Art. 24, Chaunter m’estoit

ART. 24, CHAUNTER M’ESTOIT: EXPLANATORY NOTES


ABBREVIATIONS: AND: Anglo-Norman Dictionary; ANL: Anglo-Norman Literature: A Guide to Texts and Manuscripts (R. Dean and Boulton); BL: British Library (London); Bodl.: Bodleian Library (Oxford); CCC: Corpus Christi College (Cambridge); CUL: Cambridge University Library (Cambridge); IMEV: The Index of Middle English Verse (Brown and Robbins); IMEV Suppl.: Supplement to the Index of Middle English Verse (Robbins and Cutler); MED: Middle English Dictionary; MWME: A Manual of the Writings in Middle English, 1050–1500 (Severs et al.); NIMEV: A New Index of Middle English Verse (Boffey and Edwards); NLS: National Library of Scotland (Edinburgh).

7–8 Aspin believes that these lines refer to the pacification achieved later, at the Parliament of Marlborough in November 1267 (p. 26). She uses these lines to date the poem’s composition in 1267–68. But see also Shields, pp. 205–06, who dates the poem within mere weeks or months of the battle.

16 Ly quens Mountfort. Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, eulogized here and named also in A Song of Lewes (art. 23), line 41.

20 un mardi. The Battle of Evesham was fought on Tuesday, August 4, 1265.

24 Welsh infantry were present, but they fled (Aspin, p. 34).

29 Sire Edward. Lord Edward, Henry III’s son (and the future Edward I). He led the royalist forces at Evesham. Compare A Song of Lewes (art. 23), line 57, and explanatory note.

40–41 ly martyr / De Caunterbyr. Thomas Beckett, to whom Simon de Montfort was compared by those who wished to see him canonized. This poem may have been written as part of that effort.

55–56 Sire Hue le fer / Ly Despencer. Hugh Despenser (1223–1265), chief justice of England (1260–61, 1263–65), sided with the barons and was killed at Evesham.

61 Sire Henri. Simon de Montfort’s son. The poet singles out Montfort, his son Henry, and Hugh Despenser as the most prominent losses among the many dead at Evesham.

66 le cuens de Gloucestre. The Earl of Gloucester led the moderates on the baronial side, defecting to the royalist cause at Evesham. The poet blames him for the defeat.

91–93 The discovery of the hair shirt again links Montfort’s piety to that of Thomas Beckett.

112 l’enfant. An apparent reference to Montfort’s youngest son, Amaury (Aspin, p. 34).

120 This line alludes to the clergy who sided ardently with the baronial cause and wanted to make Montfort a saint.

136–38 Of these lines on the flatterer and the fool, Aspin comments: “No particular individuals seem to be indicated. The phrase may be meant to emphasize the contrast between the honest bluntness and strict respect for the law, attributed to Montfort and his supporters, and the insincerity imputed to the royalist victors” (p. 34).

154–56 This mention of prisoners “presumably [refers to] those captured at Evesham, of whom Guy de Montfort, Simon’s third son, was one. He escaped to France in April or May 1266” (Aspin, p. 34).


ART. 24, CHAUNTER M’ESTOIT: TEXTUAL NOTES


ABBREVIATIONS: As: Aspin; Bö: Böddeker; Bos: Bossy; Br: Brook; BS: Bennett and Smithers; BZ: Brandl and Zippel; B13: Brown 1932; B14: Brown 1952; DB: Dunn and Byrnes; Deg: Degginger; Do: Dove 1969; Gr: Greene 1977; Ha: Halliwell; Hal: Hall; Hol: Holthausen; Hor1: Horstmann 1878; Hor2: Horstmann 1896; Hu: Hulme; JL: Jeffrey and Levy; Ju: Jubinal; Kel: Keller; Ken: Kennedy; Le: Lerer 2008; Mc: McKnight; Mi: Millett; MR: Michelant and Raynaud; Mo: Morris and Skeat; MS: MS Harley 2253; Mu: H. M. R. Murray; Pa: Patterson; Pr: Pringle 2009; Rei: Reichl 1973; Rev1: Revard 2004; Rev2: Revard 2005b; Ri1: Ritson 1877; Ri2: Ritson 1885; Ro: Robbins 1959; Sa: Saupe; Si: Silverstein; St: Stemmler 1970; Tr: Treharne; Tu: Turville-Petre 1989; Ul: Ulrich; W1: Wright 1839; W2: Wright 1841; W3: Wright 1842; W4: Wright 1844; WH: Wright and Halliwell.

16 Mountfort. So MS, Ri1, As. W1: Montfort.

18 en plorra. So MS, W1, As. Ri1: emplorr.

31–36 MS, W1, Ri1, As: Ore est ocis &c.

42 sa. So MS, W1, As. Ri1: la.

49–54 MS, W1, Ri1, As: Ore est ocys &c.

67–72 MS, W1, Ri1, As: Ore est ocis &c.

74 mentenir. So MS, W1, As. Ri1: mentenyr.

85–90 MS, W1, Ri1, As: Ore est &c.

102 sonme. So MS, W1. Ri1, As: soume.

103–08 MS, W1, Ri1, As: Ore est &c.

121–26 MS: written out by scribe. So W1. Ri1, As: Ore est ocis etc.

139–44 MS, W1, Ri1, As: Ore est ocis &c.

157–62 MS, W1, Ri1, As: Ore est ocys &c.

 
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Art. 24, Chaunter m’estoit

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Chaunter m’estoit,
Mon cuer le voit,
En un dure langage.
Tut en ploraunt
Fust fet le chaunt
De nostre duz baronage,
Qe pur la pees
(Si loynz aprés)
Se lesserent detrere,
Lur cors trencher
E demenbrer,
Pur salver Engletere.
   Ore est ocys,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe taunt savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Mountfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plorra la terre.

Si com je qui,
Par un mardi
Firent la bataile;
Tot a cheval
Fust le mal,
Sauntz nulle pedaile.
Tres malement
Y ferirent
De le espie forbie,
Qe la part
Sire Edward
Conquist la mestrie.
   Ore est ocis,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe taunt savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Mountfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plorra la terre.

Mes par sa mort
Le cuens Mountfort
Conquist la victorie.
Come ly martyr
De Caunterbyr,
Finist sa vie.
Ne voleit pas,
Li bon Thomas,
Qe perist seinte Eglise.
Ly cuens auxi
Se combati
E morust sauntz feyntise.
   Ore est ocys,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe taunt savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Mountfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plorra la terre.

Sire Hue le fer
Ly Despencer,
Tres noble justice,
Ore est a tort
Lyvré a mort,
A trop male guise,
Sire Henri
(Pur veir le dy),
Fitz le cuens de Leycestre,     
Autres assez,
Come vous orrez,
Par le cuens de Gloucestre.
   Ore est ocis,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe taunt savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Mountfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plorra la terre.

Qe voleint moryr
E mentenir
La pees e la dreyture,
Le seint martir
Lur fra joyr,
Sa conscience pure.
Qe velt moryr
E sustenir
Les honmes de la terre,
Son bon desir
Acomplir,
Quar bien le quidom fere.
   Ore est ocys,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe taunt savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Mountfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plorra la terre.

Pres de son cors
(Le bon tresors)
Une heyre troverent.
Les faus ribaus
Tant furent maus,
E ceux qe le tuerent.
Molt fust pyr
Qe demenbryr
Firent le prodhonme
Qe de guerrer
E fei tener,
Si bien savoit la sonme.
   Ore est ocys,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe taunt savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Mountfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plorra la terre.

Priez touz,
Mes amis douz,
Le fitz seinte Marie,
Qe l’enfant,
Her puissant,
Meigne en bone vie.
Ne vueil nomer
Li escoler
(Ne vueil qe l’em die),
Mes pur l’amour
Le Salveour,
Priez pur la clergie.
   Ore est ocys,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe tant savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Montfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plurra la terre.

Ne say trover rien
Qu’il firent bien,
Ne baroun ne counte,
Les chivalers
E esquiers.
Touz sunt mys a hounte
Pur lur lealté
E verité,
Que tut est anentie.
Le losenger
Purra reigner,
Le fol pur sa folie.
   Ore est ocis,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe taunt savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Mountfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plorra la terre.

Sire Simoun,
Ly prodhom,
E sa compagnie
En joie vont
En ciel amount
En pardurable vie.
Mes Jesu Crist
Qe en croyz se mist,
Dieu, enprenge cure
Qe sunt remis
E detenuz
En prisone dure.
   Ore est ocys,
   La flur de pris,
   Qe taunt savoit de guere;
   Ly quens Mountfort,
   Sa dure mort
   Molt en plorra la terre.
 
Sing I must,
My heart wishes it,
In a sorrowful strain.
Entirely in tears
Was made the song
Of our gentle baronage,
Who for the sake of peace
(So long deferred)
Let themselves be destroyed,
Their bodies hacked
And dismembered,
To save England.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   The Earl Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.

As I believe,
On a Tuesday
They fought the battle;
All on horseback
Was the disaster,
Without any foot soldiers.
Very poorly
They struck blows there
With burnished sword,
So that the side
Of Lord Edward
Won the mastery.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   The Earl Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.

But by his death
The Earl Montfort
Won the victory.
Like the martyr
Of Canterbury,
He concluded his life.
He did not wish,
The good Thomas,
That Holy Church should perish.
The count also
Entered combat
And died without deceit.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   The Earl Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.

The fierce Sir Hugh
The Despenser,
Most noble justiciar,
Now is wrongly
Delivered to death,
In a most shameful way,
And Sir Henry
(To tell the truth),
Son of the Earl of Leicester,
And many others,
As you will hear,
By the Earl of Gloucester.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   Count Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.

Those willing to die
And maintain
Peace and righteousness,
The holy martyr
Will bring them joy,
His conscience clean.
Whoever’s willing to die
And sustain
The men of the land,
His good desire
To accomplish,
We think he does quite well.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   The Earl Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.

Near his body
(The good treasure),
They found a hair shirt.
The false knaves
Were so wicked,
And those who slew him.
It was even worse
That they dismembered
The worthy man
Who understood fighting
And keeping faith,
Everything so well.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   The Earl Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.

Pray all of you,
My gentle friends,
To blessed Mary’s son,
That the child,
The powerful heir,
Be led to a good life.
I will not name
The youth
(I don’t wish it said),
But for the love
Of the Savior,
Pray for the clergy.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   The Earl Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.

I can find nothing
That they did right,
Neither baron nor earl,
The knights
And squires.
All are brought low
On account of their loyalty
And truthfulness,
Entirely come to nought.
The flatterer
Will be able to reign,
The fool through his folly.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   The Earl Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.

Sir Simon,
The worthy man,
And his company
Proceed in joy
In heaven above
In everlasting life.
But may Jesus Christ
Who put himself on cross,
God, take care
Of those confined
And detained
In harsh prison.
   Now he is slain,
   The flower of fame,
   Who knew so much of war;
   The Earl Montfort,
   His cruel death
   The land will deeply mourn.
 






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Go To Art. 24a, Charnel amour est folie, introduction
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