33. Balade: «Don de mercy ainçois que on le deprie»

GRANSON, 33. BALADE: «DON DE MERCY AINÇOIS QUE ON LE DEPRIE»: EXPLANATORY NOTES

ABBREVIATIONS: A: Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, MS 350; B: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, f. fr. 1727; C: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, f. fr. 1131; D: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, f. fr. 24440; E: Barcelona, Biblioteca de Catalunya, MS 8, Catalan, 1420–30; F: Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, f. fr. 2201; K: Lausanne, Bibliothèque Cantonale et Universitaire, IS 4254; N: Brussels, Bibliothèque royale Albert 1er, MS 10961–10970, c. 1465; P: Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania, Van Pelt Library, MS Codex 902 (formerly Fr. MS 15), 1395–1400; 100B: Les Cent Ballades; Basso: “L’envol et l’ancrage”; BD: Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess; Berguerand: Berguerand, Duel; Boulton: Song; Braddy: Braddy, Chaucer and Graunson; Carden: “Le Livre Messire Ode d’Oton de Grandson; CA: Gower, Confessio Amantis; DL: Guillaume de Machaut, Dit dou lyon; DLA: Guillaume de Machaut, Dit de l’alerion; FA: La fonteinne amoureuse; FC: Wimsatt, French Contemporaries; GW: Granson, Poésies, ed. Grenier-Winther; LGW: Chaucer, The Legend of Good Women; PA: Froissart, Paradis d’Amour; PF: Chaucer, The Parliament of Fowls; Piaget: Grandson, Vie et poésies, ed. Piaget; PL: Guillume de Machaut, Poésies Lyriques; Poirion: Poirion, Poète et prince; TC: Chaucer, Troilus and Criseyde; RR: Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, Le Roman de la rose; VD: Guillaume de Machaut, Le livre dou voir dit.

This is one of five ballades (along with 23, 44, 56, and 58) in which the poet offers his advice on the nature or conduct of love. Each adopts a somewhat different tone. Here the poet’s advice is more practical than in the others, urging a reluctant lover not to hesitate to make his desire known.

GRANSON, 33. BALADE: «DON DE MERCY AINÇOIS QUE ON LE DEPRIE»: 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; L: Paris, Bibliothèque nationale, Rothschild MS I.I.9; M: Carpentras, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, MS fr. 390; 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.

GW73, Piaget p. 371.
Base MS A. No other copies.

22 ce qui. A: ce.

 
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33. Balade: «Don de mercy ainçois que on le deprie»







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33. Balade: «Don de mercy ainçois que on le deprie»

Amant qui est cornart et paoureux
De descouvrir ou dire son penser
A celle dont il est fort amoureux,
Pert bien son sens. Cuide il, sans demender,
Avoir se dont il a grant desirier?
Certez, nennil, ne s’y actende mie.
Point n’appartient a dame d’octroyer
Don de mercy ainçois que on le deprie.

Car son honneur n’en vauldroit de riens mieulx,
Mais en pourroit durement abaissier.
Pour ce dy je qu’a blasmer sont tous ceulx
Qui se penent n’entremettent d’amer.
Quant sy cornars sont de grace rover.
Ne mettent point en amer estudie.
Ilz sont musars et nissez d’esperer
Don de mercy ainsois que on la deprie.

Estre ne puet en amours eureux
Qui, a la fois, ne s’ose aventurer
Par doulx parler, courtois et gracieux,
Requerir ce qui le puet alegier.
Ne, pour reffus oyr, ne doit cesser
De poursuir ce qui ly puit faire aye.
On n’a pas sy de dame de legier
Don de mercy ainsois que on la deprie.
 
33. Ballade: “The gift of mercy before it is requested”

A lover who is stupid and cowardly
About making known or telling his thoughts
To the one with whom he is deeply in love
Has lost his mind. Does he think he’ll have
That which he greatly desires without asking?
Certainly not; let him not expect it.
It is just not fitting for a lady to grant
The gift of mercy before it is requested.

For her honor would not increase in worth
But could greatly diminish because of it.
Therefore I say that they are all to blame
Who take pains and undertake to love
When they are so stupid about asking for grace.
They don’t apply themselves to loving at all.
They are foolish and silly to hope
For the gift of mercy before it is requested.

Fortunate in love can he never be
Who at the same time does not also dare,
With gentle speech, courteous and gracious,
To ask for that which can relieve him.
Nor on hearing a refusal should he cease
To pursue that which can give him aid.
One does not get from a lady easily
The gift of mercy before it is requested.
 

























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