The Testament of Cresseid

The Testament of Cresseid

"The Testament of Cresseid", one of the great works of northern renaissance literature, was written by the Scottish poet Robert Henryson. It sets out to complete the story of Cressida left unfinished by Geoffrey Chaucer in his "Troilus and Criseyde". It has been generally admired for its distinctive humanity, concise storytelling and supple psychological drama.


There is much reference in the poem to books, writing and the act of reading. The poem itself begins as a response to an act of reading.

:"I mend the fyre and beikit me about, :"Than tuke ane drink my spreitis to comfort,:"And armit me weill fra the cauld thairout.:"To cut the winter nicht and mak it schort :"I tuik ane quair and left all uther sport, :"Writtin be worthie Chaucer glorious,:"Of fair Cresseid and worthie Troylus."(ll.36-40)Listen: audio|en-uk-Wiktionary.ogg|Audio (UK) ["Link under construction."]

It also closes with a direct address to the readership Henryson appears to have had in mind for its compostion.

:"Now, worthie wemen, in this ballet schort,:"Maid for your worschip and instructioun,:"Of cheritie, I monische and exhort,:"Ming not your lufe with fals deceptioun."Listen: audio|en-uk-Wiktionary.ogg|Audio (UK) ["Link under construction."]

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