Art. 9, De l'Yver et de l'Esté

ART. 9, DE L'YVER ET DE L'ESTÉ: 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).

89 vous lou je bien. “I well advise you.” Forms of this idiom occur elsewhere at the end of the disputants’ speeches. See also lines 146 and 190.

136–41 This stanza refers to meat preserved by salt- and smoke-curing.

150 lerroy. “Failed to mention”; see AND, laier (v.), “to omit, leave out.”

156 danz Poydras, Maymont, Sweyn. These followers of Summer have names evocative of summer frivolity. I adopt here the translation given by Reichl for Poydras, “Littlecloth” (2000, p. 221), but see also MED, peudreas (n.), “dusty,” a derogatory epithet drawn from the OF word for “dust, dirt.”

176 peus. “Supported, sustained.” See MED, puen (v.), from OF puiier (v.).

229 a val. This phrase, as found in the manuscript, does not rhyme on -aunt; it seems to link, instead, with the b-rhyme of the next stanza.

254 In this stanza Summer shifts the address from Winter to Winter’s followers.


ART. 9, DE L'YVER ET DE L'ESTÉ: 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.


3 queux. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: quieux.

4 oncke. So MS (e abbrev). Ju, Bos: onckes. Do: onck.

16 E. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: Et.

17 cotiver. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: coliner.

29 E. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: Et.

65 E. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: Et.

86 countree. So MS, Ju, Do. Bos: contree.

94 De. So MS, Do, Bos. Ju: E.

113 ay. So MS, Ju, Bos. Do: aye.

150 seignurye. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: seignurie.

156 Maymont. So MS, Ju, Bos. Do: Maymout.
Sweyn. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: Swyn.

160 feyteez. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: scytees.

161 e. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: et.

167 Je. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: Ge.

171 guyree. So Ju, Bos. MS, Do: quyree.

172 Ycele. So MS, Ju, Bos. Do: Ytele.

180 molt. So MS (o abbreviated), Ju, Bos. Do: mult.

182 sourveyl. So MS. Ju, Bos, Do: sourneyl.

196 Son. So MS, Ju, Bos. Do: soun.

218 Quanqe. So MS, Ju. Do, Bos: Quanque.

220 e. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: et.

228 futes. So MS, Ju, Bos. Do: futez.

237 nous. So MS. Ju, Bos: nus. Do: vus.

239 parais. So MS, Ju, Bos. Do: parays.

257 dy. So MS, Ju, Bos. Do: di.

260 nasquid. So MS, Do. Ju, Bos: nasquit.

262 frez. So MS, Ju, Do. Bos: ferez.

 
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Art. 9, De l'Yver et de l'Esté

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Un grant estrif oy l’autrer
Entre Esté e sire Yver,
Ly queux avereit la seignurie.
Yver ad dit oncke oye:
“Je su,” fet il, “seignur e mestre,   [Yver]
E a bon dreit le dey estre,
Quant, de la bowe, face caucé
Par un petit de geelé;
E quant je vueil, yl vente e pluet
E negge, aprés qe l’em ne puet,
Par mei, gueres bosoigne fere.
Ne ja n’entera charue en terre
Pur roi ne duc si je ne l’ voil.
Tiel vodreit aver remoil,
A cui je doins grysil e glace!
E quant me plest, si lur faz grace
De cotiver un jour ou deus,
E pus aprés reposer trois.
E n’est ce donqe grant seignorie,
D’aver touz tant en ma baylye
Que nul ne passera le soyl
Santz anuy, si je ne l’ voil?
E qui purreit, donque, desdyre
Que Yver ne fust mestre e syre?”

¶ Esté respound: “Je ne l’ grant mye!   [Esté]     
Ne ja ne le froy en ma vie!
   De moie part,
La chose serra plus oye,
E quant ele ert mieux asye,
   Seit sur esgart!

Ce n’est pas honour ne corteisie,
Ne gueres le tienk a ‘mestrie’
   De vassal,
Pur une petite bailie
De prendre a nulle rien atye
   De fere mal.

Mes pus qe dire le vous dey —
Avauntez estes de grant effrey,
   Apertement.
Uncore frez vous plus mal, ce crey,
Qe dit n’avez, ne fust pur mey
   Qe vous defent.

Tant estes de grant demesure
Qe de belté n’avez cure
   A vostre vueil,
Mes, tant come vostre sesone dure,
Vous avez, de ma nature,
   Le chaut soleyl.

Ore avez mostré ta mestrie,
Qe ne valt pas un alye
   Qui bien l’entent.
Vous n’avez cure d’autre vie
Fors fere mal e freyterye
   A tote gent.

Mes si je pus rien oyr
Qe de vous pust chose venir
   Si mal noun,
Je vous dirroi, sauntz mentir,
De ma mesure, mon pleysir,
   E la resoun.”

¶ Yver respount santz nul respit:   [Yver]
“Merveille,” fet il, “avez dit,
Que de moi ne vient nul bien:
Donque, n’est ce pas trestot myen?
E pur ma tres grant largesse
Tous les conquer — nient par peresse!
Nuls um est qe ov vous tienge.
Ja, Dieu ne place, que me avyenge
Que ne face plus honour
E plus despenz en un soul jour
Que vous en tote vostre vie.
Si je ne vous faz aye,
Cheytif, ja morrez vous de feym!
E dont vous vient de mettre cleym
Encountre moi qe tot pus fere!
Vous n’estez mie deboneyre.
Vous estes fel e froit e feynt.
A mensungier serrez ateynt
De ceste vostre fole emprise!
Bien, est droit qe l’em vous prise
Pur vostre grant noreture:
Musches e mal aventure,
Lesards e colures grauntz,
Crapotz e serpenz puauntz
Sunt reignes de ta meynee!
Mes quant je vienk par lur countree,
N’ad si hardy qe m’atent
Que je mort ou mat ne rend.
E, pur ce, vous lou je bien
Qu’encontre moy ne diez rien.”

¶ Esté respound, e dit aprés:   [Esté]
“Yver, vous estes molt parvers
   A tote gent,
De mesdire es molt engrees.
Male bouche ne puet mees
   Si ele mesprent.

Je su,” fet il, “des fraunceis.
De nul guerrer ne nul maveis,
   N’ay talent,
For soul Yver, qu’est engrees,
Feloun, pulent, e maveis
   Apertement.

Mes pur ce qe bien vivre ne volez,
A nul jour mes me amerez
   Parfitement.
Je vous noris les vins fraunceis
Qe vous vont fere les gabeis
   Molt sovent.
Feynz, formentz, fevez, peys,
Touz sunt norys en me treis meys —
   Ce sevent tote gent!

Mes quant vous avez la plenté
Que je ay a tous abaundoné
   Communement,
Quant vous le avez gasté,
Que ja ne averez honour ne gree
   De nulle gent!

Quar en vous n’est point de mesure,
Tant come vyn ou cervoise dure,
   En verité;
Par vos tempestes, gresils, plues, ventz,
Vous anuyez totes gentz,
   Sauntz fauceté!

Tous bestes vodrez anuyer,
E totes choses vodrez gastier,
   Si vous puissez;
E trestous pur mey grever —
Eynz puissez vous crever
   Qe vous le facez!

Et dites que vous me peesez —
Peyse vous que rien lessez
   A moun venyr!
Mes quant je vienk, je porte assez
Chars noveles e deintez
   Pur mei servyr.

Le buef freyshe e veneyson
Dount ja ne enundres ton gernoun
   Si n’est salee.
Je ne su pas frere a glotoun
Pur estrangler le viel motoun
   En fumee!

Pur ce, vous lou, en verité,
Qe n’estes pas molt bien amé
   De tote gent.
De ‘seignurie’ qe vous avez clamé,
Bien vous lou facez mon gree,
   Sauntz jugement.”

¶ Yver respound: “Ore eit deshee   [Yver]
Que cure ad de vostre gree!
Aynz lerroy seignurye
Que j’ay clamé par vostre vie,
Quar vous n’i avetz point de dreit —
Que cel vous dit vous deceit!
Qui vous tendroit a seignour?
Certes, nul que seit de valour,
Fors danz Poydras, Maymont, Sweyn —
Cyl vivent bien de poy de peyn,
E autres tiels avetz assez.
Mes ceus sunt vos plus privez.
Les autres sunt molt bien feyteez
De Loundres e d’autres cytés
As hospitals e as abbeyes.
En vostre temps sount lur veyes,
E dorment longe matynee.
Le solail chaut molt lur agree,
Mes par un petit de freydour,
Je les chace le feu entour!
Un tiel serjaunt a son seignour
En bosoigne freit grant ‘socour’ —
De fere bone saulee
Ou il trovassent sa guyree!
Ycele n’est pas ma meynee;
Tot autrement l’ay afeyté.
Ne sevent vivre de francboyses,
Dont les vos font grant noyses!
Les miens sunt peus come li baroun
De volatyl e bon braoun.
Quant les vos muerent de freit,
N’est nul de myenz qe poynt en eit;
De le freit se puet molt bien defendre,
Mes nul de vos ne puet attendre
Ne robes ne sourveyl doner
Quant il ne poent laborer.
Ne je ne vueil nul tiel noryr
Que nul bien puet deservyr.
Tous avez vous aquillis,
Les malveis e les faylis,
E se fount coyntes d’amours,
E sunt larouns e murdrysours.
Pur ce, vous lou je, en bone fey,
Que vous acordez ovesque mey,
Quar si jugement volez atendre,
Par dreit agard um vous deit pendre!”

¶ Quant Esté le oy taunt dyre,   [Esté]
Yl respount e dit, sauntz ire,
   Son talent:
“Si vostre mal vous empyre,
Soffrez un petit, bel syre,
   Que vous ament.

De mesdyre es trop delyvre,
E de mal fere, estes plus guyvre
   Que serpent.
Vous estes de her seir yvre,
E quanque dit vostre lyvre,
   Si vous ment.

Je norisse molt bone gent,
Chivalers clerks ensement,
   A grant plenté,
Que me servent bonement.
Quantque lur vient a talent
   Lur ay doné.

De ce que vous m’avez repris
De la vermine qe je noris,
   E d’autre rien,
Si faz je vous, donqe je faz pis.
Mes, ne sunt pas trestous amis
   A qui l’em fet bien.

Quanqe je faz de noreture
Tot est pur Dieu creature,
   Petit e grant,
Mes vous metez tote vostre cure
De tuer a demesure
   Quanque est vivant.

Si vous estes de halt parage,
Bien savom de quel lignage
   Estes issaunt.
Dreitz est que facez utrage,
Bien savoms que futes page
   Parfound a val.

Lucifer e son neveu
De li estes meyntenu
   De fere mal:
Vous estes son parent e son dru,
E de mal fere tenez son lu
   Especial.

Je ne su pas de ly apris,
Quar tot le mal nous ad conquis
   Daunz Lucifer;
Je su de parais transmys
Pur vous remuer del pays
   E gent amender.

Je faz russinole chaunter,
Arbres floryr, fruit porter,
   Sauntz countredit.
Je faz floryr le verger,
Fueil e flur novel porter
   A grant delit.

Les blees qe par vous sunt perys,
Les met avant e les norys
   A moun poer.
Les bestes qu’avez pres ocys
Je les ay en vertu mys
   A moun voler.

Je ne vous vueil mie deceveyr.
Ceus qe sachent mon poeir,
   La vostre gent,
Ore entendez! Si je dy veyr,
Vivre ne porrez matyn ne seyr
   Seurement!

Si ne nasquid greyn de forment,
E autre fruitz communement,
   Que frez vous?
Vyn, ne claré ne piement,
Ja ne bevera vostre gent,
   Si noun par nous.

Mes taunt, je vueil dyre
Que sauntz Yver poez vyvre
   A graunt honour.
Mes ne puet nul contredire.
Yver ne puet aver que fruyre
   Si de Esté n’eit socour.

Seigneurs e dames, ore emparlez,
Que nos paroles oy avez
   Apertement,
E vous puceles que tant amez,
Je vous requer que vous rendez
   Le jugement.”
I heard a grand debate the other day
Between Summer and Sir Winter,
Over who should have lordship.
Winter spoke for all to hear:
“I am,” he says, “lord and master,   [Winter]
And by right I ought to be,
When, from mud, I make a road
By a little bit of frost;
And whenever I wish, it blows and rains
And snows, after which men,
Thanks to me, can scarcely do their work.
Never will a plow enter the earth
For king or duke if I don’t wish it.
To those who’d like to have a thaw,
I hurl hail and ice!
And when it pleases me, I let them
Cultivate for a day or two,
And afterwards to rest three.
And is this not great lordship,
To have everything so fully in my power
That nothing will pierce the soil
Without trouble, if I don’t wish it?
And who, therefore, could deny
That Winter is master and lord?”

¶ Summer replies: “I don’t accept it at all!   [Summer]
Nor will I ever do so in my life!
   For my part,
The matter will be heard further,
And when it has been better tested,
   Watch out!

It’s neither honor nor courtesy,
Nor do I think it at all ‘mastery’
   In a vassal,
For the sake of a small domain
To accept any kind of challenge
   By doing evil.

But since I must speak with you —
You’ve boasted of causing much trouble,
   Openly.
You’d do even more evil, believe me,
Than you’ve said, if it weren’t for me
   Who prevents you.

You’re so very immoderate
That you don’t care at all for beauty
   By your own volition,
Yet, while your season lasts,
You have, on account of my nature,
   The hot sun.

Now you’ve displayed your power,
Which isn’t worth a fig
   To those who pay close attention.
You don’t care for any way of life
Aside from doing evil and cold violence
   To everyone.

But since I can’t hear
Anything coming from you
   Other than evil,
I’ll tell you, without lying,
About my own moderation, my pleasures,
   And the rightness of it.”

¶ Winter answers immediately:   [Winter]
“It’s incredible,” he says, “what you’ve alleged,
That from me there comes no good:
Now then, isn’t everything mine?
And by my very great generosity
I win them all over — not by idleness!
There’s no one who holds with you.
Indeed, never may it please God that it happen
That I fail to produce more honor
And dispense more in a single day
Than you do in your whole life.
If I didn’t help you,
Wretch, you’d die of hunger!
Yet you’ve just made a claim
Against me that you can do everything!
You’re not at all gracious.
You’re evil and cold and false.
You’ll be convicted of lying
About this your foolish endeavor!
Yes, it’s true that people value you
For your great ability to nurture:
Flies and bad accidents,
Lizards and huge snakes,
Toads and stinking serpents
Are the queens of your household!
But when I venture through their territory,
There’s none so hardy to come against me
Whom I don’t render dead or beaten.
And, for this, I certainly advise you
To say nothing against me.”

¶ Summer answers, then saying:   [Summer]
“Winter, you’re quite perverse
   Toward everyone,
Whom you’re very eager to defame.
An evil mouth can do nothing
   But harm.

I am,” he says, “French.
For fighting or anything bad,
   I have no desire,
Except against Winter, who is savage,
Vicious, stinking, and bad
   Plainly.

But since you don’t wish to live well,
You’ll never be fond of me
   Completely.
I nurture for you the French wines
That make you boast
   Quite often.
Hay, wheat, beans, peas,
All are nurtured in my three months —
   Everyone knows this!

But when you have the bounty
That I’ve freely given to all
   In common,
How thoroughly you’ve wasted it,
Who’ll never gain honor or gratitude
   From anyone!

For in you there’s no moderation at all,
So long as the wine or beer lasts,
   In truth;
With your tempests, hails, rains, winds,
You’re troublesome to all people,
   Without fail!

You want to harass all animals,
And you want to destroy all things,
   If you can;
And you do all this to injure me —
First may you burst
   Before you do it!

And you say that you grieve me —
It grieves you to leave anything
   For my coming!
But when I arrive, I carry enough
New meats and delicacies
   To serve my turn.

Fresh beef and venison
Will never moisten your whiskers
   If they’re not salt-cured.
I’m not akin to a glutton
Who would choke an old mutton
   In smoke!

For this, I inform you, in truth,
That you’re very little loved
   By anyone.
As for the ‘lordship’ you’ve claimed,
It’s highly advisable that you accept my will
   Before a verdict.”

¶ Winter replies: “Now curse   [Winter]
Whoever cares about your will!
Earlier I failed to mention the lordship
That I have claimed over your life,
For you’re absolutely wrong —
Whoever says you’re right is fooling you!
Who will accept you as lord?
Certainly, no one of any worth,
Only Lords Littlecloth, Mayhill, Swain —
These live well with little effort,
And you have plenty of others like them.
But these are your closest companions.
The others are very well ensconced
In London and other towns
Within hospices and abbeys.
Yours go their own ways in your season,
And they sleep late in the morning.
The hot sun pleases them greatly,
But with just a bit of cold,
I chase them back around the fire!
Servants like that give their lord
Great ‘assistance’ in time of need —
By getting good and drunk
Where they come upon his supplies!
My household is not like this;
I've instructed them quite differently.
They don’t think to live on raspberries,
About which yours make such a big fuss!
Mine are supported like barons
With poultry and good meat.
When yours die of cold,
None of mine feel it at all;
From cold they can well protect themselves,
But none of yours can expect
Either clothing or support
When they can’t work.
Nor do I wish to nurture any such
Who doesn’t deserve any goods.
You’ve welcomed everyone,
The sinful and the lazy,
And those thinking themselves clever in love,
And those who are thieves and murderers.
For this, I advise you, in good faith,
That you come to an agreement with me,
For should you wish to await a verdict,
By a just judgment they ought to hang you!”

¶ When Summer hears him talk so,   [Summer]
He answers and, without anger, speaks
   His mind:
“Since your evil is making you worse,
Pay attention a bit, good sir,
   To what may make you better.

You’re too ready to slander,
And to do evil you’re sharper tongued
   Than a serpent.
You’re drunk from last night,
And whatever your book says,
   It lies to you.

I nurture many good people,
Knights together with clerks,
   In great number,
Who serve me graciously.
Whatever is to their liking
   I have given them.

Concerning how you’ve reproved me
For the vermin I nurture,
   And whatever else,
I also made you, which is far worse.
Indeed, they're not all friends
   For whom one does good.

Whatever sustenance I create
Is wholly for God’s creatures,
   Small and large,
But you devote all your effort
Toward inordinately killing
   Whatever lives.

Although you’re of high parentage,
We know indeed from what kind of lineage
   You have issued.
It’s fitting you behave outrageously,
For we know indeed that you were a page
   In the pit below.

By Lucifer and his nephew
You are maintained
   For evildoing:
You are his kinsman and loved one,
And for doing evil you hold his
   Special favor.

I'm not instructed by him,
Since all evil was won for us
   By Lord Lucifer;
I'm sent from heaven
To expel you from the land
   And make the people better.

I make the nightingale sing,
Trees to bloom, bear fruit,
   Without doubt.
I make the orchard flourish,
Bear leaves and new flowers
   To great delight.

The grains that are ruined by you,
I advance and nurture them
   By my power.
The animals that you’ve nearly killed
I bring back to physical strength
   By my will.

I don’t wish at all to deceive you.
Those of you who know my power,
   Winter’s people,
Now listen! If I’m telling the truth,
You’ll not live morning or evening
   In security!

If the grain of wheat is not birthed,
And the other fruits equally as well,
   What will you do?
Wine, neither claret nor spiced,
Will your people ever drink,
   If we don’t provide it.

Furthermore, I wish to say
That without Winter you could live
   In great honor.
No one would ever dispute that.
Winter would cause only cold destruction
   If Summer didn’t provide relief.

Lords and ladies, deliberate now,
You who’ve heard our words
   Spoken aloud,
And you maidens who love so much,
I ask you to pronounce
   The verdict.”


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