70. La Complainte de l’an nouvel

GRANSON, 70. «LA COMPLAINTE DE L'AN NOUVEL»: 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.

On the New Year’s setting see the note to 69. The complainte of the title does not imply a fixed metrical form; here, as in 72 and 76, Granson uses the same 8-line stanza (rhyming ababbcbc) that he used in more than a third of his ballades, though without maintaining the same rhymes in each stanza. The narrative frame in which the knight’s complaint is set, however slight, opens the way to comparison with other contemporary dits amoureux and with their counterparts in English, and this poem has received greatest attention from those studying its relation to Chaucer’s BD. See in particular Braddy (Chaucer, pp. 57–61), who assumes Granson’s priority, and Wimsatt (French Love Poets, pp. 143–46, and FC, p. 220), who argues for Chaucer’s. As noted in the Introduction (pp. 30–31), there is no good external evidence of chronology to help decide the case. Most of the details that the two poems share, moreover, might plausibly be derived separately from Machaut’s FA, which certainly preceded both. In all three poems, the poet overhears a knight bewailing his misfortune and introduces himself to comfort him.

1–5 Jadis m’avint . . . l’an doit commencier. Braddy (Chaucer, pp. 58–59) notes that both Granson’s and Chaucer’s poems are set in a wood (BD, line 444), and that “the poet, in both accounts, is described as moody and longing for diversion” (“merancolie,” line 1; “melancolye,” BD, line 23). Machaut’s poet also suffers from merencolie (FA, line 67), but he overhears the knight’s complaint through a window from an adjacent room. Braddy also claims that in both Granson’s and Chaucer’s poems the time is “towards morning.” While true of Chaucer’s (line 292) and Machaut’s (line 1041), Granson’s seems to be set in the evening.

9 Le chevalier disoit en sa complainte. In Machaut’s and Chaucer’s poems, as in Granson’s, the knight’s lament is labeled a complainte (FA, lines 214, 231, 1047; BD, line 487). He speaks it aloud without realizing that he is overheard until the poet steps forth to greet him.

10–56 The complaintes in Machaut’s, Granson’s, and Chaucer’s poems differ greatly — Machaut’s recounting the anxiety surrounding an upcoming separation, Granson’s the pangs of unrequited love, and Chaucer’s the grief at a lady’s death — and have no apparent relation to one another.

17 la bonne estraine. While “good fortune” appears to be the primary sense here, one cannot use estraine in this context without also invoking the notion of the New Year’s gift as in line 14. See the note to 69 above.

32–48 For the personification of the heart and the eyes in these lines, compare 64.

61–64 Et quant son plaint recommencier . . . sa complainte cesser. The consolation offered in Granson’s poem is perfunctory, to say the least, compared to both Machaut’s and Chaucer’s, in each of which the conversation between poet and knight constitutes the longest part of the poem.

GRANSON, 70. :«LA COMPLAINTE DE L'AN NOUVEL»: 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; 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.

GW51, Piaget p. 199.
Base MS P. Other copies: A, E (lines 1–44 only, each stanza followed by another attributed to “Lesparra”), F, K, W.

Title La complainte de l’an nouvel. So A, E, P. F: La complainte de lan nouvel que gransson fost pour un chevalier quil escoutait complaindre. K: Cy commence la complainte de lan nouvel que granson fist pour un chevalier quil lescoutoit se plaindre pres dun bouquet.


 
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70. La Complainte de l’an nouvel

Jadis m’avint que par merancolie,
De toutes gens me pris a eslongnier.
Pour estre seul, laissay la compaignie.
Au bois alay jouer et soulacier,
La nuit devant que l’an doit commencier.
Mais je n’eus pas alé moult longuement
Que j’escoutay la voix d’un chevalier
Qui se plaignoit d’amours trop durement.

Le chevalier disoit en sa complainte:
«Certes, Amours, de vous plaindre me doy,
Et si sçay bien que po me vault ma plainte.
Car vous n’avez nulle pitie de moy.
Helas, Amour, or me dites de quoy
Je doy mon cuer au matin estrener,
Puis qu’ainsi est que ma dame ne voy
Au jour de l’an qui demain doit entrer.

«Demain aront pluseurs la bonne estraine
Qui la prendront en leurs dames veir,
Et je n’aray fors que douleur et paine.
Bien suis usez a tel don recevoir.
Amour, Amour, nulz homs ne peust savoir
L’estat de vous s’il ne l’a esprouvé.
Et quant chascun en dira son voloir,
Je me plaindray de ce que j’ay trouvé.

«Je me plaindray d’Amours et de ma dame,
Qui sont cause de tout mon desconfort.
Mais je ne veil a nul donner le blasme
Fors a mon cuer, qui amer me fait si fort.
Et si voy bien que tuit trois sont d’accort
De moy mener a fin prochainement.
Amour me hait, ma dame veult ma mort,
Et je voy bien que mon cuer le consent.

«Mez yeulx en ont aussi tort, ce me samble,
Car il n’est cuer qui peust tenir d’amer
Puis qu’il veist tant de beautez ensamble
Comme l’en peust en ma dame trouver.
Et quant le cuer fait les yeulx regarder
Et leur regart font le cuer amoureux,
L’un ne porroit par droit l’autre blasmer,
Mais de ma part, je me plaing de tous deux.

«De eulz me plaing, et si me doy bien plaindre,
Car je les truis mes mortelx anemis.
Nulz d’eulz n’y a qui poy se veille faindre
Pour moy geter dez bas ou ilz m’ont mis.
Chascun d’eulz deux deust estre mes amis
Et moy garder ainsi comme leur corps.
Et ce sont ceulz qui tousdiz me font pis.
En eulz ne tient que pieça ne sui mors.

«C’est le guerdon que j’ay de mon servise.
Certes, Amours, bien m’avez guerdonné!
Sur moy avez toute la paine mise,
Ne nul confort ne m’en avez donné.
Jadis estoit le plus de ma santé
En regarder celle qui tant me plaist.
Or sui par vous en tel lieu arrivé
Ou ne la voy, dont trop fort me desplaist.»

Le chevalier qui menoit tele vie
De cuer parfont bien souvent souspiroit.
Il sambloit bien qu’il eust grant envie
De retourner la ou son cuer estoit.
Et quant son plaint recommencier vouloit,
Je vins avant pour le reconforter,
Et le getay du penser qu’il avoit.
Aussi li fis sa complainte cesser.
 
70. The New Year’s Complaint

Once it happened that, out of melancholy,
I chose to be apart from everyone else.
To be alone, I left all company.
I went to the wood to play and to seek comfort,
The night before the year was to begin.
But I hadn’t gotten very far
When I heard the voice of a certain knight
Who was complaining very strongly about love.

The knight was saying in his complaint:
“Surely, Love, I must complain about you,
And yet I know well that little avails my plaint.
For you have no pity upon me.
Alas, Love, then tell me the reason why
I ought to offer my heart as a gift in the morning,
Since it is thus, that I do not see my lady
This New Year’s Day which is to come tomorrow.

“Tomorrow many will have good fortune,
Who will receive it just in seeing their ladies,
And I will have nothing but grief and pain.
Well am I used to receiving such a gift.
Love, Love, no one can understand
Your nature unless he has experienced it.
And when everyone reveals his wish,
I will complain about what I have found.

“I will complain of Love and of my lady,
Who are the cause of all of my distress.
But I don’t want to put blame on anyone
Except my heart, which makes me love so strongly.
And yet I see that all three are in accord
To lead me imminently to my end.
Love hates me, my lady wishes my death,
And I see clearly that my heart consents.

“My eyes are also wrong, it seems to me,
For there is no heart that can refrain from loving
When it sees so much beauty joined together
As one can discover in my lady.
And when the heart makes the eyes look,
And their looking makes the heart fall in love,
One could not rightly blame the other,
But for my part, I complain of both.

“I complain about them, and well should I complain,
For I consider them my mortal enemies.
Neither of them is only slightly reluctant
To raise me up after having thrown me down.
Each of these two ought to be my friend
And protect me just as they would themselves.
And it is they who constantly make me worse.
They are not to thank that I’m not long dead.

“That is the reward that I have for my service.
Truly, Love, you have well rewarded me!
On me you have placed all the pain,
And you haven’t given me any consolation.
Formerly the best part of my well-being
Was to look upon her who pleases me so much.
Now through you I have come to such a place
That I do not see her, which greatly troubles me.”

The knight who led such a life
Often sighed from deep within his heart.
Well did it seem that he desired greatly
To return there where his heart remained.
And when he wanted to resume his plaint,
I came forward in order to comfort him,
And I freed him from the thought he had.
I also made him cease his complaint.
 
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71. Le Souhait de Saint Valentin