübner, 1886; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
2.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Ashmole 59 (SC 6943), ff. 37-38v
First Lines:
This wrecched worldes transmutacoun
As wele and woo nowe poure and nowe honour
With oute ordre or wyse discressyoun
Governed is by ffortunes fals errour…
Last Lines:
…Preyeþe þane his beste freonde of his noblesse
þat to some better estate he may atteyne
Note: Followed by Lenvoy to Chaucer’s ‘Complaint of Venus’ (5590).
Attributed Title: Here foloweþe nowe a compleynte of þe pleintyff ageinst [ageinst] fortune translated oute of ffrenshe in to Englisshe by þat famous Rethorissyen Geffrey Chaucier (f. 37)
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.
3.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Bodley 638 (SC 2078), ff. 208-209v
First Lines:
This wrechid worldis transmutacion
As wele & wo now pore & now honoure…
Last Lines:
…Praieth his best ffrende of his noblesse
That to som bettyr estate he may Atteyne
Note: At the end: ‘Explicit’ and ‘Lyty’.
Attributed Title: Balade de Vilage saunz peynture (f. 208); La Repons du ffortune Au pleyntyff (f. 208v); le pleyntyff encountre ffortune (f. 209); Lenvoye du ffortune (f. 209v)
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.
4.Source: Oxford, Bodleian Library Fairfax 16 (SC 3896), ff. 191-192v
First Lines:
This wrechched (sic) worldes transmutacioun
As wele and woo now pouerte and now riche honoure…
Last Lines:
…Prayeth his beeste frend of his noblesse
That to some beter estate he may atteyne
Attributed Author: Par Chaucer (f. 191)
Attributed Title: Balade de vilage saunz Peynture Par Chaucer (f. 191)
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.
5.Source: Cambridge UK, Cambridge University Library Ii.3.21, ff. 53-54
First Lines:
This wrecched worlde is transmutacioun
as wele or wo now poeere & now ho honour…
Last Lines:
…preyeth hys best frend of his noblesse
That to som betere estat he may attayne
Attributed Title: Causer Balades de vilage sanz peinture (f. 53); le repounce de fortune a pleintif (f. 53v); le Respounce du pleintif contre fortune (f. 53v); etc.
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: 1.383-6.
Robinson, F. N., ed. The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford: Clarendon, 1933; 2nd ed. 1957: 630-1; 1957, 535-6.
Pace, George B., and Alfred David, eds. The Minor Poems of Geoffrey Chaucer: A Variorum Edition of The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer vol. 5, part 1. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1982: 110-18.
Benson, Larry Dean, ed. The Riverside Chaucer. 3rd ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1987: 652-3.
6.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 2006, pp. 124-126
First Lines:
This wreched worldes transmutacion
As wel and wo now pore and now honour…
Last Lines:
…Preyeth his best frend of his noblesse
That to som beter astat he may atteyn
Attributed Title: Pleyntyf encountre fortune (p. 124)
Facsimiles:
Edwards, A. S. G. “Introduction.” Manuscript Pepys 2006: A Facsimile. Magdalen College, Cambridge. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and [Woodbridge, Suffolk]: Boydell and Brewer, 1985.
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Supplementary Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 22, 59. London: Trübner, n.d.; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
7.Source: Cambridge UK, Magdalene College Pepys 2006, p. 385
Transcription:
Prayeth his best frend of his noblesse
That to som bettre estat he may atteyn…
Note: Lines 78-79, followed by ‘Lenvoie de Chaucer’.
Facsimiles:
Edwards, A. S. G. “Introduction.” Manuscript Pepys 2006: A Facsimile. Magdalen College, Cambridge. Norman, OK: Pilgrim, and [Woodbridge, Suffolk]: Boydell and Brewer, 1985.
8.Source: Cambridge UK, Trinity College R.3.20 (600), pp. 142-144
First Lines:
Þis wrechched worldes transmutacyoun
As weele and woo nowe poure and nowe honnour
With outen ordir or wyse discrescioun
Gouuerned is by ffortunes hye errour…
Last Lines:
…Preyeþe his best freond of his hye noblesse
Þat to some beter estate he may atteyne
Attributed Title: Hit is sayde þat Graunsomme made þis last balade for venus resembled to my lady of york aunswering þe complaynt of Mars and here filoweþe a balade made by Chaucier of þe louer and of dame ffortune (p. 142); Dialoge bytwene þe lover and fortune (RT)
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.
9.Source: London, British Library Harley 2251, ff. 45-46
First Lines:
This wrecchid worldis transmutacioun
As weele and woo now poore and now honour…
Last Lines:
…Prayeth that his best friend of his nobles
That to som better estate he may atteyne
Note: With the envoy of ‘The Complaint of Venus’ (5590) following the usual ‘Envoy’.
Attributed Title: The pleyntef countre fortune (f. 45)
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.
10.Source: London, British Library Lansdowne 699, ff. 81-82v
First Lines:
The wrechid werldis transmutacion
As wele & woo now poore & now honour…
Last Lines:
…Thi laste day is eende of my intresse
In general this rewle may nat faile
Editions:
Furnivall, Frederick James, ed. A Supplementary Parallel-Text Edition of Chaucer’s Minor Poems. 2 vols. Chaucer Society 1st ser. 22, 59. London: Trübner, n.d.; repr. New York and London: Johnson, 1967.
11.Source: Leiden, Leiden University Library Vossius Germ. Gall. Q.9, f. 94v



Print Witnesses:
1.Source: STC 5091. Chaucer, Geoffrey, The Temple of Bras, or Assembly or Parliament of Fowls, Caxton, 1477? , sigs. c.viv-c.viii
First Lines:
This wrecchid worldes transmutacion
As wele as woo now poure & now honour…
Last Lines:
…Praye ye his best frende of his noblesse
That to som better estate he may atteyne
Attributed Title: Balade of the vilage without peyntyng (sig. c.viv)
2.Source: STC 17026. Lydgate, John, The prouerbes of Lydgate, de Worde, [1510?]
Note: Nineteenth-century transcription in London, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Art Library Dyce 34 (Dyce’s transcript of STC 17026).
3.Source: STC 17027. Lydgate, John, The prouerbes of Lydgate, de Worde, [1520?]
4.Source: Geoffrey Chaucer, Workes, Thynne, 1532 , ff. 381va-381vb
First Lines:
This wretched worldes transmutation
As wele and wo nowe poore & nowe hoour…
Last Lines:
…Pray ye his best frende of his noblesse
That to some better estate he may attayne
Note: 6 stanzas ababbcbc plus envoy of Fortune, 6-line ababab.
Attributed Title: Balade of the vyllage without payntyng (f. 381va.
Editions:
Stowe, John, ed. The Workes of Geffrey Chaucer…with diuers addicions, with the Siege of Thebes, compiled by J. Lidgate. London, J. Kyngston for J. Wight, 1561 (STC 5075).