Chaucers Wordes unto Adam, His Owne Scriveyn*

 Adam scriveyn, if ever it thee bifalle
 Boece* or Troylus* for to wryten newe,
 Under thy long lokkes thou most have the scalle*,
 But after my makyng thow wryte more trewe;
 So ofte adaye I mot thy werk renewe,
 It to correcte and eke to rubbe and scrape,
 And al is thorugh thy negligence and rape.


* Based on comparison between signed manuscripts written by Adam Pinkhurst and the unsigned Chaucer manuscripts known as "Hengwyrt" and "Ellesmere," Linne Mooney has identified Pinkhurst as the scribe Chaucer addresses in this poem.  For more on the Late Medieval English Scribes project, cosponsored by the Universities of York, Oxford, and Sheffield, visit their Website:

*"Boece," probably Chaucer's Middle English translation of Boethius' Latin Consolation of Philosophy, an influential late medieval philosophical source; "Troylus," Chaucer's longest complete poem, also known in modern times as Troilus and Criseyde, adapted for the stage by Shakespeare as Troilus and Cressida ca. 1601-2); "scalle," a scabbed rash, psoriasis or eczema--Chaucer's poem is the first surviving use of this Northern/Scandinavian term in the O.E.D..