47. Balade: «Car je languis par deffault de raison»
GRANSON, 47. BALADE:«CAR JE LANGUIS PAR DEFFAULT DE RAISON»: EXPLANATORY NOTES
This is the one ballade that contains what appear to be specific references to events in Granson’s own life (see Piaget, pp. 142–43), particularly in lines 11–18, which describe the circumstances that he faced after he was accused of complicity in the death of Count Amadeus VII in 1391. Forced into exile that year, he was disinherited of his property in 1393, and then, after the judgment against him was reversed by Charles VI in 1395, he was forced to defend himself anew when he was challenged to a judicial duel by one of his longtime enemies. It is not impossible that the poem was written while he was still in exile, but if, as appears, lines 14–16 refer specifically to the challenge to a duel, then the poem must date from the period after his return to Savoy in late 1395 or early 1396, and thus not long before his death in August of 1397. The most complete source for the details of the final years of Granson’s life is Berguerand, upon whom we have relied heavily in the notes that follow. See also Piaget, pp. 20–67, and Chaubet, “Duel.”
11 Jeune seigneur. Amadeus VIII, the son of the deceased count, was only eight years old when his father died and Granson went into exile, and only fourteen at the time of the duel in which Granson was killed. Until Amadeus VII’s death, Granson served as a member of the count’s Council (Berguerand, p. 113). After his exile, the exact role of the Council in the outcome of the affair is not documented, but two of its members, Raoul de Gruyère and Jean de la Baume, had unsuccessfully brought challenge in 1390 to Granson’s right to property he inherited through his wife, and they profited from his exile to acquire that which they had failed to obtain earlier. They thus stood to lose if his property were restored upon his return (Berguerand, pp. 20, 106–8, 113).
Conceil de volunté. Perhaps “willful council.” Compare Machaut, Balade notée XVIII, lines 15–16, “Mais seulement de volenté / Ma dame m’a congié donné,” where de volenté seems to imply “without good reason” (PL, 2:549).
12 Gens ennuyeux et commun trop puissant. In addition to Raoul de Gruyère and Jean de la Baume, Granson’s enemies would of course have included Gérard d’Estavayer, who made the formal challenge to a duel and who also had taken possession of one of Granson’s properties upon his exile (Berguerand, p. 20). The communes exercised their influence and authority through the États de Vaud, a representative assembly in existence since at least 1361 (Holenstein, “Assemblée”). They sided against Granson from the very beginning, ordering the confiscation of his property in 1393 and later helping to finance d’Estavayer in his pursuit of his claim by judicial duel (Berguerand, pp. 117–27).
14–18 Et vont . . . grant dilacion. The challenge to Granson’s honor might refer to any time when he thought that he was falsely accused, but the vow to defend it, the reference to l’espreuve certainne, and the appeal to God in the final stanza point to the period after his return from exile and more specifically to the events that preceded the duel in which he was killed. In his formal response to the challenge to a duel, Granson used some of the same language that he employs here in his statement of his willingness to defend himself:
Je suis en la misericorde de celluy qui est plus plains de mercy que je ne puis estre pecheable, et je me fie en luy de cestuy fait, car il m’en sera vray juge. . . . Et il n’est pas en la puissance de celluy qui m’a appelé, s’il ne vous plaist, qu’il puisse avoir plus de dilacion. Et je qui suis deffendant n’en requiert point, et Dieu le scet, non pas par orgueil, ne par envye que j’aye de tollir la vie de nul Crestien, fors que ainsy que je suis contrains de deffendre ma vie et mon honneur et l’estat en quoy Dieu m’a convoquéThe same passage can be found in Piaget, p. 60, and Chaubet, “Duel,” pp. 33–34.
[And I place myself at the mercy of Him who is more full of mercy than I can be guilty of sin, and I trust in Him in this affair, for He will be a true judge of it for me. . . And it is not in the power of him who has summoned me, if it doesn’t please you, to have any more delay. And I who am the defendant do not seek any, and God knows, not because of pride or because of any desire that I might have to take the life of a Christian, but only because I am required to defend my life and my honor and the state in which God has placed me] (Berguerand, pp. 156–57).
17 Le juge fault que ne lez y amainne. For the construction compare 67.27. Is Granson making an appeal to anyone in particular in this line? During the minority of Amadeus VIII, final authority over the county rested with Philippe le Hardi, the Duke of Burgundy (Berguerand, pp. 24, 130), who was among those who had already found Granson innocent of the charges against him, and to whom Granson makes an indirect appeal in his formal response to d’Estavayer’s challenge (Berguerand, p. 153). Granson might reasonably have hoped, therefore, for the Duke’s intervention against those whom he names in lines 11–12. Berguerand speculates that by this time, Philippe may have lost interest in the case or may even have seen an advantage in Granson’s loss (Berguerand, p. 130).
GRANSON, 47. BALADE: «CAR JE LANGUIS PAR DEFFAULT DE RAISON»: TEXTUAL NOTES
Abbreviations: A: Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, MS 350; B: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 1727; C: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 1131; D: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 24440; E: Barcelona, Biblioteca de Catalunya, MS 8, Catalan, 1420–30; F: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, fr. 2201; G: London, Westminster Abbey Library, MS 21; H: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 833, c. 1500; J: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 1952; K: Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, IS 4254, 15th century; L: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Rothschild MS I.I.9; M: Carpentras, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, MS fr. 390, 15th century; N: Brussels, Bibliothèque royale Albert 1er, MS 10961–10970, c. 1465; O: Karlsruhe, Badische Landesbibliothek, MS 410, c. 1430; P: Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Van Pelt Library, MS Codex 902 (formerly Fr. MS 15), 1395–1400; Q: Berne, Burgerbibliothek da la Bourgeoisie, MS 473, 1400–40; R: Turin, Archivio di Stato, MS J. b. IX. 10; S: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, fr. 24404, 13th century (16th century addition); T: Besançon, Bibliothèque Municipale, MS 556, 1826; V: Carpentras, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, MS 411; W: Brussels, Bibliothèque royale Albert 1er, MS IV 541, 1564–81; Y: Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale e Universitaria, MS L.II.12.
For each poem, we provide the following:
Other editions: The location of the poem in the editions of Grenier-Winther (GW) and Piaget.
Base MS: The manuscript from which our text is taken, using the sigla listed on this page.
Other copies: The other manuscripts in which the poem appears, with the line numbers for excerpts.
Selected variants: Most of the notes record the editors’ emendations. A small number (for instance, regarding the titles) record alternative readings when we did not emend the base text. We do not, however, provide a complete list of variants, for which one may consult Grenier-Winther’s edition. Each note consists of a line number, a lemma (the reading from our text), the manuscript source for the reading that we have chosen, selected readings from other manuscripts; and the reading from the base manuscript when it was rejected. If no manuscript source is listed following the lemma, the adopted reading is the editors’ conjecture.
Other comments on the text, as required.
GW4, Piaget p. 286.
Base MS A. No other copies.